Connor is now 8 years old and in 2nd grade. Right now he's taking a break from sports. He played football for the first time this year and that was a bit intense. It goes from the end of July through then end of October with practices at least 3 - often 4 - times a week with one or two games. After that - Mommy needed a break! He's a math whiz! He loves it!! He's figuring out multiplication and division on his own - just because we wants to. He's a great reader - but does not enjoy it so sometimes doing his AR (Accelerated Reader program) is a struggle but we're plowing through it! He's still a social butterfly and loves being with people and friends!
Savannah is now 6 years old and in Kindergarten....and as opinionated as ever! :) She has not attempted any "sports" yet but has done dancing - ballet and tap. This is her second year. I didn't think she would do it again after last year. The last few months last year she would say she didn't want to go to dance class and would be a little booger about it, but then would have fun in class. Come to find out she was nervous about the recital. But once she experienced being on stage and so much attention on her and her friends - she was all about it. So we're at it again and will be adding cheer leading next week! She has done very well in Kindergarten. She went in knowing MOST of what she needed to know. She never really wanted to sit and learn at home. I never made her because I knew we would have to do stuff at home once Kindergarten started. She has excelled beyond my expectations. She is reading and sounding out words like crazy! She has started her own AR program! She likes math - but not quite as much as Connor!
Well, now that I have filled you in on the kids I can get to meat of what I felt I needed to share. Our Two Hour Adventure that God Brought Us Through
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 started off as any other day. We got up, got ready for school and went to school to have a wonderful day of learning. Around 9:00 we looked out our window at school and saw the snow was starting to come down. I looked at it and got a little leery - thinking about Best Road - the road we live on. We live at the top of our road - uphill both ways in. At 9:40 they announced school would be dismissed at 10:00. Craziness ensued! Papers, crayons, scissors, and glue were left laying on the desks as we scrambled to get the kids packed up and where they needed to be to get home. In case you haven't ever had to dismiss early - just so you know - just because they say we are dismissing at 10:00 does not mean all kids are gone at 10:00. A lot of families have two parents that work so they have to be able to get there or find somebody to get their kids. The bus drivers have to leave their warm houses to make their way to the buses and get to the school. Our school staff worked well (and do all of the time) together. Teachers, TAs, office staff, specials teachers - were running here and there to do what was needed - getting kids from the back of the school up to the front and vice versa -- trying to get a hold of parents if their kid had a different way home for inclement weather than normal -- keeping kids warm and quiet to expedite them leaving. It was great seeing everyone work so hard and well together!
After about an hour things had calmed down enough for us to be able to leave. I went back to my room to gather my hyper children (they had been playing in my classroom) and try to get out of there - wanting to get home before Best Road got too bad. I debated on staying a little longer to let the traffic go down but then I figured it really wouldn't because our school is on a main road. I also thought - "Maybe I should call Danny." But then thought - "No, I can handle this."(Next time, I'll call Danny!!) We gathered our stuff and Savannah realized she didn't have her ear muffs. We went to her room to look for them. We didn't find them and decided to just head out. We pulled out of the parking lot - turned left to head home...and then sat there on the road for about 5 minutes. I started seeing cars pulling through the school parking lot and heading the other direction. Being the so patient person I am....I sat for another minute and decided to pull through and go another way. As I pulled around the other cars I could see cars at the bottom of the hill that had slid off of the road. I know - this seems so trivial but if Savannah had not lost her ear muffs we would have left a few minutes earlier and could have easily been one of the cars that slid down the road. When we had planned to originally leave the traffic was still flowing - slowly - but going. When we left - it wasn't. At school they had said the best roads to travel are the ones that aren't traveled. The snow on the main roads was getting compacted and slick. So I decided to take a back way. I wasn't sure if it was smart or not because it is hilly and curvy but I figured it wouldn't be traveled and was our best bet to get home. Boy was I wrong!! Just so you know - NEVER drive Peterson Lane in Maryville if an unforeseen snow storm hits!
