Monday, September 29, 2008

Back to Normal

We finally got our power back on Saturday morning, 2 weeks exactly from when Ike came & took it away. Since then we've been trying to play catchup. We've still got laundry to finish, more of the house to clean & so forth. Rylie starts back at Kindermusik tomorrow morning so we're excited about that. It's nice to be able to cook in our oven & bake stuff again! We still forget sometimes to turn the light on in the pantry or our closet! haha
We have just noticed these past few days that Ike actually bent our tree in the front yard a little & it probably won't make it through another hurricane like that so we're going to have to cut a lot of it off the top. If it does end up falling down, it'll land across our driveway & on our neighbor's house which I don't think they'd appreciate.
Right now we're just super busy getting ready for Rylie's birthday party! Can't believe it's less than 3 weeks away!!!!
On a side note, we ordered Rylie a kids meal at a restaurant tonight for the 1st time. It was just grilled chicken & mashed potatoes. She ate quite a bit of both before wanting her baby food veggies. She's getting a lot better about moving towards "big people" food now & off her baby foods completely.
So that's the updates with the McCrary clan! Check back soon for more! =)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We survived Ike! Part III

Well, we were supposed to be getting our power back on tomorrow, but yesterday afternoon Centerpoint Energy announced we wouldn't get it back until this coming Sunday. Bummer! Today, they dont have any information on power returning, so we're still assuming it's coming Sunday at the latest.
We've been without power for almost 2 weeks now. We've had to completely change our living routine, sacrificed lots of amenities, and worked harder to get the things we need for every day life and instead of complaining about it all, we are just SO THANKFUL for what all we do still have. There were so many people who lost everything. And we came out so lucky with no home damage & having bought a generator before the storm to still run our refrigerator & window a/c in our bedroom at night. We have nothing we should be complaining about. We're also so blessed to have the wonderful neighbors we have been getting together with almost every night, sharing food, homes, lights, batteries, gas, chairs, toys for the kids, etc. THANK YOU GOD FOR EVERYTHING WE HAVE!!!! It doesn't take a national holiday with turkey on the table for one to look at everything they have & take a moment to be thankful. I hope everyone else is thankful for all they have too!

Notes to self for next hurricane:
-Make lots of banana bread, muffins, cinnamon rolls, etc to eat for breakfasts during power outtages. We stocked up on cereal, but then we ran outta milk & had to wait for stores to reopen to get more.
-Stock up on Cokes or other caffeinated sodas. When we lose power, it's too hot to drink coffee (and can only be made if you have a generator to hook up the maker to). Cold sodas really hit the spot!
-Buy more large flashlights. We only had 1 large & couple small.
-Get all the laundry finished before the storm, Ashlee! lol I didn't finish washing towels & that really came back to bite me in the behind!
-Magazines were really awesome to have handy & read during boring days while Rylie naps & we have no power.
-Stock up on foods that can be cooked completely in microwave (we unplug fridge & hook up microwave to make lunches & some dinners when a grill's not available to cook on)

Monday, September 22, 2008

We survived Ike! Part II

Well, in case I forgot to mention in the mile-long post before about Ike, we got home phone, internet, & cable tv back last Friday afternoon. So David rigged up our cable box & that' s how I'm able to get online now.
We STILL dont have power. They're now saying it wont be back on until this Thursday. That'll be almost 2 weeks from when Ike hit us. :-/ Rylie & I have been sweating all day! It's getting hot again down here. There are still many stores & restaurants closed. Rylie's music class was cancelled last week & this week because the studio still doesn't have power either. The only bright side is we've still got our rented movie from Hollywood Video because they dont have power yet either & they're waiving all late fees, so we get to keep watching it for free!
That's about the latest with us. We're still just hanging out with neighbors, eating dinner together. David's completely back on full schedule at work again & we're just waiting! Pray we get power back soon!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Family Completed

We were able to get gas for our cars much easier starting on Thursday, so on Saturday we drove up to Waco & met with a bunch of people at the airport to welcome our friends Vince & Mary Erickson as they arrived home with THEIR DAUGHTER!!!
It truly was the most amazing thing! They're parents now! Their daughter, Malia Faith is 19 months old & the size of Rylie (11 months old). She's so cute too & quiet & beautiful & just fits completely with her new parents. Our friends were very surprised to see us & happy for all their friends being there. Of course there were tears shed!
Here's the amazing pictures! (Video coming soon-still no power so no editing sytem)
We're so excited for you guys!!!




Here she is! Malia Faith Erickson!

David almost got a smile from her!



