March 31, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Friday morning around here and the first movement (that I knew of anyway) was Robby getting ready for work. He headed out and soon the rest of us started working on breakfast. Then school was started.
  • Whitman was all into book this morning so both brothers read to him for their reading time. I think that they would rather read to Whitman than do anything else. I should figure out a way to use that to my advantage since Whitman could listen to stories all day long.
  • Keaton did get by without doing much work today. I keep thinking that I need for her to get used to being here during school and doing her big girl work for kindergarten but she is so happy just playing by herself or with Whitman so I let her. There is no reason to grow up before you have to.
  • My Graham was on a mission today-up early and already working on his work before I even mentioned school. He was finished pretty early this morning, packed his bag and then just waited. Nonna and Pops were having a garage sale today so they couldn't pick him up so after we did our work together and chores, we packed our lunch and headed to drop him off.
  • We took our lunch and ate while Nonna and Pops helped their garage sale shoppers. They didn't have too much business while we were there but the kids enjoyed playing with Nonna's neighbors. They played kickball, frisbee, rode the bile, went on a walk and played on the swingset and slide. We stayed for most of the afternoon until leaving Graham to spend the night.
  • Once at home, Anderson had some school work to finish and it is just amazing how quickly he can finish things in the afternoon-when he knows that the neighbors are our playing. Maybe I should just make him do his work in the afternoon. Campbell had some work to do as well but she got out of the house before I could catch her. It was just one page so she can finish hers quickly tomorrow.
  • The kids then played outside until almost 8. We finally had to call them in since we still had to go and pick up our pizza. Whitman had a shower right before we left and was almost asleep when we came home tonight. He did perk up enough to eat his pizza-but I am not too sure how awake he really was since he had a fit for socks, fell once and spilled his drink twice.
  • Afterwards, everyone else had showers and then we did let them stay up a bit late tonight (it is Friday after all) and watch the Bates before going to bed tonight.

March 30, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • I had set my alarm clock for a bit earlier than usual this morning but since I hit snooze repeatedly, it doesn't really matter. If I didn't have 2 kids that need to go to school and 4 kids that need to start on school each morning, I could hit that snooze button for hours. Actually, I wouldn't have to hit the snooze button because I wouldn't have the alarm set at all.
  • Keaton and Whitman were soon on their way to school. As they were leaving, I reminded Whitman that I didn't want for him to have to sit on the thinking pillow again today. At school, Ms. Jennifer asked him if he brought his extra shirt back (we did but he didn't know.) He told her, "I won't get wet again" and thankfully he did not.
  • Everyone here worked on their school work and Graham even said his Gettysburg Address to Robby earning himself a night out. He is debating what he would like to do for his reward and has a list of places.
  • I went to pick up Keaton and Whitman because I needed to pick up a few books from the library. Campbell has just started reading very, very short chapter books. She can read them fairly quickly and asked me to pick her up some more books today. I was able to do that and she was so excited.
  • Anderson was a bit put out with me while I was making lunch because I made him put down his ipad and go back and fix some of his work. It took him a few minutes but was still able to finish before lunch time. I made lunch and read to everyone as they ate.
  • Then we worked on our chores for a bit-I have almost switched over the big boys clothes to the summer clothes (just a bit more to do tomorrow.) After chores, the kids soon headed outside. Today was much cooler than the past few days but no one seemed to mind and soon everyone was outside.
  • They stayed out until Robby took Reagan and Keaton to their soccer practice. We weren't home too much longer when I loaded up my crew and I headed to practice too. I dropped off my 3 players and picked up the other 2 players. The kids were a bit put out with us because we didn't let them stay during both practice. I tired to remind them that we would get to stay another practice night and hopefully many other practice nights but we won't stay when it is cold and windy like tonight.
  • Whitman and Keaton took a shower and were thrilled when I sprayed shaving cream for them to play with. As soon as Reagan was finished with her shower, she started to work on a card for Whitman's birthday. 
  • Soon the boys and Campbell were home and running through the showers. By the time everyone was dry, I had supper on the table. We ate and then the kids had a few minutes to finish watching one of their tv shows before bedtime!

