Wednesday, August 31, 2011


 Hurricane Irene blew through this past weekend.  It was a long day for everyone in our house (As it was for many people in the area ) After Brian and I got the kids to bed Saturday evening we snuck out to the garage, opened the door and sat in the back of the expedition watching the storm blow around us.  Before we went in for the night one of us mentioned how well the playground was holding up.  Well.. we spoke too soon... The next morning, after peeking out the front, we saw the playground was our one casualty. 

The kids were upset.. but in the grand scheme of things... it wasn't a terrible loss.  We still had our house, our electricity and most importantly our health...  At some point we will have to replace the playground for the kids... but for now, the playground behind Farm Fresh will be a great substitute.

After work today I got the kids ready and we set out for the park.  The kids have been going bonkers, and for both my sanity and their relief of wiggles, a trip to the park was an absolute necessity!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Prepping for Puppy

In four days, Maddy and Travis will be the proud parents of their new puppy, O.P.  They have discussed it amongst themselves and decided that Maddy will be the mommy and Travis will be the daddy.  With that important decision made, we went out tonight and got all of O.P.'s puppy gear.  The kids had a blast, and they are wishing that tomorrow was Saturday.....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

On Tuesday morning I realized that the smoke was not hanging in the air like it usually does when I wake up in the morning.  There was also a chilled note in the air... may I dare hope that Fall is almost here?  With those thoughts in mind, I scrambled quickly to open all the windows and doors to let this fresh air permeate the house before the dreaded smoke came back.... I caught Peyt enjoying the back door screen as I walked in the room. He seemed fascinated with the idea that the outside was so close to him.  He kept putting his face up to the screen, then turning around to talk to me about it. As I am writing this, the smoke has returned full force, so we are back to air conditioned air and tightly shut windows.  But in that one beautiful day I was able to watch a moment of joy and childhood wonder that I can treasure and think back on.  It might have been an ordinary day and an ordinary moment... But to Peyt it was magical.  


Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Puppy Countdown Begins!!!

In fourteen days, we will be the proud parents of this ADORABLE lil puppy!  The kids ask everyday how long until O.P. gets here.. two weeks still seems like and eternity to them.  These are pictures that were taken yesterday while O.P. and his brothers and sisters got some outdoor playtime.  Enjoy the pictures!!

O.P is 7 weeks old
O.P. playing with his brothers and sisters.  It's out version of where's Waldo, called Where's O.P.
O.P all tired out from playing....

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Rustay Family Tradition

It's Thursday night again!  If you know our family at all, you know where we are between the hours of 6:30pm and 8:30pm.. give or take.  That's right! Chick Fil-A!! ( Or as Travis calls it.. Chickafaway )  It's kinda like Cheers.. you know the t.v. show.. a place where everyone knows your name.  At least if you frequent there as much as we do.  Thursday night is kids night here in Suffolk.  That means that two of our three kids eat for free!  If you ever find yourself in our neck of the woods on a Thursday evening... feel free to join us for some waffle fries and sweet tea...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to Normal

It has been a week and a couple days.  Life is moving forward and we are as well!  All of the kids are home and are all comfortable being here.  I was worried about Maddy, but she is doing fantastic.  She talks about the bad guys that came in our house, but she is just happy they didn't take any of her stuff... **sigh** 

Tonight I was able to talk Brian into going for a walk with us.  Since we only have a double stroller, Maddy automatically gets the boot and has to choose between walking or riding her scooter or bike.  She opted for the bike tonight. :)  She is still tentative while riding.  Living out here, there isn't alot of space for her to ride on her own and learn. But she is learning.

