Wednesday, April 29, 2009


So for some reason, with all the thousands of pictures I take, I didn't take any pictures on Easter Sunday! But, thankfully, we had had the kids pictures taken in their Easter outfits just a couple weeks before that, so I wanted to share them with you. Kellen is 7, Peyton is 5, Owen is 3 1/2, and Dawson was just about to turn 2.

Pink Panthers

Kellen just finished up her third year of soccer this spring (which is actually 6 seasons, since it's fall and spring). Her team, the Pink Panthers, was quite good, and they all really improved on their ball handling skill this year. This was her first year for Daddy to not be her coach, but her friend Joanna's Dad coached for them and did a great job!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Go Kicks!

Peyton's first year of soccer! They were together in the fall, and finish out their season this spring. Brian is her coach (he coached Kellen for two years, then stayed with the younger kids this year in order to coach Peyton).
Trying to figure out what to do with the ball!
The girl is fast!
She caught me snapping pics, and made this funny face for me. ;-)

Go Slammers!

Kellen's 4th year of! Well, really 2 years of T-ball, 1 year of coach pitch, and now her first year of machine pitch.
Here's a pic of her team right before they started their first tournament a couple weeks ago.
Kellen playing pitcher, even though they don't pitch at this age! It is a good place to get a lot of ball action, though, since a lot of the girls hit straight out to the mound.
Getting ready to catch another hit that came in low.
She is really loving softball. Of course, Kellen loves just about any sport. Every once in awhile she ranks her favorites in order, but it usually changes, depending on what season she's in! I wonder what her favs will be in 10 years!?!?

A Night of Disney

Peyton & Owen's pre-school put on a show a couple weeks ago entitled "A Night of Disney". Each class sang a few songs from various Disney movies.
Here are our performers! Doesn't Owen look huge in this pic? I mean, I know they're only 17 months apart, but from this pic, it looks like Owen may surpass Peyton in size pretty soon!
Joanna, Emma and Kellen were all great buds when they were in the 4 year old class a couple years ago. Now they're all big first graders, but have younger siblings at First Pres. They had lots of fun watching the program together!
Here's Owen (3rd from left), singing his heart out! He was so determined to make sure that we heard him! (and we did!)
Peyton singing with her class.
Layla & Peyton
Dawson, Peyton, Kellen & Owen up on the stage when the whole event was over. It was a fun night. Nanna & Papaw came in to town for the performance, and there was a catered spaghetti dinner afterwards. This is our third year of pre-school programs, and they are always priceless! And, assuming Dawson attends through Kindergarten, it looks like we've got 4 more years of these to enjoy!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Dawson Turns Two!!!

Thursday, April 9th was Dawson's 2nd birthday! We had a little party at our church and he really had a lot of fun!
We rented the Butterball Express, and it was kept busy the whole hour making laps around the church!
Even Charlie (5th grade!) can have fun at a 2 year old's birthday party!
Kellen & Dawson riding together.
Anna Joy, Susannah & Peyton in the caboose. Aren't they cute?
Owen was giving me the thumbs up, so Dawson tried to do it, too!
Carson & Emery LOVED the train! Neither of them wanted to get out when it was time for the train to leave. We also enjoyed watching Emery hugging and pulling Carson in close to her while they were riding!
Kate, Kellen & Bella---great 1st grade buddies! They're all in the same class together and are quite adorable!
Dawson loves "mou", his name for Mickey Mouse. Between watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and just returning from Disneyland a couple weeks ago, it seemed fitting to have a Mickey Mouse theme. My good friend, Kelly Fowler, once again shared her equipment and expertise to help me make this (my second cake---Owen's fire truck one last summer was my first).
We bought this police car Crazy Coupe at the Twinkle Twinkle consignment sale last month, and gave it to Dawson for his birthday. He loves riding on these cars at Peyton & Owen's pre-school, so we knew it would be perfect. He does love it! He either says "ride" or "car" when he wants to play in it!
Dawson, you have been the perfect completion to our family! Your grin, your silliness, your energy--all endearing qualities. We love to watch you start dancing as soon as you hear music. We love your sense of humor that has really emerged lately. We love seeing you hug your siblings and do everything to try to be like them. You are definitely in a "trying" stage, testing your boundaries to see what Daddy and I will do. But we know you will soon learn your limits and become a bit more compliant! Your sweet and funny personality is really starting to form and we love it! Happy Birthday, Daw Daw! We love you so much!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Finally--California Update!

