May 31, 2013

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Board Game Fun!

  • Oh Whitman just isn't cooperating with me lately at night.  He quietly starts to fuss, I jump out of bed and feed him, change him, burp him and lay him back into bed and then that little booger starts grunting and squirming.  And all of that leads to fussing only after I have laid back in bed and gotten comfortable again.  Robby did get up this morning when this happened and topped Whitman off with 2 more ounces. 
  • This morning most of the kids were in our bed pretty early.  And since I wanted to stay in our bed, I let them watch a movie and then another one.  By this time, it was breakfast time.  Today's menu item was breakfast burritos and the crowds were not too pleased that that choice.  Campbell was the most upset and just cried and cried "why can we not have a tot part." (pop tart)  
  • Campbell was feeling find most of the day today and didn't have any fever.  But this afternoon, she got all puny again.  She laid down on the couch and started whining that Whitman was waking her up.  I will give her that because he was also on the couch screaming.  I picked him up with his bottle and then she said that the ipad (Anderson was playing) was now waking her up.  I meant to get her some tylenol but she was asleep by the time I went upstairs.  Though after her nap, she was back to her normal self and was fine for the rest of the evening.  
  • After breakfast, the kids did their reading and I did laundry.  After I was able to straighten some of the house, we played a few games.  We played hungry hippos and Keaton was all about playing.  Some one would have to sit out each time we played and she would scream and scream if she was the one to sit out.  Whitman enjoyed sitting in his bumbo watching the madness.
  • Soon it was lunch time and then the kids went upstairs to play.  They have really played very well all day long.  Only thing is when the big 3 play together so well, they are usually playing with something that Keaton could knock down or destroy.  So they just lock the door to the toy room.  This doesn't go over well at all with Keaton.  She then just sits by the door wailing.  I have tried to explain that it is her toy room too but I also feel sorry for the big kids so I let it slide and try to entertain Keaton whenever I can.  
  • Naps and movies were next.  The boys did frequently come to ask me how much longer until Cash would be here.  We went outside to watch their turtle crawl around (yesterday they painted it and I added our address on him today).  When Cash arrived we just stayed outside-Robby mowed and I worked on a few different things outside.  
  • Around 7, I went in and showered up.  Then I showered the kids and served up supper.  Reagan was with Lilly at the movies and she made it back around 8:30.  She had the best time at her girls night out.  They had dinner and then a movie-growing up too fast.  
  • Whitman has been asleep since before supper.  I have now fed him again, taken all of his clothes off and still the child will not wake up.  He is happily snoozing and occasionally squirming around but no waking up.  This means that I am going to have a very, very rough night.

May 30, 2013

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Pre-K Graduation

  • Whitman has been waking up around 5:45 the last few mornings and my morning would go so much smoother if I would just get up after feeding him.  But that isn't my style!  I go back to sleep and then this morning we woke at 7:30 and had to scurry out the door a bit after 8.
  • Just a reminder, that I am pretty organized (not reminding my readers but reminding Robby who doubted my organizational skills this morning)  And without my organizational skills there would have been no way to wake, clothe and feed most of the 6 kids before we left almost on time this morning.  
  • As we were backing out of the garage, Graham screamed something causing everyone else to scream as well.  It was a turtle on the driveway.  Of course I didn't know where it was and slammed on my brakes.  They begged me to let them get it so I said that one could jump out and get it.  Reagan was the first to get out the door and found something in the garage to get the turtle with.  Then the child just stood there and said "it isn't getting in."  She was actually surprised that the turtle was not crawling inside of her box.  I had to jump out and throw that thing in the box so we could get on the road.  
  • Anyway, as I drove into the parking lot I started to wonder if I had gotten the time right.  It was almost 8:30 but the lot was full.  No one else was straggling in like us so we started moving quick.  I couldn't imagine them starting anything before school but maybe I didn't read the note right.  Robby was a few minutes behind me but caught up to me as I shuffled my crew to the fellowship hall for the program.
  • We walked in as the kids were all going up on the stage.  Thankfully, Graham's class certificates were the last class and even after a few songs so we had a few more minutes but I sure don't like being that close.  The kids sang a few of the songs they sing each morning and then they each were given a certificate.  This was our 3rd year to have Ms. Stacy at church (Reagan, then Anderson and now Graham) and we will miss her.  Campbell will be at church next year for preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays but is too young to have Ms. Stacy.
  • Graham was so happy to have his certificate and was even glad to take a picture with Ms. Stacy for me.  And Ms. Stacy had something for Anderson-we were out of town last year on the last day and Anderson didn't get his certificate.  And she found it as she was getting this years certificates ready.  So I guess Anderson has now officially graduated from preschool-just a few minutes after his younger brother graduated.  
  • We pottied while Robby fed Whitman and then we loaded up and headed to the park.  It was a pretty perfect morning to go to the park because the weather was nice and no one was there except for Graham's class.  I pretty much let the big kids run off and stayed near Keaton and Whitman.  They all had a great time and then it was time for cupcakes.
  • They were celebrating summer birthdays and Graham was one of the birthday boys.  He grinned from ear to ear as everyone sang Happy Birthday to him.  Then we passed out the cupcakes that we brought and then everyone had a few more minutes to play.  Ms. Stacy had gifts for the kids-water toys and Graham was thrilled and ready to take them to the pool tonight.
  • We were the last ones to leave the park-everyone else scurried away pretty soon after cupcakes.  But since it was starting to sprinkle pretty good, we loaded up too.  The original plan was to go home for a bit and then go to Grannymom's house.   But since we were finished early, we switched plans and headed straight to Grannymom's house.
  • The kids grabbed the ipad before I could even get in the door with Whitman and the bag.  They took their turns, played outside, had lunch, had a snack and were pretty hot and worn out when I came back from the store.  Whitman didn't do any of this at Grannymom's house-he just slept and slept.  
  • When we arrived Campbell was acting odd and when I came back she started again.  We didn't think too much about it but by the time we made it home, I knew something was wrong with her.  She went inside while the others were painting the back of the turtle, climbed on the couch, covered up and had herself a good nap.  She had a bit of fever-we didn't give her any medicine until bedtime so hopefully she will rest well.  
  • After the kids painted their shell and watched the turtle for awhile, they came inside to play.  The plan was to go to the pool after Robby finished with work but it looked darker and darker every time that I looked out the window.  They took it well-very well but I tried to make it clear that we would do our best to go this weekend.  Maybe I should have checked the weather before I made that promise-probably should have checked it today before telling the kids we could have gone tonight.  
  • I set Graham up with his nerf guns and cups to knock down.  This kept him busy for quite a while but surprisingly Anderson wasn't that interested in my pinterest inspired activity.  There were even army men to knock down but that only inspired him to go upstairs and make a fort.  Whatever works and whatever keeps them happy while I heat up supper.
  • It was starting to rain some and the light blinked once when the food was in the microwave.  It was a long blink-long enough for me to wail.  My wailing about the lack of being able to heat supper probably caused more concern for the kids than the lights being off for the half second.  Thankfully, they blinked back on and we were able to have supper.  After cleaning up the cupcake crumbs last night after supper, Robby decided everyone had to eat their cupcakes outside except it was raining. Well, we just all moved to the front porch along with a few extras chairs to enjoy the cupcakes.  It was pleasant out and maybe saved Robby 5 minutes of sweeping :)
  • The evening passed quickly and everyone played well.  Right after their bedtime, we walk down the steps and hear the tornado sirens.  Robby turned on the tv and I found my computer to check the weather.  So far, we haven't had to jerk them out of bed to duck and cover....yet.  And hopefully we will not have to tonight.  The lights did blink again and this caused the kids clock light to stop working.  I had to go up there to fix that-poor Campbell must have been nearing hysteria because Reagan was standing on her bed trying to calm her down.  Graham was sound asleep.  I calmed her down, turned on the clock light again and kissed everyone good night. 

