Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Our Weekend - The One with the Mother Son Dance & Monster Tornadoes

Well, our weekend started out wonderfully and ended on a scary note (to put it lightly), but WE ARE OKAY.  I keep telling myself that over and over but it doesn’t seem to be helping with my anxiety.  I feel like it’s finally starting to subside a little today.    

Friday evening was Jacob’s Mother Son dance at his school.  This was our fourth one together and we had a wonderful time, as always.  We took a couple of pictures before heading out, and it was like pulling teeth to get this kid to semi-smile for the camera.  He has super sensitive eyes and basically won’t open them for pictures outside.  Out of about 40 snaps, this was the best we could get… not too bad, though.

We arrived at the dance right on time, took some professional pictures, and grabbed a bite to eat.  The theme for the dance was Out of This World, (outer space related), so the food was all space themed.  There was “Pizza Planet” pizza, meteor cheese balls, marshmallows and pretzel sticks to “build your own constellations”, fruit rocket ships, galaxy munch with “black holes” AKA black olives, Moon Pies, Star Crunches, space bark, and galactic punch.  Y’all know I’m a details girl, so I just ate all of those little details up!

They had space glasses and laser finger pointers and alien headbands for everyone to wear and the gift for the mothers was a little picture hanger that says, “I love you to the moon and back.”  Cutest little details.

We spent the evening dancing together, and Jacob also ran around with his friends while I talked to my friends.  I taught Jacob the Cupid Shuffle and the boys had a flossing contest followed by limbo, and it was just a really fun evening.  They had a professional photographer there, and he got lots of great pictures below.

And I got this one of the flossing contest:

Meanwhile, Olivia had persuaded her Daddy into taking her to Mexican for dinner for the third time that week.  Lol.  He is wrapped around her little finger for sure.  <3

Saturday Jacob had his first soccer game of the new spring season and he was pumped for it.  He was on defense like usual and he stopped a bunch of shots, but they still lost 7-1.  He only allowed one of the seven goals and the others happened when he was off the field.  Our team is a very young team this season, so not sure how we’ll do, but all that matters is that he’s having fun!  

Olivia watched the game for a while but then she made a new friend and they started building a fort together from some old tree limbs.  Ha!

Saturday afternoon the kids and I wasted time on Snapchat while B went out to run an errand (I cannot even deal with that hot dog one.  Lol.), and then we headed out to run some errands as a family.  Jacob needed new shoes and Olivia needed a new helmet so we headed to Academy Sporting Goods where we were able to score both items at one place.  Olivia picked out the brightest, wackiest unicorn helmet she could find, but it is so perfectly her.  Lol.  Then we ran to At Home to grab some new pillows for our bedroom followed by dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants with my extended family – parents and siblings, aunts and uncles.  The kids had fun Snapchatting with my Aunt Joy.  :o) 

Sunday started out great.  We knew there was a chance for severe weather/tornadoes but we had no clue what was in store for us.  We woke up and headed to 10:30 mass because the second graders from our school – Jacob’s class – were the choir for mass.  They sang their little hearts out and then we headed home to change really quickly and grab Maui to head to lunch at my MIL and step-FIL’s.  We made it all the way through lunch and then right as we were finishing up, the first of many tornado sirens started going off telling us there was a tornado in our area and to take cover immediately.  We all huddled in the bathroom for a good 30 minutes before it was safe to come out.  We kept an eye on the weather and once it looked safe enough to leave, we headed home for the afternoon. 

We had just gotten settled in at home and I was feeling relieved that we had made it through the bad weather.  B and the kids had just settled in to play video games in the play room and I had just settled in at my desk to start recapping our weekend for Monday’s blog post, and all of a sudden, for no reason at all, I had a wave of dread wash over me and I felt like something terrible was about to happen.  I kid you not, three seconds later my brother called my phone and told me that we needed to leave our house immediately and drive south to my parents’ house, which is only about seven minutes away.  He said that there was a HUGE tornado that had been ripping its way through Alabama and it was heading straight for us.  There was evidence of a debris ball on the radar which meant that it was on the ground wreaking havoc and he said we only had about 10-15 minutes before it would hit our area. 

I was terrified to leave the house since that’s the last thing you’re supposed to do when there is a tornado approaching, but he told me that with a tornado as huge and destructive as this one that we would not be safe at our house if it were to hit there.  I ran out of my office and told Brian we had to go, and I know he probably thought I was crazy because it was barely even raining outside at the time.  Fortunately, he trusted my brother and me and we rounded up the kids and Maui, grabbed our external hard drive with all of our important documents and our entire lifetime of photos and videos and we jumped in the car and left our house just as the tornado sirens started to sound again.  It poured all the way to my parents’ house and the sirens were wailing and Brian was running red lights just to get us there as quickly as possible.  I was pretty much hysterical and I started breaking down but managed to (outwardly) pull myself together for the kids’ sake.  They were surprisingly calm which was shocking. 

