Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for April, 2008

As the Pedals Turn – Athens Twilight Criterium

29th April 2008

Lots of updating to do on the cycling side! First of all, Brian’s back to riding his nice, fast yellow Trek Madone. Amazingly, after several phone calls between the bike shop and the Trek factory, Trek offered to give Brian a new frame FOR FREE! Yipee! That’s $1100 that we don’t have to pay. I tell ya, if I ever have anything to say about it, Brian won’t ride anything but Treks from here on out 🙂 We are so thankful!

This past week, Brian was gearing up for the big Athens Twilight race. The main event is a 9pm pro/elite race that is CRAZY fast and furious and full of crashes in downtown, just blocks from the University of Georgia. Many of the downtown restaurants on the 2 block course set up beer gardens, there’s live music playing, and -I’m not exaggerating – there are 30,000 fans lining the course cheering. It’s unlike any other race. Last year’s race was highly eventful, as Brian got caught in 3 crashes, before his bike was too damaged to continue.

Brian upgraded to category 1 status at the end of last season, and that was supposed to help him gain entry into some of these elite level races. But for some reason, the "big" races have become even harder to get into. The Athens race was labeled as a Pro/Elite race, and when Brian contacted the race director, he was told that he could register later, after the pro teams had signed up. He kept calling and kept getting put off. The contact he had assured him that he was probably going to get into the race, so that’s all we planned for. Until Thursday of last week, he got word that he couldn’t register for the big race. It was so frustrating. He registered for the category 1/2/3 race, which had a qualifying race in the morning and a finals race in the late afternoon. Still a good race, but not the Main Event and not with the big names he’d been looking forward to riding with. He heard from a couple people that they were going to see if they could get him into the evening pro race, but we went up there planning for the other races.

So he raced the morning race, and got into a break of 7. It was a tough uphill sprint finish, and he got 5th. In the afternoon finals race, it was on the crazy fast downtown course with like 100 riders. He stayed at the front most of the race, and finished 12th. Pretty good! I’ll post his race report at the bottom.

But a bunch of people made some phone calls, Brian got moved to the front of the list, and just before the finals race, he got word that he was 1 of 3 people they were adding to the pro race! Unbeknownst to us, the pro race had actually filled up to the race capacity of 150 riders, and more than 250 riders had wanted to race. Brian knew the right people in the right places to make it happen!

So after already racing more than an hour and a half, he started the pro race, at the absolute back of the 150 rider field… I’ll just post his thoughts below…

Three keys moments that stand out to me:

1. During the amateur finals race, I heard a crash in Turn 4 somewhere behind me that sounded bad. Keep in mind how turn 4 works, you go screaming through it and then you come really close to the outer barriers. The memory that is most vivid to me is hearing several people in the crowd only a foot or so away making this sort of cringing “oh” sound right in my ear and another saying “did you see that?” It just made me realize that racing in front of those crowds is like being a gladiator where “the kill” is the crash.

2. Also in turn 4, but this time during the pro race, I was approaching the corner and I saw a couple guys go down in the corner. I had already committed to the outside and there were riders on my right so I knew I had to stop. I slammed on my brakes thinking that I had plenty of room to stop. Then as my rear tire skidded and as I got closer and closer to the guy laying on the ground, I knew that there wasn’t enough room to stop so at the last minute I just veered left, hunched over to the left and plowed into the barrier knocking it back into some people in the crowd. It was crazy – you don’t realize how fast you are going until you try to stop.

3. This last “vivid memory highlight” was in turn 2 and was very reminiscent of last year’s crash that brought the race to a halt. I guess it didn’t take as many people down so they didn’t have to stop the race this year. I was still near the back of the race slowly working my way up passing riders each time up the hill. This time fortunately, I wasn’t killing it through that corner to swing wide and pass people so I actually had time to stop. The vivid memory I have is seeing a bike literally flying up into the air, bodies rolling on the ground and people crashing. Miraculously I didn’t go down, but it was funny where I ended up — with my front wheel touching a barrier and the rear wheel of a rider down in front of me and also with several riders down to my right and several stopped behind me. I looked back at a Texas roadhouse rider who was stopped behind me, and said OK that was close enough for me, where do we get our free lap?

