July 31, 2015-Dallas

Fun day at Six Flags!
(click here for today's pictures)

I do believe that we could have slept until 10 this morning and the reason is because of those clothes pins.  Yep, our clothes pins on the hotel drapes block out every single inch of daylight.  I bet you made fun of my lengthy packing list but not now!  And to redeem myself, I did in fact have a stow away toothpaste in the car so we didn't have to stop some place and pick some up today (though we certainly are running low on toothpaste at home and it would not hurt at all for me to come across a great toothpaste sale-maybe at Ikea tomorrow since they have everything else!)

Anyway, we didn't sleep until 10 but just until 8 and then we scurried around to make it to breakfast in time.  When we sat down for breakfast, Reagan needed to use the bathroom but the downstairs one was locked, so she kept checking on that until it was finally open.  Keaton and Campbell also had to visit the bathroom.  Robby ran upstairs to get our doughnuts from back home so we could finish them off (we had some extras but we knew they would fry today in the car at Six Flags).  He was gone forever-long enough that I started to wonder where he was.  He finally returned with all of our luggage on a cart and went to load the car.  Whitman still really needs a highchair when we eat just mainly to contain him.  Needless to say, breakfast was hectic this morning especially when you throw in the fact that there was a Dennie kid at the juice machine every 24 seconds-we never have juice at home so juice is a big, big treat.

Robby had parked in the shade last night when we went into the hotel so the car was pleasant this morning and it wasn't that bad as we loaded up.  The shade can be so deceiving because when we stepped out of the car at Six Flags, we knew it was going to be a hot, hot day.  I joined the hoards of others spraying and rubbing on sun screen on the kids and myself.  

I guess I will stop here and just talk about the heat today.  If I was starting a diet tomorrow would be the day to do it because I have sweated at least 5 pounds of sweat off of my body today.  You can see by the pictures that our faces are red and sweaty but the shade was decent and we definitely stayed hydrated.  Robby bought a refillable cup and we made use of the free refills-seriously he refilled it at least 25 times.  Sometimes, he would hand it to us and we suck it dry and he would turn right around and ask for another refill.  

Back to the start of our day-the park has a Discover card entrance so Robby flashed his card and we bypassed a huge line of folks waiting to enter the park.  We headed over to a  toboggan type ride that Reagan, Anderson, Graham and I did.  You may notice Campbell in the pictures but she chickened out right after the pictures.  I didn't realize that she could have sat right in front of me or I might could have convinced her to ride it with us.

After that ride, we walked to the pirate ship and they let all of us on that ride-even Whitman.  The big 3 sat on the end and waved at the rest of us who were all sitting in the middle.  Whitman was not fond of this ride at all and was a bit teary eyed which caused Keaton to become upset.  But when we left the boat, I asked if he liked it and he said yes.

Next stop was the Texas Giant for the big 3.  I am amazed that we can just send them off and they will do these crazy rides by themselves.  Robby or I still like an occasional roller coaster but why push it!  I didn't ride the Texas Giant or any other roller coaster until high school (I think that was actually my first real roller coaster and when I was on it, I wedged my legs under the seat in front of me because I was terrified and ended up with huge bruises on my legs.)

They loved the Giant and we even let them do it again.  While they were doing that ride, Whitman, Campbell, Keaton and I rode up the up and down boot.  It was like the Silver Dollar City frogs but the bounce was 10 times worse!  They loved it and we rode it a few times.  Then we all took the train around the park and arrived back just as the others did from the roller coaster.

Next stop was the Model T driving cars.  We all rode those with Keaton driving my car (that was a trip), Graham driving Robby's car and Reagan and Anderson were behind my car.  Halfway through I told them to switch thinking the non-driver would lean over and drive but nope, they switched places!  Robby and Campbell did this ride again so she could have her turn driving and the big 3 went off to do another crazy roller coaster-this one had 2 loops and Graham almost chickened out on this one.

