Thursday, December 25, 2008

Home for the Holidays...


To say we've been through a hell of a ride the past week is at the very least a gross understatement. In case you haven't heard, Fort Wayne had a horrible ice storm on the 18th and 19th and close to 110,000 homes were left without power. Some longer than others, and some are still without it. IN-Michigan Power worked 24 hours and brought in crews from VA, OH, MI and KY to assist in the efforts of restoring power to all these people. Unfortunately, we were included in that 110,000 for five days. It began early on Friday, the 19th when the lights blinked out. And continued through Tuesday evening when we actually got a crew to our house to get things up and running. Thankfully, our friends lent us a generator and family lent us karosene heaters because by early Sunday morning, the pipes were in danger of freezing as it was down to 34 degrees in our home. You could see your breath. We kept our water running the entire time- every faucet stayed on, even after the generator was hooked up to the furnace, but we had been told that wouldn't be enough, so we didn't want to take any chances.

THANKFULLY, my wonderful and generous inlaws came to our rescue and took us in. Although, Preston surely sweetened the deal. John and Judy only live a few minutes from us, so it was helpful that Kevin could return to fill the generator every few hours to make sure it stayed above freezing in the house. Not only were we staying over there, but Kevin's brother Christopher was as well because he was without power until Monday. Preston was a total doll over there. Such a champ. In the storm, their cable line went down, so they had no TV, but we really only needed lights and heat. Preston was our entertainment. He was dancing, singing, playing and talking up a storm every minute of the day. He slept fine, ate like a king and was in a generally fantastic mood. Judy and I joked that he'd had a rude awakening when we got home and he went back to having and audience of one.

Words cannot express our relief when the power company arrived Tuesday afternoon. Not because we were unhappy at John and Judys, in fact- just the opposite, we had fun! But because it was hours away from Christmas, I still had gifts to wrap and... oh, by the way, our kitchen cabinets were scheduled to be installed on Friday hour after the power went out. So all my cupboard contents were in boxes on my floor. (Don't worry, they are now supposed to be here by Monday...YAY!) We had to cancel a get together at our house, I was in the middle of a painting project and still had shopping and wrapping to do amidst all the other last-minute preparations for the holiday. Make no mistake- I am completely aware that we have so much to be thankful for and this was only a small blip in our life. Kevin and I actually said that it will help us to be more mindful of others and recognize that we never know what someone else may be going through. We were truly lucky, but it was still a very stressful and difficult situation while it was going on. Most of our neighborhood was out for some time, but our street and the two surrounding streets were out for almost five full days. Shelters were set up for people and animals, homes were destroyed because of tree damage, and as of my writing this post- Christmas night, it was reported that almost 5,000 homes are still left without power. Our hearts go out to those people (and the AEP workers that traveled here from out of town to help) and we hope they get home soon. Or at the very least, can enjoy the peace of the holiday with people they love.

I have yet to upload pictures from Christmas, (which was wonderful, by the way!) but since our cards are all mailed, I'll leave you with some pictures from a small family shoot we had our friends Betsy and John of the ever-popular Betsy and John Photography take for Christmas card pictures. I just have to say that they captured Preston perfectly at this stage. Quite often, I try to snap a picture that shows how much he loves life right now, and because of my point-and-shoot shutter lag, I am left with a blurry shot of the back of his head. So, having these professional pictures gives me something awesome and happy to look back on and remember of this first Christmas in our new home, rather than the few stressful days leading up to it.

Stay tuned for a Christmas recap when I get my pictures loaded. Hope everyone is staying warm and got more presents than coal today! Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Our Little (rein)Deer

With each post here, I marvel at how much our little guy is changing, but the biggest change in the past few weeks has been his ability to communicate. Preston is a chatterbox. (Now where in the world does he get that?! hmm. Anyways, as I was saying...) His speech has just taken off by leaps and bounds lately and I'd say that we understand what he's saying 90% of the time. He has a vocabulary of just over 40 words that we understand cleary and is now stringing a few words together, not to mention his babble that obviously means something to him and he takes very seriously. It's amazing to watch his little brain grow and learn at this stage- we are having so much fun lately!

