Today I received an e-mail from a dear sweet reader who found my blog and responded to the posts about life in a hurricane.  One thing she mentioned was that I had not posted in a while to let people know how we were doing.  We are doing really well actually.  We had moved back into our home after just a few weeks away.  The dining room stayed boarded up away from the rest of the house while the men actually ripped out every piece of everything in that room.  At one point if you stood in the dining room you were standing outside with just a roof over your head.  My hubby and his dad did an awesome job of “jacking” up the entire room with a whole bunch of car jacks.  I’m quite certain that is NOT how you are supposed to fix it but it worked.  They cut out all of the studs and laid more cement down for a taller foundation in that part of the house since it was an add-on.  Slowly piece by piece my studs went back in, then the insulation, and my walls.  My husband and I put in wood flooring where there used to be carpet.  We now have a beautiful new dining room that is hopefully flood free!

On a sadder note, this has caused me to take a look at my life and realize that designing wasn’t really profitable for me so I stopped designing for money.  I was sad to leave the places I loved to work at but I knew that I had to as it was consuming my time with no returns.  HOWEVER, I do have a itty bitty surprise for you today in that I have a template I created to share with you.  You can get it here.  I hope you like it.  I just began sketching today and that’s what I came up with.  Have a great week!

Well the glimmer of hope turned out to be false.  Even though we lost more this month than we make in a month including all food, our dining room and the cost of evacuating we were not included in the food stamp program because our parish did not have enough damage.    What a shame….well we are home now and declared mold free.  We are a LONG way from having a dining room (especially since there are no inside walls at the moment) but my fridge is full and I am happy to be home.

We’ve had a lot of friends who lost a LOT in Ike and it is hard to see everyone struggling so much just to make it but we will survive.  We survived Rita and we can survive the Gustave/Ike combo. 

Hey! Are you here for the birthday blog hop???? Great!!!  Here’s my link!  Rachael is a great designer!  You should check out her store here!  She has great kits for great prices! THANKS for stopping by!!  Now that we are home I will try to start posting again.

This morning was our first chance to REALLY work in our house.  So I left to drop off the boys at mom’s on my way to the house.  After dropping off the kiddos, I get a call from an insurance adjuster who is 5 minutes from my house.  I hurried home and just barely made it there before him.  He surveyed the home, dining room and roof.  After looking at the entire house he decided that our damage was from a flood and that the insurance company would most likely provide no assistance in our repairs.  Although I really knew this, it was so hard to be assured that we were on our own.  This notice opens one last door from some help MAYBE from FEMA.  After he left and the men arrived, we tore out the interior walls in the dining room from about 2 feet down to the floor.  Some sheetrock was wet, some were mildewed or moldy and all needed to be replaced.  We then cut and pulled out all of the insulation in the open spots between the studs.  We also moved all of the heavy furniture possible out of the room to provide space for the men to work and to protect it from future storms.   After working indoors all morning the men dug a deep ditch leading away from our house in hopes of helping the water drain better.

Once we finished at the house we came home to my in-laws to learn that Ike should be in the Gulf by Thursday morn.  We are NOT in the cone at this point but it is still far out so I am hoping and praying that someone else gets it this time. 

My glimmer of hope……Tonight while searching for help in repairing our home I found out that food stamps will be given out to evacuees who are displaced starting on Tuesday.  At least I know I can replace all of my lost food!!  Another glimmer of hope was that FEMA actually approved our hotel assistance today.  If we need to, we will be allowed to rent a hotel room for 30 days.  At least we know that we have options if we need them. 

Lastly, I’ll leave you with a list of things I miss…..

1.  Late night ice cream

2.  Water you can drink or even use for that matter

3.  Long hot bubble baths in my HEATED bathroom

4.  My rose garden and backyard

5.  the carefree days of summer

Have a great day tomorrow!!  I’m excited because we get to go to church and be with friends for the first time in two weeks!!!

{September 5, 2008}   Hurricane Gustav’s Aftermath

Well we came home excited Tuesday afternoon because we already had power.  Never before had I gotten power back SO soon after a hurricane.  We drove about 7 and a half hours on a trip that takes us 3 hours on any normal day.  After traveling all day we arrived home at about 9 p.m. after curfew for our parish and had one of our vehicles in our caravan stopped by the sherriff’s office.  The people in the car explained the reasons for us being there so late and showed our ids and they let us through.  We all went our separate ways to check on our houses. 