May 29, 2013

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  • The kids were up before 7 this morning and Robby did send them to the toy room to play for a bit.  Since everything that happens before 7 is a bit fuzzy for me, I am almost sure that there was sometime of scuffle that happened upstairs including some screaming, stomping and probably gnashing of teeth.  
  • Robby was able to calm everyone down before he left but I was pretty certain that it wasn't going to be the smoothest of days.  I was correct though it could have been worse.
  • The morning actually did start of smoothly and pretty slowly!  It was nearly 10 before we sat down for breakfast. Before that everyone had done a bit of reading, coloring and a lot of mess making.
  • My plan was to go to the library and then to see Beebee this afternoon but she called early saying that she had therapy this afternoon.  So we scurried around to run and see her first.  By 11, we had made it to her place and were able to visit with her for a bit before lunch.  The boys delighted in shoving her wheelchair down the hall to her dining room.  They are going to want to come at lunch time every week from now on.
  • The boys were a bit rowdy (rowdier than I like them) and Campbell didn't immediately obey me once so they were all told that they would have to take a rest this afternoon.  Their upcoming punishment calmed them down and probably helped our visit to the library go smoothly.  It also helped that it was noon and not many folks were around.
  • Everyone picked out a few books and then we loaded back into the car and headed home.  Before our trip, I had practiced with the kids and Robby had practiced with the kids about getting in and out of the van the correct way.  They did perfect the entire trip but apparently when traveling with me they have forgotten everything.
  • It was 1 when we made it home and I quickly served up lunch and read a bit before chores.  I had given the kids a list of things to do and they scurried off to complete their tasks-Reagan working on the toy room while the others were working, Anderson picking up the school room, Graham vacuuming my closet and Campbell organizing the shoes.  They all did really well so I thought I would push my luck with chore lessons for them.
  • Yep, I took each big kid, Reagan, Anderson, Graham and then Campbell, to a potty and thoroughly explained how to clean the pottys.  We will see if the lessons pay off next Wednesday when it is potty cleaning time around here.  My eventual goal is for them to take over all of my chores while I set in my bathrobe watching soaps and eating bon bons.  (kidding-kind of.  Well, no I guess I am not kidding at all-that is truly my goal!)
  • By this time, it was nap time for Keaton who loves being put to bed in Campbell's crib.  Or maybe she just likes being covered up with the blanket up there-it is cold during the afternoons upstairs.  During her nap, we played a few games and worked a puzzle and the next big event was the required rest time for my troublemakers.
  • Anderson took his punishment like a man and even called down to me that he was sorry.  Graham was good at first and then had a screaming fit.  And Campbell fell asleep while laying in the school room.  Since it was 4:30, I had to quickly wake her up so she would sleep tonight.
  • Reagan spent their mandatory rest time watching herself a movie all by herself.  I am sure she enjoyed this time and when her movie was over, I ushered everyone outside to play.  It was 5 but they still needed some time outside.
  • They played outside and when Robby made it home around 6 we stayed outside.  Soon it was bath and supper time for the kids.  We again had Mexican for supper-quesadillas tonight.  Then it was bedtime for the crew and blog time for me. 

May 28, 2013

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8 weeks old!

  • Whitman woke up once early this morning and Anderson did as well to go to the bathroom.  But Robby was the only one awake when it was really time to wake up.  He had to wake Graham and they headed off to school and work.  My crew was tired this morning-I finally had to wake Keaton up at 9 this morning.  
  • The kids had breakfast in my room and then we did our bit of summer school-nothing major-just reading time, sight words and some math facts for Reagan and Anderson and working on learning letters for Campbell.  When Graham made it home, he read a book and did his sight words.  My G is so excited when he says one of his words correctly and is so proud of himself.  My goal is for him to be half way though his reading book when he starts kindergarten.
  • Reagan and Anderson were happy to be back with their toys-lately, they have been making houses/areas with the lincoln logs and then having a city with all of their other toys.  They could do this forever but the only problem is that Campbell and Keaton like to "play" as well and usually destroys what they have worked on. 
  • So Campbell and Keaton helped me with the laundry and then went upstairs to play in their bedroom. They both had a baby doll and Campbell laid out pillows for them and pillows for their babies.  They played for quite some time together.  Soon they will be really big buddies playing happily for hours (wishful thinking on my part).
  • This afternoon we read some of our Magic Tree house book-I had stopped reading aloud to the kids (shame on me) and am going to start back.  Then everyone worked on making banks out of my empty formula cans.  The jars that they have been using are overflowing so much so that Robby and I have had to borrow some cash before.
  • We played a game and even worked a puzzle today.  Then I let them watch a movie before I shoved them out the door.  The scooters are still a big hit but being pushed on the swing was the highlight for them.  I pushed everyone and then Robby made it in.  Whitman was sleeping happily on the couch and slept all the way through supper.
  • We had supper at Nonna's house.  Sonia had made empanadas while she was here and froze some for us.  So tonight Nonna cooked them up-cheese for the kids and meat ones for us.  They were as good as I remember them being and the kids enjoyed them too.
  • I gave everyone a shower and then it was time to head home.  The boys were happily playing with Jason and lots of new (but really old) gi joes.  But when we came home the kids just sat in the van-they are still so tired!

Texas Wedding Roadtrip-May 27, 2013

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The traveling business is tough work!

  • Whitman didn't wake up once we were in the room last night and I probably should have woken him up myself but I just let him sleep.  So about as soon as I went to sleep, he woke up to eat.  And then at 5, he woke up again.  He was sleeping about a foot from my head and I never heard him.  Robby got up and started making Whitman's bottle.  I didn't hear that but I did hear a bit of commotion when Robby shook the bottle without a lid.  
  • Robby fed Whitman but after he laid him back down, he started to fuss again.  By now it was nearly 6 so Robby decided that we would go ahead and leave early.  (We had decided to leave early, then decided to sleep a bit longer but Whitman changed all of that for us.)  
  • After Robby took his shower, I had mine.  We quietly scurried around packing everything that we could.  Eventually, we started pulling blankets from the kids and packing them up.  Everyone got up nicely to go potty and Robby took them to the car.  We were out of the room by 7:10 and Reagan must have thought that it was in the middle of the night because she said "what time is it?"
  • At the wedding last night, Anderson won a movie (Jurasic Park 3) so it was the first movie watched this morning.  It was probably a bit intense for me crew-well, some of them.  We noticed that Campbell had her blanket over her head for some of the movie.  But we stopped it once to ask Anderson if he liked it and he said "yeah, one guy has gotten eaten already."
  • Robby went to the breakfast area at the hotel and cleaned out their cinnamon rolls so the kids had one as a pre-breakfast.  Then we picked up breakfast burritos at Sonic.  Our next stop was for gas and potties and soon we were about to lose control of the troops, so we found a park for them to play at.
  • By loose control, I mean that Robby and I were about to go nuts.  Ha!  Campbell continually asked us if we were in Mississippi yet.  Keaton shook her cup like she was playing a maraca.  And the two of them together are even more of a mess-Campbell would belt out "jingle bells, jingle bells" and then Keaton would point at Campbell and shout at her "stop."  We knew they needed to run off some energy.
  • I believe that the next stop was McDonalds for lunch.  We ate in the car and zipped on down the road.  Campbell was sleeping while we were in the drive through line and we had just told the kids to let her sleep even when we passed out the food.  When she is asleep the car is a tad bit quieter!  But not 5 seconds after that, a freight train roared down the track about 20 feet from our car.  She woke up and the car suddenly got a lot noisier.  
  • After leaving McDonalds, our next stop was another McDonalds for a potty stop.  Robby didn't feel guilty at all about bringing in his empty McDonald's cup for a refill.  But then karma got him when he couldn't find his phone after we left.  Finally, he buzzed it with my phone and it buzzed and buzzed and buzzed.  We could hear it but couldn't figure where it was coming from.  Finally, Robby realized the phone was in his back pocket the entire time.
  • I think that was the stop that I had Whitman out of his seat changing his diaper and he laughed at me.  He is getting pretty interactive now.  Not as interactive as the other kids and that is nice!  Campbell thinks everyone's middle name is Ruth like hers.  She shouted at Anderson "Anderson Ruth, do you like my flip flops?"  And Anderson isn't any better-he is always freezing in the car and as soon as we turn the kids air on, he will ask for it to be turned off.  We have to sneak it on because we don't want them to get hot.  So once he said "can you turn off the air, I have already told you once."  
  • Soon it was another Sonic stop and during it, Robby had to go potty and then I did at the next door Dollar General.  And when we left, we got turned around and had to pass those stores again.  I said "look, there's another Sonic right there."  Anderson saw the next building and said "there is another one of those too."  I tried to get Robby to make the loop again just to see what they would say at seeing the same stores 3 times but he didn't want to play my silly game.
  • But the kids quickly figured out that we had turned around and then they started chanting "go the right way."  Kids need a mute button.  Only kidding, they were really perfect and we made it home before 5.  It didn't feel like we had been in the car all day.  
  • When we made it home, the kids played outside and then inside and then outside again.  Robby and I unloaded the van and then he mowed the yard while I unpacked inside.  Within 2 hours, we were finished with everything-yard looked nice and the house was straight and unpacked.  
  • And soon the kids were showered and eating supper.  They had a busy few days and everyone was ready to go to bed tonight.  Another good trip!  

