Friday, June 27, 2008

We had church meetings talking about the continuing process of the future plans on his actual birthday so we had to grab a quick bite at McDs. We are excited about the future plans and encouraged about the work that has been already completed in the clean up process. This Saturday is a big day for the entire area - if you are in the area or would like to come it is going to be an awesome experience. I am sad that I have watch the kids - they aren't allowed for their safety to be anywhere near the projects.

They have had to rip out everything out down to the studs. Here are some of the adult classrooms.

Church Offices

Debris waiting to be hauled out

All the insulation. Wow!

There are already stories of people coming to know Jesus as their Savior just from the generosity of people around. We were challenged at the meeting to not miss the opportunities to love others and serve the world. The E-Free guru challenged the leaders that so many churches focus on their rebuilding that they forget about the people around them in need - and not just prayer but their physical needs.

He's Older than Me!

Jason turned 32 yesterday - wow I haven't said that out-loud yet and now it sounds really old. Sorry honey! Click on this great card to make it bigger to read. It is so awesome - it might be one of the best cards I have ever read. Way to go Amy. I will put the inside at the end of the post.

This week has been busy as usually with swimming and birthday adventures and other stuff. First off - Jason started a new job this week while trying to finish up at the hospital. He started working for Mercy in Cedar Rapids. He is going to help get the hospital going back after the flood and continue working on their current construction projects. It is an exciting job with some great opportunities in the future. So I guess the tie attire will continue. Guess what he got for his birthday. Anyone need any polos?

The kids decided that they needed to take Daddy to Chucky Cheeses for his birthday. Jason agreed. I did take him to Texas Roadhouse on a date previously in the week so he did get his ribs! We were joined by the Lapointes. It was quite enjoyable and not too busy. Ally was all about games that would give her tickets inwhich she got some stickers, tatoo and a jelly ring. Drew got a dinosaur. Yipppee for cheap toys...
Grant - Isabelle (cousin) - Miles

Eating supper

The kids also wanted to get Daddy special presents. They got to pick them out. They are hoping that Daddy doesn't want to take them to work to play with.

Drew's dinosaur present

Ally's polly pocket present

Jason and the kids from a sketch at Chucky's house.

And the card punchline.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

T-Ball is Over

Last Friday night was Ally's last t-ball game. It was a ton of fun and I know that we can't wait until next year. Drew will also get to play. They should stay on the same team which means the same families. We have gained some new friendships in this small Iowa town through this experience that I would hate to lose! Many of Ally's teammates were sibilings so it was fewer people to get to know.

Here is the team picture.

She is trying to ignor her fan club while on 3rd base. She did glance over at us and give us a smile and a wave. Our sweet friends Luke and Betsy Kruse (soon to be) and Scott and Emily Gaskill came to cheer her on.

She played 1st base one inning and short stop the other. Typically kids don't hit the ball in the air, but tonight one of the kids did and flew to short stop and happened to land in Ally's glove. I say "happened" due to the fact that the girl hasn't quite figured that whole process out yet. It shocked her so much that she didn't squeeze and it fell out, but made a fun ending to the season. She is proud of that moment.

She got to be the last batter this inning. She hit it on the first pitch and ran really fast for her homerun!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Crazy Tongue

I am not sure I should be proud of this, but my daughter has an unusually LONG tongue and is also flexible. When you put these two together, you get a girl who can do the "impossible."

Watching her touch her nose is nasty. She just sticks her tongue right up to her nose. I can do it, but it takes a little stretching and practice - still gross - I will only do it for special people.

Supposedly you aren't suppose to be able to do this - I am sure that a few can. I am sure that many of you are attempting right now. She was fairly close so we gave it to her - she wouldn't be able to get the spaghetti sauce off though (see video below).

I did a google search on "tongue to elbow" and found this link. You would be surprised at how many stupid conversations there are about this topic.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ally's Graduation

I am going backwards, but I have to document all the important event in our life. Someday I will get around to making a scrapbook and it will all be here - right Sandy?!?!?

