Here's a picture of us mounting the hanging brackets on the wall less than an hour before the storm hit.
Like most of the projects around here, things were progressing more slowly than I had hoped and Carlton (aka Mr. Man) was growing impatient. He suggested we head downstairs to watch the news "just in case" the storms were getting close. I'm sure I pitched quite the fit over stopping midway through the project, but I gave in and followed him downstairs with Emme in tow. After switching on the TV, we realized pretty quickly that storms were indeed coming our way. Honestly, I figured we would get some heavy rain and maybe some gusty winds, but NO WAY did I think an actual tornado would come.
We kept our eyes on the news and after awhile I started getting nervous. Something about having a baby that's less than a year old and seeing tornadic cells on the radar heading in your direction does that to a person. I pulled the couch cushions off and put them into our small downstairs bathroom. Within minutes, we heard on TV that a tornado was on the ground near us and then our TV reception ended. Not good. We looked outside and everything looked kind of weird...then we heard it. Not the freight train everyone references, but we heard a very loud, low roar. Without hesitation, we exchanged looks and headed into the bathroom to take cover. Emme wasn't very pleased with this and started crying, plus the electricity went off, so it was dark in the tiny little room. The house shook and I remember Carlton and me just looking at each other in disbelief. We uttered quiet prayers and soon enough it was all over. We heard people in the neighborhood talking loudly outside and cautiously opened the bathroom door. The first thing we noticed was the smell...pine trees. Lots and lots of pine odor. Then, we saw that the windows in our kitchen were blocked out by pine tree limbs and needles. Once we got outside, here's what we saw at the back of our home.
|The kitchen windows and door are to the far left -- |
that was our first view from inside after the storm.
|Here's our patio..notice the lovely furniture that's crumpled under|
the trees and how a tree poked through into the kitchen under the window.
Trees did the majority of the damage to our home. We had several huge pines fall and hit the back of the house, but all of them slid off the house and onto the patio after they hit. I guess it's a good thing that no entire tree sections were embedded into the house (just limbs here and there). We had over $35,000 in damage and ended up completing lots of repairs on the house. The big projects were sistering up some joists in the attic that had taken the majority of the impact from the trees, replacing the entire roof and gutter system, plus replacing and painting all of the siding on the back of the house. It was a big project!!
|Here's a picture of a few of the trees that hit the house.|
|And here's a picture of the crushed patio furniture!|
At the time, we thought this tornado was devastating. We quickly realized, though, just how fortunate we were. The storm killed 24 people across North Carolina, including four children. Sure, our house had damage, but we were fine and that was truly all that mattered. Then, a tornado struck Joplin, Missouri and we were reminded yet again how fortunate we were and just this past weekend more deadly tornados struck again. Each of these events remind us just how "lucky" we got! We can clean up damage from a storm, but could never replace a loved one.
That's kind of the funny thing about life I think...just when you think you have it rough, something happens to bring you back down to the ground. It's so easy to just go through each day focusing on the here and now, letting little things get to you, that sometimes you forget to stop and count your blessings. You forget to stop and cherish sweet moments with your kids, like the bedtime hugs and kisses, or the quiet story time, or how they look at you... Someday, I'll wish I could remember all those things in more detail, but for today I CAN live in the moment. I NEED to live in the moment of trying to hold onto all of those precious things because you just never know when or how things may change.
A year ago I would have said this tornado would have been a defining moment in our lives as a family. Today, I sit here barely recalling exactly what happened in the days after the storm. It was a HUGE deal at the time, but now my feet are firmly planted in the here and now and the arrival of sweet little Will in just over two weeks. We are in the middle of a different kind of storm this year...one with lots of promise and lots of questions. Thankfully, we also don't have control of this storm either. All we can do is prepare as best we can, hunker down and live each day to its fullest. Today, I thank God for every precious moment we have as a family. I thank Him for our precious daughter that has grown so much in the past year and for each birthday He gives us with our precious son, Will. I can't wait to meet our little boy very, very soon.
|I can't believe how much she's grown!!|