Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Still Hangin' in There...

So the basement is worse than we thought. When we pulled the carpet up to remove the wet (and repulsive) padding, we discovered that the "ick" continues much further into the rooms than we initially thought. Instead of only needing to cut out about 6 feet of padding in both rooms, we found ourselves shoving furniture and piles of stuff further and further. In the club room, my guess is that the water damage is about 15 feet in, and in the music room it may be a mere 10 or 12. Sigh...

With this never-ending...excitement, our lives, I still haven't gotten to go through my beach pics thoroughly. ...but I might have broken down and peeked a little...and then somehow ended up editing a few...just a few!

Here's one of my favorites of Benjamin on the Assawoman Bay. (YES! That's the real name of it.) My parents, Gram and Poppy, took Ben and me crabbing one morning. They thought the other kids were a bit too young to enjoy this pass time yet. And it's a lucky thing they let me go along - I ended up being the best "netter" out of the four of us!! :-) Of ALL the things that my father does to perfection, netting a crab is certainly NOT one of them! I think he honestly thought if he just moved more slowly that he could sneak up on them. Oh my! We'll have to work on his technique for next year...

I promise there are more pics to come...just not tonight! Oh, how I long for normalcy...

Sunday, July 26, 2009


The clean up is coming along slowly but surely... There have been very few things that we've had to throw out; however, we're still holding our breath on whether or not the carpet can be salvaged. We have two de-humidifiers and three fans running constantly. Then, every so often, one of us stops all of the sorting and re-organizing to run the carpet shampoo-er again.

Anyway, I still haven't allowed myself to edit any pictures from the beach yet - what with a house FULL of other much more pressing issues. :-) But I do want to share a quick tale from the beach before I head to bed.

We spent last week in a large and gorgeous beach house on Brigantine Island with 12 other members of (or close relations to) the Weaver Family. Jim's Aunt Dottie (one of our family's best assets :-) has such a special way of being close to and loving each and every child in the family. She manages to spend little bits of quiet time with the little ones, individually, and prides herself in knowing each of them intimately.

One afternoon, Ellie and she were finishing up their lunches (and surprisingly none of the other 14 people were around!). Well, I was a few feet away in the kitchen listening to their conversation, but that doesn't count... :-) Anyway, Aunt Dottie said to Ellie, "Do you know how beautiful you are? Has anyone ever told you that before?"

Ellie smiled, cocked her head to side and answered with a twinkle in her eye,"Well. Ummm....some me... 'cute'..."

Right she is!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Home Early!

Just after putting the kids to bed last night at the beach, we got a call from our neighbor. Never good, when you're on vacation, right? Well, this one was a doozy. It seems that Mechanicsburg had The Storm of the Century yesterday afternoon/evening. The official rain fall total stands at 7 1/2 inches in three hours, but our neighbor's rain gage collected 8 1/2! Can you even imagine?!?

Our neighbor was calling to tell us that our back yard was flooded and our basement was taking on water FAST. From the many accounts that we have been collecting from different neighbors with varying vantage points, there were around 14 different people in and out of our house helping to bail it out!!!! ...all while we were casually lounging in our beach house!

I SO wish I had pictures of the flood waters for myself and to share, but the descriptions of those who saw it first hand will have to suffice. Apparently, the water in the back yard was pooling against our house, hemmed in by a barrier of mulch (created by the raging waters) along the chain link fence. The "lake" stretched from the back of the house out to our little maple tree, about fifteen feet into the yard and was up to the kitchen and dining room window sills. I'm NOT kidding. As hard as I find this to believe, each eye witness' story has been the same!!!! The water took over the screened in porch, as well, which is why we now have a porch full of sopping wet mulch. Thankfully, our neighbors discovered Lake Weaver about 1/4 of an inch before it would have spread into the kitchen and family room. CRAZY!!!!

After bailing with any vessel they could find and trying (unsuccessfully) to syphon the water using a hose and someone's mouth, they finally solicited the help of yet another neighbor with a pool pump. Apparently, this worked rather well on the burgeoning window wells.

Meanwhile, in our basement, other people moved ALL of our belongings away from the waterfall, I mean west wall. The Basement Crew saved so much for us!!! They emptied our file drawers, took everything off the walls and shelves, wet-vacced our carpet, took our towels home and washed and dried them...

