2012 New Year's Resolutions

Here they are, the long awaited Dennie family New Year's Resolutions:
1. By May, weigh less than 200 pounds.
2. By December, weigh less than 185.
3. Read 6 books.
4. Get all of the pictures updated on the blog.
1. Do something from pinterest each month.
2. Floss
3. Read 1000 pages to each child (yep that would be 5000 pages-probably won't succeed but it sure won't hurt anyone)
4. Weigh less than I do now.
1. Go to the fair.
2. Go on another trip.
3. Learn to swim.
4. Have more American Girl doll clothes.
1. Go bowling.
2. Play putt-putt.
3. Learn to swim.
1. Learn to swim.
2. Not wear pull ups anymore at night.
3. Learn to ride without training wheels
1. Sleep in a big girl bed.
2. Wear big girl underwear.
3. Give up her paci (though we couldn't find any tonight so that may be starting sooner than I had planned)
1. Have a first birthday party.
2. Learn to walk.
3. Sleep somewhere other than Mom and Dad's closet.
1. Get more organized.
2. Go bowling.
3. Take another trip (other than upcoming San Diego and Disney)
1. Lose 15 pounds.
2. Go bowling.
3. Read 6 books (though he does that usually in a month)

And now, just for kicks, let's go back and look at 2011's resolutions and see how we did last year....

1. Weigh less than 190 at Christmas (miserably failed-he would freely admit that.  Though the new budget with no money for snacks or cokes should help him this year)
2. Read through the Bible (unfortunately no)
3. Go on a Hot Air Balloon ride (no but that is probably my fault since I think he wanted to do this or at least some version of a hot air balloon ride somewhere and I told him that I wanted to see my babies grow up)
1. Have 6 family nights, 6 game nights and 6 movie nights throughout the year.  (we probably had 6 or near that many family nights, a few movie nights and no game nights.  Those are all a bit of work but we so need to be intentional with quality family time.  I will still try to do some this year)
2. Pray with the kids before every meal. (not perfect but we have gotten better at it.  I would like to start not only praying with them before meals at home but also out to eat).
3. Weigh less than I do now (well, I did have a baby so this one isn't quite fair but I don't think the no exercise rule and the nightly ice cream have helped at all)
1. Go ice skating. (ACHIEVED thanks to Kennedy and Camryn's birthday party)
2. Play with our family. (ACHIEVED)
3. More movie nights. (ACHIEVED, we did have a few this year so that is better than last year)
1. Go play putt putt (ACHIEVED)
2. Go bowling (ACHIEVED)
3. Go swimming (ACHIEVED)
1. Play with Mom and Dad (ACHIEVED)
2. Learn to go to the potty (ACHIEVED, hard to believe he was just potty training a year ago)
3. Play with Reagan, Anderson and Campbell (ACHIEVED)
1. Learn to walk (ACHIEVED)
2. Meet Cinderella (ACHIEVED)
3. Sleep in a bedroom with my sister (ACHIEVED and now she sleeps in a bedroom with her sister and two brothers)

New Years Eve Trip To Dallas: December 31, 2011

Keaton was all ready for a big swim!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

Robby woke up in the middle of the night and looked at the clock and discovered that it wasn't the middle of the night-it was 7:45.  That is why we love hotel living-dark rooms, comfy beds, exhausted kids-everyone sleeps so well.  We made it downstairs and had breakfast and the boys joined us.  That had spent the night with Grannymom and Grandpa and everyone in that room slept very good as well.
Reagan found a zillion things that she wanted for breakfast and Campbell loved the lemon poppyseed muffins.  Keaton had already had her morning bottle and started on her morning snooze.  Before long, we were at IKEA waiting on the kiddie area to open and drop off the crew.  This was Graham's first time to go to the kiddie area since he was in diapers last time.  He was so excited especially since Anderson had explained everything to him.  Campbell didn't mind to see them go-probably since I mentioned that I had candy in my bag.  
We started upstairs and made our way through IKEA fairly well with only Campbell in tow.  Grannymom and Grandpa pushed Keaton and even stopped to feed her and watch a movie.  We loaded up a buggy upstairs and all too soon it was time to pick up the big 3.  We let them look around in the toy section and then Robby and Grandpa took them to have ice cream while Grannymom and I went downstairs.
By the time the kids met up  with us, they were getting fairly restless.  They always seem to get restless at IKEA.  Maybe it was because we were nearing at least the 3 hour we had been there...maybe.  We pressed on and saw most everything.  We didn't get to peruse the pictures frames and art but my budget had already been blown so it was probably a good thing.  We purchased our 4 carts full of stuff and loaded them and the kids in the car.  Then Grannymom and Grandpa sat in our car while we ran in to buy the big things from our list in the warehouse section. 
My IKEA purchases included: pencil cups, letter holders, drawer dividers, drawers for our bedroom, a lamp for those, a side table for in the kitchen and a lamp for that, 2 lamps for the living room, lots of light bulbs for all those lamps, train tracks for Anderson, finger puppets for Graham (Reagan couldn't find anything that she wanted and I tried to urge her not to waste her money if she didn't want anything), trashcans, shelves for in my cabinet, chairs for the kids desks and toy storage for the toy room.  That is all that I can think of right now.  Here is what they were out of that I also wanted to buy: chairs for the front of the house, a patio table and a bench and chairs for that, a step stool for the kids bathroom, a magnetic knife rack and spice racks.  Probably a good thing that they were out of all that stuff.
After IKEA, we drove about a mile to an In and Out Burger.  Their burgers are just delicious and I am usually not a big fry fan (though I do shovel them in my mouth when I get a chance) but In and Out Burger fries are excellent too.  The kids ate some but were pretty interested in passing around their drink.
Back at the hotel, we were soon all in our bathing suits and headed downstairs.  And people were pouring into this hotel-dressed up people with lots of luggage and lots of beverages.  The kids were so excited about going swimming especially since we had talked about it all day...mostly in the phrase "If you _____, you won't get to go swimming." 
Keaton even dressed for her first swimming event but she never even made it in the water.  She enjoyed lounging on a pool chair and talking to Grannymom.  Anderson was quite the cannonball expert and would jump in, pop back up with his floatees and then kick to the ladder.  He could not have been happier.  Reagan didn't want to put on her floatees (she is possibly a bit embarrassed) so she hung out on the steps, in the hot tub and then finally put them on and swam with Anderson.  Graham did great with his floatees and didn't forget anything from the supper but really enjoyed the hot tub.  Campbell seemed to have forgotten everything from this summer and stayed on the steps and only wanted me to hold her when we were not on the steps.  
We were almost finished swimming when I saw that Campbell needed a new swim diaper so we headed back upstairs.  Me in my towel and bathing suit and people with me on the elevator in their New Year's Eve duds.  Thankfully, Campbell turned on the charm-grinning and smiling-so they weren't paying any attention to me.  When we made it back up to our room and I opened the door, Campbell realized where we were and started backing up saying "no, no."  She was happy though to get in the bath and before too long the others were back. 
Everyone put on their clothes and we went downstairs for our pre-New Year's Eve party.  The band Emerald City is playing at the convention center connected to the hotel and it was a meet and greet during the standard manager's reception tonight.  So it was crowded with everyone being very dressed up-except us.  And there were no kids-except ours.  Those poor people who had to get all dressed up and stand around drinking and then going to listen to a band-seriously sounds absolutely horrible to me.  We had the perfect New Year's Eve celebration in our room and it was all over by 8.
After our snack mix, m&ms and cokes we came back upstairs for the Dennie New Year's Eve party.  I had told them that Reagan's day was yesterday when she picked out the doll and my day was today when we went to IKEA.  The boys asked when their days were and I told Anderson that his time was when we were swimming and Graham's special time was the party tonight.  And he took it very seriously-he was all about being a proper party host-explaining what was going to happen, throwing away the trash and taking drink orders (grape or orange juice box?)
We had lots of party food to eat (mostly leftovers-chex mix, party sandwiches, snowballs, chocolate covered bugles and chocolate covered pretzels, fudge, cheese dip, weines, cookies and I am sure that I have forgotten something.  But after lunch at 2, we really didn't eat that much and the kids were too excited about the upcoming games to eat.
I had seen an idea on pinterest and decided that it would add a bit of excitement to our New Year's Eve party.  We blew up 9 balloons and popped one every little bit (the original idea had times on the balloons but we just popped another one when we needed a change in activities).  Each balloon had an activity inside of it.  It was pretty much hysterical watching the kids try to pop the balloons.  Finally, Grandpa had to get out her clippers to help them out.  
So one at a time, we popped the balloons and did the activities.  Here is what all we did: have a snow ball fight (with coffee filters), play balloon volleyball, paint with shaving cream (Reagan has never done anything like that and still would not-not going to get those hands dirty), sing a song (R-Oh How I Love Jesus, A-Jingle Bells, G-The Star Spangled Banner and C-We Wish You a Merry Christmas), call Nonna and Pops and wish them a Happy New Year, pop popcorn, paint Robby's toenails (it was his idea and Anderson was the most excited about this) and write your resolutions.  
The kids ate up the activities and after the final balloon was completed, we counted down to from 10 and then blew our horns to welcome in 2012.  After that, we then all had poppers to pop-streamers, a hint of smoke and a loud pop-what could be more exciting?  Then it was time to clean up our party and head to bed (it was 2012 after all-at least some where). 
Since the boys spent the night with Grannymom and Grandpa last night, tonight was the girls turn.  Campbell had slept so well last night in her sleeping bag and I though for sure that she would understand and want to sleep in Grannymom's room.  Well, she understood all right and when Robby started to leave, she was going to have no part of that idea.  She is now sleeping right beside the boys with Anderson in the middle.  I did have to lay down beside her for a bit to get her to sleep while Anderson was watching a movie.  Graham had already fallen asleep-shopping is tough on little guys.  
Tomorrow we will head home and start our new budget! (have to after my shopping trip today!)  The kids will not be happy when they learn we are going home tomorrow so hopefully they will still be excited about those new Christmas toys.  

