August 8, 2022-First Day of School!

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  • So today was the first official day of school. I was up at 7:15 this morning and needed every bit of that hour and fifteen minutes before school started to get a few things done.
  • Of course, of all mornings I forgot to run the dishwasher last night. That could have set my just over the edge and began a bad day. However, it didn't. I still had plenty of dishes to put away from last night.
  • Bentley and I had to hurry on her first morning walk so I could get back in time to wake everyone up. Also Campbell wanted me to explain her math before I started working with people. 
  • At 8:30, everyone was awake, and I started the morning by doing speech and ACT work with Reagan, Anderson and Graham. We worked for about an hour while the others were doing some of their work.
  • Then I tried to help everyone else. Reagan had a fairly light load this year-psychology and stewardship here and then college algebra, computer science and english 3 at Comm Central. Anderson had quite a bit more-American history, economics, civics, health, english here and computer science at Comm Central. Graham probably has the most with English, apologetics, world history, fine arts and health plus biolog at Comm Central. 
  • By 11, I started doing my work together with Whitman, Keaton and Campbell. This is always my favorite part of the school day. Now, I did quickly realized I had way too many things to do in one hour, but we will still get them all accomplished by the end of the year (I hope!)
  • Soon it was lunch time, but Whitman and I worked together until 12:30. That boy did really great today, and finished everything that he needed to today. Since the day went so smoothly, I decided to reward the ones who wanted to go with a visit to the pool.
  • When we were about half way there, we could tell how things were going to end-rainy! All of our buddies were already leaving as we got there-the thunder and lightening had already started. Some o them had not even swam yet, but you could tell that the storm was set in for a little bit.
  • Indeed it was. The thunder was so loud as we ran into Home Depot after leaving the pool. Then running to the can in the monsoon afterwards was an adventure as well. As we were backing out the wind was so strong that it sent a buggy rolling righ towards us. There was no avoiding it, and now the mini van has a matching dent to Reagan's scrape at Sonic on the Suburban a long while back. 
  • Once at home, I realized that I had a lot of time left in the afternoon. I guess the kids weren't used to all of this extra time either-Anderson rode his bike, Graham played basketball, Keaton made a cake-they were all pretty productive. 
  • I was also productive in that I walked on the treadmill and even worked in the camper some before we started pulling out things for supper. We just had leftovers which seemed to appease everyone fairly well.
  • Then we did dive into Keaton's cake-I called it the first dessert becuase some people are going to have ice cream in a bit! Then it will be bedtime for this crew-and bedtime for me too!

August 7, 2022

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  • Sunday morning and even though we were at church early, the parking lot was packed in the back. It made us question if we were actually early or not. We were, and for some reason most of the poeple in the sanctuary were parked in the back becuase it wasn't too crowded there.
  • After church and Sunday school-oh, I have neglected to blog about this. But Keaton was at the New Believer's class today duriing church and Sunday school. She asked Jesus into her heart during music camp. 
  • The New Believer's class is the neatest thing-they take the Lord's Supper (which she actually did last week) and go and see the baptistry. I have helped with it before, and it is lots of fun.
  • Lunch was at Nonna's house-she had the same menu that Grannymom had the week before. We all had a good laugh about that. It was not a big deal since we hadn't had lasagna for a week so it wasn't like we were having to eat leftovers or anything.
  • After eating and then visiting, we headed home. It was naptime for me-since this was the last day of summer vacation I was definitly going to get my nap in. After my nap, it did get a bit crazy around here-Anderson, Graham and Campbell left for church while Reagan had about 5 or 6 friends come over to hang out.
  • Robby and I started on supper-we had planned on having more pizza, but since we had pizza Friday night, Saturday for lunch and Saturday for supper, we opted to pork tenderloin instead along with mashed potaotes and green beans. Reagan's little freinds asked for my recipes for the green beans and mashed potatoes-I was really just kind of winging it, but did send them a little something.
  • The others stayed at Rock Creek visiting for a while. I'm certainly glad they enjoy hanging out at church. When they came back, they had already eaten, but I do think that they still snacked on some of our supper and helped work on the finishing off some of the desserts that we had.
  • It was definitely a full house here for a while. Reagan's people left, the Wilson's left and then Noah left by the time that I could clean the kitchen-and then it was bedtime for this house-tomorrow starts school. An 11th graders, 10th grader, 9th grader, 7th grader, 5th grader and 4th grader will all be here!

