Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter Egg Dyeing

The night before Easter we dyed Easter eggs over at Mom and Glenn's. Ella was very excited for egg-dyeing and it was so fun to watch how much she enjoyed it.

In her smock, ready to go!




Steve gets very into his egg decorating






Glenn got a kit that was 'no-spill' coloring cups - Ella and Steve waiting to see the magic!


Checking out one of Grammy's beauties


Ella's dyeing method involved sticking her hand all the way in the dye cup...here's her very blue as a result


Easter card for Grammy


Check out this egg portfolio!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt

I went to Ella's school for her classroom Easter Egg Hunt last Wednesday morning. The Easter bunny came to visit and although she wanted nothing to do with him, she had a lot of fun running around collecting the Easter egg hidden outside.





Her whole class and one of her teachers, Miss Amanda


Cracking open an egg to see the treasures inside


Showing off her loot!


It was a fun morning, I always enjoy getting to visit Ella at school and seeing her with her friends. I am really happy that she really likes her school, has friends and teachers that she likes, and is learning a lot at the same time. Plus, as long as she's at an age where she really wants me to come to all her 'events', you can bet I'll be there!

Air Show

The Sunday before last, we went to the Air Show at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny, and we had a great afternoon outside watching the planes do their tricks.

It was really neat, there were many different planes and helicopters, my favorites were when several of them would fly in a formation together and do acrobatics all in sync with each other.





Could she be any cuter???










Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tornado

We had bad storms predicted for this past Saturday afternoon, but had no idea how bad they would turn out to be. It was predicted to be a really rainy day with bad thunderstorms in the afternoon. Ella and I ran a few errands in the morning and it was really windy and a little drizzly, but that was it. We went home for a little while, and then the three of us went to the mall and out to lunch, and got home a little after 3pm, the rain hadn't started yet but seemed imminent. Cory was acting really nervous and we could tell the storm was very close, so I took Cory and Ella for a quick walk before, what we were expecting, would be a full afternoon/evening of rain.

We had only been walking about a minute or so when the thunder started, so we turned around ASAP and went back inside. Steve and I were attempting to put Ella down for a nap when it really started to rain and got very windy. The amount of thunder was pretty notable, it was just thunder upon thunder upon thunder. Steve tried to turn the TV on but the satellite signal was lost, so unfortunately we had no idea a tornado was on the way. We watched a lot of the storm from Ella's window, which is at the back of our house. It rained very hard and what was really odd that we noticed, was that at one point, the rain seemed to be coming from all directions at once - it was pounding on the side of the house, swirling away from the house, trees were blowing, all at once. Our power went out and the storm passed, and we figured that was the end of it, just another big spring thunderstorm, and that our power would be back on quickly.

It was hours later before we started to learn the extent of what happened, and a few days before we fully knew. In all, there were about 25 different tornadoes that came through central NC between 2:30 and 5:00 pm. In our area, the tornado traveled from Sanford, where it destroyed a Lowe's store as well as a lot of other damage. It entered Holly Springs from the southwest, and crossed the main road about a quarter-mile from our house, went through the neighborhood behind ours, and then continued through other parts of the town.

It is pretty unbelievable that we were less than 2 minutes away from its path, and had no idea a tornado came through. I think we would have had a better idea if we'd looked out our front windows, since that was facing the direction of the tornado, instead of the back of our house, which was where we'd been.

I did not take any of these pictures, I copied them off our local news site. All of them were taken within a 3 minute distance (in the car) from of our house -











In our town there are houses destroyed and damaged, many trees downed, and power out for extended periods of time, but thankfully no one was killed or seriously injured. After the tornado left Holly Springs, it traveled into Raleigh where it got even stronger. Tragically it caused several deaths, the saddest story being a family that lost 4 children when a tree came through their mobile home; 3 were killed instantly and the 4th, a baby, died a few days later. It is just heartbreaking to imagine the mother, in a closet trying to protect her children and nieces/nephews, and a tree came crashing through where they were.

