July 30, 2016

(click here for pictures)

  • Campbell came into our bedroom around 4 this morning.  She said that her head hurt but after I had made her pallet and covered her up and asked about her head, she said that it was already better.  I am sure that she wasn't able to sleep so she just came on downstairs.  I am surprised that Reagan let her come downstairs-Reagan usually runs a tight ship up there.
  • Before we could even start on breakfast, Pops was writing to come and pick up Anderson.  I then asked Anderson to pack and Graham went upstairs to help him and even came down to help find his church sandals.  I am not yet sure if Graham was being helpful or if he was looking forward to having Anderson leave for the night.
  • Robby and I headed outside after Anderson left.  Robby worked on his lawnmower and this lasted pretty much all day long.  It wasn't working at first but he finally fixed that for a bit but then had to take everything apart again.  The kids came out a few times to help pick up sticks and trim bushes or ride their bikes but mostly they stayed inside.  Around 2, Keaton and Campbell made lunch for us so we did stop to enjoy that for a bit.  I believe it was the third time for Robby to take his mower all apart and try to put it back together is when the bottom fell out and it poured and poured on us.
  • I was in the middle of cleaning the garage so all of the garage mats and bikes were outside.  It was too late to pull them in the garage since when the rain started, I was on my hands and knees helping Robby with his mower so all of the garage stuff was given a quick shower.  Now the grass was too wet for much of anything but Robby's push mower is also broke so he headed off to pick up a few groceries and to buy a new mower.
  • I worked inside while he was gone (even organizing the tupperware).  Campbell, Keaton and Whitman played restaurant while Graham shot hoops in his bedroom.  Reagan played with her shopkins a bit today and made them all placemats (or something similar) to sit on.
  • Robby came home and started putting his new mower together.  It quickly became dark again and the thunder started rolling so as I put up my now dry bikes, he started his new mower briefly before coming to help me with the garage mats.  We then worked on those as it stormed and stormed.
  • Well, a potty training update is probably due.  Twice today Whitman has come up to me saying that he was wet and then poopy.  He was neither and completely dry despite the fact that he was convinced that "both pants" (undies and shorts) were "soaking."  We ran on to the bathroom each time and my boy stayed dry all day long today.  Just maybe we are getting closer! (I told Robby the other day that we were going to have to breakdown and buy some diapers and pull ups but maybe not!) 
  • For supper, we had corn, pizza and left over mashed potatoes.  I thought I cooked too much corn but every ear that I cooked was eaten up.  Then we made cookies for the kids while cleaning up the kitchen.  Robby briefly worked on his weed eater (all of his outside toys are broken!) but he was able to fix it.  
  • It was way too late to start another project but we did-we took down Whitman's crib which he has rarely slept in.  And since the kids were occupied with their cookies and a tv show, we put up his big boy bed.  Since Robby had put up 5 other beds just like this one, it didn't take too incredibly long. 
  • It did take past 10 so everyone but Whitman were able to stay up (as long as they stayed downstairs so we could work).  Yes, Whitman didn't get to sleep in his new bed tonight-maybe tomorrow or maybe when we come home from our trip!
  • Since it is National Cheesecake day and we have no cheesecake, I might just have some ice cream before bedtime tonight.  And as hard as we worked today, I think that ice cream would be the perfect treat.

July 29, 2016-Happy Birthday Graham!

(click here for pictures)