Texas Wedding Roadtrip-May 26, 2013

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A little hoe down after the wedding!

  • So I believe that I am becoming an insomniac-not by choice!  I was up later than I should have been with the blog (probably should have done it first before playing on facebook and pinterest) and when it was bedtime, Whitman woke up to eat.  I did make it to bed around 1:30 to sleep until 5:30 when he woke up again and then had to lay by me until morning.  I think that is pretty good since he could have been really fussy due to his negligent parents and resulting sunburn.  
  • Hopefully tonight, we will get a bit more sleep.  Though when I woke up, I felt well rested.  It is just now 11 and I am just getting started on this blog, Whitman hasn't eaten his late night bottle and Robby wants to leave around 7-sleep really is overrated!  
  • I'm not complaining though, we have had a great trip and everyone is not going to be too pleased about coming home.  But today they were excited about one more day of trip adventures.  And surprisingly, everyone was really excited about the wedding as well.  The kids woke up and were dressed before Robby and I were out of bed.  We "got it going" as  Anderson says and soon headed to breakfast.
  • Today everyone had waffles and pecan twirls as their main dish.  We have talked about not eating breakfast here tomorrow and I just told Robby to go over and take all of their pecan twirls and we can eat them in the car!  
  • The NASA Johnson Space Center opened at 10 but we arrived at 9:15.  We sat in the car as long as we could-Robby changed the setting on the DVD player, worked on my phone and attached his gps better.  When he had finished all of these tasks, he went to get in the line.  Soon the line was crazy and he called us over to get a spot in the security line.  
  • We walked in the door at 10 and the lady tearing the kids tickets told them to go straight to the tram line.  So Robby took that as a cue to walk swiftly there and that we did.  We walked right on tram and even had room to spread out.  The first stop was the old mission control.  It was mission control through the early space days up until 92.  Pretty cool to see that.
  • Then we went and walked around the Saturn V rocket-it is a pretty big thing to walk around.  The kids were pretty interested in the whole rocket thing-maybe we should check out a few library books.  Then we caught the tram back to the main building and saw some exhibits.
  • Soon it was almost noon and they were doing a show about reptiles.  We needed to rest our legs for a bit so we sat and waited for the show.  Keaton sat in the stroller, Whitman slept and the other kids played on the phone while we waited.  
  • The show was typical up until the host looked for volunteers and pointed to Robby.  The kids were beyond thrilled to have him on the stage.  And when the lady pulled out the albino Burmese python for Robby to hold, I thought Graham was going to throw up he was so excited.  Robby said the snake was slimy and he did even see the toenail of that thing-who knew snakes have toenails.
  • After the show, we let the kids play on their huge space angry birds play structure.  The kids loved it and could have continued to play there.  Robby told them to stay with someone and made sure that everyone knew that they could not leave Campbell.  Of course, Reagan is the only one that hears that and dutifully stayed by Campbell's side.  Reagan eventually asked if she could go and play without Campbell and Robby let her.  I had been pushing Whitman and Keaton around the gift shop (trying to keep him asleep and distract her).  So Campbell went with us to the bathroom and then back to slide a few times.  
  • We did let Keaton play for a bit in the ball area and Robby had to go in and get her.  She was not too pleased about having to leave but we had other things to do-like touch a moon rock.  There are only 8 moon rocks in the world that can be touched by the public (this was our second-Smithsonian in DC was the first.  Robby joked that maybe touching all of his moon rocks should be on his bucket list).  A bit more touring and then it was time to eat our lunch.
  • They had picnic tables outside and we had our sandwiches.  I way overpacked my food and have enough bread for us to picnic until the end of the month.  Anyway, the kids ran around on the sidewalk until we had lunch ready.  After lunch, we had a special treat-astronaut ice cream.  The kids all ate their piece.  Graham will be the astronaut of the group because he was the only one that continued to ask for more pieces of it.
  • Next up was back to the hotel.  We had about 2 hours in the room before we needed to leave.  Campbell eventually fell asleep-the x games motorcycles must have bored her.  Didn't bore me because it was girls racing the motorcycles.  Anderson really needed to see that because the other day at the Children's museum, they had mock elections with 2 candidates-a boy and a girl.  Anderson voted for the boy and I asked why.  He said "well boys are better than girls"-must have learned that from his daddy.
  • We knew that Keaton needed a nap too but there was no way she would nap in her bed.  So we put Whitman's bouncy in the bathroom, put down a pillow for her feet, gave her some milk and buckled her in.  We could not believe but it worked.  That child was exhausted and stayed awake during most of Robby's shower a foot away.  She only woke when he unbuckled her to wash her up.
  • The wedding was at in indoor pavilion in a city park near Maradee's house.  We had thoroughly explained to the kids proper behavior including rewards and punishments for improper behavior.  It must have worked because they were all wonderful-Whitman slept, Reagan was all into it-even jumping up on her chair to see them kiss, Anderson and Graham sat perfect still watching it all, Campbell was in my lap a bit whiny but fine and Robby was on Keaton patrol.  She did really well-coke, smarties and lots of distractions helped with that.  
  • After the wedding, we all headed to the lawn for the reception.  They had food-bbq, chicken, potato salad, beans, fruit, homemade bread (delicious), slaw, homemade brownies, cobbler and ice cream.  The food was all delicious.  There was music and a bit of dancing -- mainly by Anderson and Greg.  And there were games for the kids to play.  
  • My crew devoured the fruit and played with the outside games until they had all received candy and Anderson had even earned a prize-a Jurassic Park DVD.  Robby had said earlier this week while looking at fossils in Houston that we should rent that movie.  We will see if it scares them to death-Anderson said that they are going to watch if the very first thing going home. 
  • After a lot of eating and game playing, I took Campbell and Keaton to the bathroom.  I had a diaper for Keaton and pulled down her pants to change her and sure enough she was poopy.  So I grabbed some wet paper towels and started again.  It is very, very hard to change a poopy 1 year old in a public restroom with no changing table.  And during this Campbell had gone to the bathroom and needed me to wipe her bottom and my phone was ringing.  We survived and went back to the others.
  • Eventually, I took everyone but Whitman to the nearby playground.  They played and played and probably could have played more but I heard them announce that Maradee and Robert were about to leave.  So we booked it back to the reception so the kids could get some birdseed and throw it.  Throwing something at anyone is so much fun for the kids.  Afterwards, we stayed around for a bit longer and then hoped in the car to claim the kids rewards for being so good. 
  • They enjoyed the snow cones from last night so we headed back there.  It was 9:15 but Robby thought they closed at 10.  The open light was still on and that was great so we unloaded and headed there.  I was still getting the baby out of the car and a bottle made since he wasn't too pleased.  Robby and the others made it almost to the door when the worker lady quickly walked (Robby said "ran") to the door to turn around the sign and lock the door.  
  • I got out of the van and walked around it in time to see 5 heart broken kids walking back.  Anderson was teary and about to fall apart.  It was pitiful-I could even see people in the snow cone place watching our show take place outside.  Robby immediately says that he will find them something else-this makes Anderson some better but not Keaton who is now refusing to get in the car.  She remembered where we were and was expecting a snow cone.  
  • Robby stopped at Kroger and ran in to pick up 2 choices of frozen treats.  While he was shopping, Campbell cried about the snow cone.  Gracious, it was sad because the kids were so disappointed but then again, eating popsicles in the room was pretty easy and a lot less expensive.  
  • They had their treats as we loaded boxes and bins back up and into the car.  By the time we laid everyone down it was after 10.  Keaton was the last to get into her bed and was climbing on it trying to get in.  By the time we turned off the lights, everyone was asleep except Campbell-my bedmate tonight.  She just stared at my computer until I closed it but now she is snoozing away-like I am about to do!

