Christmas Ornament Countdown: 5 Days until Christmas

In 2009, we took Reagan, Anderson and Graham to Disney World.  Nonna, Pops and Jason came along with us and it was great trip except that it was cold, cold-our first night at the parks it was 35 degrees.  Gracious!  The weather eventually warmed up enough for us to even swim in the chilly water once or twice.  It was a really fun trip and I am so glad that I have quite a few picture frame ornaments on my tree.

Here is the post from the first day of that trip.

December 19, 2014

Ringing the Bell!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • I wasn't really sure what day it was today but soon realized that it was Friday.  Graham and Campbell left their bedroom and went to play in the toy room quietly like good little children and then someone started yelling and Reagan yelled back at them to be quiet. As Reagan continued screaming for them to hush, all we could hear Campbell shout back was "never, never."  Oh, that child.
  • Pancakes and waffles for breakfast today and I almost had a riot when I said that I wouldn't make chocolate milk for breakfast.  The time was slowly ticking away and we needed to get school started.  Reagan was the most upset and she was ticked with me pretty much all day about it.  I had said that we would have chocolate milk for lunch but then corrected myself that we wouldn't be home for lunch-she didn't hear that.  So when I drove up to Taco Bell to pick up lunch, she said "see if they have chocolate milk.  YOU SAID we would have chocolate milk for lunch."  Oh, that child too!
  • We worked and worked at school and pretty much finished the day.  The kids have about one and a half days worth of school left to finish on Monday or hopefully finish some this weekend. For some reason, Anderson has no school left to do for me but Graham and Reagan have the day and a half left.  I have no idea what I have done to cause that to happen-probably gave his work to someone else!  
  • It seemed like we weren't doing school very long before it was time to get ready to leave.  Our first stop was to drop off Keaton and Whitman at Grannymom's house.  (My Keaton would have enjoyed going today but she enjoyed playing at Grannymom's more-though she has kept asking me today when she is going to ring the bell.)
  • We joined our buddies in taking a shift ringing the Salvation Army bell in front of Hobby Lobby. I wasn't really looking forward to it at all and had decided that maybe next year I would just donate ourselves out of this job.  But despite the rain (thankfully we were covered) and despite the cold (thankfully the wind was blocked), we had a blast.  The kids rang the bells and sang and sang some more.  I do believe that adorable singing and bell ringing kids probably helped the kettle total.  I probably should start giving more to the Salvation Army during the Christmas season-I would say about 75% of the people gave money and over 75% of those people gave bills of some sort.  That makes my change look pretty pitiful that we stick in the kettle when we walk by-though with my amazon shopping, I don't even think that I have been near one bell ringer this Christmas.  
  • I don't think that the kids could have rang for more than an hour since they were getting pretty restless but they so enjoyed it-Amber had even brought candy canes to pass out during her shift and left them for us to pass out.  Towards the end, I told the kids to see if we could get 4 more donations and they were practically jumping up and down when those 4 donations came in.  Next year, we will have to count how many folks we have donate-that would really make the time go for us.
  • Robby showed up for the last of our bell ringing and then he took us to Krispy Kreme to celebrate our hard work. The kids ate their doughnuts and Campbell made sure that we saved her one to sing Happy Birthday to her tomorrow (a day early.)  We saved some for Grannymom and Grandpa and Keaton and Whitman but Whitman grunted and pointed until he had eating 1 and a half doughnuts.  That little guy-he is a bit sickly today but doesn't feel bad at all and spent the day going strong!
  • Once at home, the kids had some downtime this afternoon and then it was time for another session of Christmas music and supper.  The kids picked a Christmas song and we listened while we ate our supper.  I don't think that Let it Go is a Christmas song but it has been played so much that Whitman now sings "Go" along with the music.
  • After cleaning for a minute or two, we had a scavenger hunt with our nativity scene people. The kids had to look up a verse in the Bible-like Isaiah 45:8 and then read the verse.  That verse said something about "let the clouds shower it (righteousness) down..."  So they were to determine that the nativity scene character was in hiding in the shower.  My big kids got the concept but it was still pretty hard for them to do.  But that was probably due to the fact that everyone-all 6 of them-were crazy tonight.  They couldn't sit still at all-like we had only eaten sugar or red dye for supper!  It was a pretty wild night but everyone survived and no one is sleeping in the shed so that is a good thing!

