The Hill family of Dearborn, Mo., who won half of the jackpot worth $587.5 million, appeared at a press conference on Friday with six-year-old Jaiden, who was adopted from China, clutching a stuffed horse as her parents were handed an oversized check made out for their share: $293,750,000.
"We’re still stunned by what’s happened. It's surreal and people keep asking us, 'What are you going to buy with it?' I just want to go home and be back to normal," Cindy Hill, 51, said at the press conference in which she, her husband Mark, their three adult sons and daughter Jaiden were introduced to the nation.
Since winning, the couple has considered adopting again, according to the lottery. Mark has spoken of getting a red Camaro; they also would like to take Jaiden to the beach, since she's never been to one. And they plan to start college funds for their grandchildren and nieces and nephews, as well as set up a scholarship fund at the local high school in Mark's father's name.
They are also looking forward to not working and traveling together as a family using their winnings, Hill added.
As for the pony, it will be coming -- but later.
"The pony’s not going to be for a while," Cindy said Friday. "I think we’re going to just stick with what we have planned, and maybe after the first year, go on a big vacation.”
After hearing on Thursday morning that one of the winning tickets was sold in Missouri -- the other was sold in Arizona -- Cindy dropped her Jaiden off at school, went to a convenience store for a winning numbers report, and checked her tickets in her car.
"I didn't have my glasses, and I was thinking, is that the right number? Is that the right number?" Cindy said.
Upon seeing that one of the five tickets she bought had the winning combination, Cindy said she headed straight to her mother-in-law's house and asked her to double-check the ticket. Husband Mark, 52, joined her there to see for himself.
With the odds of any single ticket winning the jackpot at 1 in 175 million, the Hills said they hardly gave a thought to winning. They spent $10 on tickets Wednesday evening and didn't check them again until Cindy saw they had won Thursday morning.
Cindy was an office manager until she was laid off in 2010; Mark works as a mechanic for Hillshire Brands, according to the Missouri Lottery.
They don't play the lottery often, and don't have any plans to move from Dearborn, a Kansas City suburb.
The couple traveled to Jefferson City, Mo., to meet with lottery officials after discovering they had won. When packing for the trip, Mark, still in shock over the magnitude of their win, said he stopped to buy toothpaste for his travel bag, and said, "I found myself in the store still looking at the prices."
"Old habits are hard to break," he said, adding, "We don't have the money yet!"
David Troutman, a former high school classmate of the winning couple, said on TODAY that they first posted the news on Facebook.
"I was on Facebook and I saw that his wife had posted, ‘Thank you God, we won the lottery.’ Of course everybody in town, all his friends, gave all thumbs up. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy,’’ Troutman said.
The Hills are high school sweethearts. In the tiny town of Dearborn -- population, 496 -- their identity didn't stay secret for long.
“Word spread that he won so fast,’’ Troutman said. “I heard that it was a winner from Dearborn, and by the time I walked in the door my mom was on the phone, and she said, ‘He won. It was him.’ Who knows what the impact will be on Dearborn.’’
Jason, one of Cindy and Mark's sons, said Friday, "I hope we stay grounded. I hope we stay the same great people we were yesterday and the day before."