Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Evacuees

The original plan was to stay with my aunt Sharon here in northern San Diego while we were here for osteopathic appointments for Katelyn Grace. But I'm writing this from a hotel lobby in the same city. If you've been watching the news at all, you can probably guess why. My last post mentioned that we could see and smell the smoke from the Southern California fires. Before we went to bed, we could just barely see a red glow behind the hills. We didn't think too much of it, and headed to bed. At 3am we got a call informing us that we should keep close tabs on the approaching fire. At 4am, Mom and I headed out to fill up the van and found out that the fire was only a couple of miles off, heading our way. We returned to the house, packed up some essential items, loaded the car, and headed out through the thick smoke.

Before we left, I looked out the back window and saw flames and emergency lights on the next hill over, less than half a mile from my aunt's house.

As we pulled out of the driveway, three police cars raced onto Aunt Sharon's street. Three policemen jumped out and started banging on doors, telling everyone to get out. We were so thankful we had more notice than that and had a couple of hours to pack things up!

The smoke was thick, and traffic was heavy from a portion of the half million people who were eventually evacuated due to the fires. We drove to Oceanside, fifty miles north of San Diego, and stayed several nights in a hotel. But there was another fire east of there, the air quality went down, and everything was covered in a layer of ash. The next town over was evacuated, and we eventually ended up moving to another hotel here in downtown San Diego where the air quality is better, and we are closer to Katelyn Grace's osteopathic appointments.

So here we are. Not exactly what we had planned for our trip to San Diego.

If you've been watching the news, you probably know that the Witch Creek fire was the most severe and threatened the most houses. You may also have learned that Rancho Bernardo was the hardest hit area from any of the fires. In that one area, 700 homes were burned to the ground, and other homes and businesses were damaged.

My aunt and uncle live in the heart of Rancho Bernardo, less than two miles from where the fire jumped I-15. Two homes just up the road from them were burned to the ground. And remember that hill I saw the flames on as we were heading out that morning? When Uncle Bob and I went back to the house to check for damage last Thursday, I noticed that there was nothing left standing on the top of that hill. It had all been burned except for a few small bushes and a single palm tree.

Thankfully, my aunt and uncle's house was untouched, as were many of the homes around them. We can't understand how in the world these fires work. You drive down a street; everything looks perfectly normal. And then, all of the sudden, you see a blackened tree. You drive further; everything looks normal. Out of the blue, there are the charred ruins of someone's home. Drive a little further, and everything is normal. Then there's another burned fence or car. It seems inexplicable.

We can't go back to Aunt Sharon's house just yet because the air quality is bad and the house still reeks of smoke.

The Lord has led us to just the right hotels where we can get good deals. We tell the people there that we are poor refugees, that we have a little baby with us, that we need a place to stay for the night, and their hearts melt. : ) I'm just kidding. But the Lord really has directed us to the right places, and people have been very kind.

Back home in South Carolina, we're fairly used to dealing with hurricanes, and have had to evacuate for them once or twice. But wildfires are a completely new experience for us. Not exactly what we had planned on for our trip to San Diego.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Mom, Katelyn Grace, and Me [Lauren] in San Diego...

I can look out the window here at my aunt's house and see the smoky glare from the Southern California fires. Even though the closest fire is - as far as we know- about thirty miles away, we can still smell the smoke, and our eyes sting and water. Everything is extremely hazy, and this afternoon we couldn't see the nearby hills behind Aunt Sharon's house. The sun was a blazing red behind the smoke.

Things are going well here, I suppose. We are desperately praying for answers for Katelyn Grace. She has some respiratory problems - which the smoke from the nearby fires is not helping. Something - we don't know what - seems to be terribly bothering her much of the day, but she has been sleeping better at night, normally waking up only twice. Unfortunately, she's still on South Carolina time, and gets up between 4:00 and 5:30 each morning. Poor Mom!

Please pray for us here. We need to figure out what is bothering our precious little baby!


Friday, October 12, 2007

A Glimpse Into Our Everyday Life


Here are a few everyday pictures from the last few weeks.

Please excuse the sunburn! : )

Lunch break in the middle of some wedding shopping with Aunt Dottie

Pop and baby

Ready for a walk - or stroller ride - in the frigid 61-degree weather :D

What a little angel!

This is just a very "Leslie" picture!

It was cool enough to eat dinner out on the porch the other night! Outdoor dinners are always so nice!

A southern October:

Let's see ... We went swimming at the beach last Sunday. The pool around the corner is still open. It got just about up to 90 degrees several of the last 7 days.

Finally, we're getting some frigid weather! At least, it's supposed to get down to the lower 50's tonight....

Alaska will be quite the switch! They had some snow flurries today!

I'll put up a better update when I get the chance. And I need to get some more Alaska posts up. All in good time.... Mom and I [Lauren] are leaving early Monday for San Diego for some doctors' visits for the baby, and won't be back until around the end of October.

As always, thank you for your prayers!

~Lauren, for the whole family

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Our New Home

Yesterday, Tait started work on our new home! It's on a one-acre lot just a mile down the road from his parents' house - plus a half-mile driveway. : ) It is surrounded by several big parcels of land, so there's not much chance of someone building right smack dab next door to us. There is an old, rundown house on the property already. He's planning on tearing that house down most of the way, and building on that foundation for our own house.

He has done so much work towards getting this property! I feel very blessed to be marrying a man who takes the responsibility of providing for his family very seriously, and I am sincerely thankful for him!

When Mom and Dad and I were in Alaska in July, we went out to look at this property. Tait hadn't put an offer in on it yet, but he had had his eye on it for quite awhile. It's just beautiful!

A fresh bear print at the back of the property