October 31, 2014-Happy Halloween!

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All ready for candy collecting...

  • The kids had been in our bed for about 2 minutes when I decided that it would just be best for me to climb out and finish my resting on the floor.  Usually, if I get out of bed to lay on the floor half of the bed follows me.  (Actually, anytime I go anywhere a handful of people follow me-I go upstairs they are right behind me, I go to the garage and as soon as I turn around to come back in they are there and if I go to the bathroom they are there as well)  But not this morning, I wedged myself between Robby's side of the bed and the wall.  Campbell even asked if she could lay by me and unfortunately, there just wasn't room!
  • When we did finally get up, I made the kids do a school box while I baked cinnamon rolls.  We devoured 2 cans and I think that the boys could have eaten some more.  There was half of a cinnamon roll left and Keaton was adamant that we saved Robby the last one.  I told her that Daddy would want for me to eat it for him.  She didn't really buy this but I still ate it.
  • School was fine but it is always surprising that on days that I think we will finish school early but we just don't.  We did finish on time and had plenty of times to read a few extra books-though we read a little longer than I planned and had lunch pretty late.  
  • As soon as lunch was over we quickly got to work.  The kids helped clean up a bit and then it was time to go through Keaton's clothes.  My Keaton thought it was Christmas going through bin after bin of her clothes.  She would squeal, jump up and down and try on almost everything that she could get her hands on.  I was working as fast as I could so she would have fewer things to try on.
  • Robby was home early and was there just in time to tell Whitman and Keaton good night for their afternoon nap.  During the nap, the others watched tv while I put up all of Keaton's clothes and then made some cookies.  The recipe said they made 20 cookies so I doubled the recipe and after making 5 dozen cookies, I still had half of my mixing bowl left with cookie dough to cook.  My time was running out so I finally just put the rest in the freezer.  
  • The kids put on their costumes and Whitman had a shower.  After his shower, I sat him in my lap to put on his clothes.  He grabbed his costume and started trying to put it on himself-that boy knew everyone else was dressed up and he needed to be too.  
  • Our first Halloween stop was the Sonic to pick up corndogs.  Then we all got out and ate at Grannymom's house.  Lilli and Cash showed up too and then everyone trick or treated at Grannymom's neighbors house.  
  • Then it was back into the car to Nonna and Pops' house.  We trick or treated at their house and at one of their neighbors house.  Next up was Beebee's place and as we were walking in there Reagan asked "are we going to have to take a group picture here too?"  I guess we were busy talking to her and didn't notice Anderson walking down the hall ahead of us.  To me, he looked like a ninja man going down the hallway, but to the people in the nursing home he probably looked like the grim reaper so I quickly called him back to us.  
  • After leaving Beebee, we then went to our annual popcorn and cotton candy stop at the Browns.  The kids were great sticking with us and walking in a straight line when we were having to dodge traffic.  It was cold but no one complained and all wore their coats (some).  We hit quite a few houses for candy and Keaton really enjoyed this as long as one of her sisters went with her.  The boys would occasionally help her on stairs if they heard me calling out "help your sister" but other than that, they were just out for themselves!
  • By the time we made it back to the car, Keaton was saying her feet hurt and Graham was asking how many houses we would go to.  They were all getting tired and poor Whitman never woke up to enjoy his candy.
  • Once at home, we all changed into warm pjs and then looked at all of their loot.  My Anderson put his candy on the table and then divided it out-I love that because that is exactly what I did!  They ate some and then iit was time to brush those teeth and head to bed.  Halloween was today and Thanksgiving tomorrow. 

October 30, 2014

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Hey, you looking at me?

  • Yesterday at Beebee's place, this was a bit of our conversation:
    • Anderson (to me): When you die, I will get your house.
    • Tara: Nope.
    • Anderson: Yep, that is how it was in Bible times.
    • Tara: It is not Bible times.
    • Anderson: I still get the house.
    • Tara: No, we will have to sell it for our cruise around the world and then to buy the rv.
    • Anderson: Huh?
    • Tara: The rv that we are going to park in your driveway.
    • Anderson: Where are you going to eat?
    • Tara: You will cook for me.
    • Anderson: I am not going to cooking school.  
    • Beebee: You know when Papaw and I got married, I couldn't cook anything.
    • Anderson: Did you go to cooking school?
    • Beebee: No.
    • Tara: When your Daddy and I got married, I couldn't cook anything and I still can't.  
    • Reagan: Yes, you can.  You can make sandwiches.
    • Graham: Sometimes she burns them though.
    • Campbell: Those are grilled cheese sandwiches.
  • You can see why some days I think I am losing my mind.  But back to today, Whitman and Keaton all helped take Campbell to school.  While they were gone, I worked as hard as I could for the others to get their school work done.  That just wasn't happening.  I don't know what Anderson does all morning long but it sure is not school.  And poor Reagan her math is now multiplying big numbers like thousands times hundreds (2,496 x 683).  Really?  I am sure that is necessary but is it time to teach her how to use a calculator?  Each time she misses a problem, I try to help her do it and then when I look at the correct answer, I am wrong too.  
  • Graham finished his school in time to watch the news while Robby ran.  Whitman hung out in his pack n play snacking away.  Yesterday, he would watch Robby run and just laugh at him. When I called Graham downstairs to work together he was none to pleased that he was having to stop watching the news-his father's child.  
  • Robby ran out to pick up lunch and he took the kids.  So I did some speed baking and made some monkey bread (to give away which was pure torture for the kids not to be able to eat it. They have only had monkey bread once and that was at Christmas.)  I cleaned the shower, started laundry and ironed some of those blasted perler beads.
  • Nonna had picked up Campbell and they had spent their afternoon making cookies.  I came to pick her up with Keaton and Whitman.  When it was time to leave, Bro. Paul was stopping by their house.  So I rushed the kids out of the door and even said "hurry, let's get out of here" as I was buckling them in.  Later on the way home, Keaton asked "is John Paul a bad guy?"  I guess she didn't realize I was just trying to hurry and get out the door but she thought we were trying to get away from that Bro. Paul man.
  • Back at home, the kids watched movies and went in and outside.  I worked on Campbell's clothes.  I really thought that she had wanted to help with the clothes but no, she didn't care and played with Keaton.  I did get her to help a bit at the end.  This means that I now have 5 kids down on clothes change out and only 1 more to go (Keaton) and that should be done tomorrow (maybe!)
  • And speaking of Keaton....this evening we loaded up and went to Chick Fil A to get our free meal.  The kids climbed out of the car one by one and I looked around and didn't see Keaton.  I asked "where's Keaton?" and Reagan, who sits by Keaton, looked at me blankly.  My heart practically leaped out of my chest.  In 2 seconds, I had already imagined us speeding back home which takes 20+ minutes while trying to call anyone who lives closer by.  Robby and I exchanged worried glances as Reagan then added "oh, she is asleep."  I could have vomited! Needless to say, that child didn't leave our sight for the rest of the night.  (I mean, really, I guess we could leave someone at home.  We don't put the kids in the car anymore, if we did then we would check for shoes.  Hopefully, their seat mate would mention that they aren't there.  But the good thing is that Robby and I usually make a circle through the house picking up, looking for phones and turning off lights before leaving so hopefully then we could find the wayward kid.)
  • Dinner was uneventful-well, a stranger did comment on seeing us at Baptist.  I thought about offering him by autograph but thought that might be too forward.  The other night at Chick Fil A, Graham eyed the drinks sitting on the table.  He slowly and slyly grabbed the largest drink and started drinking it.  Robby and I watched him carefully as he realized that the cup he thought was coke was full of water.  He acted like he had just drank a sip of vinegar.  The child was much more cautious tonight about what cup he grabbed.
  • And then as soon as Robby had finished the Bible story, Graham asked a question.  Robby had just finished talking about their being One True God and only one way to heaven.  And Graham's hand shot up.  Robby acknowledged him and Graham said "if you stand on your tip toes, will your head hit that fan."  It is so good to know that they are listening!

