Epic Road Trip (Day 1, August 24, 2016)

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On our calendar, Robby named this year’s road trip as “Epic Road Trip” and I guess just to make it even more epic-er, we decided to leave about 12 hours earlier.  We had thought about sticking around on Wednesday night so they kids could go to church tonight I could help out but we decided that there wasn’t too much of a difference between missing 3 weeks or 4 weeks of Wednesday night church.

Yesterday, Robby was the one making a big breakfast trying to clean out the fridge but this morning it was Campbell and I frying eggs.  We had a dozen eggs to use and cooked 10 for breakfast (the other 2 Keaton dropped in the floor later in the day so nothing was wasted there.)  Campbell is quite the egg frier and I would have been but the pan that I was using is on its last leg and losing its nonstickiness.  

After breakfast, the kids had a bit of school work left over from the past few days.  We had finished all of our school and started on our first round of chores by 10.  The kids worked hard for the most part but the biggest ordeal today was picking up a zillion legos that everyone is using to make their lego videos.  Once that was over, we headed upstairs to make those beds.  Then it was on to showers and after showers, I painted Keaton and Campbell’s toenails and fingernails.  Whitman came in and was pretty disappointed that I wouldn’t let him paint too.

I then sat down in the school room to pull out Campbell’s school for when we were going to get back.  The kids were busy with their ipads and left me alone which helped that go quicker.  Then we had lunch-you wouldn’t even believe the assortment of food that I pulled out of the fridge and pantry to feed everyone.  It included a half of a hot dog apiece and half of a nutella filled tortilla, colored marshmallows and a host of other random items.  

Then we began our second round of chores.  This round was easier and the kids were delighted when Shannon showed up with cookies and snacks for our road trip.  They were delighted because this meant more goodies for the trip (they are lucky there was even any left for them) and delighted because that meant they got out of work for a little bit. Once she left, it was back to chore time.

Shortly after the last piece of laundry had been put away, I loaded up my crew and dropped them off at Pops’ house.  They kept the kiddos for me while I ran back home and worked like a dog until Robby showed back home.  We had a few last minute things to throw in the van and then we were off.  

Each trip, I usually go over the list of how we are packed.  I always say that I could refer back to it the next time that we are packing but I have my 8 page packing list for that (seriously, 8 pages-I think I have a problem).  So up beside me is my bag with magazines, all of our important papers, notebook and pens and this trip I have added a marker board so I can raise it above my head with things written on it each time they ask me to spell something for them.

Now in every door, every pocket and every nook of this car is random things stuffed places like hand sanitizer, trash bags, carpet cleaner, air freshener, shoes, jackets and candy, lots and lots of candy.  Between Robby and me is our new ice chest with all of our picnic items and a dozen or so cokes to help us make it through the long drives.  

The first row is kidless but it does have a set of 6 plastic drawers.  On top of those is a clock so the kids do not have to ask us what time it is and there is also all of Robby’s equipment so we can watch videos or netflix on the road.  The drawers contain bread, tortillas, ipads, kindles, computers, paper products, snack food, snack food, gifts from Grannymom, snack food, school work, snack food and some candy.  On that seat is pull ups for Whitman, cookies from Shannon, my camera.  There is also the diaper bag, a box of dressier clothes in case we go to a show in NYC, another bin of snack food, our lunch food in a big bin and a trash can.  

Between each seat of kids is a box with all kinds of stuff-candy, paper, colored pencils, slug bug and license plate games for them to play, some toys they have packed (trains, legos, baby dolls), radios and headphones. The girls all have purses with them as well.  Reagan and Whitman are on the next row and under them is floatees for Keaton and Whitman, 3 of the kids backpacks, Robby’s tackle box full of cords-enough to power a space shuttle, a bin of rain coats, a bin of bathing suits and then I know you would never believe it but there is also 2 tiny bins filled with snacks.

Anderson and Graham are next and they have a box filled with extra stuff underneath them (extra quarters, extra laundry detergent, a football, frisbee, our national park passport books, scissors, tape, pretty much everything but the kitchen sink is in that bin).  There is also 3 more kid backpacks, 2 more buckets of snacks and another stash of pull ups.  

Then we have Campbell and Keaton and they have my clothes, Robby’s clothes and a few cokes under them and behind them wedged in between the door and the back of their seat is 2 strollers.  I know it sounds like we are packed in this big ole van and we really are!  

