Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kids, Cars, and Angels-- The story of our week

Chapter One:
The week started last Saturday with a fun trip to Virginia Beach with the Ruckers and the Martins. We decided to take Rudy's car, since the car seats were already in it and we were running late to meet up with some friends. We arrived and had a lot of fun. The boys went surfing and the girls and kids had fun building castles and laying out. The evening came and everyone headed out. We looked at our sand covered kids and decided, since there were no public showers, that we'd strip 'em down and dip 'em in the ocean to clean 'em off. Rudy had Tucker and I took Cooper. There was a decent shore break, but once you got past that it was nice and calm. We didn't go out very far and the kids were enjoying the water, until, apparently, we stayed out one too many waves. As I was dipping Cooper for the last time, I turned to see a VERY large wave forming. I realized it was going to break right where Rudy and I were with the kids, and we didn't have time to get to the shore. I frantically looked at Rudy since I had not been IN the ocean since early high school and definitely never with a baby. He told me to hold him up high so he wouldn't get submerged and to jump with the wave. As the wave came, I jumped just in time to have the break slam me in the chest. I flew backwards completely losing my footing. As I was being yanked below the water, I tried with all of my might to hold onto my dear little Cooper...but the wave was too strong. It tore him out of my grasp. It's amazing how fast your mind reels through things at a time like that. I first thought of the t-shirt Jon (our buddy) had thrown into shore as he was out swimming. I watched that t-shirt the entire time, but it clipped the end of a wave as it was sailing through the sky and disappeared within a second as the water was being pulled back in. As hard and quickly as we looked, the shirt was gone forever. I then, in my thoughts, replaced the t-shirt with my little boy. With what seemed like an eternity later (it was probably 2 seconds), I found the ocean bottom and burst up out of the water. I screamed with everything I had in me, "RUDY, I LOST HIM!!!" I looked at Rudy who had Tucker in his arms, then looked down at the water as it was churning rapidly back toward the ocean. All I saw as my eyes scanned was white foam and churning sand. I couldn't see him. I knew if I didn't find him before the water was sucked back up that I'd lose my little boy forever. Gallons of water were sailing past me as I looked up in time to see Rudy toss Tucker to one arm and drop down into the water. He explains that he was looking around and right as he glanced to his right he saw a foot twirl past, then the back of a head. He's not sure what happened next or how he did what he did, but as he came out of the water, he was holding TWO beautiful, screaming boys. I screamed with joy and overwhelming relief as I took Cooper from his grasp so we could all get out of the water before any more waves came. I didn't lose it and become a total blubbering basketcase until we were in the car and decided to say a prayer of thanks that we had had such divine help in saving little Cooper. There are angels among us!

Chapter 2:
After many tears of joy, relief, fear of 'what if', and gratitude, we started our drive back home. We got about 30 minutes into our 2 1/2 hour drive back and the car completely cut-off in the middle of an acceleration. Thankfully, we were near a parking lot and had enough momentum and open road to pull off to the side and get into the lot. We tried starting it back luck. The car was dead. I think perhaps sometimes in life Heavenly Father gives us experiences of relativity to remind us what's TRULY important. All of a sudden the concept that we were 2 hours away from home, with two little kids who were getting tired fast, on a Saturday after all auto shops had closed, with a car that was inoperable, didn't seem like that big of a deal... because we had TWO little kids alive and well and we were together and safe. As we tried to figure out what in the world we were going to do, I decided to call the Ruckers (who had left about 45 minutes before we had). I figured they were long gone, but thought I'd give it a try. I told them we were stranded and gave them the address we were at just in case they were close. For a variety of reasons they just so happened to have been a little delayed and were 8 MINUTES away from us. They immediately, and selflessly, turned around to come save us. Little did I know that Lissa had AAA and that if she's present, they'll tow ANY car that she's with! At about 6:30, Jon, Lissa, Kylea, and Jon's brother Aaron came to our rescue and called AAA. We waited for over an hour for the tow truck to come...and they waited right along with us. When the tow truck arrived, we told him we were headed to Richmond. He laughed, let us know he doesn't go that far, made a call, and drove off. So we waited for tow truck #2, for over an hour...again. And the Ruckers waited with us...again. They were incredible and we even pulled out our beach stuff and had hang out sesh #2 for the day on the grass bank of a parking lot. By 9:30 truck #2 arrived, we put Cooper in Aaron's car in the one extra seat while I hung out in the hatchback and Rudy and Tucker rode with the scary looking (but very nice) tow truck driver. Tucker was so wired that he actually got to ride in a tow truck that he barely slept on the way home. At 11:30ish we all arrived at Firestone. The driver dropped off the car and Aaron took me, Rudy, Tucker, Cooper, Jon, Lissa, and Kylea back to our house (don't worry, all children were properly stowed in their car seats :) They dropped us off, made sure we had everything we needed, and left at midnight for the 35 minute drive back to their house! Thank you again, Aaron, Jon, Lissa and Kylea! There are angels among us!!