We made it about 1/3 of the way down the road just fine. We made it through the S curves, were heading down a little hill, got to the curve and I saw 3 cars that had been driving on the right side of the road - over in the left side ditch. My heart started POUNDING and my hands started shaking. I was at a place where I could not go backwards..heading downhill....around a curve...in a van. We made it around those cars and made it down the big hill after it. When we went around that curve my van did not slide at all. Not a hint of a slick spot for me. They slid and others cars that came behind me slid in the exact same spot I had just driven through but I didn't have any problems. We went around the next curve to head up the next hill and there were 2 trucks in the ditch on the right and more cars in the left ditch that had slid off from the right side.When we got to the the curve and were coming up the next hill when I went around the curve the first time there were just two trucks in the right side ditch; after I turned around there were three. I watched the third truck slide into the ditch as I headed back the other direction. A van in front of me turned around and rolled the woman rolled her window down and said she was going back the other way. I told her there was a wreck. She said she had just driven by it and was going to try to get back around to get off that road. I wasn't sure what I was going to do. I just knew I wasn't going to try to go up the hill in front of me so I decided to turn around. I thank the Lord there was a nice flat driveway for me when I had to turn around. If there had not have been I don't know what I would have done. Just turning around in the flat, wide driveway made me nervous. It was hard to see the driveway because of the snow.
We went back around the curve and headed up the hill. The van in front of me stopped so I had to. I was scared to death! I was afraid I wouldn't be able to start going back up the hill once she started moving again. I was right. So I put the car in neutral and went backwards a little and was able to get some traction and head up again. As we were driving slowly up the hill a car was coming from the other direction and was going around the cars that had wrecked so we had to stop again. As I sat there I watched that car slide down into the other cars. As I was going back up the hill seeing the other cars slide into the cars that were already off the road that made decide to not even try. I could have very well slid into them if I had tried to go around them again. The fear really set in then. Thankfully the kids were just along for the ride at this point...sitting in the back...watching Despicable Me 2. I thought - "What am I going to do?" I had noticed a side road at the bottom of the hill that was flat and knew I had to get there. I started backing up again. A truck was coming pretty quick up the hill towards me - I think he had 4 wheel drive. I was slowly tapping my breaks but when I saw him I had to just stay on them. I slid a little - I thought my heart was going to come out of my chest. Thankfully I stopped before landing in the ditch but it felt like it went off the road a little. I sat on the big hill gathering myself. When we went down the road we didn't slide but as I sat there, I watched two cars slide - one landed in the ditch. And just so you know....the ditches on Peterson Lane are deep enough that trucks weren't able to get out. I just kept thinking - "I need to get off of this road." A guy had gone up the hill and was walking back down. I asked him if he could check my tire. When I was trying to back down the hill and slid a little - I ended up barely off the road. I very well could have ended up in the ditch like almost every other car but I didn't. He thought I would be able to get back on. As we talked I watched another car come down the hill...it started sliding right towards me but thankfully it stopped after just a few feet. Then, the nice man, who had a lot of patience, took a few minutes of his time and was more than willing to help me get back on the road so we could get to safety.
There was a flat road at the bottom of that hill!! I was able to back the rest of the way down and get to the nice, flat street - my favorite street in the world right now. I backed onto it, put the car in park and called Danny in a calm panic. "I'm stuck on a side street off Peterson Lane." Once I said those words the calm started to leave. I may have done a little yelling when he asked what road I was on...the panic was overtaking the calm at that point. I may have said it so loud that the people he was meeting with turned to look at him because they could hear me. Danny's response thankfully was full of calmness that helped me to be calm. He said - "I'll call you back in a few minutes. I'm going to figure a way to get to you."