Malia already has friends!

The new Erickson family!


The entire "welcoming committee"


"Malia, you can come play at my house! I'll share my toys with you!" -Rylie

Friday, September 19, 2008

11 Months!



I about cried when my mom texted me this morning telling Rylie "Happy 11 months!" How has this much time seriously already passed?! I can't believe her birthday is a month away. My baby's getting so big so fast =(




Rylie 11 mos





Rylie 1 wk


Here's her new conquests as an 11 month old:

-stands on her own (1st time longer than 10 sec was Sept 12-night of IKE)

-when we tell her to say Bye-Bye, she waves

-plays peek-a-boo

-completely OFF BOTTLES!!

-almost completely off baby foods (she's a picky eater haha!)

-still gives high fives

-really starting to play with her dolls, she'll hug them & smile at them & talk to them & touch their faces...it's so cute!

-she talks all the time now, just babbling all kinds of things especially when she's playing

We survived Ike!

WELL! This has been a very adventurous week for Houston! Here's our Ike story-it may be too long to read, but you can just scroll down & look at pictures if you want. We not only wanted to share our story with you all, but we also want to look back on here & remember all the details too! Thanks for everyone's concerned phone calls, texts, etc from everyone worried about us throughout this hurricane! It really meant a lot to us!


FRIDAY NIGHT 9/12- It started getting very dark & very windy at 7pm. We came inside for the night & got all prepared for the storm. We left Rylie's pack n' play at Dave's mom's house & couldn't fit her crib outside her door frame, so we brought her mattress downstairs to our room & moved her play area gates in there & put around the crib-making her a temporary bed next to ours.

Rylie's temporary bed


We loaded up on flashlights & candles. We cooked a frozen pizza & put in a rented movie about 9pm & tried relaxing as outside started getting worse. Throughout the movie, the power kept going in & out. Around 11pm, the movie ended & we tried going to sleep, but the wind outside was so loud! I woke up a little after midnight & we'd lost power for good & it was starting to get very hot in our house. I tried sleeping some more (Rylie meanwhile had been sleeping the whole time since about 9:30pm!)







SATURDAY 9/13-I woke about 3am & it was SOOOO SCARY outside!! Our small trees in the backyard were blowing around like cooked spaghetti noodles being waved around. They kept hitting the house (on our bedroom window in the back). The wind was sooo loud & the rain was splashing against our house like waves from the ocean hitting it. Our fireplace in the living room (next to our bedroom) had this loud BOOM! BOOM! noise in it sounding like bombs going off because of the heavy winds outside (yes, our fireplace flap was closed too.) We turned on the radio & the news said the worst was still to come within the next hour. We were having winds about 60 mph at the time & the worst ones coming were 80-90 mph. SO, David & I ended up going into our closet because it's the only room in the house without windows & is actually furthest away from any windows from other rooms & it was pretty quiet in there. We just laid on pillows & slept in there, meanwhile Rylie still snoozed away in our room throughout everything! David said he woke up about 5am & saw the eye of the storm & other neighbors out looking at it. He looked for stars, but didn't see any. It was completely calm until 8am & then the back part started. I woke up about 10 am, as Rylie was waking up too. We had no home damage!!! Thank God! David started our generator (LIFE-SAVER!!!!!!) as Rylie & I ate dry breakfasts. It was still raining a lot & pretty windy outside. We called all our family to tell them we were ok. Then we just waited for the rain to stop so we could go outside & look at the damage. We took this opportunity to let Rylie try out her walk-behind toy (her activity center converts to this).



About 1:30pm the rain stopped & we finally went out. We talked to some neighbors & then drove around our block & took pictures of damages.



Our back door area & Rylie's upstairs window screen blown off




Our driveway with lots of debris




House across the street with tree split-luckily it landed next to his house & not on it!




Our side fence leaning into our neighbor's yard-he fixed it for us tho!




This house is behind ours & got a tree knocked on it!




House down the road with tree knocked over & it pulled up some kinda pipe with it.




The entrance to our subdivision is closed because a huge tree knocked over a bunch of power lines-this is why we're not getting power back on for awhile :/




Another house down the street had a tree twisted & knocked over-that's just how strong those winds were!


