July 23, 2014

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Making cookies!

  • It seems that someone is waking me up every night lately.  It wasn't Campbell last night but it was Graham who had a bit too much to drink last night.  He had already changed so I just pulled out the blankets from under my bed and made him a spot.  (Best thing ever is having blankets under my bed to quickly make a spot for someone)  Then I went upstairs to get his sheets in the wash.    
  • We did all sleep well after that and soon it was time to wake up.  Swimming was today so we had lots to do before swimming.  The kids had their chores and we all worked together to get the house clean (er, cleaner than is was.  Not yet clean since I don't think this place will ever be clean. Maybe when the kids leave home but by then I will be too blind to see the cobwebs and too old to clean this whole place.  So I will gladly take "clean-er" right now.)
  • Anyway, one of the chores was cleaning the potties today.  I had taught them last summer but never really let them practice so I refreshed everyone's skills today.  The only thing is I haven't looked to see if they get a good job or not. I will try to remember to report back to you tomorrow on the actual cleanliness of the Dennie toilets after I check tonight.
  • All too soon, we were rushing out the door to head to the swimming pool.  The kids were excited to be back with their friends though their behavior left a bit to be desired.  I like to think they are still in trip mode and getting back into the swing of things is hard but I just don't know.  Before we even got to the pool, Reagan and Anderson became hysterical about who would eat the pizza lunchable-and I said that was the last lunchable I would ever buy so Campbell started crying "I love lunchables."  Drama, drama!
  • Then at the pool, my boys had a hard time keeping their hands off of each other, none of my big 3 seem to be able to speak to each other kindly and Campbell fell apart when I told her that I wasn't going to get in the icy cold water today.  Oh, it all wasn't that bad-I do get frustrated about how they talk to each other.  I do lose my cool with them but I sure don't talk to the kids like they talk to each other-so I have started trying to be extra kind and sweet (and smiley) so maybe that will rub off...so far it isn't working!
  • After the first adult swim, I let Whitman into the water.  That boy is as happy as he can be walking around the water.  He would dive into any part of the pool if I hadn't been hot on his heels.  I get so tickled at him putting his face down into the water.  
  • Then it was lunch time and the drama over the one last pizza lunchable quickly subsided when Anderson said he would take the cracker lunchable.  Why wouldn't he had said that this morning during the great lunchable squabble?  The dessert into the lunchable caught is eye...from now on, I am only giving my kids salad to eat!
  • After the pool, we came home for a bit-Whitman and Keaton took their naps and Campbell sat by me and fell asleep as I worked.  The others watched a few movies and then at 3:15, I jumped up and started hauling sleeping babies to the car so we could go and buy Lilly her birthday present.  Robby ended up being able to meet us so he took most everyone back home while Reagan, Campbell and I shopped.  
  • Reagan really wanted to buy Lilly earrings and she really, really wanted to go and pick them out. Since she doesn't get to do much shopping, I thought I would give her that pleasure.  And when we walked into the store, Reagan said "oooh."  She was in heaven but we didn't do much browsing.  We quickly found lots of choices for Lilly and even a set of earrings for Reagan and since Campbell was helping us shop, we picked her out a set of earrings that had the letter "C" on them.  
  • Campbell and I dropped Reagan off for Lilly's party and to spend the night and then we fought the rain and drove back home.  Campbell pointed out each and every car that she thought was going too fast in the rain.  But the best part of the ride was when we saw an abandoned car.  We talked about where the drive could be.  Campbell only had one guess and she said "I bet they got shot." Say what?  We do watch tv but we don't watch things were folks are getting shot...and then I started thinking about some things we have talked about lately while traveling-Kennedy's assassination and Reagan's attempted assassination.  
  • Robby already had our hot dogs fixed for supper.  Then we all ate and needed some type of activity to fill the rest of the evening...so we made some cookies and watched Undercover Boss and some ninja show.  That probably wasn't the best show to watch before bed-the boys kicked, jumped and climbed on all of the furniture as they made their way to bed!

July 22, 2014

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Fun day at the zoo, topped off with swimming!