At this point the kids start getting scared. Being on a street they had never been on before, sitting there realizing that we weren't able to go anywhere made the tears flow a little. We have been doing short devotionals in the morning. All of last week it was about how God is always with us and will never leave us. We talked about that and I talked specifically about the ways He had been with us and had protected us. That helped them to calm down a bit. I saw some people walking down the hill and talking so I went out to see what was going on. I was informed that the road had been closed. There were people willing to leave their warm homes to see if they could be of any help and to pass information along when they got it. My mind started working a mile a minute - "What am I going to do? If the road is closed how is Danny going to get to us? If we can't get off this road tonight will there be someone to take us in? If there is, how do I know if we should go with them or not?" Question after question ran through my mind. Danny had left the office with a friend that has 4 wheel drive. I told him the road was closed and he couldn't get to me. He said he would sneak in...there was a couple of back ways. I felt better knowing he was coming but still not completely calm because who knew how long it would take for him to get there...he was coming from Knoxville. As I stood outside of the car trying to collect myself before getting back in. A nice lady yelled to the people in the street to go into her house and get warm and get some coffee. They declined because most of them lived close by and were just out looking at the cars. She didn't really look my way so I was debating..."Do I take the kids in there? They were asking to go in a house but I just don't know." Something in me told me not to. So, I was thankful for the full tank of gas and Savannah's lunch along with a few snack and bottles of water that were in the car. I don't normally carry snacks in the car. We had Savannah's lunch, a bottle of water that I had not used yet and some snacks that we had taken but not eaten just the week before. I tried to get the kids to eat Savannah's lunch but they were too upset to eat. If you know Connor then you know he REALLY was upset! Despicable Me 2 once again came to the rescue.
A little bit later Danny called back and asked if I could get to the corner of Mark Lane and Peterson. I was trying to get my brain to work and try to figure out how far away from there I was. I thought it was fairly close. I knew we couldn't drive but maybe we could walk. I had walked out to the corner of the street I was on again to see if there was somebody I could ask about Mark Lane. Danny was telling me if I could get there my brother-in-law, David, could probably get to us. He lives in the next neighborhood over and has 4 wheel drive. As he was saying this I saw a lady and young man walking down the road. She had her purse and a Walgreen bag and I thought I heard her say "Mark Lane and Peterson." I thought I was hearing things. As she got closer I asked her where they were walking to. She said, "I live at the corner of Mark Lane and Peterson. You are more than welcome to come to my house and get warm!" I told her that I had a 6 and 8 year old and wanted to know if that was okay and if they cold make the walk. She said that was fine. The young man with her said he would walk with us to make sure they made it OK because the road was slick. I went back to the van, collected the kids and their bags and we started our trek. The fact that as Danny was saying "Mark Lane and Peterson" at the same time as Clara was telling someone else where she lived could only be a God thing!! When the woman said we could go in her house I truly believe that the feeling I had to not go in was God. If I had taken the kids in her house I would have missed the lady who lived up the road.
As we were walking I called David to see if he would come get us. I knew if he couldn't at least we had a warm place to be until Danny could get to us. He chuckled a little at the fact we were stuck and said he would come get us. We walked down the hill, around the corner, and up the hill - past all 6 cars that were in the ditch. It was a bit slick - so much that Clara - the lady who took us in - ended up falling - but was OK. We walked on up the big hill and passed 6 trucks in the ditch. The first one was pretty much on it's side. We made it to her house. As we got to her house the nice young man said, "Stay warm and safe" and just kept walking. I'm thankful he was with us. He was able to help Clara up. He then kept an eye out for the slick spots on the road for us.We went into Clara's house and met her son, Austin - Connor had time to go to the bathroom, Savannah had time to pet the kitty - and then David was there. We were literally there for about three minutes. There really is not a big need for 4 wheel drive where we live. We don't usually get snow. If we do get snow it's just a few times and not a very much. But David has 4 wheel drive and was able to come get us and take us home. The kids got to add another first to their adventure - the got to sit in the back floorboard of David's truck all the way home....no booster seats or buckles. They thought that was pretty cool. Although I did have to assure Savannah that if a police officer had pulled us over they would not have given her Uncle Punkin a ticket...he was getting us to safety. :) When this trip home first started it seemed like it was going to take forever and in the middle of it - it felt as if it wasn't ever going to end. But once help came everything seemed to go into fast forward and everything flew by. We walked into our house at 1:15 and it was a very welcomed relief.
During the ordeal I knew and felt God with us but once we got home I was able to really look back and see how God totally and completely had us in His hands before we even left the school It is a day I will never forget!!