Our town has worked very hard and cleaned up so much since the weekend, but driving around town, there is still a lot of damage evident. There are cars with trees on top of them, giant trees with roots uprooted, piles of debris. It is crazy to see homes with blue tarps over a missing roof and then right next door, a house with no damage at all. The power company said that the reason it took so long to restore power was because when they would get to the areas to fix the structures, the structures themselves were completely gone, so they had to rebuild them from scratch.

We were so fortunate. A few things were tossed around our yard, but we had zero damage. Several weeks ago a big storm puled apart a piece of our fence, and Steve fixed it and reinforced it from both the inside and outside. Amazingly, the fence survived perfectly. We spent the first night at a friend's house and then the second night at Mom and Glenn's, so we really didn't even go without power for more than a few hours at a time when we were at our house. Our power came back on Monday evening.

I am very grateful for several things from this experience - I know we are fortunate that we got home when we did - had we been even 15 minutes later we may have been on the road caught up in the storm. We were less than prepared since we didn't even realize a tornado was coming and were standing at the window on our second floor watching the storm (eek!), and we are lucky that didn't end up turning into trouble (and lesson learned for future, as we had falsely assumed we had a tornado siren system). We had a place to stay both nights with power and hot water, and were even able to save everything in our freezer.

Unfortunately there are many people who did not fare as well as we did, and my heart goes out to everyone who is still suffering the consequences of the tornadoes. I have heard several people say that they haven't seen anything like this in the area since Hurricane Fran in the late 1990s, which was much worse. Saddest of all are those who lost loved ones or lost everything they owned, and are now left with needing to rebuild their lives. I am very grateful this was not a life-altering experience for us, as it has been for many, but am still certain it is an experience I will not soon forget.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Extreme Bubble Bath

When we were in NJ, Ella enjoyed an extreme bubble bath on Saturday night. Mom and Glenn's tub is a jacuzzi tub with jets, and Ella had a ball!

Many bubbles!












This video clip shows what she did pretty much the whole time - dancing and laughing at herself in the mirror!

video

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A funny exchange

Steve, Glenn, Ella and I went out to lunch this past Saturday. Ella pointed out that a big girl at a table near us was wearing "stomping shoes", just like she has. She is just as crazy about her shoes as she was when we first got them, and always tells me when she sees other girls with them on.

She had to use the restroom so the 2 of us were in there, and the girl with the stomping shoes happened to come in while we were in there. The girl saw us washing our hands, and grabbed a paper towel from the dispenser and handed it to Ella. I said "thank you, that was really a nice thing to do" and she said "well, she's little and I figured she can't do it", and started washing her hands.

Ella got up on her tiptoes and started pulling a towel out of the dispenser and said to me urgently, "Mommy, I can do it!", I said "I know you can", then she said to the girl, "Hey, I'm not little, look, I can do it!" as she pulled out another one.

The girl heard her and looked over, and was pretty amused by Ella saying that, and then saw Ella's shoes and said "oh wow, they make Twinkle Toes in her size? That is so cute, her feet are so little!" Ella, even more annoyed now, said "no, my size is big!"

Monday, April 11, 2011

Central Park Zoo

Our trip to the Central Park Zoo was Ella's first trip to the zoo. It was a cold and wet day, so not ideal for being outside and walking around, but the upside was that we pretty much had the zoo to ourselves!









Ella took full advantage of wearing her boots - here she is enjoying some serious puddle-splashing


Petting a turtle


My favorite exhibit was the tropical bird house. There were beautiful birds all over who were not at all afraid of people and it was so pretty so see them all. This peacock had his feathers all puffed out and was about a foot away from us, just walking around proudly and strutting his stuff.







Snow leopard. There were a few people with really nice cameras that seemed to be intently and seriously photographing this snow leopard. Unfortunately Ella yelled and it ran away! (In her defense, he came back after a few minutes.)






The sea lions were very neat. It was about half hour before their feeding time and we figured they must have been hoping we had food, because they came right up to where we were and put on a little show!







Red panda


A stork, standing on one leg


There were a ton of penguins, it was really neat to see them swimming around and socializing on the rocks







A little family of monkeys, they were all snuggled up and huddled together, pretty cute


Me and the Wild Woman


Fast asleep on the way home!