New Years Eve Trip To Dallas-December 30, 2011

Reagan said it was worth the drive! 
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

Keaton woke up around 6:45 this morning and I didn't even realize that Graham was in our bed until I had returned from the kitchen with the bottle, had picked up Keaton and was climbing back into the bed.  It is a wonder that I didn't smash him.  Soon Campbell was stirring on the monitor and I went up to get her out of bed.
After reminding everyone that this was indeed trip day, it didn't take too long for them to get their clothes on.  By the time they all had their clothes on, I headed downstairs for my shower and Robby was backing the van up to the door to start loading it up.  We were on the road early enough to pick up our breakfast at Sonic (which is never, ever fast) and the kids breakfast at McDonalds.  It is just not a trip unless you have breakfast at McDonalds.  We used to just buy the big breakfast with hot cakes but now we have to buy that with an additional order of hot cakes.  My kids are growing up.  Robby filled the car up with gas while I laid out the plates and divided out the food-a pancake and a half for everyone, 1/4 of a biscuit, 1/4 of the egg, 1/4 of the sausage and 1/4 of the potato cake.  The boys cleaned their plates, Reagan didn't finish her pancakes and Campbell must not have liked her egg because it was all over the floor in the back.
We were to meet Grannymom and Grandpa in the church parking lot at 9 and we were there 2 minutes early.  We pulled out and headed to the Big D.  We first stopped in Texarkana for a bathroom stop and then stopped again a bit down the road for lunch at McDonalds.  Those were our only two stops and before too long we were at the Galleria.
The kids did alternate riding in Grandpa's truck.  And the others watched movies in our car-though the movies didn't really seem to keep their attention for that long.  Once we got near Dallas, Graham had had about all that he could take and was ready to see the bridges and skyscrapers (I had told him he would know we were there when he saw bridges and skyscrapers-thought maybe he would stop asking if we had arrived but it didn't help).
Graham was our intercom system on the trip.  Whenever he would learn something about the trip-like we were staying for two nights.  He would turn around and shout to the others "two nights, two nights" or "getting closer, getting closer."  It was almost funny-if he hadn't been shouting.  At one point on the way, Anderson asked if we were there yet and Campbell shouted back "no!"  One thing I did learn from the trip is that we are going to have to have a lesson on Cows and Horses-Graham and Campbell can not tell them apart.  Another reason we had to move out to the country.
Keaton was pretty perfect on the trip but did decide to eat a few times in the car.  That is fine except that when I feed her, I feel like my arm is about to fall off.  I have to hold the bottle in her mouth while sitting in my seat-it is like a game of twister.  At one point, I was trying to shove the bottle in the poor baby's eye.
At the Galleria, Robby pulled in and parked like he knew just where the American Girl store was.  We were right nearby.  I had to change Campbell and Keaton so Grannymom took the boys on the potty.  They went in the American Girl store to potty and the boys were not happy at all about having to go in the store-they did their business and were then ready to come back outside.  They knew Reagan was getting a doll and they wanted no part of it.  She was getting a doll and they were getting a pretzel-pretty good deal if you ask me.
When we walked to the store, Reagan finally realized that she was getting a doll today.  She was so excited-look at the pictures-she is beaming.  I had dreaded shopping with her since she takes so much time shopping but not today.  We found the doll she wanted and they were out-but no worries they had another one just like it with hair a bit shorter.  Yes, Reagan wanted a blond haired blue eyed doll and she couldn't have been more pleased with her choice.  Then we turned around and saw the outfit she had seen in the magazine and about 4 steps away was a doll tote that we had also seen in the magazine and just like that our shopping trip was over.
I even browsed a bit in the store before checking out.  She proudly handed the cashier her gift card, money and letter from Santa which entitled her to a doll to the cashier.  And I picked up the rest with my card.  As soon as we made it out the door, she wanted to get the doll out and carry it-every other little girl (must have been every girl in Dallas) were walking around carrying their dolls too.  She proudly carried it all the way inside the mall and then we met up with everyone else.
They were playing in a play area at the mall-I don't have a clue how they found it but they were definitely running off some energy along with every boy in Dallas.  It was pretty crazy but they all held their own-even Campbell.  Next up, we went and found that pretzel for the boys and we even had enough for everyone.  Campbell had looked at Reagan's doll but didn't seem to want it and luckily, she brought her naked baby doll to the car this morning and has had it with her all day.
After our pretzel, we headed to Papacitas for Mexican.  Robby thought he knew where we were going and din't follow the GPS for a few blocks (she was right) and then we missed our turn.  We had gotten separated from Grandpa in the parking deck and he was doing just as poorly getting there as we were.  Finally, we all made it and didn't have to wait for a table.  The food was good (mine was way too spicy for me) and the kids stayed busy coloring-we didn't order them anything.  They had just eaten those pretzels.  Robby did spoon everyone up some rice and beans and Campbell was the only one who touched hers.
Next we took the scenic (non toll route) to the hotel.  When Anderson saw the hotel, he said "oh, it's beautiful."  I agree though any hotel looks beautiful to me.  We are in the 12th floor so the elevator rides up were quite entertaining for them.
They played in Grannymom's room for a bit while we tried to stir Keaton who had been sleeping for awhile.  Then everyone had baths and the boys went to Grannymom's room to sleep and the girls laid down in here.  First, Reagan had to make her doll a bed and then her and Campbell went to bed.  I told Robby that Campbell would never be able to go to sleep right there but sure enough, they are both sleeping soundly.  Maybe the twos won't be so terrible after all.
The plan is Ikea tomorrow-the kids are so excited because they have the play area that they can go to.  Campbell and Keaton can't go but this will be Graham's first time to go.  I am glad that they all stick together and take care of each other.  We will have some power shopping to do tomorrow-can't wait.  Oh and breakfast here at the hotel in the morning-that will make the kids day.

