December 30, 2014

Celebrating New Year's Eve Eve!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Since last night was a late night, it meant a late morning around here.  My Anderson has been the last one to wake up the past few days-trading that role with Reagan.  Keaton, Campbell and Graham are always the first ones up. The girls laid in bed with us some but then they were soon zooming around the kitchen in the plasma car-that isn't the quietest of things to do in the morning when the rest of the house is sleeping. Whatever were we thinking-plasma car in the house and a cd/karaoke machine too for Christmas?  Next year we will be giving them whistles and drum sets.
  • Whitman was actually the one that caused us to get out of bed-he kept pulling at my fingers and then led me to his high chair.  (Now, don't feel too sorry for him since I had already been out of bed at least 10 times getting things for other little people.)  I cut him a banana and emptied the dishwasher.  Then I started on breakfast-toast and yogurt.  As soon as Whitman saw that yogurt, he made sure that I understood that he wanted some of that.  He loves him some yogurt and applesauce.
  • We did a bit more of science this morning and our reading.  Robby had a dentist appointment so when he was gone we sorted our legos.  They are sorted into colors but often those buckets get a bit crazy and then we needed to put their new Christmas legos up on shelves. All of those extra pieces needed to be sorted and some how we ended up with a huge bucket of legos to color-ize at another time.  I had planned for the kids to clean out their school desks too so maybe we could stick some of their Christmas art supplies in there but we didn't get around to that...maybe tomorrow,
  • We did get around to reading about our December artist-Henri Matisse.  I know I waited until the last minute but it was a fairly easy artist to do.  Matisse painted until he became too sick to paint and eventually started using his scissors and cutting out paper to create his masterpieces.  I am sure that is more than you wanted to know but it might help you win a Trivia game (or Trivia Crack if you are like us.)  Graham was the one who used the canvas today and everyone really enjoyed cutting and gluing-but really, who doesn't love using glue?
  • Mac and cheese for supper and then Robby finally came home from the dentist.  He brought lights. I thought he had been gone too long - he managed to swing by Walmart and Home Depot before coming home. And soon Grannymom and Grandpa came over for their second work day.  Today's task was a bit easier (I guess, don't really know since I haven't been doing any of the work.)  Grandpa installed a new light in my dark, dark pantry-tonight Robby just stood staring at the new light he is so proud of it.  My pantry is now the cleanest it has been in a long time-hopefully since we can now see our groceries that pantry will be more useful-I had been pretty much relying on the one on the other side of the house.
  • When Grannymom and Grandpa left, I restocked my pantry and then got myself ready for us to go out to eat.  Last year we went to Pei Wei on the day before New Year's Eve (I guess it would be New Year's Adam since Adam came before Eve).  This year the crowd was a bit crazy and we had to wait in line for about 30 minutes to order-it was crowded, it was loud, it was a bit too stand but the kids did great.  They were so excited to eat out that they knew they better be on their best behavior-ha!  Actually, Reagan asked Robby the other day when we were going to go eat at someplace fancy where we had to get all dressed up.  I hope that Pei Wei counted-she did get dressed up and even wore her new boots.  I put on my grey church sweater so I would think that she can now mark that off of her list.
  • The kids loved their lo mein noodles-ate 2 orders of it but my Whitman was quite intrigued with the noodles.  He would lift them up, look at them and then finally eat them.  I said last night that he might be getting pickier-but I was pleased that he did eat the noodles (he also ate mac and cheese for lunch-at one time he wouldn't eat any pasta.)
  • The Wilsons had us come over to their house on the spur of the moment to discuss summer trip plans.  They had a table set up with their Christmas goodies on it and my kids found that table and pretty much devoured their Christmas goodies-it was like we had not just come from a restaurant.  The boys played video games, the girls bounced from place to place and Whitman just played in the floor with animals and dominoes.  Some of the animals that he played with had a button on the bottom that made a noise so that bright boy flipped over all of the animals looking for more buttons to push.  
  • It was another late night when we made it home but I guess the kids are getting used to late nights and everyone quickly put on their pjs and brushed their teeth before bed.  

December 29, 2014

(click here for today's pictures)
Project Day Around the House!

  • The kids were up early today because they knew that Grannymom and Grandpa would soon be here.  We had our breakfast and while everyone was eating we read a chapter of our current book (The Family Under the Bridge) and then we did a quick bit of science.
  • Grannymom and Grandpa arrived and the excitement started.  The shelves in Robby's office had started to lean and the brace even crashed through the drywall. We have no idea why this happened-it surely couldn't be because I use every inch on those shelves as my pantry. Those babies have to hold up pounds and pounds of food for my people.  
  • Robby and Grandpa worked on the shelves all morning long and stopped for lunch.  Grannymom played with the kids while I scurried around doing some things in the house.  The boys did help organize our shoes, match up our lost socks and Reagan organized all of the American Girl doll clothes.  After our lasagna lunch, Robby and Grandpa started another project in my pantry.  I did get a lesson on my new jigsaw today so that was perfect as well.  
  • After Grannymom and Grandpa left, the kids napped and watched movies while Robby and I worked on reloading up the closet.  I have straightened that closet before but I have never taken everything out of it and started over.  I think that we did much better this time and even have some extra room-maybe I need to go to the grocery store to fill up those shelves.
  • The afternoon went by too quickly because by the time that we had finished our project and straightened the downstairs, it was time for Whitman to wake up.  When I go and get him, he is usually standing in his pack n play staring at the door-wonder how long that perfect baby stands there quietly and waits on me.  
  • The kids did some massive perler beading today-meaning, I spent most of my evening ironing and ironing some more.  We finally had supper-sandwiches or tortillas. The kids helped us straighten a bit more and then we just let them play and play until time for the ballgame.  When it was time for the ballgame Robby's tv/signal/internet/something would only work for about 1 minute and then go off.  This was a tad bit humorous to me but not so much to Robby and the boys.  They were getting pretty upset about all of this.  Thankfully, Robby was able to play the game on the tv through his phone signal. 
  • Anderson is so enjoying this ballgame.  He is jumping up and down and yelling like I remember his Daddy doing many years ago.  I am really surprised that he hasn't woken up Whitman yet with all of his screaming.  I will almost hate to put him in bed...nah, I won't mind!  Right now it is still in the first half of the ballgame-Anderson is still yelling loud and Campbell and Keaton are on each side of me covered up and probably about to fall asleep (at least I hope).
  • It is kind of cruel keeping the kids up so late-all of our Christmas festivities they stayed up late, we had a late movie night, the ballgame tonight and New Years Eve later this week.  They are still a bit sleep deprived but thankfully we can catch up on some sleep in the days to come.
  • Update: 3 of the 6 kids managed to stay up until the end of the game (11:20 pm).  Whitman went to bed before it started and Campbell and Graham made it until about 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.   I think Anderson could watch another 4 quarters... but we're going to bed!

