July 31, 2014

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Whitman's bat has arrived!

  • We all have a rude awakening arriving in a few weeks - end of summer and the start of school.  Seeing how I want to be starting school at 8:00 and these days most folks are not rolling out of bed until 8:05 or after...
  • Graham and Campbell were the first up and they were actually very quiet even after coming in our room until someone pottied and then that meant I had to get out of bed.  But also meant I checked my phone which was good because...
  • Grannymom had written saying they were headed to Rock Creek at 10:00 and my kiddos were super excited to see Lilly and Cash who had been at the beach a few days. You would have thought it had been weeks since they had seen each other.
  • Everyone played well, even though it was a tad bit crowded - still manageable.  'Ole Whitman can hold his own these days - two boys about his size pushed ahead of him. So what did he do - he just pushed them back and out of his way so he could carry on to where he was headed.
  • By about 11:45, everyone had had their fill of climbing and slides and had worked up an appetite so we all headed to Wendy's for nuggets, fries and Frosty's.
  • Made it home around 1:00 and decided to straighten up the garage a bit and let the kids ride their bikes and scooters. Graham decided he was too worn out and needed a rest.  He made a deal to go inside and lay down in his bed for an hour.  He tired of that after about 20 minutes but in the end managed to stay the hour although their was some whimpering at the end.
  • We did a bit of individual reading time and somewhere in there, Campbell and Robby brought icees for everyone at the start of movie time.  Minecraft is still at the top of Graham's list so he skipped most of the movies to play his Kindle.
  • The UPS man made a special delivery - the bat we ordered a couple of weeks ago when we visited the Louisville Slugger factory.  The kids enjoyed opening the box and Keaton said, "Whitman's bat is bigger."  This time Robby had decided to round of the set of bats for the boys with getting a full size bat for Whitman.  Maybe one day when the boys have their own room, we can display them all together.
  • Before long it was time for supper and then to head to VBS.  For the offering, the boys and girls have been having a competition.  Of course, there are twice as many girls so they've been leading all week. Robby decided to slip each of the boys $10.  They were so excited and promised to not tell the girls (although I had slipped them a dollar each) - Graham didn't tell until they got home but that was after they found out the girls won the whole thing. (Robby thought he had another night to help the boys).  The girls ended up winning by a little over $10 which means someone gets a pie in the face - one of the adults I think.
  • Everyone had another fun night and are ready for the big finale program tomorrow night.  They say they know all their songs except one. We'll find out tomorrow.
  • Robby and I did sneak out for supper, along with Keaton and Whitman, to Chuy's.  So much easier eating out with 2 instead of 6 but we still got placed in the back.  Keaton thought she was something else getting her own kids meals along with ice cream.
  • Another late night - kids finally were in bed by 9:40 and now we're eating ice cream. Robby promises after Saturday, we are back to full time eating and good eating.

July 30, 2014

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  • When we went to bed last night, I was feeling a teeny tiny bit bad that I had the kids such a long list of chores to do this morning.  Like Campbell had 5 trash cans to empty and everyone else had 4-5 other chores on their lists.  Robby laughed that it would take them all day but before we were out of bed, the boys had finished all but one of their chores.  They were on a mission to get started putting together Graham's new legos.  They soon disappeared and worked and worked until they thought that had lost a piece (they hadn't).
  • Once everyone woke up, it was time for breakfast and then everyone finished up their chores.  Whitman then sat happily in his exersaucer while we all did our new science.  Whitman was happy only because he had a zillion and a half cheerios in front of him.  Things were going splendidly until Graham had a melt down-I had been hoping that those would end now that he is the magical age of 6-he couldn't figure out what to color that no one else had already drawn on their sheet.  Oh the drama!
  • I was able to exercise this morning while Whitman was napping and the kids played on their kindles.  For Graham's birthday, we bought him a kindle game...yes, we are those parents that don't really get their kids a real birthday gift.  Now really, what does he need?  More toys?  I don't think so and having a birthday party is his present.  Anyway, his new kindle game is Minecraft and the others now all have it too.  They spent this time sitting on the couch, right beside each other, saying things like "do you see me?" and "here I am" all while looking at their screens.  I should have made them go out and play.
  • Robby brought us lunch home that the kids devoured and then we read a bit and worked on our science fair projects.  We have just done a tiny bit of work on those projects and better get a move on.  We might kick it into high gear after Graham's party... or maybe not.
  • The rest of the afternoon was spent watching movies by most but Graham worked on his lego building.  Usually, Anderson will take over when Graham gets legos but not this time.  Graham worked steadily all afternoon putting his new tow truck together.  I would lay out the pieces that he needed next and he was so pleased with himself once he had finished.  
  • My funny story of the day...so we made birthday cards for a 99 year old the other day.  There was a picture of the old man with their cards in his lap.  I showed the picture to the kids and Graham's response was "he is 99? That is supposed to be old?  He doesn't look 99.  He looks more like Pops' age."
  • Soon it was time for VBS.  The kids continue to be so excited-maybe they were just excited about the ice cream they had there, the popsicle they had there and then the ice cream that they had once they made it home.  While they were all gone, Keaton, Whitman and us ran to the grocery store.  While we were there and on the way, Keaton talked and talked and talked to us.  I remember when our doctor was a bit concerned about her not talking-miss those days!
  • Once everyone was at home tonight, they did all have their ice cream and then it was to bed....except after being up there for about 10 minutes, I realized I had forgotten to take the girls pictures so I ran back up there.  Poor Campbell was too tired to open her eyes but after I took Reagan's pictures she laughed hysterically because of all of the dots she was seeing from the camera's flash.  

July 29, 2014 - Happy Birthday Graham!

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Six Years Old TODAY!