December 29, 2011

Reagan hangin' with the girls!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

  • You would think that the crew would sleep a little bit ;later this morning after being up so late but no, we had guests in our bed by 7.
  • Soon we were all heading out the door to Grannymom's house.  Robby was in the yard letting Belle out for the morning and Graham saw her and started screaming "I brushed my teeth, I brushed my teeth!"  I had to calm him down to try to understand why he was screaming that.  He said that Daddy had told him that Belle would get him if he didn't brush his teeth.  Robby doesn't remember ever saying that but it must have happened because Graham was pretty adamant that he had brushed his teeth
  • Reagan spent the night with Alyssa Kate and stayed up pretty late.  She snoozed a bit during a movie but was apparently still up after midnight.  They painted fingernails-Reagan and Caroline were the only ones who wanted blue polish.  Kennedy brought everyone lip gloss and is going to have a sleepover soon (Reagan was worried that we would miss it when we are in Dallas and I said I didn't think hers would be this weekend).  This morning they went to the jumpy place and had a blast and even had lunch at McDonalds.  Candace even took a few pictures for me.  
  • The boys spent the morning playing hard at Grannymom's house as well.  Robby picked everyone up and before I knew it, Campbell and Graham were sleeping in their beds, Reagan fell asleep in my bed watching a movie, Keaton was snoozing in the swing, Robby and I were snoozing on the couch.  Anderson had a big time with the house to his self.  He watched a movie, went upstairs to play, then I heard him watching another movie and then back upstairs.  At one time, he told me he was playing farm-I saw no tractors, no animals only legos and little cars in the toy room.  He would be a perfect only child.
  • Around 5:30, we started to wake everyone up and eat supper.  Soon Nonna and Pops came over and played with the kids for awhile.  Anderson was so excited to show off his snake and Keaton was just happy to have someone else to hold her other than Robby and I.  
  • Keaton has been sleeping so well through the night and when she wakes up, she just smiles and grins at us until we find her a bottle.  I don't remember the other babies being so good natured.  She might just be the best Dennie baby.  
  • After Nonna and Pops left, we pajamad up, did the airplane and then tragedy struck-Campbell broke Reagan's snowglobe from Australia.  Reagan cried "Grannymom and Grandpa have been to Australia" and they have been to Australia but the snowglobe was from someone from Robby's work.  Poor Reagan, this is her 3rd or 4th snowglobe to be broken (hmm, I probably should have put them up high someplace)  Anyway, we promised her we would get a snowglobe soon during some of our travels and she was appeased.
  • Since they had all had such great naps earlier in the day, they were going strong tonight.  Graham was practically hysterical saying he was scared (fish light was on and everyone was up-don't think he was very scared), Anderson was growling at his happy napper pillow and Reagan and Campbell were throwing animals back and forth to each other.  

December 28, 2011

Celebrating the holidays
still with friends!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
  • We had just laid down last night and Robby said "someone is coming."  I guess we had watched too many crime shoes before bed and immediately thought he meant some bad guy was coming.  But the bad guy was only Graham who climbed in and snuggled up beside me.  I closed my eyes and thought that I would take him back to bed in just a few minutes.  The next time I opened my eyes, Graham was still right beside me and it was 7.
  • Grannymom, Grandpa, Lilly and Cash were over early this morning to hang up our swing, put on the tree house telescope and shorten the desks.  The kids played outside-in the wagon, on the trails, in the dirt, on the tree house and on the new swing.  
  • All the kids played except Reagan.  She was still in bed at 9. I finally made her get up and take a bath.  She had a tiny pancake and some hot chocolate. For awhile when the others were outside, she was laying in the couch all covered up. She does have a cough but no fever and said that she felt fine.  I don't really think anything was wrong with her and she had a big night tonight so I just let her rest.  She did perk up later in the day so hopefully she was just exhausted from her sleepover with Lilly.
  • After Lilly and Cash left, most everyone watched a movie and Campbell stood at my feet and cried.  I was trying my hardest to get lunch ready and she just wanted to be held.  Soon lunch was on the table, everyone was happy and I started to work on some food for tonight.  I made peanut butter filled bugles that I then dipped a bit in chocolate.  Seriously, I must be crazy because I filled and then dipped almost two bags of Bugles-I must have too much time on my hands.
  • Campbell and Graham had a nap, Robby was soon home, Keaton ate, the others watched a movie and then Robby and I got to work on cleaning and straightening the house.  Soon it was time for me to go and take Reagan to her sleepover at Alyssa Kate's house.  Alyssa Kate, Caroline, Kennedy and Kaleigh were going to have a big night-painting fingernails, lots of food and then the jumpy place and McDonalds tomorrow.  
  • Before long, the McGuires, Penningtons, Atwoods and Lundys were all at the house-a total of 14 kids (we were missing one and the Atwoods were missing one).  Even though it was 14 it seemed like a lot, lot more-ha!  We had tons of party food and we even had very much leftover.  Tom Dillon even stopped by and we sent him home with tons of leftovers.  
  • After everyone left, we tucked Campbell and Keaton in bed and let the boys watch a movie.  Graham didn't watch much but did play a bit in the toy room.  He eventually asked to go to bed and soon Anderson was upstairs heading to bed-I guess that happens when you let kids stay up until 11.  Maybe this means that they will sleep in a little bit in the morning (I hope!)

