Monday, October 05, 2015

I Can See Clearly Now...

... the rain has gone!


Although it will be weeks until the flood waters in Columbia, SC and the coastal areas subside, at least we know they will.

The photos and videos from Columbia, Charleston, and Myrtle Beach are just devastating to watch. I've been keeping tabs of my friends via Facebook to make sure they are all safe. So far I don't know anyone that has had to evacuate, but several of my friends have first floor or basement flooding or are surrounded by closed roads and can't leave their house. Add the power outages, downed trees, disintegrated roads, and lack of clean water, and you can imagine the disaster that these residents are going through.

We got really really lucky here. There's no denying that we got 4 months of rain in 10 days, we still got 10 inches less than what was predicted. Those 10 inches have made a huge difference in the river levels. It's true that some underpasses flooded and a few sink holes appeared in our town, it still could have been way worse.

The whole family was super happy to see Mr. Golden Sun here today. Now he needs to do his job and dry all this stuff up!

The following pictures were taken a week ago when the sun peeked out of the clouds for about an hour. I think Jocelyn had been stalking the window for a glimpse of sun.

Those puppies and kitties sure were happy to go outside, too. I'm just glad Shaggy didn't eat them!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

The Flood of October 2015

I have a TON of stuff to catch up on... Brian's birthday, Jocelyn's dance class, a preschool update, Jayce's exciting school news, Jaina's math struggles, my angiogram results, etc, but the most immediate thing that is happening right now is the constant rain we've had. It started raining on the eve of September 24th and pretty much hasn't stopped with the exception of Wednesday, September  30th.

All this rain has wrecked havoc on the roads here. Culverts have washed away, sink holes have formed, underpasses have stranded cars. Even one woman has died. It's been bad.

According to the weather report, things have just started. Hurricane Joaquin might be hundreds of miles from us, but he's sharing his storm system and fronts with us. This weekend we are supposed to get rainfall of "historic proportions" (according to our Governor Nikki Haley, whom I can't stand at all, but hopefully she listens to her weather consultant).

I think our state has been declared in a state of emergency. The coast certainly does need this. I've been astonished to see the damage, through pictures and video, already inflicted on small coastal towns. 

As for our family... well... only Jaina here likes the rain. So the rest of us four have been pretty irritated and grumpy. We don't have rain boots, kid sized umbrellas, or rain jackets, so we get soaked any time we have to leave the comfort of our house or van. And let's not even talk about my hair. Gah.

Poor Jocelyn doesn't understand why we can't just go wipe the slide and swings with a towel so she can still play.

*This* is why she can't play. See this mud? Its red clay mixed with rain. It stains horribly.

And the mud is everywhere. Ugh.

But it did stop pouring for a little bit the other day. Granted, it was still misting, but I let Jocelyn go and get the mail with me.

(Side note: These shoes had to be cleaned off in the sink and the jeans had to be soaked in Oxyclean immediately after this 5 minute adventure)

She was just thrilled to be outside.

She dutifully checked on all our flowers and plants, declaring, "I don't think I need to water them today."

Oh, I forgot...

There's another Walker family member who isn't keen on all this torrential rain.
Bless his heart! If that's not a depressed dog, I don't know what is.

Later that afternoon, I saw a glare out of the corner of my eye while I was cleaning the kitchen.

It was the sun.

It was only for five minutes and it certainly didn't help to dry anything up, but boy did seeing it make my heart happy.

California friends: If I could, I would happily send all this rain to you guys, who actually need it. Love you all!

And for my southern friends: Stay dry and safe. Don't drive through running water. Use caution and turn around if you have any doubts at all about going through.

We'll get through this eventually. And I'm willing to bet that the blue skies will be absolutely gorgeous when they do come :)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It might not be Friday, but I'm Phone Dumping anyway

Oh my... what a week it's been. Some days I've been too busy to even take a picture with my camera phone.

Yesterday was one of those days. It was so crazy and hectic that I honestly wish I could have just quit being a parent. "Here ya go... three kids with three different places to be. Have fun! Not my problem today!" Unfortunately, Brian had made a commitment to volunteer with the marching band and that left me with 3 problems: a teen problem, a problem with autism, and a no napping toddler problem. You know, until she did take a nap. At 5:00 PM in the car. Which is almost worse than no nap. Or maybe it *is* worse than no nap. I haven't figured that one out yet. Add in spilling a bottle of pink lemonade all over the fridge and the floor 5 minutes before I had to leave to go pick up Jayce (thanks to a teen who didn't actually put the lid on the container), hitting my ankle getting out of the car (bruises on blood thinners are FUN!), almost running over the jogging stroller that was left behind my van, whacking my shoulder on the attic doorframe while getting Halloween decorations out (more bruises!), finding out that the one movie I wanted to watch last night after getting Jocelyn to bed won't play in our new DVD player, and fighting with the toddler to pick up crayons, and you can just get a glimpse of what my Saturday was like. Oh, and have i mentioned that it's been raining for 60 hours straight (not kidding... do we live in Seattle???) and THREE of my photo sessions were cancelled, as well as baseball pictures and baseball practice in a nearby park resulting in then having batting practice 30 minutes away...

Okay, enough complaining. The highlight of yesterday was visiting with my friend Jackie at her son's 3 year old Paw Patrol party. Jocelyn and I had a great time. If I had known what the rest of my day was going to look like, I would have just stayed there :) I'm so sad I didn't get any pictures of Jocelyn playing with her friends. She was adorable in her Chase mask :)

Anyway, here's what we've been up to this week...

