Sunday, May 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I am finally home from Franklin and all settled in! Actually I've been home for two weeks! Time just seems to be flying by!

We had such a great time in Franklin! The first week I was there with Anna-Kate and Thomas. That was pretty exhausting but we were able to get in some good quality time with family that we don't always get to visit.

Anna-Kate especially loves her cousins. School was cancelled because of all the flooding in Nashville, so my grandmother kept all three of them. Bryant is almost 9 and Connor and Greer just turned 6. Greer has always been known for being extremely girly! One of her first sentences was "not coote." I'm pretty sure she learned how to walk in a pair of heels before she was 2.

I knew Anna-Kate would love spending time with her! The girls played school and Greer let Anna-Kate wear her high-heel dress up shoes, and they got to boss the boys around.

Later that week my sister and I watched all of the kids!

We made home made pizzas for dinner. Anna-Kate loves making it at home! (If you have not tried Pioneer Woman's pizza crust... you're missing out!!) I think the kids all really enjoyed getting to pat out their own crust and put the toppings on it just the way they wanted.

Bryant made a really good pizza!

Greer did not like the feel of the dough, so Grandma helped her shape it! Connor, loved it though!

Here's Anna-kate laying with Greer! She really loves her! I just think Greer is so pretty!

Here's Thomas getting some cuddle time in with Aunt Sara!

While we were in Franklin, Thomas really started rolling over. I think he finally realized that the tummy can get you places!

Here's Miss Anna-Cakes in her new apron from Aunt Sara!
I wish I had one to match!!

Anna-Kate went back to Searcy with Derek's parents so that just left me and Thomas in Franklin for week two!

Just when we were starting to get anxious, I got a phone call at 5:30 am saying that my sister was in labor!! Luckily Thomas and I were already up... so we headed on over!

Thomas spent the whole day at the hospital with us. He did SO good!! I just could not get over how well behaved he was!

My sister asked me to be in the room with her when she delivered. It was a really neat experience being on the other side of things! She did so good though! Baby Luke was born around 3:00 that afternoon! And I got to cut the cord!!

Here's one of the first snapshots of Luke. He weighed 7 lbs 1 oz! Tiny little guy!

Well... tiny compared to my monster ;)

My sister and baby Luke got to go home the very next day!

The boys slept all the way home!

I told you he looks like a monster next to Luke!

Here's baby Luke in his swing! He's so alert.

My sister ended up handling everything really well. She had no complications and Luke is just a very good baby! His second night home, he pretty much slept all night!

Needless to say, I felt like there was not a lot for me to do. So Derek and Anna-Kate came to pick us up Saturday!

Of course I dressed Thomas up in his baseball outfit for Derek!

Not liking the hat...

Silly boy!

Thomas and I were SO glad to see Anna-Kate and Derek! I missed Anna-Kate so bad. We spent the night in Lepanto and came home after church Sunday night. It was so nice to finally be back in my own bed!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Weekend Worth Forgetting

It has been awhile since I made a post. I wanted to do something about our latest adventure but it has taken till now for me to regain enough energy to relate the story.

So last Friday night we received a call that Jessie, Nicki's little sister, might be in labor. We had planned on being ready to go and at least Nicki and the kids would stay for up to a week after the birth. Severe weather was pushing through our neck of the woods at the time so we decided to wait till the next morning to head out since Jess wasn't in full labor yet.

We took off intending to get to Franklin, TN and then I would head back to Lepanto for the weekend. After we got to Memphis we began hearing that there was some serious flooding in certain parts of Tennessee. We noticed some slow traffic in places but it got progressively worse as we past through Jackson, TN. After 9 hours on the road we gave up on the day and got a room in Jackson.

As if it wasn't frustrating enough, we had two tornadoes come through our area that night. We even had to get up in the night and go downstairs because on storm came so close. The next morning, we decided to try again. I asked around if anyone had heard what the roads were like and everything we were being told was that you could get to Nashville. So off we went.

