Friday, January 30, 2009

Ice Storm '09!

Thanks to all of you far-off family and friends who have been e-mailing and calling us to make sure we were okay. This ice storm sure has been all over the national news. We knew it was going to be bad when on Monday, the National Weather Service held a press conference in Paducah, KY, to update everyone on the impending storm!
It basically was a rain storm coming through, but as it hit the trees and ground, it instantly froze. The kids ended up being out of school from Tuesday through Friday (makes 6 1/2 days we've missed so far this year!) Tuesday started off just being a fun vacation day, having friends over to play, going out to our weekly Tuesday night dinner with a few other families for free kids' meal night, etc. THEN, power started going off all over the city! 8:00 p.m. Tuesday night, it hit our house. Thankfully, our house was still warm, so we put everyone to bed, and wondered what to do next. At 9:30, it suddenly came back on! So, we were able to kick up the heat again, watch TV, etc., as we headed off to bed. But the power only lasted a few hours and it went off for good just before midnight Tuesday night.
The next morning, Brian kept a fire blazing in the fireplace and several families came over to hang with us. I got out my camp stoves and cooked up some homemade chicken noodle soup that I had made up the day before. Had hot chocolate, too, and cooked hot dogs over the fireplace. Eventually everyone went home to put their kids down for naps, and we did the same. Bundled them up and got every available blanket out! Later that afternoon, Mike & Brooke came back over again and told us they saw some electricity on on one of the main streets in town. So we hooked up with some other families and went out to eat, mainly to sit in some warmth! By this point, it was getting pretty chilly in our house, even with the fire blazing non-stop! After dinner, Mike & Brooke arrived home to find that they had power, so we packed up the fam and went to their place for the night (Wed.). Thank you Mike and Brooke! The next day, the Fowlers came back and joined us at the Roberts' house, and it was a fun day of hanging out with friends in the heat! Mid-afternoon, Kelly and I came back to our houses to gather up clothes for the next day, and we were thrilled to find the power had just come back to our street about 20 minutes earlier! I turned up the heat and started the dishwasher. It was 37 degrees in our house!!! Knowing it would take several hours to warm up the house, we went back to the Roberts, then everyone went up to Brian's gymnastics room at ASU to play, and then out to dinner with the Roberts, Fowlers & Gschwends. We would periodcially call our house to make sure the answering machine was still on, and were dismayed when it didn't pick up for several phone calls! Our power had apparently gone back off, but thankfully was going strong by the time we got home from dinner last night! It was so nice to get everyone ready for bed in the light, and know they would be plenty warm all night long!
It was a fun adventure, especially for the kids, and we had a great time hanging out with our friends, but it is nice to be attempting to return to normalcy again now! It's 38 degrees here today, so all the ice is melting. Huge chunks are falling off of trees, power lines and buildings, and frankly it is very un-safe out there right now! It is super-loud as all the ice rains down on our roof! We lost many trees or parts of trees in our yard, but so far as we can tell, our fence, roof and deck are still okay. That is much better than many people around here! We have heard many reports of people who have trees IN their homes, windows broken out, fences gone, gutters ripped off, etc. Even some injuries and deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning from generators and grills. There are FEMA trucks in town and insurance adjusters are arriving from a dozen states to help assess the damage. Some of our friends still won't have power for several more days, and for some of the out-lying areas it will be 6 weeks!!! The "record" I've heard for consecutive power poles being snapped in half is 82! Those people will be out of electricity for a long time!
Anyway, thanks for all your prayers, and we are doing well. Everyone is napping in their own beds as I write this, and Brian's out with his chain saw and some other guys, helping clean things up!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Random Things

So I guess I'm a trend-follower, because everyone I know keeps sending me these "25 Random Things" lists, and now I've done one! It started as a Facebook thing, but lots of people are posting their lists on the blog, so here goes! Even if you aren't on FB, I challenge you to put it on your blog, if you have one. It seemed hard about half-way through, but was fun to finish it! And I didn't realize FB would only let me tag 25 people, so please don't be offended if you sent me your list and I wasn't able to tag you back!

