Thursday, August 25, 2011

Daddy's 42nd Birthday

We celebrated Daddy's 42nd birthday last Saturday (August 20th)!  The festivities started with our custom of waking up the birthday person by singing "Happy Birthday" as we enter their room.  Daddy was fast asleep so Judah got to work waking him up:

 After the song was finished, we left and Daddy reappeared on the steps a few minutes later, bright and perky!

Seth had tied some ribbon to our steps that Daddy had to break to come downstairs:

The string was conquered with little problem!!

We then sat down at the breakfast table.  Daddy entered the kitchen and said "Looks yummy" and then disappeared.  When he came back and actually sat down at the table he looked at what he was going to eat.  

"Farmers Crepes?  You guys made me Farmers Crepes?"

We all smiled and told him that they were actually frozen from when we made some for Hannah's birthday. :)  Daddy loves farmers crepes and he had originally asked for them on his birthday, but he knows how difficult they are to make, so he suggested something else.  He was very surprised to find them on the table for his birthday breakfast!

And, yes, they were good!

Just a random picture of Judah before we ate breakfast. :)

Daddy had a present on his plate, so he opened it as we ate!

The "present" ended up being something else for his birthday breakfast:  Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts! :)

The Pop-tarts were amazing, if you're wondering. ;)

We also had pear-raspberry sauce and hash-browns for breakfast!

All in all, the breakfast was absolutely delicious!

After breakfast, Daddy and Caleb went off to work and the rest of us did something (I don't remember what now! :).

That night, Daddy and Caleb returned and we had his "official" family birthday party.

Daddy's present stood in the living room waiting to be opened after dinner! :)

We had grape juice mixed with seltzer for our drink.
(We had picked concord grapes, pears, figs, and apples at a lady's house on Monday.  We made grape jam and juice with the grapes! :)

For dinner we had chicken 'n wine sauce (minus the wine), rice, green beans, and buttermilk rolls!

After dinner, Daddy opened his big present which contained many smaller presents.

Reading his cards...
Daddy got some of his favorite chips from Trader Joes...he (and most of us) loves these! :)

And you can never go wrong with chocolate, so he got some of that, too. :)

 Judah decided to go upside down as we watched Daddy open his presents!

Clif Bars from Trader Joes...


He also received some yummy mini peanut butter cups from T.J.'s.  I don't like peanut butter but I tried one and it was really good! :)

Daddy's most treasured birthday present was probably the 8 lb. weights.  He has wanted them for a few months and now he has them!  He uses them when he cellercises
Now all his presents were opened (he also received some books early a few weeks ago), so we went and sang "Happy Birthday".
We meant to get Daddy's icing to be green but the pudding in the icing made it more of an electric yellow/green.  Interesting, right?! :)

I guess we were a little too loud! :-/  :)
(Thanks to Mama for these photos!)

Blowing out all three candles!


Daddy's ice cream cake consisted of a layer of Oreo Blast ice cream, then chocolate chips drizzled with Magic Shell.  The next layer was some home made chocolate cake with Cool Whip icing on top. :)

So that was Daddy's 42nd birthday!   We love you SO much Daddy!  Thanks for all you are...
Kimber and your family

P.S. - Please pray for Hurricane Irene to not hit the OBX.  We're supposed to go on vacation this coming Saturday!  Please pray hard!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Surviving an Earthquake

Around 2 P.M. this afternoon Alexis, Josiah, Lydia, Judah, and I were sitting around the kitchen table finishing up lunch.  I was feeding Judah and everyone else was talking, eating, etc.
Then we felt it.

A steady, deep rumble.

At first I dismissed it from my mind as "just some heavy machinery moving around" (we're surrounded by farms :) but the rumble got bigger. 

And everything began to shake.

As the shaking and rumbling got bigger, so many thoughts raced through my mind.  All of us were perfect statues as we carefully waited for what would come next.

Oh God, no, please no were my first thoughts.  I didn't even dare utter the word that has killed millions of people and that I thought I was experiencing now.

Surely, this couldn't be that.  It really must be just a big truck or something.