We arrived at my parents’ house in record time despite the buckets of rain and my mom already had their safe place ready – bottom of the stairwell on the opposite side of the house where the tornado was coming from.  Here in Georgia we’re not equipped for stuff like this so nobody has storm shelters.  Fortunately they never lost power at their house, so we were able to watch the local news coverage of the tornado track.  About ten minutes after we arrived, the local news put a map of MY ACTUAL NEIGHBORHOOD on the map and they were shouting and telling everyone to get to a safe place immediately.  When the weather people on TV lose their cool, you know it’s BAD.  I just knew that we weren’t going to have a home to go back to.

The next few minutes seemed to last forever while we waited to hear where exactly it had hit.  Fortunately within a few minutes our neighbors started responding to a neighborhood Facebook page post I had put out, saying that our neighborhood was okay.  Miraculously, the tornado ended up taking a slight turn northbound just down the road from our neighborhood and it literally barreled up the entire length of our neighborhood about 1/4 mile north of us.  WAY too close for comfort. 

Just when I started to feel relief, the sirens started going off again indicating that another tornado was on the ground and heading right towards my parents’ area of town where we were.  Ugh.  Fortunately that one lost strength and fizzled out and we were safe. 

Once we got the all clear and saw on the radar that everything was past us, Brian and I left the kids with my parents while we made the drive to our house to check on things.  Just as we approached the road to turn on to get to our neighborhood, police officers pulled up to shut down the roads because there was too much destruction to get through.  We told him where we lived and he told us he thought we could make it and to be careful getting through.  Fortunately our neighbors were right – there was no damage to our neighborhood whatsoever.  We were left with no power and spotty cell service because the cell tower had been plowed down in the tornado, but that was a small price to pay considering the devastation that so many others experienced.  I cannot even tell you how happy I was to see our house standing when we pulled up.

We made the drive back to my parent’s house to stay for the evening since we had no power and my Momma was able to cook Sunday dinner for us.  We decided to sleep at home Sunday night even though we had no power, and fortunately just after we arrived home and got the kids in the bed, the power came back on around 9:30 PM!  We couldn’t believe how quickly they had been able to get it restored!  However, less than two hours later there were some fires just outside our neighborhood due to some sparking power lines and the power went out again until sometime in the early morning hours. 

Monday morning our county schools were open even though surrounding western, northern, and eastern counties were closed, so we had to make the trek to school.  We got just barely down the road from our house to find that police still had the roads closed due to significant damage from the tornado’s wake.  We were rerouted south and were able to make it to school on time. 

I decided to take my normal route back home to see if I could get through on the other side of the tornado’s path, and on the way up the main highway I could see exactly where the tornado had ripped through.  There were hundreds of trees down – HUGE trees – on a path as far as you could see.  I was able to get off on our exit and get just a little ways up the road towards our house before I ran into total devastation.  A police officer was only letting people through who had to use that route to get home, so I was given the go ahead, but the minute I started going through I regretted it.  I couldn’t even see the road from all of the debris and I was driving over nothing but limbs and sticks and grass and power lines.  The officer had assured me that it was safe, so I powered through but it was just utter devastation.  There are hundreds – probably thousands – of massive trees that were just snapped in half and even uprooted.  They were tossed around onto roads, homes, and vehicles.  Buildings were ripped open and I cannot even tell you how many huge trees I saw all over the homes just down the street from us.  It looked like a warzone.  And just right down the street from our house.

And these are pictures that my SIL sent to me of houses in our area:

And there are so many areas that are way worse off.  Like this property just North of us:

We have had power since ours was restored in the middle of the night so I have been able to get on Wi-Fi, but our cell coverage is still pretty spotty since the cell tower is gone.  I have no clue how long it takes to rebuild one of those, so we may be spotty for a while.  Like I said before, it’s a teeny tiny price to pay compared to what happened to others. 

A total of 36 tornadoes hit the Southeast on Sunday and there were at least 23 lives lost (so far) in our area.  The tornado that hit just down the street from us was “The Big One” – they are now saying it was an EF-4 (170 mph winds), one mile wide, and it stayed on the ground for 64ish miles.  All of the fatalities happened west of us in Alabama but miraculously there have not been any deaths reported on the Georgia side.  All of our family and friends are safe.  Many of our friends have major damage to their homes, but thank goodness they all made it through!  Nine of the 23 lives who were lost in Alabama were family members of one of my old coworkers so please keep her family in your prayers.  It’s just unthinkable. 

