Monday, September 29, 2008


The fam took a roadtrip to middle Tennessee this weekend to cheer Brian and David on in the Jailbreak Triathalon. They competed as a team so their times were combined. The race consisted of a 3.5 mile canoe, an 8 mile mountain bike, and a 2.5 mile trail run through the woods. They finished in a little over 2 hours and came in 12th overall. They were 26th last year, so 12th is great! It is a large race, often with around 300 competitors. They get the inmates from the nearby jail to help haul the canoes out of the water and load them on the trailers as the racers come in, so that's where the name "Jailbreak" came from.
Here they are, coming in to the canoe finish line. This is their least favorite part of the race. It takes about 45 minutes, there's no current, and they have very little canoeing experience!
Here is Brian emerging from the woods at the end of the mountain bike portion. They cross this road into a roped off area where they throw their bike down, take off their helmet and camelback, and change into running shoes.
Brian approaching the finish line 2 hours, 5 minutes and 46 seconds after starting the triathalon! Notice the blood on his knee (there's a nasty gash on the side of his left leg you can't see, too, and an abrasion on the side of his right arm!) The mountian bike portion is pretty technical with lots of large rocks and roots, and he took 3 spills while biking. I overheard a man near us comment as Brian crossed the finish line "If you ain't bloody, you ain't ridin'!
Brian and David at the end! They've been great friends for almost 25 years. They began their friendship pushing each other to excel in high school football. Here they are, so many years later, and the competitiveness still runs strong!
The kids had lots of fun hanging around the race course. They played in the Duck River for a long time waiting for Brian and David to come in on their canoe. Here is Peyton "listening to the ocean" in the shells she found in the water!
Owen and Dawson snacking and waiting patiently to see Daddy come out of the woods!

David & Kara have three girls, Audrey, 8, Hallie, 6, and Ruby, 20 months. Ruby stayed with a friend for the day because Kara was racing, too. David's Mom came to the race, as well as some of Kara's family, so pictured above is Kara's neice, Maddie, Peyton, Audrey, Kellen, and Hallie.
In all, it was a great weekend! The kids were great on the 4 hr. trip each way. We've finally hit a milestone where Kellen is a good enough reader that she can entertain the others in the back by reading books to them. We stayed at David and Kara's brand new home they built, which is gorgeous, and loved just hanging out with their family. On the way home, we stopped at Red Robin in Memphis to eat and catch the kick-off of the Alabama/Georgia game. Got to watch a good ways into the 2nd quarter and Alabama was winning 31-0 when we had to get back on the road to come home. It was probably the most anticipated game of the day, and Alabama came through with a win! Roll Tide!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Team Hoyt

Brian and I just got back from listening to Dick Hoyt speak at the ASU Convocation Center. Wow, I am still soaking it all in. First of all, it was sponsored by a Christian hospital here in town, so they had a praise and worship team from a local church singing before the event started, while people were milling around the booths that were set up. Then, once the program got going, they led us in a time of worship that was incredible! They were a large worship team and their music was so powerful and inspiring! I loved it! I haven't experienced that amazing of a worship session in a long time, and who would've thought it wouldn't even be in a church?

For those of you who are not familiar with Team Hoyt, they are a father-son team who have completed almost 1000 athletic events, mostly marathons and triathalons, along with a 3775 mile run and bike trek across the United States. Rick, the son, was born with cerebral palsey in 1962. They have competed for the last 25+ years by Dick pushing Rick while he runs, Rick sitting on a special seat over the front tire of Dick's bike, and by Dick pulling Rick behind him in a raft while he swims. And believe it or not, Dick was not a runner when Rick had this idea to start competing! (He also had not been on a bike since he was 6 yrs. old and didn't know how to swim!)

I had a lump in my throat most of the night, and tears often overflowed. The whole love story between this father and son is just amazing. It also made me dearly miss working out and competing. I even asked Brian if he wanted to start pushing me during his races! I grew up playing lots of sports as most kids do, but really began considering myself an athlete the last 15 years before our car accident. I loved working out and being a part of teams all through jr. high, sr. high and college. I loved working out after college when I was coaching. I continued working out even until the day before each of our daughters were born. It was just a part of my life. I felt healthy. I felt good about myself. I craved the endorphins that your body produces when working out. Not being able to exercise is truly one of the things I have grieved most over these last 3 1/2 years. I think my personal life experience made this presentation especially impactful for me. It was a night that I will remember for a long time. Thanks to Dick and Rick Hoyt for sharing their story.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My Soccer Girls!

