November 30, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

  • When Robby and I went to bed at 1 last night, I knew that I wouldn't wake up in time to exercise but I had at least hoped that I would be awake before some of the kids woke up.  I did barely manage that-I had only made it to brushing my teeth when in popped Whitman.  As he came into the room, he spread his arms proudly as if to say "here I am" and "look at me."  Robby has a new top that he is going to put on the top of the pack n play tonight so that might help things some.
  • Whitman did again wake everyone up so that was one less trip of the steps.  He had our breakfast-cereal which is probably not the best breakfast food to have on a Monday morning.  By lunch time, there was enough cereal spread throughout the floor of my house to feed a small third world country.  
  • School went about as well as could be expected.  The boys ended up loosing their kindles and movie privileges for the afternoon.  If I told them to get to work one time, I told them a zillion times.  Everyone did finally redeem themselves by finishing their work before lunch (well mostly).  
  • Lunch and then Campbell and I made jello.  And can you believe that we somehow messed up the jello?  I have made jello before but for some reason it sure didn't set today-that was okay since we ended up putting it in the fridge and supplementing our dessert with leftover cupcakes from Thanksgiving.
  • The kids played outside for a bit this afternoon.  Keaton did have a complete meltdown when she fell and her pantyhose became wet.  I told her that she needed to put on warm pants but this did not set well with her at all-like imagine 30 minutes of screaming!  But just as soon as she became upset, she was done and went back outside wearing her long pants.
  • Robby came home with supper-chicken wings.  We all ate them up and then after a few rounds of duck, duck, goose by the kids upstairs, they are all sitting in the living room with us watching Frosty the Snowman.
  • Oh and I am kidding about the top on the pack n play.  A 2 year old running around the house in the wee morning just makes things exciting!

November 29, 2015

Celebrating Aunt Dana's Birthday!

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  • "Hello Momma!" was what Whitman shouted at me this morning when he busted out of his room and into our room.  At least it was after 7 but I am beginning to doubt our parenting skills with this one.  I guess we are just tired and worn out-I am even considering buying him one of those backpack leashes for Christmas!
  • Soon everyone was awake thanks to Whitman.  Then when everyone came back to my room, he looked around and didn't see Reagan so back up the steps he went to make sure that she was indeed coming down.  I guess he at least saved me a trip.  
  • Putting on Sunday clothes was fairly uneventful today-I did have to change Graham's shirt 3 different times as we were walking out of the door.  For some reason every shirt that I would pick out for him was way too big.  I am going to have to go back and relook at his shirts-I do not know what has happened because those shirts were all his normal size, maybe he just lost some weight over Thanksgiving (that did not happen!)
  • Church today-the kids had a going away party for the children's minister during Sunday school.  Robby and I kept the baby babies.  We had started off in Whitman's room but were moved to another class.  Initially, we were going to leave Whitman in his room but his little face-he was about to fall apart so I just brought my baby along.  He did really well and busied himself playing with all of the baby toys.
  • After church we celebrated Dana's birthday at Grannymom's house.  The kids played a board game after we ate and then we headed home for the afternoon.  The afternoon started off splendidly with Whitman napping upstairs and then he climbed out of bed one, two, three and four times.  After a few tears, he did not climb out after the fourth time and went on to sleep (and so did I.)
  • For supper, Robby made grilled cheese sandwiches and we have had a pretty restful evening.  It has been a few weeks since our ice cream truck has come and even though we are nearly out of goodies, the kids still had plenty to pick from and enjoyed the treat.  Then it was a few more movies while Robby and I played around on our computers (he is probably doing his real work and I am working on this and the master list of this week-my favorite thing about Sunday nights)

November 28, 2015

Sneaking some cereal!

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  • I guess since the kids have been inside of the house since Wednesday night, they were pretty wound up today and that started before 8 this morning.  I am not sure when that magic age is that they sleep all morning long or stop following you around asking question after question but it is not 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, or 10.  (And yes, I know that someday I will wish that my house would again be full of little people following me around asking questions)
  • We decided that we should end the Thanksgiving holiday the right way-with Krispy Kreme for breakfast.  Everyone rode with Robby to pick up the doughnuts and I worked on laundry, dishes and started on the tree.  
  • The kids all ate and then they helped me with my tree for a little bit.  I was able to get all 200+ ornaments on the tree this year and that made me very happy.  As I put the ornaments on, I would say the name of the place they were from or giggle about something that happened on the trip-most people would have thought that I was crazy.
  • After a bit, the kids started watching a movie and of course we had a few kiddos cause problems.  I went upstairs to see what was happening and then sent Graham to find his daddy.  Robby and I were working in an attic and Graham was told to lay on his bed.  After a while, Robby turned to Graham and said "can you go watch the movie and be perfect?"  Graham answered back "no, sir."  Robby countered with "99 percent of the time?" to which Graham replied "90 percent?"  Robby was able to negotiate him up to being perfect 92 percent of the time.  (This is why my hair is turning grey!)
  • Next up was lunch-breakfast burritos followed by the last redbox movie of the weekend.  The kids watched this one while Whitman, Robby and I took a nap.  Actually, we tried to nap but it didn't happen at all-maybe tomorrow!
  • Around 5, we loaded up for supper at the new pizza place-Pie Five.  Last time we had tried to go there is when Robby forgot his wallet and we had to turn around to go fetch money.  It was lost of fun and my pizza was perfect-bbq chicken, sun dried tomatoes, pineapple-delicious!  We all pretty much cleaned our pizza pans. 
  • Then the kids and Robby walked to Kroger and drove the car over there.  We picked up a few necessities-popcorn, hot chocolate, a pan scraper-and a few other things like milk, cheese and cereal.  Then it was home for pajamas and bed for the crew.  The poor girls got themselves into trouble tonight-my boys go to sleep perfectly but gracious those girls can not seem to lay down and quietly go to sleep for anything!

November 27, 2015

Movie time after a hard day of decorating!