Please keep the affected area in your thoughts and prayers as everyone rebuilds.  Many people have a long road ahead of them.  

If you would like to help and you are not local, you can contribute to the relief effort in the following ways: 

Donate money to The Red Cross here

Donate money to the Alabama Governor's Emergency Relief Fund here.

If you are local you can contribute in the following ways:

Volunteer for the Red Cross of East Alabama here.

Donate blood at East Alabama Medical works with LifeSouth - 5431, 505 E. Thomason Circle, Opelika, AL

If you are local and are in need:

If you are missing family members - register them on the Lee County, AL Emergency Management Agency's website here.

Displaced Animals - Opelika Animal Hospital is offering free boarding to displaced animals.  For more information click here.

If you are seeking help from emotional distress or anxiety from the storm, The Red Cross has set up a Disaster Distress Hotline.  Click here for more information.

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  1. Love the pictures of the mother son dance, so sweet!
    I'm so glad y'all are safe, definitely keeping those affected in my prayers.

  2. I am still thanking God you’re ok. I know how frightened you are of tornadoes so I can only imagine as I am too. I swear it’s the scariest thing. Praying for the months of rebuilding and recovery and for all the families. You and Jacob sure did look amazing for the dance, loved your dress!

  3. The weekend started on such a high! Tornadoes are so scary and it seems like you have gotten more than your fair share in the last few years! So thankful you all are ok - it will be a long road for everyone to get back to 'normal', but I feel like the silver lining to these things is the way people band together and help each other. It truly is amazing!

  4. Wow Lindsay! That is so incredibly scary. I can't even imagine receiving that call and then seeing your neighborhood pop up on TV. Glad y'all are safe and glad your parents live so close.

  5. That is so scary!!! I am so glad that you and your family are safe.

  6. I am so so glad you all are okay! I can't even imagine the emotions. I had no idea that there was going to be such awful weather. This winter has just been awful. Hoping now that spring has come in like a lion, things will calm down!!!

  7. The dance sounds like it was fun. The only reason I have SnapChat is to play with the filters. I'm sorry again about the weather and the scariness you went through!

  8. I'm so glad you are ok, as well as your extended family. That was really a close call. The mother-son dance was decorated so nicely - someone really knew what would appeal to little boys! My daughter is the same way about outdoor pictures. Hope things are settling back to normal!

  9. So glad you had fun at the dance, but OMG your description of the tornado and you literally running from it gave me chills. Again, so so SO glad you are all ok!

  10. So thankful that you all are safe and your home is safe! So so scary! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  11. I am so glad you all are ok. Tornadoes are no joke and we know this in Texas for sure. The dance looked amazing and your little school is just too cute.

  12. I am just soooo glad that you guys are ok. It sounds sooo scary. I am glad it didn't hit your house but sad for all those people who lost their lives. Sending prayers.

  13. LOVE your dress for the dance and so glad you guys are ok. I can't believe the devastation from that storm :(
    Green Fashionista

  14. Love the pictures from the dance. so much fun!
    My heart breaks for the devastation from the storm. Praying for you guys!

  15. Prayers going out to your area. Looks like the dance was fun. Thanks for hosting and I hope that you are having a good week despite the damage done from the tornadoes.

  16. What a wonderful dance! I have heard of father daughter but never mother son...this is awesome!! Annster's Domain

    1. Yeah, they don't seem to be as common as the Daddy Daughter dances, but I'm so glad that we do have one. It's always a fun time!

  17. Oh my heavens you two are so presh! (that storm is no joke - prayers for sure!)

  18. Oh my gosh how scary! I have always thought about what I would grab if I had five minutes like that. I am so glad y'all are safe. Also how cute was the dance!

  19. What a weekend! So glad you guys are okay. Love the dress you wore to the dance. Did you plan to match the picture background so well? :)

  20. Wow! Just reading all that had me tearing up like crazy. So glad you all are safe but man, so scary! Those dance pictures are just adorable! I am a detail person too and just love when a party has a themed carried throughout.

    1. It was definitely the scariest day I've ever been through with weather. And the crazy part is that tornado season hasn't even officially started yet. I hope that's not an indication of things to come. Hopefully we've had our fill for the year!

  21. Well this was just plain heart pounding!! My gosh, friend. We are four hours north of y'all and honestly had no clue about the bad weather until we started getting calls and texts from people in other parts of the country who had heard about the storms and death toll in alabama. We felt so dumb for being so clueless. So glad y'all are okay, and that your house is perfectly standing. <3


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