December 28, 2014

A cooperative patient?
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Church morning and even though the alarm clock went off, the snooze button was a bit too close.  We had time to feed and dress everyone so I guess I can't really complain but we left the house a mess!  Dishes everywhere, clothes everywhere, a crazy mess-it doesn't help that I am now a bit done with the Christmas toys that have taken over. Even though I have the kids put up at least something every day and the piles are getting smaller, it is still a lot.  I guess that I should have them put up more than a yoyo, a thing of playdoh and some stickers each day.
  • Since there was only one service today at church, the sanctuary was full and that was nice. You forget how nice it is to be in a packed sanctuary-almost more exciting.  (Which I know is wrong because the amount of people should not be dependent on my amount of worshiping.) Sometimes I would love to have a video of us sitting in big church-Campbell rolled up her bulletin to use as a telescope so she could better see during the sermon and Graham had the hiccups the entire length of the sermon.  
  • Lunch was at Nonna's house today and it was nice having a bit of extra time.  The boys spent their time watching a Big Foot show on tv, Robby spent his time snoozing on the couch, Campbell spent her time tormenting Whitman, Reagan and Keaton did some coloring while I talked.  As soon as we made it home, the little people took their naps, the medium sized people watched tv and the big people also had a nap.  I tried my hardest to get Campbell to go to sleep beside me like she does every Sunday.  But today she would lay down and then get back up again.  
  • Since there was no church tonight, we had a restful evening.  Robby got the boys a new game on their kindles.  It was a football game and when they picked out players, Anderson said that he wanted to be a dark skinned player.  Robby asked why thinking that maybe he would want to pick someone to look more like himself.  Anderson replied back that dark skinned people ran faster.  Maybe he is right.
  • We pulled out pizza for supper but Whitman wasn't too happy with his plate so he screamed until we put him in bed.  When the others left, we got him back out of bed and he sat happily eating his food.  I guess it was too noisy for him-though he still isn't back to his normal self.  I wish that he had his appetite back but at least he is drinking milk and lots and lots of it.  Or maybe he has just become extremely picky!
  • Before we watched a tv show, the kids played with their remote control stuff-poor Santa helicopters are broken beyond repair (Robby has spent more time repairing remote control things the past few days-he is thinking of getting an online degree in remote control repairing.) The boys don't seem to care too much so maybe they will forget their Santa gift this year was a bust-or maybe they will try harder to be better next year so they will get what they want (Anderson said this the other day).  (Don't worry, they are not scarred, they are blessed beyond belief with stuff.)
  • We watched a few episodes of Duck Dynasty before going to bed.  I think my Campbell was tired tonight after missing her Sunday nap with me...and she played hard tonight too.  She put Whitman in a chair and played doctor with that child.  She poked on him, gave him shots, looked in his ears and that baby just sat there perfectly.

December 27, 2014

Playing with hover craft!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Another lazy morning around here. Graham and Campbell were up first but they hung out in the living room for a while.  When Robby woke up, I did make him a little drink that I read about last night-a drink to help his cold.  My little helper, Campbell and Keaton, helped me.  Sweet Keaton said that we should pray for Daddy to get better and we did since that was probably a better idea than serving him up the drink that I found last night on pinterest (vinegar, lemon juice, honey, cinnamon, hot water).  I did keep calling in "poison" which upset some but delighted others.
  • My Whitman slept well but continues with his cough and runny nose.  When that child starts coughing, he coughs and coughs and coughs.  He doesn't cough that often but man, when he does.  Tonight we forgot to dope him up before he went to bed so we had to pull him out of bed.  He did not love this at all.  Robby suctioned his little nose, he breathed Anderson's breather and I rubbed vick's vapor rub all over his chest.  Thankfully, he went back to bed fine but talked and talked before finally falling asleep.
  • But back to this morning-more of the same around here: present playing, present opening and some present putting awaying.  When I was little and pretty much every year, I have displayed my presents out until after my birthday.  One of the kids in our Sunday school class made a hot chocolate kit and we used it the other night-after using that one gift, I didn't feel like I could display my presents any longer since one had already been used (taken apart in this case) so I worked on putting some of my stuff away-kind of makes me sad!
  • Around 11, we headed to Sams-picking up medicine for everyone.  Since our deductible has been met, we wanted to make sure that we get every last drop of medicine this month that we can.  At Sams we walked around trying to find samples.  They do have a sample machine at Sams where you put your Sams card in and it spits out a sample.  Campbell did this and all of the kids waited and waited and waited on the sample to drop out of the machine.  Finally, the sample fell and it was ONE peppermint.  Robby and I just laughed and laughed but the kids didn't find this too funny at all.  I am sure that their mouths had been watering as they watched the little video as their sample was about to be dispensed and then there it was-one peppermint to split between 6 kiddos.  No one got to eat the peppermint-Robby just had to put it in his pocket. 
  • Next stop was Grannymom's house.  Campbell was to spend the night over there.  She packed her bags early, early this morning.  I do believe that she had most things she needed-I checked underwear, toothbrush and church clothes.  Oddly enough, she did bring about 20 blocks with her.  Sometimes I just wonder what they are thinking!
  • We picked up lunch (Subway) and ate over there and before the kids could finish eating, Robby and I ran out to go to the grocery store.  We shopped and shopped and spent an ungodly amount of money and didn't really buy anything but we had lots of fun being in a store without any kids.  Our little checker did get Robby stirred up-as she scanned our coupons, if they didn't scan she would just put them in the pile and keep on going as if they had scanned-how deceptive!  Robby didn't let that go and did speak with customer service.  We had worked hard to get and use all of those coupons and were watching intently on the screen and since we didn't have kids with us, we were thinking clearly and caught everything happening!  Too bad we weren't mystery shopping that store today.  
  • After our shopping experience, we ran back to Grannymom's house to pick up the kids.  We couldn't stay long because Robby had 5 different types of cookies and creme ice cream in the van (more on that New Year's Eve).  
  • Back at home, Robby and I started to put away the groceries but then just decided that we would empty out the entire Robby's office closet/my overflow pantry.  Grandpa is going to shore up the shelves early next week so instead of putting groceries in there to just move later, we just moved everything to the living room.  So now in this room, we have all of the Christmas presents and at least 60 days worth of food.  If we just had a bathroom in here or a fridge we would never have to leave the couch!
  • Eventually, we had our chili leftovers for supper.  The kids were talking about the sled that they had seen at Sams today.  I probably wasn't thinking clearly but I told them that if they all read a book by Wednesday, then I would buy 1 when I went back to Sams to pick up more medicine. That lit a fire under them and Reagan finished a book tonight, Graham is close but Anderson may be the hold up but he did do pretty well.  Now, the hard part-I told them that I wouldn't say anything else to them to remind them about it.  I guess that I can strategically place their books so they will not be able to forget about their reading.  Of course, I know buying a sled means that it will never ever snow here again!
  • Since tomorrow is Sunday, it was time for our weekly showers.  Sometime after the showers, we did have a case of the missing underwear.  Graham didn't make it to the bathroom in time-that part was no big deal to us but when Robby put his pjs in the wash, he couldn't find his undies.  I know he had some on because I questioned him if he put his old ones back on.  But they were no where to be found-no where, seriously, not anywhere!  Finally, we just assumed that he didn't have any on-at least I hope I don't stumble across old undies someday!
  • Around 8, we finally put the crew to bed-they begged for Robby to read the Bible story.  We usually don't read it if someone isn't there but since the kids asked, Robby obliged and said that we would catch Campbell on what happened in our story tonight.

