July 11, 2013: Dennie Family Reunion Day 1

(click here for today's pictures)
Taming a "wild" pony!

The morning started off with Robby and I waking up early to get ready and soon Graham was in our bathroom and closet talking to us.  Not too far behind was Campbell and we could hear Reagan and Anderson playing in the toy room.  There must be some certain age where you no longer care about seeing your mom and dad first thing in the morning and are immediately ready to play.
Soon everyone was stirring-the kids ate breakfast while I frantically threw things in boxes and picked up the house.  Then I loaded up the kids with Robby’s help and we headed to see Beebee before our trip.  She was in the shower so we had to wait a few minutes but the kids were all happy to see her and she was happier to see us. 
As always, Beebee passed out candy to the kids.  Anderson asked how many they could have and she said “as many as you want.”  Yep, 8:45 and my kids are chowing down on chocolate bars-we should have just skipped breakfast. 
Graham was so excited to give her his birthday invitation.  She told him that she couldn’t come but she would send a present.  She asked what he wanted and his first thought was a 100 dollar lego set and then followed that with a remote control car.  I encouraged him to wait on the car so he could get a nice one.  Then he decided money would be a good gift so he could get his kindle sooner.  The kids don’t know that the kindles are sitting in the closet waiting to be passed out.  (We used some of our extra cash from skipping Com Central this year as kindle money)
Back at home, I had the kids grab a few more things and pick up for a few minutes and then it was time to watch our baking show.  Last night was the finale so this was must see tv.   Since our drive today was only 2 hours, we were in not too much of a hurry and had time to watch the show.  I wanted the heavy set Southern lady to win.  Reagan’s pick was another middle age lady but the winner was a guy.  The boys were thrilled but Robby and I left disappointed.
Our disappointment soon vanished when we finally climbed in the car to head out on our trip.  This is the Dennie annual get together at Shepherd of the Ozarks in Harriet, Arkansas.  Last night, I mentioned that I had plenty of food and after loading up 5 ice chests and 4 rubbermaid containers into the car, I am certain that I could not only feed our cabin but the neighboring cabin as well.  You can never be too prepared-have you seen the show The Dome?  If you have, you will know what I mean.
We just had a 2 hour drive on the way.  I spend most of the morning feeding Whitman so he would be content on our drive and indeed he was.  He slept most of the way and when he was awake, he would just stare at Keaton.  Keaton would diligently tell me every minute that  “Whit, Whit wake.”
We bought lunch at McDonalds and there was lots of confusion ordering.  Reagan, who always wants nuggets, changed her mind at the last minute and decided on a hamburger.  Robby even apologized for all of our confusion and then he added that he had never been to a McDonalds before.  Well, he didn’t say that last part but that sure would have been funny.
Everyone devoured their food and I was quickly passing out drinks and cookies.  The kids passed their time watching a Disney dvd commercial.  Seriously, they are so spoiled since most of them remembered most everything that was shown on the movie.   Even though we said before we had kids that we were not going to bring our kids to Disney, they have been to both parks quite a few times.  But as Robby and I were looking at pictures tonight, we talked about how Disney is fun but today was full of memories for the kids-those memories that you talk about for the rest of your life. 
And speaking of memories, the kids watched our wedding video after the Disney dvd.  We couldn’t see the movie except when I strained backwards to see it.  I would try to tell them what was happening next.  Someone would shout “I see Momma and Pops.”  And I would look back to see and would have to tell them “no, that is a bridesmaid and groomsmen.”  We made them watch it all and Robby and I belted out the songs as the kids shouted for us to stop singing.
This weekend (15th) will be our 13th anniversary but the reason that the wedding movie was out was because the kids have been asking about our wedding cake.  The Cake Boss tv show has made them very interested in cakes.  Maybe tomorrow as we are driving around they can see our cakes during the reception part of the video. 
