September 30, 2015-The Long Way to Disney (Day 1)

When the alarm on my phone went off this morning, I tried to pick it up and turn it off but the phone screen was blank.  I tried and tried but still nothing-the ringing didn’t seem to bother Robby at all.  I finally was able to turn off the ringing and hit snooze which was my goal all along.  All of that work trying to turn my alarm off woke me completely up and I couldn’t go back to sleep for my usual last few winks.

Robby and I had stayed up late last night getting everything ready for the trip so when we woke this morning, there were only a few more things to do.  I heard people moving around upstairs so I went to start waking everyone up. 

When I opened the girls’ door, the light was on and they had already made all of their beds.  I did have to wake the boys up but they were quick to rise and soon the upstairs was tidy and neat.  Everyone put on their clothes and had breakfast.

And then pretty much the kids didn’t really have anything to do for about 30 minutes.  They emptied the trash cans and then had time for a tv show or two.  Robby worked on loading up a few last minute things and Keaton and I walked to down to the bottoms to look at a few red spider flowers that were growing wild in the yard.

I am not really sure how we had so much extra time but we even arrived at Bible study early and sat in the car a bit before going in.  Once inside, everyone told their teachers that they would be out the next week.  And of course, since we were leaving right after Bible study, Whitman got his pants and socks wet. 

It was a good thing that we were planning on meeting and leaving from Grannymom’s house.  I threw Whitman’s clothes in the washing machine while we ate lunch and pottied one last time.  They were almost dry when we pulled out after lunch (which was a good thing because by the next stop, his clothes were agian soaking wet!)

At Keaton’s Elsa birthday party last night, we determined that she had probably never seen the movie Frozen so Grannymom had a copy of that.  It was our first round of entertainment and everyone was very interested in that movie.  I was too and since I couldn’t remember what happened, I spent a bit of the movie wtht my head leaning back watching the action.

The other part of the movie I drove since Robby was doing some work.  Since I couldn’t drive and lean back and watch the movie, I had to eat a box of candy.  The further south we drove the more tractors the boys noticed and the rougher I noticed that the roads were.

I guess I should again review with you (and actually for me when I am packing for the next trip) how the car is packed this time.  It is pretty much the same as it was the last time so we will start from the back to spice things up some. 

In the very back is Whitman’s stroller laying on top of Keaton’s brand new stroller.  She is past the stroller stage but at Disney everyone could use a stroller.  Buy one stroller from Walmart is cheaper than renting a stroller there for one day. 

Under the back row is a bin of my clothes and a bin of Robby’s clothes. Squeezed in the corner are the kids sleeping bags.

Sitting in the back row is Keaton and Reagan and between them is two towels to cover up with plus a box full of things to do: 2 boogie boards, crayons, colors, Keaton’s new baby doll, Reagan’s purse and a few more things.  Reagan is pretty obsessed with keeping her row clean and she is training Keaton in her ways.

For all that Reagan is worried about having a neat and clean row, the next row occupants are not!  Anderson and Campbell are not the neatest children that we have.  When they packed their box of goodies they included a few odd items-a huge light saber was included along with two blow up hammers.  I asked about the hammers and they said it was in case they wanted to hit each other on the head with the hammers and have a “hammer fight.”  So they have their box filled with who knows what and a towel between them in case they get cold. 

Under those two is a box of the kid clothes, a bin filled with ponchos (not spending a hundred bucks on ponchos again!) and a bin filled that is labeled “extras.”  This box has our National Park passport books, a football and anything that McGuyver could use (tapes, scissors, glow sticks, rubber bands, batteries, screwdriver and the like).

Next up is Graham and Whitman with a towel between them and their box of toys.  Everyone has a clipboard with a few travel games in their boxes along with the candy that was Keaton’s party favor from last night (actually by the sound of it, the candy has all been eaten).  Wedged beside Whitman is a sleeve of diapers and at his feet is his pack n play.  Under those boys is another bin of kids clothes, the little people’s floatees, a little bin of hats and Robby’s box of cords (enough to stretch around the globe!)

The first seat has 2 bins of food, a bin of emergency items (paper towels, bandaids and a complete change of clothes for everyone) along with diapers, wipes and a trash can. 

On top of the seat is the new item in our travels.  Robby and Grandpa rigged some drawers to set right behind the driver’s seat.  It is a set of 6 plastic drawers which are labled and filled: snacks, Disney items (autograph books, Mickey hats, pins to trade, spinners), bread, papers (this box is labled papers but is filled to the brim with rice krispy treats), kindles/cords and plates/cups.  On top of the drawers set Robby’s hat and under them is a large ice chest filled with snacks, our dvds and a box of sunscreen, carpet cleaner and fabreeze.  

Beside the new drawers sits an ice chest filled with water bottles and another box of food.  (Apparently I am planning as if they do not have grocery stores in Orlando.)  On the floor is the diaper bag and Robby’s packpack. 

Between Robby and I are two ice chests-one filled drinks and another filled wtih picnic items.  There are more cords up here along with a trash can, atlast, my bag of magazines and candy (mostly candly).  That now concludes the Dennie van tour. 

We stopped at McDonalds at Lake Village to stretch our legs.  Most of us had already been out of the car during our Lake Village potty stop.  Once in Lake Village, we changed the route a bit so we could eat supper in Jackson.

Supper was at Sal and Mookies-a pizza and ice cream joint.  The first time we came here they were repaving the parking lot and it was closed, the next time it was crazy crowded and very late but we stuck it out but this time it was perfect.  The wait was minimal and the kids were highly entertained by the wiki sticks (crayon like pipe cleaners to twist and play with while waiting for the food). 

