Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Zoo/Dart Adventure

On our last Saturday at the Lewis house, we decided to take the little ones (Gavin 4, Kyla 3, Ethan 2, Gage 2, Grayson 2) to the Dallas Zoo. Most of them had never been before so we were all excited to see how much they liked the zoo. We thought it would be fun to take the Dart Rail from North Dallas to the zoo. All kids like trains, right? For those of you who don't know (we were included in the "don't know"), that is about 12 stops before you get to the zoo and to a small child that is an eternity. We arrived at the Dart station ready to get on the train, but as we walked up, the train darted off....it has to stay on schedule you know! We started looking around to see when the next train came and we were dumbfounded when we found out it only came EVERY 30 MINUTES! Now, this might not be that long to most people, but we had 3-2 years olds in tow...really I was just worried about my two year olds...Ethan is pretty laid back.

We decided to wait for the next train. The time seemed to pass pretty fast and before we knew it the train was back and ready for the Gerwick-Lewis families to board. When we got on, we realized that more people used the dart than what we originally thought (note to self... for future encounters...how much is gas, really?). We were kind-of cramped for several stops, but for the first 5-7 minutes it was a novelty for all the kids (this is when I was taking pictures). Everyone was happy! :) Once the novelty wore off, I pulled out the snacks and my kids ate for the next 10-15 minutes. In case you we wondering...we were still not there! Once we hit the 30 minute mark, all of my kids were ready to get off the train. None as vocal as Gage, however! He basically cried until we arrived at the zoo (at least an hour later), but there was more to come from him! :) Oh, I forgot to mention the drunk/who knows what he was on... man that got on the train and said more bad words than I would ever want my kids to hear in their childhood. Let's just say...that when the Dart finally arrived at the zoo, we were all ready to get off. God Bless Frank & Kathy! They were troopers and going with the flow....with our screaming kids in tow. :)

OK...so we finally arrived at the zoo and we were ready to see some animals. However, we could not do this before we stood in line for tickets and rented strollers. These poor babies....we left the house around 9:30am and it was going on 12:00pm...they still had not seen any animals yet.

We finally got everything we needed and we took off...4 adults, 5 kids, 2 strollers. We started looking for a map to see which way we were going to go. We saw a sign for gorillas so we decided to go in that direction. There were several places to stop and see other animals before we got to the Gorillas, but the animals were either not being social or too small for the little ones to see them. Gage was nearing the end of his rope. He kept anticipating seeing something and then nothing was there so we would turn around....and he would scream bloody murder! I think we did this 4-6 times and yes, he screamed every time. People were starting to stare, yes, I was "that" mother. Oh, the joys of mothering a two year old! I just kept telling myself....keep moving forward, but honestly I was nearing the end of my rope too. The thought of packing up and leaving the zoo entered my mind several times, but then I was reminded of how we would have to go home. There was no way I was getting back on the dart rail...not for awhile anyway. :)

We FINALLY arrived at the gorillas! We decided to let the little boys get out of the stroller and walk up the ramp to look out at a wooded area. We were all very excited to see the gorillas and they were big enough for little eyes to see, but guess what, THEY WERE NOT THERE! No gorillas! Well, guess what, Gage was not happy and Grayson decided he had also hit his limit so they both laid down on the dirty concrete and threw a screaming fit. I pulled them out of the way of people walking and allowed them to finish what they had started. Yes, people were looking at me AGAIN. It gets better...then someone that works at the zoo comes over to see if everything is OK. This person, obviously has never had children of his own, especially not multiples. I wonder what people would have thought if I would have laid down next to them and threw my own little fit. It was a serious consideration given the circumstances. :)
At this point, I decided that it was best to separate from the Lewis family so that their trip to the zoo could still be pleasurable. Billy and I thought lunch would help tone down the screaming so we took off in hopes of an escape. We found one! PRAISE GOD! It was in the form of a corn dog. Food seemed to re-fuel everyone and enabled us to start fresh.
After lunch we went looking for the large animals. The ones you can not miss...elephants, giraffes, zebras. Everyone was finally happy and seeing animals. I am glad that we did not leave because honestly, we made some great memories after all the craziness. Gavin enjoyed learning what all the animals ate. He was on his best behavior, thank you Gavin. I was a little scared about the train ride home, but it was a much better experience than the first time around.
Moral of the story...a bad situation can always turn around. If you are struggling through something, don't quit. Pause, regroup and try again.

Games Anyone?

While we were away....in Prosper. Gage & Grayson experienced their first time at an arcade/bounce house. They were very excited about all the things they could do. No quarters/tokens were required for them because they did not know the difference...so we saved the money for the 4 year old who did! :)

Fun at the Lewis House

We had a fun filled time at the Lewis House...when we evacuated...still blogging backwards. Here are some pictures to prove it. The kids ate dinner every night together...all on one bench. After dinner, we all played with the kids. One night it was Game Show Time. Frank lined up all the kids on the coffee table and began an animated question and answer session. Notice Gavin & Gage holding their chins...they were saying hhhmmm! Too cute. On the same night, we had a round of giddy up, compliments of Billy.