  • Busy day today which meant I had to wake most people up but soon they remembered that Robby was getting Graham the real "Minecraft" for his Kindle and everyone else for his birthday. Soon everyone was dressed and they were all on the couch playing Kindles.
  • Before we had planned our recent road trip, I had scheduled Graham's nutrition visit at ACH (his last after 6 years!) during the same time.  So when I rescheduled, it happened to fall on his actual birthday.  Probably not his first choice to spend his birthday but he actually was excited this morning to be headed off.  That meant dropping everyone else off at Nonna and Pops.  We managed to make it to Nonna's by 8:30 and Graham and I to ACH by 9:00.
  • His nutrition visit was supposed to be two different visits but my preference was to finish all in 1 day.  By about 3:00 this afternoon, I was beginning to regret the decision.  I kept thinking of all the things I could be getting done.  Pops even called to make sure we were coming - well, he wasn't ready to get rid of them but he had some ancy kids who had planned a special surprise...
  • Yep, as soon as we had dropped everyone off this morning - Reagan spearheaded efforts to plan a surprise party for Graham.  Nonna said Reagan started looking for us to return around noon and was trying to keep the house in tip-top shape so by 3:00 she was ready us to get back.
  • As soon as we pulled up, we could see the sign that said "Do Not Open Garage."  The kids had made cupcakes, signs, had a marching parade and were so excited to celebrate Graham's birthday. Nonna even let him open a present early.
  • We made it home in time to unload, eat a bit of supper (glad I made all those breakfast burritos last night!) and then Robby was home with a few more groceries to unload. 
  • With the western theme at VBS, the kids had been talking about wearing their boots.  So shorts and boots were how most of them were dressed when they left.  Robby took them and Keaton while Whitman and I stayed here. I got ready because I was getting out of dodge myself - off to Bunko I went when Robby made it back home.
  • They spent their evening playing with Whitman's toys, taking selfies with the iphone and even had a surprise visit from Ms. Alicia and Anna.  She came bearing gifts -- a dozen fresh eggs straight from the hen house plus a plate full of hot chocolate chip cookies.
  • They picked up everyone from VBS and then came home to enjoy the cookies, brush their teeth, read a Bible story and get in bed. 

July 28, 2014

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Has anyone seen my goggles?

  • Graham didn't start off too well last night but he did eventually go to sleep and slept all night.  That was so nice sleeping all night long and yes, I know that I just jinxed us for tonight.
  • I had planned on waking up at a decent time this morning but that sure didn't happen.  We all just slept well past 8.  We might could have gotten a few things accomplished this morning but with sleeping late, they just didn't happen.
  • We had our breakfast and then the kids made birthday cards for a friend of a friend who is turning 99 years old.  I was hoping that the kids would hurry and get their cards finished quickly but they took their sweet time which was fine-their cards turned out pretty neat.
  • It was pool morning and the kids were happy that the Kamps were there.  It wasn't that crowded today and most of the time it was just our kids and 2 or 3 others in the pool.  I held Whitman while I was playing ball with Graham and every once in a while, Graham would swim over to us and Whitman would just hug on Graham-it was the sweetest thing.
  • There was some excitement at the pool today-not nearly as much as Saturday and this excitement was planned.  The life guards did a drill which we were all warned about.  One of them jumped in and didn't come up and the life guards cleared the pool, dove in and got the guy and then strapped him to the board.  Keaton was the only one of my kids who didn't really understand that they were just pretending.  
  • After the pool, we headed home.  Whitman fell asleep on the way home and was put to bed in the bonus room.  Keaton was not too far behind him in going to bed.  Then the rest of us did our first day of science.  We are doing a new science curriculum so I wanted to do it a few times before school officially starts.  I can already tell that the kids are going to love it-and I am too. 
  • Then it was movie time for them while I did a few things and before I knew it, it was time for Whitman and Keaton to wake up.  Keaton went downstairs to watch a movie with the others and Whitman stayed in the bonus room pack n play while I did my treadmill time.  
  • Soon Robby was home and the kids were ready for the evening-tonight was the first night of VBS down the road.  We walked there and dropped off my 4 big kids.  Keaton was sitting with the others before it started and when the called Campbell's group to line up, Keaton just went right with Campbell.  Campbell was a bit dramatic as she was trying to tell her sister that she could not go with her.  Keaton didn't mind staying with us but I think that she might just have gone with her big sister-next year she can.
  • They were gone until 9 and while they were gone, I made about 100 breakfast burritos for a meal swap.  While Keaton sat on the cabinet handing me tortillas and talking the ENTIRE time.  She did tell me that I needed a "cage" for Whitman.  I definitely agree-that kid is in to everything.
  • We  drove down to pick the kids up and they all came out of their groups as happy as they could be.  I think they all had a really good time-Anderson and Graham are in the same group, Reagan is in a group with 2 other girls and 1 other boy and Campbell sat on the front row (that is all she told me about her evening)
  • Once at home, it was shower time for everyone and then to bed.  Tomorrow is Graham's birthday, Nutrition Center, Nonna's house and VBS-busy day!

July 27, 2014

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Everyone loves ice cream truck night!