By this time, we were really hot and needed to cool off and eat some lunch (I really hadn't had much breakfast so I sure needed something).  Robby bought us two burgers and some fries and we ate a little bit, cooled off and then carried on.  I will tell you from here on, the day is fuzzy to me and I will probably forget some of our stops but I will do my best.

We sat down and watched a show-the main reason was because when we walked by the doors, we could feel the air conditioner and it must have been 50 degrees in the theater-it was wonderful.  Afterwards, we rode the Mine Train-Campbell bumped her head at the start and cried the entire time. Then we showed the big kids the single ride line and they were able to ride a spinny type roller coaster along with a batman shooting ride that Graham really wanted to ride.  

Meanwhile, it was swings for Campbell and the mini mine train with Keaton and Campbell.  They managed to ride that one at least 3 times.  The Judge Roy Scream was next up-this used to by my favorite and it was still good except it was pretty shakey.  I am older now and my head can not take all of that shaking anymore!  Campbell who was terrified on the mine train loved that roller coaster-when I told them that they could go again but I was not, they all did.  I asked Campbell why that wasn't scary like the mine train and she said "maybe I like the mine train now."

After that, Reagan, Anderson and Graham lost all sense and went on the swings that raise them a zillion stories high.  I am their mother and I probably should have put a stop to that foolishness but I did not-I went and road a balloon ride with the girls while Robby and Whitman went to a country music show while waiting on them to finish their ride.

Next up was the lost mine and then a sombrero ride for most everyone (not Keaton and Whitman). We capped off the day at Six Flags with the carousel ride for everyone and then we headed to the exit.  It was after 7 tonight when we left the park and we easily could have stayed until 10 but why make it a late night if we didn't have too.  The kids were fine with leaving because Robby promised them ice cream.  

We drove by the Rangers playing ball and then the Cowboys stadium before stopping at Mad Mikes for some delicious ice cream.  It was really, really good-I had apple pie ice cream and shared mine with Whitman.  He was okay with this but when Robby sat down, Whitman said "where's mine?"

Then we needed some supper-we wanted for it to be a quick and light supper and thought 7-11 hot dogs would do the trick.  Robby ran into one and they only had 2 cooking and the man said he couldn't make any more.  He ran into 7-11 number 2 and they were also out of hot dogs.  When we left the third 7-11 without supper, it was almost comical.  He probably should have just bought what they had at each place and we would have eventually made a meal out of it since there are 7-11s on every corner here.  I guess most gas stations don't cook 8 hot dogs at 9:00 at night-I just don't see why not! Ha!

We finally found our supper at McDonalds-the natives were getting restless and we continued to get closer and closer to the hotel and needed something to eat.  Once we made it to the hotel, the kids could not get over that this was actually our hotel.  When we walked in, Campbell said "I want to work at a place like this."  We are at an Embassy tonight and it is older but still nice-nice enough that Campbell wants to work here.  Reagan has already said tonight that she too, wants to work at some place nice-like a nice McDonalds or a nice Arbys.  Maybe I need to do some career education with the kiddos.

We unloaded in our room and then started on showers.  Whitman can not sleep in the bathroom tonight (his pack n play will not fit) so he is in the hotel hallway-he will be fine out there, surely?  idding, mom.  He is actually in the front room with Anderson who is sleeping on the pull out bed.  Everyone is sleeping now and hopefully those clothes pins will do the trick tomorrow morning as well!

July 30, 2015-Dallas

Fun time with friends at the sno cone shack!
(click here for today's pictures)

Robby stirred first this morning and soon we were all awake  The kids seem to drag most mornings but not on a trip morning.  They were up and getting ready and soon we were all in the van headed on our quick trip to the big D.

The first highlight of the trip was a stop to get ice.  Keaton and Campbell even unbuckled so they could look out the window and see the bag of ice fall from the machine-it really doesn’t take too much to entertain my crew.  

Once we were on the interstate, I passed out our leftover doughnuts while we watched an episode of Little House on the Prairie.  We only pull those videos out when we are on a trip and everyone enjoys them.  Yesterday after the pool, we sat in the car listening to the end of a Little House book and when it was all over the kids clapped like we had just finished watching a play.  