December 27, 2011

Checking on the snake!?!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)

  • The first thing out of Graham's mouth this morning was "where's Reagan?"  Campbell asked a zillion times as well. Anderson was the only one who seemed to remember where she was.  He remembered mainly because he was a little put out that he wasn't spending the night somewhere (though Cash spent the night over here just a week or two ago so everything was even)
  • We had breakfast and they happily played with toys while I got ready and dropped Anderson, Graham, Campbell and Keaton off at Nonna's house.  Nonna and Pops may not agree but when there is just one less in the house, it makes a huge difference. One less made a huge difference when we only had 4 kids and it still makes a difference with 5 kids.  Strange how that works.  
  • The kids played at Nonna and Pops while I ran an errand with Robby.  We went and bought 4 school desks.  Oh, I am so excited-I just need to lower some of them, clean the tops and maybe spray paint the bottoms black.  I was going to buy some at Ikea for 30 dollars (total 120) but since these were 5 each (total 20) I couldn't pass it up.  
  • I had to have Pops help me unload the van since we had to creatively fit all of them in there.  Then we came back to pick up the kids and I took everyone home.  Campbell and Keaton had a nap, I cooked and the boys played legos.  I did take a break from cooking to help build the lego train mountain.
  • Reagan was having a great time at Lillys.  They started off by going to the Peabody to see the ducks.  Then 2 libraries, Heifer and possibly the Old State House.  She said that it was the place that we had been to before with the dresses.  By the time Robby picked Reagan up, Reagan was exhausted.  She fell asleep in the floor before supper and then asked to go to bed after supper-sleepovers are exhausting (and she better rest up because she has one more tomorrow night).
  • The boys and I worked two puzzles before going to bed but first we had to check on the snake (maybe we should name him).  He was fine and had grown a few inches-we should have measured him.  
  • Keaton had a good day and has been Ms. Smiley all evening long (well except for when I ignored her crying for a bit to finish my work.  I hate to put her to bed now because she is just too happy.  

December 26, 2011

More toys!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
  • This morning was fairly lazy-we had breakfast only after Reagan begged.  Don't feel too sorry for he since it was just 7.  Pancakes for everyone except Campbell who wanted cereal.  Until she saw everyone else's pancakes and then wanted them.  Of course, Graham saw her cereal and wanted it so we just switched.
  • Robby played trains and then we started on cleaning up this house.  The first project was taking down the Christmas.  The tree was quite a project since we took pictures of all of the ornaments that I hadn't written a blog post about so they would be ready to go next year.  And we had oh, so much help.  The kids couldn't stay away from us at all.  
  • Briefly, they would go and play upstairs or start playing with their new toys in the living room.  Eventually, I had them working carrying stuff up and down the stairs for me.  Soon both boys were laying on the couch acting pitiful.  Graham was tired (not quite well yet) and Anderson said that his ears hurt (after some drops he did act/feel better and hasn't mentioned it again....yet)
  • Reagan was still working hard for me and would have worked all afternoon.  She only stopped to take care of Anderson-turn on the tv for him, get him a blanket, ask if he could have milk.  Robby stayed busy most of the morning trying to clean up the Christmas tree needles.  An 11+ year old tree loses lots of needles each year.
  • Soon, I took Reagan to Lilly's house to spend the night.  She was so excited and tried her best to hurry me along so we could get out of the door quicker.  Dana sent us one picture and it looked like they had made a huge fort in their living room.  I am sure she is having a great time
  • The boys had a pretty good evening too-we played Connect 4, put together one more toy and opened up a few army men.  But the highlight of the evening was putting the new snake in water.  Reagan had bought a grow-a-snake for Anderson and we put it in water tonight.  Robby tried to explain that it wasn't going to grow right away and would be bigger when we came home from Dallas.  Anderson was very concerned and wanted to know who would take care of the snake while we were gone. 
  • Campbell asked where Reagan was all evening long.  We would tell her and she would just say "huh?" over and over.  She is still so funny when we pray at night.  Since bedtime was running a bit late tonight, I prayed for everyone and Campbell prayed while I was trying to.  The louder I got, the louder she got.  She was just babbling away-felt like I was at a pentacostal church.

December 25, 2011-Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
(click here for a video)
  • Santa and the Tooth Fairy watched their movie until 1 last night and then started to work.  The Tooth Fairy's job was pretty easy but Santa had about 4 sack full of presents to carry down from the roof (attic).  It was nearly 2, when they finally went to bed.
  • And then Graham continued to fuss.  He had been off and on most of the evening and one of us would go upstairs and get him back to sleep.  But at 2, it was past going up and down the steps so Robby just headed up to sleep in bed with Graham.  He said that the poor thing tossed and turned until about 4:45.
  • But at 7, I heard two boys on the monitor and nudged Robby who was sleeping soundly.  I moved pretty quick to stop them from going in the living room and turned the corner out of my hallway just as Anderson and Graham came down the steps.  Anderson was doing a dance in the hallway and could hardly contain himself-they were all so excited that I made everyone go back upstairs to potty.
  • I went up to get Campbell out of her crib and Robby stirred Keaton.  I tried to explain that they couldn't go in the living room yet because Daddy wanted to take their picture.  Anderson said "okay, where do we sit?" and Graham asked if he could open presents after the picture.  Poor things didn't understand that I just wanted us to take a few pictures of them opening presents.
  • Reagan scooted down the steps with Campbell and Anderson stood at the bottom of them begging them to hurry up so we could open presents.  We finally let them run in and they were overwhelmed.  Santa had been too, too good to them.  
  • Anderson opened up his presents before the rest of us could open any.  He was thrilled about his race car track (and I had worried).  Reagan was pleased with her American Girl Doll gift card but was the most happy about the present the boys had bought for her-a lap tray for her art supplies.  She sat at it all day long and begged me not to put it up tonight.  Graham's favorite present from today was one from yesterday-a puzzle with a picture on one side and another side that you can color.  Campbell didn't have a favorite present.  She didn't even care about opening her presents this morning.  Robby's favorite present was a battery charger and rice krispy treats.  Though, I think he secretly loved the lottery tickets that Santa left in his stocking (not a profitable investment for Santa since he only won 3 when Santa spent 20).  My favorite was a new robe to replace my 10+ year old robe.
  • And I know I said this last year, but I will say it again this year.  We had too much, way too much.  The kids each had a total of 6 presents (2 from Santa, one from the other kids and 3 from Mom and Dad) and their stocking.  One of those presents were books and another was a lunch box so those really don't count.  That means 4 presents and stockings but why does it look like my living room was a toy store.  Seriously, I cleaned for 2 hours this afternoon (while a certain someone was taking a nap-though they had to lay with Graham to get him to sleep so they did have a free nap pass) and the living room still looks like a tornado hit it.  Robby tried to make me feel better with the fact that it was at least 40 presents in this room.
  • All that to say, next year we will have stockings, a present of books, and 2 or 3 other presents.  That is it.  Maybe I should print this blog and put it with my Christmas tree....which I have almost convinced Robby to take down tomorrow.  
  • At 9:30,  Nonna, Pops, Jason, Grannymom and Grandpa all came over for breakfast.  I was putting together a lego train set so that left Robby to cook the waffles by himself.  He made an excellent breakfast of waffles, juice, bacon and sausage.  The kids were too excited to eat and the rest of us were too busy untwisting ties out of the back of toys to eat.  We needed all of the grandparent reinforcement to help us open presents.  
  • Reagan was playing with her lap desk and Campbell became a bit too interested in Reagan's area.  Reagan asked me to move her but I was doing something else and told Reagan to move.  But Reagan had her lap tray all set up and all of her presents surrounding her and couldn't move.  So she did the next logical thing for a 6 year old-she took candy from her stocking and made a trail of skittles.  Then she started with "Campbell, come get the candy, come on" and Campbell followed right behind her stopping only to eat the skittles her sister had laid out for her.  It did work...until the candy was gone.
  • After breakfast, it was time to make the corn casserole for lunch and then put on our Christmas clothes to go and see Beebee and Papaw.  Beebee was in a good mood today and seemed to be feeling good.  Papaw was there as well and he was feeling good and ready to eat more of Nonna's cooking that they had brought over.  The kids were pretty good and as we were hugging everyone goodbye, Robby reminded them to be easy and Anderson piped in "yeah, cause they are old."
  • From Beebee's place, we went to Grannymom's house.  Lilly and Cash were there and they had both brought a present just like my crew so they all compared and played with each other's toys.  We ate and the kids played inside and then outside.  Soon, it was time to go home for a bit so they little ones could get a nap.
  • Campbell went right to sleep but Graham needed Robby to lay with him so he could go to sleep and they both slept for at least 2 hours.  Keaton also never woke up from Grannymom's house and slept in her car seat until we left again.  Reagan and Anderson watched a movie and played with new toys.  I worked and worked putting things away and trying to organize-this was all unsuccessful.
  • Next we woke everyone up and went to Nonna's house for supper.  I took a few more presents for them to take out of the box (our trash is overflowing) and they played before and after supper.  I let the kids pick what they wanted for supper and they all wanted mashed potatoes and rolls.  And I let them have it-it's Christmas after all.
  • Back at home, Robby did briefly let Belle walk in the house.  The kids freaked out-Reagan and Anderson were on the couch screaming, Campbell was running circles around the couch and Graham ran out of the living room screaming, went to the schoolroom, closed the door and continued to scream.  Poor Belle just walked around, sniffed a few presents and then left with Robby.  We should have gotten her treats out that Santa had left for her.  
  • Soon everyone was in bed and so far Graham is sleeping well.  Keaton has so enjoyed her first Christmas and is snoozing peacefully on the couch.  It has been another wonderful Christmas.