As I walked into my house, I noticed this horrible stench.  Our dining room has had at least an inch of water in it with mildew and mold in the walls.  We can’t live there right now so we are staying with family.  FEMA denied our claim because we have insurance and the insurance says that it probably won’t pay because it’s “flood” damage so we have to wait and see.  In the meantime, we are cleaning up and trying to move on.  Thankfully we had no other damage in the house!

{August 31, 2008}   We’re here!!

We’ve finally made it to our “great adventure” as my oldest has named it.  We are staying in Houston in a hotel with REALLY nice people.  I plan to “Vacation” as much as possible.  We are going to take the kids to fun places and enjoy ourselves as much as possible.  We are expecting our home to get a fairly head on collision with Gustav as about a cat 1.   I think if there are no tornadoes our house should at least still be there when we get home.  As for the roof, playground, shed, or tree well your guess is as good as mine. 

My parents FINALLY decided to come with us so we are waiting on their arrival.  They were staying until they realized that it was going to be bad!  So they are about an hour or two away from here fighting traffic.  Well off to feed my kiddos another snack.  Later!

{August 30, 2008}   Going to bed…

Well I’m exhausted but we are mostly packed, loaded down and ready to go.  Church for tomorrow was cancelled as were most services around here.  We plan to leave around noon tomorrow.  We are going to be o.k. because we are getting away from it all.  Unfortunately not all of our family members are evacuating like we are.  Please also pray for them.  Many people think they need to stay and “protect” their homes although I’m not sure there would be any way to protect a house from a hurricane.  O.k. off to bed….

{August 30, 2008}   Quick update

Today, after waiting almost a week to find out where this hurricane is going, we finally realized we’re out of time.  Gustav suddenly sped up and is going to hit us almost a day or even two sooner than we thought.  This means a few things – 1. our reservations are for the wrong days and we don’t have reservations for tomorrow night but now REALLY need them, and 2. we need to finish prepping NOW and get out. 

So we sped up our preparations from earlier.  I finished the pool today and it is put up til next year.  We took down the trampoline as well as the basketball goal and picked up all outdoor toys that fit in the shed today.  We boarded up the windows and packed our pictures as well as food that we could eat.  I now need to finish cleaning and throwing out all of the food in the fridge (have you ever smelled food after it’s been rotten for 2 weeks? yeah not fun so we throw it ahead of time) as well as packing all of our clothes and framed pictures from the walls.  I also need to load up our computers, laptops and dvd players. 

After finding out that we needed a room at a hotel for tomorrow I almost panicked.  I mean where in the world would I have to travel to have a place to stay???  And no shelters are not really my favorite option.  However, after looking for about 30 minutes I found a place near Shreveport!!  I was SOOOOO excited!!  So now we leave tomorrow morning instead of Monday morning.  Unfortunately this also means we will spend more money and that continues to worry me.  O.k. I have to get back to packing!!  Talk to you before bed.

{August 30, 2008}   Life in the face of a hurricane

As many of you know I live in the VERY southern parts of southwest Louisiana.  We are facing the imminent danger of Gustav.  I have decided to blog my thoughts as my hubby is tired of hearing them. 

Today I awoke early to get sandbags.  I think either no one is worried or no one else was awake (most likely the second) because I was the ONLY person there getting sandbags.  The limit was 6 sandbags but I think that’s enough to block my two exposed doors.  Then I had to go to Wal-Mart.  On my way to Wal-Mart, I passed most of the town’s gas stations.  Four of the six I passed were COMPLETELY out of gas while the other two had lines 8-10 cars long for each pump.  CRAZY!!  Wal-mart had about anything you wanted to cook but lacked a lot of those staple hurricane items.  The canned good aisle was EMPTY.  There were no bottled waters left just the gallons which is fine when you are desperate.  HOpe you didn’t wait this long for batteries or you are out of luck.  I grabbed some cold stuff (after all we have to eat until we leave Monday) and a few necessities for the road like chips and lil Debbie cakes for the kiddos as well as single size apple juices and I left.  It wasn’t as bad in there as I thought it would be.  The workers were actually very nice and helpful although a little overwhelmed. 