Ally graduated from pre-school. Big deal huh? Really has anyone flunked pre-school? She wore caps and walked in to Pomp and Circumstance. It was very cute. We have a great pre-school and I will be sad that Drew will not get to go through the Pre-K class. (We will move our middle school to a different town closer to our hourse that year.)

They sang many songs that they have learned thoughout the year. Getting Ally to repeat the songs for us at home is difficult. For some reason she "forgets." Instead she makes up annoying ones that get stuck in our heads - momma ducky momma ducky please saaaaave us....(we can have her sing this annoying little tune for you someday) Ally is in the second row on the far right - click on the picture to make it bigger.

These are a couple of her good friends. Izzi (right) will not go to CCA next year which will be sad. Avery will be in her class.

All these girls will be in the same kindergarten - scary!

Drew has the ability of pesuade any girl to think that he is absolutely adorable. This is one of his girlfriends at school - Amanda. She is his favorite teacher. I know that teachers can't have favorites, but this might be an exception.

When we left school on the last day, Amanda told him not to pick on his sister. In the car, Drew was annoying Ally (great start to summer vacation). I reminded him that Amanda told him not to pick on Ally. Drew's response - no mommy, she told me not to pick on my sister! Great and now he thinks he is smart.

Trip to the Farm

A few Saturdays (before the flood) we headed up to Parkersburg to help clean up. Ally and Drew went to Grandma Janelle's house. They must have had a blast because they smelled bad and were completely covered with dirt. I don't know if they spent more than 10 minutes in the house, but they did sleep very well that night!

I don't know if they realize this but they are sitting on Jason's old truck. Most don't know about this beast - Black F250 stick that I could hear him pulling into the apartment complex. I was so embarassed to drive it - especially when I killed it in the middle of an intersection!

Chocolate Ice Cream

In order to save a few bucks this summer, we have bought cones and fill them with our own ice cream. Did you know that they have colored cones? Drew and Ally each picked a favorite ice cream and the colored cones. As you can tell my adorable little guy loves his chocolate!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

22 Minutes

From start to finish our swimming time lasted 22 minutes. The water is a whomping 66 degrees and Ally is still shivering beside me. Drew had a heart-attack and would only stand on the ladder and splash. I was the mean mom who threw him in once but he clung to the sides once he got back screaming. Ally jumped in and played around for a few minutes. Swimming lessons are next week - hopefully we can get Drew confident by then!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Brrrr Cold

On Monday we started putting the pool up. It was easy this year since it was going back on the flat spot from last year. I am not complaining about our temperatures, but it is going to take someone throwing me in to get me in that water. But for the kids - they will probably take a dunk tomorrow and be blue in 3 minutes flat.

Of coarse you have to get your goggles on and water wings to fill up the pool. Ally didn't blow them up with her mouth. Instead she got the air compressor out - hummm she might be around tools too much.

Drew thinks that he needs this to keep him afloat. Not always the sharpest crayon in the box.

Today we headed out for errands and got some new swim toys. Come on over for some fun!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Here are my three favorite people after some kabobs (and jello cake for Jason) at my mom's. We had a good day resting and celebrating.


This week I have talked a lot about storms and trials. We each have our own storm that we are going through and we get to choose how we are going to respond. I know that our church is heading off giving the glory to God. A lot of people are watching in the community and around the nation to see how this church - who may have lost the "building" will respond. Will we hold together?

If you haven't looked at Parkview's website - do it for the pictures, videos and articles. There is a video (Hold On) that shows the flooding and the tornados but also the church history. Drew has been featured in many videos/pictures sandbagging. (He is also very cute!) Ally and Jason are also in there, but you have to know what they were wearing. Ally has on a pink shirt shoveling with her back to you and Jason in a gray and green shirt on right watching a sand bag getting filled. He is in there more in the groups of pictures. I managed to escape most cameras which is good by the way I looked by the end of each day.

Even though we have not been at Parkview for long, it has become our home and family. I can't wait to see what God will do with all of us in the future as we live missionally in Iowa City and the world.

