July 31, 2016

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  • Graham was the first one up and I had to start waking up the girls.  Soon we were all ready and the kids were looking forward to eating the doughnut holes that we had bought for them yesterday.  Unfortunately, only about half of what you buy on the day old rack is good and these weren't!  That was fine because they did eat a better lunch at Nonna's house.
  • After Whitman ate, we took him upstairs to see his new big boy bed.  He was pretty pleased with it but wanted to make sure that we knew that it wasn't yet bedtime.
  • Once everyone was ready, we loaded up for church.  Today, Whitman walked right into his class. This always makes things easier for everyone.  Keaton only has about 2 more weeks in her Sunday school class and then she will be going to big church with the rest of us-eeek!
  • After church, we headed to Nonna's house.  She had lunch for us and then we celebrated Graham's birthday one more time.  He was pretty pleased with his big orange cupcake and everyone was happy to help him eat some of it.
  • We played for a bit at Nonna's house and then headed home.  The kids watched tv and played on their ipads.  Robby worked some in the yard and I had a brief nap and then stared on my weekly to do list-not actually doing my list but writing it out so I can do it later.
  • Robby had a meeting at church an hour before my meeting so he left and not too long afterwards we left.  I dropped the kids off at Nonna's house tonight and then went to our Sunday school meetings.  
  • I picked up the kids from Nonna's house.  The littles had taken baths and everyone had eaten a big supper and some ice cream.  Nonna said that she cooked 14 quesadillas so I am pretty sure that my people were full when they went to bed tonight.
  • Grannymom and Grandpa were at our house.  Robby worked on Grandpa's phone and Grandpa worked on a shelf for the girls' room.  When they left, the big 3 had their showers and then everyone went to bed: tomorrow is our first school day of the year! 
  • And Whitman is in his bed...they have been in bed for at least 20 minutes so I think that it just might work!

July 30, 2016

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

July 29, 2016-Happy Birthday Graham!

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

June 28, 2016

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

June 27, 2016

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

July 26, 2016

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

July 25, 2016

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

July 24, 2016-Dennie Dallas Trip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 23, 2016-Dennie Dallas Trip

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After I finished the blog, I realized that my Whitman along with all of the other little Dennies were sound asleep.  Wow!  We still can't believe how well that worked out last night.  Though in the middle of the night, Whitman did sit up and stir.  I heard him say "where's my pillow?"  I quickly found his pillow for him which was under my head.  He did go right back to sleep about that and never stirred again. This hotel doesn't have 8 pillows in this room (no shocker there) so Robby and I went to bed without pillows but then later took ones from the littlest Dennies.  

Anderson was the first one up and was asking us if he could play his ipad.  We looked at the clock and it was indeed after 7 but since there was no hurry, we had him climb in bed with us.  Soon Graham joined on the other side and Whitman joined on top of me.  A few minutes later, Campbell joined at the foot of the bed and soon we were all stirring getting ready for our big Six Flags day.

After we put on our clothes, we passed out our ikea cinnamon rolls and orange juice.  Reagan must not be a sweet breakfast eater because she didn't eat much of hers, Keaton is never really a fan of bready things and Whitman only ate the few pieces that I pulled off for him.  There was more on his plate but he never asked for me to give him more.  (Though later this afternoon he asked for more cinnamon roll over and over again-I guess he was making up for such a little breakfast.)

Six Flags opened at 10:30 today and we were pulling into the parking lot around 10.  Last year when we came, we were here on a Friday and the crowds were much less than they were today.  It was still just as hot as it was last year though-the temperature was probably hotter today but I don't think that we got as hot.  We had a bit of a walk from our spot in the parking lot and then a line to get through security.  After that, we just had to show our tickets and in we went.  The kids and their "teacher" had all earned free tickets from a Six Flags reading program and Robby had earned our other ticket from the rewards on the top of coke bottles.  

We feel as if we are expert-ish at touring the Disney parks but are in no way Six Flags experts. We debated starting off the opposite direction than we did last year but changed our mind and headed back the same way as last year.  That was fine though and soon we were in line for the tobaggan ride.  Everyone but Whitman was able to do this one and it is a pretty good little coaster.  Keaton really enjoyed it but Campbell was right behind me crying her eyes out on it-today we have learned that Keaton loves hills and roller coasters but Campbell does not.  Now Campbell loves her crazy spinny rides though.)