Robby and I arrived at Pops and Nonna’s house right at 5 and the kids were already picking up and putting on their shoes.  Whitman was still playing in the bathtub and while everyone got busy, I had enough time to grab me a bite of supper and some crock pot cake that Nonna was trying out.  Robby had already eaten a bite at home so we were all fed and hopped on the road to begin our Epic Road Trip.

We listened to a book on tape (finished one and started another one) for a good while.  Then we passed out their ipads for a bit.  Graham had to potty before Memphis and Robby took that opportunity to top of the gas tank.  Whitman was acting really puny then but we just assumed he was tired.

He wasn’t just tired and when he had told me that his tummy hurt I should have taken him more seriously.  Poor guy!  I am still pretty nimble and was able to leap over a seat or two catch most things.  Reagan was able to pass me some wipes and I had Whitman pretty clean by the time Robby pulled over at a trash can.  He threw things away and changed Whitman while I used the carpet cleaner and fabreeze to clean his seat.  This little stop just cost a few minutes and soon we were back on the road.  Whitman felt tremendously better then and happily watched his ipad for the next little bit.

Soon we were crossing the Mississippi river and heading on down the road.  We had originally planned on going to Jackson tonight but Robby moved it a little further down the road to Lebannon.  We turned on a movie around 8:30 and everyone was quiet for a good while.  The movie was The Apple Dumpling Gang that we had from the library.  I tried to get a few new movies for Reagan; she likes ones with real people and really those are more enjoyable for the rest of us.  This one was cute and everyone (including Whitman) paid attention to it.

Somewhere along the way, we pulled over at a rest stop for me to drive.  Keaton and Whitman went in to use the restroom with Robby.  By this time, Whitman was feeling much better and when Robby gave him something to drink after that, he told Reagan that it made him feel good.  Hopefully, his episode was due to his yucky cold that he has right now.  

I drove almost to Nashville.  Robby passed out ipads after the movie was over and everyone stayed awake for a good long time.  Whitman did go to sleep after 10. You would think that we are traveling to the arctic-everyone in the back is covered up with a towel or wearing their jacket.  Reagan even had on her hood at one point.  It is not cold in this car at all but their air conditioner in the back is all or nothing.  Low is really cold and off quickly becomes hot.  Now when we were in Dallas a bit ago, low was still hot and high was still hot but I guess that happens when it is a 110 degrees outside.  Hopefully, we won’t have temperatures that warm on this trip but if we do, Robby has 2 fans for the back row girls to use.

It was nearly 11:40 when we arrived at the hotel. The kids had been fine on the last leg of our journey. As is our norm, while Robby checked in I climbed in the back and we all started cleaning and gathering what needed to go into the motel. Tonight is a motel and really, we kind of love it-no being quiet in a hallway, no having to sneak in (more on that another time) and being able to park right next to the door (though we weren't exactly able to tonight.) We would have been able to bring everything in tonight in one trip if I had remembered the sleeping bags and if Whitman had been awake. But we did make it without a cart and that is a happy day.

It is a good thing that we didn't use a cart since there would have been no way that a cart would have fit in this room. As it is, Anderson is sleeping on the sidewalk outside. (Mom, I am kidding.) We are packed in this room like sardines and right this moment (12:20) everyone is sleeping soundly. There were a few bumps in the road today (literally and figuratively) but overall, this first day of our Epic Road Trip couldn't have gone any better and I promise that there will be lots more pictures tomorrow!