“Vivid memory #3”, unfortunately, was also the beginning of the end of the pro-race for me even though I didn’t know it at the time. Apparently, in the mayhem I had dropped a bottle either in that crash or the one where I went into the barrier. I got back into the race no problem and was doing great, passing people on the hill, thinking this is great I just need to move up some more and I’ll finish. People were gapping all the time or sitting up and I had to jump around them and catch on. But each time I was doing fine. I could feel my legs tightening up a bit so I knew I needed to drink more. I drank whenever I could – usually on the downhill just before turn 3. Then on about lap 30 of the 80 lap race, I was about out of Gatorade so I reached to switch the bottles and lo and behold I didn’t have a second bottle on my bike! With a very sinking feeling, I knew that the only way to finish the race would be to count on all the pre-race hydration I had been doing. It wasn’t enough though. About 8 or 9 laps later just under the halfway point, my upper legs locked up with both sides cramping at the same time and I couldn’t even pedal. That was it. Pulled out just past the beer garden on the hill. I’m happy that my fitness is there and one of these years everything is going to come together and I am going to get a top 10 finish in that race!

Earlier in the day the greenway race was a fun one albeit the hardest race I have done this year (even harder than the pro race!). I went with the break that launched itself after the second corner on the first lap. When that got caught, I covered another short break that got caught as I pulled through. Then the real break (a Toshiba-Santo rider) went on the next lap on the downhill before the first corner, and I couldn’t go with it. Fortunately, I was sitting on the wheel of Chris Butler (Hincapie U23 Development) when he attacked to bridge up. I tucked and held on as tight as I could to his draft and he dragged me almost all the way up. I had to take one pull on the hill and we made it up to the Toshiba rider. The guys I was in the break with just kept on killing it. Even though I was hurting pretty bad I was afraid not to pull for fear that they would attack out of the break and I would get dropped. So I would roll through whenever I could but I definitely skipped some pulls when I simply couldn’t go fast enough to get around the guy who just pulled off the front. My average heart rate for the race was 182 bpm (see below) — keep in mind that my Zone 5 starts at 175! For the finals race, my average HR was 171, and then for the pro race, it was only 169.

The HR data for the morning amateur qualifers race:

HR Data for the afternoon amateur finals race:

HR Data for the evening pro race (the Main Event):

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What should I be doing right now?

28th April 2008

I should be dealing with the absolute mountain of laundry that’s taking over my couch. Some of it is leftover from the sick nights of last week, but some of it is new from the another evening of sickness LAST night. I had forgotten to post that both kids had been throwing up on Wednesday night, too, and Josiah had a few bout of diarrhea on Thursday and Friday. But by Friday evening, everyone appeared to be happy and healthy. So we’d packed up and headed to the races on Saturday am.

We’d been gone all weekend, having a fabulous time in Athens, Georgia for Brian’s bike race (that deserves its own post), and the kids had not been sick at all. Until Josiah blew out a diaper in the car on the way home. Then after we got home and all fell into an exhausted sleep, Analise got sick, and at the same time, Josiah woke up a mess from another blowout diaper. Poor boy had to have a bath at 4am. He was not pleased. I finally got everyone back to sleep just before Brian had to get up. No throwing up today, but both kids have diarrhea.

What is going on in our house? One sick night, one sick day, 2 healthy days, then they’re sick again. We’ve got to get healthy for good soon!

Timeline (more for my mental note than anything)
Apr. 5 (Sat) – Josiah sick all night
Apr. 6 (Sun) – Josiah sick all day, Analise sick in evening
Apr. 8 (Tues) – Brian sick
Apr. 9 (Wed) – Brian sick
Apr. 15 (Tues) Analise sick
Apr. 21 (Mon) – Analise sick at night
Apr. 22 (Tues) – J has one bad diaper
Apr. 23 (Wed) – Analise and Josiah sick at night
Apr. 24 (Thurs) – J has one bad diaper, Beverly sick
Apr. 25 (Fri) – J has one bad diaper
Apr. 26 (Sat) – J has one bad diaper
Apr. 27 (Sun) – J has 3 bad diapers, blowout during night, Analise sick at night
Apr 28 (Mon) – J has all bad diapers, Analise not feeling well, and diarrhea

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“It’s a very rough night, Mommy”

22nd April 2008

Well, the title says it all.  That’s what Analise said to me last night after she threw up for the 2nd time.  Poor girl.  I’m not sure what the deal is with her stomach.  She was sick 3 times last night, and this is the third bout of throwing up she’s had in less than 2 weeks.  So my mountain of laundry has just exploded, after I’d just finally gotten everything put back in order after last week’s 2 nighttime episodes. 

But she seemed fine today.  Josiah went to play at "Gwema" Beverly’s this morning, so Analise and I snuggled on the couch, while she watched a movie and I read.  I do enjoy that 🙂  She ate pretty much anything today, which doesn’t actually say that much because she’s in a really picky stage.  We’ll see what tonight brings… her bed is covered with a towel, just in case. 