August 6, 2022

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  • I laid in bed this morning with the covers over my head because I was trying to avoid getting up and starting the day. I am not usually like that at all, but I kind of dreaded the mound of laundry waiting on me.
  • Thankfully, it wasn't as massive as I had expected plus Robby did help me fold it all. Actually, he probably folded more than I did because I kept having to fix strings in shorts and fix bathing suits. It didn't take long-the part of the laundry that took me the longest today was hauling 4 loads of blankets and towels back to the camper. I didn't put all of that up, but just threw it on the couch and table for me to do tomorrow.
  • Robby's first task this morning was mowing the yard. It zoomed around getting things cut quickly. While he was doing that, I worked on cleaning the camper. It usually doesn't take too long, but I had the shop vac and went to town vaccuming up every nook and cranny of that thing.
  • After cleaning the camper, I came in to help the girls-Campbell was making no bake chocolate cookes, and Keaton was making chocolate chip cookies so as you can imagine the kitchen was a busy, and messy place. I am glad though that the girls can make a big mess in the kitchen, but they can also clean up most of that big mess.
  • Once they finished in the kitchen, then Keaton and Campbell went to work on the outside-sweeping the trampoline and cleaning the gaga pit. Then I helped them work on putting up the volleyball net. When Keaton got the volleyball net, we didn't think that it was the best thing and didn't seem sturdy-but here we are a year later, still using it, and the kids are still loving it.
  • Keaton, Robby and I then went to Costco for waters (we didn't find anything else fun there except a pizza for a late lunch). Then to Kroger where we didn't really have anything on the list and came home with a buggy full. Next stop was the Kroger gas station followed by the Costco gas station since we were in the camper and wanted to fill it up the most economical way. (Using Kroger points until they ran out and then buying cheap Costco gas to top it off.)
  • Once we were back at home, it was almost party time. I made some brownies, and soon Campbell had a housefull of guests. I am not sure how many folks came over. I think that there was 9ish which is always a good crowd in the middle of the summer. She just invited people from her grade so it wasn't the normal folks that we have around here. 
  • I think that they all had fun-we fed them well anyway. Pizza, chips, cokes, waters, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, no bake cookies-surely that all counts for something.
  • When everyone left, we did a bit of picking up and now kids are cycling through the showers before church in the morning.

August 5, 2022-One Last Hurrah at the Beach Before School

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The last day of a trip is always the saddest day of the trip. Though there isn't much complaining happening from me-we all agreed the trip was great, we all had fun, and we made it safely home. This morning started with Robby tapping to wake me up this morning.

He then finished in the bathroom while I sat up in the bed trying to figure out what I was going to put on. Sorry, Mom, but I did opt to wear my pajamas-I did add socks and undergarments, but I figured since no one would see me today, I just kept on the same pair of pjs that I had been wearing. It did make the getting ready time quicker-but no need to worry, I did comb my hair and fix my face so I wasn't completely unkept.

Bentley pottied with me while Robby unhooked everything. Then we pulled out of the campsite. I threw a bag of trash away before we loaded up the car. We tried something different with the straps today-they are newish, and we haven't been too pleased. Thankfully, the fix today worked so all was well (Anytime we get home with the camper and the van, we are acually pleased.)

We pulled out of the campground at exactly 7. Then it was down the road we went. We stopped twice for Robby to go to the restroom and once for gas. Other than that, there was no stopped. Some of the kids kind of wanted to stop again at Buccees, but since we passed it before 8, we opted not to stop.

Everything went smoothly today. I know that Anderson was asleep until 11. Graham didn't make it that long because whenever I had to get something from the back, I had to crawl over him. Also when Bentley would get bored with us in the front, she would crawl on his bed and usually that meant crawling over his head to get to the bed.

We didn't see Reagan until around 2. I guess she had slept pretty well-or has an incredibly strong bladder. Whitman had been up and down a few times for the bathroom and food. Today was a highlight for him becuase he asked for popcorn and was surprised that I had it and could make it while driving down the road. 

Once we did make it home, everyone went to town unloading stuff. It takes about an hour to get the camper emptied and the car emptied. Really, it probably even takes less time than that. Just imagine everything that can be washed has to go in the house plus everything in the fridge and freezer along with all food that hs been opened and all food that we are in short supply of in the house. 

After unloading, I didn't clean the camper tonight-there will be time tomorrow for that. Instead, I tried to keep the laundry going in the house. I think that I have managed to wash 6 loads of laundry, but I still probably have about 4 or 5 more (think blankets and sleeping bags).