Yet the rumbling continued increasing and I started getting serious.  Everything whirled through my head at a million miles an hour.  I looked at the ceiling and wondered what it would be like to see that ceiling come crashing down on me in a few seconds.  

Should I run outside?  Where's the safest place to go?

I realized next that if it really was what I thought it was, then I probably didn't have time to run outside.

Realizing how little precious time I had, my next thought was to rip Judah's tray off his highchair and grab him to my chest.  

But where could we go?  

My eyes went to the clearest spot on the kitchen floor and it was there I quickly decided I was going to lay with Judah underneath me until it was over.  

My mind continued screaming please, God, no, not now as all these thoughts ran through my head. 

Then slowly, oh so painstakingly slowly, the rumbling and shaking decreased little by little.

Then it was over.  And I might have breathed again. :)
[All this happened in only a matter of seconds....or at the most, one minute.]

We yelled to Mom who was in the other room cellercising "Did you feel that Mama?"   She sure did and we were all shaken (ha - literally and mentally! :).

Not knowing if something else was going to come we just waited for a little bit.  After awhile nothing happened and life hesitatingly resumed.

Lexi started calling various people and family members who lived nearby to see if they had felt the rumbles.  (We still weren't sure of what happened.  It came and went so fast, yet seemed to stay forever, if you know what I mean.)  Adding to the eeriness of the situation, all of the cell phones she called would just beep or not even call.  Only the home phones (via landlines) would ring.  And no one picked up.

Lunch was now over and I went to celllercise myself (still confused).  I picked up my weights and turned the radio on and then I started bouncing.  

After one song played, one of the Positive Hits PER 90.5 announcers came on.  "Well, I'm sure all of you felt that rumbling.  Mineral, VA has just experienced a 5.8-6.0 earthquake.  So far we have no reports of any deaths or damages."

And I yelled out "Mama, did you hear that?  Virginia just had an earthquake!"  Those rumblings really were what I hoped with all my heart they were not.

All of a sudden, the sky seemed bluer and the day seemed absolutely perfect.  I was alive!

As I continued jumping I thought about so many things.

A few minutes ago, I could've died.
I wasn't scared of what came after dying (I'm going to see Jesus and live in paradise!!!) but I definitely wasn't stoked about the possibility of being crushed by our house.

It's amazing how precious life becomes when you're acutely aware how soon it could be ended.
How easily I take life for granted.  I grumble about it being "too hot" or "too cold" and yet, in just one minute, none of it mattered.  I only wanted to live.

I could've died, but I didn't.  Why?
I serve a God who is in control of everything and when something uncontrollable (i.e. weather) happens, I'm painfully aware of God's sovereignty.  He rules over everything.  I often think that I'm sort of invincible ("nothing will happen to me because I'm young and healthy - ha!") but, in just a minute, I could have been dead.  But I didn't die because that isn't God's plan for me right now (which I'm quite happy with ;).

How many people could've died if this earthquake had been bigger?  How many would have died without You, God?
   Suddenly the Great Commission was a lot more urgent.

In just a few seconds, my family could've been torn apart.  I might have survived...but what about my siblings and parents?  
Now my family is more precious to me than ever before (and they were really precious before).  I can also sympathize a little more with the families who have lost 1-?? family members from the various earthquakes.  

