Hunkering Down for Hurricane Matthew

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A little over a week ago we faced our first Florida hurricane. Threats of a direct hit over Saint Augustine kicked us into evacuation gear. Thankfully, with the majority of Florida family less than 2 hours away, we had a place to stay and made plans to head inland towards Gainsville.


When several local gas stations were out of gas and we received word that St. John’s County schools were closed Thursday and Friday, we made the decision to leave Wednesday night after Chris got off work to avoid future traffic. We packed our bags, put pjs on the kids, and headed to Lake Butler.


About an hour into the drive Norah said she needed to go potty. (Note: We are almost potty trained over here. The kids have received various rewards along the way (minus the M&M’s – I ate the one-month supply after 3 days and remembered why I can’t keep junk food in the house) and now I’m brainstorming a reward for myself because I. AM. TIRED (and the M&M’s are not sufficient).


(Chris, if you’re reading this, a massage will do. Or a mani/pedi. Or better yet? Take the kids and leave for 5 hours and don’t come back. Okay, thank you).


Although I tried to reason with Norah that she was wearing a pull-up and “Don’t you just want to pee in it so we don’t have to stop and we can get to Poppy’s house sooner?” it didn’t work.


I’m thankful it didn’t work because we weren’t to the bathroom stall before she vomited all over the candy aisle of the gas station. Thankfully, this made the candy no longer tempting to purchase. That was the only good thing about the situation.


There were ugly tears, ugly SMELLS, and lots of emotion. The majority of the emotion from Norah had nothing to do with the fact that she just threw up, or in her words, “choked,” but rather because she was wearing her new Elmo pajamas from Meme and now they were dirty. This was devastating.


Several baby wipes and a change of clothes later we headed back to the car for the remainder of the drive. We arrived safe and sound-ish with no more sickness.


The next few days were a flood of emotions as mandatory evacuations were played out – fear, anxiety, and then relief, when Hurricane Matthew hooked to the East and it was clear there would not be a direct hit on St. Augustine. We wondered about our current home (my parent’s condo) and the home we were supposed to close on the very next week. How would they hold up?


In Lake Butler we vegged out, played, and enjoyed time with family. Miles and Norah watched The Lion King for the first time. And we ate. A lot. Red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, turtle pie, ice cream, etc. A cousin made the following joke on Facebook:

“So far I’ve eaten one junk-food calorie per reference to “hunker down” on the Weather Channel, so I’m going to need one of those EMT crews with a crane to get me out of the house on Monday.”

This was me. I could very much relate to this post, especially because I had previously made it to day 22/30 on Whole 30 and wasn’t used to sugar, dairy, gluten, or anything fun.


However, we did not need to call an EMT crew Monday because when we got back to the condo Saturday night (once we heard the condo had power again) I threw everything up. Again. And again. And again, sicker with a stomach flu than I’ve been in a few years. I don’t think it was from Norah because hers was very isolated – she felt fine after – and never showed symptoms again. This bug lasted a solid 24 with food sensitivity through the next few days.


Unfortunately life doesn’t stop when you’re sick and Chris had to go to work. The office had been closed with the hurricane and there was a lot to do. Since this was my first time having to take care of kids while being sick, I don’t think I’ve ever missed our mothers more. Thankfully a girl from bible study agreed to take Miles and Norah into her home (along with her two littles) for a few hours so I could get extra rest. It was so appreciated, and if you’re reading this, I OWE YOU!


As sick as I was, I was also grateful that our family and home was safe. At that point we had heard of the damage and devastation done to St. Augustine and surrounding areas. One of the first people I met here has 5 kids and her entire first floor is ruined. I can’t begin to imagine what she is going through, but I know she has faith and people in her church have stepped up and served her family over the last week.


Driving through town and seeing the damage is extremely sad. If this is the result of a category 3 indirect hit, I cannot fathom the category 4 DIRECT hit that was originally predicted. As horrible as a tragedy it is, I will say that it is incredible to see all different people harmoniously coming together for the greater good.


Last Friday we closed on our new house. It will be a few more weeks before we officially move in, but we are very excited for what’s to come. With a house, a family, and employment, we are blessed beyond what we could imagine and continue to praise God for His faithfulness and blessings over our family. We give thanks to God, “for from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:36

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