Texas Wedding Roadtrip-May 25, 2013

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Heyday at Kemah Boardwalk!

  • Robby and I were up until after 1 last night.  The kids went to sleep an hour earlier but after laundry and some trip planning it was soon after midnight. And that is when my Whitman decided to wake up. He did have his bottle and then went back to sleep happily but that made it after 1.
  • We slept until after 8 and there was really no way that we could get around for breakfast so we just took our time.  Our first stop didn't open until 10:30 so we were in no hurry.  
  • Robby typed in McDonalds on the GPS so we could pick up breakfast and it took us to probably the only one around here with a play place.  We had to tell the kids we couldn't stop there.  Robby added that we were on our way to the museum of books.  The kids went on with their movie and the idea of a museum of books didn't seem to bother anyone much.  It is so much fun when we can torture them just a bit.
  • For breakfast the kids food cost us over 12 dollars while mine cost 1.  Something is just wrong with that.  The big 4 were each given 2 pancakes, half of a potato cake, half of a biscuit, half of a sausage patty and half of a serving of eggs.  Keaton had a pancake and then ate one of Reagan's pancakes.  And they ate every single bit of this food.  It helped that we were in the car for a bit but I was shocked that they cleaned their plates like they did.  What am I going to do when they are all teenagers? Robby may have to get a second job!
  • Robby ran into Target while they were eating-he picked up some summery shoes for tomorrow's wedding.  Reagan asked why he just couldn't wear his church shoes and I explained that they were wintery and at home.  Tonight Graham told Robby that he likes his new shoes because they looked like something Pops would wear.  
  • After the Target run, we ran by where the wedding is going to be tomorrow.  As we were driving up, Robby said "Boys, tomorrow is the wedding and you have to sit quietly.  It is almost like a funeral."  A funeral?  That is what he picked to compare it with?  I tried to suggest that it was more like church and Robby said "no, like a funeral."
  • We must have driven around too long because Anderson finally said "okay, let's get it going."  So we obliged and headed to Kemah Boardwalk.  We were there early this morning and parked right across the street so that was wonderful.  One time during the day, Robby even took a crew back to sit in the van for a snack and drink.  
  • Robby picked up our arm bands (we bought the city pass so have had lots of activities on this trip) and we headed off.  For most of the big rides you had to be 48 inches and Reagan and Anderson are just an inch shy of that.  But there was still plenty to do.  
  • We first rode the Ferris wheel and then the carousel.  The next ride was these huge swing/planes that Reagan, Anderson and Graham could ride with an adult.  The line wasn't long but moved slow and we had to swap and wait 3 times for each of them so it took a bit of time.
  • While the others waited, they rode a smaller up and down ride over and over and over again.  Campbell loved it and her sweet brothers and sister would hoist her up on it each time and then check to make sure she could get down.  Keaton wasn't too happy about not getting to ride but she perked up after we just handed her the bag of goldfish and she had herself a snack.
  • After our break in the car, we had a bathroom stop and then the train.  The train ride was long and took you all down the boardwalk.  It is an impressive little area and we only saw a bit of it.  At the end of the train ride, there is a mock shoot out in a tunnel.  I looked back to see Campbell ducking her head.  When we were getting off the boys were telling me that they didn't get "shoot" one time.  Campbell added "I didn't either.  I ducked down.  Cause I didn't want to die."
  • Next up was a walk along the boardwalk and then the roller coaster-for me and then Robby.  We were able to walk right on the ride but it took forever to unload and then the walk down was about a mile.  While I rode, Robby bought the kids a 12 dollar icee (almost that much) and then when he rode the ride we had brownies from home. They were leftover from the lunch after my grandpa's funeral and I had wrapped them for the trip.  Graham thought they were delicious and asked me if I had the ingredients to make them.  I told him that I thought they were from Sams and he asked if I could make some for him.  Yes, unfortunately my kids think cooking is buying it from Sams.  
  • Next the kids rode little hot air balloons.  I had to ride with Keaton and when the lady locked us in the tiny balloon she said "don't stand up."  The balloon couldn't have been more than 3 feet tall-seriously, I was not going to be standing up.  I was still trying to unstretch my body when it was time to ride the planes and sent Robby to ride the planes with Keaton.
  • The next to last ride was one that slowly rises so you can see all of the park-it was a nice cool place to sit for awhile.  Then the boys decided to ride this crazy fast spinny thing that Robby and I were so thankful they could do by themselves.  We both used to be good at rides that spin but our stomachs have gotten older and we just can't do those as well.  Reagan wanted to go on the carousel again and I thought for sure that she would ride a horse on the top level.  But she wanted to sit in the spinny thing so her and Campbell did that while Keaton rode a horse in front of them.
  • Oh yes, this is why I will NOT be winning the mother of the year award-check out the picture of my baby's legs.  Excuse 1-The sunscreen was in the car. Excuse 2-We forgot the stroller canopy. Excuse 3-It was partly cloudy so we really never thought about the sun much.  Excuse 4-He gets mad when I put a hat on him.  The other kids are a bit pink as well but they will be fine.  I truly feel bad that Whitman is a bit pink from the sun-though I he will probably not be in the morning.  We did run by Target (again today) and picked up some aloe vera for him.  Please don't call Scan on us!
  • Robby and I wanted to see Galveston and the kids needed a bit of down time so we drove around down there.  It was pretty beachy and there was lots of people around.  It was a nice little drive and some of the kids napped.  Once we made it back to the hotel, we cleaned out the car.  Robby grabbed my box of food and said "do you want me to get out the feed bucket."  He meant the food bucket but feed bucket is probably much more accurate.  
  • On the way back we stopped for supper.  Since the Chuys at home is brand new and has a long wait, we decided to eat at the one here.  It was a lot of fun.  Campbell said that she wanted to go there for her birthday.  The kids were great and enjoyed coloring and looking around.  The food was good but even better was hearing Anderson speak to the waiter-please, thank you, may I.  When Anderson asked for a refill, the waiter said "you are so polite, you can have anything you want."  
  • We threw on our bathing suits and headed down to the pool again.  The kids did better in the water tonight and we were all having a great time until Keaton said "poo poo."  So that ended her swimming time!  That baby is about ready to be potty trained-earlier in the day at Chuy's she was in the bathroom stall with Campbell and I and grabbed her just changed diaper and said "pee pee."  She knew you were to pee pee in the bathroom and did just that.  
  • Anyway, Keaton, Whitman and I went back to the room.  Whitman wasn't too happy to leave the pool or maybe he was cold.  Either way he was fussy and Keaton kept asking about her baby doll that she is attached to.  We left it with Robby and the others.  I jumped in the shower as they both cried, jumped out and took off 2 poopy swim diapers.  Then I quickly dipped both of them and worked on putting clothes back on.  I eventually had to prop of Whitman's bottle to calm him down and within a second he was sound asleep and hasn't woken up yet (almost midnight)  
  • Soon the others were back and everyone quickly showered because we met all the Ketcham clan at a snow cone place.  Joie and Jacqui's kids along with ours made 11.  Mine were all pretty tired-they just sat in their seats eating their snow cones.  By the time that we left, every single one of our snow cones had been eaten.  Keaton sat in her seat the longest eating every bit of hers.  And when it became too hard to use her spoon, she just started dipping her hand in the cup and licking it-whatever works!
  • Back to the hotel and the working men staying all around us, just finished grilling outside from the bed of one of their pickup trucks.  Looks like they are having a Memorial Day celebration-steaks, music, beers.  Kind of fun and they must have to work tomorrow (we hear them leave around 6) because they are all quiet now.  The kids are also all quiet-tonight, Graham is in the bed with me.  He is so still compared to Anderson that I wouldn't even know that he is here unlike Anderson last night who moved, pushed and snored (much like his daddy!)
  • Tomorrow is NASA so that will be fun.  I told Robby that I should have made my bucket list earlier because I sure would have put watching a space shuttle take off on my bucket list.  I am too late for that but I am going to work on that bucket list-Robby said that only thing on his is getting his kids to all 50 states.  Reagan has 3 left and Whitman has 48 left-Robby still has a long way to go to accomplish his list.  