  • Yesterday when Anderson got Keaton out of her bed, he came downstairs and told me that Keaton was getting "too big for that little bed."  I tried to explain to him that I had no plans on getting her a big bed now since her crib is working just fine.  
  • Campbell didn't sleep well last night-strange how she doesn't sleep well at home but sleeps pretty good in hotels.  I guess if she keeps waking up in the middle of the night, Keaton can have her bed and Campbell can just move into our bedroom.
  • Of all days, I really wanted the kids to get up early (early to me means 7-7:15) but I was out of luck there.  They did come rolling down the steps after 7:30 and we finally had to call Reagan down after 8.  We needed to leave at 8:30 to go and pick up Grannymom, Lilly, Zach and Lilly's friend Meredith for our outings.
  • There was a bit of drama in the car this morning.  I had changed out the car seats last night after we had removed the back, back seat.  Graham and Anderson sitting together didn't really work out.  Campbell couldn't see over Anderson's head to watch the movie.  And Reagan wasn't happy about being in the back.  Again, you can't please everyone-I do think that Whitman and Keaton were pleased with where their seats were-or at least they didn't say anything.
  • After picking everyone up, we went to the zoo for the morning.  In comparison of the St. Louis zoo, when we pulled into the parking lot, we were about the 10th car there.  And pretty much there was hardly anyone there today.  We saw plenty of animals with ease-even though we were only at our zoo for about 2 hours, we saw double the number of animals.  (Nothing against the St. Louis zoo, there was just way too many people there.)
  • The elephants were walking holding each other's tails, the tortoise was walking around, the giraffe was licking the side of the building, the cheetah was standing on top of a tall tree stump and the rhino was out near the fence-pretty good animal watching day.  Soon we were back in the van stopping to pick up some pizza for lunch.
  • Once at the pool, we sunscreened everyone and let them play for the 10 minutes before adult swim.  Once they blew that adult swim whistle, we passed out our pizza, breadsticks and lemonade.  The kids ate up-they must have been hungry.  
  • Then they swam and played cops and robbers mostly.  I would have to break things up occasionally because they were getting a bit too rough but no one seemed to mind (only me).  But they had a blast playing with each other and all the big kids (Graham on up and occasionally Campbell) stayed together all afternoon.
  • They had huge pixie sticks for their snack at the pool.  My kids had never had pixie sticks like that and they were coughing and gagging on all of the sugar-and loving everyone minute of it.  It was a good thing that they had to get back in the water after eating so they could wash the sticky off of them.
  • Around 2:30, we headed home-kind of funny when it was time to leave-I walked over to all 8 kids swimming in the circle pool and told them it was time to go.  They all climbed out and then the life guard was just standing there watching an empty pool.
  • We dropped off Grannymom and her crew and then headed home.  Keaton and Whitman were asleep when we made it home but Keaton didn't stay asleep.  She managed to wake up in time to have a shower with Campbell and then help the others with their chores.  
  • The kids did their chores and then all had time to watch a movie.  But Reagan, Campbell and I were busy during the movies because we were working on their American Girls' dolls hair.  The hair on some of their dolls was pretty bad but hopefully we were able to improve it.  We are planning on working on styling their hair tomorrow-fun, fun times!
  • When Robby came home, we all got ready and headed out to Nonna's house.  We went out to eat and the kids stayed with Nonna and Pops.  They had a big supper and then played until Graham fell asleep.  Anderson loves going to Nonna's because he gets to watch some pretty wild shows that we don't have on our tv-like a naked man out in the jungle.  It was quite interesting Anderson explaining to me why the man didn't have any clothes on!
  • Once we made it home, everyone brushed their teeth and then it was to bed they went.  Graham woke up enough to get into bed and listen to the Bible story.  My boy gets tired during busy days like today...I do too!