My Campbell is the hotel girl.  We had only been on the road for a bit when she started asking what hotel we would be in tonight and where we would be tomorrow night. When she found out that we would not be in a Holiday Inn Express, she was very disappointed and said “I love Holiday Inn Expresses.”  I sure enjoy their cinnamon rolls too but I am counting on the breakfast at Embassy to be wonderful!

We really made one stop on the way to Dallas and that was right after Texarkana.  I actually drove from then on (Robby loves my driving so that he wanted for me to drive the rest of the way-it makes him feel safe!  Actually, he was doing some work so it probably wasn’t safe for him to text, use the computer and talk on the phone.) The kids watched movie after movie and ate snack after snack.  It is almost comical because they will eat one snack and then within seconds will look up and ask for another snack.  Sometimes I wonder if they have worms!

The first stop was In and Out burger for us to grab a bite to eat to take to Jacqui’s house.  Graham thought it was very funny that we were going In and then Out at In and Out.  From there it wasn’t too long to get to Jacqui’s house.

As soon as we walked in the door, my kids and her kids went upstairs to play.  They had trains and I am surprised that I was able to get Whitman to come downstairs and eat anything-he loved playing with all of the toys.  All the kids enjoyed playing and when Jacqui mentioned sno cones, my people were ready to load up and go and eat.

The sno cone place was just down the road and they had a ton of flavors-Reagan ate lemon-lime, Graham and Anderson had sour lemon, Campbell and Keaton had grape, Whitman shared my mango and Robby had half peach and half orange.  It was hot, hot (103) outside but we still ate outside (mainly because there were no more tables inside!)

After eating outside in the 102 degree temperatures, Reagan who had just returned from grabbing a straw, said that there were booths inside and asked if they could go in and eat.  I said that they could and soon all of my people were eating inside at a table while we were baking in the sun.  The sno cones were worth the baking though.

From there it was just a shortish drive to our hotel and we did something we never do-checked in around 5!  We went up to the room and vegged out for a few minutes before heading down to the pool.  The kids swam and swam-they just seem extra noisy in a hotel pool but they had a great time and we probably could have put everyone in bed when we had finished swimming but instead we cleaned up and headed for a night out.

We went right down the road to a restaurant called Abuelos.  The food was good but they had the most beautiful/interesting spanish style paintings on the wall.  I could not stop looking at them (I am probably the only one in my party who noticed them but thought I would still share.)  The kids ate and ate-we only ordered two meals and as you can see by the picture of Reagan holding one of our meals “El Grande,” we had plenty of food.  Sometimes we feel guilty only ordering just enough for the kids and having them split but if we would have all ordered something, we would have had to rent a catering truck to take the leftovers home.

Once we left the restaurant, we headed back to the hotel-and passed it by.  We were on the interstate and I heard the boys notice something next to the hotel and then shout “hey, isn’t that our hotel?” Indeed it was, but we couldn’t get there so we just took a loop (or two) around before we finally made it exactly where we wanted to go.  Hey, we are in no hurry since this is vacation!

Back in the room, we quickly changed into pjs and then brushed our teeth-but whoops, we forgot the toothpaste!  Argh!  How could I forget something as important as toothpaste when I have a 7 page packing list-did I not follow my list?  Actually, I had packed away our toothbrushes in my travel bin and never thought about adding toothpaste.  Thankfully the hotel had some tiny little toothpaste samples so we are good for tonight and in the morning!

July 29, 2015-Happy Birthday Graham!

