Every light in the House is on

11:38 AM

Well not exactly - but they should be. We had a powerful ice storm hit us last week which made the Willamette Valley look like a war zone. Huge old trees split in half, and if they didn't break, they bent over themselves touching the ground. Water-logged and frozen limbs came down over power lines, pulled up sidewalks and crushed cars and houses that lay in their path. 

If you've never heard a tree fall, it's quite a daunting sound, and more so if you cannot see it, nor know which way it's falling. Right as it was getting dark last Thursday we could hear so many tree limbs falling and cracking, it sounded like the Fourth of July. After several cracks, you'd see the low lying clouds and exteriors of home flash and glow blue as another electrical transformer blew. 

At one point I was walking toward the kitchen and hear the unsettling sound of another tree succumbing to the weight of the ice, but with it the ground trembled just enough to let me know it was much closer this time... I ran out to the living room, scooped up Emi, Seth grabbed Aria and we ran toward the front of our house - the furthest we could get from the ten massive cedars and giant maple tree in our back yard. 

We sat there shaking for a moment, rattled but thankful that our house was in one piece. We figured the maple tree had broke, but Seth and I looked at each other with same thought, we needed to see what came down. One look outside and we realized that it wasn't one of our trees that fell, but our neighbor's. In the dark we couldn't quite tell what actually happened. Did it hit their house? The branches are over the fence.. they have a sunroom... the fireplace.. they have little kids.. are they okay? 

Seth ran next door. He returned a few minutes later after he found that their house was intact, only by couple inches. The once giant oak tree obliterated the backyard, patio and all the contents, snapped the powerline, but did not break the glass or damage the house. 

Around this same time - we lost our power, most likely due to another large tree in the distance.


For four nights we were without power, prepared for a fifth as the temp outside averaged 28 degrees. I can only explain it as going on a camping trip in the winter that you weren't prepared for. Thankfully, our neighbors across the street never lost power, and had a generator they loaned to us to use. With that, we kept a small space heater going at all times. We bundled up in more layers than I could count, and brought out all the candles, flashlights and blankets we could.

 A couple times a day we would disconnect the space heater to heat water in the electric kettle and fill a couple thermos containers so we could sip on something hot and keep our hands warm. We sectioned off our house with a thick blanket nailed to the walls to keep at least part of it a toasty 60 degrees. When we'd venture in the other half, you could see your breath. I could only imagine if we didn't have that generator and heater; we wouldn't have even been able to stay in our home. 

Our neighborhood is so kind and generous - bringing us hot meals and coffee to keep us going. The girls were troopers. We played games, did all our puzzles, read stories with a flashlight & snuggled under blankets.  We ventured over to our in-laws to shower, do some laundry and warm up a couple times. On Sunday, after spending the afternoon over there to do laundry (and bake some cookies because Christmas ;) - we pulled up to our house. The first thought that came to my mind was that I didn't remember leaving the lamp on in Aria's room - and before I could even finish the thought I yelled out - "oh my God, we have power!!".

It felt surreal. Like this thing called electricity.. is awesome! We realized the power had probably been on an hour or so as our empty freezer was pretty cold and our house was warming up. It was the little thing that made us so happy; to walk into the bathroom and hit the light switch and actually have a light come on. Walking around without my fingers tucked into my pockets or to wear just a t-shirt felt very freeing. To not have to check that the girls fingers & toes were too cold was such a relief. 

With all of this also came the realization of how much we take for granted. How easily available everything is for us - all. the. time. But we also learned how little we really need to survive. Shelter & warmth, food, water.. the basics. As a culture, we consume so much and alot of it is unnessesary. So I must be feeling a little nostalgic as I sit here on the computer with only the Christmas tree in front of me lit up, a candle flickering on the table. The girls are napping, the house is quiet and dim, but warm & cozy. So thankful, blessed & grateful. 

Merry Christmas. 

XOXO, McKenzie

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