October 29, 2014

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Doesn't everyone dress up at Target?

  • The kids lost their kindles a week ago or maybe it was even longer than that.  But anyway, this was the day that they received them back and this caused us to almost oversleep today and miss Bible study. Instead of the boys coming to our room at 7 when they woke up, they ran to the closet and found those kindles and played happily until we finally stirred.
  • They didn't get to play on those too long because it was time to get ready and eat our breakfast before leaving for Bible study.  The morning was going splendidly and we had left about 2 minutes after when I would like to leave.  Then after driving about 4 miles from the house, I heard those dreaded words: Mom, I don't have my shoes!  
  • Seriously?  What do my children think we mean when we say "go put on your shoes."  If it was Keaton or Whitman I wouldn't have turned around because they don't really need them.  And if it was Graham, Reagan or Anderson I would have debated not turning around just so they could learn a lesson.  But the shoeless child was Campbell so we did turn around and since Robby was home, he met us in the driveway with those shoes.  I should just probably keep an extra pair in the car.  I could get a size that most everyone could wear and just stash them like I keep a few pairs of extra clothes in the car.
  • Thankfully, that extra trip didn't slow us down and we made it to Bible study on time.  The kids all delighted in carrying in their Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.  I had planned on doing 2 boxes this year but decided that we had enough stuff so we ended up doing 4.  I tend to hoard things that I think would be shoe box worthy during the year and my friends would laugh me out of the room if they knew that I now already have a box to stash shoe box stuff for 2015. It is a sickness that I have.
  • After Bible study, I had planned on going to the park but since none of the other girls were going to the park I wasn't sure what to do.  Robby was going to bring us lunch but since I wasn't sure of my plans he didn't and this greatly displeased my children.  I royally messed up there and to top things off, it wasn't Sonic happy hour so that just made them more upset.  We did go and see Beebee first and since she wasn't at lunch it did work out well.  We were home and eating lunch by 1 so it did make our afternoon seem longer-long enough for me to have a 30 minute nap!  As soon as my alarm went off, Campbell came and asked to sleep beside me. Oh, I wished we could have.
  • But we had places to go-Target to get flu shots for Anderson and me.  The initial plans were to go Chick Fil A to use our receipt from the other day but after waiting on our shots, we didn't have time.  Anderson was my brave guy and didn't even flinch with his shot-I am sure that I did.  I do hate flu shots-why do they have to make your arm so sore?  
  • We did pick up supper at McyDs on the way to church and ate in the diner.  The kids then scurried off to class and Robby and I passed the evening doing puppet shows and reading magazines.  Back at home, everyone changed into their pjs and we all had a bit of a snack before bedtime.  

October 28, 2014

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An afternoon of decorating...

  • Such a rainy, fall day-I just love days like this and it was a perfect start to the day.  Even though we could tell that people were awake upstairs, Campbell was the only one who came downstairs to snuggle with us in our bed.  
  • Soon though, we had to get her ready for school and of course, Keaton wanted to go with Robby so off they went.  This was another big day for Campbell at school so she was ready to leave.
  • I declared this poptart day for everyone so my big people could eat in the school room and get to work.  I only had until 10 before I had to leave so we needed to get school done quickly. By the time I had finished working with everyone, it was already 10.  
  • So I put Whitman and his snack in the pack n play upstairs so he could watch Robby run.  Keaton and Graham (who had already finished school) were up there too and Reagan and Anderson were downstairs working hard.  
  • At 10, I did run out of this place so I could get to Campbell's fall party.  She was so proud to have me there and Ms. Stacy said that she had looked for me out the window most of the day.  That was probably true because one of the first questions that she asked me was "what car did you come in?"
  • Campbell was the cutest child in her class and she was so excited to pass out her goodie bags to her friends.  I brought a game "pumpkin ring toss" and it is amazing how excited the kids can get over a lame game-it all just depends on how exciting you make it sound.  
  • Back at home, the crowd was buzzing about tonight and all the people coming over.  We went to the grocery store so we decided we should have a party-Nonna, Pops, Grannymom, Grandpa, Jason, Lilli, and Cash all came over.  A few minutes before our family supper, I asked Robby if maybe we could turn it into a birthday party really quickly.  But I guess people would have needed presents for that!
  • Until then, we had lots to do to get ready for tonight.  But first, there were Halloween gingerbread houses to decorate.  We had 2 houses that survived (from last year's clearance rack) so we had a girl house and a boy house to decorate.  We started with 3 houses and after Reagan did some quick math, she decided that she wanted to be partners with Whitman-that sneaky little girl trying to do it all by herself.  Unfortunately, she ended up with Campbell and Keaton as partners but she kept them busy on the sides and back so everyone stayed happy.
  • My boys worked and worked on their house.  The kids were at the table decorating and Robby and I were at the bar trying to cook-by the end my kitchen was trashed.  But not only was the kitchen filthy, the kids were covered in black and green icing.  At one point, Robby looked up and Keaton was squeezing the black icing onto her hand and licking it off.  
  • We then had a bit of time for the kids to watch their tv shows and then the family started arriving.  Everyone was so excited that Lilli and Cash were there but everyone also seemed to be excited about supper-bbq, au gratin potatoes, salad, baked beans and oreo delight.  Robby didn't really love his new bbq recipe but it was worth a try and it did feed a crowd.  
  • After we ate, there was time to chat and time for the kids to play.  Then everyone left and we quickly picked up and then showered the kids (half of them had already had showers this afternoon but had them again.  Whitman does get showers often because it is pretty easy to contain him in the shower.)  Then it was Bible story and bedtime around here-tomorrow is another busy day!

