Wednesday, September 14, 2011


 So, it's September.  Summer had to end.  It was such a good one.  School started up.  Ava is gone.  Like, 8:30-3 gone.  She had a play date last week and was gone until 5.  I fed her, chatted with her, read with her, then squeezed her and she was off to sleep, just to wake up and be gone again.  She loves it, of course.  I have really enjoyed just being with the boys, but I miss her.
The few days before school got quite crazy with the hurricane clean up and what not, but we were able to squeeze in a tradition that we decided to start this year.  Yes, we stole this tradition from NieNie.  But, I'm sorry, how can I not copy such a great tradition.  It totally puts the focus off of the new clothes and backpack and on to how to be better.  The back to school feast!  The main part of the tradition that I love is giving your family a theme for the year.  We settled on this:
 It seemed very applicable since we had spent the last two days serving.  Plus, we really hope that our kids will learn to serve, both small and large.  We hope that they learn to look for those in need, on the playground or in class and choose to help them, because by doing so they are also serving God.  So we talked about this and now every night we talk about what we did for someone that day.  In my ambitious spirit I thought I would embroider each theme on a quilt square each year, then when they graduate I would have a quilt to send away with them...I hope I do this.  I like the idea :)
So I made them each a crown to let them know how special they were and how important their new "roles" in the family were going to be.

 The crowns were most definitely a hit.  (No Bennett doesn't have something on his nose- just another scrape...have you ever seen him without?)
 Now here is Ava's first day of school.  She was thrilled about her new shoes mainly.  I was thrilled that we both liked the same pair of jeans, her because they are comfortable leggings, me because they don't show the girl's crack...thank you GAP.

 It rained the entire first week of school.  It was a real downer.
 Here are both of their true feelings...
We miss you at home Ava.  But we know you are such an awesome first grader!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Miss Irene

Miss Irene was a nasty one.  Here is our story of the crabby ole lady visiting our house.  We returned home from OBX just as Irene was hitting there in NC.  We immediately went to the store (at 11:30 pm) to fill the fridge that we left fairly empty before vacation.  The stores were practically empty...well, if you were looking for water, bread, soda and beer.  Lucky for us, we weren't really.  So we grabbed some basics and made it home.  Saturday morning we had to quickly prep the house for the storm.  Neighbors, who had already prepped their houses came to help us, which was super nice.  Ty noticed a rain gutter that was clogged right before we left...on the top floor.  So he and Joe took turns climbing the creakity ladder to get to the third floor.  I thought for sure he would fall to his death, so I took a picture.
 Later on Saturday the rain started to come.  It came, and came, and came.  Seriously, through the night we could see rivers flowing down our street.  We woke up Sunday to more rain.  Our house was holding up really well with a pretty dry basement.  So we started to check on our neighbors.  They weren't so lucky.  Most of them had water in their basements and a lot of it.  Tyler took his wet vac up and started helping a neighbor keep the water out.  We heard from people at church, many also had water in their basements.  Some had lost power and so they couldn't even get the water out.  So Sunday morning the Kearl house soon turned into a daycare.  Two of the families in our neighborhood had water in their basements so we brought their kids to our house to hopefully relieve the stress.  By this point we had a couple cracks in the foundation in our basement that were beading water, but we put a towel over it and were good to go.  Here are most of the kids, having a dance party in my front room.
Before 2 of the kids came over the rain had finally stopped and my friend told me she was going to let her kids play outside for a bit since they were restless.  I told her I didn't feel comfortable with that since the wind was still pretty strong out there so to just send her kids over here.  Not 15 minutes later we heard the loudest crack.  We looked out the window to see this.
This view is from our yard to our neighbors house.  This tree was probably 100 feet tall.  It took out three trees on it's way down.  Sad for us it took out a beautiful tree of ours that has gorgeous blossoms in the spring.  It basically has one branch left standing, so it will likely die.  It also fell onto their unfinished fence...minor setback on that job.
Not too long after the first tree fell, we heard another crack.  This time across the street.  It is hard to tell in the picture below, but the tree on the right had a couple huge branches break and get blown into the tree on the left.  They were stuck in the tree.
What we didn't realize is that it was also stuck on the power line.  So I am talking to my mom on the phone, explaining to her that we are all fine, when suddenly I see flames (small flames, but flames nonetheless) in the tree.  So I had to call the ole 911 and let them know.
The neighbors all gathered around to wait for the firetruck.  By this time the winds had died down and weather was very mild.
I had a really hard time getting a picture that justified the flames, but you can at least see fire in this one below.
A police car came.
A firetruck came.
And another firetruck came.  It was quite the show.
They informed us that the power line would soon blow and then it would be a live wire so we should stay clear and we would lose power.  So we waited, enjoyed our last bit of power, made cheese dip, grabbed the chips and headed for our porch to watch it burn.  Our neighbors grabbed drinks and joined us for the show.  Soon, just as they predicted "BOOM".  And we went dark.