August 23, 2016

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  • Let's just get right to the point tonight-it was school day for Keaton and Whitman.  You just never know how things might go for Whitman-will he stay dry? will he fuss when Robby drops him off? will he obey?  Now, there are no concerns for my Keaton.  We know she will do perfectly fine and have the time of her life.
  • At 11:25, I could take it no longer and text Grannymom to see how Whitman did.  She said that Ms. Jennifer said that Whitman did good.  Later, Jennifer even sent a text to say that he pottied and listened today.  She even said that he had a great day.  Hallelujah!  My prayers were answered.
  • The rest of us did our last day of school for the next few days.  I should have reminded me the kids a few times how lucky they were to be off for the next few weeks but I certainly forgot.  Oh, well, they were pleased that for the last 2 days we haven't been doing history or science and have instead been spending our time reading books on places from our trip.  
  • We had our lunch and everyone helped me do some chores and then I sat the timer and said that when it went off, they had to work for a few more minutes inside and then pick up one load of sticks outside before we left.
  • The timer went off about 10 minutes before I needed it to go off but I managed to clear my mess (pulling out school for when we return) and drive by and pick them up from the yard.  They worked pretty well and when there is a goal insight my kids can be hard workers-that may not be too often but it does happen.
  • We met Keaton and Whitman at Lilly's park and the kids were delighted to see Cash come too.  Everyone immediately noticed that they were much taller since we had been there last-I guess it has been too long since we were there.  The kids played and ran and climbed like little monkeys.  When it was time to go, Grannymom gave the kids some gifts for the road and some spending money.  I peeked inside and even saw that Robby and I had some candy.  Now, our goodies from Grannymom and our goodies from Nonna have taken up an entire drawer of my packing-like seriously, we will have to eat our way out of the van.  
  • As soon as we came home, I hurried around throwing some things in a bin or two and then left as soon as I pulled the pizza out of the oven.  I had bunko in Conway and Robby went outside to mow.  He told the kids that if they were good, they would get a dessert....
  • Their dessert ended up being ice cream from Baskin Robbins.  Robby was excited to learn that tonight was dollar scoop night-the Dennies will be returning again on another Tueseday night.  Once home the kids headed to bed and I was home not too long after that.  Robby was in the kitchen baking away and next, we are going to load up another load into the car.  The epic road trip begins tommorrow!

August 22, 2016

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  • Before 7 this morning, Robby was outside cutting Graham's hair with Campbell watching.  He had just finished with Graham and stuck his head inside asking if Anderson was awake.  Poor Anderson was just walking down the stairs but headed on outside for his haircut.  While this was happening, I woke up Whitman and started talking up his upcoming haircut.
  • I had his milk sitting by the door just in case he needed it but he did find.  Soon he was taking his shower before getting on his clothes for the day.  Keaton was quickly ready and Whitman joined her at the bar.  Everyone ate their breakfast and then my little 2 headed out for the day-Keaton at school and Whitman at Nonna and Pops' house.
  • The rest of us here started on school.  Today went much, much better than last Monday but we did still hit a few bumps.  Graham spent some time in his bed and after school was over, I put calamine on Campbell's mosquito bite filled legs.  She acted like I had just poured acid on her legs and was quickly sent to her room.  Campbell screamed and yelled "get it off" and "I don't want Daddy to see me like this" over and over again.  You would have thought that she was possessed....until she heard her daddy downstairs.  As if by magic, just hearing his voice downstairs cured her of her craziness.  I possibly may just record Robby's voice tonight and play it occasionally from my phone-they will never know if he has just come home or not.
  • After lunch, we worked on packing.  I did the boys clothes and their is pretty easy-black shorts, t shirt, black shorts, t shirt, black shorts, t shirt-and done!  We finished right at 2 and hopped into the car and picked up Keaton and Whitman.
  • From there we went to see Beebee.  She was in a fine mood-it was hard for me to hear the story that she was telling me today (that was fine though because I had already heard it from Pops) because the kids were talking so loudly about the candy.  Whitman sat down like a big boy and ate lollipop after lollipop until they ran out.  We wrote our trip dates on her calendar and then said our goodbyes.
  • Back at home, I quickly tried to pack Reagan and Campbell-there was nothing quick about that.  We did manage and Robby was able to help me heat up some hot dogs for the pool and the big 4 and were then headed to the pool.  Keaton had a play date tonight with Evelyn and Whitman and Robby ran a few errands.
  • We all arrived back home at about the same time and my crew had showers while Robby's crew watched some tv.  Then we did make everyone help pick up for a few minutes before bed.
  • When they were all tucked in, Robby and I loaded up a pretty big load of stuff for the car.  Then we went to the kitchen to make rice krispy treats and puppy chow for the trip-but then discovered we were out of rice krispies and powerdered sugar.  So we just had some ice cream!