Chapter 3:
We awoke Sunday with twenty minutes to get to church since our kids had slept in from the loong day and night previous. We spent the whole day reeling and being so grateful. We got word from Firestone (who charged us $100 to do a diagnosis that other auto shops do for FREE), that it was a broken timing belt. He let us know it'd be $500 to fix it...and that the 'fix' would either make it better, or help us discover that the engine was totally busted. As we called around, we got word that it would be wise to call it quits on our lovely Contour with 160,000 miles. Luckily we still had one operating vehicle, but as Monday and Tuesday passed, we realized how our lives had become accustomed to having two cars and I had waay too many appointments coming up in the next week to miss--and I was feeling separated from the world, not being able to leave the house all day (besides the fact that we were over on our minutes so I had very limited use of a phone). So, we started looking for cars. By Wednesday we had done a huge amount of research and found, that if we got a really good deal, we could get a new car for about the same price as a used but with the added perks of warranty, mileage...and it not being 'pre-owned'. Rudy had the day off, so with our game faces on, we headed out at 9 AM to find ourselves a good deal. By 4:00 we came home tired and without a car. We had test driven many cars, haggled with prices, waited, and decided on a car we really liked...but not the price. We were determined that we could get something lower than what they were offering locally. We continued to call many dealerships and by 6:00 we had it down to two dealerships in MARYLAND that were offering a substantial amount less than any other local place. By 6:30 we had decided on a car and a dealership and headed out...for our second 2 1/2 hour drive of the week. We made it just in time for closing at 9:00, filled out the paperwork until 10:30, grabbed a bite to eat at McDonald's (I think the first time we've EVER eaten there as a family) and headed home with our TWO cars at 11:00 PM! I don't do GPS well, so Rudy was in the lead and I was following him home in the new car. He quickly made a left lane exit that I completely missed and with 4% battery life left on his phone, I was a brand new car. Oye. Luckily with the very quick phone call we made, he was able to give me enough direction that I drove around and refound the exit and was back on track. We both drove a very lonely 2 1/2 hour drive home. We got home at a little before 2:00 AM on Thursday morning, exaughsted, but elated and excited.
I am the queen of cheapness! How can I have a new car?! I'm still geekin' out about it.
Here it is: Our Mazda 5. It's not a van, it's not a car, it's a VAR!...or a CAN!...or a crossover. :)

Chapter 4:
The rest of the week (Thursday and Friday) was filled with trying to figure out what to do with our Contour (btw, if anyone is in need of a 1999 Ford Contour that doesn't work, let me know! :), going to all of our scheduled appointments, catching up on everyday stuff, and mediorcrally (is that a word? :) celebrating the 26th of June--Cooper's 1st birthday, Rudy's dad's birthday, and the Rucker's anniversary. We apologize to all of you for our lack of preparedness and celebration! We were able to do a little watermelon cake party for our wonderful little Coop who's alive and well! Happy Birthday Cooper! WE LOVE YOU!!

We ended up having to bathe our kids in the sink to get all the cake off...just had to add this picture cause it cracks me up.
Chapter 5:
To bring this very loong post full circle and add to the irony of the week, I am currently writing this novel on Saturday night (almost midnight)...ONE WEEK after everything began. Rudy is in, of all places, Virginia Beach. He went surfing all day with the Ruckers and the Martins (insert crazy cuckoo face here). For some strange reason, I couldn't get myself excited to go to the beach I decided to stay home. What a wonderful day of NOTHING it has been for me and the boys! :) As I sit dumbfounded that it's only been a week, I am full of gratitude and love. I am so grateful that the Lord is in charge of our lives, and that we have angels looking out for us, whatever their form may be. What a very long week it has been, full of kids, cars, and angels indeed!