December 26, 2014

Chillin' with the iPad
(click here for today's pictures)
  • You know it is a good day when you are still in bed until almost 10.  I don't think that anyone in the house was up until 8 and then the kids started slowly coming downstairs. Whitman talked in his bed for a while but by the time we got him out, he had gone back to sleep.  Then he played happily in the floor with Keaton and Campbell while we stayed in bed playing Trivia Crack on Robby's ipad.  
  • Reagan was playing with her legos and the boys were working on their presents as well.  We probably could have stayed in bed longer if it wasn't for Campbell's karaoke machine.  I have said Bro. Jon's name more in the last 2 days than I ever have: "Bro. Jon doesn't hold two microphones so you don't either" or "Bro. Jon doesn't scream in the microphone so you don't either."  That doesn't seem to help so the hollering of "9-1-1" and shouts of "Merry Christmas" over the microphone finally caused us to get out of bed (and no I have no idea why they like to scream 9-1-1 into the microphone.)
  • After breakfast, we loaded up and went shopping.  When we told Graham what we were doing, he said "shopping? But it is not Saturday."  Even though it wasn't Saturday we needed Christmas tree lights along with wrapping paper so out we went.  
  • As an added bonus, the kids (3) had gift cards and Anderson had a few returns to make so we let them do their shopping (as if they need anything else.)  The first stop was Anderson's Toys R Us returns-he had a few birthday and Christmas duplicates.  It took Anderson a bit of time but he finally picked out a tiny remote control truck and 2 sets of legos.  (Oh, he really loves legos.)
  • Then it was to Walmart to look for lights and wrapping paper-we found both there and then went to Target.  Reagan was the one with a gift card at Target.  Reagan found a digibird to sing along with the one that she received from Beebee.  She was pleased with her purchase and I enjoyed walking around the Christmas clearance aisles.  I remember one January at Target, they were still pulling out Christmas merchandise and everything was 90% off.  It was absolutely crazy but not so like that today.
  • Campbell and Anderson had gift cards at Michaels and Campbell had been pretty concerned about us not making it there.  Anderson had no trouble picking out his purchase-perler beads. He even convinced Robby to loan him a few bucks if he went over his gift card amount.  And Campbell found a coloring thing and then a Hello Kitty diary.  That stop was the least painful of them all-probably by this time, Whitman was so tired that he had stopped his squealing while we were there.  All he did at our other stops was squeal and make noises.  
  • We grabbed some pizza and then went home to have a very late lunch or a slightly early supper.  The kids ate and then we let them watch a few movies while Whitman finished his afternoon nap that he started in the car.  
  • After their movies, they started playing with their remote control toys-one of the Santa helicopters have already bit the dust.  He didn't pay that much for them but really, why do remote control toys have to break?  Probably because of the plethora of toys around here, my boys take things in stride and haven't seemed too concerned about one less helicopter.  One helicopter was working though and the kids decided to fly it in the mudroom with the lights off-I am not exactly sure why this caused so much screaming but they screamed and squealed and seemed to have fun so we just put in our ear plugs and left them alone.
  • We did give everyone a sandwich or tortilla tonight before our Bible story and bedtime.  Whitman came upstairs during our Bible story tonight and sat in the floor playing with his toys. Then Robby and he played in the living room for a bit before his bedtime.  

