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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

And Yet Another Update

Thanks to the eye-witness report from Doug's dad and brother, the Hoopes homestead in Fallbrook is currently safe and has been unaffected by the fire. There is still heavy smoke in the area, as a result of the fires that are still going, and the evacuation notice has not been lifted (no comment on how the daring duo managed to get past multiple police roadblocks).

The smoke and ash are heavy throughout all of San Diego county. While my sister and her family are also safe from the fires, they have had to try and stay barricaded inside their home to minimize exposure to the unsafe breathing conditions. The LA and San Bernardino fires have not yet posed a threat to my parents' home, so for right now the Leach homestead is also safe.

We will keep praying for the Santa Ana winds to die down and for the safety and protection of all those combating the nasty fires. My heart goes out to all who have been affected by this devastating inferno.


Excerpt from NCTimes.com:
North County fires: Witch Creek Fire is 164,000 acres and has burned at least 750 homes, many in Escondido and Rancho Bernardo. The fire was bursting into the communities near Lake Hodges and Rancho Santa Fr. Rice Canyon Fire: Burning in Fallbrook toward De Luz since Monday. Has destroyed at leas 250 homes and damaged 30 others, evacuations are ordered for all 40,000 Fallbrook residents and residents in the area of De Luz. Poomacha Fire: Has burned at least 1,000 acres in the La Jolla Indian Reservation in San Diego County and was racing up the side of Palomar Mountain. Pauma and Rincon reservations were asked to evacuate. Rincon, Pauma and Valley View casinos are closed. Thiry or more homes have been damaged, and flames are still out of control. Eight people have reportedly been injured. Coronado Hills Fire burned 200 acres in San Marcos. A wildfire in the Coronado Hills that destroyed some homes and prompted the evacuation of more than 4,000 people and is fully contained. Evacuation orders are still in place. Guejito Fire started in the San Pasqual Valley area and came close to the San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park. The fire merged Monday with the Witch Creek Fire.

FALLBROOK

FALLBROOK -- Firefighters were battling a 4-mile long front of the Rice Fire in Fallbrook, where 40,000 people have fled under a mandatory evacuation, said John Buchanan, spokesman for the North County Fire Protection District.The fire is zero percent contained and is stretching from north of Mission Road almost to Highway 76 and Gird Road.
"That's where we're trying to make a stand," Buchanan said at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday.
The fire is estimated to have burned 4,000 acres and to have injured two civilians and one firefighter. An estimated 250 structures have been destroyed in Fallbrook and the eastern portion of Pala Mesa Village. Thirty homes have been damaged.An estimated time of containment is not known."We're still dealing with very eradic winds and extreme fire behaviors," Buchanan said. "We're basically at the whim of Mother Nature." - article copied and pasted from nctimes.com

You can also copy and paste the following URL for updates from The Fallbrook Village News: http://www.thevillagenews.com

Firestorm Update

Status of 2007 Firestorm as of 9 a.m.: By: North County Times

More than 300,000 county resident under evacuation ordersRice Canyon fire in Fallbrook:
6,000 acres involved, no containment
More than 500 homes and structures destroyed

Witch Creek fire in Ramona, Escondido, Rancho Bernardo:
164,000 acres involved; 5 percent contained
More than 500 homes and structure destroyedSeven firefighters injured.

Harris fire in South and East County:
70,000 acres involved; 5 percent containment
Uncertain number of homes and structures lost

Poomacho fire near Palomar Mountain:
More than 800 acres involved in area of La Jolla Indian Reservation fire at Poomacha Road near state Route 76; no containment
At least one structure destroyed
Eight firefighters injured

So Cal Wild Fires

Growing up as a child in Southern California, my favorite time of the year was October. Why? Because October meant that the Santa Ana winds came in, and I loved the warm, gusty weather conditions. While I still enjoy the winds, what I didn't understand as a child was that Santa Ana winds meants increased fire danger -increased dryness, low-humidity, and hot temperatures all equate to a perfect recipe for fire disaster...and that is exactly what is happening in seven Southern California counties right now. While the majority of my information is centered on the San Diego fires (we have many family and friends who live specifically in these cities), I understand there are also fires in Malibou (Los Angeles), and Lake Arrowhead (San Bernardino).

According to a news article from the North County times, the fires started Sunday night and spread quickly due to wind gusts up to 80 mph. Late Sunday night, Governor Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency for the following counties: San Diego, Riverside, Orange, Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, and Santa Barbara.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 300,000 Southern California residents have been forced to evacuate their homes. My in-laws, as well as many other close family friends, are included in that number(the entire town of Fallbrook was ordered to evacuate last night). As far as I know, all our family and friends are safe at this point. We don't know about all the homes, but I think most are hoping for the best, but anticipating the worst.

I haven't received an update yet this morning, but here is the most current info I could find online:
  • Fire officials also said they were trying to keep the blaze from going south of Highway 76. If the flames were to enter the San Luis Rey River valley, authorities said they were not sure they could stop the fire from heading into Oceanside.
  • By late Monday night, roughly 120 firefighters and 25 engines fought the blaze. The fire was being held at Gird Road and Live Oak Park Road to the west, East Mission Avenue to the north and Rice Canyon Road to the east.
  • While the number of acres burned stood at around 1,000 Monday night, the so-called Rice fire had become the most devastating in Fallbrook's history in a little over 12 hours, in terms of the number of homes lost.
  • Various reports said that an entire park full of mobile homes had burned down, leaving hundreds of residents homeless. Other homes near that park, dubbed "Valley Oaks," had gone down in flames, while a neighborhood of condos attached to the Pala Mesa Resort had also perished.