After a bit over 2 hours, we were pulling into the gates of this place and then we went down, down, down a dirt road.  I kept asking Robby if buses came here and he kept reassuring me that we were indeed going the right way.  Soon we saw the next sign and could tell we were indeed on the right path-and that is really what it was at some points-a gravel path.  Everyone but Shelly, Josh and Donna were already at the cabin when we pulled up.
This cabin is completely themed in cabin-ish d├ęcor which I love (for a cabin, not for my house).  I believe that this place sleeps approximately 250.  Seems like that many but now quiet.  There are 5 bedrooms which most sleep 7 and ours is the largest.  Our room has a king bed, 2 sets of triple bunk beds and a double bed in a loft.  The loft is one story up (there are lofts in 3 of the bedrooms and 2 bedrooms have caves with beds in them).  And next to our room is a tiny room with 3 bunk beds.  This is really a kids hide and seek dream!
After prowling around the cabin, we unloaded our stuff and soon were outside.  It is gorgeous here as you can tell by the pictures (so gorgeous that there is no cell service at least for us-some have it and Robby had to hold Les’ phone tonight to get his screen time fix)  Eventually, we donned our bathing suits and headed to the creek.  The water is perfectly clear and fairly shallow.  The kids were a bit skittish at first but soon the boys were laying on the tubes floating around. 
Since the rocks are slippery, Campbell and Keaton kept close to us.  Campbell did get a bit braver towards the end of our swim time-and then we saw the snake.  Yep, that was probably my last swimming session.  Just gives me chills thinking about it.  Anyway, Keaton loved throwing rocks and Reagan did her best to keep up with Lilly and Zach. 
Soon we all headed back to the cabin and Robby and I helped get things ready for supper.  This was hot dog night with chili and cheese dip.  Supper didn’t take too long to get ready and we all sat down to eat.  The table is huge-probably seats 20 and along with the 6 at the bar there was plenty of room.  We ate and then moved outside.  The kids played soccer and Frisbee while the grownups tried  to get rid of the pesky flies.  The flies are plentiful and they bite.  Eventually, they did seem to go away-maybe it was the time of day, maybe it was the fan or maybe it was the pennies now hanging in a water filled bag by the door. 
Before too long, the kids saw a pony in the distance and all ran off to see it.  Keaton and Campbell were in the back of the pack but they eventually made it.  The pony was tame and allowed most everyone to ride it.  Reagan was the least skittish of my crew until the thing started walking.  Anderson almost hyperventilated screaming “Momma! Momma!” as the pony started walking quickly away when he was on it.  By the time the animal was getting a bit perturbed and Graham didn’t want to ride it.  Keaton and Campbell were pretty terrified once the kids started getting on it and just stood there whining.
After the pony walked away, we had cupcakes to celebrate Lilly and Graham’s July birthdays.  The kids all sang Happy Birthday and devoured half a box of cupcakes making a mess of the kitchen again.  Robby and Les had to break into the maid’s closet to find a broom earlier in the day and goodness we needed it after the cupcakes.
More playing outside and then a walk around was next on the agenda.  Some of the crew even found Shelley and Josh and gained a ride back to the cabin.  They were later because Josh had been at camp and Shelley was probably greatly relieved to see familiar faces after the what seemed like forever but really just 2 mild gravel road.  We walked over a huge bridge and then went back to the cabin.
The kids played games, tag, hide and seek and kept fairly entertained until bedtime.  Even though our room is huge, we only have half the crew sleeping with us.  Campbell and Graham are on the loft (so high up that Robby moved a piece of furniture in front of the ladder so they wouldn’t try to get down.  Reagan and Lilly are sleeping in Donna’s room and Anderson is sleeping with Cash in Dana’s room.  Keaton is next to us in the bunk room.  That baby was so ready to go to sleep tonight that when I asked her about her pajamas she just laid down in the floor ready to be changed.  And Whitman is right next to our bed snoozing away. 
It has been a pretty busy day and horseback riding is in the morning along with a pretty big breakfast.  I have written the blog out so I won’t forget and we will post it when we have service but writing it just in word showed me that it is 3 typed pages long. That is pretty wordy of me-if you read it all, let me know and I will give you a prize.