December 25, 2014-Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Let's go back to Christmas Eve for a few minutes before I mention Christmas day. I had done all of the wrapping last week and sat on the couch drinking my drink and eating a snack surfing the web last night.  Robby had not planned ahead so wisely so he went upstairs to wrap and put one thing together.  He was gone and he was gone and he didn't come back and he didn't come back.  I finished my snack, finished my drink, reached the end of the internet and was about to call the cavalry to go and check on him.  When he did come downstairs, he had a big box-some of it was wrapped in one wrapping paper, some wrapped in another wrapping paper and the rest of the box showing.  That was fine because that box had been sitting in the mud room for quite a few days so I wasn't surprised it was for me.  What did Robby do with his box?  Well, he disgustedly dropped it in front of the Christmas tree and said "it was a Christmas fail."  I spent most of the night wondering what he had bought for me that he had to put together and what in the world could be in that box.
  • Back to this morning now-for the first time, we woke up before the kids.  Robby had time to get a shower and I made our monkey bread.  We leisurely changed Whitman's diaper and then sent him upstairs to wake the others up.  It didn't take too much waking since everyone was already awake and laying in their bed quietly.  (Actually, I am not too sure that Graham ever went to sleep last night.  He was wide awake at midnight and went to the bathroom.  I went upstairs to check on him and he asked how many more hours until time to wake up.  I told him it was at least 6 or 7 and I think he was about to cry.)
  • The kids all came down the steps and waited at the edge of the living room.  During the night, we had lined the short hallway from the steps to the living room with bar stools.  If they had tried to come down in the middle of the night, the entire house would have known about it as they would have made quite a commotion.  On Robby's go, everyone ran into the living room to see what they had under the tree.
  • Anderson went for his presents first (one from Santa along with a stocking, one from us, and one from a brother or sister who drew his name.)  First he opened his magnets, then a robotic drone and finally k-nex from Whitman.  He was pleased but later said that he must not have been good enough because Santa didn't bring him what he wanted-a remote control truck (he told that to one Santa but never told that to the Santas who would actually be buying his presents.)  I still think he was pleased with his loot-and not too scarred.  I have discovered that my Anderson is the lego man in the house and has worked all of his legos and most of Graham's legos.  
  • When Whitman walked into the loving room, he found his plasma car from Santa and sat right on it knowing that it was his.  He really didn't care about opening his legos from Keaton or his car set from us (the boys were quick to point out that they used to have cars like those-um, yes they did.  It is nice to occasionally shop from your attic.)  Whitman did like his cars along with his little people and figures that he had already received and spent most of the day caring them all around, taking trip after trip, to different places.  
  • Reagan's favorite part of Christmas morning was her stocking and it did not disappoint her. She was pleased with all of her little stocking things.  Then she started on her gifts-An American Girl type (Target) doll, a boogie board (fancy etch a sketch) and a play-doh type vanity.  My Reagan's favorite was the boogie board-she loves to write and has already gotten her money worth out of it. 
  • Campbell was really into the presents this year too.  She quickly saw Reagan's doll and made it clear that she had wanted one of those too.  I pointed her in the right direction and she found that Santa had indeed left her a doll too.  Then she opened a Doc McStuffins play set from Graham and finally, she opened a Hello Kitty CD player/karaoke machine from us-really, what in the world were we thinking?  Can you imagine-2 microphones handed over to a 5 year old?  I guess I got all wrapped up in the Christmas magic and lost my mind to buy that!  No worries, it will soon be moving up to the bonus room and can be played with there.
  •  Keaton was too distracted with everything else going on to realize that there were actually presents for her to open.  She dumped half of her stocking and didn't get much further than that.  Finally, she found her pile and opened a baby doll, a little princess doll from Reagan and a mini doll house.  She had asked Santa for a doll house so I made sure there was one under the tree for her (I was in a panic until I found a tiny doll house for her since we already have a big one) (See if Anderson would have just told the right Santa, he might have been more pleased with his presents-nothing will ever compare to the Christmas that Reagan tore through her presents looking for a purple dog and was pretty much devastated that she didn't receive one.)
  • And now for my Graham.  He was the most excited-it took him forever to go through his stocking.  He would shout "A YO-YO, I have always wanted one" or "I love Jellybeans.  I have jellybeans"-he would shout something about everything he pulled out.  Then his presents were next-a nerf gun and a tiny lego box from Reagan, a Crayola set to draw a car and then race it on the ipad and a ufo type helicopter like Anderson's.
  • We had time to work on opening everything that we could get our hands on for the kids.  Soon Grannymom, Grandpa, Jason, Nonna and Pops all showed up for our Christmas breakfast-monkey bread, eggs and sausage balls.  The kids were so excited to show off their toys and even though we don't go all out on Christmas morning, they still had more than enough stuff and are plenty blessed.  
  • Robby and I did pretty well too-I got a jigsaw (so I can cut something or another!) and that present that took Robby forever to put together was an awesome 3-tiered serving stand that I had seen and wanted.  We tried again to put it together and even though we did better than he had the night before, it was still a bit too wobbly.  He might just order it from another place. Robby had a fast charger as his main present (hmm, that reminds me that I need to give him some of his money to pay him for ordering his Christmas present) and he also racked up a trash can (getting old just changes Christmas some-trash cans and chargers aren't as fun as toys!)  He did win 3 dollars off of 10 dollars of lottery tickets-he said that it was just a good yearly reminder as why he doesn't play the lottery.
  • The kids enjoyed playing with their toys when everyone was here and even though we tried to straighten some, it still looked like Toys R Us blew up in here.  We actually continued straightening until it was time to leave for Dana's house-actually until it was past time to leave for Dana's house.  We had lost track of time but made it quickly there to eat her Feliz Navidad dinner.  
  • The kids were more interested in watching Cash on his Santa gift-a mini motorcycle.  Most of them even got to try it out-I know the boys did and Campbell and Keaton did it while Cash drove along with them.  But I am not sure if Reagan rode on it.  She did have on all of her new clothes from Nonna so she was probably trying not to get too dirty.  We stayed until Dana had to leave and then we loaded up and came home for more present opening and present playing. 
  • I know that some day my Christmas days will be quiet so I try to enjoy 6 people calling me at the same time asking me to open things, find things and put thing together.  The kids were pretty tired by this point and we were too so I told everyone they could watch a movie-my 3 big kids watched a movie while working legos and my little girls colored while they watched their movie and Whitman, my poor sickly boy, quietly slept during his second nap of the day.
  • Robby and I decided to do what most people do on Christmas afternoon-take down the tree.  I told Robby that I knew the kids would laugh at us some day for taking down the tree on Christmas but right now (11:30 on Christmas night) it is so nice to be done with putting up my Christmas stuff.  Now, don't feel too sorry for the kids, they still have a tree in their room and are sleeping with the lights on it tonight-probably because I might take it down tomorrow!
  • We eventually had supper and then the kids told and showed everyone their favorite present and then we did our Bibles story time while drinking hot chocolate in the kitchen.  Then since it was Christmas day, we needed a little something special to do so we watched It's a Wonderful Life.  We may not have started the movie so late if we had known that it was over 2 hours long but the kids (those that stayed awake for it-Reagan, Anderson and Graham) kind of enjoyed watching Robby's favorite Christmas movie.  Keaton and Campbell tried to watch all of the movie but quickly fell asleep-Robby and I both dozed briefly.  It probably took us a bit longer to watch it because Robby had to stop it often to explain what had just happened. 
  • It was nearly 10:30 when the movie was over so he had to carry my sleeping Campbell and Keaton to bed.  I think that all of the Dennies at this house had a pretty perfect day!  Merry Christmas!

