Saturday, January 30, 2010

JB's a rock star

JB went to Phoenix the week before I went to Haiti, and spent a few days visiting his brother Jeff. He also ran a half-marathon while there! I'm quite proud.

Here he is with his brother Jeff and sister Suzanne, who both ran the race as well (her post about it is here, with their run times and pictures crossing the finish line). Those running Richards are incredible.


After the race:




Through JB's research they found La Piazza del Forno in Glendale. Very tasty.

Jeff's house is below. JB helped a little with the new addition. It is AMAZING.


JB is now tempted to move to Phoenix. It's beautiful in the winter and there are orange trees outside. But then there's July and August....

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Destination Home part 2

The airport in Port-au-Prince is hard to describe. As soon as we got off the plane I was running around like I always do on these stories, taking pictures, doing interviews, getting the info, and trying to soak it all in. The heat, humidity, people, planes, choppers, cars, trucks, jets, smells, and sights all kind of hit me at once. Planes were coming and going right around us on the tarmac. Tents and chairs and rope lines and people stretched all to my left; to my right was an entrance to the building but they wouldn't let us in. It was way too damaged.


I talked to relief workers and volunteers trying to catch any flight back home to their own jobs and families. I interviewed Haitians lining up with their children to join relatives in the United States. I saw our troops, Polish troops, and crews that I think were Portuguese and Egyptian if I read their uniforms correctly. Some came to pose by our huge jet.
(The Air Force special tactics crew directing traffic from a field by the runway)

They weren't sure when we would get a spot to leave so they told us to make sure to stick close because once we got the word we would go quickly. Then a group of people lined up by our plane and they were let on board. I was told that meant we were flying to Florida.

Now all the cargo was gone from our plane and they added extra seats. Babies and children crowded close to their mothers, volunteers or new adoptive parents. Two 3 year old boys sat by me, looking around with big eyes -- one boy had been crying. I just wanted to scoop them up in my arms. They were being adopted by a family in Tampa, and they fell asleep on their new father's chest. In fact all of the children fell asleep even on that noisy, sometimes bumpy flight. We left at 6 PM Mountain time (8 there I believe) and landed in Florida at roughly 9:30 PM Mountain time, 11:30 Eastern.


I had no cell service at all in Haiti. None of us reporters could get through to our stations or families to say we were safe or to do any reporting. But I reached a Univision reporter who had service and was able to call my station for a quick report, but wasn't able to tell them to call anyone else before running out of time! So when we landed in Florida I was glad to call JB and tell him I was fine.

In Florida they dropped down the back of the cargo plane and up the ramp came rushing a whole host of TSA or INS agents I believe. They brought blankets and just wrapped up those children and families quickly and took them inside. I found out then that we were at the Sanford International Airport outside Orlando.

Inside, people were working around the clock. They had food, bedding, kits, computers and helpers to get anyone where they needed to go. The Air Force crew of our plane said goodbye to us reporters and went on to Virginia and to their next mission. I owe a big thank you to the Red Cross for shuttling us reporters 40 minutes or so away to the Orlando airport in the middle of the night.

We then had to find a way home! No flights were going to Salt Lake right them at all. I really felt like I was on the Amazing Race, lugging all my gear around and racing to book a flight. We 3 reporters were the last ones to book the 7 AM Eastern Time Delta flight.

Then we had to wait. Wait wait wait in the quiet Orlando airport full of more Haitian families, volunteers and relief workers sleeping on blankets and couches. I decided to stay up and finish all my reports and stories and file them. I think I fell asleep on the floor around 3:45 AM Mountain time (I never changed my watch), then boarded the plane at 4:30 Mountain /6:30 Eastern and flew another 5 hours home!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Destination Home


I'm back! For those who were worried, I don't think I got malaria; I used lots of mosquito repellent.

Here are some of my thoughts about the journey in a blog post I wrote late last night for ksl.com, and here is a link to the story I did for KSL radio, with some of the pictures I took as well.

Hopefully soon they'll post the video story my fellow KSL reporter Alex Cabrero shot while there, and you can get a better idea of the journey. Tonight at 10 he'll do another story about the airport itself and the refugees we brought back. I think they should post that video too later. They have the audio posted on the first link of one of my radio stories I did; I filed 4 different stories about the reservists' duties, the crumbling airport, the people we met, and the refugees we brought back.

Basically I woke up at 4:15 on Friday morning to get to HAFB by 6, and I didn't get home until 11 AM Saturday morning. I stayed awake for probably 22 or 23 hours, though I tried to nap on the C-17 cargo plane on the way to Port-au-Prince.