Our newest 7 year old!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Whenever we went to wake up a bit early, the kids will sleep later than usual and today was one of those days.  Once we started waking everyone up, they were ready to begin this birthday day with breakfast at Krispy Kreme and within minutes the cars were loaded and we were on our way.
  • We usually buy 2 dozen doughnuts when we go there but today was had a coupon-so 4 dozen doughnuts were today's purchase.  They won't last long since we ate about a dozen and a half this morning.  Graham was pretty happy to blow out his first of 3 candles today.
  • After breakfast, Robby went to work and we ran home for a little bit.  The kids worked on their school work and I rushed around cleaning bathrooms.  We were able to finish almost all the school work that we had laid out (not much at all) before we had to leave again.  
  • We met the Heltz and Kamps at the pool today.  The pool was pretty full for the first little but then it emptied out.  After lunch, Robby arrived with ice cream and some toppings for the birthday boy and everyone else to enjoy.  
  • After Robby left, my Whitman got his sandals and was ready to leave too.  He let me know that he was ready to leave by fussing for a good 15 minutes.  Then he finally sat in my lap at the edge of the pool and drank his drink.  After I had refilled his cup twice, I didn't the third time so he went to my ice chest and started adding ice himself.  I guess this was a enough to make him happy because after a few minutes, he returned to the pool as happy as he could be-but he only had about 5 minutes before the whistle blew and it was time for us all to leave.
  • Once at home, Anderson and Campbell had a bit more school to do along with a few more chores.  Then we started our afternoon nap time-movies, snack and some downtime for everyone.  I even sat down for a few minutes and "rested my eyes" until someone needed my help in the bathroom!
  • Then it was time for supper-Robby arrived home just before Nonna, Pops and Jason came over to help close the celebration of Graham's birthday.  Nonna brought pizza and a huge cupcake for Graham.  They stayted after supper and played for a bit with the kids.  When they headed home, we went to work around here and soon all of my people were sleeping quietly.  (Actually, they were wired and it took a long, long time for the kids to be quiet and finally go to bed-that is an occasional con of having 5 kids sleep in the same bedroom) 
  • My entertainment this evening was Robby in the kitchen.  I was sitting quietly in the living room working on my blog when I heard a crash and kabang.  I asked what that was and Robby said that he had dropped his coke.  I thought nothing of that until I heard the sound a coke bottle opening, the sounds of spewing and then the sounds of something splattering.  Robby apparently thought that it was okay to try to open the 2 liter that he had just dropped on the floor.  Of course this led to a good while of mopping the floor, doing another load of laundry, wiping down the counters, cabinets and front of the fridge.  Poor Robby had just had a shower and had to change his clothes completely-his main complaint was that he got coke up his nose!

July 28, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Campbell started coughing this morning right before seven.  I was already awake because my alarm clock had been buzzing off and on since 6:15.  It was beckoning me to climb on that treadmill but I resisted the urge and laid in bed until Campbell came downstairs right at 7.
  • I stumbled around this morning doing a bit of laundry (it will never end) and then made everyone some cinnamon toast.  We read some at breakfast and then the kids started on thier school work.
  • They were just doing almost half of their real school days work today.  Graham had asked if he could play for 5 minutes between his boxes and I said sure.  I had already explained to my boys that they were going to be responsible for finishing their own school work and if they didn't in the morning, then they could certainly do it during movie and kindle time.  About 10:30, I realized that Anderson had only finished one box-2 and a half hours and all he did was typing!  Gracious me!
  • Even though we have had our soft opening of school, we still haven't thrown in our history or science or even our memory work.  The real first week is next week so I better make their signs to hold (first day of 4th grade, etc) so things can be official.
  • At lunch, we did some more reading and then started on a few chores before our afternoon.  I spend most of the afternoon packing for our quick trip to Dallas and back.  Even though we will be gone for only 2 nights, I am taking about the same amount of stuff that we did for our 18 night trip.  Packing was much easier this time-I should just stay packed!
  • The kids had a really good day today compared to yesterday but they started getting louder and louder this afternoon.  I finally had to turn off the movies and tell everyone to go upstairs and play.  Of course no one complained and they played happily for about an hour...but I felt bad about sending them upstairs since it was 84 up there!  Our upstairs air can not keep up on hot days (downstairs you could hang meat!)
  • Robby was home just in time for us to load up and head down the road to the Wilson's house.  They have camp staffers staying with them this week so they had some extra food and needed some people to help them eat it-and they thought of us!  We ate and then they made us walk before we could get brownies!  Whitman happily rode in the stroller while the boys counted down the minutes until dessert and the girls painted fingernails.  
  • We stayed until it was too late and when we came home, I was holding the pan of brownies and whacked Whitman right in the eye.  He ended up having a tiny cut but will probably have a black eye tomorrow!  Poor thing didn't cry for long-only really when I tried to wipe it.  But he was happy to search for his deer before bedtime (last night we saw 6 but tonight there were none!)

