Friday, September 26, 2008

ADA Brad Means-duh duh (that's the Law & Order sound)

Since Susannah and I didn't have to go to school again this week, we decided to take a little field trip on Thursday.
We headed downtown to the criminal law building for Harris County to visit our friend, Brad. He was recently hired by the District Attorney's office.
He met us down after security and took us on a little tour. This is the courtroom he's assigned to. It obviously wasn't in use so I made him pose for some pictures. The is where the DA sits. The jury box is just to the left. I accidentally cut it out.
I had to take one from another angle. Brad was munching on the no-bake cookies we brought him. By the time we got to him, they were mostly crumbs. :(
He got permission from the bailiff earlier to take us back to the holding area where they keep prisoners. It was pretty cool. I tried to look guilty as I pretend to be shackled to the bench.
This is Brad's office. I have to thank him for humoring me by letting me take all these pictures.
He does owe me, though, since my picture taking fascination once got him, me, and our friend Whitney out of some parking tickets. Those guys vowed they wouldn't tease me about taking pictures after that! :)
This is just outside his building. I liked this shot because it shows all the boarded up windows from Hurricane Ike. If you look at the slide show a couple of posts down, you'll see this same building with the windows blown out. We went out to lunch and had a great time! Thanks for the fun, Brad!
The only sad part of the trip was when I accidentally rolled Susannah's fingers up in my window! Sorry!!!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

I owe thanks yet again to my friend Kristal for finding another AWESOME site! Click here to yearbook yourself and others for hours of fun!
This is me in 1976
Susannah in 1978
Adam in 1980
and Abraham in 1976
These are hilarious! I'm going to play around with these and maybe YOUR picture soon! If you do play with this, post it on your blog or Facebook so I can see how it turned out. Either that or email it to me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I Have the Power!

Well, I don't think it's by the power of Grayskull, but we do have power as of 7:00pm Sunday night! Yahoo!
Top 10 reasons I'm ecstatic we have power:

10. Instead of absent-mindedly flipping light switches and have them not work, voila - THEY WORK!
9. We don't have to have a million candles burning every night which only adds to the heat.
8. We can bake things in the oven! We have a gas range, so we were blessed in that respect!
7. We can charge our cell phones at home instead of driving aimlessly around to get them charged in the car.
6. We have access to our computers AND the internet so we can check email, facebook, and even blog to our hearts' content.
5. Fans at night. Need I say more?
4. Warm showers! Our water heater is electric.
3. Washers and Dryers!
2. The refrigerator and freezer work. We can stop packing ice in there and having it melt out all over the floor.
1. AIR CONDITIONING!!!!

Service in La Porte

On Saturday we had the opportunity to do some service for one of our neighbors to the southeast of us. A bishop from another ward works with a woman that lives down in La Porte, Texas, which is right on the coast. She was in serious need of some help, so the bishop recruited our singles ward to help out.
Just driving down there made me very grateful that having no electricity was my only complaint.
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I shot this video as we were driving along the streets. Everyone had all the stuff out of their houses along the street - some for trash, and other piles set our for the insurance companies to inventory and inspect. The storm surge before Ike hit filled their houses with AT LEAST 4 feet of water. The smell was terrible and the houses were filled with mud. The damage was incredible.
We got a kick out of some of the things people wrote on signs or on their belongings that lined the streets.
This one was our favorite - especially what the teenage daughter added to the bottom. In case you can't read it, it says "You loot We Shoot your head off." It made us laugh pretty hard.
This is one of many pictures I took of houses that were facing the water. If you click on the picture to make it bigger, you'll see that their whole front wall is gone. All the coast line house we drove by were either GONE or missing a wall in the front.
This is the house of the lady (Anise) we went to help. When we drove up, this is what we saw. We actually couldn't tell there was a house there at first.
This is from her yard. You can see that she was pretty close to the water.
The first big job was to clear all the trees and debris from around the house, so we could actually get to the house. Abraham and Nate were up on the roof helping out in this picture.
We got a little scared because they gave Abraham a chainsaw, but he did really well with it. Whew!
Once there was a pathway cleared, we started sorting things into keep and throw-away piles. We started with stuff that had floated outside and then moved to things in the garage and the house. Kim and Brianna got pretty good with the wheelbarrow. These two were also SCARED to DEATH about flesh eating bacteria we'd been warned about.
Susannah and Brittany were REALLY disillusioned with the garage. Anise is to the right of the picture. She is an interior designer and had THOUSANDS of fabric and wallpaper samples all over the place. They all had to be trashed.
Here's a group shot after we finished for the day. The work is definitely not done, but we made some SERIOUS headway. Anise is front and center.



These pictures are from an email we received from our friend Jared. They're from the damage all around the Houston area, but mostly in Galveston, Surfside, and some in downtown.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blessed through Ike

I've been blessed in many ways in my life! I've really seen the hand of the Lord blessing me throughout this hurricane experience. First of all, we've escaped any real damage. We're safe, we've had enough to eat and drink, our water has worked through this whole process, and the weather has been FANTASTIC! The latter has been pretty miraculous. The first night after the hurricane and the power outage, the weather was still hot and muggy. Sleeping was miserable, but since Sunday we've had ridiculously cool weather! We've had our windows open and it has been perfect! We've even been a bit chilly on some evenings. Needless to say, we've kept ourselves busy with lots of household projects AND lots of fun!
We've really utilized our candles - and I've loved taking pictures of some of them!
At nights, we've been playing cards by candlelight. Ryan Bushman would be scared if he knew how well I was doing at Skip Bo!
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This is a common sight at a lot of the gas stations - especially around residential areas.

