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Saturday, June 28, 2008

Game Postponed due to Hail

As we are preparing to get ready and go to the Championship Baseball Game, we realize the sky is getting really dark. Sean & I go to the computers to check the weather and we are not under any weather warnings. We're looking at a line of rain moving quickly and figure it will blow through right before we go and we'll play ball.

Well, as we are looking at this, we lose power and the tornado sirens go off. Hmmm--everyone to the basement as fast as you can go! We get our flashlights on and turn on the radio trying to figure out what is up. You can hear the wind and hail coming before it hits. It was hailing so hard and the winds were so strong, we were screaming at each other just to be heard. It was deafening.

We did not have a tornado, just (ha--JUST) straight line winds with gusts up and over 80 mph. The rain and hail appeared to be falling horizontally (instead of vertically like it should). It was coming at the houses with a lot of force. We had marble sized hail and a lot of it. The way the wind and rain came down, we got a little water at the sliding glass door in the basement. We thought that was the extent of our damage.

Here is some of our hail almost 15 minutes after it stopped. The front of our house saw the light twisted on the garage. We lost some fence boards and knew we had some damaged screens. Everyone up and down the street was so happy that the 'major' stuff was minor. Across the street, the wooden play set blew over onto the fence and knocked it down. Our next door neighbor lost a limb off her tree.
Then the cry came down the road. Check your siding, we have HOLES in ours. We're all thinking that this is over reaction and it's just leaves stuck to the house. Oh no, our north and west walls are full of holes and cracks in the vinyl siding. Pea and dime sized holes. In checking out the rest of the neighborhood today, it's only our street that got the holes in the siding. We were on the path of the worst of it.
Our power was out until after 5:30am today. Thankfully, the freezer didn't really thaw and we didn't lose much food at all. We're grateful to have power as some people will most likely not get power for one week.





Below is Nathan playing in the water in his fireman raincoat. He's ready to help anyone who needs assistance! You can see our neighbor's tree limb down. The other picture is of our former house. We went to check on it to make sure all was well before we close on the sale of it. Lost a large limb in front. Didn't hit a house or driveway, so not a big deal. Just hard work to get it cut and cleaned up.

Other Damage Around Town:

Clothing donation house at school tumbled two to three times and landed upside down. Then check out one of the trees in our area. If you look, you'll see the left half is normal and the right half lost most of the leaves.

Street signs are crooked all over the place and stop signs are bent and twisted. Some were even snapped off at the base and blown across streets.



Here are some trees that were twisted in the wind and snapped. I hate to see so many trees down!

Below is the absolute worst damage we saw. It's a couple miles from us, but close enough to make you thankful for what you do have. Coming up from the back, we see the fence is down and blown all over and the roof was ripped to the framework. Then as we get closer, you start to see the extent of the damage.
The garage was blown completely off the house. The wall entering the home and the wall that the walkway to the front door is on still stand. We saw pieces of the garage door, the shingles, wood, garage rails, etc. up to 1 1/2 blocks away. In many respects, this was worse than a tornado. Tornadoes are bad and hit small areas, but this was very widespread and hit across the entire city. With the winds as high as they were, it was worse than a small tornado. We're guessing that their garage door couldn't take the force of the wind and buckled. When that happens, the garage becomes like a balloon filling with air. It can only hold so much before it pops. There were two houses side by side without garages on them and the third house only lost one window.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Birthday Bonanza Rides Again

June is a very busy month in our family!!! Sean, Rebekah and I all have birthdays (as does Sean's dad) plus our anniversary happens this month. I forgot the camera at my birthday celebration (Chili's), but we went back to Chili's for Sean's birthday and I did get pictures then.





Rebekah had her birthday party last weekend and we surprised Sean with a double birthday party like we had last year.


I bought a fairy dress for her to wear. Isn't she sweet?!? Too bad that "two" attitude has kicked in. (tee hee) She loved every present. She loves to rip wrapping paper and open presents. She got a tea set, a "George" monkey blanket, LOTS of clothes (woo hoo), a doll that talks and has a binky and her very own Dora Bike.
This little piggy...




Here's a video of her riding the bike through the house. She looks like a fairy motorcycle mama! (Her father had tied her new stuffed Curious George into the sash of her dress.)


video

Daddy got a "39 Again" crown to wear and I loaned Rebekah my personal tiara (long story--I won it). She liked wearing it upside down like a headband. Here they are with their crowns/tiaras and cake.



Then Rebekah insisted on TRADING crowns/tiaras. Daddy is a good sport and let her do it. (Have I mentioned how spoiled that girl is?? Although our doctor says she isn't spoiled, she's well loved.) Sean fed Rebekah some frosting from his finger. Then he let her swipe some to feed to him---but every time she'd get ALMOST to his mouth, she'd stick her finger back in her own mouth to eat it. (Smart kid.)



Here she is eating cake with great abandon--and no thoughts of waistline, pounds or figures. Ah, she gets that from MY side of the family.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We're on our way to the Championship Game

What an awesome game last night...and I hear the CWS game (Fresno State) wasn't too bad either. In our baseball semi-finals game, both teams ended the first inning with three up three down. In the top of the second, we were three up, three down. Their team scored 1 in the bottom of the inning.