July 27, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

  • For some reason my alarm that went off at 6:15 this morning sounds like the horn of a Model T.  I am pretty certain that I would never choose that sound for my alarm-much less the first thing that I hear in the morning.  There are lots of little hands on my phone these days and it is actually like they have taken it over.  I used to have a kindle too but now it is Keaton's kindle.  I am working very hard at keeping my computer just to myself and to no one else.  
  • Everyone must have been up early this morning becuase when I came down from the treadmill, people were already noisy and ready for breakfast. We ate and then started on our bit of school for the day.
  • School was going wonderfully until I checked Graham's math.  He had skipped a problem so I asked for him to do it and the child told me that he had done that math problem.  I was looking right at it, he was looking right at it-it was blank.  This did not go over very well with me at all!  Nor did he telling me that we eat lunch at 11 and then proceeding to whine and tell me that he was hungry until lunch was finally served (at the usual time of 12!)  He did finally pull himself together and the rest of his day was fine.
  • After eating lunch, we did a few quick chores and then headed to Beebee's place to see her.  I was pretty sure that we had plenty of time to see Beebee, stop by the library and then make it to the pool by 2-apparently I am not good at math!  It was 3 by the time we made it to the pool but I was very pleased with my kiddos and their behavior with Beebee.
  • Everyone talked to her and didn't gorge themselves on her candy.  Whitman didn't scream at all (I think he must be sick!) and we were given no dirty looks by the workers-it was a good visit!  Then a quick run into the library to pick up some books.
  • We made it at the pool and soon Grannymom joined us and then Jenna.  Those two went to work on Keaton and her swimming.  She can put her head under the water, kick her feet and move her arms but she is still a bit timid.  She did go down the slide without her floatees and Jenna caught her immediately but later, Keaton said "I will never do that again."
  • We stayed until the pool closed (just 5) but my Whitman was ready to go soon after Grannymom left.  He just wanted for me to hold him or he sat in the chair still as he could be.  Once we made it home, I could tell that my baby was a bit warm so tonight I did give him a bit of tylenol.  And just a reminder-he is the best baby ever-he just swallowed all of that nasty medicine as happily as he could be.
  • We arrived home just as Robby did.  The kids ran outside to play with Graham's new birthday present from Josh and Zach and then it was showers for all.  Robby then made his waffles and everyone ate and ate. 
  • After the kitchen and the toy room were cleaned, we sat down to watch Herbie the movie.  It was pretty good but I was cuddling with Whitman and Keaton and soon was sound asleep during most of the movie.  I think that the kids enjoyed it since Anderson was asking to watch the other Herbies.  

