Making 2011 History

Well, I feel like 2011 will be talked about for years to come as we have had some significant happenings in the past several weeks. y

In August I was asked to music direct for a theater camp and the girls were invited to be campers for free. It was a great experience. I only wish I had opportunities like that when I was young. These kids come to overnight camp and they eat, sleep, and breathe  music theater for 6 days. They take classes all day long and rehearse when they are not in classes. The highlight of the week is talent show night and the final performance for families. All of the instructors are highly talented choreographers, dancers, and directors who are actively involved in productions. My kids loved it…and I was honored to be a part of it. But planning for that week, packing and organizing for the 3 of us to be away from home for a week, teaching all those kids for  6 days, and accompanying for all the performances was a lot of work! We had planned to take a family vacation right after camp…so it was a pretty exhausting and stressful time – I’m not gonna lie! Once we were off on vacation we really enjoyed ourselves.

We went to Washington D.C. to see the Phillies play at the Nationals’ park. It was a terribly hot and humid day accompanied by a thunder storm and game delay. So an already long afternoon in the heat was made even more uncomfortable by adding a couple hours and bored children. And the Phillies lost! But we made it through and had a great hotel to go to to relax.

We spent the next few days at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum, walking to the Lincoln Memorial, walking past the White House, seeing the Declaration of Independence and Constitution at the Archives (the girls sang about the Constitition in School House Rock Live Jr. this summer at drama camp!) and the National Zoo. Emily got lost from us at the Archives and had to be returned by a security guard. That really freaked her out. We found out the reflection pool at the Washington Momument is being serviced and was completely drained. Also we heard that the brand new MLK Jr. memorial was to be dedicated that week as well (at least it was SUPPOSED to be)!

The day we went to the zoo was the day of the East Coast Earthquake. Apparently the epicenter was in Viriginia not too far from us, but we never felt it. We were walking around outside and didn’t notice anything. Many people were talking about it…but we were disappointed to have experienced our first ever earthquake and didn’t even know it! The zoo closed down all of the buildings as a precaution and the rest of the day we couldn’t go see any indoor exhibits. Hannah was so disappointed because we didn’t do the reptile house yet. Thankfully we were able to return the next day and see everything we missed due to the earthquake. Hannah certainly got her love of animals, particularly those with habitats around the water, from me! We both loved the zoo…especially the Amazon exhibit.

After D.C. it was off to Newport News, Virginia to see our friends, Jason and Nicole Argo. Jason was our church’s family pastor and they recently moved to be the lead pastor at a new church. We haven’t connected with many families in Stroudsburg, but we did with the Argos and were sad to see them go! They have a beautiful house in Virginia and really like their new church. We went to Viriginia Beach and enjoyed the sun with the kids. According the news there was a big hurricane heading for the East Coast and we were at the beach 2 days before it hit. We noticed the water was unusually cold for that area at the end of summer and wondered how the hurricane had affected that. We continued to watch the weather and when Virginia Beach was ordered to evacuate, we figured we had better leave too. We didn’t want to get stuck in traffic of thousands of people trying to go in the same direction so we drove in the middle of the night and left a day earlier than we planned.

We had no traffic and went to my parents’ house. Hurricane Irene went right through Jason and Nicole’s area but they only had rain and damage or flooding. We had next to nothing in South Central PA! Steve and I sat in the hot tub during the rain and will remember that as our encounter with Hurricane Irene! We came home and unpacked  and the girls started school the next day.

Our first grader and fifth grader had a great start to the school year! Hannah is in middle school this year. Not only is she the youngest in her class (due to starting kindergarten in NY where the cut off is later than it is in PA) but her school district starts 5th grade in middle school. So here she is at 9 years old changing classes, visiting her locker, and walking the halls by herself….and she is LOVING IT! She really is. I’m happy for her. It seems to be an easy time to transition all of that when she is still very much a kid, and not dealing with hormones and crazy peers and all that adolescent stuff at the same time.

This year was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. 5 years ago I wrote a song for the 5th anniversary and I mentioned it to my pastors who said they wanted to do it this year. Because the end of our summer was so crazy, we didn’t have much time to recruit musicians or rehearse. We performed it with a skeletal band and a few extra singers that simplified the parts, but it seemed to go over well. I put together a slide show to be shown with the song as well. Our sound guy recorded our performance and Steve put it all together in a video so we finally have a recording of it, although it is far from professional-sounding. We hope and pray it has been an encouragement and that it can be used to point people to the cross.

So…the earthquake…Hurricane Irene…9/11 10th anniversary…it has been an eventful several weeks, hasn’t it? We are thankful for our blessings and God’s protection. And I imagine we will remember this time, as the news reminisces back to these events as it often does, as a full but exciting time for our family.



3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kendra
    Sep 17, 2011 @ 23:53:43

    Sounds like a great vacation even with a couple ups and downs thrown into it! I’m glad you blogged about it. It’s always nice to hear about what’s happening with the Raus!


  2. Shelby
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 12:19:52

    Loved reading about how your life has been going. Your girls are simply adorable and it sounds like you guys are keeping quite busy.


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