Friday, November 7, 2014

Last 2 Years: Super Storm Atlas, October 4-6. 2013

You know, if they end up naming a storm, it’s usually a big deal.  Super Storm Atlas hit Rapid City Oct 4; no kidding, it was a full on blizzard.  We knew a storm was coming and we knew that it would be a pretty good size.  School was cancelled for the 4th by the afternoon of the 3rd.  Even Ellsworth shut down by the evening of the 3rd .  With no snow falling yet we were hoping it wasn’t a false alarm. 

I was awaken at 3:30 am by some serious thunder.  Like middle of the summer thunder.  The sky then lit up with some amazing lightening.  I was pretty confused because I knew it was snowing, so where is the lightening coming from?  Apparently that’s how you know it’s a good storm, when you have thunder-snow.  It was amazing.  The wind was out of control and you could really start to see the snow drifting. 

Friday morning we could tell that this was going to be a big deal.  I was 37 weeks pregnant and had an afternoon apt to do a non-stress test on the baby and measure.  At 8:30 am we were called; they were trying to get all the high-risk patients in before the storm got worse.  There was a ban that only essential driving was to be allowed.  Aaron drove me to my apt.  There were already cars stuck on the side of the road and the snow was coming down so fast that the plows weren’t even out because they couldn’t keep up. 

Dr Frederickson was ready to see me right away.  She was on call that night and with the rest of the afternoon cancelled; she was planning on being at the hospital for awhile (she ended up being stuck there for 3 days!).  I had a friend deliver on the 4th and they got taken home in the snow-cat (a big tank like vehicle). 

After we got home we just hunkered down.  I was contracting a bit so Aaron had me sit and not move.  We wouldn’t be able to get out of driveway with all the snow and he didn’t want to do a home birth (and neither did I).  Our dentist neighbor did come over to offer his limited medical services in a crisis.  We were ALL glad that wasn’t necessary.  

The kids wanted to play outside but with the wind blowing with gusts up to 60-70 mph and the drifting hitting the top of some houses, snow play was banned.  The cul-de-sac already had a 2-3 ft layer of snow our neighbor got his suburban stuck in later that night and took 3 hrs to dig out to his driveway.  

Power went out at 3 that afternoon.  We would’ve been fine except our gas fireplace had broken the last winter when Aaron was gone and we hadn’t yet gotten it fixed (we ordered one as soon as the power came back on).  We collected the candles, filled the bathtubs, and found all flashlights.  Unfortunately I had not yet gotten to fixing dinner but our neighbor Jill Haugo had been thinking ahead and brought over chili from her crockpot.  

Right as the house started getting cold, the power kicked back on.  We were without for about 2.5 hrs.  Let’s hear it for underground neighborhood wires!!  The neighborhood across from us was out for a week! 

Even with the driving restrictions, people still felt that they were the exception and would have trouble on the roads.  They soon found out that that was not the case!

neighbors digging out a stuck car

it was a very quite few days

The biggest part of this whole storm was the wreckage from the trees.  With the leaves still on and the sap still flowing, most limbs got too heavy from the snow and broke.  A lot of people lost parts of their homes, al the big old trees from the older neighborhoods came right down and limbs took out power lines and then when power came back on there were a fair amount of fires.  

Tree removal took about a month to clean the entire city up.  There were 3 sites set up around town where you could drop off your limbs and city crews would mulch them down.  This was the site by our house and it was one of the smaller sites.

It was a MAJOR storm.  Again, our friends were out of power for days and us just a few hours.  The 37th were in Las Vegas participating in Green Flag exercises (Aaron was taken off that trip because of my due date!) so most of the squadron was husbandless the whole time.  WE had friends stranded in their homes because they had turned on their cars batteries to charge cell phones and then their cars were dead.  Power outages mean non-working sump-pumps and we had friends bailing water out of their basements.  One friend had a generator but no gas for it so she joked about her and her kids being found frozen to death next to the generator in the box.  It was a learning experience for anyone who lived through it and we are all better knowledgeable for it.  

I learned quite a bit even though I feel with the church’s teachings on emergency preparedness, we were a little more ready than most.  We did come to find that we needed things like more candles on hand, having my phone charged so I could use it, having gas in the car if we needed to sit in it to get warm, having water in our food storage (which we did) and food ready.  Things we NOW have is a chain saw, generator, more water jugs, more candles and a wind up/solar power phone charger.  

