Thursday, May 26, 2011

Joplin, MO

I am not a city person. In the 2+ years that we have lived here, I think we have been to Joplin maybe twice. That is not to say that I haven't been to Joplin numerous times, though. Growing up, Joplin was the closest city and so if we wanted to watch a movie in the theater or go to a mall, that is where we went. I was quite familiar with the city growing up. I keep thinking about how just the day before my sister was in Joplin buying stuff for their trip to Florida and the week before my mom and dad was there getting stuff for Ronald's wedding.
So, I was driving the other day, listening to a radio station out of Joplin, when I heard the DJ say that one of the top things on the want lists were duct tape. Odd, I thought, to a woman but any man could see a million uses of it in times like these. I started thinking of the boys and how I really wanted them to understand the enormous damage that Sunday night's EF 5 tornado did to Joplin. So I got a few things together to have Levi's cub scout troop get together duct tape, feminine products (yes, I said, pads and tampons....for the cub scouts to gather.....), and toiletries. When I called the American Red Cross they said that there has been so many clothing and food donated that they are telling people to stop sending them and to work on these other needs. Can you believe that? Just a few days after the tornado and so many people have come together and there is actually to much of certain things?! I love Americans!!!!! So the boys and I headed off house to house to collect these items on Wed. morning. People were very generous. The one that touched my heart the most was a boy a little older than Levi. I told him that he didn't have to worry about it since his parents were not home but he really wanted to give us something. So he went back inside his house, came out, told me that he couldn't find his diamond but that he wanted to give us his toy motorcycle. We were a few houses down when I noticed this same boy, later, running towards us. He was yelling, "I found my diamond!" I thought, "Oh man....how am I going to tell this boy that he can't give me his mom's jewelry with her not being there?" when he came running up with this HUGE paperweight fake diamond. It was so sweet of him.
The boys raised $49.00 that day. Here is what they bought at Wal-Greens.

So today, Amanda Bishop, Renee Roberts, Hyrum, and I went to Joplin to deliver the goods (a lot of people stepped up from church to donate). This is one of the first things we saw. Once again, I love Americans!
I had to take a picture of this. You know that a play area is safe for your children when the Burger King is destroyed but not the kids play area inside!


This is a local church that was taking in donations. When I called the American Red Cross on Tues., they were completely full with donations along with the Salvation Army. They wanted us to bring our goods to MSSU. By the time we got there this morning, they also were full and we were now delivering to this church.

There was sooooo much there! I wanted to take pictures inside of all that was donated but I felt guilty as I noticed people were "shopping" there. I wanted to give them privacy.

We decided to park our car and go walking and these are the things we saw. Nothing was more disturbing than to see the X with the numbers inside them. Most of the time we just saw 0's but there were a few cars that we saw numbers on. I can't even imagine coming upon these places and finding the dead.
It was interesting that as the more destroyed these places became, the more odd places we would find these X's. And they had to start marking home addresses on odd places (like refrigerators) because the homes no longer existed.

Have I mentioned that I love Americans?!


At one point I started feeling sick to my stomach. It was becoming a little all to real. Needless to say, I was grateful for the laugh when we came across this garage sale sign! We even ran across a "For Sale By Owner" sign. Thank you for your humor, Joplin!

This was our stake center once upon a time. We are now in the Rogers, AR stake but who could deny that very obvious Mormon foyer chair!?!

This is a picture I didn't think I would be taking. When the news covers the Joplin disaster, they always show the St. John's hospital. Every time I see it, I realize the damage, especially to the community that desperately needs the hospital, but I always wonder why they don't show more of the homes. The hospital is still standing whereas the homes are just gone.

Well, you just can't describe it until you are there in person.
Once again, it is a miracle that anyone could survive through such force.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Count your blessings

I felt comfortable today in letting the kids go to their last day of school since the storms are not suppose to hit until tonight. I thought this would be the perfect time to go driving and see the damage. How anyone can survive force like this is a miracle to me.
This travel trailer is over what used to be my friend's, Marlana, business. She said that she was there just hours before the tornado ripped it apart.



She amazed me today as she spoke of how the Lord wouldn't give her more than she could handle. She has been through so much lately. She just lost her grandma, she is going through a nasty separation, moved back in with her mom, and now this. The faith of some people just amaze me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Daddy time....my sanity!