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My little girl

21st April 2008

When I got home from the race on Sunday, Kristine was hosting an organizational meeting for our church life groups; Josiah was asleep; and Analise was in her room watching a Little Einstein’s episode on our laptop. She was sitting on the edge of her bed with the laptop on a table right next to the bed. When I came into the room, we had the following interaction [keep in mind that Analise talked in the sweetest voice during all of this]:

Analise: What are you doing in my room?
Me: I just got home from the bike race.
Analise: Were you in the front?
Me: Yes I was in the front some of the time.
Analise: Did you win?
Me: No, I didn’t win this time.
Analise: What was the name of the person who won?
Me: I think his name was David.
Analise: How long is his name?
Me: It has five letters … D-A-V-I-D
Analise: Oh.

Thank goodness she didn’t ask about the road race or the time trial. It would have been complicated explaining all the dynamics of the people involved in that race and especially trying to get how long everyone’s name was and how to spell them all!

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As the Pedals Turn… MS Grand Prix and Crash Update

19th April 2008

Since Brian’s swamped with school, other work and cycling, I’m taking it upon myself to chronicle his cycling endeavors with a new category on our blog. Welcome to "As the Pedals Turn"!

You might or might not remember that in his last race 2 weeks ago, he crashed hard, taking out a teammate and 13 other people. We were hoping his bike could be relatively easily fixed. And it can be fixed… or rather, replaced.  Upon closer inspection, the bike shop found that the frame was cracked in 3 places, and it needs to be replaced.  That’s a $$$$ fix for his high-end bike, this snazzy yellow Trek Madone 5.5 Pro. *sigh*  They’re going to order the new frame which will hopefully be in soon, and let him pay it off with the store credit he earns for top places in races through the rest of the season.  Whew. That’s a big chunk of change that won’t land on our credit card, thankfully. For now, though, he’s racing on his old Trek, which we had hoped to sell, but now we’re VERY glad we hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Oh, and in case anyone is interested, it’s for sale. We’ll cut you a good deal, as long as you don’t ask how many miles are on it. 🙂 I think maybe it would be fun to put a little hanging "For Sale" sign on it while he’s riding… when was the last time you saw that?

So this weekend, he’s in Brookhaven, MS for the Mississippi Grand Prix. This was a race he did really well at last year. It’s a stage race, like the Tour de France, which means they’ll race 4 separate races (a criterium, a road race, a time trial, and a circuit race) and the times will be combined for a cumulative overall placing. Each race has prize $$$, but there’s also a hefty $$$$ for the overall General Classification (or GC). There’s also a very big prize ($5000) for the top team, using their best 5 riders’ placings.

Unfortunately for Brian, the criterium last night was canceled due to bad weather (I feel like he might have done really well in it… oh well, onto the next race!) Today’s road race was tough – 80 guys on a narrow, fast race course with all kinds of attacks.  Brian worked hard to try to be in several of the breaks, but he missed going with the break that finally stayed away to win.  He finished in the pack. This afternoon is the time trial, which is not his specialty.  Tomorrow, hopefully, though he can lay it all out and wrap up the weekend with a good placing (and maybe a prime or 2?) in the circuit race.

I’ll keep you updated!

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Hopefully, we won’t have 3 nights in a row…

18th April 2008

Last night was 2 nights in a row that Analise was awake throwing up. Fun times. A couple weeks ago when J had the stomach bug, then Analise had it, I mentioned that we’d been spared the chore of nighttime sickies. No more. I’m well versed in consoling the child while Brian cleans up the mess, then he takes child to bed for snuggling (laying on a towel) and I remake child’s bed, covered with towels.

Doors are left open, and my mother’s ears are primed for calls or cries. If it’s Analise who’s sick and she’s not feeling too bad, she’ll jump out of her bed, run across the room, throw her door open (so it bangs against Josiah’s wall), run across the hall (not so far, but far enough that her 4 footsteps are VERY LOUD) before she throws open our door (so it bangs against the closet door, shockingly loud), then run to chosen side of the bed (usually Brian, bc I’m notoriously very grumpy in the middle of the night, which makes me feel very bad when I find she’s run in bc she’s about to puke). That’s pretty much how this morning happened around 3am.