So, this is sort of what it felt like for the people in Haiti and Japan?  Except their ceilings did crash down on them and they did lose family members, homes, and limbs.
I now have more compassion for those who have experienced damage from an earthquake.
But more than all the above thoughts, the biggest one I had was thoughts full of gratefulness for God's mercy today.  So much could have gone wrong and my life (if I survived) could have drastically changed, but it didn't.  And it's all thanks to Jesus.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
         And all that is within me,
bless His holy name!
  Bless the LORD, O my soul,
         And forget not all His benefits:
  Who forgives all your iniquities,
         Who heals all your diseases,
  Who redeems your life from destruction,
         Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
  Who satisfies your mouth with good
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
  The LORD executes righteousness
         And justice for all who are oppressed.
  He made known His ways to Moses,
         His acts to the children of Israel.
  The LORD
is merciful and gracious,
         Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
  He will not always strive
with us,
         Nor will He keep
His anger forever.
  He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
         Nor punished us according to our iniquities.
  For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
  As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
  As a father pities
his children,
So the LORD pities those who fear Him.
  For He knows our frame;
         He remembers that we
are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
         As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
  For the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
         And its place remembers it no more.
  But the mercy of the LORD
is from everlasting to everlasting
         On those who fear Him,
         And His righteousness to children’s children,
  To such as keep His covenant,
         And to those who remember His commandments to do them.
  The LORD has established His throne in heaven,
         And His kingdom rules over all.
  Bless the LORD, you His angels,
         Who excel in strength, who do His word,
         Heeding the voice of His word.
  Bless the LORD, all
you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.
  Bless the LORD, all His works,
         In all places of His dominion.
         Bless the LORD, O my soul!
Psalm 103
I love my Jesus!

A Fun Week with Grandpa and Grandma

Last Tuesday Daddy, Alexis, Caleb, and I drove up to Northern VA.  Along the way, we stopped and did some yards!  Daddy and Caleb did the majority of the mowing and Lexi and I just picked up trash, pulled weeds, etc.  Quite a few times we (Lex and I) had nothing to do so we just sat in Daddy's truck and read! :)  As Daddy drove from stop to stop, we talked or played a game (principally sticking your head out the window until you can't stand it any longer :).  Around 5:30 P.M. we were in Woodbridge (where my grandparents live) so Grandma came and picked Lexi and I up.  Daddy and Caleb went to finish their last  two yards and stopped by later that night.

Once at Grandma's, we got cleaned up, donned our jammies and piled on the couch to watch Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.  We ate some yummy Papa John's pizza as we watched! :)  Between bites of pizza, chicken nuggets, etc. we would try and solve the puzzle before anyone else in the room (or on T.V.) could.  :)

Daddy and Caleb arrived about 8:30 P.M. and left around 10 P.M. leaving Alexis and I to spend a few days with Grandpa and Grandma!

Lex and I got to sleep in Grandpa and Grandma's old bed that just happens to be so comfy that it feels like you're sleeping on a cloud.  Needless to say, we slept very well each night!

Wednesday morning came and Grandma fixed Grandpa and I an omelet and Lexi ate cereal (she doesn't like eggs).  After breakfast, Grandpa went to work and Grandma took us to her Long and Foster office.  We hung out there for a little while as Grandma did some business stuff and then we went to some local thrift/consignment stores and David's Bridal (to look for potential graduation dresses).  
Around lunchtime we went to Fort Belvoir.  (Fort Belvoir is a large military base about 20 minutes away from Grandma's house.)  I had never been on a military base before so it was really neat (to say the least) was like an entirely separate world just for those in the military and their families. While there we went to the thrift store there where I found 2 pretty skirts!  Next we went to a clothing store (I think it was called the PX) and we ate at the indoor Taco Bell.  Grandma had a military couple come by during lunch to sign some papers and then we toured the store where I found a really cute collared shirt on sale!  I look sort of like a cowgirl now with the collared shirt and jean skirt.  All I need is the boots, hat, and horse and I'm set! :)   [By the way, if you think that we were just getting stuff for me...we weren't.  We had a hard time finding clothes for Lexi! :)]

After our visit to the base, we stopped at a thrift store we had visited earlier where Lexi found a skirt she liked.  When we went back to buy it (after Lexi thought about it) the lady hiked the price from $15 to $28 so we didn't get it.  
We then went to our favorite thrift store in Northern VA:  the Village Thrift Store.  Here Lexi finally found something that fit her and that she liked: a dress!  The dress looks similar to a Renaissance gown (minus the hoop skirt) and she wore it to church this past Sunday...she loves it!  
Our last stop for the day was the grocery store, then we went back to Grandpa and Grandma's house to eat a yummy Mexican dinner of taco salad, bean dip, and nachos! 