Christmas Ornament Countdown: 6 Days until Christmas

I had wanted to go to the Jelly Belly Factory before when we were in Wisconsin but this was the year that we were able to go.  It could be more accurately described as a warehouse tour since they weren't actually making jelly beans there (they do in California).  But it was still fun-we actually almost didn't make it.  I had to run to get in line so we were in line by closing time. The little tour was fun and of course it ended in the gift shop where we found this ornament.

Here is that days post from this years trip.

December 18, 2014

Christmas Class Party!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Keaton and Robby took Campbell to school this morning. She couldn't wait to get there to give Ms. Stacy her gift.  I hadn't really thought that much about what we gave her but probably a blanket wasn't the best thing since I saw at least 2 other ones that Ms. Stacy received today! Campbell didn't care though and Ms. Stacy was very thankful.
  • The rest of us started school and at one point, I even told the boys that things sure were different with Reagan not here.  Oddly enough, the boys sat at their desks and worked and worked-it was just weird.  By the time Keaton and Robby came home, the boys were over halfway finished with their work.  Whitman was even cooperating and spent quite a bit of time putting magnets on the magnet board.  
  • It seemed like Robby had just been back for a few minutes when it was time for me to leave to go to Campbell's school party.  The kids were so excited-they had cookies, played 3 games and lots of folks passed out goodie bags.  Campbell had a blast and when it was over, we ran to pick Reagan up from Kennedy.
  • Reagan had a big night out-she ate Larry's pizza, watched The Santa Clause, had Shipleys for breakfast and painted her nails.  It was a night away for her.  Once we made it home, Campbell and Reagan joined the boys in watching our last redbox movie.  They were watching it quietly, so I just pulled Whitman's high chair in the living room and they all ate their "snacky" lunch in there.  A "snacky" lunch is always more fun than a regular lunch.
  • After that the kids played some, then we did our together work followed by some straightening. When they had finished in the toy room, the started playing up there and I came downstairs. For some reason I thought that we had about 40 minutes before we had to leave but I was wrong and it was right then time to leave.  Everyone was dressed and ready so it didn't take long to hop in the car and we were soon off to our eye doctor appointments.
  • Robby's eyes were the same, mine were better this year than last year (they were also better that year than the year before-woo hoo!) and Graham has a slight astigmatism and is slightly near sighted (or maybe he said far-sighted) but still got an all clean and said he didn't even have to come back next year (I plan on bringing another Dennie in his place.) 
  • After the appointments, we went to eat at Ta Molly's.  It had been a while since we had all been out to eat and the kids did pretty well.  My Whitman isn't really "out to eat trained" yet but we will get there.  He does love cheese dip though and licked his bowl clean.  Whenever he got fussy, I would give him another spoonful of cheese dip!-that makes me happy too!
  • Even though we ate at 4:!5, the kids and us were all pretty tired so we came home and put on our pjs.  Then we watched another Redbox movie (they keep sending us free codes) in the bonus room after Whitman went to bed.  
  • Then it was time for all of our December activities and after bedtime, I guess that it is present wrapping time for me!

Christmas Ornament Countdown: 7 Days until Christmas

At the end of our road trip this year, we met up with the entire Dennie family in St. Louis.  We had a busy morning navigating the crowded St. Louis zoo in the heat and needed a good meal for lunch and Fitz' called our name.  The food was good but the root beer was fun-we watched them bottle it and Robby even bought a few for us to drink on the way home.  He also bought me a bottle opener for the Christmas tree-I think that he was afraid that I would try to hang a bottle of root beer on our tree if he didn't find me something else.

Here is the link to that day's post.