Soccer season is upon us once again! I call them "my" soccer girls, because the sport of soccer has always been near and dear to my heart. I grew up playing, as did all my brothers. My Dad reffed and two of my brothers still play on adult leagues. One brother played in college and professionally afterward, and one of my nephews just finished up his collegiate soccer career, as well. Several other nephews and a neice play and ref, too. It's in the McMonigle blood! Brian, on the other hand, grew up in Tennessee where football reigns. His tiny town didn't even have soccer, and he called it a "rich white kids sport!" (all in fun, of course!) Anyway, my family gave him quite a bit of flak about that when we first met, and he was teased a bit when he began coaching soccer a couple years ago! Therefore, they are "my" soccer girls!

Kellen played for the last two years, but this is her first year on an all-girl team, playing on the medium-sized fields, 4 vs. 4. She's really been enjoying it again, and is a little more aggressive getting in there without any boys on the field. She's scored 10 goals so far this season! One of her good buddies for the last 2 yrs. is on the team (her dad is the coach) and she knows another girl from her class as well. Another bonus this year (in her eyes): her uniform is pink!This is Peyton's first year to be old enough to play. She is so excited to have a team of her own and not just going to watch big sister play! Her age group is still co-ed and they play on the micro fields, 3 vs. 3. One of her classmates is on her team, as well as another family friend. Plus, a lot of her other friends are on different teams so we'll see lots of familiar faces on the fields this season! Brian is coaching her team this year. He coached Kellen the last two years and decided to stick with the younger kids, so he didn't move up with Kellen. His debut for the first game of the season Saturday was anti-climactic, though, because he came down with laryngitis and another Dad had to take over on the field! The game was pretty entertaining since none of the kids really knew what they were doing, but they sure had fun!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fair, Food & Fun

I'm a little behind on posts, but thankfully it's not because of more sick kids! Just busy, or lazy, I guess; take your pick!
Thursday we had the pleasure of taking the family to the fair. It was arm band night, and Kellen, Peyton and Owen sure got our money's worth! They rode rides for three hours straight, with only a brief stop to inhale some cotton candy! We met up with three other families, so the kiddos had plenty of friends to ride with.
Kellen was tall enough for all the "big people" rides this year, and Peyton could do a couple of them. Owen just barely passed the height requirement to do the BIG swings, and I'm so thankful, because that ended up being his favorite ride!
(Owen on far left, Peyton in the very front, Kellen on the right in a white tank top)
Kellen fell in love with "Moby Dick", and probably rode that one the most. She's 7th from the left in this pic below. Hard to see, I know. I had some more that were close-up, but I liked this pic b/c it shows that this was no kiddie ride!Our friend Mike was buying a ticket to take his daughter Emery on the big Ferris Wheel, so he took several of the other families' children with him, too, since they had to ride with an adult. By the time they loaded up, there were SEVEN children in the basket with him!
The next day, the kids got to go back to do the petting zoo and the exhibit buildings. I didn't get any pics of those, though, because other people took them for me! In all, it was a great (expensive!) night, but is a fun tradition that they remember every year!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