October 27, 2014

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Making art and more art...

  • If we didn't have to get Campbell to school in the morning, we all might still be in bed right now.  My Campbell was ready though to go to school today because she was the snack helper.  And this was the best of all days because not only did she bring the snack but she was also the line leader.  Oh, happy day!
  • Usually on our rushed Mondays, I make the kids eat their breakfast in the school room since it is just cereal and we can easily vacuum it up (Mondays just happen to be vacuuming day as well.)  But today we had left over donuts so that caused everyone to eat in the kitchen thus getting a later start than normal for school.
  • My Reagan and Anderson just piddle the morning away-she messed with Whitman and Anderson just stares.  This drives me batty-if they would just do their work they could be finished and we could all be happy!  Today, I tried not to nag them about working and this left quite a bit of work for them to do this afternoon.  That though didn't seem to bother either one of them-they just sat down and quickly finished their work before 1:30 after lunch.  I guess that is fine so we may just start doing that.  
  • We had lunch and did a bit of reading.  We also read before lunch usually from 11:15-12 and this is probably one of my favorite parts of school.  Now most days the kids behavior is a bit lacking during this time causing me to further lose me mind but if they do listen then we really all enjoy that time.
  • This afternoon, I ran around doing chores along with the kids but all they could think about was when Whitman was going to go to bed so they could pull out those perler beads.  I tell you, my children are obsessed with those beads.  That is all that they want to do all day long-Robby suggested that we try to sell them!  Ha!
  • During nap time I worked on changing over Whitman's clothes.  Keaton napped some but woke up really early so I let her be my helper.   If she asked one question, she asked me a zillion questions.  She is so excited about when we are going to switch over her clothes.  I have everything ready to do Campbell's clothes switch but she wasn't here today so her clothes will have to wait for another day.  
  • Before I knew it, my Campbell was walking in the door.  Robby and her were home and we quickly scurried around to get ready to go to Chick Fil A.  I put Campbell to work on her Cezanne painting while everyone else found clothes.  
  • We ate at Chick Fil A since today was their repeat day-eat there today and show your receipt this weekend and eat for free.  That sounded good to us and to lots of other people since it was really crowded there!  The kids enjoyed playing on the playground and we enjoyed drinking our milkshake after supper-that is, until Whitman figured out what we were passing back and forth.  When they baby signs "more" and starts waving his arms, you just have to oblige him and let him have some.
  • When we made it home, the little kids had a shower while the big kids did a school box.  Then it was Bible story time.  Robby had give then kids a challenge to find out what prophet we were reading about and what fed him in I Kings 17.  So everyone had read the verses themselves and written down their answers.  I did help Campbell when she came home.  This afternoon, Keaton told me that she wanted me to read her Bible to her.  I said okay thinking that she was talking about one of her books and I asked her where it was.  She looked at me and said it was with all the other Bibles.  So she went and found her Bible and we read all about Elijah, then I said "let's read something from Proverbs" and she said "I'll do that later."

October 26, 2014

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  • Robby's allergies were bothering him last night so he didn't sleep well but I sure did-never heard him at all.  So he was the first one up and soon everyone else was awake as well.  The kids quickly put their clothes on so we could leave for church....
  • Or maybe they were excited about leaving for donuts.  We stopped at Shipleys on the way to church and Robby came out with bags and boxes full of donuts.  For the kids he had glazed-they were hot, they were delicious and they were better than Krispy Kreme.  We had never had hot donuts from Shipleys.  He also had doughnut holes for them which made Whitman very happy.  But I was made happy by the chocolate filled donuts he had for me-those are delicious.
  • As you can imagine, by the time that we made it to church, we all had sugar all over ourselves.  Seriously, we were all covered in donuts-as in I should have brought a change of clothes for everyone!
  • The main reason we had donuts was because the big 3 had a contest at church for who could bring the most candy for GS Fest.  It was the boys against the girls and the boys lost.  I didn't really think that was fair since the kids aren't the ones buying the candy and who wants to see other kids enjoying a doughnut in front of you while you can't have one.  But they made it right and the girls had donuts and the boys had doughnut holes so everyone was happy.
  • After church, we went to Grannymom and Grandpa's house.  The grownups and Whitman happily crowd around the kitchen table while the kids took over the dining room table.  Soon we will be able to ship Whitman to the dining room to fend for himself too!  Some weeks the kids are quiet and subdued and other weeks they are not-this was one of those weeks.  Loud or not, they enjoy being with their cousins and they always have a good time so that is what matters.
  • We didn't stick around for too long after lunch because the afternoons on Sunday are oh so short.  Once at home, the kids finished a movie from Redbox while Whitman and Keaton napped.  When it was time to head to church, we woke them up and had to change Keaton's sheets since she wet the bed.  I guess she is just out of her normal routine because when we made it home, she only made it to the bathroom floor.  Oh, well that is why we have Fantastic and a washing machine.
  • The kids went to choir and my Campbell was so, so excited about singing in big church.  I do think that she was the most adorable child up there-I couldn't really see her since there was a little girl much taller in front of her!  Ha!  She was the proudest child to be up there singing-she has been waiting for years to be able to sing in big church like her brothers and sister.  
  • Reagan, Anderson and Graham were up next and if I do say so myself, I think those kids are pretty great too.  They sand one song and then they sang Amazing Grace-loved that.  Then it was sermon time.  Campbell had a bit of trouble sitting still during church this morning so I wedged her in between the edge of the pew and me and she did much better tonight.
  • Dave had us doing a bit of Bible drill during the sermon.  Campbell enjoyed trying to find the right numbers and Reagan thought it was like a contest so she sure rushed to find each verse.  Anderson started trying to keep up but then he just slammed his Bible and was done.  
  • The kids so wanted to play on the playground after church but it was dark so we headed home for ice cream truck.  If you want my children to do things quickly (like put shoes up, laundry away and put on pajamas) then you just bribe them with ice cream.  I guess I would do all that quickly if someone was bribing me with ice cream!    