  • Robby was the first one really stirring this morning and he started right to work on Graham's birthday breakfast.  We usually get birthday doughnuts sometime during our birthday celebrations and I am sure that will also happen but today's specialty was monkey bread.  I had heard Graham talking about how we only have it on Christmas day so we decided that his birthday might be another good day to have monkey bread.
  • Once breakfast was out of the oven, we stuck candles in and sang to our 8 year old one more time.  The candles were melting from the fire on top and from the crazy hot monkey bread on the bottom.  We all finished off our breakfast-the entire pan of bread. 
  • Then I did let Graham decide if he wanted to do school or not.  It wasn't a surprise when he opted out of our last day of easy, summer schooling.  Robby was working from home and was on a pretty long call so we all hung out in my bedroom for a bit.  The kids were playing their ipads on my bed or on the floor and they all seemed to be relishing their last day of summer vacation...and I was too.
  • Around lunch, we heated up leftovers and then loaded up to go and see Beebee.  She said that she didn't feel too good today but I am sure that seeing the kids helped cheer her up.  Everyone had things to tell her-Campbell showed Beebee her missing teeth, Graham talked about his birthday, Reagan filled her in on VBS, Keaton told her about Six Flags and Anderson filled in the blanks that Keaton left and Whitman only really talked about Beebee's candy.
  • When we left there, we met Robby who was getting his tires rotated and then we ended up at the bowling alley.  The kids had earned bowling a few weeks ago and since it was Graham's birthday we continued the celebration at the bowling alley.  Everyone really did decent today bowling-it did help that the bumpers were up.  
  • Reagan was the winner followed by Whitman (yes, Whitman-Robby did bowl for him once but the other kids also bowled for him a few times.  Most of the time, he went to the line and Robby or I would help him push the ball down the lane.)  Anderson was third, Graham and Campbell were next and the last place award was given to Keaton.  Now she also had the most interesting bowl: she rolled her ball and it ever so slowly rolled down the lane.  We didn't think that it would make it to the pins but it barely did.  The ball was going so slowly though that when the machine came down to reset the pins, it bumped the ball and pushed it back towards us.  Then we watched that same ball roll ever so slowly back up the lane towards us.  We stood there watching that ball roll all the way back to us.  Campbell picked it up and then took her turn with the same ball.  
  • We left the bowling alley just as today's storm started.  It was really windy and the rain was pelting down on us.  Thankfully, we didn't have to go too far since we had planned on stopping at Sonic.  Apparently, everyone else had stopped there too and the line was crazy.  Robby decided to drive through the drive through but ordering proved to be a challenge.  The rain was crazy, so crazy that Robby had to use an umbrella to help protect himself from the rain while hollering into the speaker.  The rain was loud so our order was wrong and Robby was still soaking wet, despite using the now broken umbrella.  It was a very memorable few minutes and the kids will never forget it!
  • We then picked up Robby's car and headed home for a few minutes.  The kids last night of VBS was tonight and it's times were the same times as a birthday party that Reagan had to go to so I dropped Reagan off at Camryn's house so she could ride with her.  Keaton, Campbell and Whitman made the drive with me and by the time that we made it home, Whitman was almost asleep.
  • I wanted for him to stay asleep so I dropped off the girls for about 5 minutes and drove around for just a bit.  Then I picked everyone else up and we drove the 2 minutes to the church down the road.  They had a few less kids this year than last year but the kids were adorable singing on the stage tonight.  Keaton was so animates with her motions.  They all really knew the songs and the words of the songs were words that I want them to remember all of their lives.  We really enjoyed the songs tonight since Whitman was sound asleep in my lap and not squirming around.
  • After the singing, the had hot dogs and all of the fixings for supper followed by a pie in the face for the boy leader because the girls had raised more money for their offering.  When it was over, we ran home for a few minutes and the kids showered.
  • Then Keaton and I loaded up and went back to pick up Reagan.  She had had a good time swimming and was already back in Camryn's pool when I made it to get her.  We then headed home while Reagan told us all about her night and we told her all about ours.
  • The others were watching Ninja Warrior and ended up watching all of one show before going to bed.  Graham was thrilled that we let everyone stay up until almost 10!