Today’s agenda is to finish scrubbing the pool, tear apart the trampoline, and bring in the outdoor toys/lawn stuff.  Tonight I am packing pictures, CDs (pictures), videos, important papers and LOADS of clothes as the last time we were gone for 11 days before our house was even accessible.  Tomorrow we will go to church. Then board up windows and pack the vehicles with plans to leave around Monday mid morning.  I don’t have reservations past WEdnesday night which concerns me but until then I will not worry about it.  More to come later…..

{July 15, 2008}   Awards

I was chosen on two blogs to receive a special award from friends so I need to choose 7 to give it away to.  The problem is I have met SO many great friends in the online scrapping world that choosing 7 seems near impossible.  But that’s my directions so here goes…..

1.  Michelle – Thanks for believing in me when no one else did!!!  And letting me “quit” when I needed to regroup!!  Love ya!

2.  Lisa – It’s fun to chat with you and get to know you.  Thanks for the endless freebies you give out as well as for the motherly advice and the help on my layouts! 

3.  Terri  – She has no blog but I LOVE Terri’s kids and am thinking of adopting them!!! ROFL….Terri has the happiest family I have ever seen!  Thanks Terri for sharing your life with me and for all those times of inspiration in raising boys!!  (Yes I can do it! Yes it will get better, and they might even smile for every picture one day!)

4. Becky – Thanks Becky for finding endless hours to chat with me and look at my creations!!  Thanks for all the kits you have given me!!  Keep creating!  Your designs are great!  Have a great vacation!

5. Jenn – To Jenn for hosting ALL of those Friday night chats that we used to crash.  Thanks Jenn for all of your tips on how to make my layouts better!!  I have enjoyed chatting with you for the past 2 years.

6. Tess – To Tess for keeping me straight!!!  Thanks Tess for helping me SO much in that wild and crazy May month when we moved to Scraphead!! I do appreciate all of your help!!  Thanks as well just for being there and listening to me talk!

7. Rachael – Thanks Rachael for taking a chance on me!!  THanks for allowing me to be a part of your creative team!!  Your designs are awesome and I know I got lucky when I was chosen for your team!!!

Well that’s it. I could only pick 7 but these ladies are great!!  On a designing note, Jaydensmama and I have our first collab in the store!!  YIPPEE!!  It is called “Doggies and Dinos” and it is GREAT for little boys!!!  Here’s a pic and it’s on sale today for something crazy like 65% off in our progressive sale at Scraphead.  Yep, it’s $1.65 today only!!  Also making it into a blinkie causes some quality loss so check it out at Scraphead!!


While you are there check out Michelle’s newest item, Boxxies…….today get all 7 boxes for only $1.18!!!!

{July 10, 2008}   Is it Thursday already?!?!?!?

Oh my where did this week go?????  I went to the city Tuesday to do a few mystery shops and ended spending HOURS there “just looking”.  Well at least my dinner was paid for!  Have you ever thought of mystery shopping??  It’s a great way to get free food and a little scrapbooking cash.  My family LOVES it because that means they get to eat out and mom is not complaining about the price.  NEVER EVER pay anyone to mystery shop for them.  In fact the only people I trust with mystery shopping are the folks at Volition.  They give a list of legitimate mystery shopping companies.  ANYWAYS….so Tuesday was my mystery shopping day and……

Wednesday I spent the whole day in my classroom.  As a teacher I usually have this dream during the summer about walking into the school on the first day completely unprepared and sometimes *eek* naked feeling so lost.  Then I know summer’s over and I get my behind to school to fix up my room.  HOWEVER, because I’m starting SO early this year (July 21) I never did have that dream and now it’s less than 2 weeks to the start of summer school which ends the day teachers report for real school.  Ugh…..remind me why I offered to teach summer school???  OH yeah the money for gas yep….o.k…….. so I put up posters and created bulletin boards (which is really hard when you teach high school).  I focused on believing in yourself this year as I think everyone needs to feel loved.  And…..

today I get to go back to school to finish my decorating.  Maybe just maybe my laptop will be in by then.  I could hope right??  I’m so anxious for my new laptop!!!

In the designing world, a friend and I have a collab kit coming out this weekend at Scraphead.  It’s going to be really cute and it’s for boys!!!!!!!  This kit is finished in shades of blue, green, yellow, and brown with animals little boys LOVE.  I hope you will like it but that’s all I can say for now!!!  Well I need to go for today.  I have LOTS to do. THanks for reading!

et cetera