October 25, 2014

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Fun times at the World Cheese Dip Championship!

  • The kids were up until after 10 last night and Robby and I were up until almost 2 so it is no wonder that everyone was tired this morning.  We were all still awake and going strong before the clock struck 8.  Keaton is usually one of the first kiddos down the stairs each morning.  I think that whoever wakes up first goes and asks her if she is awake each morning.  This of course wakes her up so indeed she is awake and can accompany them downstairs.  I guess the kids are not used to being alone so they do not like to go anywhere or do anything by themselves-even walk down the stairs to our room.
  • Robby served up breakfast while I had my shower and soon everyone was ready for the big event of the day-the World's Cheese Dip Championship.  Before we left, Grannymom and Grandpa arrived.  They worked on staining our shed (they knew we were going to be gone but came anyway to work-maybe they wanted to work without any interruptions!)  The kids all got to see them for a few minutes but they were excited to leave too.
  • I did run into the dollar store for a minute.  It was suggested to bring muffin tins to hold the cheese dip samples.  I only have one huge muffin pan (yep, probably should put that on my Christmas list)  Of course the dollar store was out of muffin tins so I ended up buying just some plastic baskets that would hold chips and samples-they worked out well because one set of baskets were small enough for the kids to hold while filled with their cheese dip samples.
  • We went in the back gate right at 11 and the crowds weren't bad at all.  We again pointed out the Dennie lesson to the kids of getting to places right when they open.  As soon as we walked in, we ran into another family with 6 kids.  The mom said "this is where big families come, isn't it?"  We agreed with her since kids 10 and under are free!
  • Once we grabbed our bags of chips, we started in order and grabbed four samples of cheese dip.  One booth had very nice decorated cookies that she gave the kids, another had lollipops and one even had very, very spicy chips that I tried.  About 4 samples was all that we could manage at a time while pushing Whitman, watching the kids (who were perfect) and making sure that they didn't spill their samples.  So we then found a spot in the shade and had a seat on the ground to pick a winner.
  • We had 4 wooden chips to distribute among our favorites, so we decided to vote on one each time that we stopped to eat.  We all agreed that we liked the first sample the best-poor Whitman's momma gave him a super spicy sample which caused him to gag, eyes to water and to look like he was choking.  After that I only handed him his cookie to eat and tiny chips with no cheese dip on them and he was much happier!
  • The kids took our chip to the first booth and then we started again.  This time we had 4 more samples and our favorite (my all time favorite) was the cheese dip by City Year.  So after our second round of samples we went to vote for City Year's cheese dip.  
  • There were enough competitors to even had another round of samples.  By this time though the kids had filled up and were not too interested in eating anything else.  Now they did enjoy passing around our drink and finding any candy that they could at the tables.  One of our final two votes went to the cheese dip people that had come from San Francisco.  I figured that you should get points just for coming that far and the last Dennie vote went to a bbq chicken cheese dip. 
  • Now, I will tell you that although the cheese dip festival was lots of fun and we will certainly go back each and every time that we can, I do think that our cheese dip beats any of those that we had.  We use Debbie Dillon's recipe and it is pretty wonderful.  Then there is the other cheese dip that we make that is made with cream cheese and not velveeta-that is a good one too.  Anyway, so one day if you are the World's Cheese Dip Championship and you see a sign that reads "Dennie Family Cheese Dip" then please vote for us.
  • After we had eaten our fill or even more than our fill, we headed back home.  It wasn't long before Reagan's ride came to pick her up.  She was headed to the circus with Cate-Cate and each of her sisters were able to invite a friend to the circus.  My Reagan had a great time and even came home with a huge cup that blinks-what more could a girl want!
  • While she was gone we piddled in the yard and house.  Robby helped stain some and eventually mowed some.  Anderson played with the neighbor boys and Graham did too some. They also watched the football game as closely as they could while it was on.  The little girls helped me fold laundry and then played hard outside.  Whitman had a nap and then went outside to play.  That boy really loves playing outside and can keep himself pretty well occupied-he now really loves the dirt pile (the same dirt pile that Robby so wanted to get rid of when we moved here as provided my kids with hours and even days worth of fun.)
  • Finally, we all came in and the girls and Whitman had showers while Robby cut the boys hair. Whitman's hair cutting days are coming soon but just not today.  After the girls had their clothes on, they started playing "Ms. Tammy."  Campbell was the one doing the hair fixing so she probably should have been the only Ms. Tammy but Keaton was determined that she should be called Ms. Tammy too.  So Ms. Tammy fixed Ms. Tammy's hair until the boys had completed their showers.  
  • After this, we quickly gobbled down supper and then we got the call that the circus was over so we went to pick up Reagan.  She joined us and then we all went to the grocery store. Grocery shopping with our 6 lovely kids is not the ideal situation but the kids did fine-two trips to the bathroom, someone fell down at least 4 times (no injuries though), 1 kid didn't want to sit in the shopping cart so was held the entire time, 1 shoving match, 4 crackers eaten, 2 games of chase and nearly 200 bucks spent.  
  • Once at home, the kids quickly put on their pjs and had a snack, Reagan had her shower and supper all while Robby and I unloaded.  Then it was shortly bedtime for all the crew while Robby and I whipped up a quadruple recipe of chicken spaghetti!