What's that you say? A C-17? Here are some pictures I took as I walked out to it:


The view from my seat:
Me visiting the cockpit: (those pilots, Eric and Averie, are AMAZING and they were really nice to us reporters)
The American flag at the top of the plane as we were ready to get out in Port-au-Prince:
You have to wear ear plugs because it's so loud inside, but WOW what a plane. It took about 6 hours to get from Hill to Haiti. We were at the airport 2 hours, and they wouldn't let us leave the tarmac. There were 5 of us in the press corps traveling with the reservists, and I don't think they wanted us wandering! Plus I didn't have the right paperwork to leave. The city is about 7 miles away but we could smell the smoke from a huge fire burning there.

This post is getting long so I will write tomorrow a little more about flying back with the orphans and refugees that melted my heart. Plus my Amazing Race-esque scramble to find a way back to Salt Lake!


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Destination Haiti

Just so you know, all my friends in blogger-land, I am going to Haiti tomorrow. I'm coming back tomorrow too.

Little nervous, very excited.

Our Air Force Reservists are heading there and they invited the media along. I got word about 2 hours ago. I'm told we will be at the airport for a couple hours then fly back.

I'm also told to get anti-malaria medication but I have not been able to find any of it this time of night so cross fingers I'll be fine.

Anyway, I will be reporting for my radio station but I hope to talk a little about the experience here in the coming days.

I just kissed my boys good night and told them I would be back tomorrow night after they are asleep.

Think of me!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

More hats

I've been experimenting. I made these hats with ears on them for two cute babies. The black hat is for Tate, our friends' new baby (can't see the ears very well but they are there). The white hat is for Jane, my 1-year-old niece who could probably get me to do anything for her.


Meanwhile, I tried something completley different. If anyone out there has seen the short-lived but much-loved show "Firefly," you may remember the episode where Jayne gets a hat from his mom.

It's knitted, but I tried to crochet my own version for my brother Joe, and he likes it!


I tried it on before sending it to him in Texas. The Firefly official version is quite, well, uglier. But the whole show has a grey tint to it I think.



Now I'm making a beanie with a flower for my sister Rebekah and then I'm going to take a crochet hiatus for a while. I've already re-discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder and I can't put the Little House books down.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gamers (I'm a rock star)

Last Saturday we went to our friends' house for a fun evening of food and Jazz basketball. I like watching Jazz games (I do honey!) but this time I ended up drifting downstairs with the boys where Katie (another one of Max's favorites) showed us the wonderment that is the Wii.


My concentration in that picture is hilarious. Mario Kart is hard!
A tiny note -- my arm hurt a tiny bit the next day.


Benny was fascinated as well.



But I think Max and I should do duets on the road. This is us below playing Wii American Idol. We are either singing "Rocket Man" (I scored 100 percent) or "Life is a Highway," otherwise known as the song from the movie Cars.


Thank you for an awesome time, guys!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Buds

I was hanging clothes in the boys' room when I heard the cutest conversation coming behind me on Max's bed. Benny had cuddled up next to Buzz Lightyear, and had the following conversation:


Ben: Let's take nap. (pushes a button)

Buzz: Do you want to be a space ranger?

Ben: Yes.


I had to take a picture.

I just keep laughing at Benny answering Buzz's question.

Incidentally it looks like Benny fits very nicely in Max's toddler bed. Max is probably getting too big for the toddler bed too. But I'm not ready to move Ben out of a crib yet. Max never ever got out of bed or gets out of bed, but I have a feeling Benny will be a night-time explorer.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Grand Central

This is what our living room has looked like in the days since Christmas.






Wednesday, January 6, 2010

An indoor activity

Water color paints from the dollar store, big sheets of butcher paper and no clothes makes these boys happy.

I took their shirts off so there wouldn't be any spills or stains. The pants may come next.

As I was telling Benny all about the colors and praising Max for his good job painting, I heard one tell the other "I think Caillou is on TV now -- let's go check!"

Can't wait until the winter inversion smog goes away.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Besides the crochet, I gave a lot of signs for Christmas gifts this year. Below is what I sent my sister Bekah (well, Rebekah. Hence the r). It's from Park Road Studios

Then I made the following two signs with the help of Uppercase Living.

This is just before wrapping it up to ship to my parents. It says Welcome in Portuguese.

This one says Welcome Friends in Italian, for my in-laws.

I also have 2 matching square signs about brothers. I will send one to my brother Michael and keep one for me because we each have two boys. I am still finishing them -- I want to make a border but really don't know how.