The further I drove the more I realized that the rest of the state had experienced round two in a worse way than round one. The flooding was terrible along the interstate. We had slow traffic again and more rain too.

The scariest part of the trip was when we got about halfway from Jackson to Nashville. I noticed that the road, though not flooded, was not draining very well because of the heavy rain. I was already driving slower than I normally would but I slowed down a bit more to be safe. As I began thinking that I may need to slow even more, I felt the car begin to move. We were next to a pickup truck that was following a semi on the interstate. I felt the back of the car moving toward the truck. Instinctively, I jerked the wheel to the right (into the spin) we started to go the other direction. Now we were spinning to the right and for a moment we were perpendicular to the interstate and positioned between a semi and a pickup truck. I didn't care for the headlights pointed at my wife so we kept spinning (as if I had control). They were soon aimed at me as we slid down the road facing the car behind us. The next thing I saw was the guard rail approaching from the rear. This was actually a welcome sight because I remember seeing a steep drop-off on the shoulder and so catching the guard rail was a blessing. We finally stopped after 270 degrees of eternity and the other car managed to get around us without incident.

Nicki handled it very well. I don't recall her screaming or even raising her voice in fear. She just sort of let our a concerned...sound...? Thomas stayed asleep, and Anna-Kate awoke in the spin, but was more disturbed that all the commotion had resulted in her cup of fruit loops being spilled.

I pulled the car to a safe spot and got out to inspect. Remarkably, the only damage was a dent the size of my fist in the rear bumper cover. Nothing at all to speak of when you take in to account what happened. God was watching over us. I would like to credit my experience cutting donuts on frozen parking lots with seeing us through the ordeal, but I know it was God (do I hear Carrie Underwood singing?).

Seriously though, the weekend was rough. Nicki and the kids are still there and I took the Natchez Trace Parkway out of Franklin to get the long way home. It was a beautiful drive on a pleasant and sunny day which gave me plenty of time to think about some things.

1) I love God.
He has blessed us with so much and takes care of us so faithfully. Even in the midst of what we would call bad weather, His power and glory are seen.

2) I love America.
As I went along the NTP on the way home I saw some of the most beautiful countryside ever!! God has blessed us with rich nature so close to home. I couldn't resist rolling down the windows and blasting the U.S. Marine Corps. Bands rendition of Battle Hymn of the Republic. Makes me cry. I'm a nerd. Don't judge, it's better than Justin Bieber.

3) I'm a dad, and people rely on me.
I've always known that this came with the territory but going through severe thunderstorms, car accidents, flooding, seeing the devastation others were going through and still having to comfort my children through it all made my role as a father and husband more real. The decisions I was faced with over those few days weighed on me so greatly because I had to keep them safe.

When I said goodbye to my little girl Monday morning she looked at me and said "When you go home, don't spin." She was worried that I would have a wreck and she needed me to tell her it would be ok.

My dad was a great dad. He still is, but I see behind the curtain a bit now and understand that there is more to what he did than just being strong and fearless. He used to stand at the door during bad weather. It seems strange looking back but it comforted me to know that he was literally watching out for me. I caught myself doing it the other night almost out of instinct.

I asked him once why he was never afraid. He had asked his dad the same thing once and so he passed the response on to me.

"Being a dad doesn't mean you're not afraid, it means no one else needs to know when you are."

I know me. I get scared about things sometimes. I'm high-strung and not good at letting things just roll off. But somehow I handled the weekend pretty well. I didn't let it get to me, I didn't get scared, I didn't show my fear to those around me, I my dad.

I know that it was God leading me through all of that. I feel closer to Him now, closer to my father and grandfather too! In that sense, it turned out to be a great weekend.

p.s Please pray for all of the families that have lost homes, loved ones, and friends due to the flooding in Nashville and the surrounding area. Also continue to pray for Nicki's sister as she is still in early labor.

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