The End.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our Sunday Blessings

We get into our car to drive to church 4 minutes later than we usually like to leave. If everything goes well, we hit the lights right, we'll make it in our seats just as the prelude music has ceased. We sail through our first light feeling good about the time, when ahead we see flashing lights and a huge car lineup. (As a side note: for those of you familiar to Virginia, if there's ever an accident, it seems as though they never attempt to move the cars to the side of the road. The cops come, they clean it up, make sure everyone's ok, and fill out the paper work-- all in the middle of the road while cars lineup for miles behind them.) We look at the blocked road, look at each other, and realize we need a quick escape route. About 50 yards before we hit the lineup, Rudy pulls into the turn lane and turns a 'not-quite' U turn-- an about-face to find an alternate route. Not before we could plan our new route we see flashing lights barreling toward us. We're racking our brains trying to figure out what we did illegally as we pull off into a parking lot. We figure we had pulled an illegal U-turn...but why would he care about that while they're trying to clean up an accident? The officer leans in. "Sir? Why were you evading a check point??" AHH! We look like incompitent bad guys! To make matters worse, Rudy, while transferring to his church pants, forgot to include his licence. The officer chuckles to himself then says, "Do you not have it because it's suspended??" As Rudy frantically tries to plead his case, he offers to have the officer follow us home so he can show him his license. When that doesn't work, Rudy offers up his phone as another form of I.D. ! After what seems like ages (and I'm sure a good internal laugh from the officer from Rudy's direness to assure him he was innocent), he comes back to the car with a ticket. He tells us that Rudy just needs to appear in court with his license on this certain date and it will be taken off. Well, that court date is the first day of fall clinic and Rudy's day was booked. He proceeds to plead with the officer if there was any way we could go back and get it now and hunt him down at the check point to show it to him. The officer laughs; then with a great kindness he says, "I can see you're on your way to church. Your address is where I patrol later today anyway. How about you call me when you get home and I'll come by your house and take a look at that license."
We made it in time for the Sacrament, and even had a uniformed visitor to our house later that day! What a blessing in disguise! Although we had quite the adrenaline trip, I'm sure if we had gone through the checkpoint, they would not have had such mercy on a man in slacks without his license.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Outer Banks 2009!

Isn't it funny that whenever you have the most blogs you want to post, you don't post the blogs because that means your life is crazy and you don't have TIME to post?
Well, that's been our May. It's been full of fun adventures, but FULL nonetheless! So I'm finally posting our Outer Banks trip, which was the BIG adventure for May. We took advantage of our last opportunity to vacation with some of our good dental school buddies, since next year we'll all be GRADUATED by this time! Wahoo!
7 families shared a wonderful beach house with a 2-minute walk to the beach. We had some bad weather, a heated pool that was anything but heated, and some other minor setbacks, but the trip was extremely fun and full of memorable adventures (see below).

A few pictures to add to the repertoire...

A Promise Kept beach house in Corolla, NC (the uppermost city on the Outer Banks island)

Our movie night--
Watching Taken on Blu-Ray, rented from a movie store 45 minutes away: $8.
Cramming all 14 adults into the theater room, 2 per chair: numb limbs and sore bums.
Sharing 8 bags of popcorn (cleaned off in the first 10 minutes of previews): $3
Enjoying every minute of it: Priceless.

One year and all these boys will be dentists!
Don't worry...we didn't have THAT much fun...they're IBC's ;)

Hangin' out Outer Banks style.Not quite the Cape Hatteras light house, but a light house nonetheless!

Duck Donuts! mmmm... Krispy Kreme ain't got nothin' on these bad boys!

Tucker and Kylea: A Hallmark card in the making!

Cooper one of the VERY few times he was not consuming sand (but you can still see remnants of the prior consumed sand on his mouth...a common sight that week). Do you have any idea how hard it is to clean sandpoop off a bum...every poopy diaper....for an entire week??

I couldn't help but get in on the joy of the "big sand box" with all of the kids...especially when you feel like you own the entire beach!

Thanks to all who were there! It was a week of fun times, good memories, and great friends!
(Right to Left: Rudy and Melissa, Jon and Lis Rucker, Mike and Christen Milburn, Sam and Emily Waddups, Christian and Amanda Peck, Nate and Rebecca Sherman, Tyler and Megan Williams)