After our fried ravioli, pizza and calzone for supper we loaded back up.  We had gone not very far when Campbell again asked again about where we were.  Robby printed out maps for the kids with our major stops listed but that hasn’t really helped her.  When we first left Little Rock she started asking if we were going to be near the Bass Pro.  We knew she meant the one in Memphis so we told her no but leaving supper she asked if we were near the Christmas hotel (in Gatlinburg).  We said no and asked why she thought that and said that she saw a sign for the Bass Pro shop and that the hotel before the Christmas hotel was near a Bass Pro.

Campbell’s memory is just like both of her brothers.  They can always remember our room numbers and what direction we need to turn to get to the elevator.  Meanwhile, I am the one who can barely remember our hotel room numbers and if I have to leave the room by myself will usually write the number on my phone.  I sure don’t want to walk in the wrong room.

Before arriving at the hotel, we had a shortish drive (about 2 hours) and the kids watched a Little House episode while we pressed on to the hotel.

September 29, 2015-Happy Birthday (party) Keaton!

Queen of the Birthday Party!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Yesterday we had said something about Keaton being 4 now but she was quick to say that she was not 4.  We could have I tried to explain that she was indeed 4 since her birthday was Sunday but we just let it slide because to her, this was the day that she turned 4.
  • I didn't have to work very hard to convince Keaton to wake up and put on her blue skirt and Elsa shirt.  I am sure that Ms. Jennifer thinks that we just let Keaton dress in pretty much whatever she wants to and though that is pretty much true (she is our 5th kid after all) today was the day of her Elsa birthday party.
  • Once Robby and Keaton left this morning, the rest of us started on our day-some school work, lots of packing and a bit of cleaning.  More than any of the other kids, Reagan is the one who gets the enormity of work involved in going on a trip.  She really kicks it up before a trip-straightening their room and packing everyone's toys for the trip.  She worked for the longest today on making sure the box of toys on each row was perfectly packed.
  • When it was lunch time, Reagan was the one helping out (or maybe she was just really hungry).  We cleaned out as many leftover bread, hot dog buns and hamburger buns as I could for breakfast with cinnamon toast.  So for lunch, we worked on eating our leftover english muffins.  Reagan is the one who made the pizzas-maybe I should have her make those once a week for the fam.
  • And today I really noticed that my Campbell might just be growing up some.  Now, she had plenty of her little usual fits today but she sat and talked to me early this morning while I was doing some work, she worked really hard today on her school work, she helped me pack, supervised as I made rice krispy treats and made ham and cheese croissants for Keaton's party.  
  • I guess I should say something here about my boys-well they are boys.  They spent most of their time today rough housing and when they were not doing that, they were sitting beside each other playing on Robby's ipad. Reagan gets the preparation for a trip and Campbell wants to help out-but the boys just aren't like that!  Just boys!
  • This afternoon we worked on science-for each planet we had to fill out a sheet about its size, distance, features and the like.  This took over an hour but was pretty interesting.  Reagan was always behind since she was trying to make hers look pretty with lots of colors, Anderson and Graham were able to keep up but 5 year old Campbell did so excellent and kept pretty much up with us.
  • After working and working all morning and afternoon long, it was time to load up and head to Keaton's birthday party.  On the way there it started to rain-we drove by the park where we had wanted to have her party but the trees were really dripping.  So we went to the park by the pool and even though it wasn't as pretty, the pavilion and tables really worked out better.  By the time that we had everything unloaded, all of our guests started showing up.
  • Jason, Nonna, Pops, Grannymom, Grandpa, Lilli, Cash and Dana were all there.  We had the birthday sign up and Robby even had balloons to celebrate.  Keaton came with Grannymom and was all smiles.  She was the cutest thing ever tonight-so sweet and polite.  
  • For supper we had chips, dip and those ham and cheese croissants made by Campbell.  The kids played some and then we sang Happy Birthday.  We sang the song and just as Keaton was about to blow out the candles, Whitman leaned in and blew every single one of those candles out.  Thankfully she wasn't upset and the rest of us just stood and stared-Reagan was the one who said "at least he knows how to blow out candles."  We re-lit those candles and did it again with Pops holding Whitman far, far away from those candles.
  • After a bit more play time, we made some snow!  Now I happened to have snow left over from Campbell's second or third birthday party.  The kids enjoyed playing in it but they really loved throwing it up and letting it snow all over their heads.  We made a little Olaf out of marshmallows and even had a few games with balloons-seriously, it was a big birthday party: crafts, games, food! And then there were presents.
  • We sat Keaton in her chair on top of the picnic table.  She was delighted with every single thing that she opened.  When she would open something that she really loved, then she would shout for Campbell to come and look at what she had.  She was so excited for herself and for her sister.  She opened legos, birdhouses, beads, a backpack, a baby doll, boogie board, baby doll bed (which Whitman has tried and tried to climb in-that is what happens when someone sleeps in a pack n play for their entire life), chalk, construction paper, a purse as well as a few other things.  
  • Once at home, we unloaded and then loaded the car back up again.  Shannon, Brett and Layne came over for a few minutes-the kids played while we talked and packed.  Then it was time for showers for all of the Dennie kids followed by bedtime.  Robby and I did a bit of work and then finally set down on the couch!

