Tuesday, March 31, 2009

We need routine!

Another long day of staying at home. We've had blizzard weather today and have recieved 8 inches of snow expecting more tomorrow. The city has urged us to get some rest, fall into a routine but to stay in "alert mode." So what does that mean? Does it mean I can move my washing machine back to the basement and not have to worry about sewage back up?

The kids have been out of school for 2.5 weeks now, and they will have missed 3 weeks of school before they can go back on Monday. We had days off for the blizzard a few weeks ago, spring break, 1 week of flood, 1 week of flood recovery--it's getting insane staying in our house for all this time. Good thing we went to the cities for a few days over spring break!

NDSU is debating what they are going to do with the 3 weeks of school the students have missed. You just can't miss 3 weeks of school in college.

I've decided I'm going to make a routine for tomorrow. I'm going to do some school work with the kids, finish peeling off that wallpaper, move a few things down to the basement again, and maybe even convince Steve to move our washer downstairs again. We also have 6 bags of garbage in the garage since we haven't had garbage pickup for 2 weeks, so maybe I'll get Steve to run those to the dump.

Things I am grateful for:

Awesome city leaders
Awesome Fargo citizens
No sewage backup
No water in my house/basement
We've had power the entire time!
We've had running water the entire time!
All of your prayers

Monday, March 30, 2009

March 30 Update

Monday was a good day. It was very quiet. No leaks or breaches. Hooray! We went to the grocery store by our house all together, and saw Joshua's principal there as well as one of Whitney's friends from preschool. It's fun to see people, because we really haven't seen our friends (outside of flood efforts) for the past week.

We invited our neighbours from across the street over for dinner. It was fun. I think we all appreciated getting a chance to visit--our kids had fun playing with other kids (besides each other) and we had a fun time talking to other adults. Being cooped up for a while under these types of circumstances can be challenging at times :)

We found a clip of Steve volunteering at the Fargodome! We knew there was a CNN reporter (Susan Roesgen) there on March 26 when Steve was bagging in the morning. This one is actually from USA Today, and if you don't blink, you'll see him at 0:56 and 1:05. He's wearing a blue shirt, white work gloves and a red-handled shovel.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


It's been a week since our first volunteering experience. Last Sunday I sandbagged, went to church, and then sandbagged the night shift. Steve went in between those times.

Today has been much quieter. It was a quiet night, and we were excited the river was going down. Then when we woke up this morning, we heard a Fargo private school got flooded because of a leak in a permanent dike. It's like the mayor says, we can't let our guard down.

We walked around the neighbourhood last night and today to take pictures. Here are the pictures from the last week:

Steve coming back from sandbagging--did I mention sandbagging gets your REALLY dirty? This was the beginning of the week. All that snow melted by Tuesday. Then we got 8 more inches of snow.

This is me taking really bad pictures driving in our neighbourhood on the way to sandbag. The city used school buses to bus volunteers to neighbourhoods to bag.

Last night we checked out the dike where we got the code red. It's a block and a half from our house. It's really eye opening to see the water, up to your head being held back by a bunch of sand. It's erie to hear the water being pumped out from the other side of the dike and the water lapping against the bags.

These home owners have to stay out day and night watching the pumps. I think they were taking a break when we came by, but they had camping chairs out.

Joshua's school has been taken over by the National Guard. These trucks are full of mud and sandbags for emergency breaches in the area. I also asked the some National Guardsmen for a picture. They're on continual patrol of the area.

These are the rich homes in the neighbourhood. They're the closest to the river.

The city put these markers out before we built the dikes so we knew how high to build them:

So that's how things look in my neighbourhood. It's pretty quiet, except for the helicopters and drone planes that fly by every fifteen minutes. It's hard to believe that a bunch of sand is holding this all back. And it has to do it for the next 8 days.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Morning

Well, last night was a good night. We all slept through the night soundly and didn't get up until 8 am. I don't know if it's because we're SO tired, or that we're finally starting to relax about the situation. It's another stay-at-home day. Only essential businesses are open, and Governor Hoeven has waved a law saying that those business can remain open Saturday night through Sunday morning. My laundry from yesterday is pretty much dry, so I think I'll start another load this afternoon. I cleaned the upstairs bathroom this morning. I just felt I needed to clean SOMETHING--my house is such a mess. At least I didn't have to clean the downstairs toilet. It's been removed and Steve plugged the drain so we don't get any sewage backup.