Rylie & I took a nap when we got home while David hooked up our neighbors fridge with an extention cord to our generator. Then Rylie & I woke up to our fire alarms going off-this very high pitched siren & the alarms were shouting FIRE FIRE FIRE! I immediately knew there wasn't a fire & the alarms were just messed up from being cut off. David disconnected all of them. Then our neighbor stopped by & invited us over for dinner-they'd grilled steaks & potatoes!! =D They wanted to thank us for hooking up their freezer to our generator. After dinner, the sun was going down so we were cleaning up & then we noticed the water had been cut off. This was breaking point. Our neighbors said they were gonna leave (they have twin 3 yr olds-remember their bday party in July?) and I didn't think we could stay here either without water to bathe in. We got home & David put our window a/c in our room & the water came back on!!!! I was so scared we'd lose it again, I quickly put Rylie in the bath tub without waiting for the water to heat up & scrubbed her down in about 45 seconds! David & I quickly showered too & then we got our home phone back on. We both called more family with updates until the home phone went out again. About 10pm we settled in & went to bed.


SUNDAY 9/14- David & I woke about 3:30am to weird noises by the window a/c. I immediately feared for looters, especially when we saw weird lights outside afterwards. David & I quickly got up to go check what was going on & realized it was lightning in the distance & the noises on the a/c was rain drops. It quickly picked up & was so loud on the a/c unit-sounded like marbles hitting the metal. I finally got back to sleep about 5am & we all woke around 8:30am & it was still raining outside. David had to go into downtown Houston & work at his church for an hour because they had power & were still having 1 service. Rylie & I cleaned up, ate breakfast, & watched the news on our livingroom TV hooked up to the generator.




Rain, rain go away...come again another day!




Rylie started getting restless so at 11am when the rain stopped, I loaded her in her stroller to take a walk outside. Our neighbors across the street asked if we could store some food for them in our fridge/freezer which of course we did. David came home at lunchtime & after eating, put Rylie down for a nap & we cleaned outside the house from debris. We joined our other neighbors for dinner-grilled steaks & potatoes again! YUM!!! It got very cool that night-a blessing!!! David loaded our generator with gas & we hit the sheets.


MONDAY 9/15- We all got the best night's sleep since the temperature's gone down. We ate breakfast & then took a walk outside. We ran into some neighbors who said Red Lobster in town was open, so we all went to lunch there. Red Lobster never lost power actually so the food was ok to eat! Then the 3 of us drove around for 30 min looking for gas with only 3 stations open & each having 2 miles worth of lines (seriously!). We finally got in 1 line but after not moving for 20 min, came on home. We started to feel very discouraged. What if we don't get power back soon? What if we run outta gas for the generator & our cars? Will everything be ok?

After having a big lunch, we gathered with our neighbors for a light dinner-cheese, crackers, grapes, apple slices & fruit dip made outta cream cheese & brown sugar. We all just sat outside & talked for awhile. It was nice!


TUESDAY 9/16- Our 4th day without electricity & now it's becomming 2nd nature. I have to carry the microwave to the plug, unplug our fridge, plug in the microwave, heat up breakfast, plug back the fridge, carry the microwave back.....everything is taking a really long time to do. I will always appreciate our dishwasher after this! David went into work for a little while. I cleaned up the kitchen & tried chasing after Rylie. Without her toy-gated-area, she's into everything and it's especially dangerous now with power cords all over the place. David came home & did some laundry. He had to disconnect a bunch of stuff & plug in our washing machine. We had to hang everything up though because the dryer takes too much power for the generator.




Our clothes & towels hung on all our railings



I ran down the street to Wal-Greens. They were about outta everything! I got some Coke's though. The last thing you wanna drink in the heat with no a/c is coffee & I needed caffeine! I got home & David ran into town to get some more groceries. Randalls in the next town had produce back in stock & HEB was open too. I had coordinated with neighbors dinner plans-we were gonna make spaghetti! Our neighbors cooked noodles on their stove top because theirs is gas-still works. We hooked up a 2-burner thing David bought to our generator & made the sauce & had everyone over. It was sooo good!


WEDNESDAY 9/17- I feel like I forgot what the outside world looks like! I feel like I'm seriously on another planet-much further away from people than we really are. We're already used to having no electricity now. David went into work again while Rylie & I ate breakfast & watched more news (that's all we get right now.) It's sooo sad to see how some people lost everything from IKE. I wanna volunteer & do something-more than what we're already doing for our neighbors. The news though said we could donate stuff, but we gotta deliver it & #1-I don't know my way around Houston all that well & #2-It's hard to get gas still, so I just can't do that. David got home about 1:30pm & changed the oil in the generator. At 3pm, we started a fire in our outdoor firepit I got David for Christmas 2 years ago. We had the neighbors over to cook hot dogs over it & then s'mores! =D



David starting the fire




Rylie watching Daddy start the fire outside




S'mores!!! A summer classic!


