Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The great flood of '14

 I have a teeny bit of birthday weekend wrap up before we move on to the storm of the century.
 
The day after Spencer's birthday I changed our birthday countdowns to indicated the countdown for next year.  I only left it for a day (it's not a Halloween countdown) but I thought it was really funny.
That day we also went to Lee's Sandwiches for an afternoon snack.  They have my very, very favorite iced mocha.  There is just something so, incredibly delicious about it.  I also shared an almond croissant with Michael.
Lee's Sandwiches is cash only and we had enough cash for the kids to split a raspberry smoothie and a regular croissant.  They were both huge and there were no complaints.
 
Finally, Michael freaked all of us out by wearing the Mario mask.
OK.  Onto the GREAT FLOOD.
 
Last week Hurrican Norbert was pounding the coast off of Baja.  The northern most part of it was expected to hit Arizona on Monday.  Michael and I woke up at 2:00 am to the loudest thunder and rain I have every heard in my life.  Ginger was having a full on panic attack because of the thunder, but miraculously, both kids slept through it.
 
Michael got up at 5:00 and left for work at 6:00.  If he had any idea how bad it was out there he would have just stayed home.
 
I did not take these pictures (I got them from a google search), but just to show you how bad it was.....this was about 2 miles from where Michael works.  Thank goodness he got to work just fine with no flooding. 


We got more rain in one day (and really, in about 6 hours) than in any one day since record keeping started.  We got almost as much rain in one day as we normally average for the entire year.
 
I woke up at 6:00, right after Michael for work, because the power went out.  I just sat there in bed wondering what the heck I was supposed to do.  And still, the kids slept.
 
At 7:00 Spencer woke up and since the power was still out I found our plug in phone in case things became more emergency-like and I needed to make an urgent phone call and my cell phone was dead.  Spencer didn't know how to use it.
At 7:30 the power came back on.  Elliott was still asleep. 
 
With the comfort of electricity back on our side we felt brave enough to venture outside.
 
Thankfully, our house sits up really high from the street.  It was was totally flooded on the sides (but not in the middle).
 
And the pool was almost ready to overflow.

 
And one section of the backyard was completely under water.
I kept checking the facebook page for Spencer's school district to see if school was cancelled, because the news was reporting a whole bunch of school closures.  The district never did make a school wide closure, so at 9:00 (30 minutes late) we decided to venture over to school.  It's only 4 blocks away and the streets were OK in the middle, so I felt it was safe. 
 
The playground was a big old swamp.

We walked into the office where we found total chaos.  Even though the district didn't officially cancel class, the school was basically telling everyone to go home because there were so many missing teachers who couldn't make it because of the flooding and because parts of the school were without air conditioning.
 
So.  We left.  And drove around looking at the amazing flooding in that neighborhood.


It's hard to tell how much water there is, but when not filled with water I could easily stand under this tree with several inches of space between my head and the lowest branch.


Faced with an unexpected day at home we turned down the air (love you electricity!), put on winter jammies and made the best of the situation.
 
The kids did some cuddling and cartoon watching while I worked out,
 
and then worked on a bead project that I had bought over the summer.



The storm cleared up and we had blue, suny skies in the afternoon so we played outside until Michael came home from work.  He was let go early because of how bad the freeways had been that morning.  Things actually cleared up really quickly in the streets around our house so we headed out to do some grocery shopping after Michael was home.
 
It was a totally crazy and unprecedented day.  I don't think anybody in this state was ready for flooding like that.  We're supposed to get hit by another tropical storm tomorrow, so we'll see if there were any lessons learned from last week.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Mario party for a 7 year old

Spencer turned 7 on Saturday, September 6th.  I'm not quite sure how we got to this point.  He was just born like 3 years ago.  I seem to have been in a coma or a time warp for more than half of his life.
 
The day started with some brother cuddles.
Followed by a visit and a gift from Winston.  He's such a sneaky and considerate elf.



Then I made Spencer re-create waking up in his decorated room so I could capture the magic.


After a quick breakfast we all got in our Mario shirts to head to Spencer's party.  Well, all of us except Elliott.  Michael's parents came up from Tucson to spend some special time with him because he has too much attitude for a 7 year old's birthday party.
After Spencer's blow-out golden birthday party last year (where we had 50+ people at our house) we told him that birthdays from here on out will be small affairs.  We said he could invite 3 friends from school and we would go to a jumping place or bowling or the movies.  He picked jumping. 
 
It took him about a week to come up with his guest list.  One day I asked him if he had made his guest list yet and he said he was having a hard time figuring out who to invite because he wanted to invite people who were friends but also good listeners.  That's my rule following boy.
 
We met his friends and their parents at the jumping place at 10:00.  The kids jumped until noon.





The crew:
Spencer, Sydney, Ivy and Adrian
After they were done jumping, Ivy's dad drove her to our house and I took the rest, in 3 booster seats across the back seat.  They were hilarious and goofy on the way home. 
We kept the decorations very simple.  I printed these, glued them to construction paper and hung them in the kitchen.
 
And this is a halloween mask. 
 
We let the kids play for a bit while we got lunch ready.
 
Then they all washed up,
 
and ate pizza and fruit for lunch.  Elliott got to join the big kids.

 
After lunch it was time for a game. 
 










 
Goofy pictures of silly kids.





 
And some silly parents too. 
 
Presents!



Cake time
 
I made this cake the night of my birthday.  There will come a day when I don't have to do that and, honestly, I will probably be sad about it.
 
It was dark chocolate with strawberry frosting and it was magnificent.





After cake all of the parents arrived to take their kids home and the party was done by 2:00.  We were done cleaning up by 2:30.  It was pretty wonderful.  I don't know why we've been having these big parties for so long.
 
After some rest and relaxation Spencer opened all of his presents from his family.
 
Money from Jerry and Lois

 
Money for college and a Wii game from Gramme and Grandpa
 
Money and a shirt from Grandma and Papa

 
And the rest of it from mom, dad, Elliott and Ginger.
 
I bought this in June.
 
This too.
 
Another Wii game

 
I got this at Costco in July



 
And a frameable picture with Grandma and Papa
 
Then it was time to put on the new 7 shirt for the 7 year old boy pictures.
 
Location number one wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.


 
Location number 2 was better.
 
Official
 
And we can't forget the blocks!


 
Official 
 
That evening Spencer got to go out for a special dinner with his grandparents.  And I got to go out with my friends to celebrate my birthday.
 
Maryellen and I had BIG margaritas because Lauren was driving!
After dinner we went to the movies.  We saw If I Stay.  After the movie this was the best selfie we could get.
Brenda wasn't satisfied with it and asked a kid to take our picture.  
And then, another double birthday celebration came to an end.  Next year, when I turn 36 and Spencer turns 8 our birthdays are on Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  I think we should start planning a fun trip to celebrate!