We got some sleet yesterday, so they cancelled school for today, and also for tomorrow already! Don't they realize parents have things to do the week before Christmas? Safety, schmafety! Anyway, we made the best of it by tubing down our icy hill. Much better conditions than snow, if you like speed like our kids do! We had two of our dogs out there, too, and they loved the freedom!
Yesterday we went to Memphis to cheer on some of our friends who were running in the St. Jude Marathon. One our good friends, Mike, was running in it for the second year, so we went with his wife Brooke and their daughter, Emery, to watch him again. Here we are on Beale Street waiting for him to come by. It was a chilly morning!!!
Here he is the first time we saw him!
Waving to us as he passed us by during Mile 14.
We had a little bit to wait before going to the finish line, so we let the kids play on these balls in front of the Fed Ex Forum, and had some snacks.
The finish line was in the Redbird's Stadium, AutoZone Park. Here he is crossing the line! We were so proud of him!
I just had to post one more picture of the boys sleeping in the bed together! Checked on them last night and in this massive queen-sized bed, they were snuggled in right next to one another! Don't they look like two peas in a pod? Also, thanks to my friend Amy for the Christmas shirts in the above header pic! We love them!
So this week Dawson "graduated" from his crib, to a real big boy bed. Owen has a queen size bed (was our guest bed that Brian built for that room), and so now the boys are sharing it. It really has been a smooth transition, and Owen has done a GREAT job in facilitating the move!
I took several pictures last night as I checked on them a few times before I went to bed. Here, notice Owen's hand on Dawson's forehead!
Later on when I checked on them, Dawson was literally LAYING on Owen's legs! Owen slept through it all, though, so it apparently didn't bother him! Aren't they cute?
I know, I know, I'm way behind on our blog! Don't worry, Barrett, I'll have a Christmas pic and blog background up soon! ;-) Seems like I've barely been able to keep my head above water, and unfortunately things much more significant than this blog have been neglected, too! I've got a huge pile of mail to sort through and over 100 unopened e-mails! The trial consumed one week, and then we had company for the second week. Throw some sickness in there, and now I'm ready to get caught up on life! Warning: this may be a bit lengthy! My Mom flew in from Idaho for our trial because she had to testify, but then she was also a huge help on the other days with babysitting! Brian and I were able to drop the kids off at school on their various days, but then we were at the trial all day and into the evening, often only seeing our kids for a short time before bedtime. It was a very draining week, just having to re-live all the details of the accident, plus re-hashing the nitty gritty of how our life is currently. ANYWAY, it is all over and we are very pleased with the jury's verdict and are just relieved that it's over. It's not like we're going to be buying yachts and traveling the world because most of the money is already "spoken for" (allotted for future surgeries, housecleaning, childcare, past medical bills, etc.) but it is a huge mental relief to know that those items, which are a part of our life now through no fault of our own, will be taken care of financially. But I digress, I wanted to tell you about this picture above of Dawson and my Mom! I had baked a cake and was letting the kids lick the beaters, bowl, etc. Well, Dawson came in the kitchen and it was about all we could do to get him to taste the batter! However, once he did, there was no taking it away from him! There wasn't a speck of batter left on that spatula, but he would not let Mom remove it! We were laughing hysterically!
Last Tuesday Owen came walking out of school in this Indian costume and a papier-mache turkey with his face on it----adorable!
Thanksgiving Day was spent at our good friends (& neighbors) house, the Fowlers. We've done this before with them, and it's a great way to split all the cooking work, and spend the day with friends! Kelly had made cupcakes for the kids to decorate. Here are Colby and Kellen working on their masterpieces.
It was a beautiful day, so here are all three Fowler kids and our three oldest jumping on their trampoline.
Cade, Colby & Kellen also had fun playing in the blue sand!
My niece, Shawna, came in from Nashville to spend Wed.-Sat. with us. Here she is chatting with Gram!
After the big meal, Jamele, Cade and Robby enjoyed some football, while Kelly went through the Black Friday sales ads!
Here are all the kids, minus Dawson, enjoying their dessert!
On Shawna's last day with us, we celebrated her birthday a little early! She will be 28 on Dec. 4th. We were going to fix a nice dinner, but by this point, Brian, my Mom and Dawson had all gotten the stomach flu, so we settled for Thanksgiving leftovers. I did, however, make a Boston Cream Pie. I had asked Shawna's sister, Erica, a few weeks back about her favorite dessert, so we made it for her, put up a Happy Birthday sign on the mantle, and the kids all made a bunch of cards. Happy Birthday, Shawna!
Peyton, Shawna, Kellen & Owen hanging out on her last night with us.
My Mom had brought a CD of the Chicken Dance to teach the kids. Here is Shawna, Peyton, Dawson and Kellen doing the Chicken Dance! Mom was in there, too, but I didn't get any pics of her----Brian did get some video, though, which is great!