So sorry for the delay. This is for all of you bugging me for CA pics! ;-) Had to dig myself out of piles of laundry, then made a list of all the pics I wanted to post (couldn't put all 325 on here!), then lost the list! Brian found it this morning, so here we go! The slideshow is posted below. I'm sure this will be a long post, but it's as much for my own memory and journaling sake as it is for your insight into our trip! ;-)
To back up a bit, we have some good friends who live in CA. They have visited us several times since we've lived in J'boro, but we've never made it out there. Several months ago, we were able to snag some plane tickets for $175 a piece! And to make things even better, the trip was 2 weeks before Dawson turned 2, so he still flew free. Plus, Disneyland was running an "everyone gets in for kids' price" promotion. So, fast forward to March, and here's a synopsis of our Spring Break.
Fri, 3/20: Flew out of Memphis, via Houston, to Ontario, CA. The kids love flying, so they were great. Peyton was the only one who still had a slight fever at this point, but demeanor was great, and that was the last of the kids' sickness. Thanks for your prayers! We got our rental van and drove to our friends' house in Simi Valley. It was late, so we crashed pretty quickly.
Sat., 3/21: Our friends' youngest daughter, Molly (7), had a softball game that morning. We played at the playground and watched her game. Then Cathy took the kids home for lunch and sent Brian and I out to eat at the famous In-n-Out Burger! Delish, and only $10.90 for both of us! After lunch, headed out to the beach for the rest of the day. We all had so much fun there! Our kids had never seen the beach or ocean (last time B & I went to Destin, I was prego with Kellen) It was a cool day so we didn't bring swimsuits, but we might as well have, because as the afternoon went on, they got more and more wet! Dawson didn't appreciate being plopped down in the cold water, so he opted to spend his time happily playing in the sand! A highlight of the day was watching a small group of dolphins swim up the coast, right in front of us! They were so close to the beach. It was awesome, and is one of the things the kids have talked most about!
Sun., 3/22: Cathy insisted that Brian and I take a day off by ourselves, so we headed out to Santa Monica. Ate at a great, fresh Mexican place, toured the shops at 3rd Street Promenade, and walked out on the Santa Monica Pier. The pier has been in lots of movies, so it was fun to see it. It was so incredibly windy that day--we were thankful for our sunglasses just to ward off the sand blowing in our faces! When we returned to Keith & Cathy's house we were treated to a performance that night of karaoke and various "talents" that the kids had been working on. They also went for a hike on the trails right by the house, played on the trampoline and overall just had a fun, relaxing day! Thanks for all your hospitality, Elliotts! The food and the company were great! We love you!
Mon., 3/23: Our day to head to Disneyland! And lo and behold, Brian wakes up with the stomach bug! Barely made the hour drive to Anaheim, and I begged for early check-in to our hotel. He made it up to the bed, and the kids and I headed off to do the parks! Kellen was our life-saver that day, as she had to push the double stroller all day! Since the parks are too big for me to walk around with my cane, I use my Roll-A-Bout (a non-motorized scooter), so I couldn't push the stroller, too. We chose to go to California Adventure that day (the other park besides Disneyland) and had an awesome time! Rode rides, watched a show at Playhouse Disney Live!, met Minnie Mouse, and watched the parade at the end of the day. It was a lot of work, but better than being in a small hotel room with a sick Daddy! One cute story: for two months, Owen has been saving various coins that he would find, and putting them in a little wallet. He kept saying he was saving it so he could ride rides at Disneyland. I think he had a total of about 86 cents by the time we left. Anyway, on our way to the park, he suddenly looks up at me with this horrified look and says "I forgot my wallet in Jonesboro!" I quickly assured him that Daddy & I would pay for his rides at Disneyland!
