Monday, April 28, 2014

Tornado!!!

We had a little scare on Monday, April 28 with tornados. The school sent out an email with a storm warning and asked us to keep an eye on our inboxes as they'll let us know if they will release the students early.  I had been planning on driving out to a neighboring town, Eupora, to visit a friend's store but the 30 min one way commute made me second guess and call Chris to double check. The storm wasn't set to hit us hard until 4:00pm so we agreed that if I could go and get back by 2:30 or so, I'd be safe. So we went and I enjoyed seeing more new places in our new state. The sky was starting to look ominous as I headed back and my mom called to see if I had heard about the weather and if I was OK. I got to Alec's school a bit early and good thing too, because they did release the kids early with hardly any warning. I was in constant contact with Chris, through texting and he was planning on meeting us at home right away. The campus shut down early for the storm but the traffic getting out of campus was sooooo bad that Chris ended up parking his car in a random staff parking lot and walking home. 

We were all together by 3:00pm and turned on the local news to track the storm. So far, our county wasn't impacted yet, but they were showing footage and pictures from Tupelo (about an hour north) where a Tornado had come through and caused a bunch of damage. We had just been in Tupelo the previous two days for our Stake Conference so it was weird` to think we were just there. (Actually our drive up to Sunday morning's session of Stake Conference was the WORST rain/thunder storm I remember ever being in..crazy weather)

We had previously  planned on where our "safe place" would be in our home and started making preparations to camp out in it.  Its the craft/game closet in our dining room. Its on the lowest level, with no windows or outside walls...and its not very big. Also the doors would easily pop off the track with the slightest pressure. We had to take out some bins and things to make room for all the pillows and blankets. I made a quick dinner and we ate it with the news blasting in the next room. Europa had a tornado touch down near by, but its trajectory was just north of Starkville...then another one touched down in Lousiville, 20 min south of Starkville..but again its trajectory just missed us. Our County did get a Tornado Warning and we hid in the closet for about 45 min. I peeked outside before we went in and saw some debris flying high in the sky above our house. In the closet, it got HOT and stuffy and crampy, and trying to bounce Frederick with zero room to take a step was not fun. In the middle of it, we peeked out the doors and could see a BLACK sky and heard somethings hit our house with a couple loud pings and thwaks. After a while I couldn't take being in there any longer and broke out. Happily we heard the weather guy say that Starkville was in the clear. 


Our branch was asked to help with Tornado clean up in Tupelo the following Saturday and Chris went to help. 


Friday, April 25, 2014

Happy popcycle picnic

The spring here has been really nice! Albeit there have been lots of rain, thunder etc, but its also not very hot. We enjoyed some fun on a blanket outside today while we whittled away the house until Daddy comes home so we can have Friday Night Movie Night. 


Gwen started freaking out either because her hands were sticky or because part of her popcycle dropped... I can't remember which thing actually set her off. To try and distract her, I used the boys sudden camera shyness to make a game out of trying to get their picture taken. 


It worked! Not only did Gwen stop crying, but I got a great surprise picture of the kids by flipping the camera to take a picture from the screen side of the phone while the kids came over to look at the previous shots. 


And Frederick is just a cutie pie. 

Speaking of cutie pies, Gwen loves to read to Frederick and he likes it too! She has such great facial expressions and uses a variety of voices as she makes up stories to match the pictures. (you can kind of see her lingering black eye from a golf ball incident a few days early. She had the biggest goose egg I have ever seen!) 









Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter

I love the chance to really focus and celebrate our Savior's infinite sacrifice and His beautiful resurrection.  It was especially meaningful for me to get to teach Relief Society on that Sunday as I prepared the whole week long.  I've learned more these past few months about how His Atonement makes a difference in my daily troubles and trials. How his suffering covers and carries me through the imperfections of my life. The promise and hope of eternal life as families is the greatest blessing of knowing the reality of His Resurrection. Because of Him, all trials are traversable and life can be pleasant regardless of circumstance.  I love this movie: 