September 28, 2015

Group Hug!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • I thought but letting the kids sleep as late as they wanted to today since sleeping in won't happen the next few days.  But after Graham came downstairs right at 7 (I really need to move their clocks back a few minutes) I figured that everyone else should wake up too.  
  • After our breakfast, everyone started to work on their school work (only half a days work today) and their slew of chores.  My main goal this morning was to pack and did that happen?  No!  I worked almost as hard helping everyone do a half a days worth of school than I do with a whole day.
  • I was able to run upstairs a bit and get a few more things accomplished before lunch.  We read a book about everyone cooking rice so of course we made ride.  Now, I will clarify that our rice came out of a bag but I should have made two bags of rice.  When Keaton saw that I put chicken in it, she could not wait for me to give her "lots of that meat."
  • We read during lunch and then did some Disney pin trading.  I had assumed that my Graham remembered what that was all about but he became upset since he didn't really understand what we were doing.  Finally, I explained it well enough for him to understand and all was well.  Who knew Disney prepping was so difficult?  I do believe that a Disney trip is more difficult to plan and carry out than our big road trips. 
  • We read quite a few books this afternoon which gave me a full load of library books to run to the library tonight.  During the afternoon I was able to pack the kids clothes (making me almost finished with packing-the 7 page packing list is now down to 2 pages)
  • Robby came home and started grilling supper-hot dogs.  We all ate and then Whitman and I ran to the library.  Robby said something about me leaving and I had gone to get my shoes when I heard Whitman having himself a fit.  He was in his highchair and Robby was in front of him telling him that he couldn't understand what he wanted.  That baby had tears and was all red faced but as soon as I walked back into the room he stopped fussing.  That is when Robby realized that he thought I had left without him!  I probably should have left without him but he happily accompanied me to the library.
  • Back at home, Robby made sure everyone had showers and then started a redbox movie for them.  They were living it up eating popcorn and drinking coke when we came in from the library and Whitman quickly joined them until it was bedtime for everyone.

September 27, 2015-Happy Birthday Keaton and Geyer Springs 75th Anniversary

Happy 4th Birthday Keaton!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • When I woke Keaton up this morning, I told her that it was her birthday and she said "you need to get candles for my doughnuts."  Well, of course I had candles for her doughnuts and after everyone put on their clothes we began the breakfast celebration.
  • Graham really wanted to go outside and fly his helicopter this morning but we weren't home long enough for that.  Yesterday the boys had some gift cards and birthday money (yes from December and July) and their mother finally let them spend it at Walmart.  They both bought remote control helicopters even though that would not have been my choice since we have had at least 5 previous ones and they all end up breaking.  I really don't know what else they could have bought-possibly an xbox game or a legos (Anderson).  Anyway, Graham is the only one who still has his helicopter since Andeson's copter is now stuck in a tree out back.  
  • We rushed to church this morning trying to beat the crowd-today was the 75th anniversary of Geyer Springs.  This was a big day so even Keaton (not Whitman) went to big church.  And big church we had this morning-videos, music, recognitions, preaching-wonderful.  The kids were very interested to learn that Grandpa was one of the 37 people that started Geyer Springs.  Grandpa's dad was the first Sunday school superintendent.  Robby and I have been there all of our lives and we can even remember the 50th anniversary of the church.  
  • As we went to bed tonight, Robby told the kids how old they would be when the church turns 100. He went on to tell them that they might be married, possibly with their own kids, some of them may be having to help plan the celebration or even help us carry our lawnchairs.  
  • During church, Hughey stood up to preach so Graham bent down to pick up his Bible and grabbed Anderson's Bible as well his own.  When Graham put Anderson's Bible in his lap, Anderson put it back down in the floor.  I picked up my Bible next along with Anderson's Bible and he again put it in the floor.  That is when I grabbed his arm and made it clear to him that he would be using his Bible-he glared at me and said "there is only 1 minute left."  My child was busy watching the clock and had no idea that today would not be just an hour service!  The service was about an hour and a half but I could have set and listened to our choir for another hour or two.
  • After the service was over and I grabbed Whitman, we went down the hill to eat lunch.  They had hot dogs and BBQ and after quickly eating, the kids found their friends.  The boys played football (Anderson appeared to be the quarterback), Keaton found Evelyn and Campbell played with Molly and Hayley, Reagan helped with Whitman who was enjoying running around.  It was quite fun having a picnic with a few hundred of our closest friends.
  • We eventually went back inside to tour the new church building-new classrooms and most importantly to us-new bathrooms in the children's area (no more taking kids to the other side of the building to use the restroom.)  Then it was on to the fellowship hall filled with memorabilia from the last 75 years of church history.  Robby and I were well represented in the pictures so that gave us all a big laugh.
  • After finally making it home, we rested and then woke up ready to continue the birthday girl's celebration.  We picked up Grannymom and Grandpa and headed to Conway.  It was Conway or Branson and we figured that Conway was a tad closer to try out the new Andy's Frozen Custard.  Keaton again reminded me about her candle and was so happy as we all gathered around her to sing Happy Birthday to her.  
  • Everyone ate their ice cream and it was really a celebration because Robby and I didn't split one, we had our own!  We looked for the moon (lunar eclipse) on the way home but couldn't really see it do to the clouds so once home, it was bedtime for the crew.
  • Tonight's bedtime went much better than yesterday's bedtime-mainly because we didn't let the kids go upstairs until we were up there as well.  Though bedtime didn't go well for Whitman-silly me, after he had been in bed for at least 45 minutes I walked by his room and noticed that I had left his light on.  He was still wide awake just looking around probably wondering if I would ever return to turn off his light!