Tues., 3/24: Brian was feeling better this morning, but we did get our character breakfast buffet moved to Wed. since he didn't have a big appetite yet. Did the "Disneyland" park this day. I was very impressed at how many rides all of us could do together. I just wasn't sure how tall Dawson would have to be to "make it". And even for a lot of the more adventuresome rides, the cut-off was 40 inches, which Owen just barely made. We learned very quickly that Kellen & Owen are our adventurous ones, and Peyton is NOT! There were plenty of rides she liked, but not the roller coasters or really rough ones. While obviously I would prefer to be completely healed, the "Guest Assistance Pass" I received because of my disability was wonderful! We would walk up to a ride, see the sign that said 60 min. wait (or 75, or 90!), and we'd go up to the exit and get on the next ride! Was definitely wonderful not having to keep Dawson corralled in all those lines since you weren't allowed to take your stroller to wait in line. Soon after lunch, Peyton & Owen were begging for naps, and since Brian was still recovering, too, he took the younger three back to the hotel and they slept for about 3 hours! Kellen and I, meanwhile, had a blast riding all the rides we could! We also shopped for her souvenirs. Each child had $20 they could spend however they wanted to. Kellen bought 4 smaller things, and when Peyton and Owen spent their money the next day, they each picked out two items. Besides the autograph books that Brian and I bought for them, these were their only souvenirs. When Brian and the kids came back to meet us for dinner, we rode more rides and stayed through the nightly fireworks show that began at 9:30 p.m.
Wed., 3/25: Back to Disneyland for our buffet breakfast with Minnie & Friends. (We generally ate our hotel's continental breakfast each day, packed a lunch, and ate out somewhere for dinner.) It was delicious (good thing, since it was NOT cheap!), and the kids got many autographs and pictures for their autograph books. They come right around to the tables and hug the kids and spend time with them. Dawson wasn't a huge fan of this part, but he definitely got more comfortable as time went on. Then we hit the rides again and mid-afternoon I took Owen and Dawson back for naps (our hotel was right across the street from the park entrance, so easy to walk to and free parking at our hotel). Brian and the girls went back to California Adventure to do some of the bigger rides. They also saw the Playhouse Disney Live! show again, as well as a High School Musical 3 performance. We had planned to keep this a short day, so they came back to the hotel at dinner time and we loaded up in the rental van to go eat dinner in Anaheim. We had reservations for Buca di Beppo's, but then saw Red Robin! It's our family's favorite and we couldn't resist. It was a yummy dinner, plus it cost less and we got more food than our dinner the night before in Disneyland! After dinner we had time to hit the hotel pool and hot tub, which was a lot of fun.
Thurs., 3/26: Our last full day in California. Our friends, the Elliotts, who we had been visiting, came and joined us at Disneyland that day (it wasn't their spring break). So we had a blast with them, as we got to share our favorites, and they showed us some of their favs that we hadn't hit yet. Kellen decided she loved the Indiana Jones rides and all the "Mountains" (Splash, Thunder & Space). Peyton said Dumbo was her favorite and there's no telling how many times Owen rode the Matterhorn Bobsleds! After walking straight onto all the rides all day using my pass, Cathy commented that she never wants to go back to Disneyland without me! In the slide show below, be sure to look at the picture of the silhouettes we had made. I had read on a website that they were the best souvenir to get at Disney. For $9, you got two copies of your child's silhouette. These are free-hand-cut by an artist (ours had been at Disneyland doing this for 35 years!) She glanced up at the child's face 3 or 4 times throughout her cutting, and in less than 60 seconds, we had an amazing image of our child. They are gorgeous, and I can't rave enough about them. Love them!!! Anyway, we stayed at the park about 13 hours that day (minus Brian taking the boys back to the hotel for their nap) and got to see the fireworks one more time. The show is very elaborate. It's narrated, set to music, and since it's set behind the castle, they have colored lights on the castle that change with the music. Unfortunately, Molly was feeling sick right before they started, so the Elliotts had to head home for the day.
Fri., 3/27: Heading home. Our flight didn't leave until 11:30a.m., so we weren't rushed driving to the airport, returning the van, etc. Had a mechanical delay in Ontario, then weather delay in Houston, so we finally got home to J'boro at midnight!
Sat., 3/28: SLEEP IN! Brian, the boys and I all got up around 10 a.m.! Peyton a little before 11, and Kellen got up at 11:30 a.m. Needless-to-say, we were worn out, but had such great memories. It was a wonderful trip!