  • Isn't it strange how we get into patterns?  Well, Graham was the one who again could sleep last night.  He must have been awake for over an hour before he called out for me and then started talking.  We both went up there but finally just told him to come downstairs.  I am sure that the kids are much more at ease sleeping in our room but letting them sleep in our room probably perpetuates them waking up but it also lets us get some sleep.  Again as soon as he was in our room, he went right to sleep and so did the rest of us.
  • We actually slept so well that we had to scramble this morning.  I heard Robby in the shower and didn't look at the clock but as soon as he was out, he asked me about the kids clothes.  I immediately knew that meant we were running late-late enough that the kids had to eat breakfast in the car.  My Whitman must not have liked all of our rushing around because though we did have time to sit him in his high chair to eat breakfast, he just threw himself a big old fit.
  • Same type of fit it threw when Robby handed him over to his Sunday school teachers.  They eventually sat him on the floor and he would cry if they would try to move him away from the door.  That little turkey.  He was actually a perfect kid in his class while we working in their during worship care but as soon as we were home and eating again, he got upset at us.  Who knows, the kid probably wants to sit on a stool like all of his brothers and sisters.
  • It was nice to be back in church this morning after missing 3 weeks-good to be home.  Reagan turned in her note that she read her Bible each day and received a bag full of goodies.  I realized that Campbell will soon be in big church with us-eek!  And Robby and I met someone who had been at Geyer for 35+ years-so wild.
  • Grannymom and Grandpa were headed out on a trip so that meant that it was McDonalds for lunch.  Robby and I ate in the car on the way home and then at home the kids ate while we picked up and unloaded.  And after lunch, we straightened the house and then the Sunday afternoon nap process began.  
  • Except that we didn't make Keaton take a nap-mistake!  She caused all kinds of drama with the other kids watching movies and eventually ended upstairs with Robby and me while we were watching a Henry Ford documentary (oh, the exciting life we lead!)  Keaton, Campbell and me all fell asleep in a big heap and when I woke up  towards the end of Henry's life, Robby was snoozing too.  I guess that means we will have to rewatch some of it another time....or I could just tell Robby the end-Henry dies. 
  • Soon it was time to scurry around and eat our supper.  Then it was to church-I do feel sorry for the folks sitting behind us.  Campbell was in church and she spent her time sitting by me pointing out the word "God" in the Bible after I showed it to her.  Every time she found the word "God" she would point, grin and loudly whisper "God."  And then Graham was on the other side of me snoring away-that is what happens when you don't sleep at night.
  • It had been so long since we had our Sunday night ice cream truck that Robby had to remind everyone about it.  The kids sure hadn't forgotten and they were so excited but then they were disappointed when they saw that we only had a few choices left-someone needs to go shopping around here!
  • And hive report-I haven't had any yet tonight but the night is still young-plenty of time to break out into hives!

July 26, 2014-Graham's Birthday Celebration #1

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Out for a swing...

  • Our day started off just like I figure it will end-with people in our room.  Around 5 last night, Graham came downstairs but instead of coming into our room, he just kept opening and closing our bedroom door.  Robby woke up and told him to come in and lay down.  He said he couldn't sleep but as soon as he laid down on the blanket we laid out for him, he was asleep.
  • Soon it was daylight and our bed was filled with people-lots of people.  Typing that made me think of Keaton.  She is always asking now "where is our people?"  I guess she gets that from me.  The kids watched a movie this morning as we slowly moved around and got breakfast.
  • Grannymom and Grandpa showed up just about the time that the cinnamon rolls came out of the oven.  Grannymom stayed inside while the kids ate and Grandpa and Robby started on hanging the tire swing again (3rd time-knocked down twice by neighbor kid-now moved to other side of the house)
  • The kids ate quickly so they could go outside and play.  Reagan did stay inside with me for awhile. She helped me make up a few recipes for an upcoming meal swap with some friends.  I got things ready and she pretty much did it all herself.  And then just as we were about to finish, she looked out the window and saw all of the excitement and headed out.
  • The kids loved swinging on the new swing but they just love playing outside when folks around.  If we are outside they will stay outside the entire day and they just about did today.  At some point in the morning, Anderson brought out popsicles for everyone.  As soon as Whitman saw Anderson, he knew he had something that he wanted.  And just like all the other kids, Whitman crowded around making noise until he was handed his popsicle.
  • We had lunch and after Grannymom and Grandpa left, the kids stayed outside for a bit more. Reagan asked if she could play her kindle and I said that she could not.  Then she said "if I read for 20 minutes, can I ?"  Well, that sounded fine so when people did come in the house, they started reading.  Of course after all that reading, the decided that they wanted to watch tv and I said that they would have to take a shower before that-they were nasty so they sure couldn't lounge around in my bed and and on my blankets during their movie.
  • Robby came in around 3 and we all relaxed a bit before 5.  Then we left to go to Krispy Kreme to kick off Graham's 6th birthday celebrations.  Unfortunately, the hot light was off and we didn't get our free hot doughnuts-that was fine but that meant that we ate lots more of our bought doughnuts so we won't have enough for breakfast tomorrow!...and really, if those doughnuts aren't "hot" then they really aren't the best.
  • Then we went swimming...here is why I said that we would end up with children in our room tonight...we were happily swimming away when we saw a lady looking around and then talking to a life guard.  There was so commotion happening but I was watching Whitman so I could only glance in the direction that it was happening.  I kept looking at Robby, Grannymom and Grandpa who were all watching everything happen.  Robby finally got out of his seat and headed to the commotion area.  Then he quickly turned around and said "call the police" just as I heard a loud thud/bang.  By this time the kids were coming closer to us but Robby was calling them over as Grannymom, myself and others were trying to dial 911.  
  • Long story short-domestic dispute outside of gate, woman and child hid in life guard office, shouting man jumped gate, he hit or body slammed man trying to tell him to leave, then man ran off.  The police (who took forever to come) came along with ambulance.  The pool was cleared as everyone was stunned but we stayed and watched the police come and go and interview and everything else...hoping that we could get back in the pool to calm the kiddos down some.  
  • There were lots and lots of questions asked.  Keaton keeps asking why we didn't stay at the pool and she keeps saying that Grannymom called the police.  And tonight at bedtime, Campbell told me that she kept thinking about bad things happening.  Gracious me!  
  • They eventually did decide that they were going to close the pool so we had to find something to do to get the kids minds off of this.  So we had ice cream!  We all enjoyed our Baskin Robbins treat-the kids couldn't get over our evening: doughnuts, pool and ice cream.  Yep, the doughnuts and ice cream were supper but I did hand the kids some peanut butter crackers as we all sat and watched the drama unfold at the pool.  
  • The pool drama bothered me some but not enough cause me to break out into hives.  But for some reason I do have itchy spots all over myself.  The same thing happened last night but I am just fine after some benedryl.  I am beginning to think that I am allergic to Robby, or being outside, or maybe doing laundry.  Yes, that is it, I am allergic to doing laundry.  