Christmas Ornament Countdown - Merry Christmas!

WIlliamsburg is such a neat place.  We both went when we were small and then returned before we had kids.  I think the weather was chilly or rainy (one or the other) when we were there but we still enjoyed it.  I can’t wait to take all of the kids back there-you could really stay there for a few days seeing everything.  Our little travelers would love a trip like that.  

Hope you have enjoyed out Christmas ornament countdown.  This was the 3rd year to do this and if has been so much fun.  Hopefully, I will have many, many new ornaments (and a few old ones as well) to share next year.  Merry Christmas.

December 24, 2011-Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve
Candlelight Service
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
  • It was a pretty lazy morning for all of us.  The kids and I stayed in our pajamas until 2ish.  We did watch the Grinch, Charlie Brown, Reagan and Anderson watched some other movies, they played upstairs, cleaned up upstairs, made cookies for Santa and had "Doughnut Saturday" for breakfast and had lunch.
  • About lunch is when Graham started falling apart crying about his ear.  It was the other ear from the other day so we put drops in it and gave him some tylenol.  He was pretty pitiful so we let him skip lunch and tucked him into bed.  Campbell and he slept most of the afternoon long-until we came in to wake them up for baths.
  • Bathroom stories from today: Our downstairs bathroom must be the coldest room in the house because Robby and Reagan have both commented today about how cold the toilet seat is.  After baths today, Graham tooted a few times.  He then smiled and said so proudly "like Daddy!"
  • Around 2 we started scurrying around here-baths for Reagan and Anderson, then baths for Graham and Campbell and then another shower for Robby so he could wash Keaton off in the shower.  Thankfully, I had had a shower earlier and still had hot water.  One bath empties the hot water tank so imagine how chilly Robby's shower was (our hot water heater has to be smaller because of where it is placed in the house-when I win the lottery, I plan on replacing this one with a tankless hot water heater)
  • I knew Graham hadn't had lunch and when he asked for a snack in the midst of getting 7 people ready and in the car I told him that I would bring a snack for the ride.  When we were halfway there, Reagan asked about the snack-I had completely forgotten.  Thankfully, I had to run into the little grocery store to buy some oats for our reindeer food.  We were all out and I didn't want to use Nonna's last 2 packets of blueberry oatmeal.
  • Graham was so excited to sit in big church and they all were thrilled that they were missing Sunday school-I never told them that there wasn't Sunday school tonight.  Church was packed and my one observation is: you can sure tell the children that are used to sitting in church and those that are not.  They lit candles at the end and my kids couldn't have been more excited.  Reagan and Anderson did perfect and I held my hand over Graham's until he had had enough of that.  I then let him hold it by himself and he did pretty good-until wax dripped on him and he quickly passed it back to me. 
  • Papaw and Pops were already at Nonna's house when we arrived.  Jason was there too and soon we were all unloaded and the kids were clamoring to eat.  I think they were very aware that we were going to open presents after we ate.  Nonna had quite the spread and everything was delicious-even the turkey (usually, I am not a big turkey fan.  This one was incredibly moist-scrumptious)
  • Right before supper, Keaton turned all the way over from her back to her stomach.  This was her first time to do this and she spent the rest of supper rolling from one side to the other side.  She had been awake since before big church and seemed so content during her first Christmas eve celebration.
  • After supper, the other kids were all playing when Graham went into a long (incredibly long) explanation about how we were going to open presents.  Earlier in the car, he said he didn't want to open presents like we did at Grannymom's house (taking turns) and wanted to do it all (at the same time).  We told him that we would take turns so then at Nonna's he felt the need to explain the process to everyone.  He made it sound very complicated and throughout the evening, he was directing who would sit where, when we would open and even tried to throw away the big mound of trash twice before we were finished with the presents.  
  • Before supper, the kids put on their pajamas.  Most everyone has Christmas pajamas but Anderson.  He didn't even notice nor care, because he was wearing his new superhero pajamas.  He always likes to tell me that you can see superheros underwear.  Anyway, when I was putting Campbell's Christmas pajamas (which had not been worn this year) on, I noticed that they were size 2, I she was able to squeeze into them-just barely.
  • When Anderson would open a present no matter what it was, he would act like it was the best thing ever.  Reagan opened up a package of underwear and he had laughed saying she had gotten "pantyhose."  Anderson was not too pleased when he opened up his package of underwear and we told him that he had gotten "pantyhose" too.
  • During present opening, Anderson asked Graham had many presents he had left and Graham with all seriousness looked at Anderson and said "29" (G can't count) and Anderson's eyes were huge after that.  He must have thought he had been placed on the naughty list.
  • Campbell was a great present opener.  I would tell her to wait and she would say "wait?"  Then when it was her turn, she would asked "open?" before starting.  That baby is growing up.
  • After presents, we made our reindeer food and then headed home.  Reagan had been busy the whole evening working on her tooth.  She has one top one that was loose and when we mentioned that the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus might just come on the same night, she was pulling that baby as fast as she could.
  • At home, we worked on spreading the reindeer food out.  Robby tried to throw some on the house but ended up sprinkling himself.  We told the kids that we needed to really do this well tonight since we were in a new house and out in the country and it might be hard for Santa to find us.  I don't know if the reindeer will eat the food or if I might possibly have heard a leaf blower out back earlier.  
  • We did our do and then tucked everyone in bed as quickly as possible-we have a movie to watch tonight and then possibly a few other things to do tonight as well.  
  • Well, I would write more but as we were walking out of the kids room tonight, Anderson said "Dad, no computer time tonight."  I guess we should go on to sleep so the Tooth Fairy and Santa can come tonight.  It will be a busy night at the Dennie house.

