July 22, 2016-Dennie Dallas Trip

(click here for pictures)

After going to sleep at 1 this morning, we greatly questioned our decision to set our alarm clocks for 4:15.  Robby wanted to leave early just so we could see if we could actually leave early for our big road trip.  

It is surprising that waking up for a trip can be so different than waking up to start the day.  Robby only hit snooze once and I stayed in bed until he was out of the shower.  So this morning we were out of bed about 4 or 5 hours earlier than our normal routine.

After we were ready, Robby woke the girls up.  They came downstairs in decent moods and Campbell immediately asked me "what time do we have to be at the hotel?"  I think she thought we were leaving early just to go to the hotel.  Upstairs, Anderson was asking Robby if we were going to rest some more at the hotel.  

The kids quickly dressed and climbed in the car.  Everyone was worried that I was going to forget Whitman but I was letting him sleep until the last possibly moment.  When everything and everyone else was loaded, I grabbed him out of bed, changed his diaper and put him in his seat.  He was able to sleep a bit longer so that was good.

The kids talked quietly for a good while and Robby and I made packing notes for the upcoming trip.  It is always fun to have a trip to be planning-even when you are on another trip.

Our first stop was in Arkadelphia at McDonalds.  Robby and the kids ran into go to the bathroom and later he came out with 2 big bags of breakfasts.  I was able to divy out 6 breakfasts in my lap while zooming down the road.  Pancakes, sausage, eggs, biscuit and some of a potato cake is always a good way to start the morning.

After this stop, we turned on our book on tape and the kids listened and soon we were in Texarkana.  Graham and Campbell took a bit of a rest on that leg of the trip.  I think the kids were thankful when we pulled over at a rest stop and while I was changing Whitman into his clothes, they had race after race in the grass.  As we waited on Robby we had some more races before climbing back into the car.

Soon after, we talked to Pops and were able to figure out why he wasn't getting the kids text messages.  I passed out ipads and Pops soon received a couple hundred messages from the kids.  I did add a white board to my packing list because I had to turn around and yell how to spell about 20 words.  Campbell is at least 15 feet from me and shouting letters across the car quickly gets confusing.

After some ipad time, we started a movie and soon we nearing Dallas.  At one time, we took a sweet little drive from Ikea to the interstate and cut off lots of Dallas.  We tried that today and did make a sweet little drive through the countryside and after a few turns while following the GPS, we were soon right back beside the now construction filled, congested interstate.

In Rockwall, we saw a convenient Walmart and Robby ran in to buy himself some sunglasses.  We can just start the count now-3 pair of glasses bought (I guess he figured that he wanted to make sure that he had enough for the next few days)  He some how managed to keep up with his other 2 pairs until it was trip time and now, just as always, he will begin losing them while on our trips.  We did find out that the Wilsons have one of his pairs at their house so we might just have to meet them in Amarillo to pick them up.  

After a bit more driving, we made it to Ikea.  Robby was on the phone with someone and said that he knows how to keep my happy-I don't need dates, flowers, movies or jewelry-just trips to Ikea!  

Everyone was happy, happy about walking around Ikea.  Every chair, every bed, every drawer was tried out by one of the Dennie kids.  It was almost comical watching my crew come in and take over each section in the store.  Whitman did great and even walked a little bit while in the store-actually everyone did great since we were in there for a very, very long time.  

We walked around upstairs before lunch and then stopped to eat our lunch.  Robby thought he was getting me a chicken wrap but it was a vegitarian wrap.  It tasted pretty good-I told him that I was afraid to unwrap it because I didn't want to discover what was actually in it.  Even though it was good, it made me miss the last half of the warehouse part of downstairs because I was in the restroom. 

Enough about me-you want to know what all we bought.  The big purchase was 2 blue stools which are going to tae the place of my piano bench.  We also bought 6 water bottle type things-they were only a buck. And also a dollar were little sand shovels that we also bought 6 of.  The kids were so excited when Robby asked if they would like a shovel-they possibly were all a little too excited.  We also left with 2 scrubber brushes and 2 boxes of cinnamon rolls for tomrorow's breakfast.  And of course, we also left with 5 ice cream cones (Keaton's didn't want any)  That ice cream is the stickiest ice cream I have ever touched and doesn't really look that great either.  Hopefully though tomorrow's cinnamon rolls will not disappoint.

