On June 1st 2011 we found out that because of an excess of water being let through Gavin's Point Dam it was expected that our town would flood. We were originally told we had about 24 hours to get what we wanted out of our houses and get out of the town. Our town was even on the news and they said we would be "wiped off the map"!
I panicked. We had bought our house as a "fixer-upper" and torn the whole thing down to the studs (and took out some walls completely!) and then re-built the entire thing ourselves. No architects, plumbers, electricians, contractors, nothing.
We bought it...
We gutted it...
We put it all back together.
We did it all with our own hands (more my husband's hands than mine, especially after our kids were born!) This also meant we moved in with my family off and on when we were working on things that we didn't want the babies in the house for, so my husband would go straight from work to our house and work on the construction there until late at night, then drive to my parents place to be with us even though the kids were usually already asleep. We barely saw each other for months at a time, not to mention he was working so hard on very little rest and I was caring for the kids alone. It was so much sacrifice in time together as a family, energy, money, and in so many other ways, and then to hear that it would all be destroyed was pretty difficult. When I found out that we had to get out I called my husband and told him what was happening and he said "We have our family, so we are ok. We will be fine as long as we're together". I'll never forget that. It calmed me down. Then so many of our wonderful family and friends dropped everything and came to help us, some with trucks and trailers, some with basements or garages they offered to store our stuff in, some with many prayers for us. Another thing I'll never forget? Looking out at our front lawn at our friends and family loading our stuff into their vehicles to help us move it all as quickly as possible. It was getting dark and there was lightening off in the distance, and I was so very thankful that I was blessed to have these amazing people in my life.
This pictures was the street in front of our house in our normally very quiet town! So many people trying to get out what they could and find somewhere to go. Lots of people were going to shelters that had been set up in other towns. We were very fortunate to have family nearby who were willing to help us, we spent the next few months alternately staying with my parents and in-laws.
To make a long story (sort of) short, basically everything surrounding our town flooded, the fields, the other small towns, the streets to get into town, but our town was untouched (remember those prayers I mentioned?) . We moved back at the end of September 2011. But after that we knew we wanted to be farther from a river!
So next up on our journey, we will start getting ready to sell that house. It's where we lived when we first got married, where we started our family, and where our kids spent their babyhoods. And even though it didn't seem like it would be a good memory at the time, it's where I learned how true it is that we really are ok as long as we are together (with not only our little family, but our extended family and the greatest friends we could ever ask for).
I'm so looking forward to making lots of great memories in this house and on this land now. I would love to hear some memories you have from your homes over the years too!