The boys are happy with riding.  Peyt is looking at everything around him.  He points and talks in his own Peyt Peyt language that only he can understand.  Travis brough  Thomas the tank engine with him for the ride.  This week he is using Thomas as his "cell phone".  Oh and he also decided instead of being three, he is going to skip to fifteen :)

Thank you again to EVERYONE who has reached out with words of encouragement.  Thank you for just letting me talk.  Last week was a tumultuous week, between work, internet issues and mind games.  God has reminded me over and over that He has our family in His hand.  We are so blessed beyond belief.  I am reminded daily that this thing called Life is NOT predictable, but there are a couple sure things in it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is

Saturday was supposed to be a normal day for my family.  It was supposed to be like any other day of our normal, non interesting lives.  Brian headed off to work in the morning. Miriam, who had spent the night was helping me wrangle the kids and get ready for my friend's baby shower later in the day.  I did a load of laundry, showered, dressed and made lunch for the kids.  I even had time to blog about my daughter's hair.  Then we packed up kids, cupcakes and decorations and left the house for the afternoon. 

We were in the middle of the baby shower when my phone rang.  I looked and saw it was Brian and let it go to voice mail.. I thought he just forgot that I was busy and I would call him later after the party.  Then he called again two seconds later.  I rolled my eyes at the ladies and went out of the room to answer the phone.  " Rachel, you need to come home now!" my husband said urgently.  "Umm I am in the middle of the shower.. remember??" I said impatiently.  "Get your stuff and come home now.... We have been robbed.  I gotta call the police I need you home now." He said quickly with a hard edge I don't hear very often.

I realized I was crying as my mom and Marlana came and hugged me.  I couldn't talk, I couldn't even breathe.  I didn't know what to do but sit down.  Someone got me my phone, my purse and my keys.  Someone else was asking questions.  I was still crying.  All I knew was that I needed to get home.  I raced out of the church and to the car.  I tried calling Brian but he wasn't answering.  My mind rapidly raced over what was in the house, what was important, and what they might have taken.  Brian finally picked up.  He asked me how long before I was going to be home, and I asked him how bad was it?  He was quiet... he said he didn't really know. 

That ride was the longest of my life.  Finally I turned into our driveway.  I saw the police car, I saw Brian and his parents sitting on the porch.  I saw our blue doors standing wide open.  I turned cold.  As I got out of the car Brian came and hugged me and seeing him upset made me start crying again.  I wanted to run in and start looking at the wreckage.  Brian started whispering to me.  "Babe stay out here.  The officer is checking things out.  They don't want us to mess any evidence up before the investigator comes."  My mother in law was trying to hug me and encourage me. I sank down on the porch still numb. 

The investigator came, he asked us to walk through the house with him to try and get an idea of what was gone.  I wanted to go in, but I didn't all at the same time.  He ushered us in our own front door.  Our entertainment center was empty... cords hanging everywhere, Ps3 gone, Wii gone, all the games.  I nodded... that was expected.  We turned into the kitchen area.  There were tools scattered everywhere.  Travis' trains and train tracks were spread everywhere. And then I saw my work area.  On my table ( where my work computer and laptop resided) was a scattered mess of papers, coupons ( they dumped my coupon notebook in their haste to grab stuff) and random toys.  We then moved to our room.  My eyes wouldn't take in what I saw.  My bed had been torn up.  The mattress and box spring strewn in the corner.  "Why would they do that?"  I whispered to no one in particular.  "They were looking for money most likely." the investigator answered.  On my dresser       ( which is usually in some state of messiness) things were in even more disarray. My two jewelry boxes were of course gone. In my head I started thinking of what was gone.  Mentally ticking off what was now missing.  My high school class ring, Brian's as well.  My sapphire and gold birthstone ring my parents gave me when I graduated.  Maddy's handmade baby bracelet that I was saving for her to give her daughter.  All the charms Brian had given me for my necklace. ( He had given one for every special occasion in our life )  The tears started again.  Brian just hugged me tighter.  We kept walking through the house.  DVD players both home and portable, my camera, all of Brian's tools.  We went to garage.  They had taken Brian's golf bag and his ancient sound system.  When we were done with the walk through my mind was reeling.  I was left with a torn up house and a broken sense of security.

After the investigator left, my inlaws and their friends helped us clean up what was left behind.  We cleaned up the scattered papers, whe put our bed back together and gathered up the toys and dvds spread on the floor.  Brenda ( my mother in law) popped up with surprise and grinning at me showed me Travis' favorite movie.  "Buddy will be ok! He has his movie! She exclaimed happily.  I smiled, relieved we didn't lose that.  We were amazed to see that they didnt touch any of the children's things.  Maddy's pink barbie power wheels, her princess bike, or even their VERY heavy piggy banks.  We could be thankful for that at least!  The house was cleaned, my inlaws left and Brian and I sat down in silence.  We looked around at the hole in the entertainment center, the empty work table and equally empty garage.  I didn't know what to do or say.

Soon help arrived!  John and Emily came bearing gifts.  John carried in a t.v. and a dvd player.  I thought with relief that now Travis could watch his Cars movie and be happy.  Emily came in and hugged me... not saying much, but the hug was what I needed.  We sat and talked things out, occasionally interrupted by other friends calling to see how we were doing and what they could do to help.  My heart was heavy and full all at the same time. 

We went to dinner, and then when John and Emily left we headed to the bedroom.  We started on our list of what was missing and what it all was worth.  I started crying again.  The TVs, the electronics, the tools they were immaterial to me.  My heart was crying for the irreplaceable things.  Maddy's baby jewelry, handmade necklaces from my sister.  Things I knew those robbers would care nothing for and most certainly would toss somewhere.  Our list was done, they had taken over $6500 worth of stuff from us.

Then the hard part came.  We got ready for bed, turned out the lights and tried to sleep.  I realized quickly that this would not be happening for me.  Brian fell asleep quickly holding my hand.  I closed my eyes to try and sleep but all I could see were  nondescript people running through MY house.  These same people touching MY things and then simply driving away.  I saw them clear as day in my room, pulling my bed apart and grabbing things off my dresser.  Then I started hearing every bump, every scratch, just EVERYTHING.  I pulled out my phone and turned the music up as high as I could stand.

I cannot describe how thankful I am to everyone.  Our friends, family and church came out in full force on Sunday showing us how much they care.  Things will get back to normal.  The kids will come home soon, the door will be replaced, and sooner or later so will the stuff that was taken from us.  Now what I am praying for is peace.  I would like to not be afraid.  I would like to get the picture of those people combing through our stuff OUT of my head. I have heard that comes with time.  Pastor Ernie said on Sunday that time heals all things. I am waiting for that healing now.  Our home is a precious thing to me.  It is NO castle, but it is where I used to feel most comfortable.  We have raised our children there. We have had celebrations there.  We have cried there.  I love the memories that we have shared there.  There will be more great memories to come.. those are what I treasure most anyways. I am so thankful that my babies were not there!  Those are my TRUE treasures here on this earth.  Everything else, is immaterial.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The little Girl with the Curls

It's a fact.  My daughter looks like her Daddy.  Everywhere we go, we get the comment... My she looks like her daddy. And when we are out without him, I have even gotten asked if I adopted her.  One of the only things Maddy got from me is her curly hair.  She sprouted these beautiful curls when she was two years old, and besides one unfortunate self haircut, has been growing her hair long ever since.  I do not like to admit it to myself, but she is growing up.  She is interested in my daily toiletries routine.  She watches with fascination when I straighten my hair and apply makeup.  She wants to do the same things as me and wear the same things as me.  Her desire to be like Mommy is the best compliment that she could ever give me. :)  

We have straightened her beautiful hair once before.  Ever since that time, she has been begging to do it again.  So today, Aunt Mimi and Mommy decided to straighten her hair.  Here are here results!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sir Peyton the Picky

The other children had never questioned what we put in their mouths.  They ate what we gave them, and for the most part called it good.  I did not realize how spoiled I was.  Maddy was eating salad before she was two, Travis was popping cherry tomatoes like candy since the time he could chew.. I thought we were golden!  Our kids were terrific eaters.. with out us even trying... Then there came Peyt!