We got her tucked back into bed, and Brian went back to sleep while I took care of the 2 other sick events. Really, I would like to even the responsibility out and get some sleep myself, but somehow, the mother in me says I need to be the one taking care.  He can do the cleanup, if necessary, and I bless him for that 🙂  But he had a bike race today (and tomorrow and Sunday), so I was letting him sleep. He did suggest gently in his 3/4 asleep state that maybe Analise and I should sleep in the living room after I’d bounced out of the bed heeding her calls 4 or 5 times.  But she finally fell back to sleep for good at about 5, before Brian needed to get up at 6:15 and Josiah heard him and realized it was morning, which makes him very excited. This sleepy mommy put my laptop on his dresser, put a Thomas the Train DVD on, and left him in his crib with a couple books and cars.  I managed an extra 30 minutes of sleep thanks to Thomas 🙂

So Brian’s in Mississippi for bike races all weekend, and everyone’s tucked into bed. I’m hoping it’s a good solid night of sleep, but we’ve got storms moving in, so I’m guessing Analise will be snuggling with me when the thunder starts.  And all my fingers and toes are crossed that neither J nor I get this stomach bug… I would NOT be a good mom on my own this weekend if I was sick!

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Sweet talker

17th April 2008

No sweeter words to any mama’s heart…  Just today, Josiah’s said, "Ah wab ewww…"  (Um, that’s "I love you" :))  Brian said goodbye to him this morning and said, "I love you."  And Josiah said it.  And just now, I was holding him for a moment, and I said, "Can you give me a hug?"  He wrapped his arms around me and said, "Hug".  I said, "I love you," and he said, "Ah wab ewww…" 

Just a second ago, Analise was calling him from the other end of the house (her bedroom).   He went running down the hallway saying, "I comig!  I comig!"  It’s so great to have them playing together a bit more peacefully lately! 

Analise had a rough night last night, requiring 2 different bed/pj changes.  We didn’t sleep well, and though she’s feeling better today, we’ve had a very snuggly day together on the couch.  I’ve needed an excuse to curl up with my little ones.  I read and napped while they watched movies. 

*sigh*  My mom’s heart is so full today! 

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Perspective: The Invisible Woman (by Nicole Johnson)

16th April 2008

"As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re doing it right." This poignant essay was shared at my Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting yesterday. It really struck a chord in my heart, and I’m excited to have found it’s from a book called The Invisible Woman: A Story for Mothers.  Here’s the YouTube version, which is very, very good (about 5 minutes).

The Invisible Woman
by Nicole Johnson

It started to happen gradually …

day I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand and we
were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him,
"Who is that with you, young fella?"

"Nobody," he shrugged.

Nobody? The crossing guard and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, "Oh my goodness, nobody?"

would walk into a room and no one would notice. I would say something
to my family – like "Turn the TV down, please" – and nothing would
happen. Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I
would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a little
louder, "Would someone turn the TV down?" Nothing.

the other night my husband and I were out at a party. We’d been there
for about three hours and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was
talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a
break in the conversation, I whispered, "I’m ready to go when you are."
He just kept right on talking.

That’s when I started to put all the pieces together. I don’t think he can see me. I don’t think anyone can see me.

I’m invisible.

all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the
way one of the kids will walk into the room while I’m on the phone and
ask to be taken to the store. Inside I’m thinking, "Can’t you see I’m
on the phone?" Obviously not. No one can see if I’m on the phone, or
cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the
corner, because no one can see me at all.

I’m invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this?

days I’m not a pair of hands; I’m not even a human being. I’m a clock
to ask, "What time is it?" I’m a satellite guide to answer, "What
number is the Disney Channel?" I’m a car to order, "Right around 5:30,

I was certain that
these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied
history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude – but now they had
disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She’s going … she’s going … she’s gone!

night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip,
and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was
sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down
at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was
clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid
I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty
pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package,
and said, "I brought you this."

was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn’t exactly sure why
she’d given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with
admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

the days ahead I would read – no, devour – the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work:
  • No one can say who built the great cathedrals – we have no record of their names.
  • These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
  • They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
  • The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.
legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny
bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why
are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will
be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."

And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see
the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No
act of kindness you’ve done, no sequin you’ve sewn on, no cupcake
you’ve baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are
building a great cathedral, but you can’t see right now what it will

At times, my
invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is
erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own
self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.

keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one
of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished,
to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of
the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built
in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to
that degree.

