Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Weekend Rewind~yeah, it's still hot!

It was another weekend where the only acceptable form of entertainment was either inside with the air-conditioning running full blast or one where you could be completely submerged in the water for hours on end.  We opted for the a/c this weekend and spent LOTS of time indoors. 

Friday evening we stayed in, I cooked dinner, and we watched the Opening Ceremony for the London Olympics.  I have to admit, after the whole Industrial Revolution I kind of lost interest...I fell asleep on the couch and Hubby woke me up as the parade of nations began.  We headed to bed basically right after the US entered the arena...just wasn't all that impressed with the production. 

Saturday Hubby & I both had the day off and I was desperately needing a Momma Morning.  I headed out leaving Hubby at home with Elyse & went shopping all by myself.  I bought Elyse a few new board books at Barnes & Noble, went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a few things for a quick Pinterest craft, and went to Banana Republic to window shop.  I got home around lunchtime and honestly felt so refreshed.  It was amazing what a couple of hours did for me when I didn't have to worry about Elyse's nap time, or when she needed to eat, or what I was going to do to entertain her. 

I'm so stinkin' grateful for my amazing hubby! 
Mom...I'm really not into picture-taking tonight...please stop!  ha! 
Saturday afternoon Hubby & I both just lounged around watching the Olympics and doing a few things around the house.  And then it was time for Date Night! 

One of the glorious things about Hubby's parents being so close now is that we have a second set of "free" babysitters!  We dropped her off about 4:30 and headed off to run a few errands before catching a movie.  We watched the Dark Knight Rises and both really enjoyed it.  It wasn't your typical movie-going experience either...we watched it from comfortable recliners were waitresses brought our dinner and waited on us hand & foot!  One of the new local theaters has 2 suite-style theaters that are reserved for 21+, have about 50 seats per theater, and include in-theater dining.  It was such a fun experience and we'll definitely be going back! 
Mamaw, Elyse (complete with a lipstick kiss on her forehead), & Pappy
We headed back to pick up Elyse from my in-laws...she had been put to bed several hours earlier and made the transition really well. 

Sunday was reserved for church & relaxation at home.  After church we headed to Target for a few Elyse-related items, and then grabbed lunch at Houlihan's.  That is seriously one of our favorite local chain-restaurants.  They have so much yummy stuff to eat! 
All dressed up ready for church!
After lunch it was time for Elyse's nap so we headed home to put her to bed...turns out it was naptime for Mommy & Daddy as well.  We both slept until she woke up at 3!  Gotta love family afternoon naps! Otherwise it was a really laid-back Sunday.  I did make a trip to the grocery store and we watched plenty of Olympics while doing several loads of laundry.  Pretty much a fabulously relaxing way to end an incredibly HOT weekend! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Grass Fire 2012

I finally have a few moments to write out the events from last Friday's big grass fire, and while it may not seem as dramatic while I explain it...it was dramatic...in a BIG way.

Last Friday my parents were out of town for a business meeting with plans to return sometime during the afternoon.  Nick & I were working together at the office along with our other long-term employee Delma, who is practically another member of our family.  My grandparents called sometime mid-morning and invited all of us to lunch at a local tea-house/cafe just down the block from our office.  We met up just a few minutes after noon and just a few minutes before we walked in the door of the cafe', one of the rural firefighters got a call that there was a "small fire North of Randy's."  Randy being my dad. 

I asked my grandpa if he thought it was anything we should worry about (as my parent's originally built on 3 acres of his land so if a fire is burning North of Randy's, then it's also burning directly West of my grandparents' home).  He said we should go ahead and order, but before we could all even decide what to eat we see & hear water tankers, brush trucks, and sirens being dispatched.  My grandpa decides to go check things out & I encourage Nick to go along.  The rest of our group continues lunch, assuming that grandpa & Nick will be back very soon to join us.  Yeah, not so much. 

The first call from Nick was "we're going to be here awhile" which I think prompted my first call to my aunt & uncle who have a farm and a small amount of equipment which would be helpful in fighting a grass fire.  The second call from Nick was "we need more help"...which prompted a phone call to City Hall so they could call 911 once again and request aid from other departments. 