Christmas Ornament Countdown-1 Day Til Christmas

In 2008, we went to Florence and toured the city.  The Duomo was so very impressive but what really sticks out in my mind about that trip was the cooking school that we went to.  We made all different types of pasta in the basement of this little old lady’s house outside of Florence.  Then we went upstairs to eat the most delicious food (including our pasta) that we had ever tasted.  If you ever go to Florence, make sure you go to that cooking school.

(Click here for pictures from the day we went to cooking class)
(Click here for pictures from the entire trip)

December 23, 2011

"Dad, this is cool!"
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
  • Hmm, somehow I don't recall last night at all.  I think everyone slept in their own beds and I don't really remember us having to get up.  Oh, I did go upstairs once because Graham was coughing and then started checking on everyone else-covered Campbell up, Anderson sleeping sideways like always, Reagan not on top bunk, looked on bottom and she was sitting up staring at me through all of her countdown chains.  I jumped and luckily got my hand to my mouth before I let our a shriek.
  • The party started at 6 this morning but Robby and I were able to lay around until 8.  Notice I didn't say in bed-he went to the kids room and I alternated between the bed and the floor depending on who was in my bed.  
  • The plan for the day consisted of taking the kids shopping to buy presents for each other.  Robby said that this sounded like...not alot of fun.  He was dreading it so that he only took us to Walgreens to shop.  (Probably a good idea because there was a limited about of things to look at and most were in their price range).  If you have ever been shopping with Reagan then you would realize why he was worried.  
  • We walked in Walgreens-the girls with me and the boys with him.  The girls were the first to the toy aisle, we walked halfway down it and Reagan knew what they would like and we put it in our buggy and thought we had done great.  So, the boys were next down the aisle.  Robby said they were interested in looking for the girls gifts for about 30 seconds and then they were done.  Though Graham did see what we bought him sitting on the shelf and begged Robby to buy it for him.  All this while he was throwing as many girl things in the cart that he could (I guess he was really shopping for them since usually no one puts anything in the cart but me).
  • Now, Anderson, he saw what Graham saw and said he didn't like it.  Goodness, that is what we had bought him.  Reagan and I had already paid when Robby let me in on that info.  After the boys (actually just Robby) picked the girls gifts, I walked everyone to the car and said "boys, did you see the ____?" And Anderson said "yep, but I don't want that."  I then looked at Reagan's face and she had the look of disappointment all over it.  I got everyone in the car, while Robby was checking out and Reagan and I waiting on him so we could run in and exchange Anderson's gift.  We aren't shopping at the same stores next year.  Hope he is not that picky Christmas morning because Santa does not have him specifically what he asked for.  Oh, one year Reagan did not get a pink cat from Santa and was devastated.  Seriously, it was horrible and I cringe when I see the video of Christmas with her dumping out her stockings and tearing open her presents looking for that car.  (In Santa's defense-she got a dog that rolled over with pink clothes and the pink cat was a pretty new request and if I remember correctly, Santa did have a 3 day old baby)  Makes me sick thinking about it.
  • I then ran into Target while everyone else went to Chick Fil A to spend their "credit cards" (gift cards).  They all had shakes and kiddie meals.  This left enough leftovers for Robby and I to have lunch while the kids played on the slide.  I sat Keaton's carrier up against the glass and she just watched the movement of all of the kids and would grin.  It won't be long before she is in their hot on Campbell's trail.
  • Another stop at Bed, Bath and Beyond and then to Grannymom's house to pick up some presents living in their attic.  The kids played a bit and then we headed home.  Campbell took a nap as soon as we made it home and Graham tried to rest but was up in no time (though his sickly little self did need a nap).
  • The excitement was the man coming to do a perk test on our ground for a future additional septic tank.  The boys were in heaven watching the men work and seeing the digger dig.  Reagan said "Boys just don't like the same things as girls" and she seemed to have no interest in the large piece of machinery outside.  Our addition bid came in much, much more than what we were expecting so those plans are all very up in the air right now but this will eventually have to be done whatever we do since our current tank is probably nearing 40 years old (though no one knows since no one can find it)
  • When they were finished, Reagan and Anderson watched a movie, Campbell was still sleeping, Keaton ate and I scratched Graham's back and he was asleep in a minute.  Before too long, we all loaded up and headed to the Capitol to see the lights.  No one was happy about going.  Especially Reagan who shot Anderson with a nerf gun seconds after I told her not too-she didn't get a candy cane for the trip like everyone else.  You would have thought she missed out on her inheritance by the way she acted.  
  • They were pretty impressed by the Capitol-or maybe it was all of the steps.  We walked around inside and Graham remembered from last years Capitol trip about when Robby worked there.  Next up was supper at David's Burgersand the kids could have just eaten the fries and been completely happy.  
  • Back at home, we pulled Santa, Snoopy and did the nativity. Then Campbell went to bed and the rest of us started watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Graham watched about half and then asked to go to bed.  He doesn't feel that great with his cough so hopefully his medicine will kick in tomorrow.  By the time Reagan and Anderson went to bed, the other two were asleep and no one made any sounds.  

Christmas Ornament Countdown-2 Days Til Christmas

We went to the St. Louis Arch just months before Reagan was born in 2005.  I remember taking our back picture there and eating at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.  St. Louis is on our short list of places to return to soon with the kids.  They would love the Arch right now. 

(Click here for pictures from this trip)