June 28, 2016

(click here for pictures)
  • Tara's out for another late night - well she doesn't have too many but it's Bunko night so this blog is brought to you by Robby...and I wasn't here most of the day so guessing on some parts. (Maybe Tara will correct later.)
  • Well, you would think that after staying up until almost 11 last night that the kids would sleep a bit longer. But all but 1 were up nearly right at 7:00 (Reagan managed to sleep a bit longer).
  • No fancy breakfast plans so Tara set the choices of sausage biscuits, cereal, poptarts, toast and maybe yogurt.  I think most opted for poptarts. (Whitman has about started thinking that you are supposed to have poptarts for every meal.)
  • Tara did fix muffins this morning (with help from some little people) but they weren't for today.  She had bought ingredients a couple of weeks ago to make and freeze muffins so that finally happened today. Who knows - they may be eaten tomorrow after being frozen for 1 day.
  • After breakfast, there were some Nerf gun battles, iPad time and more iPad time.  They had lunch at the house before loading up to head to the pool where they met Ms. Sara.  A bit cloudy or they've been dumping ice in the pool, because everyone reported the pool was a bit chilly.  The crowds thinned out by the time I made with a special treat for Graham. His real birthday is tomorrow but everyone needs some ice cream at the pool the day before.  So we had Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookie Dough and Cookies and Cream. I think Graham, and maybe Anderson, had 3 bowls a peice. But Lilly Kamps wasn't too far behind them.
  • I left and they were going to swim another hour but apparently there was an 'accident' in the pool so they had to shut it down. I don't think the accident was any of my people but it was okay - we were about ready to load up and head home.
  • A bit of movie time, rest time for Whitman and more iPad time before I got home with supper - Papa John's pizza tonight!  Whitman woke up right before Tara was leaving but didn't want pizza for supper. He wanted a cheese stick and eventually had a poptart too!
  • Tara dropped the 5 big kids off at VBS, headed to the library before making her way to Bunko. Meanwhile, Whitman and I watched about 4 episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. But soon it was time to pick up the others from VBS and we decided to walk and get them. Whitman quickly decided he would take a ride in the stroller though.
  • Kids had another big night of VBS and tonight the fire truck came.  But I guess since it Family Night tomorrow, they had to get the last 2 bible stories in tonight since there won't be a regular story tomorrow night. So Reagan said that meant there were two 40-minute Bible stories. (Not 100% sure that is accurate but she did report the floor gets hard after sitting that long!)  They brought home goodie bags and fireman hats so everyone was excited to show Whitman and let him wear their hats.
  • We walked home and everyone was super thirsty (they were fairly full tonight because they had pizza before they left plus chicken in a blanket (biscuit).  They talked me into letting them watch a bit of tv (Ninja Warrior), drink their drinks and then finally everyone brushed their tooth and headed to bed.  I think they were a bit quicker to fall asleep tonight though.

June 27, 2016

(click here for pictures)

  • Robby and I continue and continue to get worse about getting in bed at a decent hour.  We know this and despite sleeping in late, taking a nap and falling asleep on the couch like I did yesterday, we still stayed up until past 1 last night.  This must change (but probably will not tonight).  We have to quickly get in semi school mode (3 days a week start next week) and soon will need to get into Dennie vacation mode (up early, busy all day and then to bed late)  We will start tomorrow night though my eyes are a bit heavy even as I write this.
  • After breakfast this morning, all of my Dennie kids worked on their math and gracious me!  We did more math this summer than last summer but I am learning that they should do a math page every single day during the summer so they don't forget things.  When you stop in the middle of the book, there is no review and no first few easy lessons.  We will figure it out-I will just have to remember to be patient.
  • When we had finished all of our school work, we spent some time on chores.  That didn't last too long and then I worked on explaining all of the apps that I had downloaded for the kids.  Then it was time for lunch and since I had lots of tiny bags of fritos left from our multi chip packages that we had frito chili pie.  Surprisingly, the kids all really ate this.  I don't recall them being big chili eaters and mixing chips and chili sounds like it wouldn't fly with my crew but I guess if you put enough cheese on anything then the Dennie kids will eat it.
  • The afternoon was short because at 3 the Kamps arrived.  Once they came, the kids played their ipads for a bit and then I chased everyone away from their devices and they all started playing.  I passed out snacks and just as soon as I picked up the kitchen, then it was time to think about a little supper.
  • VBS has a little supper so Robby and I made some chicken and mashed potatoes to supplement VBSs meal.  As soon as we were finished with supper, it was time for VBS.  My kids have been begging to walk every night so tonight was the night.  We walked down the road and when we made it to the church, we still had to cross the street.  I had just told the kids that it would take a bit to cross the street and we would need to be patient.  But as soon as I said that, cars on both sides of the street stopped for us to cross.  I guess a lady and 9 kids draws a bit of attention!
  • We all crossed safely and I dropped everyone off at the church house.  Then Whitman and I walked back to meet Robby who was on his way to pick us up.  Whitman had himself a night at Nonna's house tonight.  He likes to be the only one there and was happy for us to drop him off.  I think that he relishes being the center of attention.  
  • Robby and I went out to eat tonight-yep, the third night in the row! We are already making a list of where we want to eat out next year during vbs.  Tonight though we just ate soup and cheese dip.  Then we came home to clean up the house a bit before picking up the kids.
  • After VBS was over, we picked up Whitman and then headed to Sonic.  Today was half price blast day so that combined with half price shakes meant lots of fun for all the kids.  We ordered 9 ice creams and everyone happily took a break from their Sharks and Minnows game to eat their ice cream.
  • We stayed probably longer than we should have and then came home and stared showering everyone off.  The boys took their turns in the bonus room, Reagan in her bedroom and all the other girls in my bathroom.  It didn't take too long to shower 9 kids but getting everyone to sleep was a bit different.
  • After putting Whitman in bed, everyone else bedded down.  The girls were pretty wired so after a bit I went upstairs to sit while they went to sleep.  I started typing on my computer and Reagan asked me to stop-I guess that I am loud typer.  Eventually they became quiet so I then went to the boys' room.  They were a bit easier to calm down-especially when I said that the next time, their Daddy would be the one coming upstairs.
  • Everyone has been quiet for a long time now so hopefully all are asleep and hopefully all will sleep a very long time tomorrow.   