Firemen came back.  Told us it could be weeks until we get power...haha...silly firemen.  Then they made us prisoners in our own homes, they taped us in with yellow tape, reminding us that the wire across the road was indeed live and would kill us if we got near.  Yay!  Kids, we don't get to leave the house for 2 more weeks!!! 
Mr Pete, drinking his morning coffee, confined to his front porch.  But alas, the firemen were wrong, we had power withing a few days.  It wasn't all that bad until 6:30 when it got dark and we got bored.
So that was our relationship with miss irene.  Unfortunately, being without TV, I assumed it was about the same for most people around us.  That was until Saturday morning when we found out that our church service would be cancelled except for a 30 min. meeting, which we attended in work clothes so we could all spend the rest of the day in areas that had complete devastation.  President Obama flew into a town called Patterson which is about 20 minutes from us and within the boundaries of our church group (stake).  This was very close to where we were heading to serve.  So we put on our bright yellow helping hands shirts and headed to help.
The first neighborhood we went to were nicer homes and had a lot of damage, however, as the day went on and we were moved closer to the river where water was just descending (a week after the storm) conditions were horrible.  It was amazing to see a group of 10 people go into a house and clear everything and gut it (drywall and all) in a 45 minute span.  This is something that would have taken the individuals days or weeks.  There was unbelievable mold and mildew.  The smells were horrific.  The people who only a week before had called these houses their homes were completely devastated.  It was sad to see.  The next day was labor day and a lot of men went out to help again. 
This week we again had serious rain.  Bad news for many of these people.  Our weekend is the same, Saturday and Sunday we will go help these people that live so close to us completely devastated while we start our first week of school like it's no big deal.  I am sad for them.  I am sad for the complete towns that are condemned in Upstate NY.  It is very eye opening to see a disaster first hand.  It is humbling.  I am happy I can help, though little it may be.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


We took a week off from life and headed down to Outer Banks, North Carolina to rent a house with friends for a week.  Little did we know Hurricane Irene was headed our way, but not before the house got shaken up by the earthquake.
So we got to the beach quick to do a little surfing...wait for it, wait for it...
 Christian could ride the tiniest wave forever...I guess it helps to weigh 35 lbs...go figure.
 If we weren't at the beach then the kids were in the pool.
 The boys did some deep sea fishing...check out the massive fish they caught...

 We did very few things other than play at the beach.  It was awesome.

 Ava had so much fun playing with Jenna.  Jenna is autistic, so their "play" is different than Ava's other friends.  Ava adores her.  She would follow Jenna around waiting for her to want to play with her for a few minutes. 
 They were cute together.  I was so proud of Ava.  She was a really good friend and so was Jenna.

 Ryan and Jenna, my two adorable pregnant friends.

 The kids did this for hours.  At least until most of them had been stung by jelly fish.

 Let me have bennett tell you how he felt about the beach...
 Yes, he liked it.

So, by mid week they started ordering evacuations due to the hurricane.  Much to my dismay, we still hung around until Friday (looking back, it was worth it, but at the time I had total anxiety).  Tyler and Bennett walked along a completely empty beach Friday morning before we left.  Irene hit OBX late Friday early Saturday, then she slowly followed our path to our house.  But THAT is for another post!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Summer Description

Our summer can pretty much be described by two things.
The lake.
The Shutes.

I may have mentioned our lake before :)  The lake is an AMAZING part of NJ.  It has the beach.  It has diving boards- high, low and medium (which now even my 2 year old will jump off all three).  It has shallow water for my kids to play safely in and deeper water for them to become awesome swimmers in.  It has docks for them to jump off of.  It is has gorgeous scenery.  It is 2 minutes from our house.  And it always has friends there to play with.  In this case, it wasn't just any friends, it was the Shutes.  Who, despite living directly behind us and spending every waking hour that we allow them together, still make even the lake more fun. 

 We pretty much head to the lake every Saturday after the house chores.  Daddy ends up throwing at least one of the kids around, in this case, Ava.

Bless you Crestwood Lake.  Bless you.  May Labor Day stay far, far away.

Overload of Us

Prepare yourselves.  This is going to be serious Kearl overload.  Just so you know, I narrowed the favorites down...drastically.  We had two photo shoots in Utah, one with our own little family and one with the whole Kearl fam.  This first slew of pics were taken by my lovely friend that I played Volleyball with, Lauren Evans.  It was so much fun.

 We did the pictures at StarMill Antique shop and it had amazing props for the shoot, like these stop signs. 

 Isn't this old bike the it.
 Now we are moving on to the Kearl family photo shoot which were done by an old high school friend of mine, Hayley Anderson Kase.  Do mind that we are all wearing the same thing except Bennett.  It is hard enough to come up with something for all 5 of us one time, not to mention two.

 I am dying over this picture.  His little hands in his pockets is soo cute to me.
 oops, this one's not mine...but I'll take her.
 The gang.  Dang that is a lot of kids all about the same age...photographers nightmare, but Hayley was soo good with them all.
 Grandma K spent sooo much time sewing these darling shorts for all the grandkids and my kids love them.  I think this picture is adorable.
What's that you say?  You want to see more?  Well, if you must...