July 21, 2014

Back home ... time to mow the yard!
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  • The kids slept until after 8 this morning-Graham and Keaton were the first ones up and they were up so long by themselves that I think they got a bit bored.  Soon everyone else woke up and when I finally decided to wake up sweet Whitman, he was just sitting in his bed playing away.
  • We had our breakfast and then worked a bit in the house.  One of the oddest things on my list today was to find Whitman a stuffed animal to play with.  On our trip, he would just hug and love on any toy that we saw at a store.  So I had both boys choose 3 and then we set them all up, and let Whitman choose. He didn't-he picked up each one and put each one down.  Then the kids all started playing with the animals.  Campbell found a step stool and turned it over and pretended to give one of the stuffed animals a bath.  Keaton told Campbell that it wasn't a bathtub but it was a hot tub-do you think she has spent too much time at hotel pools?
  • I was worried that Whitman wouldn't take a morning and afternoon nap today but he was back on his normal schedule.  When he went to sleep this morning, the rest of us sat down and read some. Graham had a fit earlier in the day because he wanted to read right then.  I told him that he certainly could but that we were all going to read again when Whitman went to sleep.  I wanted to make sure that we were pretty quiet until Whitman was asleep.  This did not please my Graham at all and he just had himself a good little fit.  It is hard coming back to reality.
  • Soon we had lunch and then the kids had plenty of time to play.  Reagan and Anderson mostly just wanted to play on their kindles and I did let them for a pretty long time-school here starts in 2 weeks so that will end the free reign on kindle time.  
  • Keaton prayed at lunch.  She listed item after item on her plate "thank you God for beans, thank you God for macaroni and cheese, thank you God for spam."  Yep, I fed them Spam today-and they ate the whole can.  Anderson even ate a slice.  And they ate a whole can of green beans.  It was a pretty good lunch!...even with the spam!
  • During the afternoon, the kids watched some movies and around 4 they all went outside.  The kids love traveling but I do think they miss just being able to run wherever they want.  Robby came home with groceries so the kids helped unpack but then they kept on playing.  Soon Grandpa, Grannymom, Zach, Nonna and Pops were all at our house.
  • The kids played with Zach and the neighbor kids until it was time for supper-hot dogs, hamburgers and all the fixings.  Nonna made a cake that the kids enjoyed-Anderson and Zach probably could have finished it all off themselves!  
  • We had a game of kickball after supper-the score was tied 3-3 at the end of our third inning so everyone was a winner tonight.  And their prize was a shower!  Tomorrow is a big day so they will hopefully all get some rest tonight.

Road Trip-Day 19 (July 20, 2014)

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From White Haven to Jacqueline Road ... 3,656 miles later!

Anderson was the one who woke us up this morning.  He had to go to the bathroom so when he turned on the bathroom light he woke up Whitman.  Anderson did quickly turn the light off when realized his brother was in there sleeping.  It didn’t matter though because it was 8:30 and we needed to get on the road.  Grannymom asked if the kids wanted to go down for breakfast and they were ready in a moment so as they ate, we got ourselves ready and then loaded up the car.

The hotel was large and it seemed like everyone was checking out today so waiting on the elevators was pretty crazy but we managed and soon had the van loaded.  We then went back up to get the kids-they were not too happy with us about having to head home.  Reagan asked if we could get a hotel in Arkansas.  She said “I just want to keep this party going.” Campbell was upset that we couldn’t go and see the dog show and Graham told me that we didn’t do anything on Grannymom’s list (we did-arch, City Museum, zoo, Ted Drewes, Fitz's).  And Anderson just wanted to spend more time with Cash and Zach.  

They gave their cousins one last hug (though we will see all but Josh later this week) and we loaded up.  We decided to stop at Grant’s National Historic Site on the way out of town.  We had to fight the traffic for those who were going to Grant’s Farm but we finally made it to the national park site and it was well worth the stop.  This is just an aside but we do want to come back to St. Louis sometime when it is not summer time.  The crowds have just been wild but I would like to go to Grant’s Farm, see more of the arch, possibly the science center and the zoo again.

At Grant’s house, the ranger loved his job but his enthusiasm was a bit contagious.  He offered the kids Jr. Ranger books-everyone but Keaton and Whitman.  The kids were so excited about this so we went out back to work on their books while we waited for our tour.  We have done the Jr. Ranger stuff before-some are more difficult than others and some parks we don’t really have long enough to do it.  But this booklet was perfect-Graham and Anderson were able to complete one of their 2 pages before our tour and then they along with Campbell just had a scavenger hunt left. Reagan had a different scavenger hunt, a map to fill out and then she had to interview the ranger.

