March 25, 2017

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  • At 2 this morning the lights came back on. This usually wakes us up but tonight we also have some new something that sings a little song when the power is turned on-we aren't sure what made that noise but it was a pleasant wake up. Robby did the walk through turning off lights and making sure that everyone was still sleeping.
  • No one really stirred until after 8 this morning. Robby went to get doughnuts for breakfast and the boys were the only ones awake then. By the time he returned everyone but Keaton were awake.
  • Whitman went to sleep in his bed last night but we moved him to our room when the power went off because he was sleeping alone in his room since the boys were in the bonus room. I didn't want him to wake up in the middle of the night and be alone and in the pitch dark. So when he did wake up in our room, he came and told me, "I went to bed in my room and then I dreamed and I dreamed that I was in your room and then I was."
  • The kids devoured the doughnuts once Robby brought them home. They played inside for a good bit of the morning but then they headed outside to play. They did play inside some but were mostly outside.
  • The Wilsons came over at some point and we worked on adding letters to her new sign. I baked some potatoes and later in the afternoon they returned and we ate potatoes and corn (yes, two starches but we had cleaned the freezer earlier in the day and the pantry is getting low.)
  • Before lunch, which happened around 2 or 3, Robby and I moved every single piece of furniture in our living room except for the couch and the piano. I am pretty pleased with how things are looking. I do know that my garage sale money will be used for accessories for around here.
  • We worked on Shannon's next sign after lunch and spent some time on figuring out her cricut. At some point today, Tony stapled my 6 little signs that the girls and I made (they are the cutest little things).
  • Shannon ran home to clean out her fridge and bring over some food for supper and Robby found some pizzas and soon we were all eating supper along with an apple pie for dessert. I couldn't have been more excited because after finishing Shannon's project, we played my Ticket to Ride game, which I have been waiting to play since my birthday.
  • Robby was the winner of the game but the kids thought they were all winners because they stayed up well past 10 watching a movie and eating ice cream! They were some tired kids tonight and I am sure that they will be exhausted in the morning during church!

March 24, 2017

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  • Whitman slept fine last night and so did the rest of us. Graham was up at his regular time but without Anderson around this morning, I think that he was a little bit bored. He came in our room and laid down beside me long enough to ask if he could play the xbox. I told him that he could and he was off.
  • Later in the morning, I had already seen Reagan and even spoken to her but I went upstairs to do something and it looked like she was still laying in her sleeping bag. I walked closer to see who was laying down and discovered that that little stinker shoved pillows in her sleeping bag and then put an American Girl doll near the top with her dark hair sticking out so it would look like Reagan's hair. Hope that isn't a sign of things to come.
  • Campbell was outside in the driveway working on a craft/Christmas project with me (the year is a third over already so yes, working on Christmas is now acceptable.) She painted, I painted, Keaton woke up and stumbled outside and painted. We finished what we could do of her project and started on Reagan's project. She painted, I painted, it was a painting kind of day.
  • I did the laundry and that was about the only thing that did happen productive in this house today. The kids went outside to play with the neighbors and everyone stayed outside until 6ish or even later. 
  • Reagan and Campbell finished their projects and they are just absolutely adorable-I could probably even sell them. Robby spent his morning and afternoon and even some of the evening working on his workbench. He took everything out and cleaned it out. If you told him that you needed a 5/16th washer, a 2/20th drillbit, a spark plug and bicycle pedal he could run out there and grab it in seconds. (I did just make those things up but that whole area is cleaner than it has ever been.)
  • Once we finished his chore, we came inside to clean up before letting the kids come in. The neighbor is spending the night so my boys were pretty excited.  After everyone had showers, we sat down for quesadillas, rice and chips. The kids ate up and then had a few minutes to play.
  • After a bit, I pulled out the ice cream and everyone gobbled up a bowl full and enjoyed putting toppings on it. My Campbell loves her some sprinkles. Around 9, we let the boys start a Star Wars movie. The girls are upstairs watching it too but I doubt that will last too long. Whitman is down here watching a movie with me and Robby is watching the news in his office. 
  • My plan is to take Whitman to bed when his movie is over and then I may doze on the couch until it is grown up ice cream time!
  • As I was tucking Whitman in bed tonight, he told me that God and Jesus see us all of the time. I agreed. Then he added in disgust, "I want to go to heaven, not Hawaii, ugh."
  • Update: It's 12:45 a.m and the power is out. It went out around 11 just before the boys finished their movie so everyone was still up except Whitman. Lots of excitement and scrambling for flash lights. The boys watched the end of the Florida basketball game on Robby's phone. Then we all headed to bed. Boys are in the bonus room since neighbor kid is spending night. We ended up bringing Whitman to our room since he was in his room by himself - who knows when the lights will come on...estimated time is 6:00 a.m.