Third inning--base hits for both teams, no runs scored.

Top of the fourth, we ended up playing our limit of nine batters and scored 7 runs. Now the score is 8-1. Bottom of the fourth, we managed to hold them to one run--8-2.

Top of the fifth, we played all nine of our batters again and scored 6 runs. Now 14-2. Bottom of the fifth, they started their comeback. By the end of the inning, it's 14-7.

Top of the sixth (last inning in our league) and the held us to one base hit. Still 14-7. The boys didn't know the score. We wouldn't tell them so they wouldn't get lazy. Coach tells them to play each inning to win so they were worried that they could lose. Out in the stands, we parents are going through the numbers, since they can only have 9 bat, if we get 2 outs--we will win.

The first out comes early, then we walk one. He steals 2nd & 3rd. Another base hit, but we hold the kid at 3rd. Managed to strike out another one and the parents all know we've won--but the kids don't. Next batter up goes down swinging and with a loud roar, the kids come running in knowing they will play for the championship on Friday.

The very best part was in the madness, coach high fived them coming in and then said in a loud, stern voice, "OK kids, even though we won, there's no excuse for poor sportsmanship. Get lined up quickly to shake hands with the other team. They played hard and deserve our respect." So our kids got lined up and were ready before the other team to tell them "Good Game." I'm so glad to have a coach teaching them sportsmanship and respect!!!

I'm glad it will be over Friday night--these nail-biters are exhausting for me to watch. Hmm--bet it's tiring for the kids, too.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Semi-Finals, Here We Come!!

Monday was an exciting night at our house. Andrew's baseball team had to finish their rained out game. They are in the playoff tournament for their league. At the end of the 2nd inning last week, they were down 5-4.


Monday they finished the game and it was three up, three down, three up, three down. They play 6 innings total for a game.


In the top of the 6th, they got a base hit to first base. He stole 2nd & 3rd. Then they walked one (who stole second) and walked another to have the bases loaded. We had a single for the tie. With bases loaded, their team walked one, but then (to prove we could have done it on our own), one boy hit a double and ran in two more runs. We held them to two hits in the bottom of the sixth to win the game 8-4.


Tonight is the semi-finals. If they win, they will play in the championship game on Friday. We're so excited for their team. What an honor to make it this far. On Monday, Andrew ended up foul tipping twice and got a strike for the out. I did get one of the fouls on video.

video


Here is a picture of Andrew at bat and one of his team. They have adopted Andrew's "Rally Cap" theory. He started this earlier in the season (like he does at the minor league ball games here) with his team. You turn your baseball hat inside out and wear it that way for the "Rally Cap." When he was coming up to bat, I saw all these kids turning their caps to Rally Caps. I thought he was in the dugout and almost missed his first swing. I guess he's a trend-setter and we didn't know it.

Monday, June 23, 2008

How's the weather?

I don't know about you, but the weather here is currently HOT. And it's HUMID. And it's getting HOTTER each day. However, the beauty of it all is that you never know if we'll have snow one day and sun the next. Rain or tornadoes. Here are a few photos of one of our Tornado nights in the basement.
Andrew tries to sleep because he was in the middle of a ball game when the game was called on account of a tornado on its way. (Good choice to call the game!)
Rebekah doesn't have any idea why we're all in the basement, but it must be to entertain and play with her. She also is fixated on the rock outside of the basement sliding glass door and wants to go get it--even though it's a monsoon out there. She is eventually distracted by the wipes (that she's supposed to stay out of). She gets one out and begins to clean everything.


Nathan is happy to play anywhere, anytime. He understands that it's 'bad weather' and we have to go to the basement, but there are no worries from him. As the night goes on and on and on and on, he gets more and more wired trying to keep pushing past his bedtime.



Eventually, he gets out from underneath the table and decides to play in his PBS Sprout Let's Go Show Mobile that he made months ago (aka: cardboard box automobile). In the first photo, he can't look at me because he's DRIVING---hello Mom, don't you get safety? In the second photo, he's pretending to crash around a corner.


Here's a video Sean took of the clouds. They are moving in a counter-clockwise spiral motion. This is right above our house. Not sure it shows well on the video, but it is an awesome force of nature to watch. There were no funnels by us and not enough rotation to spawn one, but still an impressive thing to see.


video

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Our Summer Theme

This is our theme for this summer. (If the video doesn't show, click http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_Thxm5VxrM# to see it).

It's the theme song from the hit show "PHINEAS AND FERB". It's just too funny to keep to ourselves. I guess this is my attitude for summer vacation, because I didn't think ours was overly busy...however, everyone we talk to says, "Your kids are doing ALL THAT?!?!?!" Ummm--yes, but they aren't bored.

There's 104 days of summer vacation,
And School comes along just to end it.
So the annual problem for our generation,
Is finding a good way to spend it.