I am not trying to be the Debbie Downer of the situation - I am merely trying to relay information to keep everyone informed. For anyone who may not be familiar with the severity of So Cal wildfires, please keep reading and keep all those affected in your prayers.

Monday, October 15, 2007

From Ear Infections to Busted Computers

The past two weeks have been rather interesting - we have gone from fevers to normal temperatures to coughs and congestion to throwing up all night to feeling fine and dandy the following morning. Between our two lively girls, we have literally been riding on a nonstop roller coaster. I finally caved in and took the twins to the doctor on Saturday; AK has an infection in her right ear, Roo's is in the left ear. Each has had a night full of fevers and throwing up - not fun for anyone involved, but I am hoping the antibiotics they are now on will start to turn things around. At least I'm not having to fight with the girls to keep their diapers on - they apparently seem to have lost interest in taking them off all the time (thankfully). No-I haven't started the battle of potty-training yet; I just couldn't bring myself to accept the fact that they might be old enough to take such a big step into "big girl-land." Maybe I'll start that quest after the holidays - they'll be two years then and I won't have to worry about traveling and family visitors and all that fun confusion that may muddle the whole "training" attempt.

On a side note, our desktop is reverting back to the OCD tendencies it demonstrated back in California. Even though the virus and system checks continue to come back normal, the computer feels the need to restart itself every 1-2 minutes - making it virtually impossible to do anything on the blasted thing. I am sitting in the library right now, typing away as fast as I can so that no one thinks we've fallen off the face of the earth. The girls patience is quickly running thin, so I am going to sign off and hope we can fix the computer soon. Love to all!

Oh-and make sure to get your flu shots - if our recent illnesses have been an indication of anything, it's going to be a doozy of a season!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Total Score!

So I finally decided to tackle some of the boxes still lurking in our garage, and lo and behold - I discovered two giftcards to Target that I had bought long ago to give as gifts, only to misplace them and spend the last year wondering where I had put them. Go figure. Anyhow - this was a total treat, as I needed to go to Target today anyway to get diapers and milk...you know, the essentials. Isn't it amazing how the tiniest surprise can brighten your day?!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Autumn

Irish poet William Allingham once said "Now Autumn's fire burns slowly along the woods and day by day the dead leaves fall and melt."

If it weren't for the recent (and unexpected) drop in temperatures, I would argue that Mr. Allingham must be referring to autumn in Arizona...the words dead, fire, and melt are all appropriate for describing the hotlands we have moved to :0)

Insomnia

Yes - here I am, on the computer at 1:44 am...another night of not being able to sleep. AK developed a fever today - it could be that she's teething, or maybe she caught cold from the meager 80 degree temperatures we have been blessed with the past few days (Hallelujah!). Either way, I seem to have developed paranoia-related insomnia and find myself unable to go to sleep because I know as soon as I manage to drift off to lullaby land, AK will simultaneously wake up and I will need to tend to my firstborn child. Maybe, if I am lucky, I will be able to get some snuggles from a mid-morning awakening. The girls are growing so independent, cuddle-time is at an all time low. It makes me sad to see my 2 little babies growing so quickly, but yet there is such joy in seeing the many amazing and wonderful ways that they are developing.

Our latest challenge has been to learn names. Aiden can say Reilly, and Reilly can say Aiden, but they have yet been able to master saying their own names. As far as they are concerned "ME" is the only word they need to know to identify themselves.

The girls are following in their Auntie Em's tastes - AristoCats has fast become their favorite movie. The "kikis" (a.k.a kitties) seem to be the current infatuation, with monkies (pronounced "moan-ki" by Roo) and early morning cartoons (mainly Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and The Doodlebops) falling close behind. Doug is already fretting since the girls seem to have inherited not just my liking of dance, but my profound sense of rhythm as well. Dancing and twirling and grooving are great ways to pass the time away! Also, the cooler temperatures have been a welcome invite to spend more time outdoors, so playtime at the park is an almost daily occurrence. It seems that no matter where we go, Roo must place anything that comes into contact with her hands into her mouth. While I no longer enter into a state of instant panic each time I see this happen, I do wonder just how long this habit of taste-testing sand, soil, rocks, litter, grass, and "who knows what else" is going to last.

Catching Up...again

Okay, so I don't have an interesting or amazing excuse for not writing ANYTHING for the past four weeks; all I can say is that I have been enjoying my time with my family. We had a lot of visitors this past month - my sister Valerie came out for a surprise visit one weekend (click here to see pictures from this visit), then Doug's brother Dan came back out with Doug after a UFC weekend in California, and finally my sister Shauna and her family stayed with us during a visit for a friend's wedding. A full house means fun times, and fun times we had! The girls loved all of their visitors - it was probably such a nice break to have people, other than boring ol' mom, to hang out with...and, of course, be adored by.

The girls and I also went to Quartzsite to visit with my friend Casey and her parents. The girls loved playing with their friend Madison, or "Manny" as Roo calls her, and they couldn't get enough of the dirt and rocks and birds. The short visit introduced the girls to the marvel of golf carts; AK loved that the seats were just her height. She climbed up and down to her hearts content, honked the horn, and moved the steering wheel around as if she were cruising full speed down the highway. All in all, this past month has been a blast. Times like these make the more challenging ones completely worth it.