A couple of nights before we left, we had a spinning/dance off in the back yard. I don't have pictures of this, but check out the Lewis' blog for video footage. :)

More to come...one of these days I will get back to real time (definitely a story in real time). :)


Erwin Park

Still blogging backwards....After our nice lunch at Chili's, we went on an adventure to Erwin Park. Our waiter told us about this park in McKinney. It was a little off the beaten path, but once we got there we loved the solitude it offered. All the boys could run and play with few limitations. The weather was wonderful and the boys and parents had a great time. You are never too old to go on an adventure. As you can tell by the pictures, we had a great time. :)


Monday, September 29, 2008

Acts of Kindness

I am posting backwards because so much happened when we did not have power/evacuated. I am getting close to catching up, but I want to capture the time. People are still nice in this world. As we ventured to the Dallas area, we had several people /businesses do nice things for us and I wanted to share.

1 - Before we left Houston, our neighbor Robin gave us meat to cook on the grill since we were running out of food. Thanks Robin for a great dinner of hamburgers & chicken. :)

2 - Our first day after evacuating, we found ourselves at the Chili's in McKinney, Texas. Being the forth coming person that I am, I shared our situation with the waiter. He shared it with his manager and they (Chili's) paid for our lunch. WOW! We were not expecting that, but we graciously accepted. The bill was almost $40. Thank you to the Chili's in McKinney, Texas!

3 - One evening while we were gone, we decided to go to a local jump house. It is similar to Pump It Up. The cost was kind-of expensive per child, but because we were from Houston and had evacuated they honored their summer special (which had expired). We got 6 kids in to jump along with a pizza for $20. Thank you to the Prosper Jump House.

4 - While we were gone, Billy decided that my tires needed to be rotated so he took my car to Discount Tire. We have never been to discount tire with my car, but since we were from Houston, they rotated the tires on the car for free. Thanks Discount Tire!

It is nice to know that there are still kind people in the world. Did we need any of these things, of course not, but it was an act of kindness during a trying time. Thank you to all.


What Happens When the Lights Go Out

After the storm, fun things happened at the Gerwick house. We ate outside every night. On the first night after the storm, we all had popsicles....as many as we could eat...since they were going to melt without a freezer. We also bathed the boys outside since we could not see well in the house. We had flashlight adventures in the dark. Who would have thought that a few flashlights would entertain 3 boys for almost an hour in the dark. Lastly, we got some snow...well, kind-of. I was trying to find something creative for them to do and I found some powder that turns into snow. It was left over from a couple of Christmas' ago. It was a big hit and they played with it for several days.

We did enjoy spending time together. You really don't realize how much faster your life is with electricity. Don't get me wrong, I love my power, but as the boys grow up, I think we may have a "black-out" night every once in a while.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

From backyard clean-up to knowing God...post took a different direction than initially intended

Here are a few pictures of our backyard after the storm. Our cleanup was minimal....so minimal that I almost did not post, but I wanted to have this as a memory. We removed a tree from our fence and disposed of it and then bagged about 10-12 large lawn bags full of debris. NOTHING compared to many people around us. There is a house a couple of blocks from us that has a blue tarp covering the entire roof. I just pray that the people that have endured loss, turn to God in their despair. We (as humans) can not take the weight of the world on our shoulders....we are not meant to. I was just telling Billy today that I could not imagine going through life without God. He guides my life and provides me peace in a (many times) chaotic life. My prayer today is for any of you reading this, who don't know God, to start a conversation with Him. It could be as simple as "Are you really out there?" Honestly, I have prayed that exact prayer early in my journey. The answer is yes and if you desire a relationship with Him, He will reveal himself to you. Almost 10 years have gone by since I said that prayer. Some of my steps were toward God and some were away from Him. Alot can change over 10 years, but for me, the biggest change is my desire to know God more everyday.

God is our creator, God is real, God is true, God is constant, God is love, God is near!

Psalm 119:151
"Yet you are near, O Lord, and all your commands are true."

Colossians 1:16
"For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Goes Around Comes Around

Typically that saying has a negative connotation, but not in this case. After staying with gracious friends for an entire week, we are blessed to return the favor (to a different family). We returned home on Sunday to a nice cool house, but our friends the Gwin family (Mark, Marissa, Allison (17), Travis (12), Bethany (9), & Makenzie (9months) were not so lucky. Billy has worked with Mark for several years and he also lives around the corner from us. On Monday, we invited them to come and stay with us until their power comes back on. We are grateful to be able to help out. I love being able to see the dynamics of another family. My boys have loved all the extra attention and are all infatuated with Mackenzie. I am not sure if they want a baby sister or a girlfriend. Either way, there is something magnetic about her. Notice Gage in the picture trying to kiss her. :)

They are going on day 13 without power so please continue to keep everyone affected by this hurricane in your prayers.



Monday, September 22, 2008

Damage in Our Old Neighborhood

After the storm, we could not reach our friends from our old neighborhood so we decided to take a drive to see how everyone was doing. We were grateful to find everyone doing OK, but we were shocked to see some of the damage. Specifically on our old house of 7 years and the house next door. Our dear friends, the Bledsoe's, use to live next door to us on Delta Mill, but they moved soon after we did. When we drove past, we were shocked to see a tree that we had looked at for years split in half and on top of the houses. Crazy!