#6 and #7 Post Tornadoes!!!

I have so much to say after this experience that I am actually not going to say most of it!  I know this doesn’t make sense, but I’m just going to list off what worked and didn’t work, or this will be two miles long.  I just have to say that I may never catch up with life and that I think I am just starting to actually “feel” what happened.

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 – Alabama was hit with the biggest tornado activity in it’s history (how is it that we happen to live here during this time?).  🙂  They (they meaning that there were MANY tornadoes – I didn’t know this happened before I moved here) came right through our area and ward.  We were without electricity for one week!  This has been the one of the best experiences of my life.  Here it goes……. :

Things that didn’t work:

Laundry hanging amongst our food storage. 🙂

Need a clothes line and clothes pins!

Need to have a better plan for contacting out of state.  We got lucky to have cell service for a few minutes in between the tornadoes and left a message at my parents house.  If it was a national problem we should have a family plan.

Planning a trip for the morning after the tornadoes!  I should have known better than to think that Kevin, Dixon, Royce and I couldn’t actually get back to Portland for a perfect trip!  We were so excited to see most of Kevin’s family and go to the temple a couple times and see Elsa get sealed.  We had many visits with our wonderful friends set up and I am still mourning that I didn’t get to go!  Why couldn’t it have happened a week later?!!!!  I had everything packed and ready, Bryson had his license and we were all set….. 😦  I’ll stop now……

Need a better radio!

We were generator ignorant!  To sum it up, we will be purchasing a generator soon!!!  Thankfully, we had wonderful friends that shared with us!  Note to self… don’t purchase frozen food storage with out a generator in the garage!!!

Need a gun.  We do live in Alabama, by all means!  People can actually defend themselves here and the governor endorses it!  I love it!  There was a curfew each night (meaning you can not leave your property after dusk).  It was a really neat feeling.  It was soooo dark and quiet.  There were hardly any robberies or looting!  So impressed!

Starting school again on Thursday was horrible!  I was so backed up on everything and I wasn’t nice, thus causing everyone else to be grumpy!  Ahhhhh, will I ever learn?!!!!

Things that worked:

Having lots of windows and skylights. On cloudy days it was much harder to be in the house.

Facing the danger of not having electricity and a community emergency.  I’ve always worried about providing for a large family in this situation, it felt so good to go through it.

Having listened to all the great lessons at church about emergency preparedness.  It actually had sunk in and I used it!  Water usage, freezer and fridge timing, candles, food, etc.

Coming close to what the pioneers must have felt without electricity.  The evenings were the best!  No electronics and sitting around talking while the kids played guitar and piano.  I can really see why music was such a blessing in a quiet world.

One of the best parts to the experience what the neighborhood coming alive.  Everyone was outside talking to others all week because there wasn’t anything to do inside!  The world seems more real.  I thought we were not an electronic family, think again!  We watch plenty of movies and use the computer all the time.  Wow!  This really hit me hard.

We also had the wonderful blessing of getting to know knew people!  We got to have our great neighbor’s family & their brother’s family over for dinner many of the nights.  The brother’s house was leveled (I mean really leveled!!!), they would go sift through the rubble to find what they could, before the rains came.  At night they would come back to our house, utterly exhausted and eat with us.  These two families were the biggest blessing!  They have youth the ages of our kids and they would all hang out and have fun, while we would talk with the adults.  I will always have the fondest memories of those nights by candle light.  🙂

So proud of my kids getting out there and helping each day.  They were much kinder to each other on the days that they worked hard and saw the devastation.  I truly believe in hard work for kids.  It really helps them not think of themselves!  🙂

Having time to clean, walk with kids and enjoy them!  Huge evaluation on what is actually important!  This was just like camping without the bugs and with beds!  🙂

Royce kept saying “Uh oh, tatado is coming, tatado is coming.  We need to go hide!”

Loved the weather after the storms.  It’s always clear, crisp and beautiful.

I saw so much service!  There were groups of men with chainsaws.  They would just go from yard to yard and help everyone!  The people of Alabama astound me!  I never saw a tear, except, tears of gratitude!  I love this community!  People pulled strangers into their homes (as they wondered the streets after the first tornado) just in time for the next tornado to come barreling down on them!  I wish I could write all the stories…..

Thankful we had:  BBQ with an element (called and “eye” here), gas water heater (for kitchen sink and shower)!!!!, full tank of gas, laundry done, bills paid early!, great friends and neighbors, FOOD STORAGE!!! (we happen to purchase all of it, short and long term last November).  We were never worried during the entire experience.  We knew we had what we needed to last for as long as we needed to.   Also, if you have what you need, then you are freed up to go help other people that need it more than you do.

It was fun to take a shower in the kids bathroom.  I had not done that in the year and a half that we have lived here.  We have two water heaters, one electric and one gas.  Thus, we had to use their shower by candle light (no windows).  🙂

Two things unrelated to the storms….  Royce has been asking for another birthday cake (his 3rd birthday was in Feb.) ever since our run of April birthdays.  So, in celebration of electricity, we baked cookies and a cake.  We pretended it was for Royce and let him blow candles out on it.  He was so excited!  Simple pleasures!!!

Also, I just have to say that my kids are the light of my life (Kevin is too).  🙂  I can’t seem to explain how much I love them.  I get tears in my eyes when I think of it!  My sweet Addy took these great pictures of my little, enormous Dixon.  He just turned 5 months old and is rolling all over the place (he is in size 12 month clothing and weighs 22 lbs).  He just melts my heart , as do all my children.  I got a lot of extra good holding in these past two weeks.  Bryson became a Priest and is blessing the sacrament, be still my heart!  I have been waiting for that since his ultrasound!  He is so handsome and I loved watching him today.  Proud mommy moments today….

He loves the clown on the blanket!
My first thumb sucker. 🙂