Coloring Chalk Outside:

These were taken immediately before the rain started. Who knew it would be the last time we'd be outside in days?

We were outside with two purposes:
1. Meet the new neighbors
2. Stalk the mail lady carrier to inform her about our missing/stolen mail

The new neighbors are so nice! We are going to love having them across the street, although we'll miss Lori and Denis very much :(

As for our mail, the mail carrier was very rude about it. "I just wouldn't ever send money in the mail. Period." And she lied and told me mail was taking 3 weeks to be delivered. A quick trip to our downtown post office confirmed that this was not true. There is an official investigation into the problem with our mail. We are getting bills just fine and on time. Any personal correspondence (birthday cards, thank you cards, letters) either hasn't come or has arrived damaged. This stuff better be fixed by Christmas, is all I can say.

An hour before our chalk drawings, we said goodbye to my college friend Tracey and her husband Jeff.

It was SO good to see her! She hasn't changed a bit :)

Here are some more pictures from their visit:

Jayce had another baseball game... this one was at Tyger River about 30 minutes away.

That was the day that Tracey and I took Jeff back to Converse College (my alma matter) to show him around. There is just this indescribable feeling I get whenever I step foot on campus. It's the same feeling I had the first day there when I knew with 100% certainty that I was going to go to Converse come hell or high water.

It's crazy to think about how my life would be now if I hadn't had gone to Converse. I would never have met Farrell, Rachel, or Tracey. I would have never gotten an apartment on the Westside or worked at Buffalo's Cafe. I would have never met Brian. I would not have these three awesome kids. Craziness. Sometimes one simple decision can change the whole course of your life.

(whoops... forgot to rotate pic. This is my awesome Richard the Red Devil shirt. People think that it's all about the Purple and the Valkyries, but that wasn't even a thing when I went to Converse. Nope... it's all about the Red Devils vs. the Pink Panthers. I think you can tell what camp I belong to.)

Jeff and Tracey arrived the eve of Brian's birthday. Jocelyn immediately connected with my friends. I kinda felt bad... Jeff and Tracey traveled all the way from Upstate NY to have a break from their kids. And then had to deal with mine for three days. But they were excellent sports about it.

Brian decided to take the day off from work for his birthday. This was not enjoyable for anyone but him. He tagged along to the library with us and "played the magnatiles all wrong" according to Jocelyn.

We also took Shaggy to the vet to get his stitches out.

We found out his tumor that was removed was not cancerous :)

And speaking of Brian's birthday...
He went with a Star Wars theme. Look for "real" pictures from my good camera for the next post :)

Jocelyn felt like she needed to dress up, too. Let me introduce to you "Pinkie Dash Rainbow Pie". Otherwise known as a three year old who can't make up her mind. 

It was quite a week! Let's hope this one is a bit more calm and chill. I go on Thursday for another angiogram of my head. Prayers, good vibes, wishes, etc are all appreciated :)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Let's Play Ball :: Fall 2015

This Fall marks the 5th (wait... 6th? I've lost track!) season in Jayce's recreational baseball experience and we couldn't be more excited! It was a long spring with my brain aneurysm recovery and no spring baseball for Jayce. He is so glad to be back and I'm happy to be a "baseball mom" again :)

Bless his coaches' hearts... all of them. Because Coach April (and her husband Mike, and his friend Donnie, and his friend Claudio) is so damn good, every kid signs up to play with her. That means there were 18 kids in 10U that wanted to be on her team. She loves all her players so much and wants to make everyone happy, so she never turns anyone down. 18 players is way too much for one team (hello, would the kids even make it through one batting line up??), but 9 players isn't enough for two teams each, she had to be creative. She created two 10U teams, but has asked two players from The Flames to play at each of the Devil Dog's games and two players from the Devil Dogs to play with The Flames. I have no idea how she managed it, but she created a schedule that has each of the 18 players only playing one or two double headers this season. Totally doable.

And have I mentioned she also coaches an 8U team for her other son?

And is an ER nurse that works 3rd shift?

And is diabetic??

One of the moms made the comment that she didn't think Coach April kept insulin in her pump. It must be something stronger :P

Anyway, Jayce's first game was actually his night to do a double header. I was asked to be a dugout mom (my job basically requires me to keep the kids in batting order and to make sure no one gets whacked in the head with a bat) for The Flames, so I wasn't able get my big camera out until he played later for The Devil Dogs. (Don't ask about the team names. The kids come up with the craziest stuff!)

The first game didn't go the way our team wanted. The Chapman kids (District 1) beat us 9-7. However, the kids did well and gave it their all.

Jayce is in the outfield again, but at least is moving around from left, center, and right!

I was able to snap pictures of Jayce warming up "on deck" when the second game started.

And then he was up to bat...

He made contact with the first pitch. 

However, it ended up being a foul so back to the plate he went. And then almost got hit by the ball. Those kinds of things happen in kid pitch.

Then there was a strike. 

A few more not so great pitches put Jayce walking to first. Unfortunately, he got tagged out before he could get to second base.

But that's okay because their team won 10 to 0. A complete shut out.

It's fun to play on two great teams. I have loved watching Jayce make new friends through baseball. 

He may not ever pitch or play first base, but he's having fun and conquering fears.

And that's what counts.