March 23, 2017

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  • Things were going splendidly last night until about 3:30 when Whitman joined us. Grahammy had brought him down because he was coughing. I pulled him next to us and the boy continued to cough. I told Robby that he could go upstairs and he soon did.
  • That baby coughed and coughed. We tried Anderson's breather but that didn't really help. We sat in the bathroom with the shower on hot to breathe in the steam but that didn't really help either. By this time though, I guess that he was too tired to cough any more. He put his head on me and fell asleep. 
  • I woke up right at 8:03 and called the doctor to make an appointment for him. I text our 10:00 appointment time to Robby and didn't know anything else until Robby was waking Whitman and me up at 9:30. We were out the door so fast that I left my phone at home but there was no news to report since Whitman just has a cold or possibly allergies.
  • He was awfully cute at the doctor's office. They measured him and then weighed him and that is when he shouted out, "Three years old." I guess he though that needed that for his chart.
  • When we came back everyone was stirring around the house and some were thinking about going outside. We did a few things here and then the Wilsons asked if we wanted to go out to eat. So soon the kids were at Grannymom's house and we were out the door.
  • The kids took Wilson for a walk, played on their ipads, went to the creek, played soccer, ate and had a great time. We went to eat at Monkey Burger and then walked around looking at RVs. Robby has his eye on one now! Then we went to Painted Tree and then on to Home Depot to buy some wood so Tony could make Shannon a bowl and me a sign.
  • Pops went to Grannymom's house to pick up Anderson and when we picked up the kids, we dropped off Anderson's bag. Then I loaded up a few things and headed to the Wilson's house to supervise Tony cutting my signs. They are now all cut and I can't wait to make them! I have even enlisted Reagan and Campbell's help but that will be tomorrow's project!
  • Robby let the kids play at our house until the neighbors had to go in and then our crew had showers. Afterwards, they came to the Wilson's house with ice cream to celebrate the making of the signs! We were out way too late but it was a pretty great day!

March 22, 2017

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  • The boys were pretty much up at 7 but I had no reason to get up early this morning. Campbell joined me in bed around 8ish and she did eventually go back to sleep. Soon Keaton and then Whitman joined us. We all stayed there for a few minutes until Whitman decided that he was starving.
  • Everyone found their breakfast and played their ipads for a bit. At 9:30, I told them that they had to work for 30 minutes on chores. Everyone was pretty agreeable since I made it clear that they would be done at 10, which is the time that the neighbors had planned on coming out. 
  • I kept my word and after 30 minutes of work, the kids were dismissed and out the door they all went. Soon the neighbors were all out and they played despite the chilliness in the air. Whitman started out playing outside but didn't last too long-he said that it was cold and came in.
  • The kids basically stayed outside from 10 until 5 today. They played basketball, ultimate frisbee, baseball and countless other games. Around 3, I did sent Whitman out again since the kids were back in our yard. He had been inside watching a movie this afternoon and coughed so much that it reminded me of the time that Anderson had his first asthma attack.  Once he was outside though, he didn't seem to cough too much.
  • I spent the afternoon finishing straightening the house and working on a few things around here. I did have to go outside at one point and tell the kids that the next time someone comes into the house to tattle one more time, then everyone is going to bed.
  • I had to call Reagan in to take a shower around 5 along with Keaton and Campbell. The little girls were getting to stay tonight but understood that they were too be my "kitchen help" and they were excellent kitchen help.
  • Reagan's friend, Grace, is moving to Florida so some of the girls got together tonight for a going away party. They had ice cream, a photo booth, made a picture with their fingerprints, played outside and even played a game inside.
  • The girls had a good time and so did the boys because they went out to Chick Fil A with Robby. Poor Whitman was coughing so much that he could hardly eat-so when he came home, he had a steamy shower and was put to bed (and is now sleeping soundly.) The boys came home before the girls left but they watched a few movies as the girls' friends left.
  • After everyone left, we picked up and then it was bedtime for my crew. I probably should have let them stay up a bit later than usual since it is still spring break, but I was tired!

