Friday, May 15, 2009

Inland Hurricane!?!?

Last Friday, a giant wind storm ripped through the midwest, leaving a trail of widespread damage. Winds in our town clocked among the highest; 106 mph. Our community lost many, MANY trees and some peoples' homes and cars were damaged. Our county has been declared a state disaster area. Our electricity was just restored yesterday.

our backyard

What an interesting time this has been. I will not document all my feelings here, for this post would be lengthy and I have not the time at the moment. But I want to say that I am very glad to have had this unique experience. What an awe-inspiring act of nature, reminding us who is in charge and what's really important.

June Bug and I had gone to the mall that morning to look for a rain jacket (of all things!) which we didn't end up buying because we didn't have enough money for the only one we found. It was storming, but just seemed like a typical Southern Illinoisan storm, with a ton of rain and thunder and lightening. So we stayed at the mall longer than planned, hanging out at the arcade, playing Dance Dance Revolution, waiting for the skies to clear. When they did, we headed home. Things were calm. The skies were cloudy but very still, almost as if the sun were going to come out any moment. Then, very suddenly, the winds began to blow. They blew with force that I have never seen. When we were almost home (it's only about an 8-10 minute drive from the mall to home), the winds were so intense that trees were bending over at alarming angles. At home I was able to see the storm radar just before the power went out-- instead of a large storm with several spinning cells like you would see in a typical tornadic system, the entire storm system itself was spiraling over the entire region. Just like a hurricane. That 10 minute window where the skies were clear was indeed the eye of the storm.

Power goes out. Tornado sirens sound. Mama, June Bug, and Little Sprout take shelter in the bathtub. Tornado sirens stop after only a minute or two. Mama thinks the worst must be over. Mama goes to window and sees big branches falling in neighbors yards. Mama returns to shelter. Mama goes again to window and hears giant crashing noises, returns to shelter. Mama distinctly smells pine and thinks the neighbors pine tree must've come down. Mama goes again to window. More crashing, back to shelter. This goes on more a good sustained 20-30 minutes.

good thing nobody was currently living in this rental property

Then, just as suddenly as the winds had appeared, they were gone. The sun came out, the birds emerged chirping, and every single person came out of their homes to see what there was to see. The damage was immediately evident. Trees down EVERYWHERE. Every single street was blocked by one or more large trees. Half the damaged trees snapped in half. The other half were completely uprooted. Our backyard was basically non-existent-- instead there is a tangle of trees, primarily that giant pine that I knew I smelt.

Damage everywhere. People recovering from their fright. But it was absolutely amazing how EVERYONE came out and talked to each other. Neighbors who never talked to anyone else were suddenly communing in the streets. Everyone had their own version of the story to tell.

a nearby house

After talking with our immediate neighbors, June Bug and I, with baby in a front carrier, take a walk to survey the rest of the neighborhood. Everybody asks if you are okay and how your home fared, whether they know you or not. All roads are blocked. Cars are driving in circles, trying to find a way out. June Bug and I scout the roads until we discover the 'way out' and help direct the traffic. Giant trees block roads, and all of a sudden everybody with a saw is out helping clear them. June Bug and I help clear the cut branches from one particularly large mess down the street from our home. It is an amazing sight to see; everyone working together, and within an hour or two all the roads in our neighborhood are cleared.

our backyard, luckily my work table is still in one piece

Things are beginning to return to normal. Most businesses are open again and people begin to return to their solitary tv-watching lives as their power is restored.

I am sad for the trees lost. And I am sad for the people I know who have damaged homes/vehicles. But most of all I am grateful for that which this storm has given me. I am comforted by the knowledge that people WILL work together with compassion when something devastating happens. And now I am able to view our modern conveniences as just that: conveniences. We've been given a wake up call. Time to be alert. Time to value what we have. Time to let go of attatchment ot material possessions. Time to live, I mean really live our lives.

rockabye baby in the treetop when the wind blows the trees will all drop

pine playground, after 5 days of continuous yard cleanup

Wishing You Perseverance,

Mama Randa the Grateful

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

New Life Springs Forth

I'll admit to being an emotional wreck the past few weeks. Every day is a roller coaster of emotion-- each one felt to it's extreme. This story perfectly illustrates how I can go from despondant tearfulness to complete elation in a matter of moments.
I'd had a hard afternoon and had been feeling sad for hours. Finally I decide to actually do something besides lay around feeling sorry for myself, so I fill a cardboard box with newspaper for our pregnant cat who I thought to be about 5 days from her due date (I watched the conception happen so I knew exactly how far along she was).

Okay, so then the box was ready, but where was Nuk-Nuk? I find her in a box of silks by the computer. I lift her to show her the new box/nest and she lets out a little cry-- there are four fresh kittens under her! As soon as I put her down June Bug and I got to watch her birth the final kitten.