The third call prompted my panic. It wasn't from Nick, but it was from city hall and they were relaying a message from the rural firefighter who had left the cafe' a few minutes before.  The message was this:  Tell Lauren to get the dogs & anything she wants away from that house.  Cue tears, sobbing, and utter panic. 

Myself, Delma (our employee & dear friend) and her son raced to the nearest vehicle and headed out.  We could already see the smoke as we headed out of town and I just had a feeling it was going to be bad.  And it was.  The flames had already moved practically all the way across the field and were threatening the fence line & wooded area that was directly North of my parents' home.  It was seriously one of the scariest things I've ever seen. 

Delma pulled her vehicle around to the back of the house and I realized Nick & my grandpa were headed around the wooded area going back to my grandparents' house and most importantly out of the smoke-filled air.  I was seriously in all-out hysteria at this point, screaming at my husband telling him he had to let me go in the house & get pictures & the computer & whatever I could save.  But most importantly I had to save the dogs. 

Decisions were quickly made and while I jumped in the car with my grandpa to head to safety, Delma, her son Derek, & my husband loaded up my parents 3 dogs in the back of her car and brought them to our office.  Nick was left at my parents' house with the firefighters to monitor the situation & Delma took our dogs back to our office, shut them in the back room and headed out again. 

Meanwhile I was with my grandpa across the field at his house, where I could see the flames moving closer to his house & also moving into the wooded area that is near both of the homes.  I was terrified, freaking out, and not handling the situation well at all.  I headed back into town to check on my grandma (who we had left at the cafe' on purpose) and she told me that she wanted to stay there.  Where it was safe.  Where one would have to worry about her.  Where no one would have to come back for her if the fire shifted toward their house. 

And off I went again.  But this time they wouldn't let me back down the road to my parents' house. The electricity had been shut off and emergency vehicles were blocking my way.  I met up with Delma on the road & we headed around the back way to my grandparents' house to check on my grandpa.  He was hosing down the yard on the back side of the house preparing for the worst and hoping a good soaked yard would at least slow down the fire if it got any closer. 

And then we waited.  And I made phone calls to Nick.  And he continued to reassure me that he was standing with 2 tankers full of water that promised the would NOT let fire touch the house.  And we waited some more.  And we waited.  And finally it seemed like the stress of the situation seemed to calm down enough that I was able to breath a small smoke-filled sigh of relief.  The houses were safe.  The fire was still burning & it would burn all the way through that wooded area which separates the houses, but the houses and all living things were safe. 

I stayed at my grandparents' house for quite awhile longer.  Long enough to call my parents' & finally inform them of the situation.  I'd made the decision that it was better they not know since there really was nothing they could do from 2 1/2 hours away.  Was it the right decision, I don't know.  But it's the decision I made and once we had basically been given the all clear from the firemen stationed at my parents' house...I made the call.  I basically had to.  
See, when I didn't know what else to do I had called my MIL & my best friend & told them to pray. To pray hard. What I didn't expect was for my best friend to post an urgent prayer request on Facebook that mentioned my name. And I certainly couldn't let my parents discover that they had a huge fire near their home from Facebook. So I called my parents & as calmly as I could, explained what had happened but that it seemed like both homes were in the clear & that everything was going to be ok. 

By this time the roads had been reopened for a bit and I was able to catch a ride to my parents' house and see my husband.  I confirmed just he said, the fire in & nearest to the house had been completely extinguished and the firemen were just keeping watch for flare-ups at this point.  But the fire had gotten extremely close...too close.

I decided that at that point I didn't need to stand around in the heat so I went into my parents' house and found the best clothes I could to change into.  I was drenched in sweat and smelled like a brush fire but didn't really have the time or energy to take a full shower.  I headed back to the office and waited until my parents would arrive home an hour or so later. 
I met my parents at home....and with tear-filled eyes we all just stared and tried not to think about what might have been.  What could have happened if the firemen hadn't done such a wonderful job in protecting my parents' home and the home I lived for 25 years of my life. 

