As we returned home from Chattanooga, we immediately began making plans for the rest of our week. The boys wanted to spend the day with Grandmother and Papa Sam on Thursday, so we made plans to go to Murfreesboro with all the kids on Friday to visit the Discovery Center. Alison B. had suggested this to me a while back and I just knew the kids would love it. We set out Friday morning just like any normal day, running late and low on patience!
We got to Alison's and then followed her to M'Boro to the Discovery Center. If you haven't been, you need to go. It's REALLY cool and in my opinion, even more interactive than the Adventure Science Center in Nashville. The price is super reasonable too...$5 for adults and children over 2. Under 2 is free. The kids loved it. They had lots of different activities including a life size fire truck where the kids could dress up like firemen, a vegetable stand, slide from the second floor to the first floor, train room, wooden block area, coal station complete with mining helmets and shovels, water play area and a great area for toddlers.
After playing for a while, we were getting hungry and decided to head to Toot's. We don't have these north of Nashville and I LOVE that kids get a hotdog meal for FREE so you didn't have to twist my arm. As we headed out from the Discovery Center, I noticed that it looked like a storm was coming. I think it was at this point that Alison got a call telling her about the tornado warning. We also thought we heard tornado sirens, but we weren't sure. We got the kids loaded as the first raindrops hit our windshields.
When we got to Toot's (which was packed), Alison noticed that the tv's inside which usually show sporting events were showing the bad weather heading our way. We got several cell phone calls warning us that tornados had been spotted and to be careful, but honestly we were so caught up in wrangling our 6 children that we didn't worry too much.
That's when we noticed this guy that ran in and threw his still lit cigarette onto the ground. What was this freak doing? Didn't he realize he was inside the building with a cigarette. I got up to put out the cig and thought "hmmm...maybe I should look outside" That's when I saw this:
All I could think was "get the children to the bathroom." I looked at Alison, told her it was a tornado, and we pushed the kids through the crowd and into the bathroom. We got into tornado drill position like you do at school and silently prayed. It sounds nuts, but I really wasn't freaking out. At this moment, J called my cell phone and all I said to him was "there's a tornado, we're in the bathroom" and hung up. We heard them come over the speaker system and tell people to get away from the windows so we honestly had no idea what was happening outside our four walls. After a few minutes, someone went out and came back to tell us it was gone.
We stayed to eat lunch simply because it was now POURING outside and we weren't going to be out driving in this mess. Little did we know that by the time we finished lunch, it would take me 3 hours to get home. Thankfully, Mary Elizabeth fell asleep followed by the other three on our way home.
The devastation we saw on the way home was awful. It's so weird how a tornado is so picky. One house is destroyed while the home across the street is just fine. The whole way home, the kids and I prayed that we could get home. So many roads were closed.
We also prayed for my friend Melissa and her children as we kept hearing of the damage in her area. Cell phones would work one minute and then not work for the next twenty. We all thanked God when I finally got her on the phone three hours later!
It was definitely an interesting ending to our Spring Break. The boys have remained a little freaked out at bedtime and constantly ask us as they are going to sleep if any tornados will be coming tonight. As Alison said, I guess it wouldn't be spring in Tennessee without some crazy weather!