September 26, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

  • I have never heard my boys be so loud as they were this morning.  I have never heard anything like it-you would have thought that they were killing each other and not just sitting right beside each other on the couch playing their kindles.  I finally had to roll myself out of bed to tell them to hush since I didn't want the rest of the house to be woken up at 7:03.  Really, who wakes up that early when they stay up later than usual the night before? boys, I guess.
  • After my bed was full of little girls, Robby finally made cinnamon rolls-when he walked out of the room, Keaton and Campbell followed right behind him-I thought that was so funny since that is all they do to me all day every single day.  They helped him ice those cinnamon rolls and then we all had breakfast,.
  • A bit after breakfast, the kids did a school box this morning-I know, what horrible parents making them do school on a Saturday.  At least that is what they said but since they will miss 2 weeks of school coming up, I think they will survive.  
  • We then loaded up and headed to Walmart-we spent more time in Walmart than we have in the previous year combined.  And it was wonderful!  Probably because everyone else in the town were shopping down the road at the new Kroger.
  • And that was our next stop!  It was crazy crowded but I also loved it and so did my Reagan because they had some pretty good samples that they were passing out.  We knocked out quite a bit of shopping today but not any real work here at the house.
  • When we made it home, we had a quick bite to eat and the kids played for a minute or two before Whitman went down for a nap and the girls and I left for shopping trip 2.  We ran by Pennys to exchange a shirt of Reagans, then to Michael, next stop was Target to spend some of Reagan's biday money.  It was there that I saw most of the bedding that we have bought in the last few weeks/months on clearance-ugh!  But I did find some spoons so now the entire family can eat soup again-before today we had to share spoons when we needed to eat soup or more importantly ice cream!  Our final stop was at Sams and even though Campbell and Keaton were getting tired, we hurried around the building to try all of the samples that they still had out. 
  • We hurried home so we could make it home in time for the ballgame.  The kids watched the game off and on-they also ate supper, had showers and played the xbox.  Everyone was back watching the game at the end to see the devastating loss-yet again.  
  • Then it was bedtime-and it was a fail!  Graham and Reagan started having a fuss about sitting in her new chair and things just went downhill from there.  Gracious me, kids sure don't make things easy!

September 25, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

  • For some reason, I really look forward to Fridays even though they are pretty much the same as most days around here.  I did sleep in a bit longer today (though I only woke up in time for the treadmill twice this week).  When I woke up, Robby was already out of bed and in his office working.  I had a few minutes to eat my breakfast and then to get ready for the morning before I heard the footsteps of little feet upstairs.
  • The kids began migrating downstairs and we had breakfast while I read a bit.  Then it was time to start on our school work.  The kids school load was a bit lighter today and everyone but Anderson and Campbell were finished by 11.  
  • I took their early finish as a sign to start on our chores a bit early.  Today's chores consisted of a few odds and end-packing pjs, putting away laundry, packing socks and a host of other things.  The house was pretty well picked up before lunch and that was a very good thing.
  • We had lunch and then Anderson and Campbell finished their school while I did a bit of packing.  I did just a bit and then decided that I probably should just wait to the last minute because that would make things exciting! 
  • Then the kids and I did our together work-including science which the kids absolutely love this year.  They loved last year's science too but this years science cost about 270 bucks less so this one is of course my favorite!  
  • The afternoon always seemed to fly by and it did again this afternoon.  By the time that I had marked a few things off my list and handed out snacks, Robby was home and we were loading up to go out for supper.
  • Tonight's supper was at Salem Dairy Bar.  We had never been there and had wanted to try it-it was lots of fun.  Robby and I both had the frito chili pie and oh my goodness, my stomach is still on fire from that spicy chili.  The weather was perfect and the kids enjoyed eating outside-hot dogs, nachos, grilled cheese and then ice cream cones for all!
  • The Kerns stopped by the house tonight to pick up our projector.  They looked around the house and Robby even showed Greg all of our attics!  The kids, of course, were delighted to have someone come over tonight and they were even more delighted to get to stay up very, very late!

September 24, 2015

Celebrating Keaton at school!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • There was no having to wake Keaton up today-school day and her day to bring snacks.  And not just any snacks was she bringing, it was Elsa cupcakes to start her birthday celebrations a bit early.  Robby snapped her picture beside the birthday sign and Ms. Jennifer had her a birthday crown.  
  • After dropping her off, Robby and Campbell headed to the car place so he could have some work on his car done (recall work).  Robby said that Campbell quietly did her school work as happy as she could be while they waited.  The work took so long that they just ran to Walmart before picking Keaton up from school.
  • Once at home, we had lunch and then Grannymom and Grandpa came over to do a bit of work. Grandpa and Robby worked on pimping my ride a little bit-we now have a mini rv for road trips in our van (no, not rest room or showers but a fancy new drawer system)
  • This afternoon was exhausted and sat down in the chair and had myself a little nap. I must have been sound asleep when I agreed to paint the girls' fingernails.  I was about to try to talk my way out of that when I realized that it was indeed National Daughter's Day (or maybe that is another holiday that Facebook has made up).  
  • We spent at least an hour working on painting nails-the girls fingernails and my toenails. Campbell's and Keaton's polish is pretty much already off.  I really don't know what they do to make that happen since whenever I paint my toes it stays on them for months.  Anyway, Campbell had a chevron pattern, Keaton had little flowers, Reagan had a dot pattern and I also had dots.  It was quite a bit of fun and everyone was pleased when we finished.
  • Now since I was spending time with the girls for National Daughter's Day, Robby was outside wishing that is was National Husband's Day because he was wondering why I wasn't coming outside to help him in the yard.  I did eventually come outside just in time to help him clean up. We did decide to clean out the car for a few minutes before coming back in.
  • Robby then decided to cut the boys' hair (no, not Whitman-probably would if we could figure out how to not buzz it).  So they sat outside and got their trims while everyone else had showers. Campbell was mad at me about what shower I assigned her and she told me that she was going to take an extra long shower-like 2 hours long.  I said that she should go for it!
  • Her shower didn't last that long since soon supper was on the table-fish sticks and cornbread! The meal of champions!  After supper we pretty much did nothing since it was already 8.  We did our story time tonight and the kids were all happy to show off their pictures of Noah's Ark (Reagan didn't want us to take a picture of hers since she said it wasn't finished yet!)