Christmas Ornament Countdown: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!  I hope you are still enjoying browsing at our Christmas ornaments.  I have loved reliving all of our trips again.  I couldn't decide which ornament to save for Christmas day so I just saved the two ornaments from our most favorite places from our last trip.

I had so looked forward to our day at the Ingalls Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota and was anxiously watching the clouds as we drove there. The rainstorm quickly passed over us and it then became the most perfect day ever.  I would jump in the car in a heartbeat if you asked us to return but since we had such a great time last trip, I just don't know if it would live up to our past visit. We made corn husk dolls, made rope, the kids drove the covered wagon, rode a horse, drove a cart, washed clothes and went to a prairie school.  Here is the link from that day.

Now Robby's favorite stop on this year's trip was the Henry Ford Museum and Greenwich Village. We did love it so much that we bought a pass to return sometime this year.  It was just amazing-we were surrounded by history: Wright Brothers shop, McGuffy's house, Edison's laboratory and so much more.  But the most fun was riding in the Model Ts.  The kids still talk about that!  Click here for the write up about that day.

It looks like I still have plenty of old ornaments to talk about next year and hopefully, we will be able to add a few to our collection.  Have a merry Christmas!

December 24, 2014 - Candlelight Service at GSFBC and Brock Christmas

Christmas Eve at the Brocks
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Reagan had the idea that Santa would not want cookies this year (that is probably what you had on your Santa plate) but she decided that he would enjoy pancakes. Robby and I thought that it would be fun new Christmas Eve tradition to make pancakes for breakfast.  Poor Robby worked and worked and was about to grab the pancakes from the freezer.  He finally was able to salvage a few for us to eat and enough to make a plate full for Santa.  At the end of breakfast, he declared that next year we would go down the road to the restaurant for our Christmas Eve breakfast.
  • Before the dishes were even cleaned, Robby loaded up Whitman and they went to run an errand and to wash the car.  They ended up at Grannymom's house and Whitman decided that he wanted to stay.  He spent the rest of the morning and afternoon playing happily without any interruptions with his toys.  Poor guy is pretty used to other people picking him up, telling him what to do and taking his toys from him so this was a huge Christmas treat for him-playing all by himself.
  • Back at home, we stayed busy-I was trying to finish those breakfast dishes (after cleaning up the pancake mess, I was convinced that the eating out idea was pretty good myself.)  I was also trying to change some sheets, unload the dishwasher, straighten the house and do some laundry.  But I spent my time, opening boxes and toys from last night and helping with all of that.  (I imagine that tomorrow will be spent doing more of the same-lots, lots more of the same.)
  • We had a few minutes of quiet this afternoon but then it was time to load up for church.  Whitman was already sound asleep in Grannymom's house-even before the sermon started!  Nonna and Pops were there too and the kids filled in the spots around the grandparents leaving Robby and I at the end of the row all alone (we probably should have just snuck out and ran a few errands!-kidding)  
  • Whitman did perfect during church except for his hacking cough-seriously, sounds like he is going to cough up a lung when he starts coughing.  But he was holding on tightly to hew new little toys and watched intently during the candle light part of the service. Keaton was pretty impressed with the candles this year and as always, I was pretty impressed that no Dennie's were burned!  I do think that my eye brows were almost scorched in the process of holding Keaton, holding my candle and making sure she didn't catch me, her hair or the church on fire.
  • The the kids could hardly contain themselves after church because they knew our Christmas celebration was continuing at Nonna's house.  First, Nonna had a delicious meal-turkey, dressing and the trimmings.  But that isn't really what the kids were looking forward to so much-it was the presents.  Though they were keeping a careful eye with Jason on his phone about where Santa was located.  He was in Africa during supper and Brazil while we opened presents.  At one point, I think that Graham was ready to leave just so we didn't miss Santa at home. 
  • We finally started opening presents and my little people were so excited.  Whitman saw his seat that we use in the kitchen at home and just sat down and let me buckle him in.  His first present was some Little People and he just played with them most of the time that the rest of us opened our presents.  I do have a perfect little baby-when he opened a package of diapers, he just hugged them!
  • Reagan had gone shopping with Nonna to pick out some of her Christmas presents and she was probably the most proud of her boots-that had a high heels (not really high but to a 9 year old, they were high).  She also loved her little bird toy from Beebee.  Anderson was just as excited-he liked to guess what was in his and everyone else's presents before he opened them.  That child is so quickly growing up that it makes me just a bit sad.  He was like a little man over there opening his presents.  
  • My Graham was so excited about watching everyone that he couldn't sit down for anything. He wanted to see everything and would get so excited about everything that he opened.  Campbell was also the cutest thing and loved opening up all of her Hello Kitty items-she and Keaton will be so busy with all of their art supplied that they have received.  It is a good thing that we will be out of school the next few days so we can do some major crafting!
  • And my Keaton-she is the most precious thing and would get so excited about each thing that she opened.  Though when Nonna had mistakenly put Keaton's name on a purse for Campbell, Keaton wasn't too thrilled about that.  Don't feel sorry for her, Keaton had already opened a purse for herself.  After a few minutes, Keaton did decide that it was okay for Campbell to have a purse too.  
  • It took longer to clean up from the presents than it did to open them all-everyone was pleased with their goodies.  But it was soon time for us to head home, after all Santa was on his way!
  • At home, we did our Bible reading, looked at an ornament, pulled Santa down and then the most exciting thing of all-throwing reindeer food out for Santa's reindeer.  Then Robby read Twas the Night Before Christmas right before the kids went to bed. 
  • I think that the kids were pretty tired but I am glad that it was an early bedtime, because Robby and I have miles to go-I have already unloaded and arranged the presents from tonight and he has already blown off the front porch.  Merry Christmas Eve!  