And to think, we had been there the whole time, no more than 12 feet away and had no idea Nuk-Nuk was giving birth. What I find most interesting though is that I suddenly decided to prepare a birthing box for her NOT KNOWING she was birthing that very moment. Coincidence? or Serendipity?

I now feel this strange new connection with Nuk-Nuk. When we first brought her home, I knew she was either a wise old soul or just a little bit slow in the brain. Well, now I know that wisdom is not her strong point (that I can see anyway). She is a strange, slow little creature. But now I see her with these kittens, purring softly as she licks them from head to tail, lying serenly as they nurse from her many nipples. I look at her and suddenly feel that we are kindred souls, sharing similar experiences of motherhood at this point in our lives. Despite her slowness, she is a good mother and it inspires me to watch her at work.

Wishing You the Privelage to Observe Spring Babies,

Mama Randa the Awed

Friday, May 1, 2009

Life Lessons: How to Make an Ass of Yourself

Lucky for me it was June Bug who learned this lesson today and not myself, otherwise I may not have posted about it.

On to the the isntructions....

Today's life lesson; "How to Make an Ass of Yourself by Insisting You are Right when Really You are Wrong"

1. Go for a hike on a gloomy yet ultra-green day through the woods at the local University with your mother. When you get to a bridge, look for signs of wildlife.

2. Spot what looks like a turtle and argue with your mother about wether or not it is a turtle. Mama doesn't think it is, but you make it VERY clear that it absolutely IS a turtle and that you know alot more about reptiles than silly old Mama.

3. Continue to boast your 'rightness' even though Mama let the discussion go many minutes ago.

4. Follow Mama down a path which, coincidentally (or not) leads to a place with a much better view of the supposed turtle.

5. See very clearly that it was not a turtle at all.

No, I didn't rub it in. I didn't even mean to prove him wrong, I was willing to let it go, but HE wanted to go down that path and since I knew it lead to a better vantage point I let us go down it despite the fact that poison ivy and spider webs were in great abundance along such a narrow path. The pictures may not do it justice, but SOuthern Illinois gets very jungle-like in the spring/summer. Every shade of green exists in such intensity that you begin to think you are in a rainforest-- particularly in areas with alot of ferns and moist mossy cliffs. Oh... but then there's the ticks. . . . the neverending ticks. . .

Wishing Life Lessons to You and Your Children,

Mama Randa Morning Glory

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wooden Mosiac Eggs

If you're like me, then Easter Eggs have stayed in your fridge uneaten for a length of time far exceeding their expiration point. Now what to do with them? Here's a project idea for the shells.

You Need
colored eggshells
wooden egg

Peel your eggs and save the shells, grouping them by color in separate compartments (the compartments of the eggs' carton will work fine).

Take your wooden egg and squirt glue onto the top half of the egg. Use the paint brush to spread the glue evenly. You can find wooden eggs at craft stores or order online from wood craft sites. Ours came from Hobby Lobby.

Once your glue is evenly spread, begin adding bits of shell. Once you have covered al the glue areas, allow the egg to dry and then repeat with the bottom half of the egg. Working on only one half at a time allows you to have a good spot to hold on to the egg. That's it!

Of course your child's will look more like this.

Wishing You Inventive New Ways to Reuse the Old,

Mama Randa Morning Glory

Monday, April 27, 2009

Springtime Smiles

Oh, babies. Eventually I'll get around to making a non baby-related post. But for now. . . .

Wishing You The Sweet Smell of Baby,

Mama Randa Morning Glory/May Apple

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Pile of Silk

A heap of silky softness. . . look close and you might find a baby somewhere in there.

Yup, there he is!

It's the first photo we've gotten of him smiling-- oh that grin!

Wishing You Daily Doses of Supreme Cuteness,

Mama Randa May Apple

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mama Randa Has Returned!!

Thanks to the generousity of a friend who works at a computer recycling center, I have been given a new (new to me at least) computer. I am extremely grateful for there is much to be grateful for.

A big hug of thanks goes out to my dear friend Ashley for taking wonderful family photos of us (without a protest from June Bug!) These are some of my favorites.

Wishing You The Blessing of Thankfulness,
Mama Randa May Apple
(formerly known as Mama Randa Morning Glory. Hey, it's MY nickname, I can do that right?)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Welcome Asa Denali!

Well, my computer has been out of comission since October, but here's a quick and exciting update.......

Asa Denali has arrived!

Born March 4, weighing 7 pounds 2 ounces, and 19.5 inches long

We are completely in love and savoring each moment of this newborn stage, for I know how fleeting it is.

Wishing You The Joys of New Life Springing Forth,
Mama Randa the Mother of 2