Saturday, June 27, 2009

Big Happenin's in the Church Family


But, we DID buy a house!!!
We closed last Wednesday and got the keys this afternoon. We've already moved some things over and have been trying to organize as we go. It is in Mardis Addition, in the woods behind Home Depot.
Here is a view from the front steps, looking back on the driveway. There is a very long driveway coming up the property, ending with this circle drive, and a driveway up to the garage. The house is on 1.5 acres, a lot of which is wooded. Very pretty and private!
Here is the main living area. There is a walk-out basement below, so the view these windows have is quite a bit above the ground in the backyard. There is also a large deck off of this room, with stairs down to the backyard.
I LOVE this kitchen! It has a 6 burner gas stove with a grill, an oven and a half, an instant hot water tap, a separate ice maker, a bar sink, an island with space for seating, lots of pantry space with pull out shelves, a built-in microwave and fridge. I could go on and on. If you know me and my passion for cooking, you know the kitchen was important!
Here is a view from the main living room, looking into the "sitting room" and up the stairs. What else could we call it besides a "sitting room"? I need suggestions. Palor--no! Keeping room--no! Den---no! There's another room in the basement that we're calling the family room, so that title is out, too. Anyway, up the stairs there are three bedrooms. The boys will share a large one with their own bathroom inside of it. The girls will each have their own smaller ones, adjoined by a 3 room jack-and-jill bath. They each have their own sink/vanity room, then they are connected by a shared toilet and bath.
Here is the office that is right inside the front doors. Has built-in bookshelves and cabinets, and french doors.
This is the dining room. A little formal for us, but we'll make it our own!
This is part of the master bathroom. His and hers vanities on each side of the corner tub. Also there is a walk-in closet, a separate shower, and a toilet room.
Here is the basement family room. In the far corner, there is a little "kitchenette" with a sink, microwave, fridge, cabinets and counter with room for two bar stools. Also downstairs there is a guest room, an unfinished bedroom, a full bath, and a storage room.
Anyway, we're looking forward to getting more and more moved in as the week goes on! We'd welcome visitors at any time, either just to stop by and see it, or to spend the night with us!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Don't ask me why...

...but we went to the Memphis Zoo today! And yes, it was hot! We arrived right at 9:00 a.m. when it opened, and it was already 87 degrees! BUT, we had had this trip planned for a long time, and we had a great day!
We've gone to the zoo before with our good friends, Mike and Brooke, and they wanted to make a return trip with their little girls, Emery & Landry. Above, note the liveliness of the cheetah! Many of the animals were pretty sedentary due to the heat, or all together hidden. But, the kids (and us!) enjoyed it, nevertheless.
Emery and Mike looking at the tigers.
Kellen is always a huge help with the little ones. Here, she was helping to lift Dawson up so he could see over the fence.
"Quick! They're following us!" A little too young to be escaping into the bushes, don't you think? ;-)
I'll give you one guess which kid didn't want their picture taken!
We got to see a little baby! Their fur is orange when they're young, and gradually becomes black. The baby held on for dear life every time his mama swung across all the ropes!
Brooke had the difficult job of keeping Landry cool and out of the sun.
Posing on the animal chairs.
Our gorgeous Kellen enjoying her green apple shaved ice. It's become a family tradition to get snow cones at the booth by the elephants. It was very refreshing this morning!
Sometimes Dawson really wants me to take his picture, and enjoys posing for it. This was one of those times!
Isn't Emery adorable???
Kellen has always had a knack for making babies laugh! Here she is, bonding with Landry as we waited for the sea lion show to start.
The trainer and "Chloe", showing off her tricks. We all wanted to jump in the water WITH Chloe!
I don't think he wanted his picture taken...
Though she didn't get any pleasure from seeing the animals, I think Landry definitely had it made---she had this little fan pointed at her face all morning long!
We were out of there by noon and then enjoyed a yummy (but long, thanks to a poor server!) lunch at On the Border!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Our Daddy

Happy Father's Day, B! You know that I believe you are the best Daddy in the "whole wide rainbow", as our kids say. You spend more quality time with our children than any other father I know of, and their adoration of you is evident to all. Enjoy your Omaha Steaks gift certificate!

In our new header pic, taken this morning on Father's Day, Brian's holding about 165 lbs! Kellen's on his shoulders, Owen and Dawson on each arm, and he's picked Pate up under her arms!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kids' TriLemonade Triathlon!

Kellen participated in a kids' triathlon (for ages 5-14) out at Craighead Forest Park this past weekend. It was a fundraiser for Alex's Lemonade Stand (for kids with cancer). It consisted of a swim, a bike, and then run. We woke up bright and early to find the rain pouring down, but the lightning tapered, and then the rain disappeared as well, so the rest of the morning went off without a hitch.
Here is her division of 7 & 8 year olds, getting ready to begin the swim portion of the race. Her age group swam 50 meters.
I couldn't get very close for pictures, and forgot my telephoto lens, but here is her group during the swim. They had several adults out there on kayaks for safety. Kellen is wearing a red swim cap and is in the middle of the pack here in this picture.
Here Kellen is sprinting out of the water (aqua swimsuit with red cap, leading the way).
After leaving the water, she ran to the transition area to switch her swim cap for a bike helmet, put on tennis shoes and her t-shirt with her racing bib, and grab her bike.
Here she is mounting her bike to begin the one mile bike race.
After the bike portion, she again entered the transition area, dropped off her bike and helmet, and took off for the 1/2 mile run. Kellen loves to run and those long legs of her help make her very fast!
Sprinting off for the final portion of the triathlon.
Here she is coming in on the home stretch. I'm sure she was tired, but she was still able to sprint through the finish line.
Crossing the finish line, just over 14 minutes later!
Walking back to us with her finisher's medal. She was giddy with excitement. I think she's caught the racing bug!
Every registrant received a t-shirt, and every finisher received a medal. However, not everyone got a.....