1. I am a night owl; hence, I am writing this at 1:50 a.m.!
2. I resent people who think night owls are lazy b/c then we want to sleep in---I'm just as productive from 10 p.m.-2 a.m. as you may be from 5 a.m.-9 a.m.!
3. Next to becoming a Christian, Brian is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
4. I love organizing, but go in spurts of having various areas of my house organized!
5. I also love "to-do" lists and the satisfaction of crossing off even the tiniest of tasks (including something I've already done, but forgot to put on my list)!
6. I prefer something other than breakfast food for breakfast; have been known to have a can of chicken noodle soup, a BLT, or some Kraft mac & cheese for breakfast!
7. I don't iron. Seriously, I don't. I used the iron my Mom sent me off to college with, to wax my skis! Currently don't own a non-ski-wax iron!
8. I am an odd combination of a city-girl and an outdoors girl; need to live close to people, shopping & restaurants, but would go hiking & camping most every weekend, if I could.
9. Once went two weeks without taking a shower, as my friend and I biked and camped down the Pacific Coast; swam in the ocean lots though!
10. I brush my teeth lots of times per day, but have way more dental problems than Brian who just brushes twice a day. :-(
11. Could probably alternate between Mexican & Chinese food every other day and be happy.
12. I often dream that I'm jumping, playing sports, chasing my kids or other things I can no longer do, due to my disability.
12. I sometimes forget not everyone lives on the semester schedule, and love that my husband essentially has 5-6 months a year off of work! What do most people get---2 weeks?
13. I thrive on being around people and love to have a (moderately) busy schedule.
14. My grandparents were born in Ireland and we McMonigle's are proud of our Irish heritage (and before you ask, no I don't like corned beef & cabbage!)
15. I want to insist my children do not live at home during college---I so cherish my "away from home" college experience!
16. Speaking of college, Brian and I dream of traveling around to all our kids' collegiate athletic know, Kellen's regattas, Peyton's volleyball games, Owen's track & field meets, Dawson's football games....;-)
17. Nerdy, I know, but I get a HUGE kick out of finding good things at bargain prices.
18. I really want to do one of those zip-line canopy tours; I read an article about it in USAToday, my throat got tight, and I told Brian "I want to do this so badly, I think I'm going to cry!"
19. As evidenced by #18, I love speed! Jet skiing, downhill skiing, motorcycles, roller coasters, four wheelers, etc. The faster, the better! I'm not a speedy driver, though--just love speed in adventure situations!
20. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year---football season, cooler weather, fun holidays and excitement for the upcoming winter holiday, leaves, fires, etc.
21. I wish I could fast-forward time and see what my kids will be like in 15-20 years, but then bring them right back to the ages they are now.
22. I love to sing, and wish I could do it well!
23. I love most every part of our life here in Jonesboro, but just wish we could transplant the city to the Great Northwest!
24. One of my favorite things is dozing off in the recliner with a kid or two nestled in my arms!
25. There isn't anyone on earth who I have more fun with than my amazing husband!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kellen's First Basketball Experience

Kellen just started playing Upward Basketball this year. She did Upward Cheerleading last year, where they cheer for the basketball games. Even though she did it with her two best friends, I don't think it was enough action for her, so soon after the season was over, she began declaring she was going to play basketball next year, instead!
Upward is a national Christian sports organization, and it's a really great program. They promote sportsmanship and teamwork, and also have devotions at practice and during half-time. They are awarded an iron-on star to put on their t-shirts for various categories each game (best effort, best offense, best defense, etc.) and also one for memorizing the scripture verse each week. Here's a picture of her team, along with her coach, a friend of ours, Scott Willhite.
Great D, Kellen! (She's #5, second from right)
Blocking out her friend Betsy, while her teammate Lexi takes a shot. Kellen knew two other players on her team before the season began (Payton Willhite & Anna Joy Allen), and this past week, happened to know 4 girls on the other team, too!
Kellen keeping the ball away from the other girl, and getting ready to shoot a basket.
Kellen's fans! Brian's parents came over from Tennessee to watch her first game.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thanks, Danna!

Long overdue, I know, but we wanted to thank you for the awesome dresses you made for us! They are so soft and cuddly and people always want to hug us when we wear them! You are awesome! We love them!
~Kellen & Peyton

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Tennessee Christmas

Well, really it was 4 days after Christmas, but we did go to Brian's parents' home in Tennessee to celebrate Christmas, and see his sister, brother-in-law and neice who were visiting from North Carolina.
Dena & Brian serenading us--better keep your day jobs!
And the chaos begins---Peyton starting to unwrap some more gifts!
Owen opening his Twistcar from Dena & Stan.
Outfits for their American Girl dolls.
By the way, Dawson did not ask permission to eat this lollipop!
Hailey is our kids' only cousin on Brian's side of the family. On mine, however, they have 15!
Dawson found a comfy seat!
Peyton loves to put on make-up!
Owen & Papaw going for a ride on the tractor.
Hailey & Kellen spent lots of time speeding around the fields on Brian's old 3 wheeler (it was his 10th birthday present!)
The kids stayed at Nanna & Papaw's for 2 extra nights while Brian and I went back home. Here we are, meeting back up at the McDonald's in Kennett, MO. The kids had one final playtime before saying good-bye.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birthday Update