July 25, 2014

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One day his face will get stuck like this :)

  • My Campbell is still having trouble sleeping.  She just fusses some, calls for me and cries out occasionally.  Keaton (my light sleeper) or Reagan will holler that Campbell needs us and up the stairs one of us will go.  I didn't hear any of this last night but Robby did and he made the trip upstairs.  Guess tonight will be my turn!
  • Since today was Friday, we were in no hurry to get up.  Actually, we don't really hurry to get up any morning lately.  The kids wanted for us to hurry and get up to go and get doughnuts tomorrow-we suggested maybe doughnuts tomorrow night.
  • At breakfast, I did decide to go see Beebee before we went to Anderson's doctor's appointment.  We hurried around and quickly left.  Of course, it was almost 9:30 so we only managed to spend about 30 minutes with Beebee.  She was in a good mood today and freely passed out candy to the kids who gobbled it up.  She was in a hurry to get to the salon so my crew gladly pushed her there after telling her all about our trip.  
  • Then we jumped in the car and went to Anderson's doctor's appointment.  He passed!  She said that his ear was perfectly healed though there was still some fluid in it.  Dr. Martin said that it would drain out on its on.  I was glad everything was healed so then we headed to the library.  We survived the library without much drama-I love getting books from the library but I really don't like going at all.  I do need to take the kids to the children's library sometime-maybe that trip would be a bit less stressful for me.
  • Once at home, the kids worked on their chores and I quickly tried to get lunch ready.  It was nearly 1 when we ate so the kids were hungry.  Hungry enough that they ate and ate while I read and read.  I am not really sure what all happened around here from 1 to 2 because the next thing I knew, the clock said 2 and I started hurrying to put my little people to bed.  I had things to do...
  • Take a nap!  Yep, that was on my agenda for today.  My throat has been killing me today-hurts so bad that my ear hurts when I swallow so I just needed a nap.  I was good and almost asleep when my Campbell came to join me.  We cuddled up and slept and slept-I had set my alarm on my phone but I just kept hitting snooze.  Campbell and I were so comfy and cozy.  
  • When Robby came home, we all headed outside.  He mowed some-when his lawnmowers worked and we played the entire time-baseball and soccer.  (Yes, there was no kickball played tonight-shocking!)  I did manage to pick up some sticks but with Whitman you just can't leave him alone-he runs to the swings and goes everywhere in the snake filled yard (I don't really know if the yard is snake filled, I just imagine it being snake filled though when Whitman is walking by himself)  He even climbed on Robby's lawnmower tonight-gracious me!
  • We were outside until after 9 then we had our showers and supper-and can you imagine how hungry the kids were?  Keaton kept asking for more food.  We put Whitman to bed and then we all sat down to watch our last little bit of Ninja Warrior from the other night.  It was a late night but a fun day!  

July 24, 2014

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Slooowwww done sister....

  • Things are just different around here without Reagan.  It doesn't really matter who isn't here but when one child is gone, things are just strange.  Today, the day just seemed to drag on-of course all of this happens on days when Robby is here and he ends up thinking that we don't do anything all day long.  
  • The day started off with a lazy breakfast and then the kids helped me straighten the house.  Actually, they just kind of followed me from room to room while I did everything involved in straightening the house.  They did fold all of the towels for me but then they proceeded to spread all of my other laundry out around the room-this was partly Whitman's fault.  He loves to grab things-especially socks-and then run around the house.  I have a huge bucket upstairs with solo socks just waiting to be paired up all because of a one year old.
  • Then the kids and I read some and started to work on their science fair projects.  Yuck!  I can tell you that I am not ready for school to start back-I have just over 1 week to become excited enough about school that my excitement becomes contagious to the rest of the people in this house.
  • Whitman had himself a morning nap and Robby reminded me that his morning naps are probably soon coming to an end.  Those were words that I just wasn't ready to hear-no morning nap? no morning nap right in the middle of our school day? I just don't think that I can take that at all!  Oh, really it  should be manageable since he is such a good little baby (most of the time).
  • Soon it was lunch time and then we just didn't have anything to do until nap time.  I did let Whitman play upstairs with the kids-he never gets to go in the toy room and that baby had a blast.  The kids were being wild but Whitman didn't care.  It was like I had put the child down in a toy store-there was so much for him to see and pick up.  He is pretty good about not putting things in his mouth now so I can trust him a bit there but he would try to scoot down the stairs if he isn't being watched so I can't trust him too much.
  • At 2, I put the nappers down for a nap and then Campbell and I left to run to the grocery store.  She was delighted to get to go with me and chatted the entire time.  After our shopping, we picked Reagan up from Grannymom's house.  Reagan was super excited about her night and day-Lilly's painting party when Reagan painted a canvas of flowers and then she was able to go with Lilly to watch Lilly get her ears pierced.  
  • We came home for a bit and then soon we were all leaving again-our 3rd day in a row to go swimming.  I am trying to make sure that we get our money's worth!  The kids were so happy to get to swim again-that is one thing that they really enjoy doing.  And tonight, Robby let Campbell go off the diving board with out her floatees.  She did great and kept jumping (with Robby still watching her) until we made her stop.  We didn't want for her to get too tired.  
  • When it was time to go home, my kids didn't want to go.  But we all got to the car, made it home for showers and a bit more pizza and then it was bedtime.

July 23, 2014

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Making cookies!