We went on our tour and the kids were able to complete their books.  Reagan did really well asking the Ranger the questions on her sheet.  Then everyone was sworn in as Jr. Rangers so that will probably be a highlight of this day! We found ourselves an ornament and then loaded up to hit the road.  We let the kids have a drink and turned on our Little House movies.

Then we let the kids have their Fitz root beer bottles and can you guess what we did next?  A potty stop-unfortunately it was a bit too late of a potty stop for one of the Dennies!  We had been looking for a spot to stop for a very long time-we were just lucky that there were not more Dennies that needed dry clothes.  No worries though since we had plenty of changes of clothes with us.  It was nearly 2 so we were fortunate that our first option was a McDonalds and it had a play place-the play place delighted the kids more than finally getting to go to the restroom.  

The kids watched a few movies on the way home and the highlight was finally getting to eat their Jelly Bean packages from the Jelly Bell factory tour that happened many, many days ago.  They would eat one and then announce to the entire car what flavor it was and what color it was.  This whole day, Keaton would ask “where are we?” and we would tell her what state we were in.  But overall my Keaton was greatly displeased with us today-we would ask her if she wanted to go home and she would put on this pouty face and say “no.”  Truth is, none of us wanted to go home. Maybe we are nomads at heart-just wandering from place to place...as long as their is a washing machine. a hot shower and a hotel breakfast, then we are good to go!

After our lunch stop, we had to pull over once for a diaper change and then it was smooth sailing. Smooth sailing for everyone but Whitman-he couldn’t get to sleep so he fussed off and on.  I would think he was asleep and look back and up would pop his head to stare me down and then he would start fussing again.  Finally, he went to sleep-about the time we stopped in Cabot for our final bathroom stop.  We picked our trash up and went to the bathroom.  When I walked into the restroom, I told the boys to meet me right by the door…

And while they were waiting, they learned a lesson about gambling.  I told them to wait right beside the bathroom door and right there was one of those machines that scoot quarters out when you drop another quarter into the machine.  While they were standing there (this is what I am told) 4 quarters fell out.  They split them and then Anderson used both of his quarters to try to win more money-he didn’t.  Then Graham tried one of his quarters and didn’t win anything so he decided to keep his other quarter.  When the girls and I came out of the bathroom (everyone had to potty-potty) the boys happily told me about their quarter business.  I told them that was just like gambling-always thinking you are going to win.  And Anderson said in his deep voice “yep, that was gambling.”

Once we made it home, the kids immediately started playing kickball in the front yard while we worked on unloading the car.  After the car was perfectly clean, we all went to work on putting up the inside stuff.  It took awhile-8 people, 19 days worth of stuff-but we were able to get most of the stuff put away.  It will still take me a while to get the last few odds and ends put up.  I even have a huge box of literature and Christmas ornaments that I have to go through.  It is so nice to be all unpacked after a trip.  

The kids eventually had their showers and then we had a nutella sandwich just in case they were hungry.  As soon as Keaton finished drinking her milk, she set her cup down, looked at me and said “I’m ready to go on another trip now.”  Unfortunately, it wasn’t time for another trip but time for bed!

Our Trip by the Numbers

16-different hotels
3,656-miles (compared to 5,166 miles last year)
1-tubes of toothpaste completely used
6-items lost (left at the hotel)-small ice pack, 2 pairs of goggles, Robby's sunglasses and 2 socks
3-major traffic jams (2 in Kentucky, 1 in Michigan)
2-episodes of vomit
1-eardrum ruptured
12-states visited (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky)
1-pair of sunglasses bought
128-cokes drank
28-waffles made at breakfasts
46-episodes of Little House on the Prairie
2-back pictures taken
2-times the car has been vacuumed
9-nights of laundry
2,991-pictures taken
302-gallons of gas
9-cans of pringles eaten
1-night Whitman’s bed didn’t fit in the bathroom
2-times we thought we broke our new camera
7-times swimming
11-ice cream stops
6-picnics (plus about 4 picnics made in the car)
8-National Park Sites visited
496-slug bugs seen
2-future trips planned