While we did the toboggan, Robby and Whitman did the tea cups and then everyone joined back together for the pirate ship.  We did this one twice-Keaton completely melted down on this one (like using her ugly cry) and Whitman loved every minute of this ride.  Then we went back to the tea cups for us to all ride this one together.  Next all of us rode on the log ride which is always fun and it didn't hurt getting a tiny bit wet to help with the heat. From there, we headed over to the Texas Giant.

Reagan didn't want to ride the Texas Giant today so Anderson and Graham got in line by themselves.  While they were in line, the rest of us rode the little bouncing boots multiple times and the train around the park once.  When we returned from this, Robby went off to find the boys and they were still in line but the ride had stopped.  They even began sending people off of the ride and the boys stayed in line a bit longer.  Then another wave of people were told to leave since the ride was closed and the boys came off and Robby could no longer see the boys in line.  Soon they appeared where we were waiting and moments later, Robby noticed that the ride was going again.  We told them to run back in line and we then waited again for them to finally ride that ride.  

This ordeal took about 2 hours but the rest of us had plenty to do and drink.  We had bought a refillable cup and we certainly got our moneys worth on that.  We probably drank 4 gallons of drink today.  They also had water and at one time, we stood by the water dispenser and refilled our cup 6 different times.  It was hot today but at least we stayed semi hydrated.  

After my boys returned, we rode the Model T cars around and then walked towards a roller coaster the big 3 had rode last year.  It had 2 (or 3) loops and the line didn't look long while we were on the rain.  When we got there, we saw that the ride had been changed and now it was a virtual roller coaster-meaning that you wear those 3D goggles while on the ride.  Kind of interesting to me-why would you need the googles when you are really experiencing the ride yourself? Isn't it already 3D?  Anyway, those questions weren't answered today because you have to be 13 to ride it so we moved on to the other side of the park.

On the way, we smelled the smell of funnel cakes and decided that we must have one.  Yes, it was 100 degrees outside and yes, they were too hot to touch but we sure did gobble 2 of them up in no time at all.  Now, we did purchase our funnel cakes before 4 so they were only 5 dollars and no, we did not buy the 20 dollar funnel cakes in the shape of Texas that I had seen earlier in the park.

Next up, were the mine trains,  They have a mini mine train which Whitman could do so we all rode it.  Then Robby took Whitman and Keaton to the bathroom and the rest of us rode the other mine train.  It is a sweet little coaster until the last drop which is quite the doozy and Campbell's tears started up again-when we did finish the ride, she told me that she was just kidding though (I doubt it!)

We had planned to leave the park around 3:00 to come back to the hotel to swim but beside the mine train were some swings that we let everyone do.  We were worried that Keaton wasn't exactly tall enough for this ride so we did practice standing up really straight before sending her in the line with Reagan.  She made it through and all enjoyed the swings.  It was nearly 3:45 when we left the park and headed to pick up lunch at Subway.  

Back at the hotel, we all put on our swim suits and ate our sandwiches for lunch.  Then we went downstairs to the pool to swim.  The water was bath tub warm but that was fine since we were much, much hotter.  Everyone swam and had a big time.  After swimming for an hour we all headed back upstairs to put our clothes back on and load up again for the park.

We were hoping to find a really good parking spot but we did not and parked miles and miles away (seemed like it).  We probably could have rode a shuttle but we just hiked to the entrance.  The lines there had certainly died down but the crowds probably had not diminished at all.  Once back inside the park, we headed to my favorite ride here, Judge Roy Scream.  

Again, we weren't sure if Keaton could ride this ride but she made it through the first check but when she sat down and even buckled up, the lady asked to check her height again.  She got Keaton off of the ride and had her stand up against the wall and grabbed the stick to check her height.  Cute little Keaton just stood there grinning from ear to ear and when the lady hesitated about Keaton's close height, people on the ride started saying "she's tall enough" and "let her ride."  The lady said that her hair touched the stick and tried to measure her again.  Meanwhile, another worker was doing his best to get Keaton to stand on her tiptoes while being measured.  Then he took the stick from the lady and turned it upside down so it was shorter and measured her height that way.  They let her ride and we all breathed a sigh of relief. 