TMI & Ike Impact

First for the TMI.....all 6 of us have had the stomach bug in the last 7 days! A few things to be thankful for about it, though:
1) It's been very mild for the children (though Brian and I were harder hit).
2) All but one of us knows how to make it to the toilet or a bucket, so clean-ups were very minimal.
3) We've saved a lot of money on groceries and the healthy kids have gotten lots of mac and cheese and pb&j's--their favs!
4) It hit Brian and I 24 hrs. apart, so we were able to tag-team taking care of the kids
5) The kids were all really troopers through between getting sick they were playing, dancing, laughing, etc. Brian and I definitely were not like that!
And two amazing facts:
1) Kellen and Dawson got sick in the middle of the same night, only 3 minutes apart!
2) Brian broke his 9 year streak of not throwing up! Any of you Seinfeld fans? There's an episode where Jerry is feeling sick but doesn't want to throw up b/c he doesn't want to break his "streak" of non-vomiting since June 29, 1980! We were laughing about that this week!
Hopefully we're done with this nonsense and will be back to normal now! Sorry to any of you who we infected! There are so many people who have this bug right now, though, that we'll just say it was someone else who made you sick!
Okay, onto "Ike" news. After slamming into the Gulf Coast Friday, it hit us last night. We had strong winds and some rain. Our backyard looks like a minefield right now, with small limbs and twigs everywhere. We had a medium-sized branch fall on our deck, but no damage. We have 22 trees in our backyard alone, so we were very thankful that there was no serious damage on our property. Our neighbor across the street, however, lost a HUGE tree, which thankfully fell away from his house and has been completely blocking our street all day. The kids have gotten a kick watching cars zoom down our hill and round the corner, only to find they have to turn around in our driveway and go back! The city has been working on it with chain saws for the last 6 hours and they still haven't made enough progress where people could drive around it! I talked to a friend a little earlier today who lives about 15 miles outside of town....she said that their town won't have electricity until Tuesday! I told her they could come take showers at our house for only $5/head! ;-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Swimming All Summer!

Catching up on a back blog of a favorite summer activity.....swimming! For several years in a row, we've joined a pool with a handful of other families from our church. We usually went out there 3-4 days a week, packed a lunch, and by the time we got home, all I had to do was put the kids down for naps! What a great way to spend a summer day! Plus, all the parents had each other to talk with, and all the kids had each other to play with! There was hardly anyone else there besides our families, so it was like the benefit of having our own pool, but we didn't have to take care of it! It's also a way I can be active with the kids without hurting my leg.
Owen made huge strides this summer, with being willing to go underwater, and being able to swim around on his own without a tube!
Daddy and his kiddos. He often joined us in the evenings, and occasionally during the day when his summer school schedule allowed.
Peyton, Colby, Kate and Kellen.....good buddies!
This was Pate's summer to learn to swim on her floaties, tubes, etc. She loved the independance it gave her!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dawson's Latest

Dawson just turned 17 months old and is truly a joy and is truly into everything!!! He's a smiley, flirty kid with brilliant baby blues and an adorable dimple like his big sister Kellen. He also has the propensity for picking up an object in one room and then depositing it in another room! We're finding Tupperware in our bedroom, a hairbrush in the playroom, shoes in the kitchen, you name it! It has made keeping the house picked up, very difficult for me! In the evenings, the older kids have to do the legwork for me of putting everything at least back in the right rooms, and then from there, I can pick up each individual room! He's a mess!
He also recently had his first bubble bath with his big brother and sister and loved it. With each baby, we always have to hold off on the bubble baths until they won't eat the bubbles or put them in their eyes! But, he stayed in the bath for this bubble session, and did great!
I also wanted to share this pic from a week or two ago. I know this may not be a rare occurance for other families, but this hardly ever happens with our babies! Dawson had fallen asleep coming home in the car, but it was too early for his afternoon nap (we were afraid he wouldn't make it the rest of the night if he fell asleep that early!) So, Brian just carried him inside and plopped him on the couch instead of the crib. However that wasn't enough stimulation to wake him up, so he just slumped down and continued his nap right then and there. It was pretty cute, I'd have to say. So, he got his way, and we put him in the crib for a very early nap!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Tour de Forest

Brian competed in another mountain bike race today, the Tour de Forest, sponsored by Gearhead, among others. This one was here in town, so we got the pleasure of attending and cheering him on. The course out at Craighead is very viewer friendly, so we got to travel around to different locations and yell and cheer and wave our signs (see pic below).
One of Brian's best friends, David, usually races with him, so for the J'boro race, David's whole family comes and we have a great time together! The kids all made signs yesterday to cheer their daddies to victory. Pictured above is Dawson, Kellen, Peyton, Owen, Ruby, Audrey & Hallie.
Brian and David were right by each other most of the way, and switched the lead several times. It was quite exciting to see who was ahead each time they emerged from the woods. As they approached the finish line, they were screaming down the hill, side-by-side, each determined to give it their all. They were neck and neck, going about 25 mph down this hill as they squeezed through the finish line chute. David eked out a second place finish in front of Brian who came in third, though they were only separated by a split second. (Last year they got 1-2, so we were bummed some other guy beat them this year!) ;-) Here are the two studs with their trophy glasses!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Happy 37th Birthday, Brian!!!