We did supper on your own tonight-Campbell had leftover pasta, Keaton made her and Reagan new pasta, boys, Robby and I had frozen pizza. I worked on school some and now the evening is just about gone. 

August 4, 2022-One Last Hurrah at the Beach Before School

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The sun was shining this morning, and it did for most of the day. The only time the sun didn't shine was when we had laid a few things out to dry this afternoon-that is when the rain came. The first thing on the list for this morning was changing sites.

Robby wasn't able to book a site for all 4 nights were since this was kind of a last minute deal, so he had to book two different sites. It wasn't too much of a problem to move sites since we were just moving a few spots down the road. 

The kids road the bikes. I carried some things. Robby carried some things and some things we just shoved in the car. It took probably around 30 minutes from spot to spot so that wasn't bad at all. After we had re-settled in, we started on our breakfasts. 

Again, can we just stop and talk about how much food we bring compared to how much food we actually eat. For exampled, there have been 2 bagels eaten while I brought a dozen. Most things are like that-it is almost silly. We could stay another week before really needing to go to the store. Now, I do take that back since we would need bread tomorrow if we were going to have sandwiches. My kids will never look back on their time in the camper and think that they were hungry. They will always remember food being stuffed in every cabinet and drawer.

We made it to the beach this morning around noon. It was hot! It was actually so hot that I got in the water first. Then I did stay under the tent for a good little bit. It was nice under there-not so nice in the sun. The kids enjoyed the waves again today. And yes, there was more hole digging. 

I don't think that we staye as long today as we did yesterday, but everyone still had fun. Keaton really wanted to ride her bike to the beach so Robby rode with her. On the return trip him Keaton and Campbell rode their bikes back to the camper.

Bikes-they have all rode again today. Graham took a ride this afternoon around the huge lake. He figured that he went at least 6 miles. Later in the evening, he went again with Anderson and Campbell and they rode at least 4. I am so glad that we are able to bring their bikes because they have gotten their use out of them this week.

On the way back from the beach, Anderson and Graham went to the camper and everyone else met at the pool. They all swam some while Robby put a load of clothes in the wash and came back with drinks and snacks for us. Reagan didn't last too much longer after that. Then Campbell, Keaton and Whitman decided to retunr to the camper. That was fine with us-we were in the shade with the excellent breeze again blowing so we just sat there and waited on the laundry. I almost finihsed my book, but needed about 10 more minutes.

After the laundry was finished, we went exploring to Orange Beach. Everyone but Campbell and Whitman wanted to go. First order of business was gas for the car, then we drove around until we stopped at a grocery store. There we bought peaches, cherries, no bread (it was double what we pay at home at Sams/Costco), and ice cream. 

When we made it back to the camper, Robby started on supper. I worked on getting things straightened inside and helping get supper outside. We had quesadillas which is a favorite of mine and Robbys. I think that the kids may be tired of them since we have them most of the times we travel. They are easy and nothing is every wasted becuase people eat the leftovers.

After we had cleaned up our supper mess, Robby and I went on a walk with Bentley. It started out light, but by the time we returned 45 minutes later, it was not light. There are aligators here-I didn't like not being able to see too well. I figured that they would go for the dog, but I did remind Robby that I could and I would outrun him if necessary. Our walk was so long becuase we were picking out our site for the next time that we come here.

When we did get back to the campsite, it was dark and it was crab hunting time. It didn't take anytime for the kids to find shovels, buckets and flashlights. What did take some time was finding parking at the beach. We eventually did, and within 2 minutes of being on the sand crabs were being caught.

That was good because that meant that we wouldn't have to spend all the night long looking for crabs. There were lots of things that the kids found on the beach-a shoe, a shovel and a dead fish. One of those Anderson kept holding and swinging at his siblings. It wasn't the shovel or the shoe. Boys!

The crab hunting was fun-Campbell and Graham were excellent at it. She didn't want to let them go, but I insisted. Robby and I had a bit more packing up to do; then it was ice cream time. We had cookie dough and waffle cone flavored ice cream along with cones. Our freezer doesn't keep things super frozen so the ice cream was a little soft, but that just meant that we got more since it was so easy to scoop.

We are now loaded up with one slide pulled in and the other will be when I finish with my shower in just a bit. We are going to leave super early in the morning, but we will get on the road sooner than we have been getting to the beach each morning. I will definitly say that this trip has been a success-maybe I undestand why people come to the beach every year. 

August 3, 2022-One Last Hurrah at the Beach Before School

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I did fix my window blind problem so I had no sliver on sunshine on my eyes this morning. This was a good thing becuase I slept wonderfully well last night along with everyone else in this camper. We weren't stirring very quickly this morning for sure,

Robby was the first to urge everyone to move since the sun was indeed shining today, and we didn't have a whole lot of that yesterday. We made pancakes inside the camper becuase we were still being lazy. Though chocolate chip pancakes, orange juice and sausage for breakfast isn't really too much of a slacker breakfast.

After breakfast, we did start moving towards the beach. We had to do some straightening and walk Bentely, but by noon we were heading that way. Yes, noon-we are living on island time. The beach was much more crowded today, but we still found a spot without a problem.

Robby had brought a little tent which helped for the two people that could sit underneath it-which included Robby, then Robby and me, then me and Anderson. The water was a little more chilly today-there were yellow flags along with purple ones. Thankfully, today there were no jelly fish stings.

The waves weren't huge, but the kids did enjoy playing with their boogie boards. We didn't build any sandcastles today, but there was still some hole digging. I didn't get out the sandcastle stuff, becuase I had gotten in the ocean and then didn't want to sit on the sand and get sandy. Though I did sit on a float on the sand and still ended up pretty sandy.

I thought that we had done sunscreen fairly well, but quite a few of us are pretty pink (Reagan, Keaton and Whitman's faces, Anderson's arms, and Campbell's back). However, I think that no one is really red so it should all be gone by in the morning-just in time for us to go to the beach again.

We stayed about 2 hours at the beach which is the perfect time for us to stay. Now, we might could have stayed longer if we had a huge tent and chairs for everyone along with an ice chest filled with goodies. However, I do think that most folks were ready to go when we did leave.

We went back to the camper. There we set up the tent and had lunch outside. It was pretty sunny, but the tent made all the difference in the world. It was almost comfortable under the shaded tent. Lunch consisted of sandwiches for most, Anderson and Whitman had a pizza like last night, Keaton had a sliced cheesestick on pepperoni slices along with a peach.

Whitman, Keaton and Campbell then went to the pool with Robby and I. Robby did put another load of laundry in while they were swimming. While Robby was putting the laundry in the dryer, Campbell headed back to the camper for her shower. He brougth back a lemonad slush for him and a huge chocoalte shake for me. They were delicious! (Seriously, I have had about 5000 caolories today).

Keaton and Whitman headed back to the campsite by themselves-on their bikes. Let's pause here in the blog and talk about the bikes. This place is a biker's heaven-there are miles and miles of trials. The kids have rode quite a bit today at different times. Now, Whitman is not a huge bike rider, but once we encourage (force) him to do it-he does have fun. Even Reagan rode bikes tonight for a good while with Keaton. 

After they left to go back to the campsite, Robby and I stayed at the pool. We were sitting in lounge chairs in the shade with a cool breeze happening-why would we leave? Plus he had laundry drying so we needed to stay a few more minutes. I read my book and he worked on his computer so we were productive. 

Once back at the camper, I folded laundry while people did some school (yes, I'm a monster!) and rode bikes. Then we loaded up for supper. We headed to Fort Morgan first to possibly eat at Tacky Jacks. The wait was over an hour so we passed on that and stopped at a place we saw on the way there.

It was some condo complex that had about 5 food trucks in front of it with live music happening and games. We had a sampling of food-gyros, bbq, quesadillas and even banana pudding. After eating, we played some games while listening to the music.

Then it was time to head back to town. Of course, we had to stop at Matt's Ice Cream for some ice cream. Robby and I did split, but everyone else had their own scoop. Keaton was the only one who didn't have any ice cream-she had a homemade reeces peanut butter cup instead. We actually bought 2 of those, and Robby is cutting ours in half right now. 

Of course, the girls wanted to find some souveneirs. We went to two of those giant stores, but Campbell was the only one who was able to find something. She wanted two things, but I said one was plenty. Keaton really wanted something too, but could never find anything that she wanted. 

Back at the campsite, we walked Bentley a bit while Keaton and Reagan rode bikes. Then it was time to make beds and get these people in their spots. I had a shower earlier today, but I just might take another one or I may read another chapter of my book.

August 2, 2022-One Last Hurrah at the Beach Before School

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As I was laying in the bed this morning with the one sliver of sun shining in this camper glowing on my face, I realized that maybe it wasn't sun since I could hear the rain pattering down on the roof. Even with no sun out, it is still bright outside at 7 (when I went to the bathroom), at 8 (when a text woke me up), and at 9 (when we first started to really stir). And yes, after we did start to stir, I definitely made sure that I fixed my window so the sun won't light up my face in the morning (though I think that it is supposed to be raining again!)

Robby and I took a walk first this  morning with Bentley. The rain had stopped, and the sun was shining so it was hot and steamy. We didn't walk too far, but Bentley was ready to be back in the camper. Once we made it to the front of the camper, she pulled me to the door and stayed there until I opened it. (Later in the day, she did refuse to come in-I guess she just has a mind of her own.)

After our walk, Robby, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and I drove to the state park lodge area. The first thing we did was to walk out on the peir. Half of it was destroyed in 2020, but it is still really long. Then we waled down the beach towards the lodge. I am not sure why people ever run on the beach-just walking nearly kills me. It is not an easy task. Especially since during all of this, the strom clouds were coming back. It was spitting rain and blowing stinging sand on us-thankfully, it was blowing sand on our backs. 

When we did make it to the lodge, the rain had let up. The lodge sits right on the beach and is really pretty. It is a classy place-I was going to say that it was a classy, little place, but it is massive. After thouroughly exploring the lodge, we headed back to the camper.

Graham and Keaton actually headed off on 2 bikes that we borrowed from their ride share program. They rode the 2 miles back to the camper and almost beat us except they went down the wrong trail and had to turn around. Well, I guess they did beat us, becuase we went to the pool area and looked at the gift shop and laundry room here.

Back at the camper, we started stirring the others to go to the beach-and that is when the rain started. It was light, but it was persistent. So we ate lunch-sandwiches for most folks. We then waited some more, until we just couldn't wait anymore.

Graham and Keaton took the bikes bal to the bike station at the beach and did beat us-we went to the other side so they only had a mile to ride. The rain was a light sprinkle and happened pretty much the whole time we were on the beach, but that didn't stop us from having fun.

All of the kids enjoyed the water. Everyone had a great time-despite the yellow and purple flags. They didn't go out too far, but they did go out far enough that Whitman and Campbell thought that they were stung by jellyfish. Something must have stung them but just enough to hurt brielfy and not leave a mark. However, Graham was stung, and it hurt him for a good bit and did leave a pretty decent mark on his arm. I think that it is all good now-he did get some medicine when we came back to the camper, and he hasn't mentioned it since.

There was lots of hole digging-I am not sure why boys, even big boys, like doing this. We had bought a sandcastle making kit from Sams, and it turned out to be a lot of fun. Pretty much everyone helped me make a sand castle at some point or another. And yes, pretty much all of them were fails, but we had fun making them.

After about an hour and a half we headed back to the camper. Anderson, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman went to the pool with me. Graham took a shower while Robby took Reagan to the bathhouse. In between picking her up, he threw in a load of laundry. 

We walked back, and Robby picked up Campbell to take her to the bathhouse while showers started here-Keaton, Whitman, and Anderson. As Robby grabbed the laundry from the dryer, I started making air fryer pizzas for our suppers. This is not a quick meal, but it is a favorite-though we bought the wrong kind of bread for the crust so they weren't as good as our usual.

Basically, we were loafs most of the morning long, but come 2 in the afternoon-we moved at full speed until the end of the day. It is 11:30 now, and I have just started on the blog and still have my shower to do. We could have had a restful evening, but it is Tuesday which means it is movie night.

We drove to Orange Beach and watched some movies. Reagan, Robby and I watched Where the Crawdads Sing. It was one of those films that will probably win a lot of awards, but it didn't leave you with a happy feeling. (Reading the book was on my list, but I am not too sure now. I like happy, Hallmarky things.)

Anderson and Graham watched Thor. They said that the reviews say the movie is terrible, but they thought that it was fine. Keaton, Campbell and Whitman watched DC League of Super Pets. They enjoyed their movie-even though they were out first. Robby took them our popcorn to munch on while they waited. The boys soon joined them and they walked around outside while waiting.

Outside had been a real party when we came-we were running late so we couldn't explore. However, the foam pit was still there and still had foam in it, so Whitman, especially, enjoyed that. We walked all around the almost deserted shopping center before driving home.

Back at the camper, Bentley had a walk while I swept and tried to straighten some (impossible). Robby and Campbell walked Bentley and threw the trash away. Then there were a few things to clean-Bentley threw up plus a coke burst under the couch (thankfully, contained in a bin). Plus a hinge broke in one place, but Robby will fix that tomorrow. 

I believe that the weather will be a bit more promising tomorrow. However, even if it is like today, we will still have some more fun.