  • It seems that someone is waking me up every night lately.  It wasn't Campbell last night but it was Graham who had a bit too much to drink last night.  He had already changed so I just pulled out the blankets from under my bed and made him a spot.  (Best thing ever is having blankets under my bed to quickly make a spot for someone)  Then I went upstairs to get his sheets in the wash.    
  • We did all sleep well after that and soon it was time to wake up.  Swimming was today so we had lots to do before swimming.  The kids had their chores and we all worked together to get the house clean (er, cleaner than is was.  Not yet clean since I don't think this place will ever be clean. Maybe when the kids leave home but by then I will be too blind to see the cobwebs and too old to clean this whole place.  So I will gladly take "clean-er" right now.)
  • Anyway, one of the chores was cleaning the potties today.  I had taught them last summer but never really let them practice so I refreshed everyone's skills today.  The only thing is I haven't looked to see if they get a good job or not. I will try to remember to report back to you tomorrow on the actual cleanliness of the Dennie toilets after I check tonight.
  • All too soon, we were rushing out the door to head to the swimming pool.  The kids were excited to be back with their friends though their behavior left a bit to be desired.  I like to think they are still in trip mode and getting back into the swing of things is hard but I just don't know.  Before we even got to the pool, Reagan and Anderson became hysterical about who would eat the pizza lunchable-and I said that was the last lunchable I would ever buy so Campbell started crying "I love lunchables."  Drama, drama!
  • Then at the pool, my boys had a hard time keeping their hands off of each other, none of my big 3 seem to be able to speak to each other kindly and Campbell fell apart when I told her that I wasn't going to get in the icy cold water today.  Oh, it all wasn't that bad-I do get frustrated about how they talk to each other.  I do lose my cool with them but I sure don't talk to the kids like they talk to each other-so I have started trying to be extra kind and sweet (and smiley) so maybe that will rub off...so far it isn't working!
  • After the first adult swim, I let Whitman into the water.  That boy is as happy as he can be walking around the water.  He would dive into any part of the pool if I hadn't been hot on his heels.  I get so tickled at him putting his face down into the water.  
  • Then it was lunch time and the drama over the one last pizza lunchable quickly subsided when Anderson said he would take the cracker lunchable.  Why wouldn't he had said that this morning during the great lunchable squabble?  The dessert into the lunchable caught is eye...from now on, I am only giving my kids salad to eat!
  • After the pool, we came home for a bit-Whitman and Keaton took their naps and Campbell sat by me and fell asleep as I worked.  The others watched a few movies and then at 3:15, I jumped up and started hauling sleeping babies to the car so we could go and buy Lilly her birthday present.  Robby ended up being able to meet us so he took most everyone back home while Reagan, Campbell and I shopped.  
  • Reagan really wanted to buy Lilly earrings and she really, really wanted to go and pick them out. Since she doesn't get to do much shopping, I thought I would give her that pleasure.  And when we walked into the store, Reagan said "oooh."  She was in heaven but we didn't do much browsing.  We quickly found lots of choices for Lilly and even a set of earrings for Reagan and since Campbell was helping us shop, we picked her out a set of earrings that had the letter "C" on them.  
  • Campbell and I dropped Reagan off for Lilly's party and to spend the night and then we fought the rain and drove back home.  Campbell pointed out each and every car that she thought was going too fast in the rain.  But the best part of the ride was when we saw an abandoned car.  We talked about where the drive could be.  Campbell only had one guess and she said "I bet they got shot." Say what?  We do watch tv but we don't watch things were folks are getting shot...and then I started thinking about some things we have talked about lately while traveling-Kennedy's assassination and Reagan's attempted assassination.  
  • Robby already had our hot dogs fixed for supper.  Then we all ate and needed some type of activity to fill the rest of the evening...so we made some cookies and watched Undercover Boss and some ninja show.  That probably wasn't the best show to watch before bed-the boys kicked, jumped and climbed on all of the furniture as they made their way to bed!

July 22, 2014

(click here for today's pictures)
Fun day at the zoo, topped off with swimming!

  • Yesterday when Anderson got Keaton out of her bed, he came downstairs and told me that Keaton was getting "too big for that little bed."  I tried to explain to him that I had no plans on getting her a big bed now since her crib is working just fine.  
  • Campbell didn't sleep well last night-strange how she doesn't sleep well at home but sleeps pretty good in hotels.  I guess if she keeps waking up in the middle of the night, Keaton can have her bed and Campbell can just move into our bedroom.
  • Of all days, I really wanted the kids to get up early (early to me means 7-7:15) but I was out of luck there.  They did come rolling down the steps after 7:30 and we finally had to call Reagan down after 8.  We needed to leave at 8:30 to go and pick up Grannymom, Lilly, Zach and Lilly's friend Meredith for our outings.
  • There was a bit of drama in the car this morning.  I had changed out the car seats last night after we had removed the back, back seat.  Graham and Anderson sitting together didn't really work out.  Campbell couldn't see over Anderson's head to watch the movie.  And Reagan wasn't happy about being in the back.  Again, you can't please everyone-I do think that Whitman and Keaton were pleased with where their seats were-or at least they didn't say anything.
  • After picking everyone up, we went to the zoo for the morning.  In comparison of the St. Louis zoo, when we pulled into the parking lot, we were about the 10th car there.  And pretty much there was hardly anyone there today.  We saw plenty of animals with ease-even though we were only at our zoo for about 2 hours, we saw double the number of animals.  (Nothing against the St. Louis zoo, there was just way too many people there.)
  • The elephants were walking holding each other's tails, the tortoise was walking around, the giraffe was licking the side of the building, the cheetah was standing on top of a tall tree stump and the rhino was out near the fence-pretty good animal watching day.  Soon we were back in the van stopping to pick up some pizza for lunch.
  • Once at the pool, we sunscreened everyone and let them play for the 10 minutes before adult swim.  Once they blew that adult swim whistle, we passed out our pizza, breadsticks and lemonade.  The kids ate up-they must have been hungry.  
  • Then they swam and played cops and robbers mostly.  I would have to break things up occasionally because they were getting a bit too rough but no one seemed to mind (only me).  But they had a blast playing with each other and all the big kids (Graham on up and occasionally Campbell) stayed together all afternoon.
  • They had huge pixie sticks for their snack at the pool.  My kids had never had pixie sticks like that and they were coughing and gagging on all of the sugar-and loving everyone minute of it.  It was a good thing that they had to get back in the water after eating so they could wash the sticky off of them.
  • Around 2:30, we headed home-kind of funny when it was time to leave-I walked over to all 8 kids swimming in the circle pool and told them it was time to go.  They all climbed out and then the life guard was just standing there watching an empty pool.
  • We dropped off Grannymom and her crew and then headed home.  Keaton and Whitman were asleep when we made it home but Keaton didn't stay asleep.  She managed to wake up in time to have a shower with Campbell and then help the others with their chores.  
  • The kids did their chores and then all had time to watch a movie.  But Reagan, Campbell and I were busy during the movies because we were working on their American Girls' dolls hair.  The hair on some of their dolls was pretty bad but hopefully we were able to improve it.  We are planning on working on styling their hair tomorrow-fun, fun times!
  • When Robby came home, we all got ready and headed out to Nonna's house.  We went out to eat and the kids stayed with Nonna and Pops.  They had a big supper and then played until Graham fell asleep.  Anderson loves going to Nonna's because he gets to watch some pretty wild shows that we don't have on our tv-like a naked man out in the jungle.  It was quite interesting Anderson explaining to me why the man didn't have any clothes on!
  • Once we made it home, everyone brushed their teeth and then it was to bed they went.  Graham woke up enough to get into bed and listen to the Bible story.  My boy gets tired during busy days like today...I do too!