Spring Break Trip 2017-March 21, 2017

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When we were ready this morning, Graham, Campbell and Whitman went downstairs with me to eat breakfast and Robby and the others were there very shortly. This morning’s breakfast was probably the best yet. It was my favorite because they had flavored bagels and strawberry cream cheese. I was also hoping that one of the kids tried an apple cinnamon waffle but there were no takers for that. The kids ate and ate-they actually ate so much at breakfast that I am questioning if we have to feed them for the rest of the day.

Loading up didn’t take anytime at all today and soon we were on our way to the Ft. Smith National Historic Site. We had left our parks pass at home so Robby had to pay admission for me and him. We watched the movie about the fort and Judge Parker. Then we walked around the exhibits-locking people in the jail was a favorite for my kiddos. They also had a replica of the courtroom and the the gallows outside that we walked through.

After stamping our books, we walked on the trail down by the river. We were able to see the Arkansas River and part of the Trail of Tears. The trail was .7 miles but you would have thought we had made Whitman walk 7 miles. Once back in the car, we all did have a drink to cool us off. The weather was warm but not nearly as warm as yesterday.

The kids watched a movie in the car as we headed home while I tried to read all of the magazines that I had brought to read on the trip and did not and worked on my list for this next week.We listened to our book for a bit and then we were near Russellville and you can’t just drive past Whataburger without stopping. So we stopped and all had our lunch-burgers and shakes for everyone. We did order way too many fries and brought them home to add to our last night’s leftovers.

Then Anderson picked the movie and we were zooming closer to home. I tried to convince Robby to stop a few different places on the way home but he didn’t take my suggestions-Arkansas Wine Trail, Tacos for Life in Conway, Buffalo River, anywhere-there is nothing sadder than the last day of a trip!

On the way down the road, the kids saw the neighbors so they were very anxious to help put everything up. I used that to my advantage and soon the car was unloaded and everything except for my bag and Robby’s bag had been emptied and put away. As soon as I said that we were done, they were out the door and down the street.

The kids then mostly stayed outside until nearly 7. They did come in for a little bit and worked on Lego movies but were soon back outside. The neighbor Dad and Mom did walk down for a bit-he played basketball with the kids and I visited. While they were here, we did talk about our March Madness brackets. He was trying to think of a specific team's name and Reagan was the one who was able to name the team that he was thinking about. I couldn't believe it-just doing those silly brackets has caused her to be more interested in the games.

The kids did come inside just as Shannon was arriving. They had their showers while Shannon and I looked through cookbooks and planned our freezer cooking day. Tony and Brett soon arrived and we all dug into the ice cream. The kids had multiple bowls full but we didn't since we are trying to watch our figures (or possibly because Robby had already put it back in the freezer.)

The Wilsons were around long enough for us to plan a few road trips and then they had to leave-it was nearly 11. We soon put the kids to bed and everyone seemed to be pretty happy to not be in a hotel. Even though they are in bed late, my crew will still probably be up early, early. We have only one thing to do tomorrow-clean the house so there is no reason to wake up early!

Spring Break Trip 2017-March 20, 2017

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We all slept great again last night-my people sleep better in a hotel than anywhere else. Robby and I always sleep better in hotels as well-possibly we need to invest in better bedding. Whenever Robby says the words “breakfast is closing in a bit” everyone always starts moving very quickly to put on their clothes. We were up early enough that breakfast wasn’t closing soon but his words still get everyone moving.  

Soon we were in the lobby grabbing breakfast. Most everyone had what they had eaten the day before-Keaton had toast, Whitman had yogurt and cereal, Anderson ate cereal and I am really not sure what everyone else had. I did have myself a bagel but they aren’t nearly as good without flavored cream cheese.

We then loaded up the car which is so much easier now that everyone can carry their own weight. Then we headed towards downtown Bartlesville. There was an old locomotive that you could climb in and we took full advantage of that. The kids climbed and posed picture after picture. As we were about to leave, we looked at the bell and wondered why they weren’t able to ring it. I went back up into the locomotive to see if I could ring it myself and indeed I could. I am sure that the townspeople wished that we had never figured that out because everyone then rang and rang that bell.