September 23, 2015

Happy Fall!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • I heard the girls up earlier than 7 this morning and thought about going up there to make sure no one was unhappy about being woke up before our magical hour of 7 (the rule is-Don't even think about getting out of your bed or making a noise until 7)  I didn't go up there and those silly girls were all laying in Reagan's chair waiting on me.  They had plans to act like they were sleeping so I would wonder if they had all slept in her chair.
  • All my Anderson could think about this morning was playing his kindle.  We don't touch the kindles on school days until after lunch but he was aware that this was not a school morning and was a Bible study morning.  I was quick to point out that we still had a list of things to do before leaving the house and did not have time for their kindles.  Sometimes the kindles are nice and give the kids something to do but when they are using their kindles they do not hear a word I say-like brush your teeth, put your shoes on and the like.
  • We ate our breakfast and then headed off to Bible study.  When I picked Whitman up, he told me all about seeing Keaton and waving at her.  I thanked him for going into his class without fussing and then mentioned the park to him.  He was all about that and then started naming all of his sisters and his brothers so I could remember to go and pick them up.
  • Lunch was at the park and the kids had a great time playing with all of their buddies.  Then we loaded up and headed to Beebees.  She was in a fine mood but my peeps were not in a fine mood when we left.  I had mentioned Sonic and then when we climbed back in the car, they were told that there would be no Sonic today.  This silly kids can not keep their hands off of Whitman and off of Beebee's up and down chair for anything!  We can catch Sonic another week when everyone does a bit better job.
  • This afternoon seemed to fly by and before I knew it, it was supper time.  I passed out supper with the intentions of reading but the kids kept asking for more food so I was passing out food throughout supper. 
  • Back in the car to church tonight.  Robby and I were puppets tonight and each time (3) the puppets performed first.  The last time, Robby and I crawled out of the room so we could walk around for a bit and not be cooped up behind the puppet curtain any longer!  
  • Once at home, the kids had a snack and then it was bedtime.  Tonight at bedtime, Robby asked the kids a question and Reagan, Anderson and Graham just looked at each other a bit confused about the answer.  But my Keaton, having just come to church, was quick to shout out the church answer "God."  You could not believe the looks on everyone else's face when Robby said "that is right, Keaton."

September 22, 2015-Happy Birthday Robby!

Happy Birthday Robby!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • I went upstairs to wake everyone up but when I walked into the girls' room, Campbell and Keaton were already sitting up trying to make their beds.  I think that Reagan has worked really hard on those little girls making sure that they are trained to keep their beds along with their bedrooms nice and neat.
  • Now my boys also work hard on their rooms but they aren't too big into making their beds.  But they do keep their rooms pretty neat and every time I walk into their room, I notice that they have neatly arranged Whitman's trains and tracks (like trains are color coordinated)
  • Of course for breakfast, we had doughnuts and have about one more day of those before we can do a doughnut detox.  After yesterday, I told the kids that today they were going to do their work in the school room and I would be in that room as well.  And surprise, everyone but Anderson was finished by 11:30 and he finished right after lunch.  I guess that I will have to start using the school room instead of kicking the kids out of it during school.  Of course, 4 kids doing school work, Whitman working a puzzle, a huge pack n play, 4 kid desks, my desk and my folding laundry make for a pretty small space.
  • We had lunch and then did a few chores before heading outside for a nerf gun game.  I was hoping that they would decide to have their game in the house but no, outside we went.  I set the timer and we had 2 rounds of nerf battles.  And just as Graham and I let Reagan and Anderson win yesterday during soccer, we also let them win today during our nerf battle.
  • This afternoon flew by and before we knew it, Robby was home and we met Keaton at Dana's house along with Grannymom and Grandpa to celebrate Robby's 41st birthday.  Dana had made chili and then Grannymom had Holy Cow cake which was very good.
  • The kids played outside some and we called them in for presents-Robby received a gift card for Disney, an extension cord, a fan and a tire pressure gauge.  He also had a slew of cards made from the kids today-they worked so hard on his cards and were delighted to give to Robby.
  • The kids played outside some more until it was time to head home.  Of course the kids needed showers after our time outside so we quickly showered everyone and then we did our Bible story before bedtime.  Tomorrow is a busy day for us and it marks one week until we leave town!

September 21, 2015

All Grins!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Yesterday while writing the blog, I was a little discouraged about how I thought that the day would go today.  Guess what?  I was pretty much correct!  I will say that the day could have been worse and trust me, we have had some really rough days this school year but today was at least okay!
  • When Robby left, he left laughing at how he thought the day was going to go.  While he was making his lunch, he pointed out that the kids called my name at least 2 dozen times in the span of 10 minutes.  That pretty much continued through out the day-good thing I got a really nice pair of ear plugs for Christmas (kidding, they are on this years Christmas list!)
  • The kids were tired from the weekend but they at least worked on their school.  Anderson and Reagan didn't finish their work until late in the afternoon-I tried to explain to them if they would talk less, then their work would be finished sooner.
  • My sweet Keaton spent most of the morning working on different art projects and was fairly quiet or she was sitting by Whitman watching a Thomas movie.  Last night when I went to bed, I had thought about trying to limit his movie intake-but then I quickly came to my senses!
  • After lunch, we worked on our chores and the kids really helped.  I even had a victory and located a lost tshirt of mine.  That made my day-so much so that I decided to get on the treadmill for a little bit.  And when I was finished with the treadmill, I kicked the kids out of the house.  Actually, I never phrases it like that but Reagan did when she was telling Nonna and Pops about their day.
  • I joined the kids outside and we played soccer until Robby came home.  Two observations about our soccer game-Keaton will be pretty ferocious on the soccer field for a few minutes and Reagan and Anderson smoked Graham and I playing this afternoon.  
  • Robby pushed everyone on the swing for a bit and then we hurried in for showers and supper before Nonna, Pops and Jason came over to celebrate Robby's birthday!  Nonna had made a Snickers Pie and we adorned it with candles and sang Happy Birthday.  
  • Afterwards, Robby opened his presents-including an ice cream scoop...which we might try out in a few minutes!