Dennie Kid State Count:

Updated state count: (July 20, 2014)
  • Reagan (8 years old): 48 states
    • Missing: Alaska, Hawaii
  • Anderson (7): 48 states
    • Missing: Alaska, Hawaii
  • Graham (5): 45 states
    • Missing: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington
  • Campbell (4): 44 states
    • Missing: Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Vermont
  • Keaton (2): 24 states
    • Missing: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia
  • Whitman (1): 19 states
    • Missing: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming

Road Trip-Day 18 (July 19, 2014)

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Riding to the top!
This morning when Grannymom tapped on the door to ask if any of the kids wanted to go to breakfast, we made sure that Whitman was ready to go. We sure didn't want for him to throw the same type of fit that he threw yesterday morning when he thought he was shorted a trip to breakfast and shorted on some Grannymom time. But not only was he dressed and ready in time to go, so was everyone else. Robby quickly got ready and asked if I was ready and I told him that I just needed 3 more minutes. He said that he would go on down and rescue Grannymom and just a few minutes later, I went out of our door and Robby was still waiting on the hotel elevator. It must have been a busy morning-it did arrive just as I came outside so I did run down the hall to catch it.

This morning the kids all ate well again-and so did we. Whitman really ate. The past few days it seemed like he had stopped eating-could be because we have to constantly give him pieces of candy to keep him happy-people don't like to hear a baby fuss (I think I have become immune to it!) Poor kids tummy is probably so full of candy that he couldn't bear to eat anything else. But today, he ate his breakfast really well.

Robby pulled the car around and we all loaded up. Our first adventure of the day was the St. Louis zoo. They opened at 8 but we didn't make it until after 9 but man, was it crowded. We fought the crowds all day long. The zoo is free but you can pay extra to get admission to their other attractions and that is what we did. We all would have forgotten to use our zoo passes for half off of the pass if Shelley would not have said something about it.

The first thing that we did was shuffle through the River's Edge. We saw a few animals in this section but we mostly saw people. Did I mention that is was really crowded? The zoo is probably a really great zoo but with the crowds, it was hard to tell. Made me appreciate our rarely crowded Little Rock zoo even more.

Then we waited in line for the train. The train ride was pretty impressive-it was all the way around the zoo and had at least 4 stops. I never would have thought of it but one man said it was unfortunate that you couldn't see the animals while on the train and that was true. But it had tunnels-lots of tunnels! And the most exciting part ever for Campbell was that her and Cash got to say "All Aboard" at the very last stop over the microphone. Campbell was so excited about this and couldn't wait to get off of the train and tell everyone what she had done.

We saw a few more animals-at some point we saw the hippos and they were so incredible neat. They were right in the water next to the windows. There were 2 hippos that were just almost cuddling and then 2 more that were sparring with each other. It was just so much fun to watch-well, it would have been even more fun to watch if all of the people hadn't been there. But the kids pushed their way up to the glass and were able to see the entire show.

We touched the sting rays during our zoo visit. I don't think I had ever done that before. The line was decent for this activity, we then washed our hands and then started petting them. They were plentiful and the pool was shallow enough that the kids' arms were able to reach the string rays-even Keaton was able to pet them. They just felt slippery to me-almost like touching a soft bar of soap.

Next was a 4D movie to see. It was in one of those simulator things and the line was long, long. But we waited anyway-probably when we started waiting we didn't realize how long it would take us but then by the time we realized how long it would be, we were really already committed by waiting so long already. So we waited on-about an hour for the seven minute film. Whitman couldn't go on it so Grannymom and Grandpa happily took him to sit down and rest.

The kids will probably have the worst sunburns ever tomorrow because of our wait for that ride. It was a nice day with the breeze being decent and in the shade the temperature was really nice. But in the direct sun, it was hot and I am just afraid that will be burned. They passed the time by playing the Quiet game-I think that just may be my new favorite game to play!