We were done eating by 5:30 (I know, we're old now! lol But we gotta eat early so we'll be cleaned up by sundown-about 7:30pm). It's hard to imagine not eating dinner with the neighbors every night after the power comes back on. After cleanup David ran into town to get more groceries & tried to get gas, but all stations had really long lines. I put Rylie to bed & did this "home spa" I read in a magazine (magazines are a lifesaver during all this-something to read!). I made the face mask in the magazine & just relaxed (email me for the recipe)! We had also heard previously in the day that our neighborhood would have power by Saturday & more restaurants were opening in town. Good news!


THURSDAY 9/18- We're seriously now sick of not having electricity! lol David's work got power back so he's gotta work most of the day. I wanted to take Rylie out somewhere just to get outta the house, but I feel like I gotta guard our generator-afraid of looters. I feel like the more this goes on, the more desperate some people are getting. We're sick of watching only news-it's too depressing. Joined neighbors across the street for dinner-grilled hamburgers. Then cleaned our house & had to light some candles for good scents because without air circulating as much it's getting stale smelling. We've now found out we won't be getting power until next Monday-UGH!


FRIDAY 9/19- Still....no.....power :( After breakfast, I took Rylie into town where more things are opening & we walked around Target & Kohls (they're next to each other here) just to get outta the house! All the street lights were still out though. We came home & our neighbor was kind enough to take our empty gas cans out & fill them up for us (of course we pay him for them, but it was nice of him to run that tedious errand). While Rylie napped, I got very very bored. I just walked around the house cleaning parts of it, looked at old photo albums, listened to old cd's to pass the time. David got home at almost 5pm & I took Rylie's 11 mo old pictures.




Here's some other random pictures David took as well for the blog.


Our window a/c in our bedroom




Generator out back




Power cords going into our house & the neighbors




All our gas cans we gotta keep full

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ike Update

We woke up this morning to gray skies & some winds. It actually felt good outside & from the pictures below, you can see Rylie played in the grass a little bit. Then it sprinkled a tad, so we came inside. Didn't last long though.
We have gotten a few calls from people asking if we're still gonna ride it out. We are. Thank you everyone who's called to offer us a stay with them if we do decide to evacuate! We will be taping up our windows later today. We filled up our cars with gas this morning when there was no line. We ended up going out to eat for lunch to save the food we have at home for when we'll be kinda locked up tomorrow. We saw quite a few houses in our neighborhood with boarded up windows. Most of the stores are already closed & gas stations are already outta gas now. We did find a Mexican Restaurant open & ate there right before they closed up. Even Wal-Mart's already closed! It's almost starting to look like a ghost town. We gathered everything from our yard & locked up in the garage-even the For Sale sign on the house across the street. Didn't want that blowing into someone's window!
It's still very very cloudy here, but no more rain so far. Still getting more windy as the time goes on too. Hopefully everybody will stay safe throughout this.
Dont forget to thank the National Guard if you see any of them! They're doing a lot to help the people in harm's way out here!
Here's a picture of the weather radar yesterday evening....



Scroll down & compare this picture to yesterday morning's radar. The hurricane has moved closer to us, but looks to be weakening. Then here's today's weather radar....

Again, it looks to have weakened more & now shifted back down a little bit. The pink dot is still round-about where we're at.
Like I said before, I'll keep putting updates on here as long as we have power. Tonight's gonna get real ugly & we're putting Rylie in our room with us downstairs to sleep. Pray that everybody stays safe!!!!

Rylie's wave, mean face, and high five!

I finally figured out how to format our video so it can be inserted in a blog, instead of just linking it on the sidebar! Here's video of Rylie's wave. Every time we tell her to say goodbye, she waves. But her "wave" is to herself. lol She's also showing everybody she can give high fives & her "mean" face. lol Just some of Rylie's cuteness caught on video!

1st Barbie Doll

About a month ago, Rylie picked out a Barbie doll in the store & I let her get it-it was only $5! But then I realized the darn thing had glitter all over her outfit, so we've kept that one in the box in her room.


So I felt bad about letting her get that Barbie but not being able to play with it, so we let her pick out another one that was more "simple." We got it outta the box this morning & sat outside in the nice weather & let her play with it for awhile. Now we'll only let her play with it under close supervision & we take away all the small parts that come with it. Here's her new Barbie! (Excuse her lopsided bow lol)





"I love my Barbie doll!"

Bubbles!