TROPHY!!! Kellen won 1st place for her age division! She's is 7 years old and won the 7 & 8 year old division. And even more impressive, she would've placed 2nd in the 9 & 10 year old division! We're quite proud of her, and she is so excited!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Belle's Ball

Saturday the Foundation of Arts hosted their fundraiser, "Belle's Ball", featuring the cast of the upcoming Beauty and the Beast production.
So why is my first picture here of Kellen in her softball uniform? Because despite having had these tickets for weeks, Kellen asked to go to her softball game that night instead of Belle's Ball! Her team was in a tournament this weekend and they kept advancing, so an unexpected game Sat. night conflicted with the Ball. We were proud of her for keeping her commitment to the team, and she really had fun playing!
So, Owen was the lucky recipient of her extra ticket! He is going to the play with us in a couple weeks, and because of the influence of two older sisters, he enjoys a little princess stuff, too!
Belle and the other cast members were so friendly to all the kids. Peyton had a good little group of girlfriends that were also at the Ball. Here she is with Layla and Eva Grace.
There was a band, and they sure danced the night away! The kids loved it!
What cuties! Layla, Eva Grace and Peyton together again!
After awhile, even Owen got in on the action, and once the dancing bug hit him, he didn't want to stop!
Lots of twisting and jumping going on!
Peyton loved dancing with Belle! I'm afraid she dominated Belle's time most of the night!
We were fed dinner and there was a dessert bar as well, which my kids took full advantage of! I told them they could have whatever they wanted since it was a "special night". Apparently Owen just wanted to lick the icing off of about 5 cupcakes!
The five friends--Layla, Eva Grace, Peyton, Abby & Lucy. They all went to pre-school together, and really are a great group of girls!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Nashville Muddy Buddies!

A couple weeks ago we headed over to Nashville to visit friends and compete in a race called the Muddy Buddy. We stayed with our friends David & Kara and their girls Audrey (8), Hallie (6) and Ruby Cat (2). David has been one of Brian's best friends since childhood, and they often team up to compete in moutain bike races and triathlons throughout the year. They live out in the country and the kids enjoyed the outside freedom as well as 8 new kittens which had recently been born! I, however, did not enjoy the abundance of ticks!!! One day we went to a playground for a change of pace.
Dawson could swing all day long!
Owen on the little zip line.
Audrey & Hallie Cox, and Kellen & Peyton all on the tire swing. These four sure have fun playing together!
David pushing Ruby Cat. She's just 3 months older than Dawson.
The kids found a turtle right out in the middle of the parking lot!
Race Day: our Mini Muddy Buddies waiting around for Daddy's race to finish so they could do their own race!
The sun was brutal, so while we were waiting for Brian and David to cross the Finish line, the kids found some shade under this trailer!
Brian started the running leg of the race while David biked. Each time they reached a station, they had to complete an obstacle, and then switch to running or biking, whichever they hadn't just done. They "leap frogged" through about 5 legs of the race, and upon completion of the running and biking portions, they had to finish by race-crawling through a series of mud pits, then exit and run across the finish line. It was thoroughly entertaining, to say the least!!!
The Buddies who got Muddy!
The kids thought it was hilarious how dirty Daddy had gotten!
Then it was time for the Mini Muddy Buddy! Owen's division was first. Here he is on the balance beam portion of the kids' obstacle course.
After their obstacle course, the kids also had to (got to!) go through the mud pits! Owen's age division required a parent to go through with him, so Brian got to get all muddy again! Isn't this the sweetest picture of these two? I love how they're looking at each other!
And isn't that adorable to see them holding hands to cross the Finish line???
Here's Peyton going up and over the camo wall. (pink tank top in the center)
Making her way through the mud! For weeks she had been saying she wanted to get everything muddy except for her face. She was pretty successful!
Kellen busted out ahead in her race and only got passed by one boy! (she's on the right in the aqua tank top)
She got the muddiest since she sloshed through the mud pit the quickest of the 3 children!
Proudly showing off their medals!
My Muddy Buddies!!!
The water at the wash-off station was very cold!!!
The fire department kept having to bring in more water to the hose station. Owen had some of the best facial expressions as he was being hosed off!
We stripped the kids down to their undies and sat them on towels because they were still pretty filthy, despite the hose-off station. We drove through a McDonald's for lunch, and you can see that Owen fell asleep on the way home with his hand in his McNugget box! (We had had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. that morning in order to drive and get there on time for Brian & David's race!)
Back at the Cox house, we showered everyone and got ready for the trip back to Jonesboro. Had to get a few pictures of the kitties, though. This is one we would've come home with, had we not been afraid that it wouldn't have made our cat, Sky, too happy! He was adorable!
A cute picture of Hallie holding another one.
We had planned to eat at Pei Wei in Memphis on the way home, but were a little early for dinner. So, we stopped off at the mall to ride the carousel, a little tradition we have whenever we're in Memphis. Much to our delight?/chagrin? they had erected another activity for the kids to do as well----bungee jumping! They had a deal for 3 or more family members to do it cheaper, so the 3 oldest kids had a blast!
Kellen learned to do back flips pretty quickly---I never got a good picture of her inverted, but here is one of her starting a back flip.
Peyton getting all harnessed up.
She was able to propel herself very high!
And wouldn't you know it, just as Owen was getting all strapped in, my camera battery went dead. Brian got some video of Owen's jumps, but I don't have any real pictures!
Anyway, it was a fun way to end an eventful weekend!