Texas Wedding Roadtrip-May 24, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Our kind of break!

  • Seriously, there is just something about Dennies and hotel living-we love it.  We are all crammed in this little room, yet we slept wonderfully.  Even waking with Whitman for his middle of the night snack, I still slept great.  We started stirring after 7 (well, Graham was up at 6) and had to rush to make it to breakfast.
  • Campbell's first breakfast pick this morning was fruit loops.  But everyone had waffles-in the shape of Texas.  What could be better than that?  Reagan said, and I agreed, that breakfast at the other hotel was better but this breakfast was more fun.  I need a waffle maker that makes waffles in the shape of something.  Really, I just need to use my real waffle maker more often than Mother's day.  
  • We were still in the car a bit after 9 which was the same time as yesterday so that was good.  Of course, we will need to bump that time up by at least an hour in September.  We have traveled a lot but Robby and I are trying to really plan our upcoming "Arkansas to California Trip and Back" out really well.  I have a page of notes of things that I need to bring and remember (thinks like update the GPS, bring a clothes pin for the hotel curtains, masking tape and a sharpie to label my packing bins, bring me multiple pairs of shoes so I am not traipsing around in 18 inches of snow and sandals like last huge road trip)
  • Anyway, speaking of the GPS (again), today Campbell said "Daddy, why do we keep going around and around and around."  And when we came into the hotel tonight, Anderson said that his head was spinning.  We did have to make a few really sharp turns and a few u turns today but it wasn't that bad!  I think my kids might be a bit overly dramatic!
  • We drove back into Houston (we are staying in Webster-south of Houston) and our first stop was the be the Children's Museum.  Today Reagan said that she has counted 64 buses and the majority of them were letting kids out in front of the Children's Museum.  So we crossed out fingers that they would be gone by lunch and headed to stop B-the Museum of Natural Science.  
  • There were lots of school groups there but not as bad as it could have been.  Places should have to close when a school group is there!  The place was huge and we barely covered half of it.  We could have stayed there all day long but moved to our next stop after lunch.
  • Before lunch we did see tons and tons of dinosaur fossils.  Not only were there dinosaur fossils but early man fossils-I am thinking that I need to find a kids book on dinosaurs and the Bible.  Reagan was asking me about the early man fossils and I was at a loss of how to explain all of that to her.  So we just moved on to lunch!
  • They had a McDonalds there so Robby picked up lunch while I found a table outside.  (We both actually forgot that we had our picnic stuff in the car just a few blocks away-but there wasn't really a good eating spot near the car so it was fine.  We still have plenty of picnic days left.)  It was warm in the sun but our table was mostly shady.  I was holding Whitman and Robby pointed out that his little head was so sweaty-poor guy.  The kids didn't get too sweaty because they had one of those globes that spin on the water and they get a bit wet (Anderson did get drenched-he said his hat bumped the globe and then fell off his head causing it to be dripping wet.  Hmm, or maybe it just put his hat in the water to cool off)
  • We then walked through a beautiful rose garden to get to the Children's Museum.  This museum was crowded but not as crazy as it would have been this morning.  It was a cross between the WonderPlace and Museum of Discovery times 10.  It was pretty impressive (not as awesome as the Please Touch Museum in Philly) but it was still neat.  The kids could have stayed there for days.  They had a little town with credit cards and money they could use in different places which was really neat.  Lots of areas to learn about energy and motion with balls.  A 3 story climbing thing-which Campbell freaked out on.  Graham was near her and Reagan climbed to her as fast as she could.  Thankfully they were able to convince her that she wasn't stuck enough to get her close to me.  I then had to climb on to get her off.  The space was tight and I actually thought that I might also get stuck in the process-thankfully we all made it out and I am going to start a diet on Tuesday when we get home.  
  • Outside they had a huge water play area that the kids loved.  Again, my Anderson had just dried from earlier and was soaking again.  Hopefully his tennis shoes will dry enough that he can wear them tomorrow.  They all loved the water area and nearby they had a maze that was made with mesh.  Keaton loved this-she stayed in it forever and would not come out to me.  I had to track her down inside.  
  • When we had seem as much of the museum as we could take, we headed back to the car.  I told the kids that if no one complained then we could have a snack and drink when we made it back to the car.  They were pretty good on the trek back even though they were hot and tired.  
  • Next stop was Ikea-I just love ikea.  Reagan said that I love it so much because I can shop with just Daddy and Campbell and Whitman and not with the rest of them.  She might be on to something.  Ikea has a play place that you can drop your potty trained kids off at.  And when the Dennies come-we fill the place up.  This is the second time we have dropped off 4 kids at an Ikea and both times they had to put the "full" sign up.  
  • The kids have a blast in those things-they had a ball pit, pages to color and a movie.  There are lots of windows and it was really calm inside with 2 older women watching them.  Since I am dropping off so many and I know that they all watch out for each other I don't think twice about leaving them.  
  • Whitman slept through Ikea and Keaton took it all in.  Robby and I did a lot of window shopping and a lot less actual shopping.  I spent about 15 bucks-4 foldable bags, 4 boxes of bandaids, 3 scissors and 2 packages of kid bowls.  Then we picked up the kids and bought supper-hots dogs-and sat on the benches to eat them.
  • After the hot dogs, Robby bought Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Campbell ice cream cones.  We really just thought that Keaton could just share with the others-we were wrong and she let us know it. So Robby went to get her one and as soon as she saw him coming, she sat right down ready to eat.  And eat she did-until I finally had to throw it away because everyone else was finished and Robby was in the van waiting.  
  • Robby went to the van early to load up Whitman and then pulled up close to pick us up.  But actually he just likes pulling up close so he can watch people try to fit crazy huge purchases inside of cars.  Today he watched a lady try to fit a 6 foot mirror in a two door car and then he read her lips as she said "I didn't think it would be this big."
  • It took us forever to get back to the hotel-traffic was crawling.  We tried to get in the HOV lane and were so close to the entrance.  But then it snuck up on us and we would have had to cross 3 lanes of traffic (we have done this a few times on the trip which is hard enough to do in a van like ours but today there were too many cars so we just missed it)  The kids were fine on the slow ride back to the hotel because they were busy counting down the minutes until we could go swimming.
  • Everyone suited up and we headed to the pool.  It is amazing how much less confident all of the kids are in the water after not swimming all winter.  Good think swimming lessons are coming up soon.  We have a pool membership this summer and my goal is to take them swimming at least twice a week.  Got to fit that into our summer plans along with learning to ride bikes.  
  • Whitman even had his first swim-he loves the shower but wasn't too nuts about swimming at first.  But he did calm and like it for awhile.  We did have one incident while swimming.  Graham said he needed to go potty (2) so Robby took him.  Campbell heard this and then said that she did too.  We just ignored her because she was just copying Graham and because EVERY time that she potties she number 2s.  Well, she was serious and thankfully I was able to get her out of the pool before she caused a disaster. 
  • Back in the room the kids played on the ipad, watched a movie and bothered Keaton.  Robby washed another load of laundry and then it was bedtime.  Anderson is my bed mate tonight-he will not be as easy to sleep next to as Reagan.  He has already pushed me twice and will probably end up falling off of the bed onto Reagan-that will cause a fiasco.  It only took about 10 minutes of lights out for everyone to go to sleep.  Now I am going to fold my laundry (housework even on vacation) and then to bed for me!

Texas Wedding Roadtrip-May 23, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Learning about George W.