When I really
think about it, I don’t want my son to tell the friend he’s bringing
home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning
and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three
hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I’d
built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come
home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add,
"You’re gonna love it there."

mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we’re
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will
marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been
added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

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Tornado close call

12th April 2008

It turns out we did have a very close call with a tornado yesterday. When we were out and about today, we discovered that the damage to our neighborhood was a little more extensive than we had originally thought. When I got back today from taking Analise and Josiah to her friend Laurel’s birthday party while Kristine was at a baby shower for friends of ours from church, I looked up the weather and saw this weather update from the National Weather Service regarding yesterday’s storms:

The National Weather Service has surveyed damage in Jefferson
County in the city of Hoover. It has been concluded that the
damage on Friday, April 11 was caused by a tornado.

The tornado touched down at approximately 425 PM... in the colonial
grand apartment complex uprooting and snapping multiple trees. The
tornado traveled northeast causing damage in the Cedar Brook
apartment complex. Multiple trees were snapped and major roof damage
occurred when a brick fire wall used to separate units collapsed.
The path length of this brief tornado touchdown was approximately
2000 feet... one third of a mile... and was 25 yards wide at its
widest point. The tornado has been rated an EF-0 on the Enhanced
Fujita scale as damage was consistent with winds of 75 to 80 miles an

Here is a map showing the locations described in the NWS damage survey and the path of the tornado in relation to our house and my parent’s house. The red arrow shows approximate touchdown and liftoff (given a 2000 foot damage path). Note that it was heading straight for a major intersection of two interstates at the start of a Friday rush hour and then pretty much straight to our house! Imagine how bad this could have been if the tornado had been even a moderate sized one instead of a relatively small one. We sure were lucky.


First, here are pictures that I took yesterday an hour or two after the storm had blown over.

snapped pine tree
Our neighbors across the street had a tall pine tree snap in half.

Debris littered the street in front of our house.

These rocking chairs are HEAVY and yet this one got knocked over and slid slideways into one of porch support beams.

The parking brake on our double stroller was still locked. You have to push really hard to skid the stroller along the ground with the rubber wheels locked – and yet the winds blew the stroller across the porch into the other rocking chair where it collided with the other rocking chair and slide it too!

Here are some more pictures that I took today on my bike while riding around our neighborhood nearly 24 hours after the storm.

This tree narrowly missed a house down the street.

This fence was not so lucky.

Nor was this house.

Charter Cable was at the scene to fix this cable line today. Remarkably, we only lost power for a minute or two during the entire storm!

Our neighbor just up the street from us had to use a chainsaw to clear the road to get to his house. Also, in the left of this picture you can see the path through the woods that Analise and I take to walk her to her Mother’s Day Out program.

Another broken tree top.

Beautiful spring azalaes at our house. Ummm, note that some of them have fallen off onto the ground 🙂

Here is a video taken AFTER the winds had died down a bit and after I stopped looking out the window to make sure none of the trees in our backyward were going to fall on the house. You can see the hail bouncing on the ground.

Video of the rain, wind, and hail.

Here is an unrelated picture of a house that burned down in our neighborhood a couple weeks ago.

This was not weather-related. The owners were on vacation when it happened.

Finally, here are pictures and a video from last Friday’s storm (4/4/08). That’s two Fridays in a row with major storms. What will happen next Friday?

Squall line approaching our house on Friday, April 4, 2008. See the video below for commentary.

Video of the April 4 squall line approaching our house.

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Crazy spring weather!

11th April 2008

Crazy stormy weather blew through here this afternoon.

were watching the weather coverage on TV, as they were highlighting the
6 rotating storms throughout Alabama on radar while it got darker and very windy out the
back. (We were already in the basement since that’s where Brian and the kids had been working/playing.) The tornado sirens went off,
but the weather guy assured us it was for the northern part of the
county (we’re in the south). Then the downpour started, and then the hail.  The wind was wild and swirly, and we were sure a tree was going to
come down in the backyard as we watched out the windows.  It only lasted a few minutes, and then a couple minutes after it calmed down, the weather guy says, "We’re getting
reports of a funnel cloud on Rocky Ridge Road…"  No kidding – that’s where
we are!  Like 10 minutes too late! There are tons of people without
power – not us, luckily, and lots of damage reports in our area, though they haven’t actually confirmed any tornados.  But
our porch rockers were blown over, and the double stroller – with
brakes on! – was blown all the way across the porch!

These spring/summer storms in the South can be CRAZY! (And I’m not even
talking about the hurricanes!)  Meanwhile, both my sister are in Duluth, MN getting a
certified BLIZZARD and my mom lost power last night in the "thundersnow" and had school canceled today, all this on April 11th! eek.gif

One of the many weather photos on Flickr in the abc3340weather’s photostream…
on the interstate not too far from us, right when the nasty weather was blowing over.
(We’ve got pictures too, but we’re too tired to resize them.)

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