December 22, 2011

With all her countdown chains,
Reagan is making sure she won't miss
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
  • I didn't mention the other day, but Reagan has now lost her 5 or 6th tooth.  We were eating lunch and I was reading a story and looked over at her bar stool and she was gone.  I said "Reagan?" and up she popped with her tooth in her hand.  She said that she was eating her banana and bit something hard and then it fell on the floor.  During the story, she felt and her tooth was missing so she was on the floor finding her tooth. 
  • So last night, Graham coughed quite a bit before we went to bed and woke up crying enough times during the evening that we brought him down to sleep in our bed.  Of course, all of this happened as I was getting into bed with my cider and popcorn to watch a tv show before bed.  Graham thought he was the luckiest boy on earth to stay up late with us.
  • And late we did stay up.  I made Graham a pallet to sleep on the floor and he watched me and then asked what I was doing.  I said "I am making this for you or Daddy to sleep on the floor."  Graham replied with "I'm not."  So Robby ended up on the floor but he curled up near the heater and slept pretty well (I know, because when I was up I could hear him snoring).  Poor G couldn't get to sleep and coughed and cried off and on for a while.  After having a doozy of a fit, he laid his head on the pillow and was out like a light. 
  • Soon he was sleeping soundly and I had to go to the bathroom.  I made sure Graham wasn't near the edge of the bed and snuck off to go to the bathroom.  And sure enough, I hear someone calling for me.  Seriously, all night long and someone needs me as soon as I go to the bathroom.  I thought it was Graham and headed back to our room, then heard it again and it was Anderson and headed upstairs.  By the time I made it upstairs, Robby was on the monitor asking what he needed (he thought I was still snoozing) and I gave him a shock when I told him I was already upstairs.  Anyway, Anderson was having a bad dream-later he said it was about a bomb and fire.  
  • Keaton ate soon in the middle of the night but we did all sleep until 7:45 so that wasn't too bad of a night.  Reagan even said that Anderson climbed down to tell her once in the middle of the night that his clothes had fallen off.  Um, okay.  But when I was up there for his dream, he had unzipped his feeties and they were off of his arms (but I sure didn't say anything-my goal was getting back to my bed).
  • Keaton spent the morning with Robby while the others went to Grannymom's house.  Keaton also spend the morning being held and the afternoon being held and the evening being held.  She did NOT want to be put down any today.  Even with a full tummy she did not want to be put down.  The only time we could lay her down was when she had fallen sound asleep.  I may have to buy a front carrier for her.
  • I worked a bit, ran a few errands and then swung by Grannymom's house to pick up the sickos-Graham and Campbell.  Since Graham didn't sleep too well and complained about his ear, we had a doctors appointment.  Campbell, despite her cough that sounds like a smoker, is fine.  Graham's ears were questionably and the doctor gave us some medicine.
  • Next up was a trip to Sams to get his medicine and Graham and Campbell were both very happy to ride in the stroller and eat the samples today-cheesecake, oranges, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, pork tenderloin, rolls, chicken salad, crackers.  And then we all went to Grannymom's house and ate again.  Actually, most of the things at Sams they would try and not like or like it alot and drop it on the floor.
  • Back at home, Campbell had a nap, I held Keaton, Anderson and Reagan watched a movie, Graham threw a fit and then fell asleep 2 minutes later.  Soon Anderson and Robby were leaving for the hospital.  Anderson had one last part of his nutrition center visit to complete-an ultrasound.  Since this was at the hospital, they had to wait quite a while but he was a perfect child during it all.  
  • They ran to the grocery store and when they walked in the door, I walked out.  I had had enough of it and needed a break.  Actually, I had dinner with a friend.  After Robby and Anderson left, Reagan, Campbell, Graham and I sat and looked through an American Girl magazine and planned what she was going to buy.  I don't know who will have more fun, me or her.
  • When the kids used to watch movies, they would get pillows and blankets from my room and lay on the floor.  Lately, they have been sitting in a line in the kiddie folding chairs.  Today, I even saw Reagan laying across two chairs.  She said she was tired and I tried to convince her to lay on the floor but she said she was fine.  Bunch of crazy kids-folding chairs? Really?
  • Tonight Graham was coughing and told Robby that since he was still coughing he would need to sleep in our bed again.  Robby explained that that would not be happening again tonight and besides I am out of popcorn so the evening probably wouldn't be as much fun.
  • Look at the picture of Reagan and her countdown chains.  Robby said it took her 10 minutes to pull all of her chains tonight.  He also said that he had to stop her from making more because she was using all of the tape.  Thank goodness there are just a few days left til Christmas or she wouldn't be able to get into her bed due to all of the chains hanging down.

Christmas Ornament Countdown-3 Days Til Christmas

In 2006, we visited Natchez, Mississippi.  It was our 37th state to visit and we drove around to see a few historic homes.  Robby is trying to remind me about this trip (that section of the blog is down) and I can’t really remember but I do remember that this ornament was one of our more expensive ones.  It is strange that some ornaments we pay alot for and then others are very cheap or even free.

Click below for pictures from this trip:
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5

December 21, 2011-Campbell's Birthday

Happy Birthday Campbell!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
  • Pretty early this morning, I overheard Anderson on a pretend phone saying "Santa, sorry we said stupid. Yea, we won't say it again."  I hope Santa heard him because Santa is has already done his shopping and saw the return line at Walmart the other day.
  • Campbell got a new princess doll for her birthday and Reagan has claimed that (as well as her other doll she received, the boys have claimed her legos).  Anyway, Reagan was playing with all of the similar princesses in her room and was just listening to her talk to them and thought she probably won't play dolls much longer-makes me sad.
  • And then Graham came over to Reagan and said "let me see their bootys."  Um, what?  Yes, I looked over to see her showing him all of their bootys.  What in the world?  
  • At least once every day the kids hear the washer/dryer/dishwasher or something and shout "Daddy's home" thinking they hear the garage door.  It cracks me up every time because we don't have a garage door at this house.
  • Poor Graham now has Campbell's cough.  I hope that is the reason why he fussed most of the morning long and not just because he is becoming a fussy little boy.  I overlooked the fussing because of his cough but probably won't have that much patience tomorrow.  After one coughing fit, he whined "I have the bad coughs."  Reagan said "and you have a bad cold" and this led to a huge screaming match-him saying I don't have a cold and her saying a cough is a cold.  Oh, my-hope I put those ear plugs on my Christmas list.
  • I managed to straighten the house, do two loads of laundry, dust, empty the trash, laminate a few things and maintain some peace today.  So I have to call it a successful morning.  Oh, I laminated our lego instructions-should have done that long ago.  Campbell likes to rip them and then the boys tear them to pieces to haul around the room in their trash trucks.  This way, they won't get too destroyed and the kids can follow the directions and build things more than once. 
  • We then had lunch, Campbell had a short nap, the big 3 watched a movie and Keaton took a few cat naps.  Before too long, I was snatching Campbell out of bed and we were headed to the Wonderplace.  We try to do one special outing for each of the kids birthdays-one special outing and one special out to eat place.  We did them both today-Wonderplace and Larrys.  
  • Wonderplace was fairly empty to that was nice and the kids mostly stayed together while we were playing.  That helped but Campbell loved playing in the water-loved it.  Her shirt was wetter than her diaper when we left.  I had to stay pretty close to her since I could just see her falling in the water.  One little girl kind of followed us around and while Anderson was putting on a play, he came out in a pirate suit and growled at that little girl.  She ran and hid and we didn't see too much of her afterwards.  Reagan enjoyed the art center the best but everyone spent a long time playing blocks and sand.  
  • The place closed at 5 and we then headed to meet Robby at Larrys.  The kids were all so excited and Anderson couldn't wait to show the new Larry's off to the rest of us-he had been there before.  We had our pizza, sang Happy Birthday to Campbell and they played and played.  Robby passed out quite a bit of money but Reagan had even brought her own money and was spending it freely-hey, whatever you want to spend your money on-if one tootsie roll is that important to you.
  • At home, we did our Santa, snoopy and nativty and Anderson and Reagan even pulled off a chain from the chains that they had made.  Campbell did two things tonight but she was livid when we didn't let her put a light on snoopys doghouse tonight.  Welcome to the terrible twos!

White Chocolate Popcorn Recipe

Since I have had a request for the recipe for my popcorn, I thought I would put it on the blog.  Umm, it is pretty easy: one bag of microwave popcorn and then drizzle one square of melted almond bark over it and stir.  Told you it was very easy.  I am sure there is a more complicated way to make it but for me, that worked and it was edible.  Actually, I told Robby that I would probably always make popcorn like that.  Melting the chocolate is just as easy as popping the corn so it may be my new bedtime snack...or I just may continue with the nightly cookie dough.

