31 May 2011

You Go Grand Rapids!

This is so amazing.  January's Newsweek listed Grand Rapids, Michigan as a "dying city".  I have to admit, we drove there last Spring for a wedding and were not impressed.  Not anymore.  You go Grand Rapids!

This was there response...

25 May 2011

Tornado Alley.

That's what they call the area we live in. Nice.  I've lived in Tornado Alley all of my life.  Every spring the sirens go off and we usually go about our routine, which usually consists of me trying to scout out twisters with my camera.  I've. never. seen. one.  It always such a rush and can be exciting even knowing the destructive path they take.  It's sounds awful to say, but I'm not the only Okie who feels excitement during storm season.  I've always wanted to be a chaser.  Not anymore.  This is the first year we actually had a plan.  The first year we found a "hidey hole" as my dad says.  The first year we took it seriously.

For days they have been predicting a monstrous line of storms.  A storm yielding 70-80 mile an hour straight line winds.  A storm with significant rotation that could bring about numerous large tornados, like F5's.  Typically us Okie's are out on our roof tops with snacks (not really) when tornado sirens sound.  Not anymore.  The devastation we have seen in Joplin and Alabama is too close for comfort.  Last night the storms that ripped through Oklahoma and other states killed several people (one was a child,  were critically injured).  That same storm went right over our heads.  It was scary to say the least.  For the first time, we decided to heed the warning.  For the first time we were scared.

We tracked the storm online.

Storms/Tornado's travel in a Northeast direction (I think). It was headed right for us.  Tornado's had already touched down in this storm.

We watched the news, anxiously trying to figure out what to do.  Wait it out at home (and in our mind wait for a mile wide tornado to touch down on our street) or go to my dad's apartment (where there was a basement).

We decided to head to my dad's apartment downtown thinking we would be safer in the basement there.  He was out of town but my brother and sister were there. We stood on the balcony on the 6th floor and watched the storm blown in from the west.  No sirens yet so we watched and waited.  

As it got closer and closer the wind started to pick up considerably.  Then suddenly out of nowhere, the rain started and the wind was howling.  It felt like we could have been sucked right off the balcony.  We ran inside.  The wind was howling so loud from inside the building.  At this point we decided to go down to the basement since there was a tornado warning on TV.

I couldn't get pictures of the storm b/c I couldn't go near the windows.  The wind was crazy though.  The storm passed quickly and warnings for Midtown were over so we went back upstairs to the balcony.  The calm after the storm.  Sirens never officially went of during the storm.

Then, while we were watching the storm move to the East, the sky was calm yet eery.  Sirens started sounding.  We knew we were safe though.  In classic Okie style we watched the clouds and felt the cool breeze.  It was over. We hoped...


When we got in the car to find shelter at my dad's I grabbed my phone, my camera and my external hard drive with all my pics backed up.  Just in case our house was flattened, at least I would have my camera to document the aftermath and my precious family photos.  

After we got the kids tucked in bed, we got a well deserved milkshake and ended up falling asleep on the couch.  When we woke up at 11:45, the TV was on with the radar pulled up again.  Then we realized the storm was in the path of some family and friends in Arkansas.  I knew my family would be safe because they have a storm shelter.  So we called our friends in the path of the storm to make sure they were up and taking cover.  They were.  Everyone was safe last night, at least those near and dear to us.  Our hearts go out to those families less fortunate last night and in the past few weeks.

Ok, Mr. Spring...could you please go away now?  We're on a mission to find a storm shelter for the house now for next season.  

18 May 2011

Lazy Day.

We're on round two of strep throat in our home (not to mention my ear infection).  Jude has had it twice and poor little guy has been miserable.  We decided we had enough of the indoors, especially since we're supposed to have tons of rain soon, so we headed outdoors Saturday.  We kept the germs contained to our own backyard and since we were confined to that vicinity we decided to make the best of it and get some much needed yard work done.  We put on shorts and tanks and headed out to find ourselves dashing inside for jeans and hoodies.  Brrrrrr.  What is wrong with this weather lately?

Anyways, we had a good day despite the circumstances.  As expected, it's pouring down rain today and doesn't look like it's going to stop this week so I guess that means it's time to get some much needed organizing done before school is out in two weeks.  I long for those lazy summer days with my babies.  Just a little while longer.

We planted 37 of these in our hard rocky Oklahoma dirt.

It was so easy to find simple beauty in our own backyard.  I just had to open my eyes to see it.

And then sit back and take it all in.

I'm not exactly sure what this tree is in our backyard.  I barely made a "B" in horticulture in college, but I love the little heart shapes leaves.

The blue skies that day reminded me of driving west through New Mexico and Arizona.  They were so vibrant and the clouds were so plump and perfect.

I shed these puppies, as well as my hoodie, after being outside for a while and shoveling that hard, rocky Oklahoma soil.  Then I got a sunburn.

Who am I kidding...EVERYTHING about this boy melts me.
and this boy too.

He works so hard for us and we appreciate everything he does.  He's a gem.

Thank goodness for him....

And this little girl?  Well, let me just tell you about her.  She's the best.  Sometimes I strive to be more like her.  She's my sweet sweet girl and I'm so glad to be her mama.

She loves her brother so much and I'm also thankful for that.

(photo by daddy)

Apparently, they were hunting buffalo and roasting it on an open fire.  Poor Mr. Buffalo.

The day would not have been complete without its own soundtrack.

Can't forget the pooch either...she's a big part of our familia.

So, there ya have.  It was a beautiful day.  We made our own fun, sick or not.  I'm so thankful for these guys and the pooch too.

10 May 2011

Bird Watching.

Apparently, our little man has developed a love for birds.  His aunt Celeste discovered this and took him to the book store Saturday to get a bird book as well as a few essentials like "beenocliers" (binoculars), a compass, and a small telescope.  This is pretty serious business because I found him like this the other day and when I took his picture he looked at me as serious as can be and said "SHHHHHHH!!!!!".  Of course my mama goggles are on, but it was pretty cute to see him so focused on his bird watching.

A few weeks ago, we had a scare with him and ended up at the Pediatric Cardiology Center.  Fortunately, he's good, no problems, but it was the scariest week of our life waiting on that appointment, sitting in the waiting room and then watching him go through the testing.  He's a healthy boy though :)  I love these photos of him being so seeeerious :)


This summer we toyed with the idea of raising a garden again, but we just didn't have the time.  We do however, have a trouble spot off our patio where we cant get grass to grow, the same spot where we once had a garden, and we didn't want to hire a lawn service, so we had to figure something out.  Our plan...ROCKS!  Saltwater Creek rocks were the solution.  We started yesterday and we hope to reveal the finished product this week!  A friend of ours picked up the fire pit for us in Stillwater, which is huge but we love it.