The move was cool-Robby said that sound and movement was off but I didn't realize it. I was too busy watching Keaton and Campbell. Campbell was right beside me and she just held on to my arm. Keaton was next to Robby and I asked her during the beginning of the movie if she liked it and she just smiled and nodded yes. But then I asked at the end and she shouted back "no." I really think that she did like it. And though I used to not like simulator rides, I did like this one.

Next up was a spin around on the carousel. Whitman was walking around while waiting on us and when Robby picked him up to take him on the carousel, that baby got mad again. He fussed and cried the entire time in line and then did the same on the carousel. I am sure the people around me thought I was a horrible person making some scared baby ride the carousel. He wasn't scared, he was just mad.

We really hadn't seen too many animals on our little trip but we had done enough to be pleased with our morning/afternoon at the zoo so we loaded up and headed to Fitz's to see root beer being bottled. Parking was easy and there wasn't really a wait so that was all great. We split into two tables so we just had our kids come with us-they weren't happy about it but they soon forgot about it when they each had a mug of root beer in front of them.

And after eating-and man, did they eat. Graham even finished off a whole hamburger. After eating, we ordered 2 floats. The nice waitress split them for us and somehow our two floats, even after being split, looked like 4 huge root beer floats. They were so big that we couldn't finish them and that is saying a lot!

Back at the hotel, the kids had about 45 minutes to swim. They swam and swam in that time-playing keep away, playing kickball, racing and who knows how many other games. Then we quickly changed them into their clothes, skipping showers, so we could make it to the arch on time.

We had timed tickets for 6:50 that Robby had ordered online-he heard that some people waited for 3 hours to get tickets to the top of the arch today-eeek! We didn't have time tonight to watch the movie or see the exhibits so there is still plenty left in St. Louis for us to do (like go on the riverboats outside of the arch-they are closed this week because they are working on the arch leeway).

Even though the tickets were for 6:50, the line was still long-first the security line was long and then the line to get into the arch was long. But it was manageable and soon we were in the little pod heading up to the arch-I was with Grannymom, Grandpa, Graham, Keaton and Whitman. We had ourselves a nice little pod and I do think that Graham, even though he was being silly, was a bit scared. Keaton wasn't phased at all by the sometimes bumpy ride to the top-she just sat holding on to Grannymom (probably after that 4D ride today, nothing would phase her!)

I had forgotten how crowded the arch is on the top-it is crowded but it sure is neat. The kids loved looking out of the windows-especially Whitman and Keaton. They would just look and look. It is pretty amazing to think that you are that high in the air-amazing and scary! We didn't stick around too long and were soon in the line to come back down off of the arch. On my ride down, I rode with Campbell, Keaton, Josh and Anderson. The ride down was much quicker and soon we were outside of the arch taking pictures.

After a few pictures, Les noticed the time and mentioned that Ted Drewes was calling his name. They missed last night because of the ball game so we thought the polite thing to do would be to join them tonight as they ate their custard-wouldn't want for them to get lonely. So back to Ted Drewes we went. The crowd there tonight was even larger and it took a bit longer-it was still worth it. I had a turtle-with pecans, caramel and chocolate-and it was really good. But I was pretty impressed with Keaton's strawberry. Whitman liked every kind that we put in his mouth-he wanted to eat, eat, eat our custard and could not get enough. When we were finished, Robby picked up the bowl that we had been giving him bites from and Whitman stared to cry!

After we finished our bedtime snack, we came back to the hotel. The kids played on their kindles for a few minutes before bed and then it was lights out on our last night of the 2014 Road Trip. That kind of makes me really sad-though my trip isn't over yet since I have everything to repack before bed so we will be ready to leave in the morning!

Road Trip-Day 17 (July 18, 2014)

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The Dennies take over City Museum!

It was only 12:45 last night when Campbell started crying. Robby and I felt like we had been asleep for hours even though it had probably only been 10 minutes. Campbell was pretty upset so I just pulled her up into our bed and as she climbed in on one side, Robby climbed out on the other side and joined Anderson. She kept saying that she wanted to sleep in bed with me but when she woke up this morning, she looked around and said "how did I get up here?" The other night, when Campbell was sleeping in a bed, she tossed and turned and tossed until Robby was afraid that she was going to fall out of bed, so he climbed in bed with her. I guess this didn't stop her moving around because Campbell woke up with a scratch on her forehead from where he scratched her as she tossed around in bed.

