Sunday, January 29, 2012

Helping Hands part 3

Sorry the second video would attach in the last post. Here is...

Helping Hands part 2

Here are the videos....

Helping Hands - Sorry, it's long

First of all, this is Spencer.  I had an awesome experience yesterday and wanted to share it.  Last Monday, the Birmingham area was hit by an EF3 tornado.  It struck early in the morning, around 4:00 AM and cause some major devastation.  I received emails this week about our church organizing efforts to assist in cleanup.  We met on Saturday morning at the LDS church building in Centerpoint to get into teams to head out.  Our team was sent to the town of Clay.  When we got to our assigned area I was amazed at what I saw.  Houses had been removed from their foundations, some had been split in half, and some were completely gone - leaving only a basement behind.
The first house we started to help at had no roof, and the whole back of the house had been torn off, separating the attached deck by 20 feet.  I met the home owner in what was left of her kitchen/family room.  She told me how they had been awakened by the sound of her house shaking apart.  She ran into her bathroom and her husband into the fireplace.  Their 5 year old son couldn't get out of his room in time.  None of them were hurt, and the son's bed was found across the street the next morning.  I tried to express to her how sorry I was, and she just hugged me, telling me how grateful she was for our assistance.
This is the view of her house from the backyard.
In the process of cleaning up at this house, I was carrying some lumber and stumbled a bit.  My right foot came down right onto a nail in the roofing.  It didn't feel pleasant.  I felt it go up through the sole of my shoe and into my foot.  I danced around for a moment, cursing under my breath.  Everyone kept asking if I had my shots up to date.  I was pretty sure the last time had been before my mission, but I'd have to worry about that later.
After finishing up at this location, our team was assigned to move down the street to another house.  This house was a completely different challenge.  Trees were everywhere.  Trees had been blown down on the house from the front yard and the back yard.  15 feet above the ground, nestled up in the trees, was a combination of the garage/kitchen section of the house from across the street and sections of the 2nd floor of the house next door.

This is a view from on the hill, these trees are resting on the house below.
This house required a lot of tree cutting.  I have learned quickly that in Alabama it is almost a necessity to own a chainsaw.  We worked here for most of the day...cutting, hauling, and clearing.  It was so sad to find everyday items hidden in the wreckage.  Our greatest find was the wedding ring of the homeowner, she was sooooo happy!  All day long, people stopped by offering food, water, gatorade and snacks.  It was amazing to see how many people came together to help.  A few hours after I stepped on that nail, and after me telling the young men to be careful of nails, another boy - John - stepped on a nail by accident.  At this point I found it important to seek medical attention.  I was fine, but I was not going to have one of my young men not get a shot.  We went up the hill to a tent that had been set up for food and water to ask if they knew where to go.  The ladies who were manning the tent immediately got us in their car and drove us down to the Red Cross First Aid Station.  Everyone was so eager to help.  They took us in, cleaned our wounds, and gave us the booster shots to prevent infection.  While we were getting our shots, the ladies that drove us down went to the deli and picked us up lunch.  They didn't know us but that didn't matter.  On the way back to the work site the lady driving started laughing out loud.  I was a little confused and then she said, "I just realized we tricked you are, Mormons, and we just took you down and gave you a good old southern Baptist foot washing!"   We were thankful for their help, no matter what they did.
After a few more hours of work, we called it a day.  I had brought one of my young men, John (who stepped on the nail), his friend Chris (who just moved to Alabama from Montana), and Richard (a boy from our scout troop), and as we were getting in the car, Chris commented that he was amazed that after all this tragedy he had never seen so many happy people in one place.  I'm glad they could see the blessings of service and loving your neighbor.  My eyes were opened yesterday.  I'm humbled, and grateful for my blessings.  I love the people we served and those who served with us, may the Lord bless them.
I am posting videos in another post.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tate is a night owl and usually gets hyper right before he conks out for the night. Last night he was jabbering away and talking in a weird little voice. And overall, just being such a goof. We love this little dude.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

....Another one gone and Another one gone. Another one bites the dust.
I feel like this is our family theme song right now. We keep adding a new member to the sick group. Ayden started with a bad cough over Christmas break and then got Tate sick. He ended up with double ear infections. Then I got his cold. Ellie was the next to get it. We went to the doctor today to confirm that she has an ear infection. Danielle said today that she is starting to feel sick too. And I'm sure it's just a matter of time before Spencer gets it. I'm not being negative, just realistic!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What class will you be in?

After church today, Ayden told me about the class he would be in next year for Primary. This year he is in a CTR class and next year after he's 8 he will be in a Valiant class. But he told me "Mom, next year I'll be in the Violent class."  Uh, yeah I don't think that's it!

Ellie's Show

All day Friday, Ellie asked me if she could do a show for the family. She practiced dancing all day and had it all planned out even down to the lighting. After dinner, she got dressed in her "dancing outfit" and instructed us where to sit. Her brothers did a good job of being quiet for her. The song she picked (I had no idea beforehand) was I Loved Her First by Heartland. She couldn't have picked a better song for her performance. Spencer and I both had tears streaming down our faces watching this sweet little girl dance.The video is a little long, but so sweet.

Papa's Banks

It has become a tradition that my dad makes the grand kids piggy banks. When we were kids, he made them for each of us. Each year we love to see what new bank Papa will come up with. This year Tate and Ellie received their banks. And they are awesome.
My dad made Tate the BYU helmet and Spencer loves it more. He requested that my dad make one for his office, to which my dad said "yes, but only if it has a red U." The chin strap is made out of leather (another of my father's talents) and has Tate's name engraved/stamped on it.  This is a perfect bank for my house of BYU loving boys.
Ellie's is, of course, girly. And she LOVES it. She was so excited when she opened it. The handle is made from twisted metal (yet another of my father's: metal work) and the flap has her name on it. She loved "that Nana let Papa use these pretty jewels for my purse."
Thank you, Dad, for creating these beautiful banks that my children will use and love for years. I'm pretty sure they will become keepsakes for them just as mine has.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Back to School

Ayden went back to school today and our house got a little quieter and more empty. It was crazy having all 3 home and bored out their gourds but it was nice to have everyone (including Spencer) home for a break. Ayden said his first day back was "fine." He's not one for details. I think it was weird for Ellie to have him gone. She got used to having him around to play with (and fight with).
Spencer starts school again this week as well. He's finishing his accounting degree, but it is so slow going due to work demands on his time. But he is taking some classes every semester and is determined to get it done! I am very proud of him because I know after a long day at work he would rather relax and watch football or ESPN, but instead he gets to do school. He's setting a good example for our kids and I am thankful for that.
So here's to the 2012 school year!