For some reason, I have been having trouble prioritizing our blog, lately! I still have Christmas pictures to post from our trip to the grandparents in Tennessee, and Kellen has her first Upward Basketball game this weekend, so I see I better get some stuff posted!
So, I'm going to write about my birthday first, because it's quick and easy and something I can do this morning without posting a bunch of pictures! ;-)
I had a great birthday yesterday, thanks to Brian, our kids, and my girlfriends! I hadn't even thought about "the number" until I got an e-mail from a friend that said "Happy 35th Birthday." Wow, 35! Half-way to 40. But we'll think more about that later.
My celebration actually began Sunday night when our church offered free childcare for date nights, so that was Brian and my's night out for my birthday. Tuesday morning I came out to the living room to find a card from Brian and one from Kellen, and a gift certificate to Gearhead, a local outdoors/sports store that we like. And as I raised the garage door to go take the kids to school I noticed Brian had put a Gonzaga license plate on the front of my Suburban! (We had gotten him an Alabama one as a "truck-warming" present a few weeks ago, so he figured I needed one, too!) Kellen told me she was going to get me a lump of coal, but then later came into my room with a crumpled up $10 bill that she had gotten out of her piggy bank! Isn't that sweet? I gave it back to her, but let her know how thoughtful that was of her! Owen, for some reason, said he was getting me a sleeping bag (huh?), and Pate's is the best of all: supposedly she is getting me a new car! Can't wait for that one! ;-)
Anyway, three of my bestest girlfriends, Kelly, Lindy & Brooke, took me out for lunch, and after school and after Brian got home, I got to take a "birthday nap"! Also, Owen proudly told his teachers that it was my birthday, so they sang happy birthday to me when I picked him up from school. Also got several phone calls from family, and countless e-mails as well.
As an adult, your birthday still has elements of "normalcy" as well, since I still had to take kids to and from school, go to the grocery store, pay bills, and pick up the house yesterday, but that's okay! There were still plenty of special things about the day! Thank you all so much! It was a fun day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Visitors from St. Louis

The day after Christmas, my brother Mike, and his kids Megan & Connor came down from St. Louis for a visit. Tracy had a big design project to work on, so unfortunately wasn't able to join them. I missed her!
We hadn't seen them since May, so Mike's idea of initiating my kids was a wild wrestling match the first night they arrived----the kids loved it, by the way!
It wasn't long before they were all tackling him to the ground and bombarding him with pillows!
Owen's like a monkey---he could hang here effortlessly for hours!
Throwing Peyton onto a pile of pillows. (BTW, I know the new TV looks silly with that entertainment center. We've got a new console on order---I promise!)
Taking a break with Megan and Connor.
Slumber party that night!
The next morning it about to rain so we headed to the gymnastics room in Brian's building at ASU. In this pic, Dawson was following big brother around, trying to do whatever Owen did!
Mike "coaching" his kids on the balance beams.
Dawson discovered this game all on his own!
Kellen being hoisted up in the harness---she loves swinging up there!
We built a fort with the gym mats and here's Mike emerging from the lair.
"FUNdue" that night for dessert!
And saying good-bye Sunday morning before they had to leave! The kids (and us) were so sad. Thanks for visiting us, you guys!!!

Christmas Catch-up!

Goodness, it's been a long time since I've blogged! Thankfully I've been reading on other friends' blogs that they're a little behind as well! Our holiday season has flown by, but we've sure had a lot of fun! I'll let the pictures below tell most of the story...
Christmas Eve: getting ready to set out cookies and milk for santa, and a carrot for Rudolph!
The boys were the first to wake up, so we let them play with some unwrapped things before we woke the girls up.
Peyton with some new duds on, plus her new doll, Ruthy, on the left, who is Kit's (from last Christmas) friend in the American Girl stories.
A family game of Operation.
The aftermath!!!
Decorating Baby Jesus' birthday cake. There must have been at least a 1/2 inch of sprinkles on that thing! They get "sprinkle freedom" only once a year!