Once we digested all of this late last night, it was evident that we just needed to pack up and head home a day early. I'm glad we did. We have A LOT of clean-up ahead of us. But we are SO grateful to our AWESOME neighbors and friends for saving our home. I can't even imagine what we would have walked into tomorrow if no one had noticed that our little house was drowning.

Now in addition to the normal "returning from vacation" stuff like laundry and grocery shopping, we'll add clearing out the utility room, drying out files, shop vacc-ing (again) and shampooing our carpets, contacting the insurance agency and/or companies about new carpeting, drainage issues, etc.

Ahhh, I love returning from vacation. I just feel so relaxed and at ease with life...

And you know what? As CRAZY as our situation is, it's not Katrina or a huge tornado or a terrible earthquake or a tsunami. In many ways, it's a good reminder of how lucky we are in so many ways. ...a pain-in-the-neck, time-consuming, musty-smelling reminder, but good nonetheless. :-)

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I apologize for the week-or-more-long silence!  I've been a bit busy packing everything in the house, slathering sunscreen on children, dragging almost everything in the house to the beach and back, washing sand off of same children, etc, etc.

We just concluded a week of beach time with the Jones Family and are now settled into another beach house a few hours further north for a week of quality Weaver Time.  Ahhh, such a hard life...

Although I'm not able to share pictures from here, I thought I'd at least share today's humorous Ben Tale. 

We spent Friday night at my godfather's place in Bethany Beach, DE before heading to New Jersey via the Cape May-Lewes Ferry.  About twenty minutes into the hour and 20 minute trip, Ben asked, "When will we be at Land Ho?"  We explained that "Land Ho" is not an actual destination but something that sailors might yell when they spot land. 

About 45 minutes later, he was thrilled to be with Daddy on the front deck of the ship when the New Jersey shore line came into view.  The passengers within ear shot got a good chuckle when he yelled "Land Ho!" in his most robust sailor voice.  :-) 

Ellie and I unfortunately missed out on the proclamation as we were "holding down" the rear deck.   She was entertaining the masses with nursery rhymes, finger plays, and children's songs...complete with bows and curtsies at the conclusion of each recitation.  Oh my...never a dull moment!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Bungees in An Uproar

Yesterday morning, Ellie was on a roll. As my high school tennis coach, Mr. Lynam, would say, she had her "bungees in an uproar." I'm serious. That's what he would call it. After years of contemplation, I believe that was his way of saying that someone was "bent out of shape," so to speak. The English language is complicated enough without people adding their own personal spins, isn't it?!? I've always loved that one, though! :-) ...does anyone else remember that??? Oh my, how I digress...

Okay. So Ellie was bent out of shape, in a bad mood for no good reason, generally unpleasant. She was whining and whining and whining. I finally interrupted her and said, "Ellie! Just stop and listen to yourself..."

She replied without missing a beat and with the exact same tone of voice and exaggerated cadence that I had used. "Mom! If I stop, I won't be able to hear myself."

Ahhhhh. 'Twas such a pleasant morning here yesterday...

Happy Seventh of July!

So here's the update on the rest of our Fourth! The kids napped in preparation for the fireworks, we ate dinner, and then headed outside to roast marshmallows...over the gas grill! Is it just me, or is that rather "redneck" of us?!? :-) Perhaps, we'll have to look into buying a fire pit... Jim didn't want me to post this shot, but I just think it's too funny not to share!!! We learned this technique of marshmallow roasting at WVU in Survival Skills 101.

Ellie is always apprehensive about "new" things...even sugar on a stick! Once she got acquainted with the roasted marshmallow, it didn't have a prayer, though! :-)

This next one is sort of American Gothic-esque, don't you think???

And after the Marshmallow Feast, we showered the kiddos, dressed in warm layers for the chilly night, and headed to the fireworks. We were originally planning to go to Harrisburg's "official" fireworks presentation on Sunday night, but then I got the "brilliant" idea to attend the fireworks at the conclusion of the Senators Game (minor league baseball) on City Island on the 4th instead. Jim was on board, because it seemed that these fireworks would not draw as much of a crowd as the "official" ones on the 5th. The major problem with this plan was that these fireworks began at the conclusion of the ball game, not at dusk. And this was one slow game.