The Last 2 Years: September 2013

Wings are still in town and we did some exploring downtown and then celebrated Ethan’s birthday (Sept 1). 

*Art Ally downtown Rapid:

Camryn's pick

*Ethan’s birthday

The kids spent a good portion of Sunday making this birthday banner for Ethan

*Football opener: Go Steelers!

From here on out all we did in September was party!!

*Camryn’s (6th) birthday:

*Camryn and Marc Robinson’s Puppy Pirate Princess Party:

Christy made a balloon Chihuly 

*Edith Sudyatmiko’s 40th birthday bowling 80’s prom party:
Kim Washburn, Liza Johnston, Valerie Hader, Christy Robinson, Tsende Parkin, Edith Sudyatmiko, (friend), Melanie McIntire,  Angie Schroeder,  Me, (friend)

*Ainsley’s (3rd) birthday:
skirt from Alex


Sydney in the purple socks 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Last 2 Years: August 2013

**Disclaimer:  this is going to be a long one

August was another incredibly busy month! We had 2 trips and 2 sets of visitors, van trouble and the start of school.

Let’s just say it: I am an awesome wife!  No really, I’m awesome and I’m really good at gifts.  I think I have a knack for finding and thinking of things that are unique and cool.  That’s my intro for the beginning of August and Aarons’ birthday. 

Last year Aaron was deployed. The year before that he was on a plane headed to water survival school in Florida.  I decided it was time to celebrate and celebrate right.  I had recently been talking to Landon Rasmussen and he mentioned that he and Shadley had ticket to see comedian Brian Regan in Ft Collins on Aug 8th.  That got me thinking.  How cool would it be to surprise Aaron with a trip down to Colorado to visit the Rasmussens and see Brian Regan? 

**Let me insert that I am also REALLY into surprises!). 

I wanted to do this on the sly so I called the clinic and got Aaron’s schedule cleared without him knowing, called Poon (37th commander) and got the leave paperwork finished and then packed us all up.  To throw him off the trail I brought in lunch to the clinic as the “big birthday to-do” then waited for him to get home.  I had to get home first so I could load the van and get the kids home (I pulled them out for a half day).  The clinic stalled Aaron for another 30 minutes and then he came home.  We told him to change and get in the van.  I had already gone to Common Cents to get drinks and gas up the car. Then we all got in and started driving.  I made it to Hermosa before he started asking questions.  I had a birthday card filled out that he was getting the gift of “Leave” for his birthday.  It was so much fun!!  I really outdid myself.  (We even stopped at The Pizza Place in Lusk for the worlds best pepperoni pizza for dinner).

*Sweats Ville Zoo:

*Present time:

Knife Belt!

While we were in Ft Collins the big kids planned and executed a wedding for Jonas and Ainsley.  They all dressed in blue and purple, Alex played the piano, Luke read a scripture, Quinn officiated, and Sydney and Lily did decorations and Camryn made the wedding portraits.  It was amazing how thorough they were, having never been to a wedding before. 

*The wedding:
Bachelor Party playing H-O-R-S-E

Wedding Portraits  

We got home and 2 days later my Uncle Jeff and Aunt Pat passed through on their epic summer road trip. 

*Mt Rushmore

*Crazy Horse (and lunch at Alpine Inn – not pictured)

*Ellsworth Plane museum


Because it sounded like fun, we planned a trip to Park City. 

*Independence Rock:

D V Herbert July 8, 1897
*Martin’s Cove:

Sweet Water River memorial in view of the Cove

*Tye Dye night:

*Family Fun Center:

*Alpine Slides:

And for the most awesome ending to a great trip, I hit a deer with our van.  It was terrible!

*Stupid Deer!!

Reports came home on the first day of school that Camryn had gotten in a fight.  I still have never gotten the whole story but what I can piece together is that a 1st grader called Camryn a baby and she pushed (and yelled?) back.  I will probably never actually know but it’s a great story all the same. 

*First day of school:

the fighter

Camryn, Ainsley and Jayda Bhonenkamp

Seriously?  Will the fun ever stop?  Cami and Ethan came to visit.  This time, we went to Devil’s Tower and then a great Mexican Restaurant where the wait staff actually only speak Spanish!

*Devil’s Tower and Guadalajara’s:

At Guadalajara's  in Spearfish, SD.  Amazing Mexican food!