July 26, 2016

(click here for pictures)

  • Campbell was up bright and early this morning.  Now I am sure that the boys were already awake but they never come in our bedroom anymore in the morning.  They go right to the couch and set down with their devices.  For some reason they think that they can't play their Ipads until 8 so from 7 to 8 they play their kindles and then make the switch at 8.  Craziness!  
  • Campbell didn't stay to play with her brothers and instead she climbed in bed with me and soon we were both back to sleep.  It was pretty wonderful sleeping in this morning and we stayed cuddled in that bed until almost 9.  That is when Whitman woke up and I probably could have gotten him to lay down with us except for the fact that we needed to leave in less than an hour.
  • We ate our breakfast and then everyone went to town straightening up the house and putting on their bathing suits.  For some reason, even though we had worked on cleaning the kitchen after breakfast, we have pancake syrup on every single thing in the kitchen.  I am not sure what happened but it is now driving my crazy!  
  • We met the Kamps and Heltz at the pool today.  The kids all enjoyed swimming and could have probably stayed longer.  It wasn't too hot today (at least while we were at the pool) and the water was a bit chilly for me but I still did manage to swim some.  Keaton is doing good swimming and Whitman loves to be in the water.  At lunch time, the kids gobbled down all of the food that I had brought and they almost revolted when I didn't buy Sonic on the way home (tomorrow is 1/2 price something day at Sonic so I am saving my stop until tomorrow)
  • Once at home, we unloaded the car and did a bit of chores before resting for the afternoon.  I snoozed a bit on the couch and then woke up when a loud crash happened right behind me.  Campbell and Keaton had made a tent and used my box of candles to keep the blanket up-the box fell and many glass candle holders broke.  Yesterday, Whitman broke a light bulb so I am becoming quite the pro at cleaning up glass.  
  • After Robby made it home, we had just a few minutes before loading up for VBS.  The girls all had money to take for the offering.  I think that Graham had some money but I am not too sure how much the boys had in their pockets.  I will say this-the kids have no idea what the offering is being used for but they do know that are giving so the boys or the girls' leader can get a pie in the face.  
  • We dropped the kids off for VBS tonight and no one stopped us in the parking lot like last night.  I forgot to put this on the blog but as we were all climbing out yesterday, one man came up to Robby and asked, "do ya'll pick them up and take them home?"  Robby wasn't sure how to answer but did say that yes, we do pick them up and take them home but this was just our family. (Guessing the man thought we were a church bus and wanted us to pick up his kids.)
  • While the kids were there, we ran to Grannymom's house and dropped off Whitman while we went out to eat-On the Border was tonight's choice.  Really, we don't have the opportunity to eat out quietly very often so we are taking advantage of this.  We might even eat out tomorrow night too!
  • Once we picked everyone up, they showered and then had themselves a snack before bedtime.  I think that they were tired because no one complained about having to go bed tonight.

July 25, 2016

(click here for pictures)

  • I was able to get Whitman to lay in bed with me for a few more minutes this morning before we had to start our day.  I was dragging my feet a bit because I wasn't looking too forward to starting our Monday morning...and especially folding all of that laundry!
  • The boys were already up and the girls were not too far behind.  We had our breakfast and did a bit of reading.  Then everyone started on their school work-today they continued their one item that they started working on last week and then were given 2 pages of phonics or math.  And goodness gracious, having to do math for Reagan and Anderson caused a bit of drama.  I had been given them one math page occasionally this summer but 2 whole pages greatly flustered them.
  • After our school work, we started on chores.  During some of the kids chore work things were splendid but during the other half things just fell apart.  We were able to finish up the house before lunch.  For lunch I was able to heat up our leftover chicken strips from yesterday and feed the crew.
  • Then the boys and Keaton helped me put together my two new Ikea stools to replace my piano bench.  They are blue and I just love them!  They are going to be really, really cute.  I think that I like them so much that I might even sit down and play this piano soon.
  • The afternoon flew by-I did a few things to unpack for this trip and to get ready for the next trip.  I even did a little treadmill time while watching Rachel Ray.  I have become a bit of a follower of her show and it does make the treadmill tolerable.
  • At almost 6, we loaded up and drove to the church down the road for VBS.  This is the second year that 5 Dennies have been able to go and probably our 4th year there.  The kids loved it and when we were waiting on it to start, Keaton saw her group and ran right over.  My Whitman probably could have stayed but it was just best that he didn't-not only is he not consistent at pottying, he is not consistent at obeying!  We are working on both of those!
  • While they were VBSing, Robby, Whitman and I went out to eat at La Madelines.  Then we walked around Home Depot before a quick stop at Kroger and then to pick up the babies.  Everyone acted like they had a good time and Keaton explained that we had to bring a friend tomorrow.  
  • Once at home, the kids had a snack and then it was bedtime.  I am sure that they were tired from tonight's VBS and still catching up on their missed sleep from this weekend.