Right before it was time for Shawna to leave, and the rest of us to take my Mom to the Little Rock airport, we took one more group pic. Mom, Dawson, Peyton, Shawna, Kellen & Owen. We love you and miss you both!!!
Thanks to my Mom still being in town, (and to Mike & Chuck for the free tickets!), Brian and I got to enjoy an ASU Red Wolves game this afternoon by ourselves!!! We've been to several games this season, each time with 4 kids in tow, so we (Brian, actually) are constantly taking someone to the bathroom, getting snacks or preventing Dawson from falling down the bleachers. We actually got to WATCH the game today! It was pretty chilly so we were all bundled up. (Which, incidentally, is how I grew up going to football games in Boise, so it brought back great memories of how watching football should be!) We sat with friends, drank hot chocolate and bought some of those good hot powdered donuts from the concession stand. We left towards the end of the 4th quarter to come home and relieve Mom. ASU beat Florida Atlantic 28-14.
We're so glad this chapter in our lives is over! This morning the lawyers gave their closing arguments and sent the case to the jury to decide. They deliberated for 3 1/2 hours. There must have been a lot of discrepancy, and they had to work at it until it was unanimous with all 12 jurors. The judge read the verdict and we were very pleased. Could've been better, but definitely could've been a lot worse, too. It's just a gamble with a jury! We had an earlier opportunity to settle, but we were willing to take that gamble and are very at peace with how it all played out. It is so easy to second-guess decisions, think of a million other things you wish you would've said, etc., but we can rest in the knowledge that God directed each step of this journey, and He provides us with exactly what we need. So, ultimately we are relieved to now have a verdict that will allow us to get out of the debt we have incurred since the accident, to continue to pay for our childcare help and housecleaning, and to cover future surgeries and medical expenses. While this is mentally a relief, our daily life of dealing with this permanent disability has not changed, and no amount of a verdict would make this particular situation better. However, we know the Lord has great plans for our family and are certainly thankful for all our blessings! Thanks to all of you who have prayed for us, and a special thanks to all who helped with our children this week. We sure missed them, so we are looking forward to a great weekend together!
Had a long day today, and all went well. Brian and I, among others, testified today. Tomorrow morning we should wrap up with closing statements and then send it to the jury for a verdict. Thanks to everyone for help with our children this week, and thanks for all the prayers!
For as little as we got done yesterday (only jury selection), we got a lot done today! Went through 11 witnesses today, I think. So our lawyer told Brian and I to be ready to testify later tomorrow (after 4 other witnesses). I'm the last to testify, then the lawyers will give their closing statements and give it to the jury to go to deliberation. So, there's a chance this will all be over tomorrow night instead of Thursday! Please pray for Brian and I specifically tomorrow. A lot of this case rests on our testimonies, what we say and how we come across to the jury. Please pray for us to not be nervous, to think of all the appropriate things to say and that the "other side" isn't too harsh on us! ;-)
Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and prayers today. All went well, though not as eventful as our lawyers had hoped! We were set to start at 1:00 this afternoon, which we did, and the plan was for jury selection, opening statements, and to call 3, possibly 4, witnesses. Well, all that got done today was jury selection! So tomorrow morning the "real trial" will begin. I have to say, the whole legal proceedings are pretty fascinating for someone who has never been in a courtroom! Short post tonight, as there's really not much to report. Thanks to all our friends who are getting our kids where they need to be at the right times! We love you and couldn't do this without you!
So tomorrow is the beginning of our long-awaited trial with the trucking company whose truck hit us on Feb. 18, 2005. As most of you know, I was badly injured, causing permanent disability, and the girls were in the Suburban and I was 17 weeks pregnant with Owen. We continue to be thankful daily for God's protection of them, but also struggle daily with the pain I constantly deal with. Anyway, many of you have asked how you can pray. I guess I would boil it down to "resolution." We want this to be resolved this week. Whether that means they call our lawyer in the morning and offer a settlement, or we finish with the jury awarding a verdict. We just want this resolved!!! Since it's in federal court, the judge has to drive up from Little Rock tomorrow morning so we won't begin until 1:00. The judge will meet with all of the lawyers, and then jury selection will begin around 1:30. After the jury has been picked, both sides will get to present their opening arguments. Then we will bring to the stand the EMT, the sherriff and an eye-witness to the wreck. (The trucking company has admitted legal liability, so we don't have to prove it was their fault. Therefore, the trial is just to determine the amount of the award needed in order to cover my past medical expenses, future surgeries, and the housecleaning and childcare that we now need.) There is a slight possibility my Mom will be called to the stand at the end of the day, or may go first thing Tuesday morning, as planned. (She flew in this afternoon and is staying through Thanksgiving!) The trial is expected to last through Thursday. On a side note, I got to get my mind off things this weekend by going out of town with some girlfriends to scrapbook for two days! There were about 15 of us, and my friend's brother came and cooked us delicious meals! We also had Guitar Hero, karyoke, and watched movies projected up on the wall. Brian in the meantime, got to keep his mind off the trial by taking care of four kids all weekend! He is getting to enjoy himself tonight, though, with a guys night to watch the new James Bond movie! I'll do my best to update this tomorrow night on how the first day of trial goes! We are ready, we're prepared, we're excited, and we're a little nervous. Pray for us!