July 21, 2014

Back home ... time to mow the yard!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • The kids slept until after 8 this morning-Graham and Keaton were the first ones up and they were up so long by themselves that I think they got a bit bored.  Soon everyone else woke up and when I finally decided to wake up sweet Whitman, he was just sitting in his bed playing away.
  • We had our breakfast and then worked a bit in the house.  One of the oddest things on my list today was to find Whitman a stuffed animal to play with.  On our trip, he would just hug and love on any toy that we saw at a store.  So I had both boys choose 3 and then we set them all up, and let Whitman choose. He didn't-he picked up each one and put each one down.  Then the kids all started playing with the animals.  Campbell found a step stool and turned it over and pretended to give one of the stuffed animals a bath.  Keaton told Campbell that it wasn't a bathtub but it was a hot tub-do you think she has spent too much time at hotel pools?
  • I was worried that Whitman wouldn't take a morning and afternoon nap today but he was back on his normal schedule.  When he went to sleep this morning, the rest of us sat down and read some. Graham had a fit earlier in the day because he wanted to read right then.  I told him that he certainly could but that we were all going to read again when Whitman went to sleep.  I wanted to make sure that we were pretty quiet until Whitman was asleep.  This did not please my Graham at all and he just had himself a good little fit.  It is hard coming back to reality.
  • Soon we had lunch and then the kids had plenty of time to play.  Reagan and Anderson mostly just wanted to play on their kindles and I did let them for a pretty long time-school here starts in 2 weeks so that will end the free reign on kindle time.  
  • Keaton prayed at lunch.  She listed item after item on her plate "thank you God for beans, thank you God for macaroni and cheese, thank you God for spam."  Yep, I fed them Spam today-and they ate the whole can.  Anderson even ate a slice.  And they ate a whole can of green beans.  It was a pretty good lunch!...even with the spam!
  • During the afternoon, the kids watched some movies and around 4 they all went outside.  The kids love traveling but I do think they miss just being able to run wherever they want.  Robby came home with groceries so the kids helped unpack but then they kept on playing.  Soon Grandpa, Grannymom, Zach, Nonna and Pops were all at our house.
  • The kids played with Zach and the neighbor kids until it was time for supper-hot dogs, hamburgers and all the fixings.  Nonna made a cake that the kids enjoyed-Anderson and Zach probably could have finished it all off themselves!  
  • We had a game of kickball after supper-the score was tied 3-3 at the end of our third inning so everyone was a winner tonight.  And their prize was a shower!  Tomorrow is a big day so they will hopefully all get some rest tonight.

Road Trip-Day 19 (July 20, 2014)

(click here for today's pictures)
From White Haven to Jacqueline Road ... 3,656 miles later!

Anderson was the one who woke us up this morning.  He had to go to the bathroom so when he turned on the bathroom light he woke up Whitman.  Anderson did quickly turn the light off when realized his brother was in there sleeping.  It didn’t matter though because it was 8:30 and we needed to get on the road.  Grannymom asked if the kids wanted to go down for breakfast and they were ready in a moment so as they ate, we got ourselves ready and then loaded up the car.

The hotel was large and it seemed like everyone was checking out today so waiting on the elevators was pretty crazy but we managed and soon had the van loaded.  We then went back up to get the kids-they were not too happy with us about having to head home.  Reagan asked if we could get a hotel in Arkansas.  She said “I just want to keep this party going.” Campbell was upset that we couldn’t go and see the dog show and Graham told me that we didn’t do anything on Grannymom’s list (we did-arch, City Museum, zoo, Ted Drewes, Fitz's).  And Anderson just wanted to spend more time with Cash and Zach.  

They gave their cousins one last hug (though we will see all but Josh later this week) and we loaded up.  We decided to stop at Grant’s National Historic Site on the way out of town.  We had to fight the traffic for those who were going to Grant’s Farm but we finally made it to the national park site and it was well worth the stop.  This is just an aside but we do want to come back to St. Louis sometime when it is not summer time.  The crowds have just been wild but I would like to go to Grant’s Farm, see more of the arch, possibly the science center and the zoo again.

At Grant’s house, the ranger loved his job but his enthusiasm was a bit contagious.  He offered the kids Jr. Ranger books-everyone but Keaton and Whitman.  The kids were so excited about this so we went out back to work on their books while we waited for our tour.  We have done the Jr. Ranger stuff before-some are more difficult than others and some parks we don’t really have long enough to do it.  But this booklet was perfect-Graham and Anderson were able to complete one of their 2 pages before our tour and then they along with Campbell just had a scavenger hunt left. Reagan had a different scavenger hunt, a map to fill out and then she had to interview the ranger.

We went on our tour and the kids were able to complete their books.  Reagan did really well asking the Ranger the questions on her sheet.  Then everyone was sworn in as Jr. Rangers so that will probably be a highlight of this day! We found ourselves an ornament and then loaded up to hit the road.  We let the kids have a drink and turned on our Little House movies.

Then we let the kids have their Fitz root beer bottles and can you guess what we did next?  A potty stop-unfortunately it was a bit too late of a potty stop for one of the Dennies!  We had been looking for a spot to stop for a very long time-we were just lucky that there were not more Dennies that needed dry clothes.  No worries though since we had plenty of changes of clothes with us.  It was nearly 2 so we were fortunate that our first option was a McDonalds and it had a play place-the play place delighted the kids more than finally getting to go to the restroom.  

The kids watched a few movies on the way home and the highlight was finally getting to eat their Jelly Bean packages from the Jelly Bell factory tour that happened many, many days ago.  They would eat one and then announce to the entire car what flavor it was and what color it was.  This whole day, Keaton would ask “where are we?” and we would tell her what state we were in.  But overall my Keaton was greatly displeased with us today-we would ask her if she wanted to go home and she would put on this pouty face and say “no.”  Truth is, none of us wanted to go home. Maybe we are nomads at heart-just wandering from place to place...as long as their is a washing machine. a hot shower and a hotel breakfast, then we are good to go!

After our lunch stop, we had to pull over once for a diaper change and then it was smooth sailing. Smooth sailing for everyone but Whitman-he couldn’t get to sleep so he fussed off and on.  I would think he was asleep and look back and up would pop his head to stare me down and then he would start fussing again.  Finally, he went to sleep-about the time we stopped in Cabot for our final bathroom stop.  We picked our trash up and went to the bathroom.  When I walked into the restroom, I told the boys to meet me right by the door…

And while they were waiting, they learned a lesson about gambling.  I told them to wait right beside the bathroom door and right there was one of those machines that scoot quarters out when you drop another quarter into the machine.  While they were standing there (this is what I am told) 4 quarters fell out.  They split them and then Anderson used both of his quarters to try to win more money-he didn’t.  Then Graham tried one of his quarters and didn’t win anything so he decided to keep his other quarter.  When the girls and I came out of the bathroom (everyone had to potty-potty) the boys happily told me about their quarter business.  I told them that was just like gambling-always thinking you are going to win.  And Anderson said in his deep voice “yep, that was gambling.”

Once we made it home, the kids immediately started playing kickball in the front yard while we worked on unloading the car.  After the car was perfectly clean, we all went to work on putting up the inside stuff.  It took awhile-8 people, 19 days worth of stuff-but we were able to get most of the stuff put away.  It will still take me a while to get the last few odds and ends put up.  I even have a huge box of literature and Christmas ornaments that I have to go through.  It is so nice to be all unpacked after a trip.  

The kids eventually had their showers and then we had a nutella sandwich just in case they were hungry.  As soon as Keaton finished drinking her milk, she set her cup down, looked at me and said “I’m ready to go on another trip now.”  Unfortunately, it wasn’t time for another trip but time for bed!

Our Trip by the Numbers

16-different hotels
3,656-miles (compared to 5,166 miles last year)
1-tubes of toothpaste completely used
6-items lost (left at the hotel)-small ice pack, 2 pairs of goggles, Robby's sunglasses and 2 socks
3-major traffic jams (2 in Kentucky, 1 in Michigan)
2-episodes of vomit
1-eardrum ruptured
12-states visited (Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky)
1-pair of sunglasses bought
128-cokes drank
28-waffles made at breakfasts
46-episodes of Little House on the Prairie
2-back pictures taken
2-times the car has been vacuumed
9-nights of laundry
2,991-pictures taken
302-gallons of gas
9-cans of pringles eaten
1-night Whitman’s bed didn’t fit in the bathroom
2-times we thought we broke our new camera
7-times swimming
11-ice cream stops
6-picnics (plus about 4 picnics made in the car)
8-National Park Sites visited
496-slug bugs seen
2-future trips planned

Road Trip-Day 18 (July 19, 2014)

(click here for today's pictures)
Riding to the top!
This morning when Grannymom tapped on the door to ask if any of the kids wanted to go to breakfast, we made sure that Whitman was ready to go. We sure didn't want for him to throw the same type of fit that he threw yesterday morning when he thought he was shorted a trip to breakfast and shorted on some Grannymom time. But not only was he dressed and ready in time to go, so was everyone else. Robby quickly got ready and asked if I was ready and I told him that I just needed 3 more minutes. He said that he would go on down and rescue Grannymom and just a few minutes later, I went out of our door and Robby was still waiting on the hotel elevator. It must have been a busy morning-it did arrive just as I came outside so I did run down the hall to catch it.

This morning the kids all ate well again-and so did we. Whitman really ate. The past few days it seemed like he had stopped eating-could be because we have to constantly give him pieces of candy to keep him happy-people don't like to hear a baby fuss (I think I have become immune to it!) Poor kids tummy is probably so full of candy that he couldn't bear to eat anything else. But today, he ate his breakfast really well.

Robby pulled the car around and we all loaded up. Our first adventure of the day was the St. Louis zoo. They opened at 8 but we didn't make it until after 9 but man, was it crowded. We fought the crowds all day long. The zoo is free but you can pay extra to get admission to their other attractions and that is what we did. We all would have forgotten to use our zoo passes for half off of the pass if Shelley would not have said something about it.

The first thing that we did was shuffle through the River's Edge. We saw a few animals in this section but we mostly saw people. Did I mention that is was really crowded? The zoo is probably a really great zoo but with the crowds, it was hard to tell. Made me appreciate our rarely crowded Little Rock zoo even more.

Then we waited in line for the train. The train ride was pretty impressive-it was all the way around the zoo and had at least 4 stops. I never would have thought of it but one man said it was unfortunate that you couldn't see the animals while on the train and that was true. But it had tunnels-lots of tunnels! And the most exciting part ever for Campbell was that her and Cash got to say "All Aboard" at the very last stop over the microphone. Campbell was so excited about this and couldn't wait to get off of the train and tell everyone what she had done.

We saw a few more animals-at some point we saw the hippos and they were so incredible neat. They were right in the water next to the windows. There were 2 hippos that were just almost cuddling and then 2 more that were sparring with each other. It was just so much fun to watch-well, it would have been even more fun to watch if all of the people hadn't been there. But the kids pushed their way up to the glass and were able to see the entire show.

We touched the sting rays during our zoo visit. I don't think I had ever done that before. The line was decent for this activity, we then washed our hands and then started petting them. They were plentiful and the pool was shallow enough that the kids' arms were able to reach the string rays-even Keaton was able to pet them. They just felt slippery to me-almost like touching a soft bar of soap.

Next was a 4D movie to see. It was in one of those simulator things and the line was long, long. But we waited anyway-probably when we started waiting we didn't realize how long it would take us but then by the time we realized how long it would be, we were really already committed by waiting so long already. So we waited on-about an hour for the seven minute film. Whitman couldn't go on it so Grannymom and Grandpa happily took him to sit down and rest.

The kids will probably have the worst sunburns ever tomorrow because of our wait for that ride. It was a nice day with the breeze being decent and in the shade the temperature was really nice. But in the direct sun, it was hot and I am just afraid that will be burned. They passed the time by playing the Quiet game-I think that just may be my new favorite game to play!

The move was cool-Robby said that sound and movement was off but I didn't realize it. I was too busy watching Keaton and Campbell. Campbell was right beside me and she just held on to my arm. Keaton was next to Robby and I asked her during the beginning of the movie if she liked it and she just smiled and nodded yes. But then I asked at the end and she shouted back "no." I really think that she did like it. And though I used to not like simulator rides, I did like this one.

Next up was a spin around on the carousel. Whitman was walking around while waiting on us and when Robby picked him up to take him on the carousel, that baby got mad again. He fussed and cried the entire time in line and then did the same on the carousel. I am sure the people around me thought I was a horrible person making some scared baby ride the carousel. He wasn't scared, he was just mad.

We really hadn't seen too many animals on our little trip but we had done enough to be pleased with our morning/afternoon at the zoo so we loaded up and headed to Fitz's to see root beer being bottled. Parking was easy and there wasn't really a wait so that was all great. We split into two tables so we just had our kids come with us-they weren't happy about it but they soon forgot about it when they each had a mug of root beer in front of them.

And after eating-and man, did they eat. Graham even finished off a whole hamburger. After eating, we ordered 2 floats. The nice waitress split them for us and somehow our two floats, even after being split, looked like 4 huge root beer floats. They were so big that we couldn't finish them and that is saying a lot!

Back at the hotel, the kids had about 45 minutes to swim. They swam and swam in that time-playing keep away, playing kickball, racing and who knows how many other games. Then we quickly changed them into their clothes, skipping showers, so we could make it to the arch on time.

We had timed tickets for 6:50 that Robby had ordered online-he heard that some people waited for 3 hours to get tickets to the top of the arch today-eeek! We didn't have time tonight to watch the movie or see the exhibits so there is still plenty left in St. Louis for us to do (like go on the riverboats outside of the arch-they are closed this week because they are working on the arch leeway).

Even though the tickets were for 6:50, the line was still long-first the security line was long and then the line to get into the arch was long. But it was manageable and soon we were in the little pod heading up to the arch-I was with Grannymom, Grandpa, Graham, Keaton and Whitman. We had ourselves a nice little pod and I do think that Graham, even though he was being silly, was a bit scared. Keaton wasn't phased at all by the sometimes bumpy ride to the top-she just sat holding on to Grannymom (probably after that 4D ride today, nothing would phase her!)

I had forgotten how crowded the arch is on the top-it is crowded but it sure is neat. The kids loved looking out of the windows-especially Whitman and Keaton. They would just look and look. It is pretty amazing to think that you are that high in the air-amazing and scary! We didn't stick around too long and were soon in the line to come back down off of the arch. On my ride down, I rode with Campbell, Keaton, Josh and Anderson. The ride down was much quicker and soon we were outside of the arch taking pictures.

After a few pictures, Les noticed the time and mentioned that Ted Drewes was calling his name. They missed last night because of the ball game so we thought the polite thing to do would be to join them tonight as they ate their custard-wouldn't want for them to get lonely. So back to Ted Drewes we went. The crowd there tonight was even larger and it took a bit longer-it was still worth it. I had a turtle-with pecans, caramel and chocolate-and it was really good. But I was pretty impressed with Keaton's strawberry. Whitman liked every kind that we put in his mouth-he wanted to eat, eat, eat our custard and could not get enough. When we were finished, Robby picked up the bowl that we had been giving him bites from and Whitman stared to cry!

After we finished our bedtime snack, we came back to the hotel. The kids played on their kindles for a few minutes before bed and then it was lights out on our last night of the 2014 Road Trip. That kind of makes me really sad-though my trip isn't over yet since I have everything to repack before bed so we will be ready to leave in the morning!