July 24, 2016-Dennie Dallas Trip

After going to bed late last night, the first thing that I remember this morning was seeing Robby walk back into our bedroom from the shower.  I looked at the clock and was pretty surprised that it was aready after 8.  I tell you my Dennies are some pretty awesome hotel sleepers-there is just something about a dark room (good thing we have those clothes pins to shut the curtains tightly)

As I showered, Robby started waking up everyone.  The boy were quick to jump up but Robby had to pull the pillow out from under Reagan’s head before she really stared to stir.  Everyone found their clothes and got dressed.  Bringing their backpacks all worked out really, really well on this trip so that will probably be what we will do on our big trip.

During this whole trip, we have talked and talked about what we will do different, bring or need to buy for our big trip.  I have a list at least 2 pages long of things to buy, do or double check in the next few weeks.  Robby could live on the road like this-I am beginning to believe that is what he is working towards.

Getting dressed and loading up didn’t take too long this morning.  It still was hot putting everything in the car.  We even got a bit sweaty.  Speaking of sweaty, last night driving back to the hotel from the park, I felt my shirt and it was just soaking wet.  I thought that I never remember being that sweaty in my entire life.  A few minutes later I remembered that yes, I was sweaty but my clothes were wet from the wet, wet ride earlier in the evening. I had convinced myself that I was going through menopause already and was getting a bit panicky-imagine my relief!

Back to today, Robby pulled over so he could refigure some of miles and miles of wires in this car so when we started back down the road we were able to listen to the church service.  We enjoyed the singing but when it came time for the preaching the kids were getting a bit restless so Robby told everyone that we weren’t going to listen to the preaching.  Campbell asked “is it because it is bad news?”  I reminded her that the sermon from the Bible is always Good News but she didn’t buy it.

Our first stop was at the same rest stop that we stopped at on the way here.  We pottied and then ran around a bit playing football.  Whitman spent his time picking up dead bug exoskeltons and then smashing them.  Back on the road, we passed out drinks and snacks and headed on.  

We stopped for lunch in Texarkana. We ate at Raising Cane's for chicken fingers. With our crew, it is just easier to order off of the "tailgate" menu so Robby came to the table with 2 big aluminum foil pans filled with fries and fingers. The kids really ate quite a few (probably because it was 2) and hopefully we will be able to heat them up well for tomorrow's supper. Robby had hoped that this stop would just be about 30 minutes but that just didn't happen. It takes 20 minutes for us all to potty at a rest stop so 30 minutes for lunch turned into more like an hour.

That was fine though and we were soon back on the road heading home. The traffic was pretty bad-a wreck and then at least 15 miles of road construction. At one point, Campbell was in tears because she had to potty so bad. She hadn't told us until it was almost too late. Robby sped on to the nearest spot which was miles away while I was trying to figure out where the easiest change of clothes to get to was. Thankfully, we made it in time and she was given a speech on not drinking all of your to-go cup at one time.

From there, we sailed on home. Robby had explained thoroughly to the kids what they needed to do when we arrived home and I had even text them to remind them. All of that didn't help at all! We had about 10 minutes at home and quickly unloaded some things, changed clothes and loaded up again.

We let Keaton go to big church tonight and Whitman happily went to his class because I bribed him with a cookie. After church there was a reception-any type of reception is the highlight of the day for my kids. And this one with cake, cookies and coke did not disappoint. The kids ate and ate and almost ate enough to call is supper but we did have to make sandwiches once we arrived home.

Once at home, there were sandwiches, showers and then sleep. Then Robby and I had a bit of unpacking to do before we sat down to go over our packing and trip notes before bedtime for us.