Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hurricane Irma

So, after being in Florida for a whole month, we had our first hurricane and boy was it a big one! When Chris came home from work about two weeks before and said, "there's a big hurricane coming, we need to get prepared," I knew it was a big deal. We spent those two weeks making evacuation plans (for just me and the boys since Chris is the meteorologist at the Navy base), loading up on non-perishable food and plenty of water, clearing everything out of our back yard, filling up our bath tub, moving Chris' car to a near by parking garage, and even buying a generator.  We were ready, or as ready as we could be.

Chris and I decided it would be best if the boys and I didn't leave. We knew the traffic would be terrible and Chris thought it would be more dangerous for us to be on the road. So glad we made that decision.  The bad weather started on Sunday, the hurricane came Sunday night and Monday morning.  We got outside every chance we could when there was a break in the weather (hence the first picture) because I knew we would be stuck inside soon.  We lost electricity on Sunday night and it came back on until Tuesday morning.  So glad we had a generator because we didn't lose any of our food.  And, we have a gas stove which was wonderful! 

Playing in the puddles on Sunday when there was a break in the rain!

Getting out and enjoying ice cream at one of the few places still open on Sunday.... it was a ghost town!

Thankfully the only damage we suffered was a broken window. A branch flew into it in the middle of the night.  There was glass everywhere! It broke in our dining room (where we eat every meal) and Chris and I immediately knew what a huge miracle it was that it broke at night when no one was in there. The only thing we had inside was a cardboard box and a sunshade for the car.  We used a whole roll of duck tape and nailed the sunshade to the window. Thankfully, it stopped the rain from coming in and the wind from doing any more damage. It was a mess, but we are extremely grateful thats all we had to clean up.

The boys did great! I thought they would go crazy, but they enjoyed playing with the flashlights, painting, doing play dough and of course eating all of our hurricane snacks!

Helping Papa get the generator set up. 

Our make shift light... Abram loved reading books with the boys at the table with our lantern. :)

Our town, Riverside, is along the huge St. John's River. Even though we didn't suffer much damage, we can't say the same for our town. Some families that live along the river lost everything. There were huge trees down everywhere and on of our beautiful parks completely flooded. It is still very sad to drive around our little area and see the devastation.

A picture of Riverside, where the river flooded homes and businesses. 

Huge tress are down everywhere! 
These are pictures of Memorial Park which is right along the river. The whole area was under water and severely damaged.

Before the storm...

The waves crashing during the hurricane. So sad. 

Even though the hurricane was a disaster on so many levels, we can definitely see how God protected our family, our house and even our city.  We are praying this is the last hurricane of the season, and hopefully the last one we will see while we are in Florida.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Our Family Pictures

We had family pictures taken just a few days before we left Hawaii.  My absolute favorite thing about where we lived in Hawaii was the breathtaking views of the Ko'Olau mountain range on the windward side of the island.  I thought it would be great to have these as the background for our pictures.  I love how they turned out!! Such sweet memories of our time in Hawaii  and of our boys at this fun age.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


This summer was extra special and a little different for us. We left Hawaii at the end of May but we didn't go straight to Jacksonville. Chris had to be in school for two months in Rhode Island, so instead of being in a hotel with the boys (since we didn't have a house yet in Florida) the boys and I spent the summer with my parents. I am so glad we did! My parents are wonderful with my boys and truly love being with them, and we also spent lots of time with our cousins... we made a ton of memories this summer! 

Most of our time was spent outside playing. My mom is just the best. She gets wet and dirty with them and doesn't mind one single bit! 

Popsicles picnic!

Spray park with Gram
Love this picture of Luke and my mom!
Playing with Gram in the sprinklers

Just relaxing in the mud...
Boys and mud!
Abram and I also were able to go with my sister's family to Orange Beach, Alabama for a week. We had a wonderful time! Of course the beach, pool and sand were great, but spending an entire week with family when we have been so far away was the absolute best! 

Abram quickly became a fan of boogie boarding!
Love his smile!

Me and my sister, Julie

Cousin time... it's the best!

Looking for shells and fish with his cousin.

So sweet!

Look how high he got Abe!

I think we had ice cream and watermelon every day!

Just the best!!
Then for the Fourth of July we had two big surprises... Chris came home for the long weekend to surprise the boys (and me) and Abram fractured his arm in two places. :( 
We had a fun holiday weekend as a family and enjoyed being on the river and watching the fire crackers!
Abram hurt his arm on July 3. He was playing frisbee with his cousin and he fell and tried to catch himself. He ended up fracturing it in two places, his wrist and elbow. He was such a good sport and even though he spent three weeks of his summer in a cast (which meant no water activities at all) he never complained once. We were thrilled to have it taken off our last week in Louisiana so he could enjoy some pool time with Cade and Ella.

Abe loved this little boat. He would be in the water without getting his cast wet!

He loved this! Cade said while they were riding Abe kept saying, "This is amazing!" 

The day he got his cast. Sweet boy.. he did so great!

So, one morning my mom and I loaded up the boys and headed to the Gator Park.  There was also a petting zoo, but the boys weren't too concerned about that... they loved the gators! The loved to watch them swim and jump up for their food. Craziness! Only in Louisiana!

Jack and Abram watching the gators

Also, one weekend in July was the Red River Balloon Festival. So amazing to see all these hot air balloons and even better to see them lit up at night. 

Our family also celebrated my Grandma's 90th birthday this summer.  She had a huge party with all her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends.  It was so fun to have everyone together!

My grandma with her 10 great grand kids!

With her grandchildren (minus 2 spouses)

And finally, right before we left for Jacksonville and after Abe's cast came off we made it to the waterpark. Abe had been waiting for this day all summer! He had a blast. He is fearless and he has become an amazing little swimmer!

Racing Cade down the water slide

Best day ever!

We had an amazing summer with our family.  It was so great to be home for awhile and just enjoy everyone! So thankful we had this opportunity and so very grateful to my parents for opening their home to us for two months!!

My parents with their five grandkids!