Tuesday, March 20, 2007

His Future is so Bright!

Parker 1, originally uploaded by chmcelwee.

Look at that sweet little face!

Camp Voyageur

Parker 2, originally uploaded by chmcelwee.

Parker wearing his stylish CV shirt from his "Gretchie"

Parker Cleaning

Parker Cleaning, originally uploaded by chmcelwee.

Parker playing with Mackenzie's sweeper.

It is time for a Parker picture update!

Parker and Daddy, originally uploaded by chmcelwee.

Parker is growing so fast - it is crazy to think that he is going to be 18-months old tomorrow! He is a goofy little guy that is full of energy and mischief! He loves to do everything that his Daddy does, including saying a very funny "Daaaamn" every once in awhile. We know we shouldn't laugh, but it is so hard.

This is a picture of Parker and Jim at his cousin's Mackenzie's 2nd birthday party.

Houses hemmed into homes

Back home again in Indiana. Today's my first day back at work after my trip to New Orleans. We had a great trip. There were 16 of us, mostly from First United Methodist Church, with other volunteers from Habitat for Humanity. We stayed at a small church just outside of New Orleans in Metairie, LA. Throughout the week, people from our team worked on three different homes, but we mostly worked on two homes hanging insulation and drywall. The homes we worked on had about three feet of flooding. Enough to ruin all of the furniture, appliances and memories from a lifetime in a home.

The home I worked at was in the Read Blvd. East neighborhood of the Eastern New Orleans section of the 9th Ward. It was owned by a wonderful lady named Brenda. She's the mother of 6 and has been a foster parent to 50 kids. She's lived in her home 30 years. Meeting Brenda helped put a face on the tragedy for me. Without meeting her and the very gracious New Orleans residents we met all over the City, it would have been very bleak. Going on 19 months since the hurricane, the National Guard is still patrolling the streets. Essential services like schools, drug stores, hospitals and groceries aren't in operation. Street signs and stop signs are still down. There were armed guards patrolling the Lowes and Home Depot. The dark houses, empty shells of apartment building and the spray painted "x"s on doors were a constant reminder that there is still much more work to do.

I'd encourage anyone who has the opportunity to go help in the rebuilding to please go. Stay tuned for pictures from the trip.

Click here for a map of the flooding.
Click here for a map of the neighborhoods in Orleans Parish.
Click here for a flash time line of the hurricane and levee breaks.
Click here for the City Plan to rebuild the Read Blvd. East neighborhood.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Long time without an update!

Ok, I've been slacking on my blog updates, so here's a big one.

  • Congratulations to Mike and Julie McElwee on the birth of their 2nd daughter, Madeleine Grace McElwee. Parker is no longer the youngest grandchild.
  • Congratulations to Matt and Connie Brown on the birth of their 3nd child and first daughter, Cassidy Rynne Brown, who was born on January 21st.
  • Cathy, Parker and I saw our first "kids concert" on February. We saw Justin Roberts here in Bloomington. It was a benefit for the Children's Corner Cooperative Nursery School. He has some infectiously funny songs that I can't get out of my head!
  • We celebrated my 32nd birthday a week ago. It was rather uneventful, but it was great to go out to dinner with my family. Parker loves pizza! My parents however didn't call me on my birthday and sent my card "postage due!" I'll be milking that one for years, I'm sure.
  • Parker continues to grow and amaze us. His new favorite words are clock, button, crayon and star. He's learning how to hop and he's got the best "ribbet" I've ever heard! We're working hard on his colors and "Please" and "Thank you."
  • I keep getting hooked further by Heroes on NBC. It's the super hero fix I've been looking for since I "grew up."
  • I leave on Saturday for a week in New Orleans. And no, it's not going to be drunken debauchery. I'm part of a team of about 20 from our church that are going to help rebuild and repair homes damaged by Hurricane Katrina. It's part of a spring break blitz being organized by the United Methodist Committee on Relief.