Once upon a time, which though it feels like forever ago was in actuality only a few weeks ago, there was a double birthday at our house. September 2nd is the birthday of two of my babies. (I told you September is always a busy month for me!) Though instead of twins, the day is shared by my eldest and the one who currently holds the title of 'youngest'. Corynn says they are "almost twins".
Here are the outdated (few) photos of that day. I took more pictures of the presents than the children (which is just plain WRONG), but in all fairness~ I was busy making birthday requested meals, cakes, and yes~ finishing the last minute present preparations.
Their birthday fell on a Friday, which in our house is pizza and a movie night. The requested dinner, then, was stuffed crust PLAIN pizza. As you wish....
I don't know how the whole cake business is going to work down the road, when two requests are made (especially since we are not really a cake family...) but this year only one was old enough to make a request so it worked out well.
Actually, the request was in written form and HAD been since her LAST birthday! The very night she turned seven, after eating cake, she drew what NEXT years' cake would be and I saved it in my BILLS folder ever since.
The request (hopefully) :
My "15 minutes before rest time is over so hurry up and get it done" interpretation:
Judah had to get used to the idea of cake at first...
...but warmed up to it almost immediately. Frosting does that to you.
And now for the presents. da da da DUUUUUUUUUM~~~
I have known for over a year what I would do for Corynn. Judah, on the other hand, I had no idea what to do for him. Believe it or not, I have a hard time with first birthday presents. Babies, in my mind, just... don't need (or want) anything but hugs and kisses. I refuse to clutter up the house with JUNK just because that is what you are supposed to do.
So very last minute, and after two trips down TWO different store toy department aisles, I *FINALLY* came up with something that wasn't plastic rubbish. (OR expensive.)
Wooden blocks on clearance at Target which I then spruced up by Mod-Podging photos onto them of everyone in the family~
Because, really, how much more intrigue is added to play by THIS look?
Awww............. I remember that shirt....
He liked them. But not as much as my kisses.
For Corynn, I have been planning to do a sewing basket for over a year now.
Having been given a boxed up craft room, it ended up making for a VERY inexpensive gift! I still recall when I received my sewing basket (about her age) and the tremendous feeling of overwhelming awe at all the beautiful grown-up things I could have (all for myself!) to CREATE with. I remember fondling the scissors with utter amazement. I can still FEEL it! I knew this would be a special birthday gift for her.
In the basket I included things like~
thread, fabric pencils, seam ripper and a thimble....
...a felt pincusion........
... and pretty pins (I glued on beads to the ends of pins).....
... a jar of notions. Trim, lace, ribbon, buttons. Good stuff. Lots of pink. ;-)
.... I whipped up a felt needle book with a cute little Hedgehog and Modpodged fabric onto one of those measuring tapes businesses give for free....
... I glued sparkles onto her pair of scissors so we wouldn't confuse the two (MINE IS MINE!), an embroidery hoop and some fabric from my stash...
A treasure chest of goodies, really. And one of the cheapest presents I have ever put together!
Well, Hello! My name is Rebecca and once upon a time I blogged at Renaissance....
Our internet has finally been restored and I must say thank you to all my Swedish, Australian, South African, UK and American friends who made their prayers and presence known over this trying time. What a blessing to hear from all of you! (and wow! I didn't know this blog was international! wA-Hooo!) Thank you for taking the time......
(no wonder the power was out. It was in the CORN!)
I wanted to post these few grim pictures in order to document the ordeal and then be DONE with it. That way, I can move on to loveliness and beauty and ORDINARY life. (Something I am coveting pretty intensely right about now!)
(blacktop folds like paper, turns out)
I was unable to get out until several days AFTER the flooding, when the water had receded and only then, to a very few spots near home (it was impossible to get to neighboring towns and cities, even if I HAD wanted to go~ which I didn't~ due to impassable roads.)
(I guess I should mention: all pictures are within one mile of our home, some frightfully close.)
(I have no idea where the bridge WENT. It swam far, far away. Now it just a cliff)
In fact, during the storm it was even impossible to GET home:
We were stranded at Matt's parents' house thanks to a day spent helping clean out Grams house and then roads being washed out. We tried to get home, but to no avail. It was hard being away from home~ not knowing the state of our house, not being able to care for our animals and not being able to do ANYTHING. God took care of things, even when we couldn't.
(limp guard rails)
When waters had receded enough (and a morning was spent forging back roads until we were able to find a way home) we were finally able to get home to a home still dry and a garden still planted and animals NOT drowned.
But the power was out and every bridge around us was demolished so we were left considering the possibility that we wouldn't be able to get to town for months. I mourned the hypothetical loss of cheese, milk and other dairy products. And then I realized, we were low on toilet paper and my mourning turned to weeping and gnashing of teeth!
(Storing food for emergencies is SO IMPORTANT! I was worried about CHEESE and TOILET PAPER...not my family starving!)
(this bridge is right off of our driveway. The road crew is our new alarm clock.)
Electricity people came around and said not only was power out in homes, but in their power station as well and not to expect it to come on for quite some time. Immediately, my heart went into my throat at the thought of losing all that hard-earned foodstuff: vegetables, fruits and meat in our freezers, along with the precious time and money it took to feed that livestock and GET that meat/ veggies/ and fruit.
(oil lamps at the ready. I always have TONS of candles everywhere...no worries there!)