But speaking of physical storm we had another one go through on Saturday afternoon. It only left us with a little more than a half inch of rain - those of you outside of IA probably don't have rain gauges, but all of us do here! The sirens were going off and we were under the stairs for awhile. Most of the storms has come at night so this was a rare chance to get pictures of how much water was everywhere in just a few short minutes.

It's a comming! I love black storm clouds rolling in.

Our friends had to pull over since they couldn't see the road. You can barely see the backyard neighbors.

So much water so fast out the rain spouts

No wonder no grass grows there!

Showing the kids hail for the first time. Ally tried to save it like all kids do!

Trip from H*ll

I know that a long time ago I mentioned our trip to Memphis, but we need to document this trip. This trip is bringing many memories - fond and well let's leave it at that for right now. The occassion was my cousin Andy and Ginni's wedding.
We left for a "relaxing" trip on Thursday after work/school. We didn't get out quite at the time we wanted, but that is how it goes with kids and sub plans! We got the kids supper at their favorite Golden Arches and we were off.

I was against stopping since I knew that would add on to our trip to STL for an overnight stop at the McLaren's. I was so excited to visit where I call home since it is where we started our family. Our plans were to take our time on Friday and maybe stop at the zoo and get to Memphis late afternoon for the wedding rehearsal.

(relaxing at Auntie Melody's)

Jason told me that we were going to have to stop to let the kids go potty - I think it was his excuse so that he could go. I kept pushing it off a few more miles. I was half asleep when I felt the rumple sticks as we call them. Jason slammed on the brakes and yelled for a flashlight. In my half daze slumber, I start searching trying to figure out what the HORRIBLE noise is. The engine sounded as if a huge chunk of rocks was flying through the fan.

If you know us well you know about our engine problems. But really can the fourth engine in this van be bad? Yes - Amy K I know your opinion! According to our GPS we were 19.8 miles south of Hannibal. We weren't too excited about leaving our kids on the interstate while we tried to figure out what was wrong, but we didn't know anyone and it was 9:30 p.m. After many frantic phone calls, Randy called a tow truck for us and told us he would come get us. The tow truck was going to take it to St. Peters where all the work had been done on it. Thank the Lord for friends that were willing to help us!

Randy let us use his car so we still got to go to Memphis! We didn't get to take our time since we had to mess with the dealership - we have an extended warrenty on the van which "should" cover it - hopefully there are no loop holes.

When we got to Memphis, we headed to the Pig and Wiggle restaurant - sounds a little weird, but it was good BBQ. We got there about 30 minutes early and called Chris and Amy to see if they would meet us early. Amy told me they were there. Hummm I don't see you. After both asking if we were at the wedding rehersal, we found out that we were at the WRONG wedding rehersal. The right one was 30 miles away. Rats for being on time. Can this trip get any better?

After settling into our hotel the girls head over to Ginny's for a personal shower. No mishaps and turns out to be a lot of fun with lots of stories. Girls love to chit chat.

On Saturday my family headed down to Beale Street to eat lunch and see the sights and sounds. We had an awesome lunch and headed back to the car to find a parking fine - what? Jason paid at the entrance in the box. Well we needed to get going so I just handed my credit card to him to find out that he charged me $75. Many of you have never seen Jason mad or angry - we saw both that afternoon. We had no choice but to pay it or we would never leave Memphis and probably get towed. Calmly I said I would work on it when we got back. After a week of calling the parking company and talking to many nice people, they decided to refund the money because we handled it so nicely. In reality they couldn't prove that we didn't pay. The parking guy wasn't doing his job correctly with pictures and stuff.

The wedding was beautiful and we had fun at the reception. Ally and Abby sang karoke.

So did Jason and Chirs - Sorry it sounds like blah blah blah oh boy and it dark but we were laughing hysterically. I wish I would have gotten the one of Andy and Ginny singing "I Got You Babe."

Van Update: After several weeks without the van, we picked in up in STL on May 23rd. A couple belts were making this sreeching noise and our dealer fixed them As of June 5th, it has been running great.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Today's Update...

Hotel Willis is open for business. Some friends that lived by the church are staying with us until the water receeds to their road. We have been working hard today in the basement and almost all the trim is up except for the closet under the stairs and the bedroom.