The fire would flare up 3 more times in the next 24 hours and 911 would respond each of those times.  But it's been almost a week and while the ground is still very dry and very black and we can see through fence lines where we couldn't before, we are still oh so very thankful for God's protection and watching over us throughout the entire process. 
I'll admit that I didn't handle things well at all, but I'm also at peace with the fact that in a time of major crisis I did all that I knew to do...pray, and pray like my life (or in this case my family's homes) depended on it. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lucy & Elyse

Grass Fire 2012 wasn't the only thing that happened on Friday.  Elyse got to spend her first full day @ Mamaw & Pappy's house.  This is one of the things I'm so excited about with my in-laws living 30 minutes away from us...they get to spend tons more time with Elyse & another free babysitter for us!  ha! 

Hubby's mom came and picked Elyse up on Friday morning & they headed out.  I'm not gonna lie, I was a little bit nervous as to how Elyse would act being in a new place for an entire day.  Of course my concerns were completely unfounded & the day went just as it would have gone if she had been with my mom or even with me. 

Well...except for one minor incident.  Apparently my mother-in-law was a little hesitant to even share what happened, but I'm oh so glad she did...because the story is too precious to forget! 

My MIL headed downstairs around 9:30 to put Elyse to bed for her morning nap and she was joined by her puppy Lucy.  Lucy is a rambunctious yellow labradoodle who I can already tell is going to love Elyse to pieces.  My MIL left the room and thought Lucy followed quickly behind, but apparently she decided to wanted to nap with Elyse.  Thinking nothing of it, my MIL went upstairs, turned on the baby monitor and went back to work unpacking. 

After quite awhile, my FIL could still hear Elyse babbling & talking so he decided to just go down and check on her.  What he found still cracks me up as I think about it.  Apparently Lucy decided to take "napping with Elyse" to an entirely new level.  Because laying in the crib with Elyse was Lucy...both of them perfectly content, Elyse almost asleep.  Of course Lucy was promptly removed from the crib & Elyse went right to sleep. 

When I asked my in-laws if they managed to snap a picture, I was quickly informed that picture-taking was not really on their minds as they found their labradoodle sharing a crib with their youngest grand-baby!  ha! 

It never ceases to amaze me how God knows exactly what he's doing & how he knows exactly where we need to be at each moment. 

On Friday, my parents' were out of town for a business meeting which meant that we had to figure out what to do with Elyse for the day.  A few weeks ago, our answer would have been to bring her here to the office and she would have spent the day playing & napping alongside us.  However, with Hubby's parents being in town now...Elyse went to Mamaw & Pappy's for her first full day with them.  She wasn't here at the office.  We didn't have to worry about her as we tried to figure out what was going on with the fire.  She was safe & sound with Mamaw, Pappy, and of course, Lucy. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Rewind~FIRE

Well...this weekend was expected to be just like the last few that involved weather forecasts of 98+ high temps. But the focus of the entire weekend changed about noon on Friday as we were just sitting down for lunch at a local cafe'.  A call came in, firetrucks were dispatched, 5 departments responded, and 2 1/2 hours later we were left with this...
The view South to my parents' home...that's their house in the middle of the photo. 

& the view to the North of my parents' home....my Grandparents' home is out of this picture but up and to the right. 
The most important thing in all of this is that my parent's house & my grandparents' house were completely untouched by the flames. My dad is estimating that somewhere between 60-80 acres were burned, it's hard to know for sure since some of it is wooded area.  I've got lots more pictures of the aftermath that I'll share later this week but the images of the flames burning the fields, trees, and everything it touched will be literally burned into my mind forever.  It was one of the scariest moments I've ever experienced. 

While Grass Fire 2012 certainly overshadowed most of the rest of the weekend's events, we had plenty of other events worth documenting! 

Friday evening Hubby & I grabbed a quick shower and then headed up to his parents' house for taco night. I was starving after having my lunch interrupted before it had hardly began & I think my adrenaline kept me going even with the lack of food. Mamaw gave Elyse her first "real bathtub" bath and Elyse loved it! This girl just LOVES the water!