We all woke up at 7 and took a few shifts going down to breakfast. Anderson and Graham went down to breakfast with Grannymom. And a few minutes later, our happy Whitman just fell apart. Seriously, he fussed more than he has in a long, long time. He didn't want his milk, he didn't want juice, he didn't crackers, he didn't want to be held, he didn't want to walk around, he just didn't want anything. Finally, we figured out what was wrong-that boy wanted to leave with Grannymom. Once Robby took him downstairs, he was his happy go lucky self again.

Breakfast was good just very crowded this morning. I had my usual bagel and cream cheese and even yogurt and granola this morning (in case you wanted to know what I ate). Anderson was really pleased because they had vanilla yogurt-weird, huh? All my kids but Reagan love yogurt-and when we get the individual cups it is like Christmas.

Grannymom, Grandpa, Lilly, Jenna, Dana and Cash all rode with us to the City Museum. I had heard about it and kind of knew what to expect but I really had no idea what to expect. It was crowded when we walked into the door and the crowds only got worse during the day. It was all manageable just lots of little people.

The first thing that we did was to go down the 3 story slide in the front of the place. Dana took Keaton down and I took Whitman down it. It was a slide that you had to lay back so you didn't bang your head. It was a fun, fun slide and it was fast-at least for me. I could have done that one over and over all day long.

We went then to the roof top and there was slides, slides, climbing things, slides and more slides up there. The kids were immediately gone in 18 different directions. We were fortunate that there were enough adults spread out that they could see someone they recognized. Throughout the day, the big 3 would come and go checking in with us every little bit. But we had to keep a much closer eye on Campbell and Keaton. Once Campbell was shown which way to go to get to slide and come down, she would be able to do that alone but Keaton needed someone with her all of the time. My big kids and the cousins were all really good about helping her and even Campbell. Actually, we were fortunate that the kids would stay in groups most of the time.

On the rooftop, there was a Ferris wheel that we all did. Robby even took Whitman-we were all a bit worried about how he would do but that child loved the Ferris wheel. The only thing he didn't like was Robby holding on to him as the soared 11+ stories over St. Louis. Then we went down a slide-it was a tight squeeze getting into it but I even made it. Most of the slides and climbing things were tight squeezes-if you are claustrophobic or prone to panic attacks this probably wouldn't be the place for you.

The easiest way to get off of the rooftop would be the 10 story slide-but the catch was you had to be 48 inches to go down it. Grannymom happily took Keaton, Campbell and Whitman downstairs. Keaton and Campbell where happy because they had just gotten to ride on a ride that the others couldn't do since they were too tall. And that left the rest of us in line for the slide-except my Graham is 47 inches. I know that well because of our trip to Six Flags but I told him to stand tall and maybe he could get through and if not, we would find ourselves another slide. The cousins were all in front of the grownups in line and I couldn't see if he had made it past the height checker lady but Josh gave me the thumbs up and I let out a sigh of relief-poor guy would have been devastated if he couldn't have gone.

Soon it was my turn to go down the slide-10 twisty stories. I was a bit dizzy the first few steps that I took after the slide. But what was even more concerning was that the slide stopped in a cave like area. I couldn't see Shelley when I got off the slide nor could I see our kids. We finally found the kids and got out of the cave area-too enclosed for my taste. Finally, Les and Robby made it out of the slide and we were on to see something else.

I think that we then went outside-imagine a Rock Creek type place but everything was metal, outside, smaller spaces, more slides and 5x bigger. Les found us a good shaded place to sit and we were able to keep an eye (kind of) on the kids as they climbed outside-there was a bus to climb in, a plane, short slides, long slides, steep slides, water to cross on a tight rope, you name it, it was outside. This was my favorite place in the City Museum-the kids could roam and I could kind of see them.

At first Keaton was very timid and didn't even do a few slides. But as the day wore on, she quickly became used to the slides and would follow her cousins anywhere. I would always be surprised to see her keeping up with them and everyone working so hard to get her to the next spot. By the end of the day, she would slide down the slide near us and then run by saying "just one more time" over and over again.