July 26, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

  • I carefully laid out the kids clothes this morning so no one would have to ask me what color their shirt was, what dress was theirs or anything else during my shower.  I started with Reagan's dress (which she did not wear and picked her own clothes out) and ended with Whitman's little clothes.  Even though I was trying to avoid an incident like a few weeks ago when Robby put Whitman's shirt (he's 2) on Graham (he's 6), I actually created a problem-I switched Anderson and Graham's shorts up. It is always strange to me that the kids can not figure out that they do not have on their clothes but someone elses' clothes-Anderson looked at me and said "these shorts sure are tight."  It never crossed his mind that he was wearing some one else's shorts!
  • Thankfully, everyone was dressed, in their own clothes, and ready for breakfast in plenty of time for us to eat and then arrive at church in plenty of time to check in with all of the grandparents.  
  • My Whitman did NOT want to go into his class this morning.  That sweet baby grabbed Keaton's hand and tried to pull her in the room with him.  Eventually I had to pry his hands from the door frame as his teacher pulled him into the room-what a horrible feeling!  And it hasn't gotten any better even though he is number 6!
  • Lunch was at Grannymom's house and Zach was there which delighted my people.  We ate and the kids had a bit of time to play before we headed home for the afternoon.  During the afternoon, my Keaton and Campbell worked had on making themselves and a few of their baby dolls crowns to wear.  I had forgotten that I had actually banned from them from all art supplies for the week because someone (probably Keaton) colored on a door and a wall a few days ago.
  • And while I am mentioning those girls, just imagine them walking through the house towing a shopping cart filled with 3 baby dolls and a stroller with 3 baby dolls, each holding a baby and usually with 2-3 diaper bags each.  All day long, every day-those girls and their babies!
  • Church tonight and Whitman was able to go into class with Keaton and that didn't help any either-he still didn't want to play.  But when I picked him up, he was as happy as he could be.  And everyone else was as happy as they could be when we made it home and passed out Sunday's ice cream truck-new selection of goodies tonight since the others had melted!  Maybe I should try a new ice cream treat tonight as well!   

July 25, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

  • We all slept in as long as we could this morning and then had to scurry around to get ourselves ready.  I had left Whitman in the kitchen eating a honey bun and when I walked back in, he looked at me and shouted "I eat it ALL!" 
  • Next stop was Grannymom's house to pick up Grannymom, Grandpa and Zach and then we headed to pick up my ring.  If you see my shiny ring and think it is new, it is not.  After the 3rd or 4th kiddo, I couldn't fit it over my finger anymore so I finally got around to having it resized-just a 1/2 size larger (that made me feel skinny!)
  • Then it was to the MacArthur Museum to walk around and see the vintage military vehicles.  They had quite a few jeeps and such out on the grounds.  It was decent in the shade so we walked around for a few minutes.  One nice man showed the kids different helmets and let them hold an old radio-they couldn't believe that it was like a phone.  (Of course they can hardly imagine a phone that plugs into the wall.)
  • Back in the car we hopped for a drive to the River Market to walk around the Farmer's Market.  Grannymom was the only one to buy anything though I was tempted (it wasn't veggies).  I did see the price of peaches there and wish that I had some more like the ones we bought on the way home from Branson.  (Anyone going to Branson?)  
  • We needed a bit of nourishment before driving back across town so we gobbled up some ice cream and then picked up lunch to eat at Grannymom's house.  After a bit of playing over there, we went to the pool for about 3 hours.  
  • Grannymom and I both tried to get Keaton to take off her floatees and swim some but she would not do it for us at all.  But when Jenna came along, Keaton was all about swimming without her floatees.  And that little thing did really, really well-I think I will have to ask Jenna to come back to the pool with us very soon.
  • It was hot, hot and you pretty much had to be in the water or wet to be comfortable.  But the worst part was the concrete-it was scalding!  Zack and Anderson worked on making a path with water from our chairs to the pool but I swear, I think that the water was boiling when they put it on the concrete and it really didn't help any.  I tried to pick Whitman up as much as I could so he didn't burn his little feet.
  • After the pool, Zach came back home with us for a bit-the kids played the Wii, nerf guns and watched some movies.   The weather looked iffy for our next plan-half price shakes at Sonic and playtime on the playground.  But we waited the off and on rain out until it the sky looked clear and headed for shakes (oh, yes, we did have supper before-lots of leftovers)
  • It didn't even look like it had rained at Sonic so the sand was dry and the kids were able to play-until our shakes came.  It took awhile to make 8 ice cream dishes (6 shakes and 2 ice cream cups-I was the one skipping ice cream tonight...though I did end up drinking most of Robbys)
  • After ice cream, we took Zach back to Grannymom's house and then drove home for showers.  When we want, we can get those showers done quickly and we did tonight-in and out, in and out working three showers at a time!  Whoop, whoop and everyone was in bed by 10! (By everyone, I mean the kids-Robby and I just sat down on the couch to start our grown up quiet time!)