Christmas Ornament Countdown: 1 Day until Christmas

Have you ever had a "spample"?  Well, we have and a "spample" is a sample of Spam in case you didn't know.  I just looked at the website for the Spam museum this year in Austin, MN and it is now closed for remodeling.  I guess it is a good think that we had a "spample" when we did.  I just love my can of Spam hanging on the Christmas tree.  Here is the write up from that day.

December 23, 2014-Dennie Family Circle

Celebrating Christmas Dennie-style!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • The kindles are usually locked up in Robby's closet each morning but this morning, I had left my kindle on the table because I had downloaded a book for Graham to read.  Being able to read on a kindle this morning was just about as exciting as Christmas morning.  Reading on the kindles was one of the main reasons we bought them but it is impossible (as far as I know) to download books from the library and keep the kindle in safe kid mode so they don't ever get to read for fun on them.
  • While eating breakfast this morning, I read some of our Christmas books that we got out when we put the tree up-I am not usually a procrastinator but I sure have waited until the last minute to read those books this year.  I will do better next year.
  • Then we did a little bit of science, read some and then it was free time for everyone.  I worked with my little girls on making another Santa cookie.  And after doing a bit of this and a bit of that, it was soon time to fix lunch and do some more reading of those Christmas books.  
  • After lunch, I made Reagan and Anderson read some more so they could finish their book and I told Graham that he could read another book or help me straighten.  I was sure that he would pick read but that child must know that Santa is coming because he probably picked up more things than I did while the others were reading.  
  • Next up was showers and then naps for my little people.  Whitman has a pretty good cough along with Keaton who slept on our room for the second night last night.  Campbell also had a cough that makes her sound like 2 pack a day smoker.  No one feels bad so hopefully everyone will continue to improve and not get worse.  
  • Robby came home eventually and pretty soon after, it was time to load up for Grannymom's house.  Last night Reagan asked exactly what time we were leaving for Dennie family circle and she had set her alarm on her watch. 
  • Les and family were already there and we had time to let the kids play the game that we played a few nights before.  The kids did really well and we will probably have to play some time here-you could just see their wheels spinning as they were trying to think of what to say or do when it was their turn to give the clues.  
  • Dana and her crew arrived soon after and before we knew it, we were opening presents. Whitman was the first to open a present and he liked opening presents.  Unfortunately, he only had to wait for 13 more presents to be opened before he could open another one!  The kids opened from youngest to oldest and then 2 adults were able to open their present after the kids had one turn.  Since I am the youngest adult, I opened mine first-a magazine subscription and a dutch oven filled with supplies to make chili. 
  • The kids racked up so here are the highlights: Reagan-art stuff, bow and arrow and curling iron.  Anderson-remote control battling cars, legos, tervis cup, spy goggles.  Graham-legos, spy goggles, tervis cup, art supplies.  Campbell-art supplies, legos, bow and arrow.  Keaton-art supplies, popsicle letters.  Whitman-diapers, Daniel Tiger little people and beads to string.  
  • I think that the kids enjoyed the presents but they really seemed to just enjoy being with all of their cousins.  After we finished all of the presents, it was time to start the eating.  Grannymom had chili and lots of desserts for us to eat.  While we ate, the kids played together and opened up their presents.
  • We stayed until well past bedtime and the kids put on their Christmassy pajamas and looked as cute as can be.  When we made it home, we did our Bible reading, santa pulling and ornament looking before bed.  We told the kids that they could wake up at 7 in the morning, but they couldn't start opening up their presents until after breakfast-main reason, we didn't want 5 people in our room asking us to cut things out of boxes at the crack of dawn!  No one really seemed to mind-maybe just because they were too tired to complain.
  • As we just looked at the group family picture, there are 20 people and only one child is acting a-fool in the pictures.  16 pictures and 15 crazy faces made by one child.  You will know the one child tomorrow because they will be walking with their hand on their sore bottom!

Christmas Ornament Countdown: 2 Days until Christmas

Robby was a little shocked when I walked out of the Mill City Museum gift shop with a bag of flour to hang on our Christmas tree.  I figured that we had other food items (Spam, syrup, jelly beans, hamburger, water bottle) so a bag of flour would go pretty well.  I did have to use the flour first but it tasted delicious (really, just tasted like flour) but then I stuffed the bag with cotton so the tree wouldn't tip over.  The other night, Graham picked the bag of flour to talk about and that child remembered many of the details of that stop.

Here is the link for that day of our travels.

December 22, 2014-Happy Birthday Campbell (one more time!)