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  • I do believe that my people slept for a good long time today and it was pleasant to wake up with the rain pitter pattering on the window.  The kids played their kindles some but did finally come to urge us to get out of bed when they started to get hungry.
  • Our Whitman did let himself out of his bed and came out of the school room this morning again.  I guess that he is now into the pattern and will continue to do this until we move him upstairs to a real crib.  I know that many almost 3 year olds are being moved to a big boy bed at about this time and not transitioning into a room with their brothers and into a crib.  But seriously, I am going to keep that boy caged us as long as I can!
  • Breakfast was cereal for some and pop tarts for others.  While the kids were still eating, Robby started pulling out Christmas bins.  After I brought a few things downstairs and we organized a bit, we began to put up the kids trees.  
  • Since this was the first year that we have had a boys and girls room, this was also the first year that we had two trees for them.  The one in the boys room is the one that we have had for a while for the kids but the one in the girls room is the one that we acquired last year.  The neighbors had set this tree outside on the curb last year and we snatched it up.  I did have to cut every single prelit light off of the tree which took a long while but the tree is perfect (maybe even a tad on the big side)
  • The boys were so happy to pick the train ornament for Whitman to see on their tree and Reagan had to have her tree just perfect (I do not know where she gets her perfectionism! Ha, she gets it from me but at least I have mine under control-she does not!)  Their trees do look really, really cute though.
  • That brought us to basketball game time and we watched the game and at halftime Grannymom and Grandpa came over with some of their leftover carpet for our attics.  They stayed and watched the rest of the basketball game.  
  • Then we started to watch the football game.  We fixed lunch for the kids and then Robby worked on some of the carpet laying and took a nap!  After the game, we did some more work and then Robby took half of the kids to pick up a movie and do a bit of shopping at Dollar General-the closest store to us.
  • While they were gone, Reagan and I finished putting up the living room tree.  After Robby came home, the kids all watched 2 movies while we fed them supper and put lights on our tree as well as cleaned up some.  (There is still plenty to do around here-hang the ornaments, hang pictures in the boys room, hang Christmas pictures, hang pictures in the bonus room, dishes, laundry and a zillion other things but we have all day tomorrow to do a few things off of the list)
  • Our tree is taking shape-we did put new lights on it this year and they are very, very bright-almost blinding!  Robby has already decided that he will not be using them next year but I think they might just grow on him some.  I have put my 13 new Christmas ornaments on the tree and now just will have to hang the others tomorrow.
  • The kids are in bed with their Christmas trees shining away and hopefully they will all sleep well.  I know that we will on this rainy night!

November 26, 2015: Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • The kids were ready to begin Thanksgiving Day early this morning.  We heard the kids upstairs working on their bedroom.  The girls are right above us and they were very busy stomping around getting their room perfectly straight for our Thanksgiving company.
  • It didn't take the boys too long to straighten their room (they really didn't) and Graham was downstairs at 7:15ish asking me when I was getting up and when breakfast was. Seriously, he was worried about breakfast on Thanksgiving day.  I had no concerns that there would be plenty of food today for him to eat.  
  • Robby headed outside to work in the yard this morning-he was able to move all of the wood chips so that is one less thing for us to do later this week...except it is going to rain so we won't be able to work in the yard (golly gee!)  Meanwhile, I worked inside doing some last minute straightening and getting everything ready.  The kids helped me some but spent most of the morning watching the Macy's parade.  At one point, I heard everyone screaming and looked into the living room to see what was the matter and Thomas the Train was one of the balloons in the parade and no one wanted for Whitman to miss it.
  • Everyone started to arrive around 11 and by noon we were digging into our Thanksgiving feast-lots of things to be thankful for this year and lots of food on our table: turkey, ham, dressing, deviled eggs, cranberry salad, green salad, black eyed pea salad, green beans, hashbrown casserole, corn casserole, sweet potato casserole and I am sure that there were quite a few other things that I can not remember.  And the desserts were just as plentiful: banana bread, pumpkin bread, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, pineapple upside down cake, pilgrim hat cookies, turkey cookies, coconut cake and cornflake cookies.  Again, I am sure that I missed something but I sure sampled it all on my plate!
  • After we had finished eating, we watched some of the Hogs basketball game as the kids played and then the kids and Grannymom played a few rounds of bingo.  She had prizes and everyone played until the won and who won the most?  My lucky girl-Keaton.  Robby had mentioned taking her to buy some lottery tickets but I guess we can do that tomorrow.  Hopefully her luck will not have rubbed off. 
  • The kids watched a movie after the game and the grownups read and re-read the sale papers and planned our attack for the stores later in the evening.  Kidding, no one went shopping but I did do some shopping online tonight and have a bit more to do after I finish the blog.  
  • Around supper time we started pulling out all of the goodies again and started having supper.  The kids were not hungry since they had snacked on their bingo winnings and the cookies that were left out all afternoon long.  
  • It didn't take too long for us to clean up the kitchen and then all of our guests headed home and then all of us picked up the house, the kids had showers and then after a bit it was bedtime!

November 25, 2015

Pre-Thanksgiving Baking!

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  • Last night before I went to bed, I wrote out chores for each kid.  Their lists were a bit long (10-12 items) but did contain things like brush teeth and put on clothes.  We were not doing school so I had imagined a bit of a leisurely morning but at 7:01 I heard Graham tromping through my room carrying 2 trash bags behind him on his way to start emptying the trash cans.  Anderson could be heard on the other side of the house working on his trash cans.  
  • By 8, most of the chores on the kids lists had been accomplished.  The only ones that were left were the ones that they needed me to help with.  I had also written out my list of chores and one of those included taking pictures of the kids with the items that they would take on the Mayflower.  They had given their little report last week with the homeschool buddies but I had neglected to take their pictures so today that was on my list.
  • Last night, Reagan and I both went to bed pleased that we had already made her cupcakes but today when we started to make the icing to top them, we looked at the recipe and quickly realized that we did not follow the directions closely enough and the topping was supposed to be baked on the cupcakes.  I tried to think of somehow to add the topping to our already baked cupcakes but finally just decided to start from scratch.  We were able to quickly make those cupcakes and made them correctly.  I do believe that Reagan is very happy with her Thanksgiving contribution.
  • Campbell made lunch for us-popcorn, the first batch of Reagan's cupcakes, a cheese stick, fruit, chips and I do believe that there was one semi-nutritious item as well but I do not remember what it was.  I was going to help her add a few more nutritional choices to her "snacky lunch" that she was making but I figured that since we were going to see Beebee and they were going to fill their tummys with candy, there was no reason is eating healthy for lunch.
  • We filled the van up with gas and then went to see Beebee.  She was eating lunch but was still happy to see us.  The kids stood around the table and some of them spoke to Beebee's table mates.  Going to see Beebee is not Campbell's thing at all.  Now Reagan, Anderson and Graham try their hardest to talk and listen.  Keaton busys herself with the candy but now, Whitman, he will talk to anyone that comes up to him.  And by talk, I mean jabber about Thomas or Mickey Mouse.  I am sure that my crew helped entertain the lunch crowd today!
  • After a quick stop to the library, we went to Grannymom's house.  The kids stayed there while I ran to the doctor so he could add some refills to my prescriptions.  I never have to wait long there and was soon picking up the kiddos. They were not too happy to see me!  
  • We then met Robby and picked him up on our way to the Shack.  The church has a ministry place and we took some canned food and crackers for them to hand out.  The kids had spent their money to buy some things for there last week and were pretty proud to drop it off.  
  • Next up was a stop at the bank for me to cash in some bonds that I had received when I was little.  It took a while even though I had less than 10 to deposit.  The kids should be happy because that money paid for their new beds!  
  • Then we picked up pizza and ate at Nonna and Pops' house (this was the day of grandparents-saw all 5) and also loaded up Pops' wheelbarrow before heading home.  We completely filled up my lacking flower beds with sawdust/wood chips/dirt from the stump removal.  It was dark when we started so we were only able to move one pile of wood chips but we were also able to roll the logs that were near the house to down near the others ones.  After we were done, Reagan asked "did we do all of that because people were coming over tomorrow?"  I told her that yes, we did because we wanted things to look nice but no, we also did it because we needed to move that stuff and we had a bit of time tonight.
  • The kids had showers next and then we all had a bit of downtime before bedtime for them.  Robby and I then made/ate cookies for tomorrow's Thanksgiving shindig.

November 24, 2015

Beautiful Fall Day to Be Outside!

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  • Thankfully everyone slept very well last night and we woke up to the sounds of my alarm trying to wake me up over and over again.  I try to be good and wake up early but I am just starting to like staying in my warm bed...until the minute the heat kicks on.  It must blow right on me and there is no escape to the suffocating, hot air.  If the heat would be on each time my alarm clock rings, I would jump out of bed.
  • We had breakfast-yesterday we ate doughnuts because we missed them on Sunday and that was okay with the kids.  So today, I pulled out cereal, which was Monday's missed menu item, but it did not go very well with the kids at all.  Everyone finally picked out their cereal and started to eat.  Though before I knew what was happening, people with bowls full of cereal were all around this house.  Thankfully the mess was contained in the kitchen-Whitman threw everything out of his cereal bowl onto the floor.  And of course, I had just finished sweeping the kitchen.
  • We finished school in time for us to load up and head to Tammy's place so Campbell and I could get our hair cut.  Robby met us there and he walked the kids over to McDonalds to eat and then we joined them to have our lunch.  
  • Once we made it home, we had a few minutes of time to play and then Lilli and Cash came over.  The kids all played outside for most of the time that they were here.  My boys really had the xbox on their mind (can we say obsessed) so they were really glad when Cash finally said that he would play it for a bit.  There was a bit of excitement when Graham was accidentally hit by a stick.  After he was cleaned up, he quickly showed everyone that he had lost a tooth in the episode (he had not and was just teasing them.)
  • After a bit of play time, we met Dana and dropped off L and C and then headed home for showers, supper and straightening.  We did have a few minutes to make a little pumpkin craft for the kitchen table on Thursday and then it was time for bed.
  • This morning Reagan said that Campbell and Keaton needed some music or something to calm down at night and I reminded her that we would play the same cd when she was a baby and even all the way until when Campbell was little.  We would play that cd every single night, even on trips and even in different rooms when he had a boy and girl room.  I told Reagan that I believed that she would still probably fall sound asleep immediately if she heard it.  Well, tonight that cd is upstairs playing so hopefully my little wiggle worm girls will quickly fall asleep.     

November 23, 2015

Friendly Game of Chess!

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  • Around 1 this morning, Campbell came into our room and told me that she was scared.  I asked why and then she said that she was afraid that a man was going to get her, Keaton and Reagan.  Well after I made her a pallet, she went right back to sleep but I sure did not!
  • And then around 3, Graham came into our room-he had gotten sick.  I cleaned up and got him situated and then stayed awake until he had gone back to sleep.  Earlier when Campbell had come into the room I set my alarm clock back a little bit but then when Graham came in our room, I just turned that thing off completely.
  • We all did finally sleep well and my Graham must have felt pretty rough because he slept until after 8:30 this morning.  I don't know if it was a bit of a tummy bug or due to the drainage that he has going on right now.  I guess that if it is the tummy bug we will find out tonight if someone else gets sickly.  
  • Graham moved pretty slow most of the morning so I let him hang out in my bed and do little school work.  I am sure that the fact that the he was having to do little school work was not missed by him and this probably caused him to stay quiet and still a bit longer.  He ended the morning feeling better and finishing over half of his school work before playing a game of chess with his brother.
  • Whenever Keaton is home during school, it is a battle to get Campbell to do any school but I have just learned to be relaxed about the whole thing and just let her get to it when she can.  She still finishes everything but just not quickly or not exactly when I want for it to happen.  Today I walked in on them putting on a puppet show for Reagan who had been quietly doing her school work in the living room.
  • Everyone ate a good lunch while I read and then we started on chores.  Graham walked back to my bed after lunch and I am sure that he thought this would get him out of chores-and it did.  He started bothering people as they were trying to work in my room and I reminded him that he felt good enough to pester people then he felt good enough to work-that quickly ended that.
  • This afternoon the girls went upstairs and put the new shelf in their room to good use-they turned it into a doll house.  I sent Robby a picture of this and he double checked to make sure that we do have a doll house and indeed we do but I guess the shelf provided much more room.  They were playing doll house all over their room and no, not a single sole was using the real doll house.
  • The boys spent the afternoon playing on the xbox and soon after Robby arrived home our lasagna was heated up and we all ate.  We let the kids stay up for a while doing their own things after showers and everyone did pretty good-they took turns on the xbox, ate candy and played more doll house.  Whitman has spent his time today watching Mickey Mouse on his kindle-he has watched his fair share of Thomas but seeing him watch something else is just plain odd.  
  • Haircuts tomorrow for Campbell and I so that is excited (to us anyway) and then we will begin our Thanksgiving break!

November 22, 2015

Celebrating Thanksgiving at Geyer!

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  • Our early morning guy woke up at Pops' house so the rest of the kids slept and slept until we had to wake them up for church.  We had to be there a bit early for Robby so that left the kids eating breakfast in the car.  They didn't mind though since that meant that breakfast was pop tarts.
  • Reagan was already in the game room since she came early with Grannymom and Graham and Nonna were there early as well since Pops was also there for Lord's Supper practice.  We played in the game room for a minute and then started dropping things off.  
  • Today, I had packed a huge bag full of different bags and things to take and deliver at church.  I promise that they weighed at least 50 pounds.  Here is the list of what we carried into/out of church today: present for Children's home, toys for Operation Christmas, Whitman's diaper bag, my church bag (containing 6 Bibles), my Sunday school bag, Reagan's bag from Grannyom's house and a bag full of things to return that were left at my house this past week (hat, sippy cup, Olaf, spoon, bowl))  No wonder Sundays make us so tired.
  • Nonna and Pops had lunch for us-sandwiches, fruit and key lime pie.  They also had cookies that Graham had made at their house the night before.  The cookies were good but Anderson went to town eating that pie.  After a bit of playtime, we headed home for blessed Sunday afternoon naps.  The kids watched a few movies and did a bit of fighting but overall the afternoon was pleasant.
  • Then we loaded back up and headed back to church for the Thanksgiving meal.  It has been a while since we have had Thanksgiving supper and it was much fun eating in a room full off 500+ folks.  We were able to eat at tables by Grannymom, Grandpa, Nonna and Pops.  
  • After supper, we moved into the sanctuary for worship and then on home for a bit of clean up time and then a sip of coke before bed!  I think that my kiddos are pretty tired after our busy day.

November 21, 2015

Off to Nonna and Pops for a night away!

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  • Saturday morning and of course my boys quickly found their kindles and started playing away. They are a bit more animated on Saturday mornings than usual and we are a bit less animated than usual.
  • By the time Robby was working on breakfast (breakfast burritos) I was helping Graham finish his packing and checking to make sure that Reagan had everything herself.  She was going to Grannymom's house for the night and Graham was going to Nonna's house.  
  • Pops was pretty excited about getting Graham for the day so as soon as breakfast was over, he was here to take him shopping.  They were working on finding Christmas gift options for G and I am sure that he found a plethora of items.
  • Campbell told Grannymom and me this morning that all she wanted for Christmas was a phone.  Seriously, the child will not be getting a phone for a good many years.  I did tell her that the only people she would be allowed to call would be her dad, Grannymom and Nonna and she can call them anytime she wants on my phone.  So the child began to call anyone that I would let her.  
  • The stump man came today and ground up 4 stumps so now just to get the trees removed.  We have at least 3 people who have said they would like the wood so now it is first come first serve!  
  • Grandpa worked on adding an outlet in the girls room to help hide some of their cords but the busiest room in the house was the kitchen today-breakfast burritos, energy bars (glorified oatmeal cookies made by the kids-it was a recipe from Anderson's reading book), shelling our pecans from a few weeks ago and 9 loaves of pumpkin bread.
  • Since the kitchen had been so busy today, we thought that we would give that room a rest.  We loaded up and headed to go and eat at a new pizza place Todd had talked about last night.  Everyone was really excited about this and after driving all of the way there, we started to unbuckled and Robby realized that he didn't have his wallet.  Mine was in my car and we dug all around his car looking for anything-cards, cash, change-so we could go and eat.
  • But alas, there was nothing so we headed home.  Robby and Campbell took this the hardest but once we made it home, we grabbed our cash and headed to in the complete opposite direction to grab something to eat.
  • We ended up at the new Tropical Smoothie.  The food was fine but they had a bench just like the one that I want for my kitchen and the chairs were perfect also (wrong color though).  I guess I should use the wood from the downed trees outside and build myself a bench.  I had always thought that maybe I would wait on my bench for when I redid the kitchen but that might just be when the last kiddo has left college and by then I may not want a bench at all (my wheelchair may not fit at it!)
  • Once at home, we watched the first half of the game and then we put everyone in bed....except Anderson.  He did put on his pjs, go to the girls' room for prayer time and walk to his room.  But then as Robby was kissing the girls goodnight, I shooed Anderson downstairs and closed his bedroom door.  That boy was so excited to get to come back downstairs to watch the game.  He is definitely keeping us entertained.
  • Robby had said that he wouldn't pull out our heater for the living room this year because our electric bill was pretty high last year due to that heater but after he walked into the cold living room tonight, he went right up to the attic.  Reagan will be the most happiest about this because she is the one who usually just sits by the heater during school.  Though I may take her spot in a little bit-maybe with some hot chocolate!

November 20, 2015

Making smores around the fire pit!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Of course my Graham was the first one up this morning, he always is.  But this morning, I woke Whitman up so he could help Graham wake everyone up for breakfast.  He ran from bed to bed waking everyone up and as soon as they were awake, he started shouting at them to "come on, come on."
  • We finally did get everyone downstairs and had our breakfast.  Then it was time to start school.  And really, school went fairly well today.  My biggest battle during the day is people being kind-I have one child, bless them, who is quick to use a hateful tone with everyone.  This always causes quite a commotion and their unkind words is like a spark that just sets a fire causing everyone else to become angry.  
  • We did get through that and school carried on pretty well.  We had our lunch and then started on chores and that is when things again fell apart again.  The boys and Campbell and Keaton were folding the laundry and I had just left the room after asking them to stop fooling around and as soon as I made it back into the kitchen, they were all screaming and yelling.  That is when I finally had had enough and told them no screen time this afternoon-you would have thought that I had taken water or air away from Reagan.  Gracious me! 
  • But after a bit of a rocky morning and a really rocky early afternoon, the later part of the afternoon was calm and pretty good.  The kids helped me make some food for tonight, Reagan worked on her scrapbook and they even had time to go and play outside while Robby was working.
  • The McGuires and Penningtons came over for supper tonight.  The kids had a great time playing and the adults seemed to enjoy the food: Pop's pork tenderloin, au gratin potatoes, corn casserole, bread, brownies, apple pie (my first time to make one) and most fun of all was s'mores.  Robby used the fire pit and everyone enjoyed making the s'mores-we really should use that fire pit more often.  A good evening was had by all and when they all left, the kids and us went to work cleaning up.  
  • Everyone even had time to shower before bedtime.  Two kids are headed to grandparents tomorrow so everyone is excited!

November 19, 2015

Homeschool Day!

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  • Unfortunately I didn't wake up as early as I had planned (the theme of this week) so it was around 8 when we started on breakfast (about 30-40 minutes later than usual).  Keaton was around for a bit of breakfast but had to finish it in the car.
  • She was pretty excited about her day at school today since it was their Thanksgiving feast day.  She told me all about how everyone brought something for the party.  I heard what most everyone brought but I only remember that Cannon brought the turkey.  I was the first to sign up so I quickly snatched the easy cheese cubes to bring.
  • Back at home, the rest of us worked on our chores.  The kids also practiced their reports before working on a school box.  This morning before everyone arrived, I sat down for a little bit and thought that last year I would have had everyone do chores, then work on their school before trying to do our work together time before everyone arrived on a day like today.  Maybe I have relaxed a bit or maybe I am just becoming lazy.
  • Around 10 everyone started showing up for our Mayflower day.  (When Campbell was picking out a shirt this morning, she told me that she was looking for one that had a boat on it or one that had flowers on it.)  The Heltz, Skinners, Kamps, Stotts and Powells were all here and Jodee was in charge today.  The first activity was watching a movie about the pilgrims and then we divided into teams for the kids to answer questions from the movie.
  • Then we had lunch (my first time to make Taco soup-I think that it might be a new go-to for us).  The girls had brought all of the fixings including the most wonderful brownie/cookie bar that I had eaten.  Next up, the kids did their little reports.  Everyone told what 3 items that would bring on the Mayflower.
  • The Dennie kids said-Keaton: baby doll, blanket and bag (to put stuff in). Campbell: water bottle, Bible and bag of biscuits (to make some sandwiches). Graham: fishing pole, saw and cooking pot. Anderson: ax, hammer and nails and wooden toy boat.  Reagan: journal, cornhusk doll (to play with), pumpkin (to eat and then plant the seeds).  
  • I didn't get any pictures of the kids today because I was dealing with my Whitman. I don't think that he really feels all that great still and today it showed-he was incredibly fussy and only seemed to be happy if he was outside playing in the dirt pile.  I briefly thought about calling in a grandma for reinforcement!  After most folks had left, the little guy fell asleep on the couch while watching his Thomas again.  
  • The Kamps stayed until almost 4 and when they left we quickly finished picking up and the kids had a few minutes to watch tv before Robby came home and we loaded up to go and look at the Wilson's Christmas lights.  We oohed and aahed over their lights and then tromped through their house checking out their Christmas decorations.  
  • Then it was home for supper and after supper the kids took turns in the shower while Robby and I put together 2 new shelves for the girls room.  We took one shelf from their room and put it in my laundry room closet which greatly neatens that closet up.  
  • After we cleaned up some of our mess (the rest is left to clean up) the kids all went to bed and we sat on the couch to watch a bit of tv before bedtime.

November 18, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Wednesday morning and we were up in time to do a few chores before heading off to Bible study.  This was a big day since it was the day to bring the Christmas child shoeboxes.  I thought that 3 boxes was pretty good but the way the kids fussed and fought about carrying the boxes in might mean that I will need to do a few more next year.  
  • During Bible study the kids are all practicing for the Christmas performance and the word is that Whitman's class is indeed going to sing during the program.  That will sure be interesting and I will have to remember to tuck in his shirt since Campbell said that he was pulling up his shirt while he was on the stage today.
  • We met our friends at the park today after Bible study and the kids had a good time playing but I was a little bit chilly-I guess that cold weather is here to stay and I should have been more prepared.  Keaton did throw a few rocks today on the playground and one of those rocks went right into Anderson's mouth which he quickly swallowed.  That added a bit of excitement to our afternoon.
  • What was also exciting was our conversation while we were seeing Beebee after the park.  She had a Hawaiian lei hanging on her door and asked if Graham wanted it.  He said that he did not want it because he would get one when he went to Hawaii.  Then the kids and Beebee continued to talk about going to Hawaii for a few minutes while I just sat quietly and listened!  
  • It was time for us to leave when a worker came and gave the kids all a lollipop.  Whitman walked up to me and asked me to open it but I said that I would open them all in the car.  So he walked to the door and shouted "Let's go!"
  • At home the kids all practiced their little speech for tomorrow's homeschool day and then had a few minutes to watch tv.  The little girls spent their time playing baby doll while Reagan spent her time (not by choice) working on an apology note to Graham.  (He called her Lillie Billie and she called him Barf Bag-she got in big time trouble and was shocked that he did not get into trouble.)
  • Getting ready for church tonight was easy since it was pajama night for all of the Dennie kids (I guess that it was even easier getting everyone ready for bed as well.)  On the way to church we stopped by the library and then afterwards we stopped at Nonna's house to borrow a fishing pole, saw and pecan shell cracker.
  • It didn't take long for everyone to have a snack and then it was on to bed for my crew-maybe they should start wearing their pjs everyone Wednesday night to church.

November 17, 2015


(click here for today's pictures)

  • Keaton didn't cough too much last night, Campbell slept all night long and Whitman didn't fuss at all about his little ear.  So it was a good, good night.  
  • The other morning, Campbell told me "you always have the biggest smile on your face when you see us and tell us Good Morning."  I will count that as a win and try to remember that to get myself out of bed these past few mornings but man, it sure is cold in this house and perfectly cozy under my covers.
  • After our breakfast of yogurt and cinnamon toast, Keaton headed off to school.  The rest of us started on school here and I brought all of the Little People toys downstairs for Whitman to play with.  He did play with those for a decent amount of time until he convinced Campbell to turn the computer on in the school room and find him a Thomas movie.  That child is addicted but it was nice to see him playing with something other than Thomas today.
  • The kids did well on school but it still took me until after noon to finish working with everyone.  That was fine though since it won't be too much longer until we start our Christmas break.  I do not know exactly what or how long that will be but I am pretty excited about it.
  • We had lunch and then everyone worked on chores for a good long time.  When the kids weren't working, they were running from Whitman who was chasing them with a sword.  Gracious me.  After he went down for a nap, we all did our together work.  The kids will say that cutting a hard boiled egg open and comparing it to the layers of the earth was the highlight of school today.  
  • They had a little bit of time to watch a movie before we loaded up to meet Keaton and Robby at the store.  There were not too many folks out in this nasty weather doing their grocery shopping.  We filled 2 buggies of food-but still didn't even buy anything for Thanksgiving week.  I really enjoy going grocery shopping-I do not like the spending of money but I think I might should work at a grocery store when I grow up.
  • Once at home, the kids helped unload the groceries that they helped purchase for the Shack.  They also put on their pjs and waited for Robby to fix supper for them.  We all ate and then it was bedtime for the crew.  My Whitman fell asleep in the car on the way home and I had laid him in the floor thinking that he would wake up but he continued to sleep so he just was changed and put on to bed since it was already past bedtime.

November 16, 2015

Lounging around!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Last night as I was putting Whitman in bed, I was hugging him and he said that his ear hurt.  I asked him a few minutes later and he again pointed to the same ear.  Before Robby and I had gone to bed, Whitman was whimpering in his bed.  We put him in bed with us for a bit and even put some drops in his ear.  He was crazy mad at us after we did that but they must have helped because he ended up sleeping well all night long.
  • So this morning at 8, my first order of business was calling and getting him an appointment and I figured that since I was already going, I would take the other sickly kid, Campbell.  The three younger ones had have runny noses the past few days but Campbell also said that her ear hurt-she only said it one time but I thought we might as well take her too.
  • After I had our appointments lined up, we stared on school.  I was prepared for today to go as it did but seriously, those kids make me crazy some times.  My Anderson had a foul attitude most of the morning long and Graham did great until his last thing and then he fell apart.  Of course, Keaton and Campbell are exhausted from the weekend and both sickly so you can only imagine that whining and fussing that I heard.  That only leaves 2 that really had a good morning-Reagan, who happily worked hard, and Whitman, who fell asleep on the couch while watching his movie.
  • Campbell came in to the room that I was in and said that Whitman had fallen asleep.  She had put a pillow under his head and turned off his movie.  When I saw him laying there, I knew that he must really feel bad. Before lunch, everyone started to ask if I was going to wake him up for lunch but I thought that he should sleep as long as he could.  He finally did wake up during lunch and was so happy to see his plate sitting there ready to eat.
  • After lunch, the kids and I put up about 75 loads of laundry.  All during the morning, as I worked with the kids, I folded clothes and put them a zillion piles.  Then everyone came through and grabbed their piles to put them away and then came back to help me with the leftovers.  I still have about 4 loads of blankets to wash from the trip but those can wait until another day.
  • Before too long, it was time to head to the doctor's appointments.  Whitman was ready to go in and talked and sang pretty much the entire time that we were there.  Campbell did have one ear infected and Whitman, who had a temp of 99 something, had 2 infected little ears.  Our appointment went quick and soon we were on our way to pick up their meds.
  • It was raining so I went to Walgreens so I could just drive through instead of our usual Sams pharmacy.  It took me over an hour to get their medicine-Whitman happily watched the movie in the car and Campbell crawled all over the car while we waited.  I had to circle around in the line of cars 2 times until I finally got the medicine.  It took much longer than it should have but we did finally make it home with the medicine in hand.
  • And as soon as we made it home, we gave everything their medicine and soon Robby started on supper.  He made fajitas and everyone gobbled them up.  They were really good and as he made his plate, he explained exactly how he was fixing his and everyone else did their best to copy exactly what he did-I even had a few kiddos try sour cream.  
  • After supper, the kids played some and then we started watching the old Cheaper by the Dozen movie while Robby made us some cookies-a pretty good Monday.

Camping in November: November 15, 2015

Sad to be going home!

(click here for today's pictures)

For some reason it was much draftier in our tent last night.  We had worked on the tent yesterday, making it straighter and putting the rain fly on properly so surely that isn't what caused the breeze.  But the only other idea we have is that it was windier and that caused the breeze.  Either way, it was colder but we all still slept better.

Whitman fell sound asleep in his bed and laid there covered all night long.  Anderson was the one that I was the most worried about since he was near the edge and pretty much only wanted his light sleeping bag on him.  Of course the minute that he fell asleep we piled blankets on top of him.  

Robby and I stirred a few times during the night and Keaton had a coughing fit but other than that everyone snuggled down in their blankets and our heaters worked over time.  It is amazing how quickly the tent warms up after the sun comes up.  Though, we certainly would not have been able to survive without those heaters.

Those silly birds woke up us again this morning but we were all so tired that we just went back to sleep and slept until almost 8.  As soon as we were moving, we heard Tony getting the fire ready.  Robby worked and worked squeezing the air out of all of our sleeping mats.  Reagan and I loaded the bins up with our blankets and sleeping bags and then breakfast began along with the tearing down of camp.

Breakfast was the same as yesterday but I do believe that Robby has now mastered the dutch oven biscuits and Tony's hashbrowns did improve.  Whitman was so excited to see Shannon pull out the orange juice that he could hardly contain himself and that boy probably drank the half gallon himself.

We all ate-the kids first today and then the grownups, that way our food was still hot.  And then everyone started packing things away.  The kids played in the woods, played ball and even rode their bikes for a little bit.  Really, we were just at a perfect spot and they had plenty of room to explore and roam.  

The hardest things to pack up was our tents-the eating tent and the sleeping tent.  But it was both a win because we were able to get them both back in the bags that they came in.  Surprisingly, loading up didn't take too long and we even sat by the fire for a few minutes.  We were pretty lucky today because by after breakfast yesterday, it was sunny and we were hot but today it was cloudy and we didn't get too hot while loading up (actually I am yet to warm up.)

We all drove to the bathrooms before heading down the hill but Robby didn't show up and called since his car battery had died-the poor thing just couldn't handle all of the opening and closing of doors.  He has his fancy jumper (which has been well used) and caught back up with us in no time.

It took us about an hour to get home from Petit Jean and it was a beautiful drive.  Once home, we all started to work.  Since we all smelled like campfire, we tried to keep most everyone outside working until they had their showers.  First we emptied and cleaned the cars and then we started putting everything away.

The shower ran for well over an hour-first with Reagan and Whitman, then Graham and Whitman, then Anderson and Whitman and then Campbell, Keaton and Whitman.  Robby was next and then me.  That along with the washing machines that have been running constantly, our water bill will be through the roof this month!

Everything was finally put away and everyone was clean around 4:30 but we are already packed and ready to go again.  We took a pretty good inventory and now have a few things to add to our Christmas lists for our next camping adventure.

After a bit of downtime, it was then time to load up and go down the road to the Wilson's house.  They had some leftover camp food that we had to eat up.  The girls brought at least 20 pounds of baby doll and baby doll paraphernalia to play with and Whitman brought about that many trains but he spent most of his time watching Thomas.  

After we ate and visited for a while, we headed home to put my people in bed.  Tomorrow is a school morning but even more than that, tomorrow is laundry day!

Camping in November: November 14, 2015

Beautiful Day. Great Food. Long Hike!
(click for today's pictures)
I guess that we finished the blog around 11 or a bit later last night.  Everyone else had already gone to sleep but wild card Whitman had not.  He was still happily watching Thomas the Train and when he watches tv, he doesn’t blink his eyes at all.  I believe that he could have stayed up all night long watching his movies.

We finally took it away from him and he just plopped himself right out of the pack n play.  That was about the last straw so Robby grabbed him up and laid Whitman right beside him.  And soon he was sound asleep-Robby held him for a minute or two while he grunted and struggled to get up but then he was out like a light.

Robby was on the edge and then Whitman, Graham, Campbell, me, Keaton and finally Reagan on the other end of the tent.  That left Anderson at our feet which was a pretty good spot for him since he had the end of everyone’s blankets.  We all slept as well as you can when you are crammed in a tent in 38 degree weather.

Seriously, I think that we all slept well and whenever I woke up and re-covered everyone, they all felt warm and the heaters worked perfectly.  (Just a few minutes ago while we were getting ready for bed, we became so hot that Robby had to turn them off for just a few minutes.)

Caw, caw, caw was the first things that we heard this morning.  Some incredibly loud birds woke us all up.  It was like they were talking to each other and then the next thing I knew they were cawing at us like they were right outside our tent.  It was just 6:30!  I had never heard anything like it but I bet I will in the morning too!

The kids laid around pretty well and it was probably 8:30 before we finally let the kids out of the tent.  They played kindles, we reorganized and then we all changed.  Robby ventured out first and soon he had the fire started.

Breakfast was then cooked next-Tony and Shannon are pretty handy since they are doing most of the cooking.  We had a light breakfast of pancakes, biscuits, hashbrowns, eggs, bacon and sausage along with chocolate milk and orange juice.  The kids (and adults) were in heaven.  We ate and ate and then after clean up it was after 11-time for lunch (we did skip lunch since we were still stuffed from breakfast)

The kids rode their bikes some and we made targets for them to shoot their bows and arrows at and they spent quite a bit of time playing with the footballs as well.  After breakfast clean up, we loaded up and went to the Mather Lodge.  We didn’t go in but did walk to the back for a picture of the view.  This place is hopping-we lucked into a parking spot there and just about every single campsite is filled up (and no, we are not the only ones tent camping-many folks are.)

After our pictures, we decided to explore the Seven Hollows trail.  It was just 4.5 miles-actually we thought that we would do a bit and then turn around but after doing some, why turn around.  It was a bit more intense than we had originally thought-climbing up sides of rocks, crossing streams and going up and down the sides of the mountain.  The big kids and Tony would stop and wait for us at every half mile marker, Shannon walked with Campbell who wasn’t as fast as them but wasn’t as slow as us.  Poor Keaton did great but by the last mile, she was exhausted.  She pretty much had to have someone hold her hand (and pull her) the entire way. She did have to be held the last little bit of the walk.  Now Whitman walked some (maybe a quarter of a mile) and then had to be held the rest of the way (or we would have still been on the trail).  After riding on Robby’s shoulders for a long time, he started to doze off-he would bump his chin on Robby’s head and then he would sway from side to side.  Finally Robby pulled him down and we carried him while he was sound asleep for at least 2 miles.

The trail was very well marked or I probably would have panicked on it.  We saw lots of people on it at first but then none on the trail at all on the last 2 or so miles.  I do believe that I have never been so happy to see our car!  The trail was absolutely beautiful and we could have spent forever exploring all of the neat things that we saw on the way.  It is definitely a great trail if you have enough time.

Back at the campsite, it was time for 2 things-supper and finding the game.  Supper was again delicious-shish kabobs and fried rice.  This supper was a bit more involved but seemed to be ready in no time.  Robby concentrated on dessert-apple cobbler in my new dutch oven (not really new, since it was from Christmas).  Let me tell you that it was wonderful and cooked perfectly.  (His biscuits that he made in it this morning were great as well.)
Robby also made some ice cream and we enjoyed our cobbler and homemade ice cream while watching the hogs play.  We had cookie dough to make too along with more s’mores but we figured we had eaten enough since we were constantly snacking on cookies, trail mix, candy corn and nuts and rice krispy treats along with dessert.

The game was fun to watch but I am sure that the neighbors hate us!  Ha!  Tony’s satellite couldn’t get a signal but Robby was able to use his phone to get internet and then play it through his computer hooked up to the tv (technology will always amaze me.)

Despite having 3 knocked down trees in our front yard and despite hauling what seemed like a crazy amount of wood up here, we were still running out of wood since we needed to save some for in the morning so the fire wasn’t huge but the game kept us interested and before we knew it, the game was over and we were all climbing into the tent.

The kids are still playing on their kindles so hopefully tonight will go as smooth as last night…..

Camping in November: November 13, 2015

Camping at Petit Jean!

(click here for today's pictures)

Everyone knew that this was a trip morning and they were ready to go first thing this morning.  Graham started counting down early, early this morning. If I heard him say how many hours until we leave once, I heard him say it a zillion times. At one point in the day, I had to tell him to stop looking at the clock.

The first thing that I did this morning was call about getting Keaton a doctor’s appointment. When I asked her this morning if her ear hurt, she said that it did not but we still made her an appointment.

The kids all had breakfast and they started on their school work as I got myself, Keaton and Whitman ready for the doctor. Robby was there I guess that he cracked the whip because by the time that we had returned, they were all finished with school and already watching a movie. Anderson said that they had been finished for about an hour.  Wow, maybe I should be gone everyday.

Whitman and Keaton cracked me up at the doctor’s office.  They spent the time waiting in the exam room looking out the door or playing Doc McStuffins.  Whitman would get so mad if we would talk about a shot-I guess that he remembered getting his flu shot.

Keaton was jumping around the exam room when Dr. Martin came in and you would never thing that she was sickly at all.  But yep, 2 infected ears.  She said that the worst ear wasn’t even the one that she had complained about.  So that meant that our next stop was Sams for some medicine.  I do believe that my little girl is getting spoiled on her shopping trips out-she was adamant that she received candy when we went to Sams.  Well, of course I was not going to buy her a 20 pound bag of candy so she had to settle with a bottle full of antibiotics.

When we did get home, Robby gave Keaton her meds and I started to work on school with the kids.  We just had a bit of work to do-everyone had their language to do but we breezed through that and had the downstairs picked up by the time we had made lunch.  

I do not remember writing about it but yesterday, Reagan volunteered to make lunch for everyone.  She had asked if she could make a snacky lunch and she did-it took her 45 minutes but everyone was fed and happy and everyone else is now begging me to let them have their turn making lunch-and I certainly will.  

It didn't take too long for my time keeper to come and tell me that it was almost time to leave. Robby had spent most of yesterday loading up the cars so today we just had a bit of last minute packing to do. Now, yes, both cars were pretty much full and we could have possibly squeezed into one car but we would not have been able to bring the kids bikes and other essentials like the huge tv for the game tomorrow or the ice cream maker.

Robby drove the red car and I drove my van and we made room for Shannon, Layne and Brett to squeeze in with us. Shannon had purchased all of the food for our camping trip and I believe that she had us confused with the Duggars because we could camp out here for another week and not go hungry. Tony was bringing their camper up after he finished work so they just threw a few things in our car and then we were off.

We stopped once for Shannon to meet a friend, once to pick up Layne and once to meet back up with Robby who ran to Walmart to pick up a few things. So when we finally made it to Petit Jean the kids were surprised that we had finally made it.

After checking in, we drove right to the spot and started unloading. Poor Brett, Shannon and Layne-they had to help us unload and get settled and then do it all over again when Tony arrived (though their settling in took considerable less time).

The first order of business was the tent. We set it up in record time but some how it is not exactly right-we discovered this well after dark so we might try to fix it tomorrow or maybe not. Reagan and Layne then arranged the foam mats from our garage in the floor of the tent while the boys unloaded the wood from Robby's car.

Then we moved on to setting up the lawnchairs, grill and eating tent. Thankfully, Robby had a shop light which provided ample light to do all of this in the dark. We had about 30-45 minutes of day light before it quickly became dark. Robby grilled hot dogs and headed up Shannon's cheese dip and the kids had themselves supper along with a few snacks while waiting on Tony.

We all sat around the campfire and then the excitement of the evening was watching him back their camper into the spot. It was not an easy job-which was a good reminder to Robby that we do not need one. He had been pretty convinced that it would be so nice to have everything loaded and ready to go all of the time.

Then the adults ate as the kids begged us to pull the s'mores out. When we finally did they plowed through both nights supply of marshmallows. That is fine since we did have cookies to make tomorrow along with ice cream and apple cobbler. After we had eaten the s'mores, Whitman said "I go home now" and I pretty sure he wasn't talking about climbing in the tent.

The fire was warm and surprisingly, it wasn't crazy cold. I don't think any of my people ever put on all of their layers tonight and I even threw in everyone's heavy winter coats before we left. My crew started to complain about getting cold around 9 but more than that I do believe that they were just tired.

We walked to the bathroom and everyone brushed and then it was to the tent. Let me tell you, our tent was toasty warm. Robby had 2 heaters going and by the time that we all had changed clothes and found our spots, Campbell was asleep. Graham wasn't too far behind her. The sides of the tent are cold but we do have plenty of blankets so hopefully we will be okay. Of course heat rises so their is a huge difference between standing up and laying down but right now I could easily take off my socks and by perfectly fine. Hopefully we will all stay like that.

And hopefully we will all sleep some tonight. My Whitman is still awake-since we have our computers we are letting him have his kindle too. I hope he does go to sleep soon without too much of a fuss because I am so incredibly tired that I can hardly keep my eyes open too-possibly because I am warm and cozy and then because I can hear at last 3 kiddos snoring!