  • Whitman woke up around 5 this morning and quickly sucked down his bottle and went back to sleep. Robby and then I both had to go to the bathroom so that meant that we each had to squeeze into the bathroom and shimmy past Keaton's pack n play to get to enough of the potty to meet our needs.  She was sleeping sound because she didn't even stir when I flushed the toilet and quickly slid out of there.
  • Around 6, Graham joined me in bed and he had a slew of questions.  He wanted to know what city we were going to today, how far it would be, if we had ever been there, what was the name of the hotel we would be staying out.  I am not really big on talking before 7 (or really before 8) but I obliged and answered everything while rubbing his back hoping he would go back to sleep.  He eventually did in Robby's bed for a few more minutes.  For our upcoming big trip, I am going to have to make Graham an itinerary with maps and details about every day.  
  • Everyone started stirring around 7 and soon Campbell was telling me that she wanted fruit loops for breakfast if they had them.  She added "it is okay if they don't have any though."  Sure enough as soon as she walked in the breakfast room, she saw those fruit loops.  Graham saw the pancakes and Anderson bee lined to the cinnamon rolls.  Actually, everyone had cinnamon rolls and Robby and I said that we could have had another one but there were only 2 left so we didn't.  We kind of felt bad for our family coming in and cleaning out the breakfast!
  • We were packed before we left for breakfast and Robby loaded the car while the rest of us started our breakfast.  The kids could have stayed and eaten and eaten but eventually it was time to go.  The first stop of the morning was the Bush library.  Our silly GPS has seemed slow on this trip so it took us a bit longer to get there than it should have.  But we were able to see the farmer's market and it looked really neat-always need something for the next trip.
  • The Bush library was new and impressive.  It did cost to park unlike Clinton's library and did cost twice as much but was still worth it.  I am pretty sure that Robby and I have now been to all of the presidential libraries.  In the lobby of this library, there are huge screens on the walls above and they put on a pretty good little show. 
  • September 11th was a big part of the library and the kids were really interested in the videos and the twisted beam from one of the towers.  We have been to the Pentagon and seen pictures before of that day and have explained it previously.  But today we had to explain that day and terrorism all again to them-kind of sad what our world has come to.  Lately, I have seen a quote on pinterest about whenever you see something bad on tv, always look for the helpers.  So we did lots of finding of finding the helpers in those pictures and video clips that we saw today.
  • They had an area with children's books that you could sit down and read-kind of neat to have something to touch for the kids to do.  Unlike Clinton's oval office, you could go into this one and even sit at his desk which was neat.  They had a few hands on computer screens for the kids to touch as well which helped pass their time.  
  • After a potty stop, bottle for Whitman and a magnet to be turned into a Christmas tree ornament, it was time to head to Houston.  Back in the car we passed out snacks and juice so the kids lasted for about 2 hours before we had to stop for lunch.  
  • Not a whole lot is around here and our plan was to have a picnic so we spotted a rest stop on the map.  When we made it we drove a bit looking for a spot and then spied a playground.  We drove towards the playground looking for a spot and they were all full.  By the time we made it that far, we couldn't back up or turn around and the road then went straight back to the interstate.  Imagine all of the questions and comments that came from the back seats as we drove away from the playground without stopping.  
  • Thankfully there was a bridge about a mile away so we turned around and headed back.  The rest stop on the other side of the road was just as nice with the same playground so we stopped there.  That still left us with a bit of back tracking after lunch but driving for 10 more minutes was worth this stop.  The kids ran off to the playground leaving Keaton behind.  Graham came back and then sweetly walked with her to the playground.  She wasn't able to see where they were going down the sidewalk because of the trees and when she saw the playground, she was so happy and waved and waved at her brother and sisters playing.  
  • We had lunch at the picnic table nearby-pimento cheese, turkey and cheese sandwiches, cheetos and oranges.  The kids were more interested in playing than eating so we let them run off some steam before loading back up in the car.  
  • After another hour, we stopped at a Buccee's gas station.  Apparently this is a chain of huge gas stations around here.  It had at least 30 women's potty stalls.  But more importantly, they were giving away free samples of fudge and all of my crew walked away with icees.  The weather was pleasant in the shade so we just set outside and the kids finished their icees while Whitman finished his bottle
  • That baby so far is a really good traveler.  I don't think that he has fussed at all in the van yet.  He is probably just trying to convince Robby to take him to Hawaii with him (Robby has threatened to only take Reagan to Hawaii so she can mark that state of-taking the rest of us would be too expensive.)
  • Some time during this afternoon, Campbell shouted to me "Mom, I forgot to eat a pancake."  I guess that she had just realized that she never went back to get a pancake at breakfast.  She had told me that she wanted one and I told her to finish what she had and then she could.  But I guess she forgot for a few hours!
  • At 5, we pulled into downtown Houston and were soon at the aquarium.  The aquarium was pretty neat.  Walking through the aquarium made me realize how much the kids didn't retain from science this year.  We studied animals that live in the water and they along with I didn't remember near what we should have.  Hopefully, we will do better this year learning about the body.  
  • The aquarium was neat.  Keaton was pretty mesmerized by the fish swimming around and Whitman's eyes were wide open as well (though I am not sure how much we could really see.)  At the end of the aquarium tour, they had white tigers.  Even though we didn't really remember our science from this year, I am still pretty sure that a tiger is not an animal that lives in the water.  Even though I am not sure what it was doing at the aquarium, it was still neat to see.
  • The aquarium also had a few rides out front and we were able to do them as many time as we wanted.  Of course one was closed due to maintenance.  It was open minutes before we walked up but I would prefer to not put my kids on an unsafe ride so that was fine by me.  But we were able to ride the carousel 2 times and the ferris wheel 3 times.  The neatest ride was a train like at the zoo-but it went through a shark part of the aquarium.  And then near the end of the ride, a shark burst out of the water spraying water into the air.  The first go around, Robby almost jumped out of his seat.  And the second time, Keaton was just as surprised as Robby was.  During the first ride, Keaton rode with me but on the second she rode with Reagan.  Keaton wanted Reagan's hand on her leg the entire ride.  She would even move it back to her leg if Reagan moved her hand. 
  • Back in the car for a drink and a short trip to our hotel.  It was already late so the kids were tired but they were also starving.  Once we found the hotel, we couldn't find any fastish food nearby to drive through.  So we checked in and I unpacked while Robby hunted down supper.  He picked us up a pizza at Mario's and by the time he came back, pajamas were on, everything was unpacked, dishes were washed and the kids were happily playing-all except Keaton who was nearing a breakdown.  
  • The pizza was good and Keaton was much happier after eating nearly 2 pieces of pizza.  We all were happier in fact.  The kids played for a while longer and then it was time for bed.  Oh, yes, this room.  Just like I had predicted, this room is smaller than last nights.  It is still generous for hotel standards but it is just a hotel room.  Reagan is sleeping with me, Robby in the other bed, Anderson between the beds, Graham at the foot of Robby's bed, Campbell under the table, Whitman on the other side of my bed and Keaton is snoozing in front of the sink.  We had to prop up the ironing board and cover it with the blanket so she couldn't see us.  (and to just use the ironing board to prove Graham wrong that we wouldn't use it on the trip!)
  • Despite our close arrangements, it didn't take long for everyone to go to sleep.  Tomorrow is a big day and I am as tired as the kids were-just have one load of laundry to fold and then I am going to sleep as well.  

Texas Wedding Roadtrip-May 22, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Whitman:  Welcome to Texas!