*Sidenote:  Elyse spent her first full day at Mamaw & Pappy's on Friday...later this week I'll share a hilarious story that deserves a post of it's own! 

Saturday morning Hubby had to work and I rode with him so I could go on out to my parents' house
for the morning.   We had planned our 4th Annual Small Group Pool Party for Saturday afternoon...nothing like a pool party with a nice smokey aroma in the air! 

While people came & went we ended up with a total of 14 adults & 12 kiddos jumping in the pool at some point. They also got to experience a little bit more fire drama as we had to call 911 again for a flare-up that occurred in the back part of a wooded area.  The firemen came to the rescue again and the relaxation was able to resume! 

Definitely a full pool!
Who are all these kids in MY pool?...and who decided to let them in?  ha! 
After everyone headed home, Nick & I jumped on the four-wheelers and followed my dad around our property as he gave us a tour of the extent of the fire damage.  As I said, more photos to come later this week. 

This morning Hubby headed to the golf course & Elyse & I went to church by ourselves.  I'm almost positive we've got another tooth coming in so we've had an irritable baby on our hands.  It's an early bedtime for her tonight...hopefully the pain won't bother her too much!  
Sucking on an ice cube to numb her gums
Another bath in the big tub...happy girl! 

And let me just tell you...we were not torturing our baby girl in this next photo, but it's too funny not to share!   Hubby always tries to get water in Elyse's face so she won't be scared of the water...I'm not sure how well that's working!  ha! 
She looks panicked but we never have any tears! 
 After all the excitement of the weekend...I'm just so thankful for God's protection.  All I knew to do on Friday was to pray, and that's what I did.  Thank you God for watching over our family, our homes, & all the firemen doing such an incredible job fighting those fires.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Elyse Love ~ 7 Months

So I finally had time for Elyse's 7 month photo shoot...we have officially moved into the "Mom, I have better things to do and am distracted by every little thing" phase...which makes for some pretty interesting photos!   
Weight/Height: We don't have any official stats this month, but she continues to grow in length & from our best estimates she is probably 18ish pounds. She's got the most adorable rolls on her thighs...which I realize this is the only time in life that thigh rolls can be adorable! 
Clothes: Last week I packed up every bit of her 0-3 month items and even some of her 3-6 month clothes. I replaced those with all of our 6-9 month items because we've got a growing girl on our hands!  She is still a skinny-minnie so some of the 6-9 month stuff is only too big because the shoulders are too broad or the shirts are too wide.  She definitely needs the 6-9 month items for length!  We're still in size 3 diapers and will be for quite some time. 
Food: We've definitely got an eater on our hands!  I hope that continues on as she gets older.  We've made another adjustment to her schedule this month and she is now nursing/taking a bottle between 6:30-7:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00-3:30 pm & 7:45 pm.  With adding in solids she has decreased her milk intake just slightly but not enough to be concerned about.  She is probably taking in somewhere around 26-28 oz of milk.  We are feeding her solids 2x a day at 12:30 and at 6:00pm.  This is working great and she's eating so well!   Currently she has had sweet potatoes, carrots, yellow squash, peas, avocados, oatmeal, pears, bananas, and peaches.  The only thing she hasn't really enjoyed is green beans, but I'm hoping to introduce that again soon maybe mixed with another veggie that she loves! 
Sleep: Wow...this is probably the biggest roller coaster we've been on.  She was truly, truly teething right before turning 7 months and sleep was HORRIBLE!!! Other than that she continued to wake between 4:30-5:00 am and wouldn't go back to sleep unless she was being held.  She was sleeping great through the night, she was just waking early.  So...we've since then bumped up her bedtime another 30 minutes or so and that seems to be helping with her waking early!  yay!  This means bath at 7:30, bottle at 7:45, and hopefully asleep by 8:00-8:15...those 30 minutes seem to be making a huge difference so far! 
Activity:  Well contrary to what I wrote last month, we still don't have an official crawler, but she's Oh so close!  We will get up on her hands & knees with assistance and will rock back & forth.  She will also move all around and scoot when she's on her belly....she can end up in a totally different place within a few minutes!  My prediction is that once she figures out how to crawl there'll be no stopping her!  She still enjoys just sitting and playing with her toys & also being in her activity saucers...so glad for a happy baby who enjoys playing on her own! 
Personality:  I seriously could just eat this little girl up!  She has such an incredible personality of her own & loves people.  She makes us laugh on a daily basis & we also try our best to make her laugh hysterically.  She will get to giggling and it melts my heart.  She has started being a little more cautious around strangers as if she now can tell the difference between people she knows and those she doesn't.  However, after a few moments she'll warm up to most anyone and is her happy, smiley self! 
~Playing with her rattles, activity balls & Sophie
~The "tickle monster"
~Puppies...oh all the puppies in our family are in trouble once she becomes mobile! 
~Water...She still LOVES the water whether it be bath time or Papa & Gigi's pool!
~Solid Foods...She normally LOVES to eat and will eat practically anything you put in front of her