December 17, 2014

(click here for today's pictures)
Christmas Caroling for BeeBee and Friends!

  • When we went to bed last night, Robby told me to make sure that my alarm was off and that would guarantee that the kids would wake up early.  He was right-even though that have been sleeping until 8 or later lately, today everyone was up near 7.  Even my Whitman who sits in his bed quietly was jabbering away this morning.  
  • I guess that was a good thing because we started school near 8-Graham and Reagan even started their school work while I was working on breakfast.  Breakfast was toast and yogurt and unfortunately, one container of yogurt is barely enough anymore.  
  • Since we had started school on time and maybe because Robby was off today and home or maybe just because the stars were aligned perfectly-whatever it was caused school to go perfectly well today.  I can't explain how wonderful it was and then soon after lunch the day just fell apart-but that is how it goes.  You take the good with the bad!
  • Lunch was fine and we are also now a 2 box mac and cheese family.  They survived on just one box but everyone kept asking for seconds and were all mentally counting how many pieces of pasta they were spooned up each time.  Next time I will just cook 2 boxes and have leftovers.  
  • After lunch, we started our daily routine of straightening the house and doing chores.  This is when my Graham fell apart-him and Anderson couldn't decide on which trash cans to empty.  I probably should have stepped in and just told them exactly what to do but I thought I would let them work it out.  That didn't work!  Graham eventually fell apart and the only way for me to not lose my mind is to send him to his bed.  I made it clear that he was not in trouble but that he was tired because he was so fussy and needed to rest before we left the house.  I also made it clear that not fussing or screaming at me was mandatory or he would continue his rest when we came home.  He was only upstairs for about 45 minutes but when I did call him down and talked to him, he was calm and that seemed to work.  Maybe I will try that again and maybe it will work.
  • Whitman had gone out to eat with Grannymom and Grandpa along with Robby.  So he missed our nursing home singing with all of our homeschool buddies.  Nonna and Pops were there when we arrived and we then took Beebee to the front to wait on our buddies.  We found a room full of ladies getting their nails polished so we sang to them and them.  Ethan played a few songs on his keyboard and Noah played a bit on his violin.  When they were singing, my little Keaton stood in the front singing away-I don't know what she sang but she was moving her little lips and it was just adorable!
  • Then when our singing was finished the kids passed out cards that they had made.  I was pretty impressed with how all of the kids didn't shy away from anyone and seemed to enjoy passing out cards.  Reagan accidentally passed out Anderson's cards so that did cause a bit of a commotion in my crew.  Reagan apologized and tried to give him some of her others cards but he would have none of that-he did finally pass out one of Keaton's cards.  My boy can be a bit stubborn and a bit of a pouter sometimes.  But he soon perked up and I think he enjoyed hanging out with his buddies-even it if was at a nursing home!
  • I do think that the kiddos brightened up some old folks day and I know that they made Beebee pretty proud.  After singing, Reagan went home with Kennedy to spend the night and when we made it home, the kids watched a movie.
  • It was leftovers for supper and then we all went upstairs to watch another movie-Robby found lots of redbox coupon codes today!  (We are actually watching one now-if I am not making any sense that is the reason why!)  
  • The kids watched the movie perfectly-Keaton and Campbell all cuddled up to me.  Anderson and Graham were near Robby and Whitman wandered around the room and would even sit on our laps occasionally.  He even got to watch the entire movie-that means that he was excellent!  
  • I think that my kids were pretty tired tonight-another good day around here! 

Christmas Ornament Countdown: 8 Days until Christmas

When you have a kid named after something, you have to pay homage to that site occasionally.  And that is what we have done at the Reagan Presidential Library-we have been in 2011, 2013 and sometime before kids but I can't seem to find that post right now.  Actually, our Reagan wasn't really named after Reagan but we just liked the name and it didn't hurt that Robby also liked Reagan (he even traveled to D.C. for his funeral).

All of our ornaments don't always make it onto the tree but this one usually finds it's place on the tree.

Here is the link to the 20011 trip and to the 2013 trip.