We did our nightly Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy contest and then Lexi and I taught Grandpa and Grandma to play Golf (the card game).  Grandma caught on to the game rather quickly but Grandpa proved to be a tougher student which made for lots of laughs! :)  After the game, Grandma went to bed and Grandpa stayed up with Lexi and I to watch The Princess Bride.  It was at least 11 P.M. before we got in bed so we didn't wake up until after 9 A.M. the next morning!
Grandma and Grandpa had doctors appointments that morning so Lexi and I ate some cereal and a pop tart for breakfast.  Grandma returned at 11:30 A.M. and then we went with her to her office.  When she was done her work, we picked up my cousin, Diana, and went browsing at the mall.  [I have to say that I'm sorry I don't have pictures of all of this.  I brought my camera but I didn't do anything with it. :-/ ]

After 2 hours of walking around we picked up some Popeyes chicken and went home to eat.  After lunch (at 3 P.M. :) we picked up my other cousin, Stephen, and went to the Prince William County Fair!  I had never been to a county fair so I was expecting it to be a lot less impressive than the State Fair but I was pleasantly surprised.  Of course it was much smaller but it was still fun!

We went through the animal barns first and pet the sheep and goats before going on the rides!

One of our first rides was the big Ferris Wheel.  Grandpa and Grandma went in one "cab" and my cousins, Alexis, and I in another.

Thank you, Grandma, for all the pictures on this post!
Left to right: Myself, Stephen, Alexis, and Diana.
One of our next rides was the Swings.  I used to love them so much but now I'm becoming less fond of them.  All of us felt a tad weird when we got off and it took some time before that "feeling" went away. :)  Until it did, Diana and I watched Stephen and Lexi ride everything. :)

Lexi and Stephen on the swings.
At 7 P.M. we went and watched the Demolition Derby while drinking some fresh lemonade.  Basically the Demolition Derby was a few old cars smashing into each other until the only one left moving was declared winner.  It wasn't terribly exciting but it was a neat experience. :)

After the Derby Stephen and Lexi rode some more rides and I just enjoyed the lights against the night sky.  Fairs at nighttime have to be one of the most beautiful displays there are!

Towards the end of the night, it started raining so we took refuge under the Bingo tent until Lexi and Stephen showed up.  After another quick visit to the animals, we left.  Once home (about 9:45 P.M.) Grandma heated up some leftover pizza and chicken nuggets.  We finished off the meal and then had some ice cream.  It was 11:30 P.M. before we got in bed!

The next morning we donned our bathing suits and, after breakfast, we went to Splash Down Waterpark!   We arrived 30 minutes before the park opened so we were the first ones in the park!  The rest of my family was coming to the waterpark too so I waited outside the gate for them to show up.  They arrived around 11:45 A.M. and we all went in the park soon after.  We met up with Grandpa and Grandma (my cousins were somewhere in the park!) and then hopped in the Lazy River.  

We stayed at the waterpark until 6 P.M. and had lots of fun!  I loved the Lazy River and the big, blue slide. 
My cousins, Stephen and Diana, in the Lazy River.

 Lexi coming off the "big, blue slide". :)

Eden (right) and Seth (left) after coming off the slide!

 Judah was absolutely in love with the water.  You might as well call him a fish because water is his favorite thing!

Judah eating lunch.

Judah got to eat his baby food but the rest of us had some yummy pizza and breadsticks courtesy of Grandpa and Grandma (thanks!).
 Grandpa relaxing! :)

Later that day I met a sweet lady named Sue and her adorable son, Ronnie.  I talked with Mrs. Sue for a long time about a lot of things...all while playing with Ronnie.  When we left a few hours later she said that she'd keep in touch (via this blog :) and we said goodbye.

We then drove to Grandma's house where we celebrated Daddy's 42nd birthday.  Grandma fixed a meal of meatballs, noodles, and garlic bread.  After Dad opened his presents we ate a yummy Carvel ice cream cake and left an hour or so later.

Thanks to Grandpa and Grandma for providing such a fun week for us all!  We love you very much!
Kimber :)