Keaton goes on  play date!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • After staying up so late last night, my little people were tired, tired and they all slept until 8:30.  Of course, even though they slept late, they really didn't still catch up on all of their sleep.  This made for some pretty almost fussy, almost cranky little people.  We avoided complete meltdowns by anyone but I had to work hard to keep everyone happy.
  • After our breakfast, we had our last day of school and no one really had too much to do.  Both of my boys finished and then I went to check on Reagan.  She was in the floor playing with Whitman and Keaton-that is sweet and all but I really wanted for her to finish school.  It took her about 45 minutes longer than the boys to finish and this did not make Reagan happy at all.  
  • When Reagan did finish her school, we all did a bit of together work and then we did a quick clean of the house before Nonna and Pops arrived.  They brought lunch and cake for one last celebration of Campbell's birthday.
  • Campbell was again pretty pleased to blow out her candles-one more time.  And now, other than my own, we have no more birthdays in our little family until April.  Woohoo!  The kids pretty much devoured the pizza leaving Nonna, Pops and me with only one piece and they did pretty much the same thing to the huge chocolate cupcake that Nonna brought.  
  • When Nonna and Pops left, we had a bit of time at home before loading up to take Keaton to her friends house to play.  Keaton was so excited to go to her playdate and insisted on wearing her Minnie baseball hat and purple skirt.  That was fine with me but as hard as I tried, I couldn't get her to give up bringing a bottle of water, stickers and a tiny stuffed elephant with her.  She had a blast and wasn't too happy to see Robby arrive to bring her home.
  • Once at home, we had supper and then the kids had a few minutes to play before we caught up on all of our December Bible reading, Santa pulling and ornament talking about.  Then everyone had a tiny snack before we put the crew to bed-earliest bedtime lately at 8.  Keaton is already sleeping in our room-last night at midnight, Reagan walked downstairs wide awake and said that Keaton had been coughing and neither one of them had been to sleep.  We didn't want that to happen again so as soon as we heard Keaton cough, we quickly brought her down to our room.  

Christmas Ornament Countdown: 3 Days until Christmas

We love the entire National Park system and will usually go out of our way to stop at any of these branches. We had debated going to Grant's Farm in St. Louis but decided instead to just go to White Haven which was Ulysses S. Grant's home.  We usually shy away from tours with the kids because it is often a gamble on getting a child-friendly tour guide but we lucked out this time.  The guide was great and they had a wonderful Junior Ranger booklet for the kids to do.  They so enjoyed their little learning experience and so did we.

Here is the link from that post.

December 21, 2014-Happy Birthday Campbell!

(click here for today's pictures)
Happy 5th Birthday Campbell!

  • This was Campbell's real birthday and since it was Sunday too, we opted for cinnamon rolls instead of a very early trip to the doughnut place.  My Campbell was thrilled with her cinnamon rolls and wanted to sit at the table near her birthday sign and at the chair that had a balloon on it.  (Yep, a balloon-the same balloon from her birthday party about 3 weeks ago-we hid that thing really well and can't believe that it lasted that long.)
  • Church was great as always-I am just so impressed with how well my people sit still and listen during church.  And by "my people" I mean Reagan, Anderson and Graham. They do great sitting still but oh, my birthday girl she sure can't sit still at all.  Today, she did crack me up because she kept wanting me to find the songs that we were singing in the hymnal-I am not sure too many of them were in the hymnal!
  • I was in the nursery during the Sunday school hour for us and we kept looking at the clock and looking at the clock and it ticked slowly by.  At 11:30, I mentioned that time was just dragging and then a few minutes later when the clock just said 11:40, Robby showed up putting things in my bag.  I was surprised that he was already getting the kids and he looked at our clock and told us that the cock was wrong!  What a relief!
  • It took us forever to get out the church house-we had a few teacher gifts, leftover cupcakes, all of our Bibles, all of the kids Sunday school papers and crafts and gifts.  One teacher even had to give Robby a Walmart bag to haul some of his stuff.
  • We then hurried on to Grannymom's house for lunch.  Campbell blew out her lunch birthday candles and relished everyone singing to her-everyone but Whitman, he was still buckled in his seat in the kitchen when we all went to the dining room to sing to Campbell-he didn't mind and was singing along happily even though he was all alone!
  • Robby and I ran to Walmart and Sam's to pick up a few things for tonight and then it was home for naps and some speed cooking.  We did have a few minutes to relax and that was nice but then it was time to get ready and leave again.  
  • We had a Christmas party with our neighbors (kind of) the Wilsons and the Atwoods and our non-neighbors Phillips.  Everyone brought some food-my birthday girl and I had made a Santa cookie so of course we again had birthday candles.  The kids ate and played and the adults ate and played too.  My little girls and Whitman hung pretty close to me, the boys played with Brett and the xbox while Reagan played the games with the grown ups.  It was a good evening and since they live close by, we were home and the kids in bed by 10:30.  

Christmas Ornament Countdown: 4 Days until Christmas

This stop was a recommendation for us so we made a bit of a detour and stopped at Nelis' Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan.  It was a quaint little stop and the kids really enjoyed it.  (I however did not like the ferris wheel at all-way too fast!)  The favorites were the zip line and the water pumps. Even though we didn't have as much time as we would have like, we were still able to enjoy the day.

Click here for the link from that day.

December 20, 2014-Happy (early) Birthday Campbell!