September 20, 2015

Singing in Big Church!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • So after my blog last night, I headed upstairs to watch the end of the girls' movie and then to sit quietly while they went to sleep.  The movie lasted a while but once it was over, the girls were fairly quiet (my child was the only exception).  Lilli's watch beeped a few times and I eventually had to take it off of her sleeping arm.  
  • After I thought that most everyone was asleep, I tiptoed out of the room and Reagan sat up and asked what I was doing.  She was the only one awake, I guess so she was too excited about her party to sleep.  I think that my girl had a great party.  I was just sitting on the couch and told Robby that I don't feel old enough to have a 10 year old and before we know it we will be going to her wedding!
  • Our alarms beeped early so I could get Lilli downstairs for Dana to pick her up (they were going out of town for the day).  And before I knew it, everyone was up and the girls were wild, wild!  I always forget but the morning time is really when I should have an activity for them instead of letting them do nothing-though at the crack of dawn, I am not really in the mood to lead a craft project.  I was struggling to get myself ready this morning for church in addition to making sure that my 2 plus 5 other girls were ready, fed and loaded up. 
  • We hauled all of their stuff into the church house along with everyone's boxes of doughnuts.  The boys had arrived early with Grannymom and Grandpa and were playing the xboxs so we signed everyone in and then sent most of them off to choir.
  • The kids all sang in big church this morning and when my Anderson walked out, we could tell he was in a silly mood so I quickly stood up and walked toward the front to catch his eye before things started.  That way, he father did not have to jerk him off of the stage during the performance-no worries though, he of course was perfect during the singing (well, we really couldn't see much of him since he was behind a tall couple of kids.)
  • After church the kids sang in the next service which made Sunday school really short.  We then headed to Grannymom's house for supper.  The kids must have been hungry because everyone ate most of their lasagna (except Whitman who was too busy to eat).  She had our favorite dessert, oreo delight and after a bit of play time, it was time to head home for our afternoon.
  • Some Sunday afternoons I am tired but other Sunday afternoons I am just exhausted and this was one of them.  I tried to make Keaton take a nap with me but she tossed long enough that I sent her back downstairs and I am pretty sure that the kids ate candy the entire time we were napping and you know, I really don't care because I had a super good nap.
  • We probably could have slept all night long but had to get up for church tonight.  Campbell proceeded to take her nap during church tonight (as she did during this morning's service) Probably keeping a 5 year old up until after 1 is not a great idea!  Actually, I know that tomorrow will be tougher than most Mondays, even though they are already difficult, because everyone will be very tired tomorrow. 
  • After church we came home for our ice cream truck before bed and ice cream just makes everyone happy at my house.  Maybe I need some cheering up before bed myself!

September 19, 2015-Happy Birthday (Party) Reagan!

Celebrating Reagan's 10th Birthday!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • We slept in as long as we could but  eventually hunger pains started waking my people up so Robby rolled over and said "well, get us dressed."  And dressed, we got them-eye patches, swords, bandannas, and hooks.  Of course that means that it was 'Talk Like a Pirate Day' or even more importantly, at Krispy Kreme is it 'Dress Like a Pirate and Get a Dozen Doughnuts for Free Day.'
  • Robby, Keaton, Anderson and Graham donned their pirate duds and headed to bring home donuts.  They all brought home their dozen and even stopped by Grannymom's house and her garage sale to drop some off there.  (By the way, I made a 100 dollars at the garage sale-which I have already spent!)
  • Reagan spent the rest of the day waiting and waiting for her birthday party to start.  I promise that I was asked at least 24 times today how many hours it was until her party.  I should have set a timer so everyone could see the countdown.  Robby suggested that Reagan take a nap to make the time fly and I would have happily taken a nap for her if I could have.
  • But while Robby worked outside, I worked inside.  Reagan was quite a big help too-adding pepperonis to her pizza out of fruit roll-ups, decorating with pizza pictures and straightening.  At one point, she came to me and told me that we had a lot of trash in the trash can in the kitchen and asked if she needed to take it out-maybe I should have a party every day and people would really do lots of chores.
  • Fast forward to this afternoon, Robby and a few kiddos had gone to pick up pizza and I woke Whitman from his nap.  We sat on the bench out front waiting on folks to come while he woke up.  Jason, Grannymom, Grandpa, Cash, Nonna and Pops and then Kennedy all drove up the driveway.  
  • Reagan was happy to give tours of her new room as everyone arrived-Kennedy, Camryn, Cate and Alyssa Kate.  We made the dough for the pizza and then the girls went outside for a few minutes.  While it rose, we cleaned up the kitchen and got ready for pizza making round 2.  Then I called the girls in and they all made their pizza creations and filled their crust with pepperonis, cheese, and sausage.  
  • While those pizzas baked, the girls went back outside and soon they were all eating their pizzas.  They ate their pizza while the rest of us ate our pizzas from our new pizza buying spot (also known as a nearby gas station).  
  • Kaleigh drove in from the beach and joined the party just in time for presents.  Reagan was delighted with all of her loot: another scrapbook for next year, a mash book, an ottoman, a huge chair, a bird house to make, a bracelet. craft stuff, a pillow and a ton of other stuff.  Then we sang Happy Birthday to our sweet little 10-year-old and then proceeded to eat a brownie pizza, a cookie pizza and 2 cinnamon strudel pizzas. 
  • Lilli arrived in time to have dessert with us and then the kids all headed outside again to play a few rounds of sardines.  During this Whitman and Keaton left with Nonna and Pops and after the game, Graham and Anderson left with Grannymom and Grandpa.  
  • After a little bit of cleanup in the house, I pulled out a plethora of pirate shirts, eye patches, bandannas and sashes and told all 8 girls (6 party guests and 2 Dennies) to get dressed.  It took a bit to get everyone suited up but it took no time at all of the Krispy Kreme workers to pass us 9 dozen doughnuts.  The girls ate a few there and then we came back home.
  • I made everyone take showers since we had spent a lot of time outside.  I was doing my best to rush everyone through and then it was movie time.  It is after midnight now and they have about 30 more minutes of their movie-hopefully everyone will go to sleep quickly and quietly (ha!)

September 18, 2015

Field Trip to the LR Air Force Base
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Field trip day here so we just did a few minutes of school after breakfast.  Part of our school today was each big kid (Reagan, Anderson and Graham) had to work with a little one for a few minutes.  When Reagan finished with Whitman, he kept saying, "more book, more book."  I guess he really enjoyed their work together time.
  • We met Amber down the road to ride together to Jacksonville but as soon as she loaded her kids up, she realized that she didn't have her driver's license.  She then had to run home while we pressed on to meet the others.  On the way, I saw Candice fly past me (yes, Ms. Diane-she was hauling!) but I scooted over and tried the best I could to keep up with her.  
  • Before going into the base, we met Veronica and we got a pass for me while the kids sat in the car some and then went to check out a C-130.  Veronica told the kids about what the base does and what she does.  They all stood and listened-when she asked the boys didn't take too long to rattle off the branches of service and after she asked one question, Whitman started jabbering about Holiday Thomas and Percy.  He went on and on until I covered his mouth and Veronica told him that they did have train tracks on the base.
  • Once we made it past the gate, we drove around the base and saw a few planes landing and taking off.  Then we walked through the commissary and that is where the grown-ups favorite part happened-people walking by saluting Veronica (a Major).
  • Not too long after that, the kids had their favorite part-the playground.  We ate lunch at the campground on the base and the kids played on the playground despite the crazy hot weather.  After playing, we walked around a few more planes and then we finally cooled off in the car on the way home.  
  • Once at home, I put Whitman to bed and I do believe that he was awake during most of his nap time.  This was probably because Reagan, Campbell, Keaton and I were working in the kitchen on her desert pizzas.  One pizza we did as I had planned and the other, Reagan really wanted for it to look like a pizza.  She came up with a few ideas, but we eventually settled on red icing for sauce and then shredded white chocolate for cheese.  We will add pepperonis made out of fruit roll-ups tomorrow.  Doing the pizza that way wasn't in my plans at all but she was right, it looks really good.
  • I had settled on the couch watching Thomas with Whitman when the Wilsons called inviting us to supper.  We took them up on that since anything was better than sandwiches so Robby ran to the store so we could have some ice cream to celebrate Shannon's birthday.  Then I ran with Shannon to drop of Layne and to the store for a bit before we came back and all ate.
  • The boys played on the Xbox all of the evening long and the girls pretty much hung out with us or in the toy room watching a movie.  After staying out too late, we came home and tucked our people into bed!

September 17, 2015

Our blondies!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Today was the day that Graham had been waiting for-the day that he was able to go with Robby and Whitman to take Keaton to school.  He woke up first and knew that they were going to run some errands so he stared right in on his math and phonics and was finished with those by the time I had dished up breakfast.
  • We had our pancakes and waffles this morning and then said by to Keaton. This left only 3 folks here doing their school but their attitudes were pretty pitiful.  I wasn't being cranky but everyone else sure was-they eventually calmed down and we started moving quickly along.
  • When Graham did make it home, he just about lost his chances to ever take Keaton to school again-after being out for a few hours, he wasn't too ready to get back to work.  Truthfully though, I wasn't really ready to work either.  When Robby came home, we were all in the garage and I told him that is when I didn't like having to do school because I just wanted to quit for the day and play but we couldn't do that because tomorrow is a play day.
  • I probably should have just quit school though and let us all play because after school, we worked hard-well, Robby may have worked a bit harder than me.  He cleaned all of the bathrooms and floors around the potties along with the kitchen sink with the steam cleaner and they are sparkling.  The boys now have to use the restroom out doors for the next few days.
  • Nonna brought Keaton home this afternoon and they even brought pudding.  When they drove up, we all went outside to greet them but Keaton promptly told us to go back inside so she could surprise us.  We obliged and let her shout "surprise" as they walked in the door and then the kids jumped towards her grabbing pudding before she could even get into the doorway.
  • Around 5, I quietly tiptoed out of the house so no one could see me.  I did a tiny bit of shopping to get ready for the party on Saturday.  Then I met everyone at Arbys for supper and then we went to Grannymom's house for a second before home for bed and showers.

