Sunday, August 16, 2009

Weddings, tornadoes and jet lag, oh my!

Wow! Talk about an exhausting last month or so! We've done so many things and been so many places that I haven't had time to sit and write out the stories of my life! I'll try to pick up where I left off.

So, around the middle of July, officially moved into the house! I am totally stoked, and so is the rest of our family. We have plenty of room and a big backyard. Before we moved in, we cleaned and got things prepared. Then, before we started moving stuff in, we went from room to room throughout the entire house and asked for cleansing and blessing in that room. You never know what's gone on in a place, you know! Then we burned three sticks of incense symbolizing peace, safety, and growth in our home. We figure that we'll be here for a while, so we wanted a good start! We now have all of our "Cali stuff" here, but we have yet to make the trip back to Florida to retrieve the rest of our stuff. Most things still need to be unpacked and organized, which I'm getting to little by little as I have the time.

At work, I still have my orientee working with me, and was recently told by my boss that they're giving him a 6-month probationary period. He was 6 weeks with another preceptor, and has been about 2 months with me, so his time is drawing near. Then I'm going to have to make the assessment as to whether or not he is safe to practice on the floor. *sigh* Me no likey. I did, however, have the opportunity to have a few minutes of fame at work...I was approached by a person who does video clips for the hospital website asking if I'd do a little blurb. With everything edited, it'll be about 2 minutes long. Anyhoo, they're starting a "Green Living" section, and she wanted me to do a tutorial of my t-shirt yarn. So, I brought my scissors and a tie-dyed shirt that I picked up on sale at a local thrift store to work and did my tutorial. I can't wait to see how it turns out!