Lots of Christmas activities to report this post.
Starting with last weekend for Kevin's birthday, we went to the Santa Brunch at Elcona with Grandpa and Grandma Roberts. Let me tell you- THIS is the way to go, folks. No waiting in line with strangers, a perfectly nice Santa in front of a sleigh at your parent's country club amidst a delicious me up for the next decade. He was a little scared of Santa, but recognized him and waved even though it took a few tries to get him warmed up. I tried to hand him over a few times, but he'd pull back so I refused to force him. But I did have some luck getting him to the jolly old fellow if I was holding him. I didn't have my camera, so we are waiting on Grandpa to send more pictures, but here is a picture of the polaroid picture they gave us as a souveneir. (yes, I said polaroid.)

And a picture of him in the Reindeer mask that he received as a favor from the brunch:

He's as playful as ever- with us, with his friends and with Ruby. Here he is this past week spending time with Finn Adams and his doggie.

We were out to dinner the other night with his Nana Connie, my grandma Joan and Papa Sherm and he found another Santa at the restaurant that- for whatever reason, was more appealing than the real one. Perhaps it was the choo-choo that Santa was painting?

The weather has been so cold and gross that we're pretty desperate to get out of the house most days. So we've been bundling up and heading to the library. I don't know if I mentioned that our main plan for Christmas is to get Preston just one nice gift and a few small things. We decided to get him the Melissa and Doug Fold and Go Barn with a coral and some farm animals as the big gift, but we debated back and forth forever between that and a play kitchen. I found several wood ones that we really liked, but I've noticed that whenever we are somewhere with a kitchen, he's not all that into it, so we opted for the barn. Well, I made the god-awful trip to Toys R Us last week and bought it, only to be surprised the next day when, at the library, he played intently with the kitchen for the better par of an hour. Go figure. He really does love almost anything farm-related, so I hope he likes the fold and go barn just as much. Here are some shots of my little library chef!

Here he is checking out the Charlie Brown Christmas Special... just like last year... and it's still Daddy's favorite night of the holiday season. :)

And just for fun- a few pics of our little guy a year ago this week at almost 4 months old... you can tell he wasn't mobile yet because he was so fat. :) Like I said, he's SO much more fun these days, but ahhh how I long for those sweet little onesies and newborn loviness. What a difference a year makes!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Countdown!

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season! And we have a very full month ahead. As most of you know, Kevin and I have to reign ourselves in to keep from putting our Christmas tree up the day after Halloween, but we at least wait until the 2nd or 3rd week in November. We are signing carols, attending tree lightings and lights festivals and playing in the snow- we can't help it... the holidays just sweep us up in this whirl of excitement and now that Preston is here, it's only magnified.

Our Thanksgiving was great at Aunt Lisa and Uncle Dan's house- who had enough food for a small army. But Preston had a pretty bad cold, so his time was cut a little short. Playing with his cousins is one of his very favorite things, so he's looking forward to Christmas when he will be feeling better and can really enjoy them. I of course forgot our camera that day, so I will have to wait until one of his aunts or uncles sends some pics so that I can post them.

He's doing well with the tree, but has broken a few ornaments. He gets very excited and says "BAAAAALLL!" and wants to swat at the balls on the tree, but most of the time, we just tell him to do "soft touches." Poor thing- it must be torture for a kid who loves lights to stay away from a Christmas tree. We are headed to Elkhart for brunch next Sunday where he'll meet Santa. Hopefully, he'll Santa that he wants the "Fold and Go Farm" by Melissa and Doug toys and a few books and puzzles. ...just sayin'.

He is really getting into "helping" me lately. He helps me sweep the floors, throws his diapers away and helped me make cookies the other day. (Just the pre-cut sugar cookies- he's not ready for real baking yet.) Well, neither is Mommy, but that's another story in itself.

We went to the Festival of Trees with Uncle Matthew, Aunt Heather and Jacob last weekend. It was VERY difficult for him this year. We did not take the stroller and he wanted to walk around and not hold our hand. But it was packed full of people, so we had to carry him most of the way through the Embassy, which was not easy. Gorgeous display of trees as always, but what were we thinking not bringing the stroller?? Definitely too much to ask of him as this stage.

Also, I am happy to say that Kevin's suprise party last weekend was just that- a total surprise. He swears he had no idea. Thanks to all who came to Paula's to celebrate his 30th birthday- especially Matt and Natalie who were in town with my precious Goddaughter, Emma. It meant so much to Kevin to have all his friends and family there- what a night! Here are some pics from the weekend fun: