Highlights of New England: Day 6, September 30, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

(click here for a video from Thunder Hole)


We seriously could not have woken up in a more perfect place this morning.  I love this cottage and am thinking about having Robby build me one.  Robby thinks it is around 500 square feet plus the front porch.  I think a family of 6 could live comfortably in it.  Did I mention there is a screened in porch and a huge apple tree out front.  The kids could not wait to go outside and pick their breakfast. 

Reagan, Anderson and Graham are all sleeping in the bedroom-2 double beds plus Graham’s pack n play makes it pretty cozy in there.  This morning Robby heard Reagan holler “Graham is fussing” a few times so he finally went to check on them.  Graham had managed to climb out of his bed and was resting comfortably in Anderson’s bed with him.  They played well this morning while we were lazy for a few more minutes.  Once I told them about the apple tree, pajamas were thrown off and they were searching for clothes to put on. 

There was talk of finding a basket and we started having to mention that we were only going to get one each to eat for breakfast.  They still couldn’t just pick one-they had to find the perfect one.  Fortunately, the tree branches were a little too high and they needed help to pick them-though there were quite a few good ones on the ground to choose from.  We then sat down at our picnic table and I cut the apples for everyone to enjoy.  They ate them as quickly as I could cut them.

Graham finished first because he was ready to get in the car and go and see the “neigh neighs”  We had a carriage ride at Wildwood Stables at 10.  The weather looked iffy enough that we brought our raincoats with us along with our jackets.  Two horses pulled the carriage which had 4 rows of seats plus the driver who was also our tour guide.  The guide was an elderly gentleman (yes, very old man) and he was a very, very good guide. 

We have been to Acadia two other times and have never really seen the carriage roads or the bridges and they are beautiful.  I plan on coming back and hiking around on the roads.  We saw 3 bridges and one had a bubbling stream going under it.  It was absolutely breathtaking.  I can not describe it.  We only had a few minutes and there were 2 carriages parked there so we weren’t able to do a back picture.A favorite of ours in Vermont!  It ranked right up there with my other favorite place (A.M. Foster Bridge in Cabot, Vermont – click here).  

About the last 20 minutes of the ride, it started misting on us and became pretty chilly.  Campbell was asleep in the second seat with me and the 2 other ladies - so I just put my coat over her.  Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Robby were in the front seat and they eventually put on their coats.  Graham was the cutest thing ever -- he kept saying “hi neigh neigh”-he was so happy to be riding behind the horses.  Anderson thought it was so funny when the horse had to go to the bathroom!

There was two women and another couple on the carriage with us.  We had both already talked to the kids about how to act.  They must have listened.  Though the ride was 2 hours, they were very, very good.  Probably didn’t hurt that Robby was passing out food the entire time.  The guide even asked if all kids in Arkansas were so well behaved.  And then he commented again later on the kids.  Needless to say, Robby bought them a snack at the next stop.   

And our next stop was the Jordan Pond House.  They are well known for their popovers but the restaurant looked crowded so we bought a package of the popover mix and I am just going to make some at home.  We did buy the kids a snack-Anderson, Robby and I had the whoopie pies.  We have gotten them each time we have been there and they keep getting bigger and sweeter.

We drove back around the park loop road and stopped at Thunder Hole for a few minutes.  The kids enjoyed watching the waves come in and cause a crash.  Robby and I have been there once before and the water was spewing really high but it was only splashing a little bit today in comparison.  But the kids still got a big kick out of watching it-Campbell even fussed when I turned to walk away.

In just a few minutes we were back in Bar Harbor.  We parked and headed to the Route 66 Diner.  It is a place that Robby and I ate at 6 years ago.  Life is just wild to think that 6 years ago we were in the exact same spot but now we have 4 kids-craziness.  The restaurant is decorated with antiques everywhere and even had a train that went around the track.  The boys decided that they were going to have Grandpa build them one in their room one day.  They would love that-they sure loved it during supper and by the end of supper, we had spotted the switch that makes the train work.  So everyone had a turn pushing it before we left. 

Robby splurged and bought the lobster roll with a cup of clam chowder.  Lobster must really be expensive because his $18 meal was pretty small.  Seriously it was small enough that I (or possible even Anderson) could have cleaned the plate.  He decided that he wasn’t going to share his ice cream today.

Yes, ice cream was next-I think we just ate all day long.  We walked around the town for a little bit.  There are 2 cruise ships docked here so the town is pretty lively.  The kids enjoyed walking in a few stores and then they were delighted to take their pictures in front of the ice cream lobster.  Our ice cream tonight must have had lobster in it too since it was pretty expensive as well!  Since Maine is well known for its blueberries, Reagan tried the blueberry ice cream.  Actually, she just picks her ice cream by color and blue looked good to her today. 

We then walked back to the car and Graham and Campbell were asleep before we could make it the few blocks to the car.  We decided to drive to Walmart to pick up a few more groceries so they could sleep a little more.  Robby had forgotten how far Walmart was down the road-it was about 10 miles.  We had thought that it was only 2 or 3.  The weather had gotten very foggy but it was still a pretty drive.  Robby ran in and picked up our stuff and then we headed back to the cottage.

Graham woke up and started crying about “my home.”  He wanted to go to his home but when we mentioned the cottage he started helping Robby look for it.  Anderson asked if we knew the way or if we needed a map and Reagan wondered how we knew which cottage was ours. 

Once we made it, we unloaded from the day while the kids played outside.  All of the apples had been gathers into a pile and they put the recently fallen ones into the pile.  I made sandwiches and Robby worked on straightening the car.  Then the kids and Robby ate at the picnic table while Campbell and I ate inside.  The kids played some more outside before it was time to come in.  There aren’t too many hotels where the kids can play in the front yard-they really enjoyed it. 

Next was a cupcake snack, milk, breathing machine and a movie before bed.  We are in bed the earliest we have been so far on this trip.  Hope the kids sleep all night since they will be so well rested tomorrow.

Highlights of New England: Day 5, September 29, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)


After a late night for the kids (11ish) and a very late night for Robby and me (2ish), it was nice to sleep in until 7:30.  Graham did make it into our bed sometime in the middle night but he was out cold this morning.  I laid Campbell beside him while she was drinking her milk and when he woke up he grinned at her and then put his arm around her.  Reagan was the next one up and we finally had to wake Anderson up.  The hotel breakfast was very good-cereal, strawberries, yogurt, granola, sausage egg and cheese biscuits and juice-we ate all of that plus some. 

Robby loaded up the luggage and packed the car while we finished breakfast and then after one more bathroom stop we were leaving Rhode Island.  We made sure that we bypassed Boston this morning since we will be back in a few days and because we didn’t want to mess with the traffic. 

Robby saw the sign for the Minute Man National Historic Park.  It was right off of the road so we decided to take a little educational/bathroom stop.  To get to the visitor center you had to walk probably a 1/4 of a mile and the kids were glad to get out and run off some energy.  We browsed the exhibits, touched way to much stuff in the gift shop and then used the restroom and ran back down the trail to the car. 

Before long we had made it through Massachusetts and New Hampshire and were nearing our first stop in Maine: Ogunquit.  It is a quaint little beach town with a nice beach.  Our plan was to eat lunch there somewhere and then let the kids play in the water.  We couldn’t find a good picnic spot and since they weren’t too hungry we decided to let them swim and then eat in the car.  They were so excited when we told them they could put on their bathing suits.  After Reagan, Anderson and Graham had been changed, they ran down towards the water.

The water was ICE cold.  It was amazing the difference between the water there and the water in Maryland.  The beach was perfect for the kids.  They could walk 20-30 feet out in the water before the water even went over their ankles.  And when the waves crashed in, they were just little ripples.  They would run and splash.  Poor Graham fell down a few times and when he did, he would cry each time-cry and shiver.  That is how cold it was!  But then he would run straight back into the waves.

Campbell didn’t get her bathing suit on so she sat in the stroller at the edge of the water.  Every once in a while the water would roll over her wheels and she would lean down and try to grab the water.  The tide must have been coming in because I kept having to move her buggy backwards.  After lots of play we then put every one in the car and dried them off with what we had-a dish towel.  Our main objective was to get the sand off since we still had quite a long drive.  After changing everyone, I ran in a gift shop to pick up an ornament and then made our picnic lunches in my lap.  We passed out lunches and the kids devoured them.  Running on the beach makes you a little hungry.

They weather today was perfect.  I thought it would be in the low 70s (boo on the weatherchannel.com) but it was in the 80s along with beautiful blue skies.  We have now checked the weather for tomorrow and am crossing our fingers that we have good weather for our carriage ride.  After lunch Robby said that I might have to drive and I said that was fine since I had to go to the bathroom and wouldn’t be able to nap.  We decided that we would stop at LL Bean in Freeport for our stop.  Our plan was to stop there on the way back down the coast but since we needed a “wake up” and bathroom stop it was perfect. 

Also, it was perfect since I had a gift card to spend.  I knew that I was going to buy a bag (like I don’t have enough) but I had hoped I could buy two at the outlet.  But the bags at the outlet store were not my favorite so I shopped at the main store.  I was only able to buy one bag (but it is the perfect bag for me!) and since I had a few dollars left on the card, I let Robby buy a flash light.  After a few pictures by the LL Bean boot, looking in the fish pond and sticking heads in the fish aquarium bubble, the kids were ready for a few more hours in the car. 

Well, we were almost ready, we still needed a little snack.  Robby told me that there was Ben and Jerry’s and Maine Made Ice Cream.  Anderson quickly said he wanted the Maine Made Ice Cream so we headed over there.  We each had a cup and ate every bit.  Back on the road, we noticed the leaves.  I had checked before we left but from what I had read, I didn’t think that the leaves would be ready.  But the leaves are gorgeous.  They are red, yellow and orange.  The kids even noticed the leaves except they saw the purple and pink leaves!

We drove around 350 miles today and here is a little snapshot of what life is like in the car.  Robby driving peacefully, I was on the phone with my mom, everyone but Anderson was sleeping and Anderson was watching a movie.  Robby was thirsty and took a sip from a water bottle.  Anderson decided he wanted some so Robby threw it back to him.  He overthrew so I hung up with my mom and crawled to the back to find the water bottle.  I couldn’t find it so grabbed him a juice box out of the ice chest as I crawled back into the front seat.  I opened it and stretched back to pass it back which woke up Graham.  He saw the juice box and wanted one so I again grabbed another one from the ice chest and passed it back.  By the time I could get turned around and buckled again, Reagan’s eyes were open and she decided that she needed something to drink.  I searched the ice chest but they were all gone so I had to find a cup from the food bag and grabbed our coke to pour her a drink.  Our coke was empty so then I had to find another one from the ice chest and pass it back to her.  As soon as I sat back down, Anderson said that he wanted a coke too…and it continued like this for miles and miles!

We made almost to our hotel tonight and stopped at Taco Bell for supper.  After supper, we were back on the road for the last few miles. We are staying at a cottage in Bar Harbor tonight.  It is so cute-quilts, front porch, old timey fridge and there is even an apple tree out front.  I love it here.  The kids haven’t seen the apple tree yet-oh, they will be so excited.  Reagan and Anderson each have twin beds.  They have a quilt and lots of pillows.  Reagan worked for a long time getting her bed fixed just right.  I think she needs a girly bed pretty soon.  She has been so excited about staying in a cottage (just like me)!  Robby teased Graham about sleeping outside and when it was time for him to lay down, he went out to the front porch to look for the bed.  I think he was a little disappointed about not getting to sleep outside.  They can eat their breakfast of apples outside in the morning.

Highlights of New England: Day 4, September 28, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)


We were up fairly quickly this morning and made it downstairs to eat breakfast before 8:30.  The breakfast area this morning had a smaller selection but we were able to find plenty to eat.  The kids seem to eat a lot at one meal and nothing at the next.  This must have been Anderson’s eating meal because he had 2 waffles.  The conversation at breakfast always revolves around how many more nights we have on our trip and how many more hotels we have.  They are very much aware that this is a long trip-I think they are really just counting how many more times they get to eat breakfast at a hotel.

We made it to Carlo’s Bakery in pretty good time-around 10:30.  We had driven within miles of it last year but didn’t even think to stop.  This time though we were going to stop and have something yummy.  I couldn’t wait-I barely ate any breakfast thinking about what we were going to eat there.  It was starting to sprinkle as we drove to Hoboken and found a decent parking spot.  We unloaded the buggies and kids, paid the meter and headed down the street…only to find that the bakery was closed today!  Look at the picture, my Anderson was heart broken.  Oh, well since we are coming back this way, we will swing by again. 

Robby was so disappointed that he needed pizza to console himself and since we know of a good pizza place in NYC and we were right near the Lincoln Tunnel, why not?  By now it was raining again but since it took as a while to fight the traffic and end up near Times Square the rain had stopped by the time we found a parking garage.  On our way, Robby rolled down the window and Graham just stared outside listening to the sounds  and taking in the sights of the city (and the smells!).  We drove near the Empire State Building, Macy’s, the New York Times, Madison Square Garden and even caught a glimpse of Ben Stiller (he was chatting on the street corner).

We headed out and Robby walked us right to Ray’s Pizza-there are a lot in NYC but we have been to this one a few times now (last time was a little over a year ago)  The pizza was delicious and the kids ate it up.  After Graham had finished his piece, I handed him what was left of mine and it must have looked like a gun because he grabbed it, pointed it at the table near us and started shouting “shoot, shoot, shoot.” 

After lunch, we walked towards Times Square.  The kids eyes were as wide as saucers.  Taxis, lights, horns, tvs, trucks, people, cranes, police cars, you name it and it was there for them to see.  Campbell was so interested in what was going on, that she sat straight up in her stroller.  Even though she was buckled in, I still had Anderson hold on to her as we darted across streets and dodged cars with a zillion other pedestrians.  Robby was the leader with his buggy and I followed him.  We pushed people out of the way and weaved through the crowds like we lived there. 

After a few pictures in Times Square and even taking a picture for a Yahoo promotion we let the kids walk in the M&M store and even ride the escalator.  Next we walked across the street to the Hershey store and then made our way back to the car.  As we left the parking garage it was again raining.  We thought we were leaving across the George Washington Bridge but Helga (gps) changed her mind at the last minute and we went out of NYC another way.  We don’t know how but we do know that 14 police cars passed us with sirens and lights on-so we just kind of pulled behind them and carried on. 

Last year we brought only 3 kids to NYC for the day but this year we had 4 kids with us and just decided to pop over for lunch!  What fun!

The kids had listened so well and since they had long car ride ahead of them (we were running about an hour or 2 later than planned because of our spur of the moment trip to NYC) we passed out a few presents.  Saved Happy Meal toys can make them so excited.  Campbell didn’t get a present and Graham noticed.  He kept saying “where’s bubbles present? it’s ok bubble.” 

We ran into traffic in Connecticut which further slowed us down but we kept the movies on and the snacks flowing in the back seat so the kids did well.  We stopped at a McDonald’s rest stop to break up the 3 and a half hours.  After pottying, the kids ran and played chase in the grass until it was time to hit the road again.  Graham talked nonstop the second leg of the trip.  Here is just some of his conversation:

G: Wanna go my house.

Dad: You want to go to your house?

G: Yeah, no, I go hotel.

Dad: Okay

G: I go hotel.

Dad: Okay

G: Wanna go my house.

And on and on this went.  Finally we had to stop talking to him.  He does look at the books but that is all that he will play with in the car.  Now he will stay busy putting all of Reagan and Anderson’s toys on the floor.  After a few hundred dollars in tolls today, we finally made it to Newport.  We drove right to the Breakers Mansion and started along the Cliff Walk.  The weather was perfect and just a little breezy.  We walked along the walk until it was no longer stoller accessible but it gave us enough a walk to see some houses and enjoy the ocean.  After Campbell had taken her picture on a rock, I went to put her back in the buggy and she was so very mad at me.  She has quite a little temper!-cute now, not later!

On the walk back to the car, Reagan told me that she missed all of the people that she loved and then she went on to name everyone that she missed.  It was quite a list for only being gone 4 days so far.  Soon after that, Anderson said with a sad little voice “I miss all of my friends like Nonna, Pops, Grannymom, Grandpa, Jason.”  It was pretty pitiful and then I mentioned ice cream and he was over it!  Even though we can go days without seeing people, it is funny how when we are on a trip they get a little homesick. 

After getting back in the car, the bottom fell out.  It was pouring-we have been so blessed that the weather has been so good for us.  We haven’t had to deal with the rain much at all.  Seems like each time we go to get out of the car, the rain stops and then it starts back once we get back on the road (hope that holds true for the rest of the trip)

Just a bit down the road was the Newport Creamery.  I had read about this local chain somewhere and it was a great stop.  Robby and I were starving and we had been bribing the kids with ice cream all day long so we were all ready to stop.  Reagan ate half of a grilled cheese, Graham had the other half and Anderson had a hot dog.  Robby and I both had soup and then quesadillas.  It was all good but not nearly as good as dessert.  The kids had sundaes with gummy worms in them and we split a huge sundae with strips of cookies and brownies in it.  Delicious!

Robby and Graham ran next door while we were finishing our ice cream to pick up another gallon of milk.  We then headed to our hotel in Coventry, Rhode Island.  It was about 20 miles away and already pretty late.  We had told them kids that they could go swimming tonight and they were going to hold us to it.

After unloading and putting on our bathing suits, we walked down the hall to start laundry.  We let the kids swim until the 2 loads of clothes were ready to be put in the dryer.  It was so late that Campbell didn’t swim but she just squealed and hollered watching everyone.  She busied herself by playing with the drawstring from my shorts.  I didn’t have Graham’s good floatie bathing suit but I did have 10 cent innertube from Walmart which worked just perfect.  When it was time to get out, they showered off at the pool shower.  We even had their pajamas there so we could put their suits in the dryer too.  We just had to make everyone’s bed before they made it to bed around 11.  This is the latest they have been up in awhile.  We will probably take it a little easier tomorrow (even though we have a little further to drive). 

Graham went right to sleep and Reagan was still pretty quickly.  Anderson wanted to play 20 questions about where we were going tomorrow and how we would get home.  Campbell learned how to sit up in her bouncy seat and was so proud of herself.  She would sit up and then not be able to drink her bottle which would cause her to fuss.  We would go to check on her and she would just grin as if to say, look at me, I can do something new.  Finally she tired of this and settled down to drink her milk.

We stayed up to repack, blog and fold and sort 2 loads of clothes-around 1.  Now it is off to bed for us!

Highlights of New England: Day 3, September 27, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)


Oh, it was a very restful night.  We still woke up before the alarm clock went up but just a few minutes as compared to yesterday’s waking up a few hours before the alarm clock.  We were ready for breakfast and out the door pretty quickly (though, pretty quickly for a family of 6 is not really that quickly).  The kids were panicked when we climbed in the car-everyone started screaming about breakfast.  We thought they understood when we explained that breakfast was in the next building.  But we knew they didn’t understand when we parked at the next building and Reagan said “so this is our next hotel? that wasn’t far.”


We had about a 2 hour drive to Assateague Island and they watched movies on the way.  Yes, Robby broke down and bought a portable movie player.  It was probably worth every penny that he spent and then some to get a few minutes of quiet time.  But Graham could care less about the movies-I just don’t know what to do about that.  And no, not watching movies is not a good thing-it is a very bad thing! 


The weather has been very cloudy today and sprinkled off and on but it has never really been rainy when we were outside-just damp.  We made it to the seashore without stopping and headed straight to the bathroom.  I took Reagan and Anderson and I have known that this would eventually happen and it happened today: someone got locked in a bathroom.  It was just the stall but Reagan had locked the door and couldn’t get it open.  My next option was me to crawl under and open it or to send Anderson-I sent Anderson.  He couldn’t open it either so I just had them both crawl out and we left.  I probably should have gotten it opened, but I just didn’t want to crawl around on the bathroom floor!  Reagan never seemed concerned and almost seemed excited about getting to crawl under the stall.  Now we have a new rule: you can not lock bathroom doors!


The visitor center at Assateague Island was pretty new and nice.  Robby picked up a crab from the tank and Reagan so wanted too but decided she couldn’t.  When Robby was trying to pick his up (he was a little skittish about the whole thing), Anderson and Graham were behind him.  They were quite terrified for Robby-saying “put him back with his friends Daddy“and “it bite you Daddy.”  Robby had just grabbed the crab and saw his legs move which made Robby jump back a little and squeal like a girl (made that part up).  When Robby jumped back, he bumped into Anderson who must have thought the crab was coming for him because he jumped back as far as he could. 


We then crossed the bridge onto the island.  Right after the toll, we saw a horse standing still on the road.  The kids kept asking if it was real and indeed it was-even though it didn’t move and it was still right there when we were on our way back. 


Within a mile, we saw another group of horses.  We let the big kids get out and take a few pictures (while being very careful not to get bitten or crushed in a stampede).  Graham loved the horses.  He told them all “bye bye neigh neigh” and “see you later neigh neigh.”  We found a semi covered picnic table near the beach parking lot and set out to eat our lunch.  We must have been hungry because we all devoured our sandwiches, chips and desserts.  After lunch, we decided to go for a walk on the beach.


We have all of our luggage in the car so we could have easily let the kids put on bathing suits but since it was misting a little and really not that warm and since we weren’t planning on getting more than our toes in the water, we decided we didn’t need the bathing suits.  We walked to the end of the pier and then took of socks and shoes and rolled up everyone’s pants legs.  I thought I was doing good by rolling up their pants legs but even when you roll up Graham’s pants legs to his knee, it is just still a few inches off of the ground.  We walked to the water and Campbell immediately started talking when she heard and saw the water.  On the way, Reagan picked up every shell that she could find-they were mostly pieces but they were all made of pretty colors.


Everyone enjoyed running from the water and letting their feet get wet.  Reagan wanted to hold someone’s hand and then somebody always had to hold on the Graham-he would get so excited running from the water that he couldn’t even stand up.  Needless to say, we got a bit wet.  Robby and Reagan were the first ones to get unexpectedly splashed.  Graham and Mom were next.  Anderson stayed pretty dry but still managed to get wet.  He shouted to Mom “the ocean is so cool."  When the waves would come near, Anderson would turn and run and run-at least 30 extra feet every time!


We wanted to get a picture of Campbell in the ocean (first time) so we had to make everyone else stand way back so no one would be tempted by the water.  I held her down low and of course we were immediately splashed.  After taking a few pictures, I stood up and she started screaming-she wasn’t finished getting her feet wet.  We let the kids play some more and finally moved them away from the water.  We tried to take a few beach pictures, but the lens was foggy from the weather so we will have to try again. 


We walked back and tried to get the sand off and assess the wetness of the pants-Soaked!  Rolling up the pants only creates a pocket to hold the water in.  When we got in the car, we just took everyone’s pants off and drove on to the Cape May-Lewes ferry.  Reagan asked a zillion times about her pants and if they were dry and if she could put them on at the ferry.  The drive to the ferry was about an hour and we at one time thought the pants would be dry by the time we found it since the gps was taking us down a few roads where we saw no one else. 


We made it to the ferry early, parked and went in.  They had some video games there that the kids played with while I looked in the gift shop and Robby looked at brochures.  Pretty soon it was time to get on the ferry.  The ride was a little over an hour and it went by pretty quick-we walked around the boat, everyone went to the bathroom twice (where Reagan and then Anderson both told me that couldn’t use the potty because it was rocking), brought up our picnic supplies and had another picnic and sat outside a bit.  The bay was pretty choppy today because of the weather so the boat had a pretty good rock to it.  The kids didn’t seem to notice except to notice that they wanted to stand up and try to walk.   We were about to buy sandwiched in the cafe but then opted to just go and get out own and again our picnic supplies came in handy.  Before long, we were down in our car waiting to drive off the boat.  Anderson and Graham must have thought the boat was pretty cool because they were very interested in all of the boat things. 


When we left the ferry, we headed to the Cape May Lighthouse.  When we drove up, Anderson exclaimed “the Eiffel Tower”-well, not really.  But we did have fun running in the grass playing chase for a few minutes before heading to Atlantic City.  Campbell snoozed in the car as we played.  As we left, we noticed that we had closed up the Cape May Point State Park; they already had to gates closed. 


In about an hour, we started having the kids look for Lucy the Elephant in Margate City, New Jersey.  They asked if it would be big and if it would be real but they were very surprised when they saw how big Lucy really is.  They were a little disappointed that we couldn’t go in it but we were pretty excited that we were able to get a great parking spot to see it since it was closed.  Next we drove down the Atlantic City strip-I couldn’t get over all of the huge houses.  The kids briefly noticed the lights but soon went back to whatever they were doing: Reagan playing princesses, Anderson swinging his taggie, Campbell sleeping and Graham crying (once he gets tired all he does in the car is whine)


Graham was probably the most excited to see the hotel.  Even though it wasn’t too late, he was ready to go the bed when we finally had everything unpacked and pajamas on.  Reagan and Anderson fell into our usual routine of movie and breathing treatment for Anderson.  Meanwhile Campbell played with our shoes.  I had given our a handful of toys, but she just turned around and grabbed our shoes. 


I asked everyone what there favorite thing was from today.  Anderson said that his favorite thing was chasing in the grass.  Reagan said hers was seeing the big hotels.  Graham was already in bed when I asked but his favorite was definitely the horses and Campbell did love the Atlantic Ocean.  It was a good day and we will be ready for our first long driving day tomorrow.

Highlights of New England: Day 2, September 26, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

(click here for the morning route and click here for the afternoon route)

Robby had said that he wanted to get an early start this morning but he had no idea how early our start would be.  Campbell stirred around 3 and went back to sleep after I handed her her bottle.  Robby and I both thought it was morning when we heard Campbell-it looked light outside and we felt rested.  The next thing we knew, Campbell was fussing again along with Graham.  After giving Campbell her paci, Robby picked Graham up out of his bed and put him in ours.  It was 4.  This isn’t too big of a deal since he wakes up quite often in hotels.  We usually put him in our bed, rub his head and back and he falls asleep after awhile. 


Well, 4 turned into 4:30 and he was still going strong crawling all around us.  Robby sat up and asked him if he wanted a bath.  I thought that I was dreaming-I had to have been dreaming because no sane person would offer a kid a bath in the middle of the night. 

I wasn’t dreaming.  The next thing I know, Graham is stripping off his clothes and playing in the bathtub.  Robby had drank an energy drink on the plane and I assume that he was still under the influence of that drink!  He even called the front desk to get the new internet code (probably not many people call that early).  Soon the noise had woken up Anderson, who decided that he needed a bath too.  Campbell could be heard kicking and cooing in her closet and all this happened before 5!  Reagan and I finally decided that we might as well join the crew so we were all up and ready to be at breakfast at 6. 
We had told the kids that they must be quite in the hall and they did very good.  We were expecting the breakfast room to be empty but we were quite surprised that it was full of a tour group.  Once they cleared out, we were able to get something and sit for a few minutes.  We were in D.C. by 7:30 and were becoming more and more concerned about the rain.  It was sprinkling pretty good and the clouds looked pretty thick.  Because of the rain, we changed our plan of parking in the middle of our walking route and just decided to run into the Lincoln Memorial and then head back to the car.

Since it was raining, we did have to put ponchos on Reagan (who did NOT want to wear one), Anderson (who didn’t care) and Graham (who HAD to have one on) and then Campbell wore the top of Robby’s rain suit.  This left me and Robby with an umbrella each.  We made it to Lincoln and went up the elevator to see it.  Reagan commented that he was a tall president.  We had to explain that he probably wasn’t as tall as the statue.

We took a back picture looking out over the reflecting pool then headed towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  By now the rain had stopped and we had decided to just press on and head towards the White House.  My bag was still packed from the plane and I had clothes, coats and a little bit of extra formula (since I had just grabbed one bottle from the ice chest) so were fairly prepared (we should have brought along extra snacks but we thought we would be gone for 1/2 an hour and not 10 and 1/2 hours).  We walked beside a duck at the reflecting pool and Graham came very, very close to falling in but I was able to snatch him!  While at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, it started to rain again.  So we stopped under a tree and put the ponchos back on.  Within a few blocks (probably by the time we put 4 ponchos on 4 little wiggling kids) it had stopped raining.  Robby bought Reagan, Anderson and Graham and patriotic red, white and blue Popsicles since we are in the nation’s capitol.  And it was a good thing they had on their ponchos-the dripping Popsicle juice just rolled right off.  We tried to clean everyone once we made it to the White House but the blue had stained faces and hands (in case you noticed in the pictures)
The kids posed for pictures in front of the White House gates and then we walked to the White House Visitor’s Center.  There was a bathroom there so we stopped to help with the blue sticky that was on everyone.  After the bathroom, the kids found a spot to color a few pictures.  They were so excited to color something they had seen. 

It wasn’t too much further to the American History museum.  We sat in their cafe to have a little snack and something to drink before getting started.  They had a kid area and then another one (that we didn’t play in-Anderson spotted dump trucks in this one and we knew if we stopped we were never leaving those trucks).  Julia Child’s kitchen called my name and the gowns of the First Ladies called Reagan’s name.  She wanted Robby to take a picture in front of EVERY one.  They had one of the elephants from Dumbo as well as Kermit the Frog.  The kids enjoyed standing at the presidential podium (I was back there holding everyone up).  As we headed out, we walked through one area that had tons of trucks, trains, buses and even a subway.  The weather was sunny and warm when we left this museum so our ponchos were put away for the day.

That was fitting since down the street a little ways was the subway stop for us.  We went downstairs, bought tickets and started waiting on our train.  Graham was pretty terrified-the tunnel was kind of dark and an announcer would speak loudly every once in awhile.  He said that he wasn’t going to go on the subway.  Once we were on it though, he was standing up holding onto the rail like everyone else.  Campbell must have known it was something fun because she was kicking her legs as fast as she could.   
We got off the subway and headed to the Capital.  Earlier in the day, I had asked Reagan to tell me what they made at the capital.  I was trying to get her to remember the answer: laws.  But she thought for a minute and replied “water?”  We still have a little bit of work to do.  We did a quick picture stop at the Library of Congress and the Supreme Court and the kids loved walking up the stairs at the courthouse.  By then they were in a running mood and ran to the steps of the Capitol.  Of course, you can’t go up those steps but we did still stop to take a few pictures.  Campbell get so excited when we would take her out of the stroller-she would kick until I was afraid she was going to tip over.  We walked all around the Capitol and took a few more pictures in front of it.

After the Capitol, we headed back through the National Mall by the Smithsonian Museums.  By now the boys and Campbell had fallen asleep and Reagan was getting pretty sleepy.  We walked through a sculpture garden and stopped at a fountain.  Reagan enjoyed sticking her hand in and grabbing a leaf at the bottom.  We were very, very concerned that she was going to fall in but she managed to stay fairly dry. 

The National Museum of Natural History was next.  We walked right to a butterfly area and showed Reagan.  As we were looking we saw a spot where you could walk through a little sections of butterflies.  We noticed we had to buy tickets and headed that way.  Luckily we didn’t tell Reagan since they wanted $8 for one ticket to walk in a 20 foot section of butterflies.  She didn’t seem to notice and was pretty interested in the honey bees instead.  We explored the insect area for awhile before trying to find our way to the big Elephant at the entrance (we had come in the back door-did you know, all of the Smithsonian museums have a back door-we didn’t). 

We then walked towards a cafe to grab another bite.  We had to walk through the dinosaur section and knew the boys would love to see it.  So as we ate we tried to wake them up.  Graham woke up and finished his sandwich, Anderson woke up and his mood was decent but he wasn’t hungry.  Campbell woke up and was ready to eat NOW.  She was soon quieted with her bottle.  Anderson took a few pictures with the dinosaurs but he seemed to be scared of them.  Later, Reagan told him that they were just dead bones.          

We headed back onto the Mall.  The kids walked in the grass, ran in the grass and pushed the buggies through the grass.  We were able to see the Washington Monument and were on our way back to the car (past the Lincoln Memorial).  We took a few pictures of the Washington Monument (skyscraper as Anderson calls it) and pressed on.  It is quite deceiving standing at the capital and being able to see the Lincoln Memorial and know our car was right behind it.  It looked ALOT closer than it was!-Robby just figured out that it was 4.5 miles! (pushing 2 double strollers)
Though it didn’t take us too long.  We walked through the World War II Memorial and the Korean Veterans Memorial on our way back toward Lincoln.  I had shown Reagan the picture of the Lincoln Memorial on the penny and when she found one today, she showed it to Graham.  He told her “I’ve been there”-pretty smart cookie.  Our car was still where we parked it, it was still intact and didn’t have a ticket so what more could we ask for!  The weather had been pleasant (especially after it stopped raining) but our feet were pretty sore.  We walked a total of 7.8 miles (click here for the morning route and click here for the afternoon route). 

We were all pretty hungry, so we made our way to Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street.  We had read about it and then saw the clip of Obama eating here lately.  The area to order was tiny and we had to maneuver the strollers through but we made it.  I sat with the kids while Robby went to order.  I had chili cheese fries, he had chili dogs and the kids had hot dogs.  Well, it is probably more accurate to say that Anderson had hot dogs since he ate his, finished Grahams and finished Reagans.  The food was good but the chili was spicy! 

When we left, it took us awhile to get off of the main roads and onto the interstate.  Helga (gps) was being a little finicky but we finally made it.  Annapolis wasn’t far away at all and we easily found our hotel.  The room is pretty big and we are all spread out.  Graham fell asleep probably when his head hit the bed and Campbell was so tired she had to fuss for a few minutes to get to sleep.  Reagan fell asleep in a flash but Anderson was wide awake for awhile.  I sat by him while I was on the phone with Nonna, and he shoved his feet in my face and asked me to rub them.  His feet must be sore from all of this walking!  Tomorrow is definitely be a less walking day!

Highlights of New England: Day 1, September 25, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

Well, we have finally started to name our trips (Highlights of New England)  This one will definitely hit the major highlights for sure.  We started out this morning and headed to D.C.  The kids were easy to get up and Anderson was ready to do his breather (he seems to forget he has it on when he watched a movie so that is our little routine now).  Reagan was the last one up and was glad that I didn’t put her in her car seat while she was asleep (like the last few trips).  Graham decided also this morning that he didn’t want to go on an airplane but wanted to go on a neigh neigh instead.  That is fine, but the horse ride is later next week!  Campbell was grinning and kicking when we went in to get her and she must have known something was up because she just watched everyone intently.
We still managed to pick up James a little after 8 and were on our way to the airport.  Since we have rehearsed many times the kids knew just what to do when it was time for security.  Anderson made it his job to push the bags towards the conveyer belt, Reagan busied herself with getting everyone’s shoes and taking care of Graham, Graham stood right by everyone but then became confused when Mom tried to send everyone through the metal detector before she went.  He didn’t understand why she wasn’t going with him and why Dad wasn’t coming (he was still working on pushing the bags through-6 bags, 2 strollers, 1 bin of shoes, 2 laptop bins and one bin filled with baby formula (and yes, we had already checked 3 suitcases, 1 duffle bag, 1 pack n play, and 3 car seat bags) Wouldn’t you have loved to been behind us?-we are fairly efficient though) 
Once at the gate, we looked out the window, took a couple of walks and went to the bathroom.  We had a little extra time since our flight was delayed by 30 minutes.  It was not too big of a deal since they had said no one would miss their connection.  We boarded the plane…oh, yes, listen to this story:
We boarded the plane which was already pretty full even though we were at the end of the A group (Southwest).  We had to have 3 seats together and 2 seats together since the kids can’t sit by themselves.  The only place in the plane with 3 seat together was on the very back row and 2 seats together was hard to come by too so Reagan and I went to the other back row by the boys to sit.  There was a lady sitting by the window with her purse on the middle seat.   She just seemed to ignore Reagan as I pushed her into middle seat.  The flight attendant was standing nearby and he said something to her (I have forgotten now but something like “can you move your purse”)  She didn’t respond so I politely asked if anyone was sitting there.  She finally looked up and then moved her purse.  (I wanted to say: listen lady, I don’t want to sit by you either but this is the only place for us-but I didn’t say that).  She didn’t seem to be too happy to have seat mates so I was quite pleased when I reached across the aisle and grabbed Campbell from Robby.  It doesn’t pay to be rude or you will have to sit by a kid AND a baby on the plane!  Ha, served her right…except the kids were perfect.  Oh, and I had Reagan’s bag in front of her under the other seat and my small bag in front of me and the lady asked if she could put her purse in front of me.  Should have had Campbell spit up on that Louis Vuitton Bag! 
The boys spent their time reading the emergency brochure, eating Nerds, waiting on their Sprites and reading magazines (though Dad didn’t know you had to read it to them).  Reagan and I read some of one of her books and Campbell snoozed the entire flight.  The flight was smooth and quick and since we were in the very back, we were the last ones off of the plane.  Which meant, we had to sit everyone in the strollers and book it to the next stop.  Luckily, we only had 10 gates to pass but we made it just in time for the family boarding.  Not even time for a bathroom stop (which is probably why Graham was so wet later in the day that even his socks got wet-we some how forgot about his diaper).
We found seats on this plane: 3 together and then there was 2 together beside the 3.  I put Reagan in the row and then looked down to see another lady and purse sitting there.  She didn’t budge so I had to ask her if someone was sitting there.  She said yes, and I smiled (on the outside) and said well we would move.  Finally, she said that she could move since it would be easier for her to move (like I believe someone was sitting there).  I don’t really like boarding Southwest flights, everyone is sitting either on the aisle or beside the window so there are only single seats.  And no one makes any eye contact with anyone and especially if they see a kid with you!  Until after you pass their row and then they comment about how we have our hands full!  Or say what cute twins or even triplets (seriously, it has all happened today)
I sat with the boys on this flight and Robby had the girls.  Campbell stayed awake and Graham fell asleep.  Reagan remembered that Grannymom had packed a present for them and her and Anderson opened them.  They were very excited.  Anderson immediately tried to wake up Graham so he could open his-Mom stopped him.  Anderson then played until he said “when are we going to be there, my tummy hurts”  These simple words put me into “Super Fast Mom Mode”-I threw Campbell to Robby, grabbed the motion sickness bag and was ready to catch all while turning the air on him, unbuckling and saying a quick prayer.  But no catching was needed.  We had been in the clouds for a little bit and it was kind of rough sitting over the wing too.  
At Dulles, we found our baggage claim spot and started waiting.  A sky cap approached and asked if we needed any help-Robby quickly said yes.  He handed me the tip money and went to catch the rental car shuttle.  I found all of the bags (hopefully) and pointed them out to the sky cap.  He put them on the cart and then followed us outside.  I had him unload and tipped him (never done that before) and then we waited on Robby to come.  We were in the shade and there was quite a lot to watch-cars, people and planes.  I unloaded the car seats and got them put back together so they kids all set in them and had some skittles.  Before too long, Robby had pulled up and we were loading up.  The van is very similar to ours at home so the kids were familiar with everything.
It was only a few miles to the Air and Space Museum at Dulles.  It is a newer extension for the museum on the Mall.  Parking was free after 4 and we drove up the gate about 3:58.  The cars were all stopped and then at 4 the gates lifted and everyone drove in (saved us $15).  The kids were pretty impressed with the airplanes all over the place.  I had told them they would see hundreds and I think that we did.  We saw the Enterprise Space Shuttle and it was huge.  The kids were pretty impressed with the astronaut hanging form the ceiling and looking at pictures of the old space capsules floating in the water.  There was also the Enola Gay and the Concorde to see.  Reagan was so excited that she could walk under the wing of the planes-she had Robby take her picture too.  Have you noticed that she is big into posing lately?  Twists that leg and head and puts her hands up-where did she get that from?
Since it was nearing 5 here (4 at home) and we had only eaten breakfast and a few airplane snacks, we were thankful for the McDonald's in the museum.  We devoured ours but the kids only picked at theirs.  Campbell was ready for a bottle too-she had only had one on the flights.  After a quick trip to the gift shop, we were out of the museum by closing time (5:30).  Our hotel was just a few miles the other way and when we pulled up Reagan said “this looks like a castle"  It is very big for a Hampton. 
Our room is large as well and it had plenty of room for the kids to play while Robby watched the game.  At one time, Reagan asked him why he was so nervous at the tv.  He might have been doing a little bit of hollering.  We unloaded everything tonight and packed up so we will only have to get out a bag or two tomorrow night (hopefully).  Robby took Reagan, Anderson and Graham to the store to pick up our picnic supplies while I stayed here, fed Campbell and repacked some things.  They came back bearing ice cream, so after a snack Graham and Campbell went to bed and the big kids watched a movie.  Robby went downstairs to load up what we could tonight since we will start pretty early in the morning after breakfast.  Anderson is already excited about tomorrows breakfast! 

Dennie Kids: September 24, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

  • A restful night-Anderson and all of the rest of us slept well.  He was the first one up and enjoyed showing Graham his breather
  • Everyone was fairly cooperative this morning and Mom was able to finish the packing (mostly)  Nonna did come over a little early so she was able to help entertain. 
  • The highlight of the day for Reagan was playing parachute.  Even Graham followed along and they enjoyed getting under it. 
  • This afternoon Mom saw Graham sitting in the floor wearing Anderson’s new breather.  He was so proud of himself! 
  • Anderson going back for his check up.  He still had a little wheezing and a surprisingly low pulse ox but after a breathing treatment and a few more checks it was back to near normal.  Yesterday at the doctor’s office he felt pretty bad, but today he passed the time by karaoke-ing with the breathing thing as a microphone and wrestling with Mom. 
  • Mom dropping Anderson off at home (so he wouldn’t have a meltdown) and then grabbing Graham to go pick up the rest of Anderson’s medicine.  Graham was so excited to go-he might have thought we were headed to the airplane though.  Sams didn’t have the medicine, Walmart didn’t either but thankfully Walgreens did!  Mom just dropped it off and then Dad picked it up on the way home
  • Graham fell asleep on the way home and stayed asleep after Mom just laid him in the den.  Reagan and Anderson played in the garage until Campbell woke up in time to play.  She was pretty clingy today but sure does turn on the smile when you pick her up.
  • Eating supper outside-Anderson was disappointed that Mom couldn’t figure out how to put the picnic table inside of the playhouse.  After the kids ate, they decided that needed to feed Belle so she had a little snack
  • A movie, breathing treatment, milk and then another movie before bed-they fall asleep pretty easily when you mention that tomorrow is the big day!

Dennie Kids: September 23, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

  • A fairly uneventful morning-school for everyone.  Mom and Dad told all of our teachers that we would be gone for a few days (Reagan is missing 5 days of school-she doesn’t know how lucky she is!) 
  • Grannymom picking up Reagan and Anderson.  Reagan made a book similar to Brown Bear Brown Bear in her class-she was so proud of herself.  Things got busy around here but she was finally able to read it to Mom and Dad.  Anderson’s teacher said he coughed all day long.  A popsicle at Grannymom’s made him feel better, but not much. 
  • Dad picking up Campbell and Graham from school.  They had a good day and were so glad to see Reagan and Anderson when they came home. 
  • Anderson looked pitiful on the couch as he coughed and wheezed.  Anderson told Mom one time that he couldn’t breathe and she almost panicked!  Mom called the doctor and they were full so she asked to leave a message for a nurse.  The nurse asked when she could be in (props to Skelley’s nurse!)  Needless to say, Grannymom flew to our house and we were on our way.  Of course, this all happened as soon as Mom was putting Anderson in the shower and trying to wash her sheets!
  • After a short wait, we were in the back.  They did his pulse ox (91) and counted his respiration (or something like that).  He perked up immensely when he saw the monster truck to play with.  He was looking a little pale and Skelley noticed.  Next was a breathing treatment, another pulse ox, a chest x-ray and then another pulse ox. 
  • He was quite the trooper and didn’t fuss at all during all of the excitement.  So asthma boy left with a pile of medicine and a list of prescriptions along with a recheck tomorrow.  After Mom came home, the doctor called back to say she was going to send us a breathing machine to the house tonight along with the medicine. 
  • We made popsicles (Anderson’s reward for being a big boy-even though he truly deserved something bigger than that), ate pizza, cut hair, took showers and watched a few movies while we passed the time waiting on the breathing machine to come.
  • Graham was super clingy to Mom tonight-wanting to be held the entire time.  He had been so concerned about Anderson after he was sick and then again when Mom was rushing him out the door to the doctor.  Reagan was being super sweet-she had loaded up her trip backpack with toys just for Anderson.  They were both probably feeling a little neglected!  Campbell must have felt it too since she was a bit fussy tonight-she still has her cough though her nose isn’t as bad.  They will soon be getting “parental attention overload” in a few days. 
  • The breathing machine arrived on a huge truck-Reagan, Anderson and Graham even went on the front porch to watch the truck.  How fun!  The man came in and showed us the machine but he didn’t have any medicine for us.  Since the reason we had the machine is that it is more powerful than the other inhaler and maybe this could help us avoid the emergency room, we probably needed the medicine.  We called the exchange and left a message, the nurse called us back and then called us back again after talking to the doctor.  Robby is on his way to pick up the medicine now-maybe he will bring back some ice cream! 
  • Anderson is sleeping well so we will hate to wake him for his medicine because he will be a grouchy little fellow.  On the other hand, we still enjoy waking Campbell up at midnight to feed her because she is the happiest thing! 
  • Update: He was fine for the first half but continued to get more and more upset for the second half…so upset that Mom is having to wash his sheets!  Anyway, he is resting well.  Mom is washing her second set of sheets today, unpacking $600 worth of medicine (thank goodness for insurance) and trying to figure out how it will all get done…no worries, it will!

Dennie Kids: September 22, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

  • Campbell had an early morning appointment at the Nutrition Center.  She wasn’t thrilled but Graham was thrilled about getting to go to Grannymom’s house
  • Reagan, Anderson and Graham played and played at Rock Creek for a very long time.  Reagan found a friend to play with and Anderson even found one to play with for a few minutes-then they got into a little scuffle!  (Grannymom said the other little boy pushed first and Anderson shoved him back-he deserved it!)
  • Campbell smiling, grinning, squealing and babbling all morning.  She did great during the psych eval-even surprised Mom.  They had only one concern….her head size!  The head nutritionist even came in to discuss it with Mom!  Mom tried to explain all the Dennie kids have big heads and then she asked if she had seen their Dad, he can’t even wear a hat!  We did leave with 12 cases of formula-trust me, that is alot of formula!
  • Mom and Campbell finishing in time to have lunch with everyone else at Grannyoms.  Campbell and Reagan loved the potatoes and the boys were pretty hungry as well.  After lunch, everyone came home and read a few books before bed
  • Mom got everyone asleep and then she and Campbell headed out the door for a doctor’s appointment.  Don’t worry, Grannymom came by to hang out.  The doctor visit was so short, Grannymom was barely able to read any of her book before Mom came back.  Campbell’s ears were great and just has another cold (poor yucky nose and cough girl)
  • Mom waking up the boys to get everyone ready for church.  Anderson was warned about getting into trouble before church (like last week) and he must have listened.  Graham saw Cubbie Bear and was pleased.  After church we came home for a book, snack, milk and bed!
  • Yes, there are few pictures today-we kind of forgot!  Oh, when Dad was out for lunch, his coworkers decorated his cube for his birthday.

September 21, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

  • Graham went to his class and Dad helped him find some toys to start playing with all without a fuss.  Campbell did great as usual.
  • Anderson practically ran into his class to show his teacher what his snack was.  Reagan went into her room and walked right to the sink to wash her hands and start the activity-was she just focused or is she embarrassed of Mom and Dad?
  • Nonna picking up Reagan and Anderson and then Mom picked them up shortly after that.  Then we headed to pick up Graham and Campbell.  We met Dad there and everyone was early…we were all excited about our cupcakes
  • Celebrating Dad’s birthday at Cupcakes on Kavanaugh.  He has been waiting on the cupcakes for weeks.  The kids loved the icing-but Mom wouldn’t let them have another one (the cupcakes are a little more expensive than donuts!)  Dad even opened a few gifts-water bottle and something else he picked out!
  • Coming home and running off lots of sugar.  Mom has also decided that sugar is burned off by lots and lots of yelling!  After a nap for Campbell and a movie for everyone else, it was supper time. 
  • Dad taking everyone to Nonna’s house while he went church for a little bit.  First was the boys’ bath, then a bath for the girls, then a snack and then poor Campbell needed another bath!  Her tummy is a little full of yuck!
  • Poor Campbell has her cold again-cough, snot-her teacher said she didn’t eat anything all day.  A doctor visit is in her future soon.  When we came home, Dad sucked out her nose (sorry) and she was mad as a hornet.  Reagan, Anderson and Graham just sat on the bed and watched the show.  They were all so upset for her and were glad to see she was fine when he was finished.

Dennie Kids: September 20, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

  • Reagan and Dad headed off to  school about 8:00 and I was asked when Reagan was coming home at 8:45.  From then, it was asked by Anderson about every hour until she came home. 
  • Mom had the boys trying on pants, packing for a trip and reading stories.  They also found time to climb and jump off of a ladder, play cars on the kitchen table and drink a gallon of milk while sitting around in their underwear!  Boys!
  • Campbell misses Reagan when she is gone too-Reagan helps protect her from the boys.  Since Reagan wasn’t there, Campbell had to stick close to Mom.  Campbell’s cold has come back so she again is snotty and a little bit coughy
  • Reagan coming home and was glad to see everyone and they were glad to see her.  She had only made 4 pictures in the writing center today (down from about 20) but her masterpiece was a vegetable print made with potatoes, carrots, cucumbers and peppers (all foods she has never seen or tried…kidding, kind of)
  • Going to the library after lunch-everything was going well until we tried to check out.  Graham headed to the door with Anderson behind him.  Then they started playing around the security thing-Mom sent Reagan to get them but a librarian scolded them first!  Mom was mortified but they have probably learned their lesson.  (I guess they weren’t really “scolded” by the librarian but they sure were by Mom)
  • Afternoon naps for all and then quickly coloring our letter K before getting in the car to pick up Dad.  On the way, we talked and talked about our upcoming trip so poor Graham thought each time we were getting out of the car we were about to get on a boat! 
  • Supper and dessert out followed by a bit of Target shopping by Mom and Dad.  Then it was lots of tooth brushing, a story, prayers and bed.  Mom has been summoned upstairs to sing a song (she refused!)

Dennie Kids: September 19, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

  • Getting ready for church, breakfast at home and then to church-Graham was very upset that we didn’t get cinna minis this morning. 
  • Reagan has adjusted quite well to sitting in big church-she was even singing a song this afternoon: “Remember your people”-but that is the only line she remembered!….now I am being told we didn’t sing that today.  Well, then that is even better-she remembers it from another week.  It is amazing what sinks in.  Tonight Mom mentioned to Anderson that if he doesn’t put on his pajamas he is disobeying.  Reagan asked what the other word for disobey was and Mom finally figured out that she was looking for the work “sin.”  Reagan then told Anderson that he was sinning
  • Mom and Dad spending time in Graham’s class today (Reagan doesn’t understand why they don’t get to come to her class).  Graham was quite the helper: he was very concerned that no one was left on the playground and that everyone held the rope.  He even knew everyone’s names
  • Celebrating Dad’s birthday at Nonna and Pops’ house.  The kids gobbled their food and were ready for cake.  Dad had a big oreo dessert and Anderson wanted to know what Dad wished for.  Then as Dad opened presents (table, phone thing and gift card), Anderson was so hopeful that each one would be a race car-they weren’t!
  • A few errands on the way home and then a nap for the little ones and rest time on Mom’s bed with a movie for the big ones.  Then back to church for choir for Reagan and Bible study for Mom and Dad. 
  • More celebrating Dad’s birthday with Grannymom, Grandpa, Dana, Lilly and Cash-we had lots of ice cream and Dad didn’t get a race car tonight either!  But he did get a cup, gift card, and gps case.  Walking by the toy store but it was closed, so we did a little window shopping
  • Coming home and going straight to bed-we were tired!…or at least we should have been.  Graham can’t decide what bed he wants to sleep in (he switches back and forth each night), Campbell was quite mad but has calmed down and Reagan is singing Anderson (and the neighbors) to sleep.

Dennie Kids: September 18, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

  • Dad worked in the yard while the kids had breakfast-they pushed the kitchen chairs up around the living room coffee table to eat.  Campbell didn’t want to be left out, so she joined them in her highchair while eating her yogurt
  • Anderson eventually took his breakfast out in the garage to supervise Dad.  He was so excited that he had to come and show Mom the “table” that Dad had made him-a suitcase
  • Everyone helping pick up sticks and then taking a turn shoveling grass and blowing off the driveway (except the boys seemed to blow more in the garage than out of it)
  • Graham hanging out upstairs while Dad was watching the beginning of the ballgame.  Mom walked in the room just as Dad had been shouting “go, go, go” and poor Graham must have been scared silly-he was standing on the bed covering his ears!
  • Campbell sitting in the floor-she is really starting to move (maybe “really” is a strong word")  She can turn, really reach for something and sometimes she inches forward-she is in no hurry since if she makes a noise 2 brothers and a sister run to her aid.  Oh, she does have a top tooth!-maybe that was the reason for the runny nose yesterday.  She spent last night grinding her teeth together.
  • Spaghetti leftovers for lunch-Reagan and Graham cleaned their plates.  Anderson even missed dessert while working on his, but he didn’t even notice.  They were too busy to go and play in their tent.
  • Afternoon naps and then eating out at Genghis-last time the kids mac and cheese was tiny so this time we ordered two and it was huge!  Graham did have 3 platefuls.
  • Reagan started complaining about her tummy while eating supper.  We then stopped by Grannymom’s house and she was acting pretty pitiful-even said she felt like she might need to spit later (and she knows when she needs to, so Mom takes her seriously).  We took and chance and went to get ice cream anyway.  Mom let Reagan pick hers and then ushered her outside to sit down.  Mom did pack a t-shirt in her stroller (to be used to catch or clean)  Anyway, after a few bites of ice cream, she found a cricket and was in heaven.  One even hopped on Anderson but we weren’t fast enough with the camera.  Reagan eventually caught one but she wouldn’t act like she was going to eat it!  Graham was too busy eating his ice cream to pay any attention to the crickets
  • At bedtime, Anderson asked to eat breakfast in the morning…in the garage!

Dennie Kids: September 17, 2010

Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)

  • Since no one had school this morning and we didn’t have the van-it was a fairly lazy day!  And there was no hurry to get dressed or even get out of bed
  • Mom finally finishing the clothes switcheroo while the kids were laying in bed watching a movie
  • Eating breakfast and reading an incredibly long book.  Then playing in the den with the tent while Campbell sat in the kitchen and watched Mom cook.
  • Dad picking up the van and bringing it home-we were excited to see him.  But Graham was very sad to see him leave.
  • Mom is still working on making everyone sit quietly for a few minutes each day-better than yesterday but Graham still has room for improvement. 
  • Reagan going for an ultrasound at ACH-part of her nutrition study.  Dad took her and she was a very good girl.  And when she was finished she was given a coloring book and colors!  Then, her and Dad went back to his work for a few minutes-she drew on his marker board and even shot a rubber band gun
  • The boys and Campbell had a nap and then woke up for a snack.  Then Graham started pointing at the door and saying someone was here.  He isn’t too trustworthy since he screams that Daddy is home 14 times a day!  But it was Grannymom and Grandpa walking up the driveway.  They stayed for a few minutes and then Graham was very sad to see them leave as well!
  • Ethan, Jacob, Laynie, Camryn and Kennedy coming over to play for a long, long time.  After eating we celebrated Robby’s birthday with cake and ice cream.  Then the Moms went to Bed Bath and Beyond.  Robby had story time and set up a bowling alley with the 9 kids that were at the house!  Later they read books by flashlight, jumped on Dad’s bed and colored in coloring books forever. 
  • When the company left, the kids crashed in bed.  They had had lots of fun….but Mom is still looking for Camryn’s shoes!

Dennie Kids: September 16, 2010

"No movie for me. I prefer taking a bath!"
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)
  • After every waking up early this morning, we were ready early and on our way to school in plenty of time.  Mom was even able to read Reagan and Anderson’s Awana book while in the car.  Dad didn’t have to rush when dropping off Campbell and Graham, who didn’t fuss again today!
  • Mom dropping off the van and Dad picking her up.  He borrowed Grandpa’s truck while Grannymom picked up Reagan and Anderson in her car.  Mom then used Dad’s car to pick up Graham and Campbell and then Grannymom brought Reagan and Anderson home!  Did you get all that?  Mom and Dad had to mentally practice this a few times before they were able to make sure everyone was able to find a way home!
  • Reagan and Anderson had lots of snacks at school.  So many that they didn’t want anything at McDonalds except a drink and fries.  They did enjoy sliding, sliding and more sliding. 
  • Meanwhile, after playing car swap Mom went to pick up Campbell and Graham.  She had to turn around to go back to the house to get her phone.  Then once she was at the car, she realized Campbell was dirty and needed changing but there were cars waiting on parking spots in the parking lot so Campbell would have to wait.  She tried to open Graham’s door of the car, but it would NOT open.  Mom finally had to lift Graham over the front seat to get him in his car seat and then reach over to buckle him. 
  • When Mom finally made it home and Campbell was more than ready to get home, so Mom tried to open the garage.  It didn’t open!  It wouldn’t open and Mom’s keys were in the shop with the van!  Grandpa came to her rescue with keys and work on the garage!  (Mom should have just stayed in tonight, but she didn’t.  She ended up getting in the car and leaving for bunko to realize that she was on her way 30 minutes early!-oh, what a day)
  • Graham loved riding in Dad’s car with Mom-maybe because she kept talking about how speedy she was driving! and making zoom zoom noises!  He was also lots of help while Mom was trying to open the garage-he kept saying “It broke, it work, no it broke, Momma broke it? it work, not it broke”-imagine this happening as the door is going up and done!
  • The kids were all wilder than Indians when they came home from school.  After Grannymom and Grandpa left, Mom reigned them in!  Ha!  She did make everyone sit down quietly while she worked on Graham’s clothes switcheroo (over 1/4 finished).  They didn’t do too well but they are going to get the hang of sitting quietly! 
  • Reading stories while Campbell was sleeping and then eating a bite of supper.  Dad came home bringing movies for everyone to enjoy!…which they did this evening.  Graham quickly tired of the movie, so he and Campbell took a bath.  Reagan and Anderson had showers after the movies were over
  • After a long day, they all fell asleep in no time-Dad didn’t even have to go upstairs…to let some one go potty, fix their sheets, help them take their shirt off, give them a sip of water, tell them what we were doing tomorrow or to cover up their feet!

Dennie Kids: September 15, 2010

Fun birthday present!
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)
  • Note from yesterday:   when we were leaving school, Graham stuck his head in the room where he had lunch with all of his grandparents and he said “Grannymom?”-he was expecting her to still be in there
  • Mom thought people were coming over to watch the family eat breakfast (long crazy Dennie story-ask Mom later)  Anyway, she didn’t feed the kids and the people just wanted to talk so the kids didn’t get breakfast until 11, well maybe Dad fed them around 9:45!
  • Reagan, Anderson and Campbell getting into trouble with Dad while Mom was gone this morning.  They opened up an art project and spread it across the house-they made the living room into an art show!….except Campbell loved all of the little pieces!
  • Reading lots of stories before lunch and then reading some more on our Little House on the Prairie book-it is the longest book ever and Mom doesn’t think we will ever read it all
  • Reagan working on her reading book while Mom went through clothes (update: Mom is close to 2/3rds done-hey, it has been a busy day)  Reagan is very motivated since she heard Kaleigh S. is on lesson 40!
  • Mom rushing around getting everyone ready for church (she had to wake everyone up first) and then in the mean time, run downstairs and make sure the car starts!  It did!-to the shop it goes tomorrow….hmm, can a family of 6 fit in Robby’s car?
  • Pops office being used tonight-by Anderson getting a big time spanking.  He was quite the defiant child before supper.  No worries though, Mom spanked it out of him and he then was quite pleasant.  As Mr. Ralph walked by and said hello, Anderson invited him to sit by him
  • Cubbies and everyone was on their best behavior.  Then Dad took the van and kids to get gas while Mom ran home to do some straightening!  Everyone was in bed and asleep by 9…busy day.

Dennie Kids: September 14, 2010

Special, special day - Grandparents Lunch @ School!
Extra special day - Grandparents Lunch with Graham
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)
  • School for everyone this morning-Graham didn’t fuss but did put on his pouty face.  Even though we had sat in the parking lot at church for a few minutes watching the bulldozers and dump trucks, Anderson still did not want to go into his class-but he eventually did
  • Graham having the best lunch ever-Nonna, Pops, Grannymom and Grandpa all came to eat lunch with him.  Talk about making a little boy very happy!
  • Dad picking up Reagan and Anderson and then Nonna coming over to watch them until Mom could get home.  She even stuck around while Mom worked on the clothes switcheroo some more (a little over 1/2 done) and then she played doll house and Strawberry shortcake with Reagan while Mom and Anderson picked up the other two
  • Campbell napping while Reagan, Anderson and Graham played outside.  They enjoyed swinging and then played with their house-but they insisted that it was turned where the door face the deck railing and they had to crawl in and out of the window to get in and out.
  • A quick supper-Mom made it fun with toothpicks!  Then loading up to head to church for Reagan and Anderson’s Open House.  They were very proud to show their rooms off. 
  • Reagan had a folder of her hand prints and a picture of what she is best at-swinging.  The picture was complete with Mom pushing Anderson, her swinging and Graham on the glider.  Ms. Stacy had pictures at each of the centers-and guess whose picture was at the writing center?
  • Anderson was happy to show us his class too.  He found his picture and his hand prints.  Ms. Wendolyn said that he was a good boy and Mom told her to let them know if he ever wasn’t a good boy!  After we had seen some of his room, Anderson was ready to go down the hall to get a cookie
  • Graham didn’t really understand what we were doing there.  He kept saying “where me go?”  But once we found the punch and cookies, he had found his spot.  We watched the slide show and the kids both found their pictures and then they were off to play.  Graham wanted more punch so Dad told him to go and ask Ms. Doris and sure enough, he did!
  • Playing at Grannymom’s house for a few minutes while Dad worked on Grandpa’s new phone.  Campbell was trying her hardest to crawl tonight-but she didn’t get anywhere!

Dennie Kids: September 13, 2010

Diligent Play Doh Artist!
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)
  • Anderson’s cough woke him up with an upset tummy (catch my drift?) at 5 this morning.  After a quick bath and putting the sleeping bag on his bed he was back asleep.  While all of this was going on Reagan woke up long enough to say “Anderson spit” and then went right back to sleep
  • Dad taking Reagan to school-she showed Ms. Stacy her pictures from our New Orleans trip.  She said that her favorite thing to do today was coloring and playing with her “new best friend”
  • Anderson telling Mom that Campbell’s hair was sticking up and Mom needed to make it go down.  Mom said that she couldn’t and Anderson said that we needed to get the scissors and cut it off.  Needless to say, Anderson and Campbell were not left unsupervised today!
  • Graham taking his tricycle half way down the driveway.  Everyone was in the garage and Mom was working on changing summer to winter clothes (she only is 1/4th to 1/3rd of the way done)  Thankfully Graham fell off of his tricycle as Mom noticed him picking up speed.  This is one of the reasons that Mom didn’t get very far in her clothes switcheroo
  • Mom showed Anderson a box of hers that was broken.  She said she was going to have to throw it away.  Anderson said no and that him and Dad would fix it with their tools.  It would have taken a few tubes of super glue to fix so Mom deposited it in the trash after bedtime
  • Dad picking Reagan up and coming home for lunch.  Anderson didn’t eat anything.  Actually, he has felt pretty pitiful today-coughing constantly.  He hasn’t eaten anything except the top of a cupcake and about a gallon of milk!
  • Reagan playing with many of her new toys this afternoon and after supper everyone played with play doh for a long, long time.  Mom is going to the store now to buy some more play doh.  Did we mention they were relatively quiet while playing too!
  • Campbell scooting almost 3 feet during story time with Dad tonight.  That is the most she has ever moved.  Then we laid her on her tummy and she became hysterical!

Dennie Kids: September 12, 2010

Growing up ... 5 years old today!
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)
  • Reagan was the last one up and she rolled over and grinned when Mom sang her Happy Birthday!
  • Eating Pop’s cinna-biggies for breakfast and not running by Burger King.  Mom was going to put a candle on Reagan’s cinnamon roll but she opted for a banana instead!
  • Graham walked into his room today (both times) without fussing.  We might be finally turning the corner on his fit throwing-if we could only turn the corner at home. 
  • Reagan’s Sunday school class giving her a birthday hat, birthday sticker and singing Happy Birthday to her.
  • Dad heard that Campbell’s teachers had a good laugh at her since when her feet hit the floor she immediately brings them up!  Walking or even standing is not in her immediate future
  • Mom and Dad working in Anderson’s class-they were pretty impressed with Anderson.  He had used some lego type things and made a long t-shaped stick.  He pretended that it was an ax, sword, golf club, crutches, cane, and jack hammer.
  • Lunch at Grannymom and Grandpa’s house.  Graham was so excited about playing the elephant game that he could hardly eat.  Lilly, Cash, Graham, Reagan and Anderson played the elephant game over and over.  Campbell enjoyed watching them but she would get very, very upset when we took the butterflies from the game away from her.
  • Running home for afternoon naps.  Just as everyone fell asleep it was time to wake up and go to church for Reagan’s first night of choir and Mom’s Bible study.  The boys and Campbell hung out with Dad in Pops office.
  • Reagan enjoyed choir tonight-they sang Happy Birthday to her there too!  And they fed her pizza-what could be better!
  • A party at church-it was the perfect end to Reagan’s birthday-celebrating with the whole church family.  Ms. Laryn might have celebrated a little too much though (see pictures)
  • We added some videos from yesterday’s birthday celebrations-check yesterday’s post

Dennie Kids: September 11, 2010

Celebrating #5 with family & friends!
Celebrating #5 with family and friends!
Highlights from today: (click here for pictures)
(click here for video #1: Shipley's Donuts)
(click here for video #2: Wonderplace)
(click here for video #3: Birthday party)
(click here for video #4: Birthday party)
(click here for video #5: Birthday party)
  • Robby spent the early morning sleeping in Anderson’s bed with him and Campbell spent the early morning sleeping in Mom’s bed with her
  • Everyone getting their clothes on quickly-even Graham was trying hard to help with his clothes.  He was trying hard while shouting “donuts, donuts”  We went to Shipleys for donuts-the boys like the donut holes but Reagan wasn’t too crazy about her icing (probably not sweet enough).  Mom and Dad loved their chocolate filled donuts though
  • Singing Happy Birthday to Reagan at Shipley's-she is getting quite used to us serenading her!  The donut man even shouted Happy Birthday as he worked making donuts
  • Being the first people at the Wonderplace this morning.  Reagan has been so excited about going there.  They all loved it-Campbell even got in on the act playing.  Graham didn’t love it when Mom’s puppet (a shark) kissed him during her puppet show.  He screamed and jumped-let’s just say it was a good thing he had on a diaper!  Anderson enjoyed wearing a fireman costume and then putting a cat up in the tree house.  He was the brave hero who rescued the cat every time.
  • Coming home for lunch in the tent.  Then Dad told us we all had to go to sleep so we could go to Reagan’s party-and we all went to sleep fairly quickly.  Campbell had her hair washed (scrubbed would probably be more accurate)
  • Getting to church early enough to set things up and play before the party.  Anderson and Graham enjoyed helping Pops push the cart and Reagan was all about helping decorate and put the balloons where she though they should go.  Campbell played on the floor with bean bags.
  • Reagan celebrating her 5th birthday with Camryn, Kennedy, Laney, Ethan, Kaleigh, Lilly, Cash, Anderson, Graham and Campbell.  They made a butterfly craft and then we ate pizza, fruit, chicken, party mix and sandwiches.  The kids pizza was even in the shape of butterflies. 
  • After supper, we played a bean bag game, opened presents and then had some butterfly cupcakes and ice cream.  Finally, we topped it all off with the butterfly pinata (everyone’s favorite).  After scooping up the loot, it was time to pass out the party favors. 
  • Anderson was then able to go and play outside on the playground.  Reagan and Graham followed while the rest of us helped clean up.  Grannymom and Grandpa helped bring everything home. 
  • We played a new game from Grannymom, then played with the parachute from Jason and Reagan is wearing the gown from Nonna.  It was a good, good birthday celebration.