After a long time of playing outside, we finally left the City Museum to find lunch. We went to a grocery store a few blocks away. The store was a mad house but they had a huge deli/hot food area. I could have stayed in that store forever looking at stuff to eat-I would have even gone back there tonight for supper. We just hit the lunch rush so it took a while to order our food (chicken quesadillas, mac and cheese, nachos and a hamburger), a while for it to be cooked and a while to check out but it was worth the wait. They had an eating area upstairs so we were all able to eat, drink and rest up for the afternoon at City Museum.

The kids walked the 3/4 of a mile back to the museum without any complaining at all. We started on a floor that we hadn't been to. And the room we were in first was like a skate park with ramps and hills for the kids to run and slide down. Talk about a room that was an accident waiting to happen! They all survived and then we went to the next spot.

Next to this area they had a circus room and the show happened at 2. We crammed in the room and watched the juggling performance. Even though Robby and I closed our eyes a bit during the show (seen one juggler, seen em all!) the kids absolutely loved the show-Whitman probably enjoyed it the most. He would clap and watch everything that was happening very intently.

After the circus, the little ones (Campbell, Keaton and even Graham) rode a train that you had to be under 48 inches to ride on. My Graham was enjoying the best of both worlds-acting short when he needed to and acting tall when he needed to as well. The others split up with some going to one area and others to another area.

We had Keaton, Campbell, Anderson and Graham with us (Grannymom had Whitman) and we went to one area that the kids played in for a bit. Robby and I went down one slide that was fast-so fast that we both said that we slowed ourselves down in it. I should have done it again and not slowed myself down-I have always loved slides.

Then we walked around a bit and even passed the probably little visited area of the City Museum that is actually a museum. We then met up with everyone back outside. By this time, Whitman was getting a bit tired of all this sitting in his stroller that he was getting to do so he was ready to play. Les had already left so Robby took one load of folks to the hotel (Grannymom, Grandpa, Whitman, Josh and Anderson and Graham (who both wanted to go with Josh). Then he turned around and came back for the rest of us.

Back at the hotel, as soon as we walked into the room the kids started putting on their bathing suits. They all swam and swam and even in the full pool they still had a blast. Robby and I said that they had just as much fun swimming as they did at the City Museum.

After what seemed like a very long time swimming, we went upstairs to change clothes for tonight. We all loaded up again and headed out to eat. Robby drove to the nearest location of Imos-a local pizza joint-and after all of us climbed out of the van, we realized that it was a take out only type place. So we all climbed back in the van and drove to another location.

The place reminded me of a Mazzios but the pizza was good (not really the sausage though, it had a different sauce) and most importantly, Whitman was happy during our meal. If I enjoy my meal is really all based on how the kids act and especially how Whitman is during our meal. If he is being a toot during supper, then I usually never enjoy it but if he is being a good little boy then I always enjoy it. My poor Whitman had been a bit on the unhappy side but tonight he was great-I think he really likes pizza so he ate the pieces off of his fork as fast as I could hand them to him. And the other kids were having the best time on an old video game. They "played" on it while they waited on our food and even after our food came. The seriously had a blast with it-imagine how much fun they would have had if they had a quarter to put in it.

On the way back to the hotel, we decided we needed a little taste of St. Louis and stopped at Ted Drewes for frozen custard. When we drove up, we saw the huge crowd-like a hundred people standing outside of the place. The kids started balking about the long line but that didn't deter us-and the line moved really quick since there were lots of windows taking orders. Robby accidentally ordered one too many frozen custards and Anderson did his best to help him eat it but they ended up trying to save it.

Then it was on to the hotel. My Whitman was sound asleep during our ice cream eating, sound asleep on the ride home (and it was a noisy ride home with all of the cousins working on ideas of a lemonade stand. Their notable ideas so far-a gerbil show that costs extra money and giving out free spicy chips so people will need lemonade to drink). Whitman even stayed asleep until I put him in his bed after getting the kids almost in bed.

It was a really fun day and after my laundry is dry, I will be heading to bed. Tomorrow will be just as busy so we better get to sleep.