Cute baby!
Adorable toddler!
Loved his three-wheeler, and still does! His Dad has kept that thing running, and we have lots of fun with it when we go visit!
Union City High School football star!
Stud collegiate athlete!

Rafting the expert-class Skykomish River in Washington while we were dating.
Skiing at Whistler, British Columbia on our honeymoon.
His first woodworking project! This is now our bedroom furniture. He has about filled our house with all of his great projects over the last 7 years since he taught himself how to woodwork!
The consummate family man!

Top Ten Things I Love About My Birthday Boy
(in no particular order)

1. Loves the Lord---he has grown in his walk with the Lord so much in the 10 years that I have known him!

2. Brilliant---one of the smartest people I know! His nickname is even Dr. Brain, because he has a PhD, is so incredibly smart, and people often transpose the "i" and "a" in his name to spell brain.

3. Strong work ethic---a very hard worker; does things "right" in all his endeavors.

4. Very loyal---pretty self-explanatory; a great quality to have in a husband!

5. Loves to workout---may seem like a strange thing to like about someone, but we used to work out and be active together for many years, and since I can no longer do that with him, I guess I live vicariously through him with his workouts!

6. Selfless---he is always concerned about making sure we are taken care of and being treated special; is not concerned about doing things for himself, so I have to make him buy or do things for himself!

7. Involved Dad---he is without a doubt, the most hands-on Dad I have ever seen, and that was true even before our accident (which forced him to do even more); he so loves our kids and is joyfully involved in every aspect of their lives; we will all be the better for it!

8. Great-looking---I think he's a hottie and isn't it great to still think your mate is so cute even after the excitement of dating and the newlywed stage is over? ;-)

9. Self-assured---he is very confident in himself, which makes me feel secure; he knows his opinions, his goals, his beliefs, his desires, and is proud of it and able to be vocal in a way that makes a positive impact on people.

10. Servant-Leader---our church uses this term a lot to describe how men should be the head of the family; he leads me and our children by serving us, just as Christ did. Brian is a wonderful example of that definition!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Eight Great Years

Today is Brian and my's 8th wedding anniversary. We met in the summer of '98 when I moved from Spokane, WA to Murray, KY to be the Head Women's Rowing Coach at Murray State University. Brian was the Throws Coach for the Track and Field team, but was also the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the womens' sports, so that's how we met. He ran my athletes' workouts in the weight room, and a few months later we began dating. Our first date was supposed to be mountain biking out at Land Between the Lakes recreation area, one of our favorite places to go hiking. However, Brian found out the day before that they were hosting a motorcross race that day, so we couldn't go. Instead, he got the keys to his roommate's gymnastics business and we went in and played all afternoon! Not your typical first date, eh? But somewhere between the trampoline and the rings, I just knew I liked this guy! Fast forward two years and we were hosting a lot of family (most of mine had never been to Kentucky!) for our wedding. The day before the wedding we had a big party out at the lake with swimming, kayaking, canoeing, a pontoon boat, and a big picnic! This picture above was taken while we were out on the pontoon boat. It sure was a fun day! That night we took our bridesmaids and groomsmen back to Chris' gymnastics building and had another big play-fest, in honor of our first date! It was so much fun! We got married outside my team's boathouse, on a cliff overlooking Kentucky Lake at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 3, 2000. My brother Kevin, his wife Brenda and their daughter Shawna did our music. My sister Kathy was my matron of honor, my brother Dan and Brian's sister Dena did readings. Brian's Dad was his best man and my brother Mike was one of Brian's groomsmen. Brian's neice Hailey was our flower girl and my nephew Connor was our ring bearer. My brother Tim walked me down the aisle, since my Dad had passed away 5 years earlier. Our three dogs were wandering around the ceremony and one of them even plopped himself down right next to me during our vows! After the wedding we lit a bunch of tiki torches on the patio, had a buffet of hors d'oeuvres and danced the rest of the evening. It was so "us" and just perfect!

We left town the next day to move to Tuscaloosa, AL, for Brian to earn his PhD. We had decided to get out of coaching because the hectic schedule, mega-traveling and long work hours were not what we wanted for the family we wanted to raise. Brian had begun his PhD program two weeks before the wedding, and we had to get back to T-town the next day for him to get back to class! We took our honeymoon in December. My brother, Tim, had given us a week of his time share and we chose Whistler, British Columbia, Canada. We went skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and dogsledding. It was awesome!

Anyway, it's been a great 8 years, and we love each other very much! A lot has happened to us in that time span including two moves, four children, and our life-changing car accident. Thankfully we can rest in the assurance that God is guiding the path of our life together, and as long as Brian and I both love Him more than each other or ourselves, then we'll be in good shape! Happy Anniversary, babe!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pre-School Buddies

Peyton and Owen started pre-school today! They've been so excited for it to begin, since Kellen started 1st grade two whole weeks ago! Peyton's in the 4 yr. old class and Owen's in the 3 yr. old class and they both go 2 1/2 days a week. We're still trying to tweak our morning routine, determining the best time to wake everyone up in order to get out the door on time! Thankfully, Dawson just decided to learn how to feed himself his bowl of Cheerios, so that frees up some time for me to do other things while he eats! Peyton's teacher is another Mrs. Kelly, the fourth Kelly in her life! We always have to call all our Kelly's by their last names, too, so we can keep them straight! Owen kind of knows a couple of kids in his class, though I know more of them than he does, just because of being friends with their parents. I'm sure he'll find buddies quickly. His favorite friend from last year is in the other 3 yr. old class but they'll still get to see each other at the playground and such. Peyton's class, however, is like a family reunion! At their Open House last week, it was pure chaos with all the parents, siblings, and 13 children who know each other so well that there are no inhibitions! It will be a fun year for her, as she loves all her girlfriends in her class.
Peyton, 4 1/2 years old.
After school today, Peyton was full of information and even though she talked a lot, it was mostly about getting to go to the lunchroom (the 3 yr. olds eat in their room, so this was a big change for her) and who she played with on the playground. I asked if she learned anything, and she said they learned about "all about me". She said she had lots of fun!
Owen, 3 years old.
Owen's favorite part about the day was circle time and reading "The Kissing Hand" about a racoon. I forgot to ask his teacher if he actually fell asleep during naptime--he rarely did last year. He couldn't remember any of his classmates names, nor his teacher's, but he said he had fun!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Finally Football Season!

We love football season here in the Church household! It's one of the things that makes fall my favorite season. Brian and I have always enjoyed catching as many good games on a Saturday as we can, and that tradition is continuing on in our kids (the 3 older ones, anyway). They like asking what team is which color, reading the numbers to figure out the score, telling how much time is left, etc. Now I'm not saying they stayed glued to the TV or know all the ins and outs of the rules, but I'm not lying when I say that they do watch the games and enjoy them! We also have "Football Appetizer Dinner" most every Saturday in the fall, where we make a whole dinner out of appetizers and we all eat in the living room in front of the TV. They think that's a huge treat! In fact, a couple years ago when Peyton was eating her first appetizer dinner of the season, she pointed to her plate and said "We should do this again, sometime, Mom!" She was just so excited to be eating a fun dinner like that! This past Saturday all the kids wore their Arkansas State Red Wolves gear. ASU wasn't even in town, but they knew it was the first Saturday of college football so they were excited to wear them. At least it was a shade of red to cheer on the big game of the day.....Alabama's Crimson Tide vs. the Clemson Tigers. Roll Tide! We won! Also, ASU pulled off a huge upset down in College Station against Texas A&M. Must have been because of the kids' shirts!
Tonight's big game is Tennessee at UCLA. Brian grew up a Tennessee boy, so he and Dawson sported the orange and white today. I know most people say you can't be a Tennessee fan AND an Alabama fan, but Brian's figured out a way!