August 21, 2016

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  • In the middle of the night, I wope up to Campbell standing over me.  She said that she had a bad dream and that her stomach hurt.  As soon as she finished saying that, she leaned down and paused. I now think she was about to start crawling into my bed but last night, I was for sure that she was about to hurl on me.  I jumped up and immediatley cupped my hands to catch whatever was coming (I certainly don't know why I did that).  None of that was needed though because she just looked down at my hands like I was a crazy lady.
  • When we had gone to bed last night, she told me that her stomach hurt and after a few hours of jumping on a trampoline and not a whole lot of decent stuff to eat, I can certainly imagine that it did hurt a bit.  Now in the middle of the night, I am pretty sure that her stomach only hurt because she had a bad dream and thought that would be the best excuse to get to stay in our bedroom last night. It workd for her because within seconds of walking into my room, she was sound asleep on the floor.
  • This was was the second week of our new Sunday school classes and we again made it on time to stop by all of the grands and even see our sweet little ladies that used to sit behind us. Then off to classes we went-Whitman didn't mind walking into his class.  Our class was full again today-21 kiddos. 
  • After church, we stopped by and looked at the church's shower trailer which is headed to Louisianna in the morning and I even ran back into the building to buy some tshirts for the kids from yesterday's Run with the Son which we missed.  Then it was on to Grannymom's house.
  • She had lunch ready for us when we arrived.  Everyone ate and then the kids played for a bit and the boys had to try on a pair of pants for Grannymom to hem them.  They were none to pleased about this.  Then Dana offered to take a few to the pool so everyone but Whitman loaded up and headed to the pool.  They were going to find bathing suits at Dana's house for everyoen but Whitman couldn't go without his (life) jacket.
  • It didn't take too long for him to figure out where they were going and he was adament that he wanted to go as well.  Robby and I ran to Walmart with him and then once we made it home, Robby changed and Whitman found his jacket and they were out the door.  Robby stayed with the kids for another hour and then they ran an errand to Bass Pro looking for an ice chest.
  • Back at home, I was working as fast as I could trying to accomplish as much as I could for our quickly approaching trip.  I made a few dents in things and once they all arrived back home, we fed them supper and I started to work with Keaton while packing her clothes.
  • Alicia stopped by for a few minutes and then when she left the Wilsons' came over for our Sunday night ice cream.  We taked for a bit while the kids played but all too soon it was time for all of our babies to get in the bed so they left and we started to shower and pick up.  
  • While Robby herded everyone downstairs, I ran back upstairs with Keaton so we could finish packing (2 down, 4 to go).  Then it was bedtime for all my Dennies and after a day of church, swimming and then friends over they were pretty tired.

August 20, 2016

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  • We were sleeping soundly until Anderson woke up both Robby and me.  He was snorting and sniffing and causing a general ruckus.  Once we woke him up to go blow his nose, he quickly realized that his nose was bleeding, or you could say gushing.  We got all of that straightened out and I even ended up moving his sleeping bag on the other side of me since Robby was no longer on the couch but on the floor.  
  • I guess that Robby looked down off of the couch and saw his wife and 6 little kids all sleeping on the floor and he remembered fondly all of the nights he used to sleep on the floor and he did not want to be left out.  Before we had kids, we would sleep on the floor at least 1 night every week but now we have given up on that.  This morning when Graham saw Robby on the floor, he said, "did you fall off the couch?"
  • I am not sure exactly when I heard Whitman in the middle of the night.  I heard him walk into the wall and then heard Reagan say, "ow."  The baby had woken up and not knowing where he was stood up and started to walk.  He first walked into the wall and then turned another way and kerplunk, fell right on top of Reagan.  By this time, I was awake and told him to come to me.  That wasn't the best of ideas since Robby and 4 other kids were inbetween him and me.  I played "kid landmine" and tiptoed over everyone to grab him.  Then I laid him by me and soon we were both sound asleep.
  • At 6:40, Anderson woke me up to tell me that it was 6:40.  This was information that I did not need to know.  He asked if we could go downstairs to which I told him no.  He then looked at me and said, "but we have already missed breakfast."  I guess someone kidded that breakfast would be at 6 and Anderson had taken them seriously.  We made everyone stay still for a bit longer and then released the troops to go downstairs.
  • Les and Shelley were hard at work on breakfast and soon we were digging in-waffles, sausage, bacon and eggs.  Everyone ate and then some kiddos played on their ipads and some of us watched the Jungle Book movie.  It was really good (the new one, not the cartoon) but I sure could have fallen back asleep on that couch if the kids hadn't noticed that it was no longer raining and the sun was almost out.
  • Within minutes, people were running through the house with their bathing suits on and jumping into the pool.  They all swam for a good while.  Of course the kids had lots of races and even "fished" with the pool noodles.  Right before it started raining again, the kids started to trickle out of the pool.  After changing clothes, they played their ipads some more while Robby and I ran to the Dollar Tree to pick up some trash cans for the car.
  • When we came back, Les had grilled burgers for lunch so we ate again.  Not too long afterwards, we did have to load up and head back home.  My kids were super disappointed that we couldn't stay longer.  They could have spent another night or two for sure.  
  • We had little rain on the way home and didn't even stop one time-probably because the kids were tired and distracted.  At Grannymom's house, we jumped out and pottied before loading back up to run a few errands.  I ran into Walmart to buy Graham some socks and ended up coming out with socks that would probably be too small for Whitman.  (So I will have to return those and find him another pair.)  Then Robby ran into our Dollar Tree to pick up a few more items.  
  • Then it was off to Cash's 10th birthday party at Altitude.  He had lots of friends there and lots of cousins (us) there.  The kids loved jumping and could have jumped for another few hours.  After having pizza, they played a dodge ball game with just kids from his party.  The first game was won by Reagan and Anderson won the second game (or at least they were on the winning teams).  Keaton was also on Reagan's team and was only gotten out on the last of 3 rounds.  And don't think that my girls have much dodgeball skills-they just stood in the back until all of the boys were out.
  • After the game, we sand Happy Birthday to Cash and had a cookie cake.  Then the party was over and we headed home.  The kids helped us unpack-though it is strange how people never seem to need to go to the bathroom except when it was time to work and it is also strange how no one seemed tired while jumping at Alitutude but hearing me ask them to take something to the bonus room made them want to lay down in the garage floor.  We still managed to get everything put away and in the wash.
  • Then it was shower time followed by bedtime for my people.  Reagan did sneak her book and started to read (fine with us as long as she doesn't cause a problem) but the others were probably sound asleep very fast!

August 19, 2016

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  • I woke up this morning to a few texts from Campbell.  I guess that she was an early riser at Nonna's house this morning and began her texting early.  That was fine with me because I never heard her texts come through until much later.  Everyone at our house slept in just a little bit longer than usual.
  • When we did wake up, we started on breakfast-we are on operation clean out the fridge, freezer and eat all of the open cereal.  I am not sure if it is working or not though-I am not sure how we can have so many boxes of cereal opened but hopefully some of them will be emptied in the next few days.  Monday will begin "cereal for all 3 meals" so that should surely make a dent in things.
  • We started on a half day of school work.  I call it a "half day" but it should probably be termed a "3rd day" since we still have a bit more to finish up on Wednesday (we will do regular full days on Monday and Tuesday).  Though I did pull out a few too many math and phonics pages for Campbell so I am going to make her squeeze those in on Wednesday's "third day."
  • After school, we all worked together on chores.  Usually, I give the kids their duties and I stay where I am working on whatever I am doing-like they come to me asking for their next job while I am cleaning the kitchen or folding clothes.  But today, I stayed with them and we all just moved from room to room straightening.  It worked well and probably ended up with a cleaner house than usual but it was a bit more work-you forget that they have no idea how to do anything and you have to tell them every single thing to do.  I am not sure when you become old enough to know that when you see trash on the floor you pick it up or when there is a drawer open then you close it. 
  • Finally we finished with our chores and I let them kids have free time.  They were pleased with this and spent a good while upstairs on the wii.  Robby and I spend that time getting ready for our short overnight trip in Mississippi.  Seriously, all we needed to pack for this trip was a pair of undies and clothes for the next day but we spent hours and hours working on cords, boxes, bags and everything else.  We took this trip seriously and tried to prepare just like we would for our upcoming road trip.  Hopefully prepping for this trip will make packing for our upcoming one easier.
  • About noon, Campbell came home from Nonna and Pops house.  They had lots of fun but she was glad to be back home among the excitement.  Robby served lunch while I took a shower and then I had people straighten while he showered.  Soon we were on the road and headed to Grannymom and Grandpa's to pick them up.
  • We then headed to Mississippi-I spent most of my time in the car turned around backwards working on earphones, ipads or passing out snacks.  Hopefully some of that will subside before our big trip-if not I am afraid that I might just get car sick.
  • Once we made it to Les and Shelleys, they had pizza for us.  Even though we had just had sandwiches in the car, we still partook of the pizza.  Before too long, we loaded up and headed to Josh's football game.  He is a sophmore and starts on the offensive line and the game was pretty fun to watch....well, it was probably more fun for the other team to watch but we still enjoyed watching Josh play.  My boys could not wait to go down to the bottom and talk to him.
  • The weather couldn't have been any better tonight for August and after the week we have had, it was wonderful that it wasn't raining.  My Whitman watched the first half of the game but pretty much slept through the second half.  He actually slept through that half, the entire way home and then snoozed as I changed his clothes and stuck him in his sleeping bag.  
  • Once back and Les', we had delicious brownies and stayed up for a bit longer before heading upstairs to bed.  We are all camped out in their bonus room and there is wall to wall babies in here-pretty perfect.  Robby is on the couch and I am sleeping in this mummy sleeping bag-I think I might just want a new sleeping bag for my birthday now.  

August 18, 2016

Movie Maker!
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  • We were awoken before 6:00 this morning with someone hollering - fortunately, no one was sick but needed a bit of help in the bathroom.
  • We all finally stirred by 7:15.  Robby wasn't sure he wanted to be the one to drop Whitman off at school for his 2nd day after how it went Tuesday. I even got ready but Robby didn't chicken out and offered to take them and hope for the best.
  • Whitman had woke up in a good mood, had a pop tart, used the potty and soon was getting on his shoes. Robby promised he could have another poptart when he got home if he walked into class like a big boy.  
  • Robby reported back that he dropped him with no problem - he walked right in after the dropped off Keaton, washed his hands and soon was getting in line to go to opening.
  • Meanwhile, the rest of us were tackling today's school work which were are spreading out across two days plus they had already done their hard boxes the other night.  We did our together work and soon it was time for me to go pick up Keaton and Whitman.   I left a few chores and assignments while I was gone since Robby was working from home. 
  • Jennifer reported Whitman had had a good, good day. I asked if he obeyed all day. She said he did all but once!  We'll take it.
  • Made it back home and Robby was fixing lunch (nuggets and mashed potatoes) and it was soon gobbled up.  Everyone did a few more chores and soon we noticed the neighbor kids were out, so everyone went scurrying to get their clothes on and head out. All ours were eager to show their Lego movies they had made earlier in the day.  Then off they went on their bikes even though it was raining on and off.
  • Later the boys came back up this way and came in to play the Wii and Xbox while the girls stayed down the street.  Soon Nonna and Pops were here to pick up Campbell for a night away - she was excited to go but she was a bit torn to miss having the neighbor kids to play with.  But she still decided that it would be more fun over at Nonna and Pops.
  • The Corsers stayed until the mom text to come home so that meant ours had to pick up the house a bit and I got myself ready for a night out.  Well, actually it was a working meeting with Candice, Amber and Sara to plan some activities for the school year and maybe a good excuse for a night out.
  • Robby worked on cleaning out the car - amazing the mess 6 kids can make - but he got it cleaned out and added his drawers, cords and some other things that took him about 2 hours in the car (or maybe he liked the peace and quiet in the car.)  We'll have another trial run in the car with a quick trip to Memphis tomorrow before our big road trip next week.
  • Robby reported after he got cleaned up, he decided to take the rest of the kids out for a few errands. Sounds like they made it to the Dollar Store for a bit of road trip candy and ear buds, then to Taco Bell for supper and finally to Walmart for shoe shopping.  Shoes don't last very long around here and he ended up buying 5 pairs of shoes -- not exactly sure Keaton and Graham were due shoes but they must have convinced him.  Speaking of convincing, Reagan convinced Robby to let her use one of her Redbox coupons from Christmas and to watch it when they got home.  
  • Well, after showers and cleaning up again, it was almost 8:30. Fortunately, Whitman was asleep when they got home, so he headed to bed although Robby did find him 30 minutes later with lights on and in the floor playing. He convinced him to get back in bed and I think he stayed there. Everyone else got popcorn and a coke to go along with movie and up past 10:00 on a school night!?!?!?