Our branch put on a Good Friday Musical Fireside that we were all involved with. Chris and I sang in our Branch Choir and did a few numbers, Alec, Charlie and Gwen sang with the primary and did a few songs, I organized and led some of the older children in playing bells during one of their songs, sang in a trio that turned into a duet, had a difficult solo: O Divine Redeemer, made the program, and brought some food. Yikes. I was pretty nervous about everything but we had a lovely evening despite a small-ish turn out and me not quite rockin' my solo...at least I got through it.  A local Baptist choir performed some songs too. They were about 6 older gentleman accompanied by a brilliant young piano player and sang some real Southern Gospel style, call and response type of songs: I woke up in the Mo'nin' with my mind on Jesus etc. Then A counselor in the Alabama, Birmingham Mission spoke and we served refreshments. Focusing on that Musical Fireside meant we didn't get a whole lot of other Easter Week celebrations in besides FHE and coloring eggs.  This was the least prepared for Easter Day, I had been in a while and didn't really have all the bells and whistles for the kids' baskets, but that's not what is important anyway and the kids didn't seem to notice. 


About halfway through Sacrament meeting, Chris tells me that the dizziness he's been feeling for the last couple of days (the first listed side effect for both of Chris' post-stem-cell-transplant medications) has gotten bad enough that he felt like he needed to go lay down in the car. It was a little crazy getting all the kids ready for church by myself (since Chris has early meetings), putting something in the crockpot for dinner and getting stuff ready for my Relief Society lesson I was teaching at church...so I wasn't super excited about him leaving but poor guy looked pretty miserable.  The lesson went alright, Frederick was helpful and slept through it.

When we got home from Chruch, Chris was still feeling terribly dizzy and needed to go sleep until dinner. The playdo in the kids' Easter basket kept them happily entertained for almost 2 hours and Frederick fell asleep in the Johnny-Jump-Up.  So I was able to enjoy making dinner and a yummy lemon cake. 


We got invited over to a good friend's house for Easter Dinner and an egg hunt. We all had a blast. It really helps having friends around to celebrate holidays with when our family is so far away. 


We managed to fit in our traditional Easter Egg Roll before bedtime. We each had 3 eggs... and the winner was...


Me! I think this is the second time in my life I've won. Yeah, it feels pretty awesome. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Alec got glasses!

In the middle of all the craziness last fall, we got a note from Alec's school saying his eyesight was screened and showed one eye was a bit weak and they recommended he see an eye doctor. I was way surprised, overwhelmed with other things and figured it was semi bogus since Alec could see things just fine.  Then I noticed Alec squinting to see the TV if he was far away and realized he couldn't read the hymnal numbers on the little board at church. But life was still crazy that it wasn't until a month ago that I got him an appointment with an optometrist.


And simple as pie but 50 times more expensive, Alec got glasses! He looks handsome in them, but after a few days I realized I missed seeing his whole face. Between his I-need-a-haircut hair and his glasses, I felt like his cute angel face was hidden. I'm not sure if he has just forgotten to wear them often or if I'm just used to it but I no longer notice any difference...glasses or no. He is happy to have them and enjoys seeing things more clearly. The first day he just kept saying that when he looked down at the ground it seemed really far away...and he read every road sign he could on the way home.  


Friday, April 11, 2014

It's time for the masters!

Gwen and Charlie wanted to go hit balls after watching a bit of the Masters with Chris this morning. Ever mindful of the proper attire, Charlie made sure Gwen and him both had one glove on, and sunglasses. Gwen made sure they had a good snack: three big marshmallows.



The weather today is peeeerfect. It gets us so excited to have a big backyard soon. All this finalizing/inspections etc when you buy a house takes soooo long but I guess it's good because we need the time to figure out the renovations.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Columbus Air Force Base Air Show

Thanks to our van needing to get taken to the nearest honda dealership because of a check engine light (glad it was just some recalled pistons misfiring so they fixed it for free!) we passed by a big sign for an Air Show at the local Air Force base.

We put it on our calendars and went to check it out after the 1st Saturday session of General Conference. We had a ton of fun and really enjoyed that our kids were old enough to appreciate and be entertained by it. It probably helped that Chris was as excited as a little kid, enthralled with each trick and amazed by the talent and mind-blowing possibilities of the planes.  We saw the defending world champion trick pilot and the famous Thunderbirds with their f-16 fight jets. (Is that right Chris? I call upon you to jump on this post to give more details...)


So fun. Even though we had to walk over 2 miles to get from our parked car to the entrance if the show...that's well over 4 miles round trip.