I told Rylie if she ate all her chicken for dinner 2 nights ago, she would get a prize. She gobbled it all up & her prize was BUBBLES! I got out her bubbles yesterday morning & we played with them for awhile. These are the neatest thing! They're Gymboree bubbles (available at any Gymboree store). They cost about $6 and they don't pop!! They seriously land on the ground & stay there for awhile. Rylie got a big kick outta them. Later on we went back into her room to put her down for her nap & there were still bubbles everywhere!




Her floor covered with bubbles.


Bubbles stuck on her crib.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Erickson's Pictures!

Pictures of Vince & Mary with their daughter for the 1st time are uploaded on the Sunday School blog-Christian Living linked on the side bar. TRULY AMAZING!!! (So far these pictures haven't been uploaded to the Erickson's website yet-JourneytoMalia.com) Is she not just the cutest little girl?! I cannot wait to meet her! My favorite pictures is the last one where they're handing her over to Mary for the 1st time! MIRACLES DO HAPPEN!

IKE is coming!

(The pink dot is round-about where we are.)

Ahh hurricane season...sure is more exciting than tornado season back in Waco!

Well, all our neighbors have been visiting each other's houses this afternoon & seems we're all staying! We've stocked up on water, batteries, flashlights, lighters, dry foods, & even some backup generators. Hopefully we won't see too much damage from Mr. Ike there. Finally our HOA office has cancelled our community garage sale for Saturday. So I think we're just gonna hunker down here. We don't have cable or phone as of a few hours ago (because of technical error-not weather related), so I'm not sure the exact latest on everything. We do still have internet though! I'll try to post updates on here throughout the weekend. If I dont have any updates, it'll be because we dont have any power. Our neighbors said they lost power for 3 days when Rita came through in '05. NIIIIICE. Does anybody know how the military is doing on gaining climate control? haha

Saddest Day in America 9/11

I made David go to the hardware store last night to fix our flagpole that broke last week, because there was no way our flag would not fly today of all days. This is truly the saddest day! Everybody needs to take a minute & be so thankful for everything they have-their family, their home, their jobs, their FREEDOM! Be thankful you're an AMERICAN! Don't forget to think of those who lost their lives giving that freedom to us. Here's one that I knew...


Lc. Cpl. Johnny Strong-US Marine Infantry Div. killed on duty in Iraq July 12, 2007

Thank you for your heroism Johnny! You'll never be forgotten!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

First Fall Kindermusik Class

I just had to take pictures of Rylie before heading to her 1st Fall Kindermusik class this morning. For us it's like her "school" she goes to right now & learns lots of new things. Plus she met lots more friends today! I can't believe how much bigger she looks in today's pictures compared to her 1st Summer Kindermusik class pictures. It's also much harder to take pictures of her just sitting still. As soon as I put her down, she was off! Crawling everywhere! I did manage to get this cute one tho.

Monday, September 8, 2008

What a blessing for our friends....

An exciting update for our friends Vince & Mary Erickson. They flew to China last Wednesday & as of about 3 am our time this morning HAVE THEIR DAUGHTER!!!! Check out this link with the latest update on their journey. It has brought me to tears!
I'm SOOOOOO EXCITED for them!! Every time I think about their blessing, I just get tears. They waited & hoped & prayed & wished & dreamed & anxiously wanted this little girl for so long & they finally have her in their arms & she's THEIRS! They finally have their daughter, their little girl. It's just so amazing to see your friends' dreams come true after dreaming for them for so long. I could not be happier for those 2! I cannot wait to meet this new little Erickson. =D

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Another Birthday Party!

Another neighbor boy turned 3! Rylie was pretty tired, but we already RSVP'd & the party was on our way home from Dave's mom's house, so we stopped by to drop off our gift. As soon as we arrived though & Rylie saw all her neighborhood friends, she was ecstatic! She was laughing, bouncing up & down, and smiling the whole time. The party was at a big inflatable fun house. Rylie was still too little to do a lot there, but she got in one of the inflatable rooms with Daddy & I took some pictures. The birthday boy as in a bigger kid one though so I couldn't get any pictures of him unless I wanted to be tackled by a bunch of rough & tumble boys! lol It was a really fun party though, the short time we stayed. Missed out on cake, but that's ok! We've had plenty this weekend already!



Rylie & Daddy getting into the bounce house

She was laughing & kicking her legs

Bouncing up & down with Raegan


At the top of the slide (it was seriously like 4 ft tall tho)


HAHA Rylie & David going down the slide. This picture makes this slide look like a monster, but it was really small!

All the younger kiddos on the block!