October 24, 2014

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Loving the big slide at GSFest!

  • This morning Whitman was one of the first few up.  He actually started fussing soon after the others came downstairs. He usually will just talk in his bed until we come to get him.  I quickly got ready and then let the troops wake him up. Whitman did calm down when they got him out of bed but he wanted me to hold him until we made our breakfast.
  • Today was made muffins for breakfast-they were good but 2 packages only made 11 muffins.  I guess I might just have to start making my own muffin batter and freezing it.  That way, I could get a muffin and Whitman could have more than 1 (today he ate Keaton's leftover muffin).  
  • I had pretty much filled their boxes with easy stuff (or at least I thought it was fun and easy!) so school was finishing up by 10ish.  I put Whitman in the pack n play and the rest of us sat around him while I read.  My Graham almost lost his GS Fest visit during our reading.  Oh, that boy gets me sometimes!  Campbell and him feed off of each other sometimes-gracious me.  I wanted to load them all up and drop them off at the pumpkin patch!
  • After our reading, we started on our Cezanne pictures-we started painting a still life of apples. So it will be interesting how those turn out-if they do at all!  Soon it was lunch time-today's lunch was a hit: mac and cheese, tomato soup and croutons for the soup.  The croutons were the biggest hit-we finished the entire bag!  
  • Then I delayed chores so we could work on switching over Reagan's clothes.  We had pretty much everything ready so we just had to organize and narrow down a few things.  Reagan's rejects, I threw to Campbell to try on and Keaton was trying on anything she could get her hands on.  She thought all of those clothes were hers and had made herself a pretty good stack of clothes.  Then she could not understand why I would not let her keep any size 8 clothes.  
  • Afterwards, it was nap time and the big kids worked on their perler beads during their movie.  My Anderson made a tow truck, a cross, a football and goal post, an elf and some other things that I ironed and then he started working on an eagle.  He definitely spends the most time on those silly beads.  
  • I guess that Whitman wanted to get in on the bed act today.  Robby told me that Whitman had just gone into the school room but I didn't think anything about it.  A few minutes later, Reagan walked into the kitchen crying.  I asked what was wrong and she said that Whitman had dumped her beads-the new beads that she bought with her birthday money.  All 2000+ of those beads had been perfectly sorted.  So I called an all hands on deck and everyone came to help. We worked and worked and worked some more-we sorted until it was time to leave and we even had to leave in a hurry (we will be able to finish tomorrow-hopefully).
  • I dropped Whitman off at Nonna's house and Robby picked up pizza.  Then we sat in the parking lot at church eating our supper and watching the people come in.  Eventually, we got in line for GS Fest and soon were in the gates.
  • We headed over to the kid area and the slides were the first ones to do.  Then the little swings, the little roller coaster and then the fun house.  Next the big kids did the house of mirrors while the little girls did the ladybugs.
  • After that we split up (I don't like doing that though) but we needed to cover some ground.  Keaton and Campbell rode the motorcycles and Reagan, Anderson and Graham got in line for the ferris wheel.  Poor Graham-he wasn't tall enough so I took him back down to Robby.  He was able to ride the cars with the girls.  I felt sorry for him but he does take things like that all in stride-us Dennies are just short!  
  • After the ferris wheel, we all met back up and had a drink and then played the carnival type games followed by a quick run on the jumpies.  Then it was back to the carnival games before leaving Robby there to work his 9-12 shift.  At Nonna's house, my Keaton and Campbell ran into potty and I got a sleeping Whitman out of bed and put him in his car seat.
  • Whitman never woke up as I changed his diaper and put him into bed at home.  The others looked at their candy and then had a drink before brushing their teeth and heading to bed.  I finished our James and the Giant Peach book before saying goodnight to them.  I am sure they were asleep quick since it was a bit after 10 when I came downstairs.  

October 23, 2014

(click here for today's pictures)
To the pumpkin patch we go....

  • 6:20 is really, really early to wake up in the morning and then 6:40 is really, really early to wake up your sleeping kids just for a trip to the pumpkin patch. Anderson was already wide awake when Robby went upstairs to go and wake everyone up.  When the kids are excited about the day, they can get up and put their clothes on quickly.
  • The night before Anderson said he had a bad dream and dreamed about monsters.  But this morning, he told me that he didn't dream about monsters because he prayed about it before he went to bed-that right there made waking up so early not so bad!
  • They gobbled down their breakfast and we climbed in the car at 7:26-six minutes later than I would have liked to have left.  Our meeting time was 7:40 and when I turned on to Lawson and saw a line of cars only going 15 miles per hour, I was starting to sweat it.  I guess the traffic was just volume because there was nothing slowing us down.  Thankfully, we made it-we were actually the first ones to pull into the Heart Hospital to meet the others.  (Sara had overslept but still pulled in at the same time that Amber did who had gone to get gas and make her crew potty one last time.)
  • With Amber and her kids plus Laynie and Sara and her kids, the van was completely filled-all 15 seats.  That would be 12 kids and 10 car seats!  It was a tight squeeze but we made it and the ride there was non-eventful.  About the last 5 minutes of our hour and 20 minutes trek, I did think about turning the tv on.  The kids did really, really well-here is the run down of who sat by who-back row: Ethan, Graham, Noah and Anderson, 3rd row: Eden, Campbell and Laynie, 2nd row: Brody, Keaton and Lily, 1st row: Reagan (who didn't really have a buddy in our car), Sara and Whitman and Amber sat up front with me.  
  • The man who was directing traffic asked if we were a bus full of kids and we said we sure were so we got to park in the front.  Whoop!  There are so many benefits of having my van-riding with all of your friends and then having front row parking!  Candice and her kids and Jodee and Kennedy rode together and beat us by just a few minutes.  
  • All the workers knew the home school group was coming-all 22 of us (17 kids).  The first thing we did was take a few to the potties-porta potties that were surprisingly clean.  We actually heard that the potties were cleaned yesterday and since they have about 200 kids a day, we came on the right day!
  • Then we lined up and paid our fee and soon we entered the Arkansas Frontier.  Our first stop there was the Dog Trot house.  The lady told us about the house and then the kids were free to milk the pretend cows, make cornmeal and look at some of the animals.  Then we proceeded to the one room school.  It was interesting but didn't compare to Laura and Mary's school in De Smet.  
  • Next up was the Indian Village and the guide told us way more than we would ever want to know about Indians.  But playing in the teepees were a pretty big hit.  Campbell did grab a pole of the teepee and for a few moments we did think the entire 20 foot tall teepee might possibly come crashing down on us.  We quickly scurried on to our next stop after that.
  • I can't really remember what we did next but I bet it was play area.  They had the water pumps where you could pump the water and float the ducks down a gutter.  This was a big, big hit and the kids stopped here every single time we were anywhere close to this.  They also had a few slides to scoot down and tires to climb all over-which we did over and over.
  • One odd stop was the Dino Dig.  A man told us about a few types of dinosaurs and then the kids dug in a sand pit to find a dinosaur egg and then they traded it in for a little toy dinosaur. That little toy dinosaur Whitman immediately put in his mouth-the poor child looked at me like he wanted to say "hey mom, I've already been in my car seat and then in this stroller for hours and if I want to eat some plastic, then let me eat some plastic."  I still didn't let him eat any but that child is the most perfectest baby ever!  He was wonderful all day (and who can blame him for having a fit during pumpkin patch picture time!)
  • Soon we stopped and had lunch.  The sun wasn't out yet and it was still chilly.  The kids had had their coats on and off all day but I didn't take my coat off until almost 2.  Everyone ate lunch and then they had more time to play in the play area before we headed to the gemstone mining.
  • Every group gets to mine one stone but we had paid extra so each kid could have their bag of dirt.  This was the biggest hit of the entire day.  The man lined everyone up and they all had their mining box (I don't know what you call it but the box with the screen on the bottom that you put in the water) and he would pour their rock filled dirt into it for them to sift.  There was squealing and hollering and yelps of excitement during all of this and that was just from the mommas.  We may have had a bit more fun than the kids during all of this.  Of course, Graham is pretty sure that he found gold and diamonds...maybe he will have that same luck if we go to Crater of Diamonds sometime.
  • Next stop was the hay ride and since the school groups had already gone, we had the huge trailer to ourselves.  It was wonderful and gave us plenty of space to move around and snap a few pictures.  The ride was around the pasture so we saw lots of different animals.  At the end of the ride, there were more animals for us to walk around and see.  My favorite was a baby, baby goat.  And there were lots of bunnies that cause the kids to have a hopping contest-whatever keeps them happy.
  • Next up was a walk through the Enchanted Forest.  It was just a walk through the woods with some wooden cutouts and fake animals but the kids enjoyed it.   But the kids found the huge hay/dirt pile at the end of the walk most more entertaining than the walk.  Of course, I will probably never be able to get all of the dirt out of their clothes!
  • After the forest walk, we let them play on the playground a bit longer.  Then it was time to pick our pumpkins.  Campbell quickly picked the first pumpkin that she saw but I did convince her to look around for one-I still think she went back to the first one she saw.  
  • I did set the kids down to try and get a group picture.  I was actually pretty pleased with how they came out-took about 100 but got one with a couple of kids looking at the camera with decent expressions on their face.  I have learned a long time ago, you take what you can get and be thankful for it!  Really, I was just thankful that I could get them all in the picture and even get them all setting down in the picture.  Of course, I did break my sunglasses in the process and almost fell down after spinning Whitman around so he would be so dizzy that he couldn't stand up during the picture!  Whatever works!
  • After the pumpkins were collected, the patch was shutting down so we headed to the car.  I really couldn't believe that we stayed all the way until 2.  The ride home was a bit more chaotic with a bunch of tired kiddos.  We had passed out a snack early in the ride and then again in the middle of the ride.  But that didn't seem to help too much.  At one point, the kids on each side of Keaton were crying and my sweet Keaton shouted "Be quiet, my Whitman is asleep!"  Love her!
  • We dropped everyone off and since we were so near Krispy Kreme, the kids talked me into stopping there since they had been good so I talked Sara into going to.  (Amber had already driven away or we would have tried to convince her.)  The hot light wasn't on but they were still passing out hot donuts so that was a win for me (and my pocketbook).  I let everyone pick out a doughnut and even saved 2 for Robby.  
  • When we finally made it home, the carpet stretcher man was at our house.  He worked in almost every room of the house stretching the carpet.  He said that whoever laid our carpet didn't know what they were doing.  In most of the rooms, he stretched and cut off at least 3 inches of carpet.  In about 4 places in the house, we had carpet humps that were eventually going to cause a problem-tripping someone or the carpet getting torn.  They were thorough and charged a reasonable price.  
  • While they were working, we kept the kids outside.  This wasn't too hard even though the kids were filthy and tired.  Robby and the boys played football.  Reagan played frisbee and swang. Campbell and Keaton swang, played with Whitman and played on the treehouse.  Whitman did some of it all but his favorite spot today was sitting in the dirt pile.  That child dug, played with car, poured sand, threw sand, put sand in his hair and was a big sandy mess when we finally went in for showers.  
  • We showered everyone off, had hot dogs and then put the kids to work straightening the house.  It didn't take too long for the house to be neat and the kids started playing upstairs. Their toy room was just perfectly clean but was trashed again by bedtime-oh, well they enjoyed playing.  
  • Whitman was the first to go to bed while the others had a snack and then it was time for Bible story time and bedtime!  I think they were all pretty tired tonight.

October 22, 2014

(click here for today's pictures)
Can he be any cuter?

  • Wednesday morning here so potties were cleaned, trash was emptied and pancakes and waffles served. Campbell actually received the honor of being the "chore boss" today.  This was the first time we had ever had a "chore boss" but it seemed to go over well.  The others had to turn in their completed chore list to Campbell.  Oh, the reason that we even had a "chore boss" was because Campbell had to soak her toe and needed something to do while she was sitting her and I figured bossing her siblings around would be ideal for her!
  • Her toe is some better.  Everything we read seems to say treat it a week until going to the doctor.  I do think it is better but we have given it until Friday for a noticeable difference before heading to the doctor.  But that girl has some high pain tolerance-I squeezed the fire out of that toe today and she just grimaced.  
  • Bible study was this morning and when I dropped Keaton off she didn't really want to go.  So I told her that I would pick her up first.  This really impacted her and she even told her teachers that her momma was going to pick her up first.  
  • After Bible study, we went to the Kamp's house to eat our lunch.  The kids ate outside and then played while the moms talked.  At one point, we couldn't find the boys and then discovered they were all in Noah's room making perler bead creations-it is all the rage still in my house! When they were done and when we were all getting ready to leave, Sara got out her iron to iron my kids creations.  I told her not to worry about it now and we could get it another time.  My Anderson was in the room and he said "if she wants to, then let her."  This caused quite an uproar of laughter from the moms in the room which caused Anderson to duck his head and sneak out of the room.
  • We then loaded up and headed to see Beebee.  She was in a good mood since Elvis was coming to their place at 2:30.  There were signs advertising it everywhere but my favorite part of the sign was the bottom that said "sponsored by your friends at Little Rock Funeral Home." Isn't that great advertisement?-the funeral home advertising at the nursing home!
  • When the kids got Beebee's candy out, Whitman started squealing and signing "more" just as fast as he can.  I pretty much have to keep him eating the entire time or he will get very upset with me.  I can cut the other kids off at 4 pieces since they can count but Whitman can't count!
  • On the way home, I didn't take my usual route that avoids Sonic but instead stopped there today.  As we drove off, slushies in hand Campbell said "that was a big bonus."  That indeed it was.  The kids were so happy with their slushies that they happily sipped and crafted all afternoon long-more perler beads and more rainbow looms.  
  • They were busy all afternoon and so was I-but when you only have 2 hours before supper needs to be served, that doesn't give you too much time to accomplish much of anything.  The kids were hungry at supper and everyone was finished when Robby came home.  Then we were off to church.
  • Robby and I are the puppets for the preschoolers.  This involved 4 back to back puppet shows and the kids are in those rooms during music too so we are trapped.  Since I had enjoyed at Route 44 Sonic drink, I jumped at the chance to go to the bathroom when the room cleared.  I thought others had seen me get up so they could stop the next class from coming in but when I exited the bathroom, I saw about 15 2 and 3 year olds (including Keaton) staring at me.  I was shocked but quickly went behind the puppet screen.  
  • After our magnificent puppet performance and while we were waiting on the kids to finish singing so we could leave, we heard Keaton's teacher call her name.  That stinker had walked to the back of the puppet screen and was peeking around it.  She saw us!  Later tonight she asked what we were doing back that.  Robby said that the whole magic is now ruined for the child and we should probably go ahead and tell her about the tooth fairy!
  • Once at home, we passed out snacks and then it was time for bed.  Tomorrow is the pumpkin patch so my crew was ready to go to sleep so tomorrow can begin. 

October 21, 2014

(click here for today's pictures)
Even I have school work!

  • Two days in a row and I was the first one up again - it may be a record.  But if I get up and exercise and even have time to do a few items on my list like laundry or dishes. I'd rather be in the cozy bed but it does help start the day off good.  Robby soon stirred and that was before any kids made it to the bedroom.  In fact, I had to go wake them up because it was time for Campbell to head to school.
  • Often, we're running behind and she has to eat in a poptart in the car but today she really wanted yogurt and it was cinnamon toast day too.  But we had enough time for her to eat her yogurt and she ended up taking her toast in the car. We said bye to her and Robby, finished our breakfast and got started on school.
  • School was pretty uneventful and everyone worked through their boxes.  We did our together work, had lunch and did more reading. We're almost finished with James and the Giant Peach.
  • Nonna picked up Campbell from school and they went back to her house for lunch and to cook up a snack for the rest of the kiddos.  Soon, they came bearing their snack and Reagan said it was the "best pudding she's had. How did she make it taste so good?"
  • Campbell was excited to get home because she had picked out a movie with Robby yesterday from Redbox for everyone to watch.  While getting ready to watch the movie, Campbell banged her toe and let out an unusual screech....
  • Turns out she has a really bad ingrown toenail.  She seems to have picked at her nail and now it has turned red and it very sore for her.  She was in quite a bit of pain.  We've soaked it in warm water and Epsom salt, put antibiotic cream and taken some Tylenol.  It seems to have given her some relief.  At first Robby said we should make an appointment with a podiatrist (he had one as a kid and had to have surgery).  But after a little internet reading - it sounds like we should try treating it at home for a few days.  I hope Campbell can survive because it doesn't sound like any quick fixes.  Any one out there have any other suggestions?  All welcome.
  • The plan was for everyone to go outside to play and enjoy the nice weather but Campbell's toe's situation curtailed her and Keaton going out (so they followed me around!)  Reagan, Anderson and Graham played outside with their walkie talkies, a game of football and throwing the giant frisbee (which eventually landed on the roof).
  • Robby made it home from work and the grocery store just in time for me to head out for pajama Bunko (does it get any better?)  He cooked up some frozen pizzas, threw the football around with the kids (except Campbell who was soaking her foot again) and then came in for supper.
  • Showers for everyone were next, followed by making to-go lunches for after Bible Study tomorrow and then everyone, even Whitman, watched Wipeout and finished their candy from Keaton's birthday party.  Nothing like a box of sugar right before bed - but Robby did make them brush their teeth an extra minute.
  • They read the Bible story (tonight's story about the two golden calves ad idols - Anderson said, "Will those people ever learn to do what is right?"  Robby told him to remember that lesson.) And then it was lights out...and I'm still out partying!  

October 20, 2014-Happy (early) Birthday Pops!

(click here for today's pictures)
Celebrating Pop's 68th birthday!

  • I was the first one up this morning-actually, I was up for an hour before anyone else woke up.  But as soon as they woke up, 4 kiddos climbed into the bed with us and Robby quickly climbed out.  There was much pushing, shoving and whining.  Then I reminded everyone that long ago, many families only had 1 bed.  This did calm them down for about 3 seconds as they thought about all of us having to share a bed.
  • I ran upstairs to turn off their fan and when I came back down, my Campbell was already putting on her clothes.  I tell you, she does enjoy going to school.  Today she came home with the cutest picture proofs.  I can not explain how adorable they were and if she was an only child, I would have spent a small fortune to buy her pictures.  But since she is not an only child, I sure can't buy a big ole picture of her and have nothing of her brothers and sisters.  Beside, I took a pretty adorable picture of her on picture day-not nearly as cute as those pictures though. 
  • The rest of us had school.  Graham continues to finish before everyone else-when he is focused he can really knock his school work out.  Though him finishing first isn't always a good thing.  But my Reagan and Anderson have become the most distracted of the bunch.  Reagan does get her work done but she can so easily distract everyone else.  And my Anderson can be distracted by anything-so just imagine how many times he gets distracted trying to to work in the same room as a 1 year old, a 2 year old and Reagan and Graham.  I did let him just do one page of his math but told him that during the afternoon he would have to finish the other page-and he did so without complaint.
  • We had our sandwiches for lunch and I read quite a bit during lunch.  Then everyone set off to do their afternoon chores.  Graham's chore today was box mover and he helped me move bin of clothing out into their bedroom.  My plan today was to change over the boys clothes and just as I got everything finished in the attic and had sat down to start working, the power went out.  
  • The kids room is pretty dark without power-dark enough that I couldn't see the sizes on the clothes so I finished my pile and moved to the toy room where it was brighter.  I couldn't really do what I had wanted because of power outage but I was able to go through the boys boxes and pull out all their possibilities.  The lights were still out so we then started going through Reagan and Campbell's clothes.  Man, my Reagan is picky but thankfully, right now we have enough choices for her to be picky and I let her as long as it was modest enough.
  • Near the end of the afternoon, I started working on supper for Pops-I was sweating it for a bit when the power was out since I was using the crock pot to cook supper.  But it all ended up working out great.  The kids worked more on their perler beads which meant that I had to iron again.  And would you believe, that silly iron that is practically never used broke-the plate just came off during my ironing.  It just wasn't meant to be!
  • Nonna, Pops and Jason came over to celebrate Pops' 68th birthday. The food was good if I do say so myself and the dessert was even better.  I can say that since I didn't make it-my friend Marie Callendar did.  Pops opened his presents and his plethora of cards from the kids.  When it was time for everyone to leave, the kids waved bye and after a bit of picking up, it was soon bedtime for all!...and more pie for me!

October 19, 2014

(click here for today's pictures)
Sunday Night Means Ice Cream Truck Night!

  • Even though we had doughnuts this morning, my kids weren't moving to quickly.  I think this busy weekend has done them in!  Finally, they all started moving around (I was already dressed) and we were able to start on breakfast. Everyone is much more excited about leftover Krispy Kreme than the powdered donuts that we usually have on Sunday mornings but there is nothing that compares to the hot Krispy Kreme donuts yesterday.
  • After breakfast, everyone got ready and some even had time to play on their kindles before we loaded up for church.  Before church, we saw Pops who had candy for the kids.  Then we saw the candy man who had candy for the kid.  And then we stopped to see Grandpa who had candy for the kids.  My Keaton was so, so excited about all of this candy-kind of like trick or treating in the church house.
  • You may have noticed me sitting exceptionally still in big church this morning-Bro. Paul preached.  My momma made it very clear to me when I was a little girl that Bro. Paul would stop his sermon and call my name if he saw me not listening during church.  I wasn't going to take any chances today!
  • Not only did Bro. Paul preach but the pulpit was on the stage and Graham asked what that was.  And then when the choir came down wearing their choir robes-Campbell was very confused.  She had never seen those before and she leaned over to me and asked "are they wearing anything under those?"  I told her that I sure hoped they were!
  • We then went to Sunday school and my Anderson was called up on stage for a game.  That is great but my poor Graham so, so wants to get called to go on stage.  Now there are about 60+ kids in that room so of course, he may never get called on to go on stage but that sure is hard to understand for a little guy.
  • Lunch was more of those spaghetti leftovers from the other day.  The kids again complained about the leftovers and Robby made it very clear that they were going to eat sandwiches every single day this next week and there would be no complaints.  The other day I asked Reagan what she would eat if she could eat anything for lunch.  She thought for a long time and then seriously looked at me and said "candy."  That is what my people think is a meal and really, they are going to complain every time they are not served a meal of candy for breakfast.
  • At lunch, Reagan pulled out her perler beads and went to work.  I made it very clear that I was not going to iron anything during the afternoon but everyone still joined her and they just crafted all afternoon long while watching their movies.  Whitman and Keaton slept and so did Robby and I.  Robby mentioned cutting the yard some but I pulled him over to the dark side and convinced him to nap with me.
  • Soon it was time to scurry around to leave for choir-the alarm goes off at 3:45, I hit snooze for at least 10 minutes and then we have to be out the door by 4:15.  As you can imagine that leads to much rushing.  The kids quickly put back on their Sunday clothes and surprisingly we were able to be in the car on time and made it to choir early.
  • Tonight, our choir and choirs from other churches sang.  It was wonderful-at one point, I leaned over and told my Graham that this is just a taste of what heave will be like.  I know I have said it before, but there is nothing like hearing your kids worship.  My boys were singing their hearts out during the worship time.  And during the last choir song, Graham could not help but sing.  I could go on and on but man, I am so thankful for our church.  
  • Sundays are long days and Campbell does pretty well in big church.  And we do have to remember that she is just 4 (almost 5 though) but she was so antsy tonight.  That child could not stay still-eventually she was taken out.  Her daddy was probably kinder to her than I would have been.  But a bit after Campbell left, I saw Pops leaving too-I figured he was going out to rescue his Campbell.  Oh, that child!
  • Robby had a meeting after church, so the boys played in the game room and the girls and Whitman ran up and down the hallways.  Whitman loved, loved running and was pretty tired from running when it was time to leave.   He wasn't so tired that he fell asleep on the way home-no, he stayed up because I think he really knew that tonight was ice cream truck night.  
  • Once we made it home, everyone put on their pjs.  Then it was ice cream picking time Everyone liked our new selection of ice cream and all my crew went to bed very happy!