--LIKE - MAYBE --

Building a Rocket, or fighting a Mummy, or climbing up the Eiffel Tower,
Discovering something that doesnt exist, (Phineas: Hey!) or giving a monkey a shower.
Surfing tidal waves, creating NanoBots, or locating Frankenstein's brain,
(Phineas: It's Over Here!)
Finding a Dodo Bird, painting a continent, or driving your sister insane!
(Candice: Phineas!)

As you can see, there's a whole lot of stuff to do
Before school starts this fall, (Phineas: Come on, Perry!)
So stick with us, cuz Phineas and Ferb are gonna do it all!
So stick with us, cuz Phineas and Ferb are gonna do it all!
(Candice: Mom!!! Phineas and Ferb are making a Title Sequence!)

Summer Activities

Now that you've seen our theme song for summer, let me fill you in on some of the 'events' and happenings so far.

Andrew had "Middle School Camp" right after school got out. This boot camp prepares them for all the new challenges at middle school. They learned to change classes, work combination locks on the lockers, find all the places you need to find, learned their id and got to meet teachers and other students. It was a great experience for him. Sean & I see this as a requirement, not an option.

The week after boot camp, both boys took a Summer Fun School class. Nathan went to Australia in his Didgeridoo and You class. Andrew learned to be a clown. (More blog posts coming soon with pictures.) Since we thought Nathan wasn't going to get to do this, we signed him up for a Hip Hop class in July. (Of course, at the last minute he got into the class, but Hip Hop was already paid and arranged.)

Then last week and this coming week are swimming lessons each day. Another thing that is not optional in our house. Until Dad & Mom know you can fall into the pool at Poppa & Grandma's house and live to tell about it, you WILL take lessons. After June is over, we're done with all the running.

Of course, our piano teacher requires a minimum of 4 lessons over the summer or you are not allowed back at her studio. It keeps the kids fresh. Nathan was able to start his piano this summer instead of waiting for fall. Both boys are excelling at the piano and we're proud of them.

Additionally, Andrew's baseball team is in the playoffs for their league and their team is doing REALLY well. So, each win guarantees another game in the quest for the championship.

We've bowled each summer since Andrew finished kindergarten. Nathan is on a bumper league and Andrew is on a real summer league. Each week they bowl two games (at the same time), get a hot dog afterwards and Nathan gets a Tshirt. Since we do this with Andrew's best buddy Tyler, we alternate weeks. One week Tyler's mom drives and keeps the boys for the afternoon and the next week I do. So one day a week, I get rid of 2/3 of the kids for the entire afternoon. Rebekah naps for a couple hours and I get a TON of stuff done...umm...unless I nap, too.

And--of course--who could ever let the Summer Reading Club at the library go to waste? The kids have all worked and read a lot so they are all almost done with level 3 (of 4) and we're not out of June yet. The best part is that their elementary school got a grant to keep the library open three times a week at school so the kids get a chance to go someplace close to home and they have an agreement with the public library that the books count towards the library prizes. Plus, each time we go there is a craft, snack or activity to do. They are loving it.

So while some days seem crazy, it's just June that's the worst. In June have something every day. I knew when I planned it that we'd do this, but I rarely hear how bored the kids are. Also, I figure they'll have lots of things to choose from when asked what they did on their summer vacation. It also slows the amount of time spent in front of either the Game Cube, Computer or TV.

So we're trying to keep all 104 days of summer vacation full and fun...and not plugged into an electrical device all the time.

Praise the Lord--the House is SOLD!!!


We rejoice in the grace of God, poured upon our lives!
Loving kindness has come to us because of Jesus Christ!

When I heard these words in a pre-service song at church, it was so meaningful to me. Yesterday, after a whirlwind of activity this past week, we signed the paperwork to officially sell our former home. This comes almost 16 months after listing.

We had an offer early in the week, but the day that offer came in, two other agents requested a disclosure (meaning an offer might be in the works). We got a second offer, and the next day the third offer came in. After several days of negotiating back and forth, we were on the way to sign the paperwork for the 2nd offer when the 3rd offer made one more last ditch effort for the house. He is waiving any findings on the inspection as long as we put a warranty on the house. He also had less concessions so we ended up on a better footing. The other good news of the week is that the bank will work with us to cover the shortfall in the sale and we'll be able to pay it over time instead of in a lump sum.

As of July 15th, we will no longer own that ex-house. Hooray!!! We had the opportunity to meet the buyer and he is a nice young man. He's a first time home buyer and eager to get moved in and settled.

God is good all the time---and all the time, God is good!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Archaeologist in Training



Nathan won a little archeology kit at the Awana auction (to go with the kite). It's a pyramid that you dig through to find a treasure. I got out a little place mat for him to work on. Good thing Sean was around to say, "You're going to want a big open newspaper instead." He was right. What a mess!!!

However, doesn't this face make it worthwhile to have a big sandy mess all over the kitchen??


Here's the Pharaoh's bust that he found on his dig. I'm thinking of going to the fossil beds with the kids this summer. I think they would love being a REAL archaeologist for a day.

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