We've seen lots of assistance trucks for different purposes. This one was for food. Abraham actually stood in line at the Civic Center and got us some free food, water, and ice. It was so nice.
Speaking of Abraham, he's joined us on several of our daily bike rides. He and Susannah were perfecting their "no hands" riding.
My current bike has a basket and is pretty heavy. I never felt very safe with less than one hand on the handles! We did respect knuckles for the picture instead. We've loved our bike rides!
We've done a lot of outdoors things. One day we had a bunch of friends over. We went to our subdivision park and played ultimate frisbee in the mud. Abraham took Susannah down before we even started. She repaid the favor . . . with a little help.
Abraham even brought all but one of his siblings. It was fun to see them interact.
They wrestled each other in the mud and then grabbed Eva's husband and tossed him in as well.
We all ended up with a few fire ant bites. Brock played with his shoes and socks off. He got bit TONS and found out that he is allergic to ant bites. He got so red and swollen, got hives, and his airway started to constrict. We borrowed some Benedril (sp?) and sent him to the bathtub with some vinegar and baking soda. He got back to normal after awhile, but he gave us quite a scare.
We're blessed to have a gas stove so we haven't suffered in the cooking department. The only problem comes when we wait to start cooking until after the sun goes down. We've become good friends with our head lamps.
I've enjoyed practicing some photography using candlelight. I'm still working on it.
We have got a LOT of projects done thus far. We've cleaned, organized, and painted. Our roommate Seana even let us clean and organize her room one day. We decided to recycle some of our cardboard. Initially we tried to load this box full of magazines and other cardboard onto the basket on my bike, but I couldn't ride with it, so we pulled out the wheelbarrow. We had drawn a bit of a crowd as we tried the bike.
Susannah carted Jen home in the wheelbarrow and got lots of comments by passersby.
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I had to take a video of the action. She almost tipped the thing over several times! It was hilarious.


We found another good sign as we were riding bikes today. Don't you love Texas?
Another crazy sight during the bike ride was this Mustang. You could tell it burned there. I'm not sure what happened, though!
Some things we've noticed from this ordeal:
1. The hurricane has brought people (especially families) together because they haven't had a lot of distractions from each other.
2. The prophets really know what they're talking about when they say that we should go to bed early and wake up early. It's been wonderful.
3. People have learned to appreciate each other more and have become more eager to share and help (Thanks to Sonia for letting me use her computer AND washer/dryer!).
4. It's nice to have quiet.
5. The Lord is VERY mindful of us.
Lastly, a little update. Still no power, but we are happy to hear now that we don't have to go back to school until next Wednesday!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Power

Thanks for all the Ike comments and well wishes! We still don't have power as of Wednesday night at 6:49pm. One of our good friends is sharing their computer with us so we can check email and what not! The good news is that we'll have at least 6 school days off. Not sure what that entails, but you can expect details and more pictures as soon as power is restored! Thanks again for your prayers! They've been felt!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Update

Well, we've survived! The power's out, but we're fine and so's my house, thankfully! The Calls were kind enough to share their generator and Shanna let me use her computer so I could do a post! Thanks a bunch!

This is a before shot I took of my house on Friday night. Luckily there was not any damage to my house so I don't need to post an after. The trees in the front flower bed are leaning forward, but they're fine! We went on a walk on Friday and we walked over this Bayou. I took a before picture. This is one we took a few hours ago of the same Bayou.
Many of the houses were boarded up. We didn't do that, but we did secure our important stuff, take things off the wall and tape our windows.
As it was getting later on Friday night, we could see the storm rolling in. It was incredible and the clouds were moving so fast!
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This video I took shows how fast the clouds were moving before the storm hit.

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This started out as a cloud shot, but ended with a hilarious thing with Susannah. Enjoy!

The wind really picked up. We took this shot of Susannah's hair blowing in the wind.
We took this of ourselves in front of the house, but it didn't really show up.
Our neighbor took this windblown shot for us.
The hurricane winds hit later that night - close to midnight, which is when our power went out. The winds and rain was so loud! I didn't really sleep at all. Susannah and I got up at 4:00 to check everything and it was all good. It was not too long after that that the eye went over us and we finally got some sleep (maybe 2-3 hours). This shot was taken in the morning. Susannah's taken lots of video.

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I took this one out our front window this morning. It was before the hurricane was over. I couldn't get a really big gust on here, but this gives you an idea.

We decided to see what it felt like outside after the major winds had died down. We were just in the outer bands. Of course we had to have some fun with our poses. It was still pretty windy out there.
This is my yee-haw pose.
I was trying click my heels, but it didn't really work out. This one cracks me up because it looks like she's being pulled back by some unknown force.
This one reminds us of Adam's marionette pose when we went cliff jumping a couple of summers ago.
Abraham came over this morning and took us out for a little sight seeing of the damage. Our area is pretty new so there are a lot fewer trees. We had hardly any damage. The most common things we saw were fences down and some branches missing. This is right by the entrance of our subdivision.
This is a sports bar/grill called Mulligans just a mile or so from our house. It's roof was completely taken off on one side and collapsed in the front! It was crazy.
These guys had some crazy stuff down in their yard!
This was the only tree we actually saw that had fallen on someone's house. Most had fallen into the road or people's yards.
We saw this sign on the board someone had used to protect their windows. I thought it was pretty clever.
This tree was down in the yard of someone who lives near the Calls.