The fireworks began around 10:15. I'm not kidding.

The kids loved them. We sat just outside the stadium and had a great view! There were many other people there, too, but not throngs. It was pleasant and festive. (And late. Did I mention that part?) Jim even threw out the idea of actually attending the game next year and staying for the fireworks. During the display, our efforts and frazzled nerves felt well worth it.

Then the fireworks concluded, and it was time to leave...with everyone else from the ball game and the Music Fest on Front Street! We each carried a child (while power-walking) to the other side of the island to our van that was strategically backed into a slot in the parking garage. We pulled out quickly...and went about 5 car-lengths before coming to a complete standstill. And there we sat, in that same spot, for least half an hour.

As the minutes ticked by, the "glamorous" idea of going to next year's game on the 4th seemed less and less appealing. Ellie quickly fell asleep; however, Benjamin put up a valiant fight by asking another round of 50 or more questions before finally succumbing to sleep himself. The traffic finally began to move and we inched closer to home. Once we were again on the West Shore (of the Susquehanna River...out-of-towners always think this terminology is SO funny! :-), it was smooth sailing back to our beds. Everyone was tucked in for the night by 11:45...and up and bouncing by 7:20 the next morning.

So my "brilliant" idea was, perhaps, not so. Me thinks next year we will try watching the "official" fireworks from a park on the West Shore that overlooks the river. This holiday event may take some trial and error to perfect...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

We didn't have any big plans for the day, so we just decided that whatever we did, we'd do together. (That actually included grocery shopping....and we all lived through it!)

After shopping, it was time for lunch. Ellie decided she wanted meat and cheese rolled together, with frilly toothpicks in the rolls, of course. She "ordered" three and a half, since she's three and a half. :-) Then she decided that she could use them to make a face. Yeeeeeees, food art again! Apparently the long rolls, reminded her of her rectangular glasses. She then put raspberries underneath to be the eyes. A few moments later, as she surveyed her creation, she yelled, "Mom! Do you know what we're missing?!? The nose buds!!!!"

Thus, the addition of the raisins on either side of the nose.

Someone recently asked me if the kids drew themselves with glasses. Neither has yet, but Ellie apparently considers them (and nose buds) an important part of a realistic visage! Can you see the resemblance?

After lunch, we headed to our neighborhood park. Well, Daddy and Ben went for a meandering bike ride and met Ellie and me at the park. One of the kids' favorite things to do there is to climb up and jump off of a huge old stump on the hill. Here's Ellie promenading up to Jump Position. She actually flaps her "wings" and pretends that she's a fairy when she jumps.

And here's Ben catchin' some serious air!

As we headed for home, I realized that there might be some good marshmallow roasting sticks on the ground. (We're planning to roast marshmallows this evening.) The kids were eagerly trying to help me find some good ones. We must have said, "No, that's too small," a few times too many, because we then heard Ellie yell, "oh, guys! Wait!" as she raced toward this doozy below.

Look how proud she is of her selection! :-) She could roast the whole bag of marshmallows at once on that thing! We did find a good branch to break off of the limb, but we in the end, decided to leave the rest of it at the park. Go figure.

The kiddos are napping now, in preparation for our first ever attempt to go to the fireworks as a family. I'll let you know how it goes...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Daddy's Helper

Ben has always been our Number One Helper. If there is a physical task to be completed or an errand to be run, Ben will help out whether you want/need him to or not. As I'm sure all parents do, we have gotten good at knowing which chores to do stealthily (or after bedtime) and for which ones to openly advertise that we are in need of "help."

This summer, Ben has taken to "assisting" Daddy with the lawn mowing. Although he is not allowed to get too close while the mower is running, he is quite content to either follow Daddy's every move (forward and backward) or walk 10 feet in front of him gesturing with his hands (you know, the kind of motions that airport workers use to direct airplanes?) to show Daddy where to mow next. It's hysterically cute to watch!

Here's my Lawn Crew emptying the mower bag.

This is Ben in "follow mode." Poor Jim. He used to covet his uninterrupted "lawn time" just to listen to his own music and think his own thoughts... I suppose some day, he'll look behind him and miss his little apprentice...

And last but not least, the Crew cleans the equipment before calling it a day. So how old do you have to be before you can operate a lawn mower, anyway? 5 1/2...6...?