The best news so far--NWS THINKS THE RIVER HAS CRESTED!!!

That doesn't mean it's over. The mayor thinks we won't be out of the worst for another 8 days. They think it will stay this high (40.7 feet) until Wednesday. That means our sandbag dikes have to hold that river back for a while yet.

Thanks again for your prayers for Fargo. Please pray for Moorhead, MN. They have had more evacuations than Fargo has. Last night the mayor of Moorhead was on the local news and he looked like he was on the verge of tears.

Well, I should shower and start a new round of laundry

Friday, March 27, 2009

Steve just got back. They finished diking. He said the response was phenomenal. They had 8 lines of baggers, they city delivered the bags, and they were done within half an hour. Hold baby hold.

Afternoon Update

Well, just as we were about to eat dinner, we got a "Code Red." There was a breach and they needed volunteers immediately to go fill bags and bag in the dike a block and a half down from us.

Steve is diking right now. Pray that it works.

I'm debating whether to put the kids down to bed right now. Just in case we have to leave in the next couple of hours.

It was a relatively quiet afternoon. That's the weird thing about all of this. It's just ups and downs. Up yesterday after we had finished our dikes to 43 ft. Down half an hour later after we heard the crest prediction had changed to 43. Today we sat around the house. The city is asking we not travel around the city so that means if you volunteer it HAS to be in your neighborhood. I "did laundry" this afternoon. Washed the essential underwear in the bathtub, and hung it on the shower curtain rod. I also found an old ugly curtain rod the previous owners left in the basement, and hung laundry on that too. I hope that it dries by tomorrow morning.

Well, the kids and I are just waiting. I'm going to watch the updates for evacs. I guess the positive thing this afternoon is they think the river will crest between 41-42 ft in the next 24 hrs.

Friday morning update

Well we made it through last night and we are still here. Our car is packed to go. Our washer, dryer, freezer are all on the main level. I guess we're lucky since we've lived in a 2 bedroom apartment for the last 7 years, all our stuff fits on the upper level. We're just keeping our eyes on the news. What they do is suggest evacuation and then after a few hours make it mandatory. As soon as we hear "evacuation" for our area, we're outta here. We'll let you know when we evacuate.

On a side note, here are some of the things you "feel" in a emergency situation.

Tired. It's amazing--like up all night with baby tired--x100, but somehow your adrenaline keeps you going. Muscles ache. I woke up at least 10 times last night thinking I heard something.

Dirty. Very dirty. We plugged our drains in the basement 4 days ago, so that means no clean clothes. Period. And sandbagging for 4 days straight makes you very dirty. I took a shower this morning, but as the city said, "the water may smell and taste earthy, but it is still okay to drink." It smells like Tucks pads. I don't feel clean at all.

The kids are doing very well. They've been keeping themselves busy. I'm just worried about them though. Especially Joshua. When we moved here and then went to Utah for a week after, it took him about 4 months to recover. I can't imagine what it would be like if he couldn't get back to his routine for months. I saw what one week did, and it was horrible.

Thank you thank you for your prayers. It's so humbling to see everyone praying for us.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Positive News

Wo-hoo!!! North Fargo is now diked to 43 ft!

Thursday Update

I've just come back from three hours of diking and I'm really tired. Steve pulled a 3am-8am shift at the Fargodome, and helped a friend move stuff out of their basement because of a leak in the dike behind their house. We've got our stuff ready to go in case of an evac, I made ID badges for the kids, and an evac sign for our door. We live in North Fargo which would be one of the last places to flood, but you never know.

I wouldn't be surprised if we were asked to evacuate tonight or tomorrow. The river is a little over 39 feet right now, and as far as I know is still expected to crest a little over 41 on Saturday. And then we wait until the water goes back down.

