Thursday, June 13, 2013

Play Time

I cannot believe that it is already June 13th.  This month is going really fast.  This is our really busy season at work, so by the time that we get home I am pretty much wiped of all of my energy.

The kids have been enjoying the summer though.  

We have explored a historic house and grounds.

We have gone to camp.

We are enjoying the summer reading program.  And I even caught Pumpkin reading a book out loud on his own, with Princess nearby listening.  Now granted he did not get all of the words right, but he was trying and that is what really matters.

They decorated my college friend's car tires with chalk.

We have had friends over to play and swing on the ancient swing set in the back yard.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Roller Coaster Of Life

The past seven days have felt like a roller coaster with its ups and downs. 

Monday was Memorial Day.  I found out in the morning that a dear man from my little country church had past away.  He was 96 years old and was an amazing person.  It is truly a blessing to have known him.  In the afternoon we decorated graves.  The first cemetery we decorated four graves from my husband's family.  The second cemetery we decorated my mom and maternal grandpa's graves.  We dropped the kids off before the next cemetery.  Then head to my paternal grandma's to get the flowers, by the time we got to the third cemetery we had to turn around and leave.  The wind started blowing, branches were flying by, and the rain coming down so hard you could barely see.  We drove back to our house to take cover in the basement.  When we came back up to get the kids one of trees in the front yard that was damaged during the ice storm of 2006 had limbed just peeled off it.  It looked like string cheese.

Tuesday, I finished decorating the graves of my paternal grandpa and uncle at the third cemetery.  We had a delicious family dinner at my maternal grandma's house.  Then everyone went outside to help pick up sticks from the storm the day before.

Wednesday was a ROUGH day at work.  Enough said there.

Thursday afternoon was the visitation, funeral, and grave side services of the gentleman that I had gone to church with.  I arranged to be off work for several hours so I could attend.  The funeral message was wonderful and encompassed the Christian example that he lead his life by.  The songs were perfect, two of his favorite: Amazing Grace and In the Garden.  I will always associate In the Garden with him.  He was the Sunday school superintendent and would lead us in reciting Psalm 19:14 (Let the words of my mouth, and the mediation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, Oh Lord, my strength, and my redeemer)  before we left the church for the day.  He would go out of his way to help others and was like an extra grandparent to me.  On Sundays, him and his wife would give me quarters to do with laundry while I was in college.  Sometimes they would send little treats with me, like a loaf of homemade bread or a jar of homemade jelly.  I was able to hug his wife, but was saddened to discover that this kind grandmotherly lady has dementia. 

Friday went fairly well until the evening.  During the day, I caught these little guys just outside the building at work.

In the evening we were in for some storms, so we kept an eye on the local weather station and the pending storms. The tornado sirens went off shortly after 10:00 p.m., so we took sleeping Pumpkin and Princess to the bathroom in the basement.  We placed a blanket on the floor and laid them down on it.  The lights flickered a few times here and there.  Eventually we heard the all clear from the sirens.    Since we were unsure if there would be any additional sirens, we placed the kids in their sleeping bags on our bedroom floor and left the hall light on so we could get moving faster if necessary.  As we monitored the local weather station reports were coming in from the area we live in.  We heard our street mentioned as being a war zone.  We looked out our windows and had no trees down and no visible damage from inside the house.  I finally got the internet up and heard about all sorts of storm damage.  The major street that we just live off of was closed, many were trees down, reports of a trampoline in a tree, someone said that they had heard the whistle of a tornado near the cemetery just south of our house.

