April 28, 2017

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  • Friday mornings are the only day that we really don't have to get up for Bible study or preschool, but we still have school to complete. I wasn't too excited about getting things started this morning! The boys and Campbell were already awake this morning. 
  • I was careful to quietly close Whitman's door and sneak in to wake Reagan up so she could begin her school. By the time that I could walk back down the stairs, Whitman came out of his room holding his teddy bear. His first words were, "It's bear's birthday." So before I could even find my breakfast (which I don't believe that I even ate this morning) I was singing Happy Birthday to a bear and wrapping "presents" up in blankets.
  • Everyone had their breakfast and then started on their school. I think that this was one of the calmest Fridays we have had in a while. Keaton and Whitman stayed busy playing with a ball, laundry basket and pillows. Around 10, we worked together-trying to finish science and nearing the end of history. I did discover today that Reagan is woefully behind on her writing book. This is all my fault since I tell her exactly what page numbers to do each day. It looks like it will take her all summer to finish this-Eeek!
  • At noon, everyone had finished school, dressed and eaten lunch. We all loaded up so they could play at Candice's house while I went to a funeral. Afterwards, I came to pick up my crew and they certainly did not want to leave.
  • We then drove to Grannymom's house to eat a bit of supper-at 3. Robby ordered a pizza and we devoured it like we had not had lunch. After playing for a bit, we headed home.
  • Robby ran to Walgreens to pick up pictures so when he came home, we worked on sorting pictures until the Wilsons came over. They had not eaten supper so we all loaded up for Salem Dairy Bar.
  • My crew ordered milkshakes. Robby and I shared a milkshake but we also shared a hamburger-remember I had missed breakfast so I thought that I would make up for it with two suppers. On the way home, Tony picked up some ice cream so we did have another dessert back at the house.
  • The kids played while we talked and after 10 the Wilsons left, so Robby and I put the kids to bed and then began our rain dance for the morning's soccer games (don't think it is going to work but it was worth a try!)

April 27, 2017

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  • First day back to reality after a trip is always pretty tough and today was no different! The boys were already awake this morning and by 7:15, Graham had already finished most of his school work.
  • I had to wake everyone else up but having cinnamon rolls from Ikea did help a bit with their morning cheer. Soon Keaton and Whitman were loaded up in Robby's car and headed off to school.
  • They didn't know it but they were headed for a really fun day. They spent all day long in the new part of the playground. I am not really sure what all they did but I did hear that there was water, plastic ducks, and sand. They even ate their snacks outside.
  • We did school here and things went fairly smoothly. Campbell was distracted as usual, Graham was finished early and bored, Reagan spent her time distracting her brother and sister and Anderson was steady but slow. All of this is par for the course especially for a Monday morning (I know it isn't really a Monday but it was our first day of school this week.)
  • Robby brought the littles home from school just as we had finished up our school work. I was able to make some lunch for everyone and then I helped Robby with a quick project for a bit. 
  • The kids started watching a movie and I tried to get on the treadmill. After having to stop 8 times in 30 minutes I decided that it just wasn't worth it today. Whitman came up three times, Keaton twice, Reagan once, Campbell once and one time I even stopped because I heard all sorts of commotion in the garage and thought I better check it out. 
  • The neighbors came out so the kids all played outside until it was time for me to call them in for soccer. Tonight was picture day so the kids all donned their uniforms. They did a bit of practicing but most of their time was spent taking pictures. 
  • I stayed home with Whitman and usually during soccer practice he does his own thing and I am able to do my own thing. Not tonight, he needed my help constantly on whatever he was doing-playdoh, block towers, dot markers and on and on it went. 
  • When everyone else made it home, I had supper ready. The kids ate and then had showers. While they were showering, I headed out to officially celebrate Homeschool Teacher Appreciation Day. Who knew there was such a thing? Well, Candice did and suggested that we celebrate with cheese dip from El Porton.
  • By the time I made it back home, everyone was sound asleep resting up for tomorrow. 

Ark Adventure-April 26, 2017

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Even though we knew that today was our longest drive, we still could have probably slept in a bit longer than we did this morning. Whitman, however, was up around 6:30 so Anderson was soon awake then as well. Whitman did climb in bed with us and after a fe minutes lost his “one of my favorites” status when he told me, “you are squishy.” After hearing that a few times, I decided that I would head to the shower.

After everyone put their clothes on, we headed down to breakfast. Robby loaded the car as we ate and then he grabbed himself a bite as we finished up. Then it was on the road. Robby drove about halfway to Memphis and we stopped for a potty break and cookies from McDonalds. Then I found the wind and drove to Ikea. All morning long and even into the afternoon, the weather was nice but so very windy.

We made it to Ikea and we all ran in to use the restroom. Then we mazed around the store to find the restaurant. Yesterday was kids eat free but today was not-that is always our luck. That was fine though and most everyone had chicken and fries, Keaton had pasta and Reagan had meatballs like Robby and me.

We then went to the front of the store to start our shopping. I filled my buggy like I was on the game show Supermarket Sweep. Campbell, Keaton and Whitman did get to go to the playroom for a little bit. They did well in there-though big sister Campbell had to wipe her brother's bottom when he pottied. I am sure that her and Keaton were in the bathroom taking care of their brother.

I am sure that you are interested so here is what all we bought-3 sets of shelves for over the boys' beds, perler beads, a picture frame for each girl, napkins for Reagan's birthday party, a cheese grater like Shannon has, 3 plants, 2 silver containers and 1 wooden container for the plants, chip clips, cinnamon rolls, extension cord type things, tealight candles and a rug to replace the rug in our closet.

We then hopped in the car and headed on our way. We knew the weather was dicey in some spots so when Pops called telling us about a tornado ahead of us we started watching the weather. It went from sunny to dark and really scary in just a minute. We hurried to make it to Brinkley before running into the thunderstorm. We could tell on the radar that red and even heavier pink was about to be right above us.

By the time we made it to Brinkley, it was storming very well. We pulled off in a parking lot of a fast food restaurant. We debated going into the store but did stay in the car. Robby did hear that Brinkley had a tornado warning but he heard that just as the warning expired.

Now when we pulled off the road, waterworks began happening inside of the car as well. Campbell really wanted to be able to go to church tonight because her class was going "shopping" tonight. She finally pulled it together just about the time that we pulled out of the parking lot and headed back in the road.

The drive home was tough-for Robby and his navigator (me). Just as the rain would let up, it would become crazy heavy again. Robby wasn't really able to relax until we made it almost to church. I ran the big 4 into church and they were all happy to be there even though they were 15 minutes late.

Robby, Whitman, Keaton and I finished our trip with supper from Tacos 4 Life. Then we flew home and dropped off Robby and Keaton. Whitman and I jumped in Robby's car and headed back to church to pick everyone up.

Campbell was on cloud 9 because she had more bucks than anyone else in her class. She bought a huge bouncy ball, glowing teeth, and a bag full of candy. We made it home just about the time that Keaton and Robby had finished unloading the van.

Robby had cooked the others a pizza and it was ready just as we came in. The kids all had showers while we unpacked. Then they ate and helped us unpack. We pretty much have everything put away except a bazillion loads of laundry. By 9:30, the kids were in bed and I bet that we will be headed that way soon.

Ark Adventure-April 25, 2017

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We did have plans to go to bed pretty early last night and the kids did. Robby was just about to lay down when he had to get up and do a bit more work before he finally turned in. We all slept very well and at some point in the middle of the night, I woke up with Whitman in bed with us. I am not sure when he climbed in bed with us but I am just thankful that I didn’t knock him off in the middle of the night.

Everyone started stirring around 7 and started getting ready. I was the last one to get ready this morning but still finished in time to take the first crew to breakfast. The breakfast today was pretty much the same as yesterday’s breakfast so it was also a winner.

After loading up the van, we headed towards the Ark. We had a 45 minute drive before we arrived. The parking lot was a little busy and the line to board the bus was a bit confusing, but we didn’t have to wait too long before loading up on the bus.

While we were on the bus, we could catch glimpses of the ark. It was indeed pretty impressive. Once we left the bus, we took a few pictures outside the ark and then went towards the entrance.

From the looks of the queues, it would seem that the ark has lots of visitors occasionally. It was very crowded today but not nearly as crowded as they are prepared for. The inside of the ark was just as impressive as the outside.

There were two really neat movies that we watched along with an area about where Noah an his family lived during their time on the ark.  The place was pretty crowded and the Creation Museum was our favorite but stopping at the Ark was still worthwhile.

Walking through the massive boat was pretty overwhelming. It is hard to imagine Noah, his 3 sons and their wives being able to build the ark. They probably did hire out some help but still anything that massive, that long ago. Not only the size, but the thought that had to go into the ark-how to feed the animals, store water, repair cages and all of the things that would need to happen on the boat for so long. Pretty wild to think about.

After we disembarked, we headed to the gift shop-Robby bought the kids some candy and then it was to the petting zoo. My favorite memory of the day was when we were in the petting area. We were petting goats and Whitman was right between 3 of them. I was looking away but out of the corner of my eye I did catch Whitman hurrying out of the way. Then I heard him shout, “it pooped!” Yep, that goat pooped right on top of his shoes!

He didn’t stick around the goat section much longer and soon we were headed to the car. We drove just a few miles and found a little park for a picnic. The kids enjoyed playing in the park and I enjoyed eating my sandwich. At the park, Whitman told me that sometimes I get angry and sometimes Daddy gets angry. I asked him why Momma got angry and he said, "cause we un-bey you." Yep, that would be the reason!

After a bit of playtime, we were back in the car. We had about 45 minutes to drive before stopping. We found a neat ice cream stop, Crank and Boom in Lexington. It was a really neat place-so neat that everyone had 2 scoops of ice cream in a waffle cone. Whitman was asleep so he did miss out and Keaton couldn’t pick what ice cream she wanted so she ended up wiht a huge piece of cake. We did have to take out a small loan to pay for this dessert but it was well worth it-we just won’t eat supper tonight!

Afterwards, Robby ran to Walgreens to pick him up some medicine. He must have Graham’s cold and has himself a stuffy head. When he climbed back in the car, I decided I better run back into the store to pick up some candy for the kids-gotta keep them happy!

Then we were back on the road and were headed home-saddest part of a trip! We turned on a movie to pass the time and were soon crossing over back into Central Time Zone. On the Kentucky border, we found an eating place in Louisville-Double Dogs.

We ordered cheese dip and it came with some great pico de gallo which Robby and I both gobbled up. We ordered the kids pizza and chicken fingers. Robby chose and burger which was too salty and I took the server’s recommendation and ordered buffalo chicken mac and cheese. I ordered it with the mild sauce but gracious me, if that was mild sauce I would hate to taste the regular sauce. Robby agreed that it was spicy but he split his burger with me and took home my leftovers. We really should have just split a meal especially since we had cheese dip as well.

From there, we only had another hour or less to our hotel. We drove right to it-after the GPS took us to a gas station in the middle of nowhere. We unloaded into our room and after putting on pjs, everyone had a drink before bed.

Then we found everyone a spot to sleep and it will soon be lights out.

Ark Adventure-April 24, 2017

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We stirred a little bit this morning around 3 with Graham coughing. I got up to give him some water and then he soon went back to sleep quietly. Around 8, Anderson woke us up to tell us the time. We did soon get up but Robby told him that we had a bit more time to sleep and even though our picture this morning of us leaving said 10:00, it was really 9 Central Time so we were still pleased.

Today's breakfast will probably be the winner of the trip. Surprisingly though, the kids didn't eat as much as they did the day before. We still did leave with our bellies full and everyone was happy (me especially, since they had granola.)

Now, we only had a 5 minute drive to the Creation Museum but we somehow ended up going the wrong way leading us out of Indiana and into Ohio and back through Indiana and then finally into Kentucky. Whitman had been looking for dinosaurs and was pretty thrilled to see dinosaurs on the front gate of the Creation Museum.

The museum was very impressive. Our fist stop was a movie with a few special effects. Then we watched a show in the planetarium. The planetarium show was pretty neat and it showed us how vast our universe is. 

Next up was a walk through the museum part. This museum basically explains how the world began roughly 6000 years ago just as the Bible says and not millions or billions of years ago as current science suggest. It did a good job of demonstrating how your view on God's word affects your belief on creation. The museum had lots of reading but also showed lots of science to back up young earth creationism.

After we walked through the exhibits, we smelled the most delicious smell ever-warm fudge. Of course we had to stop and pick some up. We enjoyed most of our fudge and then walked through another area with tons of insect collections. Then it was back upstairs for another special effects movie.

We had almost finished but there were beautiful gardens out back that we walked through. There was a petting zoo, hanging bridge and floating bridge. We could have taken a lot of pictures in the gardens but wanted to hurry to watch a show back inside the museum. It was a singing, scientist, dinosaur creator, guitar playing man. He put on a little show and it was pretty good but it was nearing 4 and we had only eaten our hotel breakfast and fudge so we were hungry.

We snuck out and left the museum and drove towards our next stop-supper! Blue Ash Chili in Blue Ash, Ohio was high on everyone's agenda. The kids remembered it from last year and they could not wait to return. I do believe that cups and cups of cheese were calling their name. Robby thought he ordered them all hot dogs with cheese but he ended up ordering chili dogs with cheese. No one looked too excited but every single one of them were devoured and Robby had to buy 4 more for everyone. Keaton told us that next time we have hot dogs at home she wants chili on hers. 

Robby had a 5 way-spaghetti, chili, beans, cheese and fried jalapenos and I ate a lizard-a fried pickle in a hot dog bun covered with cheese and chili. All of our food was perfectly delicious. Next time we go maybe we can order the No Freakin Way which is 2.5 pounds of spaghetti, 2.5 pounds of chili, 2 pounds of cheese and a cup of fried jalapenos. The kids will be a bit older and will be able to help us devour the large meal.

From there, we were just a few minutes drive to our hotel. We checked in and then after we organized a few things, the kids put on their bathing suits and they went swimming. They had fun and everyone but Whitman and Graham swam the whole hour allotted to swim. The chlorine must have been pretty strong because everyone would climb out of the pool occasionally to wipe their eyes. Graham's eyes were really bothering him so he was ready to take a shower before the others. I had to eventually put drops in Anderson's eyes which he said hurt worse (I doubled checked and it was not the ear ache drops this time.) I did even hold Whitman down and managed to get drops in one of his eyes but it wasn't worth the effort to do his other eye.

After swimming, everyone showered. We had planned on doing laundry but there wasn't any there so instead we had a drink and finished off the fudge from this morning. After a bit of tv watching, the kids bedded down. Currently, the tv is still on but the plan is to have lights out at 9 (it is already 9:10 though). Tomorrow will be an early day-don't want the Ark to leave without us.

Ark Adventure-April 23, 2017

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We all slept fairly well last night. Robby did look at Graham once and Graham was awake. Robby guessed by light streaming in our hotel window that we only have about 15 minutes left to sleep and told Graham this. After they had both gotten up to go to the bathroom, Robby did glance at the clock to realize that it was just 4 so they had a good long while to sleep before waking up.

After that the first sound we heard this morning was Whitman saying, “good morning.” He cralwed into our bed and soon Campbell and Keaton were with us as well. Whitman did keep sitting up motioning for Anderson to join us but he wasn’t giving up his cozy spot just yet.

It didn’t take too long for everyone to find their clothes (pants today) and brush their teeth. My shower didn’t last long at all because this hotel shower was pretty sad. Then we all headed downstairs for breakfast. The breakfast room was about the size of this van but we managed to find seats and eat.

The main menu choices this morning were waffles, toast, yogurt and bagels. After we all ate, we went upstairs to load the cart and potty before climbing into the car. As soon as we stepped out of the door, we realized that it was a good call to wear pants today. The weather is a rainy, dreary, cold mess.

We usually have better weather luck on our trips but today we weren’t so fortunate. It rained our entire drive to Mammoth Cave. We only stopped once for Robby to run into the restroom. We passed our time this leg of the journey by listening to our book and playing ipads. Robby and I listened to some of the church service as he drove through the rainy mess.

The drive to Mammoth Cave was just so beautiful with the rain making the trees look extra green. We made it to Mammoth Cave around 11:30. The first stop was to pick up our tickets for our self guided tour. We also walked through the gift shop and the visitor center before heading down into the cave.

It was a short down hill walk through the light mist and dripping trees to the entrance of the cave. Mammoth Cave is the longest cave in the world which is pretty impressive but the area on our self guided tour wasn’t as impressive as Carlsbad Caverns. Whitman was pretty aprehensive but when I explained that there would be lights unlike our Cave City cave exploring, he was fine.  Keaton wanted to make sure that it wasn’t going to be as steep as our other cave.  I assured her and she immediately felt better as well.

We walked the loop in the cave and took time to ask a few questions to the rangers. Then we left-upon exiting the cave, you had to walk over a soapy mat so the bat disease that has affected the cave system will not spread. This was Whitman’s favorite part of the journey and when we were back in the visitor’s center, all he wanted to do was find the “wash”-it wasn’t on the map.

After the cave, we loaded up and drove around. The plan was to eat lunch in the car but that is just such a pain to make 8 sandwiches in my lap! Robby did find us a pavillion to eat in so the kids played as I made lunch. It was in the low 50s so our lunch wasn’t too long and then it was back on the road.

We drove on to Louisville and stopped at an ice cream stop, The Comfy Cow. Robby and I had read that their specialty was cookies and cream, our favorite. However, they didn’t have any today. Despite this, it was a neat little stop and a perfect spot to eat a $50 ice cream sundea or just 3 large scoops, which is what we had.

Robby and I had sea salt caramel which was decent. The kids had a peanut butter and also a chocolate chip. After licking the bowls clean, we hopped back in the car and headed to the hotel.

After Robby checked into the hotel and then we walked across the street to La Rosa’s pizza. It is a local chain and despite the restaurant needing a good cleaning, the food was really good. We had lasagna, pizza rolls, spaghetti and pizza. We pretty much cleaned up everything by the end of the meal.

Then we just walked right back across the parking lot to our hotel. Everyone stripped and found their pjs while waiting for the shower. Robby ran the clothes to the wash and we turned on the tv to see if we could find an interesting show.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to get the food network or even HGTV so we were stuck watching a Disney kiddie movie. And even worse, I became pretty interested in it. Everyone is currently watching the movie or playing on their ipads. I believe everyone will be headed to bed by 10 tonight.

Ark Adventure-April 22, 2017

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Robby and I went to bed this morning around 2 and it was storming so wonderfully outside. We felt pretty confident that maybe there wouldn’t be soccer this morning. We still had plenty to do before leaving for our trip and a morning off of soccer would help tremendously.

Around 6:30, Robby started staring at his phone waiting for the “no soccer” message but it never did come. A bit after 7, we started hurrying the kids along getting their soccer clothes on. The drive to the fields was a misty mess and so were the first 2 games.

The weather was not a deterrant to Keaton this morning. She hustled as fast as she could but the two other boys on her team were a bit faster (and a bit bigger) today. Keaton wasn’t able to score but her team did win by quite a bit.

Campbell’s turn was next and her team only lost by one point which was so much closer than last week. She hurried after that ball and had lots of fun. Now the boys had fun but they were no were close to winning. They played a boy that was on Anderson’s team last year and he is a superstar. I do believe that their score was 7-0. They hustled to the end and were eventually able to stop (or slow down) the superstar.

During one of the games, Whitman looked up at me and said, “I forgot my beary.” Poor thing, I had to reassure him that we would go home and get his beary before leaving. The mist stopped during Reagan’s game but the wind was still blowing and it was just down right cold during the games. Reagan scored 3 points and her team’s score was 9-0. She has a really fun group of girls on her team and they are all good players.

Before the end of the game, Robby was herding kids to the car at the end of Reagan’s game. I had to hurry with Reagan to the car so we weren’t left. We picked up pizza on the way home and speeded on back to the house.

At home, the girls showered first while the boys ate their pizza and then they switched places. Robby managed the showers and even had to sit down to do some work. I unloaded the car and started on the reloading. We moved pretty quickly and even were loaded in the car 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

We fought the rainy mist the entire drive and the dreary day made our drive to Memphis seem incredibly long. We drove and drove and drove.  At one time I thought that we might be driving in circles. After crossing the river, we did stop at a McDonalds for a potty break and snack. The kids ate nuggets, hamburgers, ice cream and slushies-that really sounds like more than a snack. After a bit of sitting at McDonalds, Whitman told us that he was ready to go to the hotel so we loaded up and headed that way.

Back in the car and we listened to our book for a while. The rain continued to be a misty mess but we passed the time with ipads, talking to Grannymom, talking to Pops and texting Candice and the Wilsons.

I am always amazed at the kids-getting into the hotel was incredibly easy. Keaton asked to help with laundry (none tonight) and then offered to unload the ice chest. Everyone put their shoes up and started getting their pjs and when Whitman walked into the room he started stripping. (Our usual hotel laundry routine is strip when you come in the room so we can get that laundry in the wash quickly.) Soon everyone were in their pjs, having something to drink, and watching ginormous food. (We probably shouldn’t watch this show because we are already planning another trip to go and eat a 48 inch pizza.)