I've listed the flood update sites we're relying on here in Fargo:


Thank you for your prayers. We need them!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flood Update

As many of you may now be hearing, Fargo and surrounding areas are preparing for the flood of the century. It is expected to be worse than the historic 1997 flooding when the river crested at 39 ft. Officials expect this time around the river to crest at (as of today) 41 feet on Friday.

The community is outstanding--volunteers have been working around the clock to fill sandbags and build sandbag dikes since Sunday. Steve and I are exhausted. We trade shifts (Steve goes, I watch the kids--I go, he watches the kids). I'm dreaming sandbags and waking up in the middle of the night to make sure we don't have flooding in our basement. So far, so good.

Yesterday the city was confident that 95% of the city has been diked and bagged. This morning though, we woke up to snow--lots of snow. The forecast predicted 1-3 inches, now they're saying 4-8 inches. The city now wants us to build our dikes up to 43 ft. We had a day off, but now we're asked to work around the clock again to fill and bag.

The city is VERY organized. National Guard is here, Red Cross, etc, and the city buses are shuttling people to the Fargodome and the city solid waste facility known as "Sandbag Central." They have machines at "Sandbag Central," volunteers have to fill by shovel at the Fargodome. Everyone here is calm, but very serious and determined. Everyone is focused to get the job done.

The universities in the area are shut down, and are asking students to volunteer. High school students are also getting out of school to volunteer. It's a massive community effort.

Yesterday we helped dike Steve's boss' house. Whitney watched us outside while Joshua was in school. Today, I've packed up all our pictures in 2 boxes, got our documents in the emergency backpack, and the med kit ready to throw in the car if we need to. So far we should be fine, but if we get ice jams in the river like Bismarck, or if one of the dikes fails (like it did in southwest Fargo) then we need to be ready.

The city has asked us not to go around, "site-seeing" and taking pictures. If you want to see pictures, check any news site. It is really amazing to see. People lined up around houses. Clay dikes in the middle of streets. Sandbag dikes that look like snow drifts.

Please keep Fargo and its surrounding communities in your thoughts and prayers. This is a really wonderful community, and everyone has worked so hard to protect it.

I'll keep you posted

Friday, March 20, 2009

Minneapolis Institute of Art

We also spent a few hours at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which was wonderful too. I have to say my favourite section was the Impressionists. Rousseau to be exact, but my expert art sis Laura says he's technically post-impressionist. Well, I did find an interesting bust. And it reminded me of the most recent Pride and Prejudice. I don't know if I was supposed to take pics or not. They didn't say we couldn't. But I made sure I didn't use a flash.

Oh, and they had an awesome AWESOME sculpture by Dale Chihuly called Sunburst. Did I say it was awesome?

IKEA, glorious IKEA!!!

The highlight of the trip for me--you guessed it--IKEA. We spent hours there. It was fantastic. That's all I have to say about that.

Mall of America

This week is NDSU and the kid's spring break so we decided to go down to Minneapolis for a quick visit. Our first stop was the Mall of America. Now, I grew up in Edmonton, so I was interested in seeing how the Mall of America compared to West Edmonton Mall. I think the most obvious difference is that Mall of America is really REALLY tall (like 4 or 5 floors) while West Ed is spread out across a massive area (like you walk miles in it). Otherwise, they're pretty similar, they both have indoor underwater aquariums, and they both have indoor amusement parks.

We first visited Legoland, which is really cool and free (the only free thing in the whole mall other the water coming out of the water fountains). They have a ton of huge Lego creations, and the kids can sit at stations and build with Legos. Of course, Joshua thought the coolest legos ever were the ones with letters.

We then went to Nickelodeon Universe, and went on a few rides:

Of course, this is Minnesota and that means hockey, and guess what?! They have OILERS gear. We had to take some pics:

And last but not least, the American Girl store. I can't WAIT to read the books to Whitney. And it doesn't even matter that I'm Canadian :) I had Canadian friends who read the books.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Planting our Garden

We are getting ready for spring. So while we wait for the snow to melt and the ground to thaw, our little seedlings will be staying nice and warm in our house until they're grown and big enough to be outside. We had so much fun starting our impatiens, big boy tomatoes and cherry tomatoes: