Happy 4th of July!!

The 4th of July was always one of my most favorite holidays as a kid. Growing up in South Florida, we spent many of them camping at River Ranch with our family.  The steamy days were filled with watermelon eating contests, horseback riding, ceramic painting, or splashing in the pool. Our summer nights brimming with nighttime bike rides, firefly catching, and marshmallow roasting campfires.

The amazing firework show featured as our summer excursion’s grand finale.  Up later then we were ever allowed to, we sat on our blankets armed with glow sticks and light bracelets staring at the summer sky freckled with stars  eager with anticipation. I’ll never forget the year mom screamed out “A Ninja Turtle!!!!!” as this brilliant green figure lit up the sky.  Apparently the similarities between a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and the Statue of Liberty are endless. Who wouldn’t attribute Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael, or Michaelangelo to America’s freedom and independence?

Although we have yet to take our children camping, it’s certainly on the list very soon. Some of my very favorite childhood memories were centered around time spend at a campground.

Even though our 4th festivities were fairly mild this year, the kids still managed to have a lot of fun with a hefty dose of fireworks. We are lucky enough to utilize Rob’s office downtown for prime Red White & Boom viewing off the Columbus Commons. The tie dye army that we brought with us had a blast riding the carousel, jamming out with the band, and perfecting their gymnastic moves  in the huge open green space. We headed up for 10th floor viewing once the fireworks started. Despite the fact that our view was a little cut off, the kids had a blast and enjoyed every minute.

 

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We’ve got debris!

Phew….this weekend has been an absolute whirlwind. A debris filled, 80mph, sweltering bitch of a whirlwind. So Friday evening, Mother Nature decided she was bored of merely hammering us with heat indices of over 100 degrees. She decided to throw in some hurricane force winds, torrential rain, and golf ball size hail for kicks….why not?? She probably thought it would be even more hilarious to do it to us on the rush hour commute home too…with kids in the car.

I have never encountered anything like what was encountered on our drive home Friday night. Being an absolute FREAK about tornadoes (meaning they scare the bajesus out of me), I’m normally up to speed on any sort of looming severe threat and obsessively check the radar on my phone whenever severe storms are coming our way. Friday of course I did not have my phone and was completely clueless about what was barreling our way.

By the time I picked up the kids from Goddard I made the mistake of thinking I could outrun it.

Yes, Mom I should have listened to you.

We should have parked it right there and rode it out inside the school. I completely underestimated the strength and speed of this storm and we were slammed. I could barely make it across the street to WalMart before all hell broke loose. The kids started to freak out as debris was flying all around the car and we could feel the car shaking with the violent force of the winds. I hadn’t heard any sirens but knew the car was not a safe place to be. I grabbed Maddie and prepped Jake….we ran as fast as we could inside the store. Both kids screaming as they were pelted with hail. We made it inside, the kids completely drenched, shivering, and petrified. As we made our way to the towels I wondered if I had made the right decision in yanking them from the car and subjecting them to the monsoon….a second glance at the fierceness of the storm outside reaffirmed the decision. We purchased dry shirts and rode out the rest of the storm inside. Once it finally cleared we made our way back to the car to head home. Every single traffic light was out the entire way back to the house. A standard 15 minute commute turned into a hour.

We had no idea at the time how much damage the storm actually caused. As we drove home there were countless amounts of trees down, debris littered the street. It literally looked like a small tornado had ripped thru. Little did we know over 600,000 people would lose power as a result of this very powerful storm. As I write this on Wednesday there are still hundreds of thousands without power.

Saturday morning I ran 3 miles thru Lazelle Woods. The path was riddled with branches and leaves.

Loads of trees were down around the area.

Our neighbor’s swing set was destroyed.

By the time I got back the real fun had begun. Our power went out…

 

Luckily we had a pretty busy day planned of t-ball…

and sun bathing…

and pizza with a side of shenanigans…

 

We are so lucky to have such fantastic neighbors and friends that we love so dearly! We all stuck it out together along with lots of laughs, sweat, and Summer Shandy.

Aside from the bedtime arrangements, the kids didn’t skip a beat. My parents were lucky enough to have never lost power while everyone in Rob’s family had lost it Friday. Ours went out Saturday morning, came back on Sunday evening, went out again Monday afternoon and returned for good Monday over night. We are very lucky considering there are still some without power.

Piece of cake AEP, piece of cake.