September 16, 2015

Anderson doesn't want a kiss from his sister!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Wednesday morning started off well with everyone getting on their clothes.  My sweet boy, Graham, even volunteered to go and get waffles and pancakes out of the fridge outside.  I had to tell him that we would have those tomorrow because this morning we only had time for pop tarts.
  • The reason we only had time for pop tarts was because my kiddos had already helped empty the trash cans and clean the potties (not the floors in the bathroom which, as Robby pointed out tonight, desperately needs attention-by a responsible adult)  When I was loading the car this morning (I have to throw all of our stuff in a huge laundry basket on Wednesdays so it doesn't take me 17 trips to load up), the kids ran outside to see if they could find the deer tracts from last night.
  • When it was time for me to get into the car, everyone was gone except Reagan.  She asked me if I could meet them at the end of the driveway and I was fine with that.  So when I pulled up, Reagan had everyone lined up at "the bust stop."  She even had Whitman on board and I could see her telling Whitman exactly what they were doing so he wouldn't panic (his new phrase now is "don't leave me, Mommy.")
  • After picking up all of the bus riders, we made it to Bible study.  I can't explain how much the kids love Bible study-all of them love it.  It makes for a long day but I really enjoy it too-the lecture today was about the many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled.  
  • Lunch was at the park today but it was cut short by the call of nature-we could have popped into a store but Grannymom's house was on the way so we stopped there and most everyone pottied before driving to see Beebee.
  • Our Beebee visit went well and the kids went over their last school project with her while Whitman stuffed candy bar after candy bar into his mouth.  I always feel that we cause quite a commotion visiting her but hopefully she enjoys it some.
  • This afternoon was fairly quiet-we did put together a few bookshelves for our new lego area which I think is going to be pretty awesome.  The shelves came from the Fed Ex man who also brought 4 boxes of diapers, a box of pull ups and a birthday present.  I do believe that he probably hates us or maybe he loves us because we keep him in business.
  • After a quick stop at the library tonight, we arrived at church.  The kids headed off to their own classes and Robby and I relaxed in the coffee shop at had a drink.  I wish!  We did games for 3, 4 and 5 year olds-just about the same as relaxing in the coffee shop!
  • Once at home, we had a quick snack and then it was bed for everyone.  I do believe that my kids are worn out after our busy day.  

September 15, 2015

Puzzle Complete!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • I didn't get around as early as I had wanted to this morning, but we still managed to get Keaton off to school on time and the rest of us started school a bit after 8.  If you would have asked me a few months ago how Keaton would have felt about school, I really would have thought she would not be too excited about it.  But I would have been very, very wrong.  Keaton loves school and throws on her clothes as fast as she can so her and Robby can get out the door. When she brings papers home from school (even if they are just information papers-like bring a picture of the family) she sets them beside her bed up against the wall.
  • School here was fine today and I will take "fine" any day.  I had told the kids to get a move on because we were going to stop at 11:30.  And surprisingly they did, everyone was finished by 11 and this gave me time to clean up and get a few things ready for tomorrow and our next day of school.
  • Then we had our lunch and worked on a few chores.  Graham had time to paint his boat that he had made out of wood-about the 20th coat of paint that he and Campbell have put on it.  Reagan also worked on and finished her puzzle.  Once it was done, she wanted to take it up to the bonus room.  That girl was a nervous wreck as I carried that puzzle up the stairs.
  • A bit before 1, we loaded up and headed to Grannymom's house.  I dropped everyone, but Graham off and then Graham and I headed to the doctor for his check up.  He passed-she was not concerned that he had gained almost 10 pounds this year but she was concerned that he does not wear his bike helmet (bad, bad mom!)
  • We then played a round of kickball at Grannymom's house before we headed home.  Again this afternoon we really didn't do anything and it sure was nice.  The little girls helped me put labels on all of the boxes upstairs.  Then Keaton threw a fit because I wouldn't let her sit in the attic with me and price garage sale stuff-the attic isn't a place for her and she would have objected to 100 percent of the things I was pricing.
  • When Robby came home, we had more leftovers for supper-we could probably eat the same leftovers tomorrow.  Actually, we will probably eat those same leftovers tomorrow.  Keaton was so excited to show us her report from last week (we had seen it before) so then Campbell had to present hers to us.  
  • After this, we did a bit of Xbox playing.  After most kids had their turns, Robby and I were 2 of the contestants on the Wipeout game and Robby decided that it was bedtime before I could pummel him!  (It was really bedtime though).  Tonight bedtime was times-40 minutes from pajamas to us walking down the stairs.  

September 14, 2015

Silly Face!
(click here for today's pictures)
  • Last night as we were about asleep, my weather radio went off.  I am not sure if the volume can be adjusted on that blasted thing, but it was deafening.  My first thought was that it was the house alarm, but then I began thinking that it was a bit odd for a tornado on that clear night.  Either way, I was ready to bolt somewhere and then the scary weather radio voice man started talking about an abducted child.  Robby grabs that radio and probably would have thrown it out of the window (with my blessing) if we had an open window.  Now, I had to go back to sleep not only scared from the radio but upset about the child.
  • We finally went back to sleep but by that time, I had decided that it was too late to even think about getting up in the morning for my treadmill time (thankfully I was able to get a walk in tonight with the Wilsons)  
  • Campbell was the first one up this morning and then Graham.  Graham was ready to start to work on his school work so I helped him out some with his Bible study and then we had to wake everyone else up.  Whitman saw Robby still in bed this morning and he pounced on him.  There is a water leak at Robby's work so they couldn't work there today (or tomorrow) and had to work from home (yeah!)
  • Keaton spent the night at Nonna and Pops' house and had a big time-lots of eating, perusing Toys R Us and lunch at Chick Fil A.  Since she was gone, the school day should have been a little bit quieter but it was not.  I have to assume that was because Whitman was missing his buddy and was a bit lost.  
  • We had our lunch and then Whitman and Robby ran to Grannymom's house for a bit while we did our together work.  It has been a very long time since we have done together work with just the big kids and it was wonderful! 
  • After this, the afternoon was spent pretty much-doing nothing until Keaton came home and when she arrived, she had a plate full of cookies for us to enjoy.  She was so proud of her cookies and we ate them up.  
  • We had lots of leftovers for supper and then the kids and I went upstairs to play Wipeout on the Xbox.  There was a lot of yelling and it was great.  I played the game for just a few minutes and quickly became winded!
  • Around 7, we went to walk with the Wilsons.  The kids played outside until their feet were filthy.  Whitman wanted to walk with us so we eventually had to put him in the stroller and push him up and down their road.  When we finally made it home, it was shower time for the kids and then bedtime for all.
  • At bedtime, Robby asked the kids what something they would want to do with us when they were adults and we were older.  My thoughtful Anderson that we could travel with him in his RV and my Campbell said that she would push us in our wheelchairs!