We did spend a few minutes today in the closet under the starts as we had the tornado sirens go off. We once again got another .6 inches of rain and HAIL! The new stations have been on all day talking about the floods. The anchors look awful since Cedar Rapids is under a no water use unless absolutely necessary. We have officially hit the 500 year flood.

The interstates around us are closed due to water over them - duh. Cedar Rapids is just 13 miles north of us, but in order to get there right now we would have to trek over to Des Moines on I-80, then past Ames on I-35 to Hwy 20, past Jason's house and Parkersburg and through Waterloo and turn south on I-380 and come down to Cedar Rapids. Sounds easy enough.... It is like a 250 mile detour. At it is probably the only route still open except for the part between here and DM closed :( Oh well - stay home.

The Univ of IA told all non-essential employees to stay home. Jason is just one of those people - but he still gets paid! Yipppeeeee!

I will close out tonight with some heart wrenching pictures of the church taken at about 2:00 today. You can visit all of today's picture here.

Taken by two pastors this afternoon.

From the stage looking up to the sound booth. The doors lead out of the worship center.

Doors that lead into the worship center.

We haven't even crested yet. We still have about 3 days til it levels off and that is without any new rain!

Friday, June 13, 2008

At 3:00 pm today...

This is the northwest corner by the parking lot closest to the road.

Drew Provides!

I need some positive stuff on this blog! God is showing off today by making the waters rise and rise. I have heard more ark jokes than I care to hear about. The water is at the sandbag level at our church. I am trying to clean the house and get ready for some friends that will be evacuated this weekend. Their apartment will be okay but they will have no way out. It took Jason just under 3 hours to get to work this morning.

A few posts ago I commented that Ally was providing plenty of quoting materials and that Drew wasn't. Times have changed! Ally's games have been cold. I know that he looks like Richard Simmons - it will make a great wedding video someday!

Last week while discussing the names of a baby (there is not one on the way...), Drew came up with a couple for the baby if it was a boy - Superman and Spiderman. Ally piped in that MaryJane could be the name of the girl then. Once again we have added to the list of "mmmmm NO." Those are better than "Dumpster" though!

While sandbagging, Megan (his girlfriend) was telling him that he was strong. His response - Stronger than a dragon!

Drew was crying the other day because something got in his eye. I pulled out an eyelash. I showed it to him and told him it was an eyelash. Then showed him mine. He said - ohhh those are part of my "winkers."

I know there is another one but I can't remember it. Maybe Jason will remind me!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Day at the Church...

Today we spent another afternoon and evening at the church but this one did not have the hope and happiness as the days prior. The Corps of Engrs changed their predictions on the water and decided that we will probably have water up to the roof on the church - meaning our 5 foot wall will be absolutely no help. So many people, so much work. I feel like I have lost my home. God tells us not to hold onto "stuff" but it is still hard to lose your things.

At about 2:00 after getting the message from the city, they started to get semis at the church to pull out as much as possible. We got text messages to come and help as soon as possible. I packed up the kids and headed out and were there by 2:30 - who needs a nap anyway? (Drew is showing some great signs of exhaustion - he fell asleep during songs tonight!)

We were pulling out anything unreplacedable or over $100. We were getting it to the doors and walking through water or loading to a loader to take it out to one of the four semis - even the fish were saved. I guess we will now just have to watch and wait and pray.

The parking lot is the best indicator of the creeping water. This is the first third gone on Sunday night.

Middle third getting taken over. It stayed at this point for quite some time until Thursday after the trenchal downpour in the north. Sad part - we only got 1.6 inches of rain today and now it is POURING again....

As I pulled away from the church the parking lot is gone. Notice the aeriel picture in the previous post. You can't see the parking lot anymore.

This is the emergency spillway that they talk about in the news. The water flow is suppose to exceed 1993s by far. I guess I have something to tell my grandkids - Floods and Tornados of 2008.... (did I mention Chris and Amy had a tornado rip through their neighborhood in Omaha - Houses close to them have damage but they were spared!)

Tuesday afternoon

Wednesday morning