Today I didn't let the kids go to school as the storms still threatened. As the day went on, some of my friends started pulling their kids from school as the skies got worse and because they don't have cellars, off to our house they went. At one point we had 11 kids and 3 adults ready to cram into our cellar! Luckily, the sirens never went off but as you can imagine, the boys loved the company. After a few hours, our friends went home and the boys started to act a little crazy. Being cooped up in a very small house with 3 crazy boys while you watch more and more rain dump on you, while waiting for the upcoming tornado warnings is kinda of unnerving. Needless to say, by the time Daddy got home, I was on edge. But Daddy saved the day! He left me alone while he and the kids cuddled in Hyrum's bed while Levi read stories to them all. Sure do love my boys.....

A day late

So, most of you probably know that Saturday was suppose to be "Judgement Day." The rapture was predicted to come, by Harold Camping, and as most "predicted" nothing really happened. I'd have to disagree though, I did start my period on May 21, 2011. That is a pretty huge sign to me of something wrong with this world....

So last night as my family and I, along with the missionaries, kept running back and forth to the cellar, we realized Mr. Camping must have been off by just one measly day. Darn predictions.....you just can never get them right!

But seriously, last night was CRAZY! We knew a storm was coming because of the weather forecast but it is really weird to see clear skies and within minutes, it turn to dark. In fact, when all was said and done and the sun came back out again, Brigham seriously asked if we had been up all night during the storms and wondered if it was now morning. In his defense, this storm lasted over 4 hours. Storms are usually fast moving but this storm just seemed to hover over us.

We were eating dinner when the first set of tornado sirens went off. Last time this happened I was so scared that we just ran in the cellar with ourselves and a flashlight. One of our neighbors came over with a backpack pull of supplies and I felt sheepish as this "Mormon" left all her 72 hour backpacks back in her home! I was determined to be prepared this time and so off we went with our comfort items. Within minutes we had golf ball sized hail. For quite some time the sirens would go off, we would think we were safe, go back inside, only to have them go off again. This went on for a while and so we just stayed in the cellar. The boys did amazing. Hyrum was scared at first but by the end, we were calm....even through the VERY loud thundering.
Here we are in our yard after the sirens....well, one of the many times we thought they were done.


My poor flowers!


We live on 6th and Spring. This is Spring street in front of the property we live on. While in the cellar, this is what we looked out on. If you look at the left side of the picture you will see a tiny tot slide. We watched, from the cellar, as it and other toys washed away down our little street "river."


I have to remind myself to let my boys be boys. So when the sirens were off and they went straight for the water, I thought, what the heck! Let them play. Hyrum was cautious, of course, and just stayed close to Daddy. Before playing, I let the boys know of the places I did NOT want them. If you look at the second to last picture you will see where it picks up speed and I wanted them no where near that. They could go in the standing water and that was it. They of course, had a blast.....until I turned my head for a second. Brigham started walking over to where the drain area was. I immediately yelled at him to get away from there when he went forward and grabbed onto the cement just above the drain. I screamed, grabbed his arms, told him that he would be fine and that Daddy would pull him out and just like that David had sprinted across the street and pulled him out. Brigham later told me that he felt his legs being sucked in. You know, I have had moments like these where I know with everything that I am that the Lord's hand was in the situation. Usually, I am just sick afterwards about the situations and how close to danger my children were. But this time I was very calm and it was David this time who didn't handle it well. For the rest of the night, he struggled and did not sleep well at all last night.

As I ponder how blessed we were last night, my heart goes out to all those dead in Joplin, MO because of this terrible storm. I feel so blessed to have our home in one piece. David's co-worker wasn't so lucky as his house is gone this morning.

Playing in the sirens....I mean, rain.....

video

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011 JAKES Event

Today was the annual JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics, and Sportsmanship) event out in the beautiful country just outside of Grove. This was our first time going but they do this every summer to excite kids about the outdoors. You wouldn't believe how many people show up for this and if it wasn't for my kids, there is no way I would have waited in those lines!

I am not a real outdoorsy person but I do want my boys to be exposed and honestly, I want to know more about nature because you never know when you are going to have to use it.

This event put kids into small groups, with the appropriate age, and they get to do all kinds of things. We didn't last the whole time because we needed to get Hyrum back for a nap but here are the favorites. Brigham caught 2 fish.
Levi caught 5 fish, one of them being a catfish. Needless to say, this was his favorite!


This was Hyrum's first time fishing and he caught 2! He was soooooooooooo cute about it. When we left this post to move onto the next, he would not stop doing the "reeling in" motion. When he got bored with the other stations, he would say, "Want fish....."

Don't get me wrong, I am proud of my boys for catching so many fish in less than 20 minutes but I do have to say that this pond was full of HUNGRY fish! Everyone caught fish and I am not exaggerating when I say that I watched as these kids cast out their bait and within seconds, they had caught a fish!