~Nose Issues:  She does not like it when I pick her nose...which is sometimes just the only option when the aspirator doesn't do it's job! 
~Late Nights:  She has started to get really grumpy if she's up much past her bedtime, we've learned that we have a very small window when we need to put her down! 

7 Month Milestones:
~Elyse's 1st Parade: Neighborhood Independence Day Parade on July 4
~First Tooth: Bottom Right, first actually felt it on July 7
~Mamaw & Pappy moved to Missouri: July 11
Mom....in case you couldn't tell...I'm done with the photo shoot!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Weekend Rewind~The In-Laws aren't COMING anymore!

Ok, well the in-laws aren't coming anymore...they're here! Hubby's parents arrived on Wednesday to a completely empty house. Well except for a little bit of food, a BMW that was delivered a few days earlier, & a mattress & box spring...the house was completely empty.  And it would stay that way until Friday morning when the moving truck aka MOVING SEMI arrived on Friday morning.  In a matter of a little less than 36 hours, the movers transported all 450 items (1 box = 1 item) from the moving truck to the house. 

I failed to take any pictures of the boxes stacked everywhere...but let's just say that it's just a wee-bit overwhelming and I know they're going to be so happy to have their new house in order. We are so incredibly happy to have them within a quick 30 minute drive from us, after being in Michigan and 800 miles away for almost 11 years! 

Friday night we planned dinner with the in-laws at one of our favorite local Mexican places, Maria's.  Elyse has been trying to officially welcome her first tooth the past few days so our evening was cut fairly short as she was a little bit grumpy...and I can't say that I blame her. 

Saturday I worked in the morning while Hubby spent some quality time with Elyse (aka they took a morning nap together).  We had a quick lunch at home & then headed back up to my in-laws house to help with a little bit of unpacking.  My SIL & nephews were also there and those boys just love Elyse to pieces...so fun to watch them play together! 
Hubby, Elyse, Jackson, & Hunter

Can you see her precious dimples?!?
Saturday evening we introduced them to another favorite local place...Big Whiskey's.  My parents joined us for dinner & we all had a blast as Elyse started talking in some new ways & was just full of energy.  Thankfully she was in a much better mood than the night before! 

Sunday we decided to let Hubby's mom & dad enjoy some quality alone time with the moving boxes and after church we came down to enjoy my parents' pool!  Elyse is such a water baby & I just hope that she loves it as much next year as she has this year! 
Hanging out in Mommy's raft with her toys!

Yeah I know...my hat is awesome!  ha!  It's hubby's and it was keeping the sun off my face! 

Having some peaches for dessert...she LOVED them! 

All dressed in her Under Armour onesie with a football in her arms...I know that her Uncle Nick is so proud! 
It was a fabulous weekend and it's still a little hard to believe that Nick's parents are now officially Missouri residents!  Woohoo for another free babysitter! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Elyse + Bogey = Best Buds

Bogey...Bogey...Where are you?!?

There you are...go ahead, take a lick of my leg! 
You really are kinda big & scary...but I guess if momma says we can play then it's ok!

Ooo...not the face, not the face...you have stinky dog breath! 

Oh but wait, come back...I want to play some more!

There you are...I can't wait until we can run & play together!