That afternoon was a whirlwind as I gathered and filled all the oil lamps, brought up the stored water (Storing water is SO IMPORTANT! Maybe even more important than food!) (I store both drinking and soapy water for washing) , as Corynn and I whipped up some flannel bathroom wipes (ew) so we could ration the toilet paper for the important times (if you're picking up what I am laying down...) and as I immediately began the canning of as much meat as I could before it was too late.
(what was once our poor neighbors driveway... Matt has been helping her as often as he can.)
I worked tirelessly, with no power, and canned 60 pounds of meat~ not even ONE shelf of ONE freezer (we have two chest and one in the fridge). Then~ Praise God!!! (STILL!) He allowed the power to go on before all the meat was ruined!
(canning by candlelight---and the precise reason I insist upon using gas stoves instead of electric!)
We were able to call my parents eventually using a cellphone, and found out that my sisters family was in a shelter so I immediately called her and told them to come.
(Storing food is SO IMPORTANT! I was able to open my home to a family of SEVEN for a week when they needed it BECAUSE I had food enough to feed them and my family without worry!)
(wicked paths of grovelling plants)
After that, it was just a whirlwind of making meals and cleaning up after them before a new meal needed to be made. I didn't accomplish much else~ nope, not even school.
(a fresh batch of homemade playdough and the last of the banana muffins from breakfast)
My children may have not opened a school book the whole week but they learnedinvaluable lessons that week.
(lovely flat ground no longer)
Elizabeth and Bobs' (my sister and her husbands') church family opened up an empty parsonage for them to live in and so they are safe and together and living in a beautiful home right now. I can't help but praise God for the saints. The Church stepping up in dire times is an outworking of Christ and there is no better witness to God's goodness than the outworking of His love through His people. We are His hands. I am proud to be part of this Family of God.
We are trying to return to a normal schedule and life (though admittedly, it isn't working very well!)
(just a toothpick)
I learned a few things lately: one is that the internet somehow and at some point became the only cookbook I use (a nasty realization when you don't have it!) and that........even without the internet, I *STILL* don't have enough time in the day. ("It isn't the internets' fault" is a happy realization for me since I am always very concerned with wasting precious time on unprecious things.)
The first thing I did when I got back on the computer was marked everything in my google reader as READ and then promptly unsubscribed to more than half my feeds. When a girl has 500 some blog posts to 'catch up on' over two weeks or so, a girl needs to say "UNCLE". Even *I* know my limits.
(this was once a lovely pasture...with all the stone and silt, I wonder if it will ever be again.)
I also learned a few things about food storage. The town we live near didn't have power for almost two weeks. Our storage was perfectly adequate for us but our electricity came on pretty speedily considering.... we would have been toast had we been in town. That got me to thinking about what I needed if I *HAD* lived in town.
(the national guard comes...)
Upon further reflection:
It would be wise to make a few changes to our current setup.
We need to store more drinking water and more soapy water (pondering rain barrels)
We need to have a generator at some point for our freezer foods.
I must get more wicks and oil for our lamps.
We ought to store some gas. (the gas stations were closed or rationing gas. We couldn't get to them for a while anyway.)
And oh yeah~ I want a Great Pyramid of TOILET PAPER accessible to me AT ALL TIMES.
I have traveled to the land of internet in order to tell you that despite the fact that our area has been hit with the worst flood of its' history, we are all doing remarkably well (considering). We don't presently have telephone or internet (and thus, no real connection to the outside world and thus~ no blogging) and we are all but stranded at home with bridges being out to our North, South, East and West but we have found a single road to get us to a store if the need should arise and we have electricity.
Electricity means that our two chest freezers full of homegrown beef, bacon, pork, BACON and all I have put up from gardens and berries are not lost. And drinkable water. And water to wash with. All great blessings, indeed, made only more apparent with the clear distress all around us. The nearest town, down the road a piece, STILL has its power out after over a week and the fire station serves 600 meals, three times a day, to the many people in need.
Pastures have turned to stone quarries, bridges everywhere (even the two right outside our driveway) have collapsed and washed entirely away, and sludge covers everything that the water didn't take away. Homes and businesses are destroyed. People, MANY, are wondering where to go from here. Including my sister and her family, who have been staying with us because their house was ruined in the flood. The water filled up their basement, went into their first floor and only once the water receded, did they realize it took with it their foundation.
There are stories to tell, many. And awful, ugly pictures to share. But for now, I just covet your prayers for everyone down this way.
Every winter I begin to wonder if perhaps my basket collection is becoming a bit excessive and wonder if I ought to pare down.
Then, September comes.
Feeling just a tad *or maybe not JUST a tad* bit overwhelmed these days.
Sadly, when I get to feeling this way, I begin treading water; accomplishing seemingly nothing and all those non-accomplishments add up to make me feel more overwhelmed.
A vicious cycle, I tell you.
The house is completely trashed from hasty birthday preparations and yard sale preparations that never panned out, thanks to buckets from heaven.
The laundry is mountainous thanks also, to buckets from heaven.
The school year has officially started but I am feeling less prepared than EVER thanks to a summer that disappeared before my very eyes.
Tomatoes are like dirty laundry these days...you get approximately 15 minutes of being caught up before more appear.
I have been intending to reopen my Etsy shop and set up a table at a craft show very soon in order to help more with finances but can't even seem to find the time to vacuum the throw rug in the living room or post those clothes on Craigslist.
Worst of all, the (very uncertain) future may make the next two or three months (or 6 or 12) the most insane months of my life. And the uncertainty of it all is driving me mad.
I wonder if the strength of it all is in me.
And then I read this, written just for me it seems: