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.
Kellen went back to school this morning, so keep her in your prayers today! She's bummed that she can't play at recess or do P.E. for another week, but at least she's there! Friday was unexpectedly her teacher's last day for while because she's having her baby! So Kellen won't get to say good-bye to her, but we did go visit the school briefly on Thurs. and she got to see her one more time. They'll have a sub until their teacher returns in February. We didn't give her any of the narcotic pain meds yesterday, but probably didn't give her enough ibuprofen because she kind of went downhill last night, though insisted her throat didn't hurt. Maybe she was just tired, I don't know. I'm going to go up to the school at lunch and see how she's doing, if she needs to come home or if she needs more ibuprofen. I'm sure she'll do fine. She's just so excited to be back!!!
Thanks for your continued phone calls, e-mails, gifts and visits. They have really encouraged Kellen and made her feel very special! I had told her yesterday that I'd try to get her out of the house for a bit today while the others were at pre-school. While looking at her school calendar I realized there was a speaker on Australia for the 1st graders, so we headed up there to listen and for a quick visit with her teacher and friends. She was elated!!! It was a good diversion from her previous two days of sitting in the house. After that, we had visitor after visitor until bedtime, and Kellen held up very well. She didn't have nearly the appetite today, so hopefully she got enough calories for healing and energy. We've got a calm day tomorrow, with some more visitors to look forward to after school. Thanks for your continued prayers.....she seems to be coming through with flying colors!
Prayers have been answered left and right. Kellen continues to do so well. I still feel like I'm "waiting for the other shoe to drop", but in the meantime, I'm praising God that He has allowed her to recover so well. She slept all night long without any more pain medicine until 5:30 this morning when she said her throat was dry and sore. After some water and medicine, she went right back to sleep. By the afternoon, I finally made her take a nap when the other kids went down because she hadn't rested at all. She's been vertical, watching new movies that grandparents bought and friends have loaned us. And I've never colored and painted so much in my life! I think she's taking advantage of having me all to herself (which is perfectly acceptable!) This afternoon Brian took the kids across the street to climb on some boulders where the city is doing some work on the creek, and then I took them all for a spin around the block in the bed of his truck, just because Kellen is going stir-crazy already! Her appetite has improved today, too. I told her this morning that she didn't have to wait for mealtimes to eat, but that I wanted her to eat or drink just whenever she felt like it. So today I think she has had applesauce, 2 fudgesicles, chicken noodle soup, 1/2 jelly sandwich, 2 pkgs. of ramen noodles, ice cream, yogurt, and canned peaches! About mid-morning, just out of the blue, she said "I like real food." I said "What do you mean?" and she said "You know, like chicken and steak and stuff." ;-) After only 24 hours, she's missing her normal diet! Continuing thanks for all the phone calls, e-mails, visits, cards and presents. She feels so loved and special! Keep praying for complete, quick healing, and that she would just continue to improve and not have any setbacks.
God is good! He has really answered a lot of our prayers so far regarding Kellen's surgery today. Kellen has been amazing this afternoon and evening. She woke up from her nap and wanted to work on an activity book and have a milkshake. Soon afterwards her belly hurt and I gave her the anti-nausea medicine. She resumed coloring but did get sick a little while later (can't feel good on a raw throat!) We cuddled in the recliner for a bit, but by 2:30 she was her perky self again, saying her throat didn't hurt at all (mind you, we had only been home for 2 1/2 hrs. at this point). So then, from 2:30-8:30, she was up and about, doing craft projects and art, and talking with all of us. We totally expected her to be laying around just watching movies and sleeping! She's been asleep for 2 hours now and seems to be doing well. We've got meds ready, though, should she wake up and need some.
She was totally blown away by all the people who have flooded her with cards and gifts! I mentioned earlier we had a sign on our garage door with a gift bag and balloon. She also got two deliveries of gift baskets with stuffed animals, lollipops and balloons. Another classmate dropped off an activity book and glittery tattoos, and another friend brought a drawing pad with glitter glue and a paint-your-own-pottery set. Also, every child in her 1st grade class made her a card and sent it home with our friend. She was so excited to read all those cards! Anyway, thanks to all of you who have helped us make her feel special and loved.
Though this afternoon and evening ended up great, we also realize she probably has some rough spots ahead of her. So, keep her in your prayers, and I'll keep you posted via this blog.
We're back home and Kellen's settled in on the couch. She is such a trooper! I expected a little nervousness as the day approached, but she continued on in her great attitude all the way through being wheeled away from us! Our pastor, Chuck, sat with us in the waiting room until it was time to go back, which was very nice. She thought her gown was so pretty---green & blue and kind of silky. Then she commented on how nice the place was (what kind of 6 yr. old notices that?) Next they had her drink the "silly juice" which kicked in about 10-15 min. later. Before she got too crazy, I prayed with her (Brian was delivering all the other kids to school, then joined us before Kellen was wheeled away) and then the medicine hit. She was hilarious! Very loopy, laughing and giggling, and saying the most random things. Pretty soon her tongue was thick and eyes drooping, and while she wasn't fully asleep yet, she definitely wasn't "all there". At that point they wheeled her to surgery and Dr. Sales came and spoke with us about 45 minutes later. He said everything went great and her tonsils and her adenoids were both the size of golf balls! Can you imagine 4 golf balls in the back of your throat? About an hour later we were allowed to go see her. She was awake, but still not completely back to normal. In the first 10 minutes, she asked us 5 times "Did they take my tonsils out yet?" They gave her apple juice right away and monitored her for awhile longer. We got to bring her home around 11:30, complete with pain meds, antibiotic, and anti-nausea meds. Now she's laying on the couch watching her new Kit Kittredge movie. She's had her medicine and some applesauce and mostly just wants water. She says her throat hurts and I can tell she's uncomfortable, which breaks my heart. But I can't say enough about how tough she is---she's always been our toughest kid! Thanks for everyone's phone calls and e-mails and a certain poster on our garage door and a care package--thanks Kate!!! We so appreciate your prayers and encouragement for Kellen. Please keep her in your prayers for pain relief. I'll try to update this one more time tonight.
Kellen will be having her tonsils taken out tomorrow morning, so we're asking for your prayers! This is our first child to have surgery, and though we're well aware that it is a common procedure, it's still a little scary to have our baby "put under" and know she's going to be in pain for awhile.
She's actually been very excited about it from day one, because she thinks its going to be great to watch movies and drink milkshakes all the time! We certainly don't want to plant any fears in her mind, but we have told her that she will have a sore throat afterwards and will probably not feel like doing a whole lot for a few days. She's known all along that they'll give her some medicine to make her fall asleep, but yesterday she asked if they'd give her a different medicine to wake her up. We replied that they'd actually just stop giving her the "fall asleep" medicine and she'd gradually wake up. We explained that she'd probably wake up and fall back asleep and be kind of groggy. Then Brian said "Kind of like how you are when we try to wake you up every morning!" She's our sleepyhead in the morning (takes after her Mama!) and I dread those teenage years when it's bound to be even worse!
Anyway, please pray for Kellen tomorrow morning. We haven't yet heard the exact time of her surgery, but do know that they perform them youngest to oldest, so surely she'll be early. Pray for her doctor, that she doesn't have an adverse reaction to the medicine, that her pain is as minimal as possible, and that she has a speedy recovery. Thanks! I'll keep you posted on the blog.
Our friends, Chuck and Lindy, started a Treats in the Street in their neighborhood this year. It was very successful and lots of fun! Everyone met up to trick-or-treat together, and neighbors were asked to set up decorated tables out at the street for kids to go get their candy. We then headed back to their driveway for chili & hot dogs, and s'mores around the firepit! Here is our crew getting ready to go! We've got a leopard, a ballerina, a fireman, and his dalmation!
Would you like some black-eyed peas? ;-)
Most of the gang before we headed out. Notice the ewok heading back to the group! We also had a flower, a SWAT team member, Tigger, a football player, Dorothy, and a 50's Pink Lady, among others.
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"