  • Seriously, leaving for a trip in the middle of the day is the hardest thing to do.  I would rather leave in the middle of the night than have to wait all day.  Maybe if it was just me waiting all day it would be fine but there were 6 other people with me that were pretty excited.  This excitement led to lots of questions, lots of messes and lots of rowdiness.
  • The day started with the kids having breakfast in my room while they watched a movie.  I even let them deviate from the breakfast menu because I really did want them to watch a movie this morning so I could do a few things.  And since pancakes were on the menu and that involves syrup, pop tarts became the breakfast of choice.  
  • And another reason I let them watch a movie is because it is just so darn cute looking at all 6 of my kiddos sitting on a blanket together.  There is usually a brief minute or two that everyone is happy and not fussing about something.
  • After eating and the movie, Reagan did her reading, Anderson read a book to me and Graham did his reading book.  I wish that we were more of a reading family-the only reading that Robby and I do are the reading blogs and occasionally magazines.  I do have my kindle and love loading free books on it but most of those are for the kids and rarely do I read any of the books for me.  I just play games on it-hmmm, wonder where the kid get their obsession with games.  (I never let the kids see me play those silly games though)
  • I heard Reagan open up the back door today and asked what she was doing.  She told me that the ladybug was dead and she was going to set it free.  I told her I thought it was a bit late to set the bug free if it was already dead.  She said "you never know, it might still be alive."  If that bug was the least bit smart, it would have played dead so it would have been left alone.  After it was released, a big fight between Reagan and Campbell ensued.  Campbell went to the bathroom to throw away the ladybug food (raisins) and Reagan thought she was going to throw away the whole lady bug habitat.  So Reagan chased Campbell and Campbell quickly locked the bathroom doors.  Reagan was near hysterical when Campbell happily emerged with a now cleaned out habitat ready for the next laybug (God rest its soul)
  • I had the kids help me clean up.  Everyone vacuumed some part of the house but I noticed Reagan's area was vacuumed like Robby and I would do it (not the circle lines that I saw from Anderson's vacuuming)  We worked on the toy room and eventually cleaned it.  People would never believe how that room looks after a few minutes of my kids playing in there.  Soon the house was clean and I was painting 30 toenails and 20 fingernails.  
  • We had lunch just as Robby text to say that he was coming home and then we all pottied up.  Everyone waited while reading a book for Robby to come home.  It is nice that the kids are big enough now to be a bit of help while getting ready-they loaded the fridge and ice chest with cokes, carried the trash, hauled backpacks-they can be pretty useful.
  • We were on the road at 1 and didn't stop until Texarkana.  Texas is Whitman's second state and he has lots of catching up to do to Reagan and her 47 states that she has visited.  It won't take him long though and I believe that he is going to be a pretty good traveler.  He never fussed today (I know I am jinxing tomorrow) and he stayed awake the longest time grinning in his car seat.  We laughed though because Reagan would have had a cute mobile to look at and Whitman has nothing cute or bright to look at-just the back of the seat.  I did see him staring at his hand once-poor thing.  
  • Once when the car was getting a big noisy, Robby told the kids to not talk anymore.  Campbell hollered at Robby "Daddy? Daddy?"  He answered back and she said "I need to tell Momma something."  Of course, there was nothing to tell me-she just needed to hear her voice.  
  • After about 2 more hours, we stopped for gas and a potty break.  Inside the gas station, Robby let the kids pick out an ice cream treat.  Some were 50 cents and others were over 3 dollars-highway robbery.  The ones that my kids picked out were the more expensive ones-that do have good taste in ice cream.
  • Since they really couldn't have the ice cream in the car, we ate it at the gas station standing in front of the van.  I wish we would have grabbed the camera-everyone but Whitman standing right in front of that huge van with ice cream treats in their hands.  Why did we not get the camera you ask?  Well, I was holding Whitman who was finally hungry, holding the diaper bag and getting out wipes for hands and Robby was making a bottle, wiping hands and watching for cars.  By the time we did get back in the car everyone's ice cream was gone, hands were clean and Whitman had almost finished his bottle. I sat in the back and gave him the rest and soon we were in Dallas.
  • Actually, it was a bit later than if Robby had been driving because I had to drive while Robby did some work.  Not a big fan of big city driving but we all survived and my wrong turn or two just helped us end up at our supper stop.  We ate at a Soulman BBQ. 
  • When we walked in a lady walking out with a small child said to me "no matter what they do, they will not be worse than this one."  She was talking about her child.  Hmm, so that left me with 2 response choices "oh you never know" or "mine are always great in restaurants."  I chose the first one just to be polite but I knew that the second response was more accurate.  
  • Our hotel was minutes away and the kids were pretty bummed that we weren't going to be at a motel.  They love it when the rooms face outside and not a hallway.  We reminded them that this hotel had breakfast and that seemed to appease them.  
  • It is always like this at hotels-when we are in a room for 1 night, our room is big but when we are in a room for multiple nights, our room is small.  The room today even has a separate room that we have quarantined the kids into.  It was great for them to play in and spread out this evening.  I was telling Reagan that tomorrow's room may not be this big and she said "I am just praying it will be.  We are a large family and have lots of kids and need lots of room."
  • Around bath time, Robby called the kids into our room and he said "I want everyone to come here for a second.  I need to tell you something."  Robby has said those same words twice lately but not just to give the order of baths like he was planning on doing tonight.  He has said those same words to call the kids together to tell them that Belle (the dog) had died and then later the next week to tell them that Papaw has died.  So when he said "I want everyone to come here for a second.  I need to tell you something."  My sweet Reagan matter of factly said "What? Did someone else die?"
  • During baths and ipad time, Graham noticed the ironing board hanging in the closet.  He looked at me and said "why did we bring an ironing board? Because we aren't going to iron."  Little guy couldn't figure out why I would haul an ironing board this far when I have never used it at home.
  • Everyone went to sleep around 10.  Keaton is in her pack n play in the bathroom, Campbell is beside Robby's bed, Whitman's bouncy is between our beds (yes, we are going to sleep well in our separate beds tonight).  Currently, Whitman is sleeping on my chest.  
  • Graham is near the bathroom door sleeping-he was in the other room but was removed.  Actually, he was told he was going to sleep in the hallway and was pretty close to getting moved out there.  Probably if our room tomorrow isn't this big, someone will have to sleep in the hallway!  And Reagan and Anderson are in the other room.  
  • Tomorrow is the Bush library and the drive to Houston.  But first is the hotel breakfast-one of my favorite parts of a trip!

May 21, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
7 weeks and SMILING!

  • "Can I play on your ipad, Daddy?" was the first thing that we heard this morning.  Soon the 4 big kids were all gathered around that silly ipad.  And Whitman was looking around from his bouncy trying to figure out what all was going on.  We were trying to lay really still pretending that it was still the middle of the night.
  • Soon though it was someone else's turn and Graham was told to pass the ipad.  And he did but with a bit of a throw.  So he spent the rest of his morning calming down from his spanking.  (One difference between when Robby spanks him and I do-he will calm after Robby does but when I spank him, he will continue to scream forever!)  Anyway, he was his happy Graham when it was time to leave for school.
  • We had breakfast and then everyone read for a bit.  Reagan read her chapter book, Anderson read to me while Campbell and Keaton crawled all over us.  Then it was time to start packing and that is pretty much what we did for the rest of the day.  We packed and packed and packed.
  • I let everyone help a bit picking out their clothes and Campbell was able to put a few things in boxes.  But packing for 8 people is quite the logistical nightmare-actually it is just a big challenge to me.  One night, 5 nights or 18 nights is still just as complicated.  
  • We took a break from packing and ladybug watching for lunch.  And yes, that ladybug is still alive.  The kids even remembered that we have a ladybug habitat.  So Anderson and Reagan pulled it out, added water, read about giving it raisins to eat and spent much of the morning with it.  The ladybug was doing really well until I heard a thud in the bathroom.  Called for Campbell to see what was happening and she said the ladybug fell out.  It wasn't moving but so I asked if she smashed it...and she said "no, I didn't sit on it."  Either way, that ladybug is on its 9th life and is moving pretty slowly.
  • This afternoon, I just had a bit more packing left and did it during Keaton and Whitman's naps.  Cambpell, my constant helper, followed me around and talked the entire time.  I eventually decided that her voice and my ears needed a rest so we laid down on the couch for a few minutes and woke up when Robby and Graham came in.
  • I am pretty much finished with my packing so Robby moved the van.  Then we spent the next hour working on strategically loading up the van.  We even practiced getting in and out of the van a few times tonight.  Kind of funny, Keaton went right along with what the big kids were doing and would climb in and out of the van along with them.
  • Then we finally headed in for showers and suppers.  The kids watched The Price is Right while we had our supper.  After it was over, we reviewed the next few days with the kids and put them in bed.  They were pretty excited tonight and we heard them talking for a few minutes before things finally settled down.  Hopefully they sleep all night and Whitman sleeps just as long as they do.

May 20, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Celebrating the life of Papaw Brock!