I've been off of work for two weeks now, as we had a trip to Michigan and Ohio. Trav's brother was getting married, and I took that as an opportunity to spend some time with my mom, who was just 6 hours from where they were getting married. So we flew into Grand Rapids, spent a day with my Mom, drove to Ohio where Trav was the best man and Deklan was the ring bearer in the wedding, then back to Michigan for a little less than a week to visit my family a little bit more. So, we drove to Las Vegas (a 6 hour trip from here) because we got super-cheap tickets from there. I suppose that was offset, though, by the last-minute discovery of a hole in one of the tires on the van...since the tread was worn on all of them, we just decided to get new tires since they were needed anyway. The flight was horrific, the boys misbehaved the entire time, but thankfully there was a very understanding family sitting behind us with kids about our kids' ages. We got to Michigan and Mom and Kyleah picked us up. They had made a really nice "spare room" in the basement for us with a bed, a toddler bed, and a port-a-crib. Plus it was the coolest room in the house! I have to say that the humidity hit me like a ton of bricks...its been over a year now since I've had to deal with humidity. But everything was GREEN!! It's so brown and dead here in the summer in Fresno. Everything is dead and dry unless you water the bejeebers out of it, and even then there are city ordinances that tell you when you can and can't water due to drought. Anyway, the day after we arrived there, we rented a car and drove another 6 hours to Lebanon, OH for Jason and Amber's wedding. We stayed at Amber's grandparents house again (we stayed there for J-bo's graduation), which was awesome. The McKeehan's are some of the most hospitable people that I've ever met. First night there was the bachelorette party, which was fun! We went to The Claddagh, an Irish pub and grill first for dinner. We were going to go catch a movie, but we had such fun talking over dinner that we missed it. So then we went to have a Rockband tournament at J-bo and Amber's house, but my in-laws were still there (Janet is painting and decorating the house). So then we went to Wal-Mart and had a scavenger hunt, which was actually pretty hilarious. Then we were all tired so we decided to disband and go home. I got into the house and went upstairs...and couldn't open the door! I thought that Trav had locked the door, forgetting that I was out. So I sat in front of the door for a long time, waiting for Gavin to start crying for his nightly nursing. Finally, I was leaning against the door and jiggled the handle and the door popped open! It wasn't locked, it was swollen shut from the humidity! The next day was a whirlwind of preparation, getting programs ready, etc. Then we had the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. We sat at a table at the dinner with Scott and Janet's brother Larry, and had a really good time. Then came the day of the wedding! Tuxes were rented and people were frantic. I got myself ready, then went to J-bo's house with the boys to help them get ready. Then off to the wedding site for pictures. This was an outdoor wedding beside a pond with a toddler and a kindergartener in a rented tux, mind you. Stressful is not even the right word! Add that to the fact that Gavin is cutting 3 teeth all at once and is extremely fussy. The wedding was beautiful! The site for the wedding was behind Amber's cousin's house which had a big red barn, a silo, the pond, and a cornfield behind it. There was a big tent beside the ceremony area for the reception. The food was excellent, and the atmosphere was beautiful! I, unfortunately, did not get to enjoy it as much as I would have liked due to the child situation. There were tablecloths to be yanked and candles to be tipped over, children running toward the pond in the dark, etc. A little girl caught the bouquet and a teenager on crutches caught the garter. I've never seen a guy hop on one leg so quickly before!! Then we sent the happy couple off through an aisle of sparklers (it was dark when they drove off), who found it difficult to drive away with the front end of the car up on a jack! After the jack was removed, they drove off to Jason's house, then a hotel for the night, then off to their honeymoon in Hawaii in the morning. We had breakfast with the family in the morning, then took back off for Michigan. We arrived after dinner that night, then settled in for our visit. On Sunday we went to church with the family and my brother's family, then to Nana's house for a group birthday celebration. Nana is my step-dad's mother, and Grampy (Grandpa Gary to us older kids) is her husband. Nana and Grandpa Gary have the most beautiful gardens! We celebrated a great-aunt, uncle, cousin, cousin-in-law, and Deklan's birthdays. We had a great pot-luck lunch out in the backyard overlooking the gardens. After lunch and cake and a few games of rummy, it started sprinkling and we headed home. By the time we got home, the weather had cleared up. The kids and guys went outside for a game of basketball while Mom and I chatted and started cleaning up the aftermath of the preparation for the potluck. It started getting a little bit overcast, and I commented that I hadn't seen rain for so long that it would be nice to see some. Then suddenly it got very dark. The kids and guys came in from outside and we turned on the TV to see if there were any weather advisories. We saw a warning for severe thunderstorms and that the atmosphere had become unstable (that's never good), then the power went out. A few seconds later, there were torrents of rain and extreme downdrafts that felled a tree in the front yard. The thud and the shaking of the house sent us running for the basement. As we grabbed children and ran, the shaking and thuds of trees hitting the ground and the house intensified. As soon as it started, it was over. All in all, they lost a dozen trees and multiple large branches with minimal damage to the house. Ben's rear window of his car was broken by a tree branch. All of the trees seemed to fall around the house. The township of Fruitport was devastated. The were houses and cars that were crushed and destroyed all over the place. Four trees had fallen across the road and blocked us in. All around us trees had been blown over roots and all, snapped at the trunk, or twisted right in half. It turns out that the thunderstorm brought severe straight-line winds and a tornado or two. We had a tornado path that blazed a trail from the lake behind Mom's right through the yard and past the house and into the neighborhood. You could actually stand beside the house and see a clear path. Scary. Neighbors came out of their houses to survey the damage and check on each other. Then everyone broke out the generators and chainsaws and got to work. It was actually nice to see a neighborhood come together. No one complained, they were just thankful everyone was unharmed. There was only one death reported to my knowledge. Immediately after, they just all did the only thing they could do, start cleaning and chainsawing the road clear so we could all get out. A nice neighbor allowed us to tap their generator for an extension cord to the fridge and a hose to the house so we had minimal running (cold) water and enough power to charge cell phones and use one appliance at a time. The next day, Grandpa Gary came with another chainsaw and we all pitched in and cleaned up, with the guys chainsawing and all of us piling up logs and branches. We did this for two days. Midday on Wednesday brought the return of power! We also went to Grand Haven to see the Stanley Cup. The coach of the winning team is from Grand Haven, so he did a public viewing before a private party that evening. We got several pics of the Cup and us with it, the kids touching it, etc., which I'll post later. It was pretty cool, I must say, to see the oldest ongoing trophy in sports history! We then went to a park with the kiddos and let them play out some pent-up energy. Thursday was a "fun day" after all of the work we had done. We went to the beach on Lake Michigan with Mom and the kids and my brother Jeremy and his family. There is a really cool area, a merge point between Duck Lake and Lake Michigan where there is an extended area of shallow water, ranging from ankle-deep to above the knee, perfect for the kids. We adults ate watermelon and chips and got sunburnt to a crisp as the kids played. Friday we went thrifting and then flew out of Grand Rapids at night. We got to Vegas at around 10:30 pm Pacific time then drove home, arriving in Fresno shortly after 4 am on Saturday. That same family with the kids our kids' ages sat behind us again on the return trip. They were sunburnt like us and felt the effects of the storm like was funny that we were together again! All in all, it was a really nice trip, with a few unexpected twists, of course. We seem to attract the unexpected.

Rewind about 2 weeks. The day before we left for our trip, one of our cats, Emma, had gone missing. After extensive searching for her, we found her hanging upside down from our neighbor's fence by a hind leg that had gotten wedged between two boards in the privacy fence. It was Sunday and she appeared outwardly fine, besides favoring that leg. A friend of mine from work was feeding the cats while we were gone, and said that she'd keep an eye on it. When we came home, her leg was cold and stiff. Circulation had been cut off too long while she was on the fence, and her leg was dead. We called the vet and got a squeeze-in appointment. The vet said that they could amputate, but that it would cost about $1,000. As it was, she had an area of infection and she might have had complications from that after the surgery. The only other option was to put her to sleep. After tearful and prayerful consideration, we decided that it wasn't fair to Emma to make her go thru life with a rambunctious dog and two children with only three legs. So we said our goodbyes and gave her lots of love...Trav was with her when they put her to sleep. Rest in peace, Emma will be missed.

So now, here I am with a couple of days off before returning to work and Deklan's first day of school, which will be on Tuesday. My baby is starting kindergarten! The boys are both sick with a cold, so we stayed home from church today to allow them to recover a bit and get some rest...they're taking a long nap together right now. And I guess that's the long and short of it. I'll post pics as soon as I get them...Trav left the camera on in the bag and forgot to bring the battery charger, so we're depending on other people to send us pictures.

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