Next we drove to Ft. Worth so we could tour the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing.  I had wanted to go to the one in D.C. but we had thought this one would be easier to see and would allow us to see other stuff in D.C.  It was a hot, hot drive there-Robby and I were in the sun the entire way and the car just didn't seem to cool off; it was just that hot.  

So the Bureau of Engraving and Printing was kind of like I would imagine Ft. Knox to be.  We couldn't bring our phones or camera in and were screened and then there must have been 20 officers on the premises.  We watched a movie first which explained about how they print U.S. notes (the proper term for our currency).  Whitman was a bit antsy during the movie and had to go outside and sit in time out for a bit.  

Afterwards, we were handed headsets and walked around on a catwalk to see the process in action.  It was pretty neat to watch and the workers would occasionally wave or hold a pages of money to show us.  After we had toured upstairs, we went to the gift shop downstairs and Robby bought the kids there own bag of shredded money.  He remembers getting shredded money when he was a little boy so now our kiddos will have the same memory.

After our gift shop purchases, we rode the tram back to our car and coasted on gasoline fumes to the nearest gas station.  By this time it was crazy hot and I doubted Robby completely when he passed 2 gas stations in search of one on our side of the road while we just had 3 miles left but we made it and I didn't have to help push the car.

From there, it didn't take too long to arrive at the Ft. Worth Stockyards.  The last time that we were there, Reagan had a touch of the stomach bug and threw up on the way there.  Robby had to run into Walgreens to buy her a new shirt to wear (we still have that green sweatshirt somewhere in the house.)  Thankfully, no one was sick this visit.

We parked and walked up and down the strip.  The boys quickly saw the mechanical bull and since Robby was feeling generous he let them have a ride.  They didn't last too long-Graham lasted longer than Anderson but Anderson was already a bit skittish after seeing Graham.  Both boys called for the bull to stop before they were bucked off.  

We continued our walk around the Stockyards for a bit and then loaded up to find someplace to eat.  Shannon text with a recommendation just barely in time and we headed to Joe T. Garcia's which was right nearby.  The parking was crazy so we were certain that the wait would be way too long. I went inside, ignoring the crazy long line waiting for seats outside, and was told that the wait was 10 minutes.  I even made sure that they heard me correctly when I asked for a table for 8.  

Indeed the wait was 10 minutes or even less.  We were quickly seated at 2 crazy big tables that were pushed together (usually now, they ask if we want to split up into 2 tables whenever we go and eat.)  We were right in the middle of the dining room and it was a happening and noisy place.  The waiter asked if we had been there before (no) and then told us about the food.  Tonight they only had enchiladas and fajitas so we ordered 1 of both to split.  Yes, I know, splitting 2 entrees with 8 is kind of strange but we even left food on the table that we couldn't finish.  But we sure could finish off the 3 sopapillas that Robby ordered. 

We were a bit worried about the price since they didn't even give us a menu but it was all good...except when the waiter told Robby that they didn't take credit cards.  We all then headed to the kitchen to start washing the dishes and were finished in no time.  Kidding, they had a atm in the restaurant and all things worked out just great.

From the restaurant, we were only about 20 minutes from the hotel.  The hotel looks like an old Embassy Suites and is pretty nice (but a bit dated.)  Either way, the room is plenty big for us.  While Robby checked in, we worked on cleaning the car and soon we were headed into the hotel.  We unloaded ice chests, returned the cart, put on pjs and picked out clothes for tomorrow-everyone stayed busy!

Tonight is the first time ever that Whitman is not sleeping in a pack n play.  Robby and I learned very quickly on our first airplane trip with Reagan and baby Anderson that you can't make a kid go to sleep and we will have to remember that lesson tonight with Whitman.  After everyone had put on their pjs, they all laid down and played their ipads with some lemonade to drink until bedtime.  While Robby was tucking the others in, Whitman left my bed and his Mickey video and went to lay down in his sleeping bag without me even asking.  And right now, he is laying still-ish and quiet-ish on the floor beside me.  He is making some noises and tossing and turning but heck, he is at least staying in one spot.  Now, so far things are going well but trust me, I do not expect for this to continue for any length of time...

Funny how things work: as soon as I wrote that I saw his little head pop up and then lay back down followed by a kerplunk.  Yep, he banged his head which lead to much drama by him.  Robby had to report to the others what had happened so they wouldn't worry.  Finally he calmed, after a sip of coke and is now laying down again.  Crossing my fingers but I doubt it will be easy!

Hopefully, we will all sleep well tonight because tomorrow will be a very busy (and hot) day!

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