A holiday night out on the town...
(click here for today's pictures)
  • We did sleep in a bit this morning so that was nice but the almost birthday girl was ready for her almost birthday doughnuts-we celebrate birthdays a lot around here. The kids are always ready to light some candles and sing.  One of Whitman's new words of the day was "happy"-it won't be too long before he will singing along with everyone else.
  • Robby ran early while I made the kids do some school-ha, ha, ha! Oh, they just had to do 3 boxes and they were all finished in less than thirty minutes so don't even think that we were learning mandarin today or dissecting frogs.  Though Reagan is diagramming sentences in her language book: subject, verb, direct objects, predicate adjectives, predicate nominatives, adjectives and adverbs.  I think this is all well and good but I don't think we did that even in high school. I guess some day if she needs a talent that could be her talent.
  • After our bit of school, we went upstairs to pick up the toy room and then did a bit of reading. Robby and I made some chili and then I had my shower.  Whitman walked in the bathroom and heard the shower running and then he started pulling on his shirt and said "shower."  I let him in my shower but this caused me to have a pretty quick shower because the little guy probably wouldn't like the water as hot as I do and I sure didn't want to stay in a cool shower.  As soon as I stepped out though Keaton stepped in and when she was finished Campbell stepped in. Here I could write "You wouldn't believe our water bill" or I could say "So thankful for our tankless water heater."
  • After we pulled our prune (Whitman) out of the shower, I took him to bed and then I headed out to finished up my Christmas shopping and pick up a few groceries.  I made about 6 stops and was home in a bit less than 3 hours and hopefully finished everything up-we will see what I think of to add under the tree.  I did forget to buy enough cheese for tomorrow night's goodies so we will have to stop tomorrow and pick up some more.
  • Once I made it home, all of my people were outside playing and raking.  We raked for a bit and even put the kids to work-that really is more funny/frustrating than helpful but they do need to learn to do some work so it is good for them.  After they finished our little bit of raking, they had some more play time while we served up the chili for our very late lunch/very early supper.
  • The kids all had showers or baths while Robby and I worked on our 2 of at least 3 loads of laundry washed today (no, I didn't slack this week-we did laundry yesterday too-it will never end!)  Then it was time to load up for our annual Christmas light festivities.
  • We drove to NLR first and found a house lit up and the lights were synchronized to music so that was interesting to watch and we did sit there for quite a while watching the house.  Then it was on to the Enchanted Forest in Sherwood.  The line of cars was long and poor Campbell must have been a bit stressed out tonight because all she could talk about was how long it was going to take us to get out of the traffic along with questions about if we knew where we were going and how to get home (these questions stemmed from us having the gps on)
  • The Enchanted Forest was really neat and the kids loved looking at all of the lights.  Whitman and Keaton took it all in and the others were shouting and calling out the light displays that they saw.  
  • The next stop was for yogurt for the kids followed by a stop for a caramel apple cider from Starbucks for me and then a peppermint shake for Robby from Chickfila-it is Christmas after all!  The kids were a bit bummed that they didn't get any of Robby's shake-they couldn't even remember having their ice cream moments before then.
  • Final stop of the night was the State Capitol to see the lights.  We went to all of the levels but the kids were most impressed with the mail chute.  Last year they had a lego display in the windows at the capitol but this year they had a display of African American dolls-my boys were not impressed at all with this.  
  • Back at home, everyone put on their pajamas and then we all stayed up late watching the hogs play basketball.  The boys were thrilled to watch the hogs win and when it was bedtime, my crew was exhausted.  

Christmas Ornament Countdown: 5 Days until Christmas

In 2009, we took Reagan, Anderson and Graham to Disney World.  Nonna, Pops and Jason came along with us and it was great trip except that it was cold, cold-our first night at the parks it was 35 degrees.  Gracious!  The weather eventually warmed up enough for us to even swim in the chilly water once or twice.  It was a really fun trip and I am so glad that I have quite a few picture frame ornaments on my tree.

Here is the post from the first day of that trip.

December 19, 2014

Ringing the Bell!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • I wasn't really sure what day it was today but soon realized that it was Friday.  Graham and Campbell left their bedroom and went to play in the toy room quietly like good little children and then someone started yelling and Reagan yelled back at them to be quiet. As Reagan continued screaming for them to hush, all we could hear Campbell shout back was "never, never."  Oh, that child.
  • Pancakes and waffles for breakfast today and I almost had a riot when I said that I wouldn't make chocolate milk for breakfast.  The time was slowly ticking away and we needed to get school started.  Reagan was the most upset and she was ticked with me pretty much all day about it.  I had said that we would have chocolate milk for lunch but then corrected myself that we wouldn't be home for lunch-she didn't hear that.  So when I drove up to Taco Bell to pick up lunch, she said "see if they have chocolate milk.  YOU SAID we would have chocolate milk for lunch."  Oh, that child too!
  • We worked and worked at school and pretty much finished the day.  The kids have about one and a half days worth of school left to finish on Monday or hopefully finish some this weekend. For some reason, Anderson has no school left to do for me but Graham and Reagan have the day and a half left.  I have no idea what I have done to cause that to happen-probably gave his work to someone else!  
  • It seemed like we weren't doing school very long before it was time to get ready to leave.  Our first stop was to drop off Keaton and Whitman at Grannymom's house.  (My Keaton would have enjoyed going today but she enjoyed playing at Grannymom's more-though she has kept asking me today when she is going to ring the bell.)
  • We joined our buddies in taking a shift ringing the Salvation Army bell in front of Hobby Lobby. I wasn't really looking forward to it at all and had decided that maybe next year I would just donate ourselves out of this job.  But despite the rain (thankfully we were covered) and despite the cold (thankfully the wind was blocked), we had a blast.  The kids rang the bells and sang and sang some more.  I do believe that adorable singing and bell ringing kids probably helped the kettle total.  I probably should start giving more to the Salvation Army during the Christmas season-I would say about 75% of the people gave money and over 75% of those people gave bills of some sort.  That makes my change look pretty pitiful that we stick in the kettle when we walk by-though with my amazon shopping, I don't even think that I have been near one bell ringer this Christmas.  
  • I don't think that the kids could have rang for more than an hour since they were getting pretty restless but they so enjoyed it-Amber had even brought candy canes to pass out during her shift and left them for us to pass out.  Towards the end, I told the kids to see if we could get 4 more donations and they were practically jumping up and down when those 4 donations came in.  Next year, we will have to count how many folks we have donate-that would really make the time go for us.
  • Robby showed up for the last of our bell ringing and then he took us to Krispy Kreme to celebrate our hard work. The kids ate their doughnuts and Campbell made sure that we saved her one to sing Happy Birthday to her tomorrow (a day early.)  We saved some for Grannymom and Grandpa and Keaton and Whitman but Whitman grunted and pointed until he had eating 1 and a half doughnuts.  That little guy-he is a bit sickly today but doesn't feel bad at all and spent the day going strong!
  • Once at home, the kids had some downtime this afternoon and then it was time for another session of Christmas music and supper.  The kids picked a Christmas song and we listened while we ate our supper.  I don't think that Let it Go is a Christmas song but it has been played so much that Whitman now sings "Go" along with the music.
  • After cleaning for a minute or two, we had a scavenger hunt with our nativity scene people. The kids had to look up a verse in the Bible-like Isaiah 45:8 and then read the verse.  That verse said something about "let the clouds shower it (righteousness) down..."  So they were to determine that the nativity scene character was in hiding in the shower.  My big kids got the concept but it was still pretty hard for them to do.  But that was probably due to the fact that everyone-all 6 of them-were crazy tonight.  They couldn't sit still at all-like we had only eaten sugar or red dye for supper!  It was a pretty wild night but everyone survived and no one is sleeping in the shed so that is a good thing!