Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 - Goodbye

I thought these pictures were really striking:
NBC News 2008 Year in Pictures

2008 was a good year, but I am glad to say goodbye and welcome a great new year - 2009. Looking forward to the progress we will make this spring. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas at the "Last House Standing"

Christmas at the last house standing

(CNN) -- The streets are dark and the town is deserted, but Pam and Warren Adams still put up Christmas lights outside their Gilchrist, Texas, home. It is one of the few remaining after Hurricane Ike devastated the area in September.

When Ike hit Gilchrist on September 13, it destroyed nearly everything in its path. Most of the 200 or so houses there were flattened by the storm surge, and the Adams home was the only one left standing on the Gulf Coast side of the town.

Now, the couple has returned to repair their battered home. Warren Adams is living in an RV trailer on their beachfront property. Pam Adams, 53, who spends the week at an apartment in Baytown, Texas, drives more than an hour to visit their home each weekend.
Life goes on, even when it seems like doesn't go on all around them. Everything inside the house is waterlogged, mud-coated, and it is a mess. It looks like it is going to be a very long time before it is completely livable. The couple plans on building elsewhere and using this home as a weekend house.
"I'm so proud my house survived," Adams said. "I didn't realize how much I loved the house until I moved into this apartment."

Adams said she and her husband would sit on their balcony and watch the ocean and sunset in the evenings. "I want everything back the way it was," she said. "I want my neighbors back."
That has to be hard. I can not imagine every house in my neighborhood being GONE. My house still standing. I was not surprised to hear that they haven't seen a dime of insurance money yet. This year there will be no present opening in Gilchrist, but 2009 should be much better.
There will be no presents or visits with friends and family. It didn't seem appropriate, Adams said. "Everything's so depressing. We didn't feel like we should be celebrating when everyone's suffering so badly."

But the couple has big hopes for next year. "It'll be a big Christmas with the neighbors," Adams exclaimed. "We'll fry turkeys, and there will be a lot to celebrate."

Adams said she's looking forward to 2009. "I just want to get back home and watch all the structures go up in Gilchrist. We want to be the welcoming committee. We just want everyone to return."
Amazing. I am ready for 2009 as well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Breakfast with Santa @ AHS

We had a Santa Breakfast at our school this morning, sponsored by the National Honor Society. Aidan had a nice time, but he was soooo shy. All the pretty girls in santa hats just set him off. He kept hiding behind my leg most of the time.

He had a nice time listening to the choir, orchestra and seeing all the other little kids there. But, he didn't go near Santa Claus. One of my former students was dressed up in the Red/White with the beard, pretty funny). We kept trying to get Aidan up there, but he refused. He was too shy. Such is the life of a 4 year-old.

I hope they do it again next year. They did a super job with it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let it Snow!

I told you it was cold!

It snowed tonight, and I mean REALLY snowed for the first time since we have lived here - since 1994. It is really amazing. I am still shaking my head about it. Aidan had a ball!

Snow balls! The snow was so perfect that it packed into snow balls. I couldn't believe it. Heavy, wet and perfectly 'packable.'

Aidan threw a snowball for the first time in his life. He said to me a few weeks ago, "Daddy, I want to see snow." I felt bad, but I said, "Son, I'm sorry. We don't live in a place that it snows. It may never snow in Houston in your lifetime." Guess Daddy isn't so smart! Less than a month later, he's licking snow out of the air. His comment was, "It tastes like lemons!" I'm not sure what that means.

Aidan said, "Daddy, it's just like Christmas Town." He was thinking about "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." It really made me smile.

A crazy night. We went to Target and bought an electric blanket. We have no heat because our heater isn't working. Dude is going to come and fix it tomorrow, but for tonight we wanted Aidan to be warm. So he's sleeping in our bed and we'll have a nice cuddly and warm blanket to keep us resting comfortably tonight. Tomorrow the heat will be fixed and we'll probably never need the blanket again!

What a night. We were driving back from Target and people were outside taking pictures on cell phones like crazy. It made me wonder if the cell phone companies saw a spike in texting and pic sending tonight! Tomorrow morning we have 'late arrival' for the kids. We always do on Thursday mornings. From 7 to 9 the teachers are in meetings, so the kids stay home until then. Then we have periods 2, 4 and 6. This gives teachers and opportunity to plan and meet. And tomorrow it'll give students the chance to get out in their yards, have snowball fights and they are going to be pretty wild come 9 am!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pearl Harbor Day

December 7th is Pearl Harbor Day. We should never forget our wounded and fallen veterans. Last Friday in AVID we were lucky to have Sargent Brown visit us and explain how the military benefits system for education works. I came across this website this weekend and thought it made a lot of sense to look into:

Wounded Warrior

How can you get involved? What can you do? According to the site they mention what just a few have done here:
One gentleman and his two friends took three days to walkover 130 miles from Miami, FL to Key West, FL, not as a fundraiser but to simply raise awareness for Wounded Warrior Project. Decked out in WWP shirts, with a flag, literature, and stickers, they spread the word to drivers and locals passing by. On their walk they did receive checks for WWP, but more importantly were able to let more people know that there are opportunities through WWP to help take care of these young men and women when they return severely injured from war.
Little things mean a lot. You can also buy some gear - like backpacks - at the site. Proceeds go to help our wounded warriors.

Want to meet some of our wounded warriors: Meet the Wounded Warriors

Have any ideas on what we can do to help?