Friday, September 30, 2016

Troubled Waters

It's been a little over a month since our city faced it's worst natural disaster in history. A little over a month since nearly 90% of the families in our community lost their homes in the flood waters. A little over a month since this nightmare hit our town, our friends, our families. It has been absolutely devastating to watch so many people we know lose, homes, belongings...a lifetime of memories really. It's taken me this long just to process the magnitude of this disaster. I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that people are still out of their homes, still without a sense of normalcy and still suffering. I think I have a touch of survivor's guilt because we were one of the few who's home did not flood.  Many people in our neighborhood did, but we were absolutely amazed to find that we did not have water in our home. We are so fortunate not to have lost our home, but we we are just devastated to have our precious parents both lose absolutely everything. My parents and my in laws both got over 5 ft of water in their homes.

On Thursday, we attended orientation for Aubrey at Victory. We were thrilled to begin this new chaper in her life and we just knew this school was perfect for her. It rained on and off all day.  We never thought twice about the rain.

Friday, Christian went to work and the kiddos and I just hung around the house. It was still raining and we were beginning to hear word of flooding in our area. Nothing crazy...flash flood warnings happen frequently around here. My dad mentioned that the creek down the road from our subdivision would probably flood, just preventing us from getting in and out of the area our normal way.  Again that was something that had happened before and we were fairly used to having it flood. My dad came and got me and the kiddos and we decided to weather the storm out at their house. I knew if we lost electricity, I would need their generator for pumping. My dad managed to get us back to his house around noon and we knew then that this was a pretty intense amount of rain we were seeing. Many roads were beginning to flood and things were starting to close. Still though we did not have any sense of panic or concern.  It continued to rain throughout the day and most of the night.

Saturday morning, I awoke to numerous texts from my mother in love who was very concerned about water getting near her door. She was nervous that it was rising quickly and feared it would begin to come in her house. I also noticed a sense of panic from my dad, who was beginning to take precautions on his own home for the possibility of water. I immediately broke down in the living room and just cried. I knew things were getting serious and I felt helpless and alone. I had three babies, Christian was at work, really unable to get to us, and everyone around me was starting to worry about the welfare of their homes. My dad took me in his arms and assured me that we would be ok.  We would be safe no matter what and he would make sure my babies were safe. My dad immediately got on the phone with my brother and began a plan to get us evacuated. Somehow, Brandon managed to get to us and we were able to leave a few hours later and head to his house.  When we left, we had absolutely no idea the devastation that would come in just a few short hours.

Saturday afternoon was an absolute nightmare. Facebook was swamped with messages of people flooding and needing to be evacuated. It almost seemed like something from a movie and not reality. We watched through social media as our community was shaken to its core. We got word that homes in our neighborhood were flooding and I just sobbed thinking that we were under water as well. Christian was able to leave work and head back to our home to see if he could salvage anything. This began a long day of the guys taking boats, canoes, trucks...anything to get around and try and rescue people. Once the boys returned home that night, beat down and exhausted, did we even begin to realize just how bad things really were. We learned that night that both my parents and Christian's parents home were most definitely under water. We knew everyone of our loved ones was safe, but we also knew that things would never be the same.

Sunday we awoke to more troubled news. Things just kept getting worse and the area where my brother lived, where we were all evacuated too, was now in danger of flooding. Once again, we knew we had to evacuate and get somewhere safer. We were really out of options as to where to go, so it was either get a hotel or head out of town. We packed up and headed out of town. I can't even begin to describe the heartache of this day. We knew our loved ones had lost everything, we weren't sure if our own home was destroyed, we knew the rain was continuing to come and we knew things were just going to get worse. We felt that getting to a safe place was a priority.  Christian and Brandon drove us all to Alabama and got us settled and they both headed back to BR to help. We cried many tears throughout the next few days, just feeling helpless.  I know with three little ones, there wasn't much I could have done, but I just wanted to be near everyone...and help in someway.

We came back on Wednesday, back to a city in complete chaos and disarray. I know I keep using the word devastating, and really that word doesn't even do it justice. It was surreal...a complete nightmare. We spent those next few days and weeks trying to regain a sense of normalcy and in the meantime try to help those around us that were suffering. It seemed everywhere you turned there was a huge need for was very overwhelming.

Here we are a month later. Streets are still lined with trash, people are still displaced and things will probably never be the same in our city. My heart is heavy for those families still suffering. Yes, it is just stuff, but stuff is what makes our memories. My hope and prayer is that our community will rebuild and we will look back on this time and remember the good.  The neighbors who banded together and helped others in times of need.  The friends who brought meals to each other.  The family members who took in other loved ones.  Those are the things I want us to remember from this flood. We will continue to pray for those who have lost so much. Our hearts will continue to hurt for those families and we will continue to reach out and show love and support to those around us. Our community will come back and we will be stronger than before.

This was my parent's street and some from their neighborhood. 

Nana and Papa's house. 

Nana and Papa have never lost their smile or their spunk through this entire ordeal. Praying they can be back in their home before the holidays. 

Our street.

How we didn't get water in our home is a complete miracle. 

Cajun Navy...aka my dad helping others. His smile never left his face either. 
These are the real heroes. 

New beginnings are not always fun, but we have to remember that God has a plan in each step. I'm so proud of my parents and in-laws for standing strong and keeping those smiles.  

Thursday, September 15, 2016

First Day of School

For some reason, I have struggled greatly with the decision of where to put the kiddos for school. I always seem to question myself and go back and forth on what is best. This year was no different and I literally spent months agonizing over the decision.  We ultimately decided that sending Aubrey to Victory Academy (a Christian private school) for K-4 was the best decision. We decided that Weston would go to Broardmoor Preschool (where Aubrey has gone for the past 3 years). We knew it would be a challenge doing two drop offs and pickups, but we felt that it would be worth the sacrifice for Aubrey to be in such a great environment. We signed her up, paid tuition, bought uniforms and even went to orientation. We were so excited and ready to go! 

Well...the best laid plans are not always what God has in mind. Once the flood hit our city, we had to totally reevaluate things. We were devastated to learn that Victory took on about 5 feet of water and lost everything. It was just horrible. Christian and I had to really re-evaluate things with my mom being misplaced and flooded as well...because I rely so much on her to help me with transportation to and from school with the kids...not to mention mom taught piano there, so she was at the school almost everyday. Now things have totally taken a different turn. The school has yet to reopen and they are working hard to get T-buildings in place for the students. Also, my mom won't be back teaching piano there this year.  Christian and I made the decision that for this year, it would be best to just keep her and Weston together at Broadmoor. Aubrey will definitely go to Victory for kindergarten, it's just for this year things didn't work out. We know God has a plan for our children, and we trust that He guides us in making the right decisions for our kids. I know both Aubrey and Weston will do great this year and it will be fun to have them together one last year. 

Here's to a great year for my sweeties. My prayer is that they will be a light at their school and blossom both educationally and socially in their classes. I pray for Godly friends and influential teachers and staff as well.  

First day for Weston was not quite the happy day we had hoped for. Weston has had a hard time adjusting to his new schedule and school. He sure is cute though.  

Aubrey on the other hand was all smiles. Miss social butterfly couldn't wait to see her friends.

Love these two and are so thrilled for new beginnings! Plus I am enjoying having a little one on one time with my sweet Baylor Jace!