Saturday morning just after midnight we received an automated phone call from the local police department telling residents to not leave their houses due to downed trees and downed power lines.  If there was an emergency call 911, but do not leave your house.  Okay, that sort of scared me more than the facebook reports.  I only got about three hours sleep worrying about family members and friends in the area.  At five in the morning, I got dress and walked around our house.  Thankfully we did not sustain any damage at all.  By seven thirty I had talked to both grandmas and by eight I had talked with my dad.  I had thought about calling my pastor and his wife and assumed since my grandma that lives to the southwest of us and only two blocks from the church was fine that I didn't need to bother them.  We had signed up for a canoeing class, so we viewed some of the damage on the way to the class.  Massive trees were down, a box truck contorted and bend, small limbs and sticks littered the road ways, massive traffic of people gawking at the devastation.  

We got out the the nature center holding the class and we got to canoe as a family.  I think that the kids had fun.  Hubby did not have as much fun since he was in the front of the canoe and Pumpkin would not stay still and the canoe would rock from time to time.  I sacred Princess once with algae hanging off of my paddle.  She screamed and threw her paddle into the pond, so I had to retrieve it.  After we finished canoeing, I got a chance to take the kids around the pond to explore.  Princess liked the bullfrog that we found the best and Pumpkin liked paddling the best.  After our little adventure we went to the library to sign the kids up for the summer reading program.  Then on our way home, we drove through some of the storm damage to check on my paternal grandma's house.  The road just to the south of the cemetery looked like a war zone  (We live on the road just to the north of the same cemetery).  I hadn't seen anything that bad since the ice storm of 2006.  We were almost to my grandma's when we passed by the church and parsonage.  OMG . . . . . . . I think that I was in shock after that.  Trees just snapped off like toothpicks, debris everywhere, work crews in the area were using the parking lot as a staging area. 

Well,  the possible tornado (it has yet to be confirmed, but for the damage to have clear and long path it just has to be a tornado) started a half a block west of my church and the parsonage, went diagonal through the church property downing a lot of trees but minimal structural damage (windows, roof, awnings) (THANK YOU LORD!), then down the next street to the north about 5-6 city blocks before going diagonal through a section of houses, continued diagonal through the cemetery just south of our house (damaged the mausoleum, toppled trees), the ended across the street from the cemetery at two local businesses (one is pretty much totaled).  The closest it came to our house is about two city blocks to the south (approximately a 5 minutes walk from our house).  I was able to check the graves that we decorated and they were fine.  I also checked the grave of the gentleman that was buried on Thursday just east of the mausoleum, thankfully the dirt and flowers were still there.  I was so afraid that since the dirt had just been dug, that his casket could of gotten sucked out of the ground. 

Also on Saturday my sister's dad delivered a swing set frame.  It is the same swing set that my maternal grandparent got second hand when my mom was three years old, so the swing set is about 55 years old.  We had to go out and by some swings and it definitely needs a paint job.  But not too bad for the years that it has on it.  When I was a kid, it was painted green and yellow, so I hope that we can return it to those colors.  My most vivid memory of the swing was when my brother and I were playing on it in my grandparent's yard.  My brother was swinging and I had a hula hoop that he was swinging his legs into.  Somehow the hoop caught his legs and pulled him off the swing.  My sister's dad spanked me with his bare hands and my two top front teeth caught on his belt buckle.  They were not quite ready to come out but they were no longer in their normal position, so he had to pull both of the teeth out.  Gives me the willies just thinking about it. 

Sunday, grandma and I carpooled to church.  Besides water damage in the basement from the sump pumps not working because of the power outage, there was minimal damage to the building.  I saw some shingles on the ground and some of the awning was missing but not bad considering.  The church's pavilion needs some major work and the parsonage had some damage to the roof and a window blown out.  Thankfully none of the trees that fell or were shredded touch any of the buildings.  Most of the trees on the property were damaged on way or another.  But it is truly a blessing that pastor, his wife, the parsonage, and the church made it through the brunt of the storm.  Anyway, this afternoon we got the swings installed and the kids had fun swinging back and forth.

Well off to have some more adventures.  Hopefully this week will be much calmer.

### 6/3/13 Update: The National Weather Service has confirmed that it was an EF1 tornado with wind speeds up to 90 miles per hour. ###