Christmas Ornament Countdown-4 Days Til Christmas

In 2008, we went to the Forth Worth Stockyards.  It was part of one of my annual Ikea shopping trips.  The drive there was pretty memorable-Robby turned around to check on the kids (2 then) just in time to see Reagan lose her breakfast.  Seriously, everywhere.  I am uber prepared and had a change of clothes with me.  So we changed and headed on but since I just had one change of clothes, a few incidents later and Robby was at Walgreens buying that girl something to wear (as you can imagine there is not a wide selection of clothing at your local Walgreens).  He did find something suitable and we made it to the stockyards.  She perked up some briefly (good thing we were only outside).  Even though Reagan was feeling pretty rough by the end of the day, she was running around the Dallas Zoo.  I would love to go back and see the cattle drive down the street again-we just caught the tail end of it. (Click here for pictures of the trip-notice how pale Reagan is! Ha)

December 20, 2011-Campbell's Birthday Party

Celebrating Campbell's 2nd Birthday!
Highlights from today: (Click here for pictures)
(Click here for a video)
  • It was another 6 in the morning wake up for the crew.  We heard Graham on the monitor crying and Robby told him to come downstairs.  I don't think he was really awake yet.  As I lay in bed cuddling with him, I wondered if he gets a bit of special treatment because he is the middle child.  He can't do everything that Reagan and Anderson can do and he can do much more than Campbell and Keaton.  When Reagan and Anderson were 3, we probably would have told them to go back to bed.
  • We were all ready in time to eat breakfast at home.  Reagan never ever eats poptarts but today she decided that she wanted one-after I had passed out the last two.  She wasn't too distraught and Robby even bought her another box on his grocery store stop.
  • Robby took the boys to school and double checked when Graham's Christmas party was-sure can't miss another one.  I told him when he was putting on his shoes that I would be at his party and Anderson piped in with "I wish you could have come to mine."-Dagger in my heart.
  • The girls went to Nonna and Pops' house.  On the way, Campbell would lean over and look at Reagan and say  "Nonna?" asking if she was going to go to Nonna's too.  As soon as Reagan had answered that, Campbell would ask if she was going to Pops'. 
  • Ms. Wendolyn told me that the first thing Graham told her this morning was that he hoped Santa came to his Christmas party like he did Anderson's party.  So I had to ask if Santa was really there yesterday and in face he was.  But poor Graham, Santa didn't show up at his party but his Mom did!  Graham's party was fun-cupcakes, games and lots of Christmas treat bags (Apparently that is the thing to do--all the Moms giving treat bags for everyone imaginable holiday at school.  I don't have the time for that-is that bad?)  Graham was very pleased with his candy canes.  
  • I am surprised that Ms. Wendolyn didn't give Graham juice in his Christmas treat bag.  She told Robby the other day when Graham brought snack, he was very concerned that she saved enough juice to bring home.  She thought that was strange until Robby told her that we never buy juice at home.
  • I picked up the boys and then we went to the new gas station by the church.  I thought about getting gas before picking them up but knew that would be the highlight of their afternoon-getting gas at the new gas station. It was quite entertaining to them and they couldn't stop talking about it during the day-how there was a place for trucks and another one for cars.  
  • We had lunch at Nonna's house and Campbell had her first birthday cake this year.  She saw the cake and started singing "Happy Birthday."  We sang, she grinned and then she tried to blow out her candles-the boys finally had to help her.  We worked on blowing later in the day practicing for her snowman cake but it didn't help too much.  
  • When we made it home, Campbell was already asleep and Keaton was hungry. I was exhausted and so when Keaton started crying, I took that as my chance to sit and feed her (and take a quick snooze).  The only problem was I kept dropping her bottle and she wasn't pleased with that.  After her milk, she was wide awake and I had had my power nap and was ready to get the house ready for a birthday party.  
  • The kids played in the house this afternoon and even were a bit of help while I was trying to clean-just a bit.  Reagan did decide to make snowflakes about the time the party was starting so just imagine all of that to clean up-but since we have a fancy new vacuum everyone was clamoring to use it. 
  • Graham asked to borrow my phone during the afternoon and said he was going to check the weather.  He looks at the temperature on my phone frequently-though he has not a clue what the numbers (temperature) mean.  Then he started pushing buttons and told me he was texting Dad.  Then I heard him mumble "kids been good."  I laughed and then he pretended to text "Reagan Anderson not been good."  Little stinker.
  • Anderson saw Graham with the phone and asked to call Grannymom.  He chatted with Grandpa for a bit and then Grannymom called him back  Then Cash and Anderson talked on the phone and giggled like girls.  After that conversation, Graham was ready to call Aunt Dana and talk to her.  I tried to explain that she was at work and we couldn't call her then and that we would see her in just a few hours.  That satisfied him.
  • Soon guests started arriving for Campbell's party.  The theme was snow and we all wore our snow hats. We had hung snowflakes in the kitchen.  There were two snowmen cakes, snowmen cookies and even snowman marshmallows for hot chocolate.  Everyone was there-Nonna, Pops, Jason, Papaw, Grannymom, Grandpa, Dana, Jenna, Lilly and Cash.  We had chili and the fixings and then the kids made snowman pictures.  
  • Next up it was present time.  She received legos, a lawn chair, a doll and pajamas for her, a Cinderella doll, chalk, crayons, a puzzle, Minnie and a car and Minnie and clothes to dress her in.  She was pretty interested in her presents but the other Dennie kids couldn't sit down long enough for the rest of us to see her.  Seriously, my kids have always been so good as sitting during present time but not tonight-I am going to have to crack down on them the next birthday party we go to.  
  • Then we had cake and I think that Campbell could get used to all of the attention.  And Keaton was very aware that there was a party going on today.  Last week during Anderson's party, she slept through the whole thing in her swing in the kitchen.  But today, she smiled, cooed and had a big time.
  • After cake was cleaned, we had the grand finale to the party-we made snow.  It was pretty neat-actually the snow was a polymer (my new word of the week).  Anyway, it was a powder and then we added water and it multiplied and felt and looked like real snow.  The kids were in awe and enjoyed playing with it.  The boys all went up to get cars to drive through it and soon Campbell was coming in the kitchen with her hands full of cars.  We made snow, made more snow and even more.  Soon it covered the kitchen table and soon it even covered the kitchen floor.  
  • The kids played for awhile and then all of our party guests arrived and Robby went to work on snow clean up.  And yes, the leaf blower was used in my house.  Apparently, the snow was too wet for the broom or vacuum.  But I secretly think, he just hadn't used any lawn equipment in a few days and wanted to catch up.  The blower worked well and got most of the snow out and we swept up the rest.  Poor Keaton, just set in her swing while Robby was blowing all around her-I looked once and her swing was even swinging because of the blower.  She was just a grinning.
  • The kids stayed up and I opened most of Campbell's toys for her and them to play with.  They sat quietly and played until we told them they couldn't have any milk before bed (they had plenty).  Anderson was devastated and said the he wasn't going to leave the couch until he had milk and then later said he would sleep in my bed until we gave him milk-he is sleeping in his bed.  Robby mentioned that he wouldn't get to go to Larry's if he continued to act like that and the child quickly became an angel.  So we are going to start eating at Larry's everyday.