Peyton, my youngest, has been and maybe always will be my picky child.  We started cereal when he was almost 4 months old.... I should've known by his reaction to that cereal how the next months would unfold.  The grimaces, the convulsions, the screwed up faces... they all should have been an indicator of the "fun" Brian and I had in store. 

I finally got Peyton to eat cereal.  I mixed in the baby food, then tried  straight baby food.  He became a pro at those.  So it was time for some solids.  You would have thought we were killing him.  Back were the convulsions, the crying and yes.. the faces.  We tried dry cereal, we tried biter biscuits, fruit puffs.  You name it we tried it.  We had to force most foods into his mouth and make his chew them. 

 Fast forward to today...  We still have to force all new foods into Peyt's mouth, but he is trying new things.  He now eats chicken casseroles, Pb and j sandwiches, BBQ ribs, pasta and some fruits.  He still pitches fits and pushes my hand away sometimes, and he draws the line at enchiladas! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Country Life

I was born and raised in the city.  I fell asleep listening to police and ambulance sirens.  A quick trip to Target was just that... a five minute drive down the street. And then I met Brian.  We got married in 2005 and he whisked me away  to Suffolk, VA.  I did not know much of the town,  It was something I drove by on my way to and from Lynchburg during my college days. 

We have now been here for almost 6 years... I now have to plan "quick" trips to anywhere.  The closest Target is thirty minutes away, and if we hear a siren   ( which is not often ) we actually have to worry that it is someone we know.  The drive to see family and friends takes a toll on the car's mileage and our gas budget.  But there are some pluses.... the quiet is nice.  The kids have room to run and play, and the privacy has been a lifesaver in the past!!! ( Long, long story :) )  Tonight is one of those nights that I am happy to be in the country.  Our big plans after dinner was a walk for Mommy, Maddy and Peyton and yard work for Daddy and Travis.  Life slows down here in the country.  When life is going crazy... it is nice to take some time to enjoy a moment. 

The Boy and the Blankie

Travis and his blankie met when Travis was 3 or 4 months old.  It was Brian's blanket from his bachelor days.  The UNC logo woven throw had graced the back of his couch until I took over the decorating department.

Brian got the all important job of decorating Travis' room when he found out we were having a boy.  The UNC room project then commenced.  The walls were UNC colors, the curtains were dark blue to complement the Carolina Blue and Brian sacrificed his blanket to the cause.

Little did he know that one day the UNC throw would turn into blankie... Blankie sleeps with Travis.  Blankie travels with Travis.  Blankie gets dirty with Travis.  Travis cannot close his eyes at night without blankie by his side.  I drew the line with blankie traveling when Travis was around 1 or so.  But that didn't stop Travis or blankie.  Travis solved his separation problems by pulling pieces of string out of his blanket and taking those wherever he went.  From then on, Brian and I have been finding Blankie strings in the most unusual places.  Under the couch, under the bed, hidden behind doors, stuffed in books, in the car and even hidden in the freezer... yes... the freezer. 

I cannot wait to share this story with Travis, his future wife and even his children someday.  It is something special... something uniquely Travis.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Time flying

It has been a busy summer... working, playing and just living.
Peyt is eating more than just chicken nuggets, frozen waffles and yogurt now!  A true victory for Mommy :)
Travis,my sweet three year old boy is the accident prone child in our family of five.  This summer he has taken this role to heart and gotten "boo boos" all over.  His most infamous accident for the summer would have to be when he ran into the corner of the hallway wall and split his forehead and got a goosegg... poor baby

We are heading out this morning for Maddy's checkup.  We are registering her for K5 this Thursday and she is so excited.  She is already talking back packs, school books and meeting her teacher!