Our moms are coming here next week so we went to one of their planned stops-Keepsake Candles. We had heard that the kids could dip their own candles very reasonably priced. They all were able to dip a candle and so enjoyed that. Then we let tehm all pick a scented votive. It was a neat little place full of cute things.

Then it was on the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile. We just followed the cars and people-it seemed like most everyone in our hotel was going there this morning. We drove around the building once-on one and a half sides of the building there was a line of people waiting to get into the restaurant. Another line was half a block long waiting to grab something from the to-go area.  Eeek! That meant we weren’t eating there then.

Robby did drop me off and ran inside to look for the directions to the lodge. We had seen on their site that the lodge was open for visitors during spring break. I then went back outside to meet Robby and the kids on their way in. We browsed through the Mercantile and gracious me, I don’t think I have ever seen so many people in on place. It was craziness. There was neat things to see everywhere and I sure could have filled up a shopping basket but I don’t think my people could have waited while I joined the line of 50 or so waiting to check out.

We did venture upstairs where they have a neat little bakery. It was also crazy crowded. Robby tried to wait in line for a bit to get us a few treats but the line wasn’t moving at all. So we headed to the car and had a snack. Then it was on the Lodge, where the Pioneer Woman films her tv show.

It was quite a drive there-about 25 minutes and much of it down a gravel road. It was fine though because there were wild horses everywhere. We could also see smoke from grass fires. The ranchers burn the grass here so it will have more nutrients and less weeds for the cattle to graze on during the summer. We were able to see them lighting the fires, filling up their water trucks and spraying the fires. On the way out, we even saw Ladd driving by.

The Lodge was full of people looking around. It was a beautiful country lodge-huge kitchen table, tons of windows, massive fireplace-I could have stayed there. You were able to browse through bedrooms and everything. In the middle there was a huge pantry full of food and Pioneer Woman dishes. There was also an addition on the back with a huge industrial kitchen which I am sure has been added since her show began.  One bedroom even had some of her clothes and a table with all of Ree’s makeup. Dogs were laying around everywhere and Campbell was in heaven petting them. We walked around the back deck and enjoyed the beautiful view.

On the road leaving the Lodge was a BBQ stand so we stopped there for lunch. It was typical roadside food-delicious. The BBQ sauce did have tiny pieces of pickles chopped in it. It was all very good but it was a bit hot outside since it is well into the 80s. We devoured 4 huge sandwiches and 2 large containers of fries before getting back in the car, which has been starting wonderfully today.

We had to drive right through the fires on the way off of the Drummond Ranch. The fire was so hot that we could feel the heat in the car. We did drive back through the town to check out the lines at the Mercantile, which were not quite as long but long enough for the staff to have passed out umbrellas for everyone who was waiting in the sun to eat their lunch.

Pawhuska was the home of the first Boy Scout troop in America so we stopped at their little statue and let the kids play at a tiny park for a few minutes. Then it was back in the car for a quick stop at the gas station. Robby got gas and we all pottied before I drove on to Tulsa. We listened to our book, I ate my driving candy-candy that I save to eat when I am driving, Robby worked and Keaton slept.

In Tulsa, we stopped at Webber’s Root Beer stand. We had a root beer float, a frozen root beer float, a mug of root beer and a tiny hamburger that we all tasted. It was ridiculously prices but with the fun. We all crammed into the tiny eating area and after my crew sat down there were only 2 empty stools. It was pretty tight in there but that did provide plenty of ambiance.

We had another 2 hours to drive to the hotel after leaving the root beer stand so we all pottied before getting into the car. From there it was just 2 hours to Ft. Smith and we didn’t even have to stop. Campbell was asking for a bathroom by the time that we arrived and Robby took her and Keaton in to the hotel with him to check in.

Later Keaton was happy to report that not only were they able to use the restroom, they also had a cookie. Graham was quick to ask Robby why they all didn’t get a cookie. Robby replied that he tries not to advertise that he has a basketball team with him. I reminded him that we have more than a basketball team.

After we unloaded our stuff, Robby found a neat little restaurant for us to eat at tonight-Calico Country. It was Cracker Barrel-ish but the meal began with them bringing warm cinnamon rolls to the table. That is the way to start a meal! We ended up with leftover so we brought bag a doggie bag since tomorrow we will be heading home after seeing the National Park site here.

Once we went back to the hotel, the kids changed into their pjs and everyone had a bit of ipad time before bed. I think everyone had a good day. Anderson said that he was ready to go home (not sure what is wrong with him) but Whitman started crying when I told him that he we were going home tomorrow. He said that he wanted to stay in a hotel forever!

Spring Break Trip 2017-March 19, 2017

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Last night, we realized that it was awfully quiet in our room when the air conditioner wasn't on. We had never replaced Robby’s fan that he usually brings on trips so I suggested that he find a white noise app. He searched and searched for a decent sound and finally ended up with noise that sounded like rain falling...or possibly baking frying. I am sure that Reagan was a bit disappointed when she woke up and discovered that we were not actually cooking bacon in the room.

Robby and I were in bed a bit later than everyone else since we did do a load of laundry-why not? Around 8:30 this morning I realized that Robby was already awake and in the bathroom. Before I knew it, Whitman and Keaton were climbing in bed with me. They were wide awake for a good long while before anyone else woke up. Reagan and Anderson were my last two to wake up.

Everyone quickly put their clothes on this morning-it is surprising how quickly the kids get back into the traveling routine. They put their pjs in their bags and brushed their teeth mostly without being asked. Then it was down to breakfast. My people loaded up-sausage, eggs, toast, waffles, bagels, cereal-we ate almost as much as we did yesterday at the Wilson’s campsite.

After we ate, we all returned to the room to grab our bags and then we were in the car. We drove by one Walmart to possibly drop off the car which hesitates to start. The line was pretty crazy so we decided that we would risk it for a bit longer. We thought about listening to church but had already missed some so we turned on our book on tape.

Once we passed through the Duggar’s town, Tonitown, we did stop at a Walmart for them to check the car battery. I believe that they were able to get right to the car but it still took a good long while.We walked around and walked around. This Walmart was nicer than ours and had many, many more things to look at so we did look like we had never been to a Walmart before.

After about an hour and a half of walking around, we did head to the McDonald's at the front. Robby bought nuggets and then cookies for us to eat as we shared a drink. Robby would check on the car occasionally as I played a never ending game with the kids. Almost 3 hours after we arrived, we did leave with a brand new battery. Kind of odd to get 2 bad batteries in just a few months but hopefully this will solve the problem.

Soon we were in Oklahoma and zooming down a toll road. The kids turned on their ipads and I passed out snacks to hold us over until tonight’s supper. It wasn’t too long until we were in Bartlesville. We were able to meet my suite mate from college and her family. They had a tall tower that the kids enjoyed climbing up and then we walked down to a neat playground. The kids played and threw the ball a bit.

Let’s just take a minute to discuss this Oklahoma wind. I have heard people talk about it but it was craziness. If we had been at home, the tornado sirens would have probably have gone off. Ha! It was crazy windy and I am sure that all of the pictures show a bunch of crazy haired people in them. Around 5, we headed to our hotel and turned on the Hog game.

Robby ran to pick up pizza and we ate as we watched some of the game. Whitman didn’t watch much of the game but did watch his movies. Keaton and Campbell didn’t watch the game either and instead they played something. I am not sure what but they did straighten our shoes, clean off a table and turned off the lights in our room-I guess they were playing hotel maid.

We gobbled up the pizza during the game and my crew was still crazy happy at the end of the game (well, except for Graham who had the Hogs winning it all on his bracket). They were all happy because everyone was getting to go swimming. This was the first time they had swam in a while so we made sure everyone remembered everything-4 big ones did, Whitman didn’t miss a beat with his life jacket on but Keaton had forgotten her swimming skills but was fine once we put her floatees on here, which stayed on her the rest of the time.

The kids swam and swam-they raced, they jumped, they squealed, they soaked in the hot tub, they had a ball. I took Whitman and Keaton back a few minutes before everyone else so we could get the showers started. Then Robby and the others came back. After showers, Robby did laundry with Keaton and Campbell and most everyone had hot chocolate before watching a bit of tv, reading a few chapters in Psalms for Reagan, which Whitman fell asleep during, and then it was sweet bedtime!