Last night was the "Passport to Fun" festival/fundraiser at Kellen's elementary school. Kellen's school studies a different continent at each grade level, so everything was themed "international". It started with an Italian dinner, which was surprisingly good with generous servings. Then the classrooms and gym were filled with various games. There was also a bake sale, a silent auction and an international taste-testing table, which was "interesting" to say the least!
Here are the girls getting ready to go play all the games! Notice the bags they were given to collect candy at the different games. Like we needed any more candy just barely more than a week after Halloween! We've been giving it away left and right trying to get rid of it, then came home with more bags last night!
Kellen and Bella after getting their faces painted like African warriors!
Kellen's friend Clara.
All our kids adore Bella's big sister, Caitlyn. Here she is holding Owen.
Molly and Kellen.
Owen even had a friend from his school come to this festival, because her big brothers go to Kellen's school, too. Owen and Emma go to pre-school together, and her Mom was Kellen's Kindergarten teacher.
Let the games begin! The kids circled the school several times visiting all the games in the various classrooms.
1) Peer pressure! My friends are making me do it! 2) No family near by, so this helps our family "get to know" our kids a little better! 3) I LOVE scrapbooking, but rarely have time to get caught up. This will have to do 'til then!
I am a wife to Brian, a stay-at-home-Mama to our four kiddos and do my best to serve the Lord. We also have three great pups and a hilarious cat. I have a degree in Exercise Science and love to be on the go and do adventurous things!
Kellen...our first born is 7 1/2 years old! She is tender-hearted, athletic, generous, kind and beautiful. She is a huge help to me, loves to read, and loves 2nd grade. She adores her teacher and has lots of good little girlfriends. I always tell her, "You'll always be my first baby!"
Peyton...that little spitfire is 5 1/2 years old and has the most unique personality in the world! The girl is always singing, dancing, and being funny. She's often in a world of her own and doesn't even know she has an audience for her antics. As Kellen often says "Peyton cracks me up!"
Owen...our little boy is now 4 years old! He's obsessed with being a "big boy" and actually does a very good job keeping up with his sisters. Though he's occasionally been caught in a princess dress or carrying a purse, he's actually all-boy, loving to sweat and greeting his Daddy daily with a punch in the gut!
Dawson...our baby is now 2 1/2 years old! He's talking lots and loves to dance! His body just starts moving as soon as he hears music, whether it's in the car or just in the background at a store! He's a big flirt with strangers in restaurants and always gets lots of smiles. He's a very happy kid and giggles at the slightest tickle or smile. He has made our family complete!
"Let's knuckle!" when wanting to wrestle or pretend to box.
When passing a cemetery..."That's where people die."
"Boppadot"--for some reason that meant applesauce
"You're the best Mama in the whole wide rainbow"
"Hailey likes Nathan Kress. She says he's hot!"--how does she know that expression???
"Brown go down the slide" talking about the first time she witnessed her #2 being flushed
"Hopgrasser" for the green insect that hops
When pretending to be a puppy, kitty, horsie, etc. "Say I'm zero (years old) and so you have to be really fragile with me."
"Duckle bubble"....when you have more kids than seat belts and they have to share (i.e. double buckle)
"Tooty France"...the bike race that Brian watches constantly every July!
"Chucky Larms"...her favorite breakfast cereal. You know, the ones with pink hearts, yellow moons, etc.
"Graphosser" for the green insect that hops
"Backin' walkards" as she walked backwards down the hall
"Mazagine" for the subscriptions we get in the mail
"This morning I went brown poo poo, but then at school I just went plain poo poo." Huh???
"I just give him little punch" when talking about how he greets his baby brother (For him it's a sign of affection! Daddy gets a BIG punch!)
"Awetom, baby" (awesome) with a huge grin and his thumb up
Clicks his tongue when he sees something he wants to eat.
Always says "dere-go" when he hands you something ("there you go").
Says "thank you" after you change his diaper!
Some of his favorite words: "No" (of course!), "more", "mine", "Mama", "Daddy", "Jesse" (our dog), "Ka" (not sure if that is cat or Sky, the name of our cat!) "Dawson Church"