I talked her through the ride and she did pretty good but I think that she was very relieved when it was over.  Campbell, who was sitting right behind us, was too.  Next up was the little hot air balloons followed by some Hall of something or another.  I think that I went on this ride last year with the kids.  Campbell and possibly Keaton could have rode on this one with me but they had a single rider line so we just sent Reagan, Anderson and Graham on.  

They were out just about the same time that Robby had returned from the restroom with Keaton so that worked out well.  Then we all rode the really big water splash ride (can you tell, I have no idea what these rides were called?)  Now, I guess that I am always the one to end up on these wet rides but since Whitman was able to ride, all the Dennies rode.  Robby started to second guess his decision to ride when he saw others getting off.  And yes, as they say at Silver Dollar City we did get "bath tub wet" on the ride.  Even though it was already dark, being soaking wet didn't feel too bad and I understand the crazy long line for this ride earlier in the day.

Next, I jumped in a line with the big 4 for a mine train type ride but it was after 9:30 and the lady in front of us said that from our spot the wait was at least 30 minutes.  We decided that wouldn't be fair to Whitman and Keaton to just have to wait on us and not do another ride (actually I decided that and my decision was not pleasing to the kids) so we left the line and found them. We did do another Bugs Bunny mine train type thing all together before heading back to where we started.

This time Robby rode the toboggan with the toboggan riders while Reagan, Whitman, Campbell and I rode the pirate ship twice.  Then we ran to get a drink refill before the park closed at 10:00.  The others finished their ride and then we took one last picture and got one last drink refill before hiking back to our car.  It was a pretty great day at Six Flags for the Dennie crew and everyone left happy.

On the way to the car, I asked the kids what there favorite rides were.  Unfortunately, I can not remember what anyone but Anderson said (please forgive me-it's late!)  He said that all of the rides were his favorite and actually his most favorite ride was the ride to the park this morning.  They can be sweet sometimes!  Graham has even text Robby twice and told him thank you for bringing him to Six Flags.

We did stop at Wendys on the way back to the hotel.  That way everyone could have a late snack before going to bed.  They ate their nuggets while we showered them off.  Then it was bedtime for the crew.  Whitman fell asleep great tonight-of course, it was midnight!  After Whitman was asleep we heard a good kerplunk coming from the other room where the big kids are all sleeping.  I went in there to check it out.  I looked around and didn't see anything so I tried to convince them that it was the ice from the ice chest settling (I knew though that there was only water in and a 6 pack of drinks in there so it couldn't have made that noise.)  As I was turning to leave, I did see our drink cup had fallen into the sink and that plastic bottle falling into the metal sink definitely would have made a loud kerplunk.  

I explained to them what the sound was and calmed them all down. But Graham would have nothing of it.  He said he was hearing lots of noises and true, this hotel is big, big and full.  There are lots of people out this late and voices definitely echo so I know that he is hearing a lot of sounds.  We moved the fan into their area so now hopefully he can rest.  I know that we sure will!

July 22, 2016-Dennie Dallas Trip

(click here for pictures)

After going to sleep at 1 this morning, we greatly questioned our decision to set our alarm clocks for 4:15.  Robby wanted to leave early just so we could see if we could actually leave early for our big road trip.  

It is surprising that waking up for a trip can be so different than waking up to start the day.  Robby only hit snooze once and I stayed in bed until he was out of the shower.  So this morning we were out of bed about 4 or 5 hours earlier than our normal routine.

After we were ready, Robby woke the girls up.  They came downstairs in decent moods and Campbell immediately asked me "what time do we have to be at the hotel?"  I think she thought we were leaving early just to go to the hotel.  Upstairs, Anderson was asking Robby if we were going to rest some more at the hotel.  

The kids quickly dressed and climbed in the car.  Everyone was worried that I was going to forget Whitman but I was letting him sleep until the last possibly moment.  When everything and everyone else was loaded, I grabbed him out of bed, changed his diaper and put him in his seat.  He was able to sleep a bit longer so that was good.

The kids talked quietly for a good while and Robby and I made packing notes for the upcoming trip.  It is always fun to have a trip to be planning-even when you are on another trip.

Our first stop was in Arkadelphia at McDonalds.  Robby and the kids ran into go to the bathroom and later he came out with 2 big bags of breakfasts.  I was able to divy out 6 breakfasts in my lap while zooming down the road.  Pancakes, sausage, eggs, biscuit and some of a potato cake is always a good way to start the morning.

After this stop, we turned on our book on tape and the kids listened and soon we were in Texarkana.  Graham and Campbell took a bit of a rest on that leg of the trip.  I think the kids were thankful when we pulled over at a rest stop and while I was changing Whitman into his clothes, they had race after race in the grass.  As we waited on Robby we had some more races before climbing back into the car.

Soon after, we talked to Pops and were able to figure out why he wasn't getting the kids text messages.  I passed out ipads and Pops soon received a couple hundred messages from the kids.  I did add a white board to my packing list because I had to turn around and yell how to spell about 20 words.  Campbell is at least 15 feet from me and shouting letters across the car quickly gets confusing.

After some ipad time, we started a movie and soon we nearing Dallas.  At one time, we took a sweet little drive from Ikea to the interstate and cut off lots of Dallas.  We tried that today and did make a sweet little drive through the countryside and after a few turns while following the GPS, we were soon right back beside the now construction filled, congested interstate.

In Rockwall, we saw a convenient Walmart and Robby ran in to buy himself some sunglasses.  We can just start the count now-3 pair of glasses bought (I guess he figured that he wanted to make sure that he had enough for the next few days)  He some how managed to keep up with his other 2 pairs until it was trip time and now, just as always, he will begin losing them while on our trips.  We did find out that the Wilsons have one of his pairs at their house so we might just have to meet them in Amarillo to pick them up.  

After a bit more driving, we made it to Ikea.  Robby was on the phone with someone and said that he knows how to keep my happy-I don't need dates, flowers, movies or jewelry-just trips to Ikea!  

Everyone was happy, happy about walking around Ikea.  Every chair, every bed, every drawer was tried out by one of the Dennie kids.  It was almost comical watching my crew come in and take over each section in the store.  Whitman did great and even walked a little bit while in the store-actually everyone did great since we were in there for a very, very long time.  

We walked around upstairs before lunch and then stopped to eat our lunch.  Robby thought he was getting me a chicken wrap but it was a vegitarian wrap.  It tasted pretty good-I told him that I was afraid to unwrap it because I didn't want to discover what was actually in it.  Even though it was good, it made me miss the last half of the warehouse part of downstairs because I was in the restroom. 

Enough about me-you want to know what all we bought.  The big purchase was 2 blue stools which are going to tae the place of my piano bench.  We also bought 6 water bottle type things-they were only a buck. And also a dollar were little sand shovels that we also bought 6 of.  The kids were so excited when Robby asked if they would like a shovel-they possibly were all a little too excited.  We also left with 2 scrubber brushes and 2 boxes of cinnamon rolls for tomrorow's breakfast.  And of course, we also left with 5 ice cream cones (Keaton's didn't want any)  That ice cream is the stickiest ice cream I have ever touched and doesn't really look that great either.  Hopefully though tomorrow's cinnamon rolls will not disappoint.

Next we drove to Ft. Worth so we could tour the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  I had wanted to go to the one in D.C. but we had thought this one would be easier to see and would allow us to see other stuff in D.C.  It was a hot, hot drive there-Robby and I were in the sun the entire way and the car just didn't seem to cool off; it was just that hot.  

So the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was kind of like I would imagine Ft. Knox to be.  We couldn't bring our phones or camera in and were screened and then there must have been 20 officers on the premises.  We watched a movie first which explained about how they print U.S. notes (the proper term for our currency).  Whitman was a bit antsy during the movie and had to go outside and sit in time out for a bit.  

Afterwards, we were handed headsets and walked around on a catwalk to see the process in action.  It was pretty neat to watch and the workers would occasionally wave or hold a pages of money to show us.  After we had toured upstairs, we went to the gift shop downstairs and Robby bought the kids there own bag of shredded money.  He remembers getting shredded money when he was a little boy so now our kiddos will have the same memory.

After our gift shop purchases, we rode the tram back to our car and coasted on gasoline fumes to the nearest gas station.  By this time it was crazy hot and I doubted Robby completely when he passed 2 gas stations in search of one on our side of the road while we just had 3 miles left but we made it and I didn't have to help push the car.

From there, it didn't take too long to arrive at the Ft. Worth Stockyards.  The last time that we were there, Reagan had a touch of the stomach bug and threw up on the way there.  Robby had to run into Walgreens to buy her a new shirt to wear (we still have that green sweatshirt somewhere in the house.)  Thankfully, no one was sick this visit.

We parked and walked up and down the strip.  The boys quickly saw the mechanical bull and since Robby was feeling generous he let them have a ride.  They didn't last too long-Graham lasted longer than Anderson but Anderson was already a bit skittish after seeing Graham.  Both boys called for the bull to stop before they were bucked off.  

We continued our walk around the Stockyards for a bit and then loaded up to find someplace to eat.  Shannon text with a recommendation just barely in time and we headed to Joe T. Garcia's which was right nearby.  The parking was crazy so we were certain that the wait would be way too long. I went inside, ignoring the crazy long line waiting for seats outside, and was told that the wait was 10 minutes.  I even made sure that they heard me correctly when I asked for a table for 8.  

Indeed the wait was 10 minutes or even less.  We were quickly seated at 2 crazy big tables that were pushed together (usually now, they ask if we want to split up into 2 tables whenever we go and eat.)  We were right in the middle of the dining room and it was a happening and noisy place.  The waiter asked if we had been there before (no) and then told us about the food.  Tonight they only had enchiladas and fajitas so we ordered 1 of both to split.  Yes, I know, splitting 2 entrees with 8 is kind of strange but we even left food on the table that we couldn't finish.  But we sure could finish off the 3 sopapillas that Robby ordered. 

We were a bit worried about the price since they didn't even give us a menu but it was all good...except when the waiter told Robby that they didn't take credit cards.  We all then headed to the kitchen to start washing the dishes and were finished in no time.  Kidding, they had a atm in the restaurant and all things worked out just great.

From the restaurant, we were only about 20 minutes from the hotel.  The hotel looks like an old Embassy Suites and is pretty nice (but a bit dated.)  Either way, the room is plenty big for us.  While Robby checked in, we worked on cleaning the car and soon we were headed into the hotel.  We unloaded ice chests, returned the cart, put on pjs and picked out clothes for tomorrow-everyone stayed busy!

Tonight is the first time ever that Whitman is not sleeping in a pack n play.  Robby and I learned very quickly on our first airplane trip with Reagan and baby Anderson that you can't make a kid go to sleep and we will have to remember that lesson tonight with Whitman.  After everyone had put on their pjs, they all laid down and played their ipads with some lemonade to drink until bedtime.  While Robby was tucking the others in, Whitman left my bed and his Mickey video and went to lay down in his sleeping bag without me even asking.  And right now, he is laying still-ish and quiet-ish on the floor beside me.  He is making some noises and tossing and turning but heck, he is at least staying in one spot.  Now, so far things are going well but trust me, I do not expect for this to continue for any length of time...

Funny how things work: as soon as I wrote that I saw his little head pop up and then lay back down followed by a kerplunk.  Yep, he banged his head which lead to much drama by him.  Robby had to report to the others what had happened so they wouldn't worry.  Finally he calmed, after a sip of coke and is now laying down again.  Crossing my fingers but I doubt it will be easy!

Hopefully, we will all sleep well tonight because tomorrow will be a very busy (and hot) day!

July 21, 2016

(click here for pictures)
  • I knew that I was being a bit silly last night when I set my alarm clock to ring this morning.  I set it for a time that I should have already been up and going strong but instead we were all still in the bed.  Not even the boys were awake so I quickly turned that thing off and we slept for a bit longer.  
  • When we finally did stir, Robby was made breakfast while I tried to work a bit in the house.  We had quite the breakfast-bacon, biscuits, eggs and orange juice.  Someone even asked if it was Saturday already.  
  • After we had eaten, we all went right to work.  The kids did their one little school thing with me and when they weren't doing that, they were cleaning or packing.  We are headed to Dallas for a few days and they have all packed in their backpacks.  This is the first time that we have packed in backpacks for a road trip with the kids and we will see how it works.  
  • This pretty much took us all morning long-the kids did have time to play on their ipads and xbox some. Around noon, we loaded up and headed off to see Beebee.  Not only had Robby made our breakfast but he also grilled us hot dogs to have at our lunch at the pool today.  I think that I would prefer for him to work from home every day of the week.
  • Beebee was happy to see everyone today.  Her candy box was full when we arrived and empty when we left.  She was just getting her lunch so she was eating most of the time that we were there.  Graham told her all about his birthday party and Reagan explained all about shopping with Nonna and everyone told her all about our upcoming trip.
  • When we left, there the sky was a bit dark and I explained to the kids that it might rain on us at the pool and we would stay as long as we could and not immediately leave if it rained.  We had swam about an hour and a half when the whistle was blown for thunder.  We all climbed out and it thundered and thundered and thundered.  The sky was beautiful and there was no sign of a storm anywhere nearby (the map showed it to be downtown.)  
  • After waiting a good hour, we finally called it and loaded up for home.  It was hot, hot out there waiting to get back in the pool and I think that most everyone was happy to be heading to the cool house.  Except when we arrived back at our cool house, Robby and I spent the next hour outside in the hot car packing it up.  This packing isn't for the faint of heart.
  • While we were packing, the kids cycled through the showers and before too long it was supper time.  I tried to clean out the fridge some with supper and then when we had finished, we headed to Grannymom's house.  
  • Grannymom had made ice cream and cookies for us to celebrate Lilly's birthday.  Graham even helped blow out the candle since his birthday is right around the corner.  After our dessert, Lilly opened presents and then we all headed home after a bit of playtime.
  • On the way home, we dropped some goodies off at the Wilsons' house and then Robby dropped us off at home.   He had left his computer at Grannymom's house so he ran back to get that.  After he made it back home, we spent a good half hour looking for either of his 2 pairs of sunglasses.  We couldn't find them-lost sunglasses can only mean one thing at this house: it is trip time!

July 20, 2016

(click here for pictures)

  • This morning was one of the last few lazy summer mornings and we took advantage of it.  I did spend quite a bit of my time this morning building a train track with Whitman and digging in the freezer looking for waffles (we were out) but I did find plenty of pancakes for our late breakfast.
  • We then went to work on our chores and school work.  The kids didn't complain about their bit of school work with me and no one mentioned their chore load being a bit more than usual since Reagan wasn't there and they had to pick up her slack (really, though I am just talking about 10-15 minutes of chores.)
  • I started working on packing for our upcoming big trip but also did some packing for our short little trip this weekend. The kids don't know where we are going and were asking me a zillion questions but I just ignored them.  Keaton and Campbell love to help me pack so I used their skills to the fullest extent.  Tomorrow I have to do the real packing-clothes-which takes quite a bit of time.
  • I made sure that I had plenty of bread today for our lunch (though I am out of lunch meat) but the kids all wanted crackers and pimento cheese or peanut butter so that is what we had.  The bread will just have to wait until tomorrow.  By lunch time, the final load of laundry was folded and I sat down.
  • That was a bad idea because the sky was dark and our old green comfy chair is just so perfect that I was soon snoozing.  I did finally wake up enough to go and start on the treadmill.  Soon Nonna and Pops showed up to deliver Reagan.  She had a big morning over there and they spent much of their time shopping before coming home for a late lunch at 2.
  • After they left, the neighbor came over and started working on Robby's car and I finished my treadmill time.  When I had finished, I worked with Reagan on her school work (she is doing a new book this year and even though I was really dreading it, I think that it is going to work out pretty good.)
  • Robby was home soon and the kids had leftover pizza for supper and then we loaded up for Raymar.  Tonight was the second of three Wednesday night things out there.  They had a few snacks and Whitman remembered that last time we had cookies and he was not happy at all with the granola bar.  Later when he saw a little boy with a cookie, he stayed right beside that boy until we found him and give him a cookie.  
  • After the short little devotional, we had small groups and then played a few games.  One was musical chairs but with hoola hoops that your whole family had to stand in.  Of course the Dennie family one this easily since we spread out and pretty much hogged the hoola hoops.  
  • Later we played water balloon wiffle ball.  The kids all did pretty well and sure enjoyed the water balloon action but Keaton wanted no part of it.  She wanted to stay dry which was odd since it was about a zillion degrees out there.  
  • Back in the car, we had a drink on the way home and then everyone showered and went right to bed.  It was late and I had plenty to do before going to bed myself.