This was Brigham's favorite. It is so fun watching little kids doing big boy stuff.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Field Trip and boo boos

These events, along with some others, help put things into perspective. Who knew that a busted up face on such a cutie would finally be the last straw to get my attention?



Two nights ago, I had an odd dream. I dreamt about Marie Osmond and her new husband and their children. Weird, I know but I woke up knowing almost immediately what the dream was about.



Most people know that I love the Osmond Family so to have a dream about them would just make most people chuckle but I have a tender, sad place in my heart for Marie. She has been through a lot lately, the worst being the suicide of one her sons. I watched a clip from her appearance on Oprah not to long ago. She spoke of her son's bout with depression and how he had called her not long before he took his life to talk to her about how he was hurting. She was going to see him in just a few days and she kept reassuring him that she would be there on Monday. Later, he called but she didn't answer the phone because she was just about to go on stage. He would soon after kill himself. Her comment of, "Depression doesn't wait until Monday" is probably the most heartbreaking sentence I have ever heard.


I have often thought of her since then and how many times I put other things in front of my children. We all do it as parents and I am no different. I have been struggling with how much is asked of me in my calling and the time it takes away from my family. We have been changing certain things, David and I, for a while now with saying no to things and it has been nice. But I found myself Wed. night, at church, getting caught up in all that I should be volunteering my time for this summer, instead of being with my family.
So I had that dream that night. I woke up and knew I needed to say no to a lot of things.



Yet, I still tried to get out of this; Levi's class field trip to Harbor Village! I can name off so much that "had" to be done first....but I am so grateful now that I choose to go anyways.



So I get home, rush around to get cookies made for some people I want to get out to, all the while trying to get the house perfect for a showing. Rush, rush, getting irritated with my children for fighting, rush, rush and then little Hyrum comes in crying with that horrible gash on his face.


That's it! I'm staying home! And I did. How many times does the Lord have to prompt me in order to get me to realize that my little family is the most important thing in my life! They should always come first. Always!


It was just reaffirmed when I talked to my friend, Charlene, on the phone later that night. She is very limited in what she can do because of a leg injury. She too is going through that realization that not being able to clean and take care of certain things is not the end of the world. Actually, it is a mercy in disguise.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Just some catch up

With Spring in the air we have seen lots of new babies.....kittens, birds, groundhogs.....yes, I said groundhogs.....or should I say to my Idaho friends, rockchucks! We have 6 baby groundhogs living under the shed in our yard and they have been my favorite! I keep teasing David that I want to keep them! They are seriously so cute and if you haven't seen a grown groundhog they are even more adorable. They get so fat that they kind of waddle.Momma with one of her babies.
I thought it was about time that I documented my deceiving powers. Brigham is really good about eating his greens and Levi is just about as good but Hyrum is HORRIBLE! So I trick them! They just go on and on about how I make the best Popsicles. They really can't get enough of them.....little do they know that with all the fruits I put in them, that the main ingredient is SPINACH!


We were in Branson, MO on Easter Sunday so my boys didn't get to have an Easter egg hunt, but neither did the rest of my family because of the rain. So today after church at our house we finally had our hunt....our neighbors probably think we are weirdos hunting eggs almost a month after the actual holiday.

Here is Grandpa "hiding" one of the eggs. April and I were watching from the window inside the house and making fun of Grandpa (don 't feel so bad for him, he makes fun of us all the time!) for trying to balance an egg on top of my wild onions. To quote, April, "I love Grandpa, but he is such a dork!" Well, as you can see, we ended up eating crow!


I love catching these sweet moments. Uncle Chuck doesn't have any children but he has always been so good to my boys as well as my sister's children. Here he is guiding Brigham to an egg.

The cousins!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brothers

Sometimes I just love having boys. They are so easy in some ways.

I guess this picture doesn't really have anything to do with that last statement. I just feel really grateful today for a lot of things.

One thing I am grateful for is how much Levi loves Hyrum. Hyrum has no clue just how much Levi loves him and sometimes I wonder if he ever will because who knows if they will grow out of this stage or not. I hope not. I wanted Hyrum's name to be this because of Hyrum Smith. Hyrum Smith was the ultimate brother in my eyes. He loved his brother, Joseph, so much that he went with him to the Carthage jail and was soon after killed because of this decision. But roles are reversed in our household because Levi would do anything for Hyrum! He really would. It's kind of funny. I really wanted Levi's name to be Joseph.....kind of fitting. Last night, we put Hyrum down for bed. He cried and so Levi went in to comfort him because as Levi said, "He says he's scared." No kid wants to go to sleep at bedtime and Levi is no different than any other kid.....but for his brother he would and he did it without complaining or me even asking him to.

Later, Daddy found the boys like this.