  • We slept in a bit longer today than yesterday but still have to get moving pretty quick.  Some ate breakfast first, some put on clothes first and some kids played on the ipad first.  So it was a bit confusing but eventually everyone got everything done and we were out the door.
  • The first stop of the morning was Robby dropping off me, Reagan, Anderson and Graham at Nonna's house.  We were riding in a family car-and let me tell you that was a highlight of the day for the kids.  They wanted to know where the trunk was, if that was a limousine and many other questions about the car.  When I told them that we should have bought a car like that instead of the big van they agreed for a bit and then Reagan decided that she liked the big van better because we had more room in it.  And Anderson agreed with her and added that we also had two tvs in the big van.
  • Robby took the little 3 to Grannymom's house and then met up with us at the funeral home.  The kids did excellent during the service.  Anderson asked how long it was going to be and Pops told him that it would short but if Pops got up then Anderson could get up too.  Well, when the guests started filing out, Pops did get up to catch some family and Anderson thought that he was going to get to get up as well.  
  • And spending so much time at Roller Chenal lately, reminded Robby and I of the brief time that we worked there.  So many things you probably didn't know about these Dennies.  Those were definitely the before kid days.
  • Hank did very well speaking during the service and I hope the kids are old enough to have a few memories of today and a few memories of Papaw.  So after the service, we loaded back into the family cars and this is when things really got exciting.  The police escort!  Whenever that motorcycle would fly by our car to catch up to the front, the boys would just squeal.  
  • And then at the cemetery, the kids sat quietly and then the Navy people played taps and then folded the flag.  They folded the flag right in front of the boys and they took in every single detail of this.  At the end they gave the flag to Hank who then gave it to Beebee.  Later in the day, the boys tried on Hank's hat (official word is cover, I learned today).  When Graham had the hat on, he saluted and it was the slow salute that he saw today.  Precious.  My boys, especially Graham, love Hank and can not get enough of him (just the way Jason was in when he was little)
  • We had lunch at church with the family (80% of these people I could not tell you their first names).  Actually Jason and I have decided that when we have to plan a funeral, you will have to put on a name tag that includes how you know us.  
  • Grannymom and Grandpa brought the little 3 to lunch to eat with all of us.  Then I took Grannymom, Grandpa and Campbell back to their house.  I had a few errands to run before our trip-tomorrow is all day packing day.  Any bets on if it will all get done?  I then picked up Campbell and we headed home-Keaton and Whitman were napping.  And Robby and I tried to briefly nap.
  • Most of the afternoon was spent looking at a lady bug.  At Grannymom's house, Campbell had looked for a lady bug early in the day and then we went back to Grannymom's house, a lady bug landed on her window.  Reagan and Campbell looked at that ladybug all day long-they would go into my bathroom and close the door.  That bug was still alive tonight and I can not believe it-seriously, it must have 9 lives.
  • After cleaning up briefly at the house, we went to Nonna's house to eat some more meat.  Meat trays are the funeral food of choice.  The kids played for awhile and then we headed home.  Pops brought Sonia and everyone else over to see the house (even though it was a mess).  They stayed around and talked for awhile and then headed back.  
  • It was a pretty good day-the kids received lots of compliments all day long-but this evening they were pretty rowdy.  I guess they have to burn off a bit of energy sometime during the day.  Maybe they will sleep well tonight!

May 19, 2013

(click here for today's pictures)
Whitman's Baby Dedication

  • After such a busy day yesterday, we topped it today with an even busier day.  Whitman was the first one up-having a bottle with Robby around 6 and then having another with me right after.  My boy is starting to drink two bottles right in a row each time that he eats.  
  • I heard the kids a bit before 7 and told them that they could go to the toy room and heard the klump, klump, klump of feet down the hall.  The probably could have stayed there all day long.  But soon I was calling them down for breakfast.  We finished off my two bags of doughnuts today and I even had to grab some cereal for all of my hungry kids.  
  • Every day when I get out of the shower, I wrap my hair in a towel.  It usually doesn't bother Campbell but on Sundays she gets very concerned.  She kept telling me "you can't wear that on your head."  Of course the more that she says this the more that I try to convince her that I am in fact going to church with a towel on my head.  Later Reagan walked in and I just had on my shirt.  She said "is that a dress?"  And since a silly question deserves a silly answer I replied with "yes, do you think it is too short?"  Poor Reagan hem hawed around until she finally said "maybe a little."
  • We made it to church a bit early and Anderson was so ready to get to his class.  But we made him wait until time but as soon as I said that he could go, Cash and he ran out of my room to go to class.  One thing that is nice about Anderson's class is that I can peek in and check on the behavior of Anderson and even Cash today.  They were all perfect (as far as I could tell) today.
  • After Sunday school, I ran to the church library to grab some movies for our trip.  Most of their movies were 30 minutes but I was able to find a few that were at least an hour.  I need many hours worth of new movies for the kids on our Houston trip.  So I will have some movies and will have to get more...I will also have to get packing sometime soon as well.
  • During church, the kids were great.  And during announcements they talked about church next week.  Our church is only going to have one service and then everyone will go shopping for the needy.  And they finished their announcement by saying that there would be no Sunday school because of this next week.  I leaned over and told Anderson that I wish we would be there but we wouldn't because we would be out of town and he said "that is why I want to come next week because there is no Sunday school."
  • We had lunch at Grannymom's house.  We had sent her home with leftovers from the soccer party and we pretty much devoured them.  I could eat a hot dog every day and I guess that the kids could too.  The kids didn't mind loading up to leave Grannymom's house and actually they were pretty good all day long.  It was a much smoother day that I had imagined it being.
  • The next event was Papaw's visitation.  Graham was very interested this morning if today was the funeral or the place where Papaw's body was.  I remember not seeing many dead people as a child but the kids were pretty bent on seeing Papaw's body.  So I took the big 3.  The birthday cards that they had made for him were in the casket with him and they were pleased by this.  Earlier, Nonna even had Graham sign his card.  
  • Seeing the cards made Graham ask again if Papaw saw the cards which I again said that he did (I really don't know but I like that answer better than him possibly not seeing their prized cards).  Anderson wasn't too interested or just wanted to get out of there because he quickly asked if could go and find Pops.  And Reagan turned to Nonna after looking at Papaw and said "I had always wondered what a dead person looked like."  She continued with "I kind of thought it was just bones." So my eldest thought we were going in the room to look at Papaw's skeleton.  Oh, to know exactly what kids think about everything.  
  • Of course, as soon as we walked into the room with Papaw's body, I started my speech about that just being Papaw's body and that Papaw was really in heaven.  I was just telling Robby that I am sure they were rolling their eyes at me since they have heard me say that a few times lately.  Somethings you just want to make sure that their little minds understand.
  • My Graham was so happy to see Hank (my uncle).  He ran across the room to give him a hug.  After about all of the meeting and greeting that the kids could take, Robby took them back to Grannymom's house.  They were all good and spoke when spoken to-well, most of them anyway.  At one point, I looked over and my Campbell was laying in the floor watching the video of pictures.  She wasn't really in the way so I let her stay there.
  • Back at Grannymom's house, Robby put Keaton down for a nap and with her cup of milk she was out in just a few minutes.  But Campbell also needed a nap and wasn't as keen on taking a nap as Keaton.  So Robby laid down with her for a few minutes.  They were still snoozing when I came back in and in just a few minutes, Robby left for a meeting and I started getting the crew ready for the parent commitment service at church.
  • Everyone changed shirts or dresses and I even put on a dress for the event-my new dress for Maradee's wedding along with some cowboy boots (it is a Texas wedding!)  Once at church, we found a room to play in and after a few minutes went for a walk through of the service.  As soon as we walked into the church door, Keaton saw Pops and shouted "Pops! Pops!" continuously until she was able to run down and see him.  
  • We really only had time to potty, change a few diapers and feed Whitman a bit and it was time for the real thing.  It went pretty quick-as in it was all over by 6:10!  Aleta read the names, the preacher held the baby and off we went.  The kids did well following Robby as instructed.  He held Whitman and I held Keaton-I was continuously shoving candy in Keaton's mouth so she wouldn't start shouting at Pops this time.  
  • It went well and then we headed to Nonna's house-she has a few tons of food to eat.  Reagan was thrilled with all of the meat, Campbell loved the fruit and Anderson was tickled with macaroni and cheese.  Beebee was over along with Hank, Sonia, some relatives from Indiana and another cousin that I haven't seen in years.  It really is too bad that people only get together like that when there is a death.  Makes me want to make an effort to spend more time with people-so party at my house!
  • Tonight with all of those folks at my mom's house, Anderson went to play in the toy room (he still loves those g.i. joe toys).  But Graham sat near Hank listening to every word that he said.  I told him that he could go and play but he was content where he was.  Reagan was in and out and my Campbell was the life of the party!  That child thrives on attention.  
  • It was well after bedtime when we made it home tonight-not as late as last night though.  I laid out more dressy clothes for tomorrow much to Anderson's chagrin.  He made sure that I understood that he had worn his Sunday clothes all day today.  I told him I understood but we wouldn't have to wear them next Sunday for church and he was pleased with this.  I didn't mention that he would have to wear them for a wedding next Sunday though!  So sneaky!