March 29, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • I was still getting myself ready this morning when Keaton came downstairs and said that she didn't feel well. She thought she was going to be sick and she is usually pretty accurate about that. I continued getting dressed while stepping over her as she laid in the floor of my closet.
  • The boys had been up early this morning with nothing to do since they couldn't play their ipads and they had no initiative to work on school since we weren't doing school today. This led to a bit of boredom but once they were redirected to putting on their clothes and Wednesday morning trash cans things started going more smoothly.
  • Campbell and Reagan were soon up as well and getting dressed. The kids ate their breakfast while I emptied the dishwasher and made lunch for today. Keaton did walk in and eat half a piece of cheese. She felt a bit warm and was still puny so I called Nonna to see if she wanted a guest for the day.
  • I thought that I had been training my people to help load the car on Wednesday mornings but I guess my lessons have not yet stuck. At what age do you start thinking things like, "Oh, I see my bag laid out on the bench, I should take it to the car as I get in" or even better things like, "Oh, I see our ice chest full of lunches, I should take it to the car as I get in." All that people were thinking today was, "My said to get in the car but I will shoot a few hoops first." I would have been a bit more frazzled about this if I didn't have my Wednesday morning bagel to eat.
  • We dropped Keaton off at Nonna's house. She went right to Nonna's couch and laid down. Nonna fed her a few things but said that she was still a bit quiet and puny most of the day. Most everyone has some type of cold/allergy stuff going on so I am sure that is what she probably has as well.
  • After dropping Keaton off, I turned onto 430 and traffic was crawling. Gracious, I thought we would never get to Bible study but we still made it. Graham was thrilled to be bringing his snack today and the others were quick to find their classes. I told Keaton's teachers that she wouldn't be there today and then I headed on to my class.
  • When Bible study was over, we headed to the park. We were there about 15 minutes when Anderson started complaining about his eyes. I tried to rinse them with water and that did help for a bit. April was meeting me to pick up some chairs so we had to stay a bit longer. I told Anderson that he could sit in the car with the air on and maybe that would help. It really didn't but after April came we loaded up. By that time, Graham's eyes were red too.
  • I beelined to the first Walgreens and ran in to pick up some eye drops. I wasn't sure if we had any or how new it was, and it seems like this year we might just need quite a bit of eye drops. That helped some and so did cookies at Nonna's house. We stayed a bit over there as we heard all about her trip. 
  • Then we headed home with our Keaton. I worked on the boys' clothes changeover as Keaton napped in the living room. It wasn't too much longer until Whitman was also asleep in my bedroom. The kids did play outside for a bit this afternoon as I kept a close watch on my email.
  • The church ended up cancelling church just in case their was severe weather tonight. Thankfully, there wasn't any weather during church time and it was a wonderful break. The kids weren't happy about missing church but I sure was. We have something every single night this week and tonight being cancelled just made my giddy.
  • The kids came in wen the neighbors had to go home. Everyone showered and we heated up hamburgers for supper. After our hamburgers, we cleaned the kitchen and then watched a kids baking show before heating to bed. Anderson is stuffy, Graham and Reagan are coughing, Keaton is still puny and Campbell is a combination. Whitman will cough occasionally too just so he doesn't feel left out! Hope we get some sleep around here!

March 28, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • This morning was morning 1 of our "no ipad and no tv until 5 until kindness returns" day. No one really seemed to notice though today since we were busy the entire day. There was a bit of fussing so I did let the kids know that tomorrow would also be another day awaiting kindness. However, I still retain the right to end this no ipad/tv at any time and tomorrow afternoon might be the day since Wednesdays are such long days.
  • But this was a pretty long day as well-lots of fun but still long. The boys were awake early and started on their school work. Campbell and Reagan had also brought their school work upstairs fairly early this morning. I woke up Keaton and Whitman and brought them downstairs to get ready for school.
  • Soon they were heading out for the day and the rest of us started work on school. I had a few things I needed to do this morning so I didn't do my work with the kids (spelling, language...) It was pretty nice and I might could used to it. I was able to fold my laundry and make about 5 dozen muffins (some for Graham to take to Bible study tomorrow.)
  • The kids were mostly finished with school when we loaded up to go and pick up Keaton and Whitman. We also met Cate at church and she joined us for the rest of the day. Keaton had a wonderful day at school and was happy to head home for our afternoon with our homeschool buddies.
  • Now, Whitman on the other hand-I had already received a text about him from Ms. Jennifer. Apparently, after Whitman went to the bathroom he washed his hands. Instead of just washing his hands, he started to play in the water and ended up with a soaking wet shirt. Jennifer wrote and said that he got in trouble for this at school so I shouldn't get on to him at home. Bless, I could only laugh as he told me his story. He has become so animated when telling stories and this was an interesting one. He said, "I washed my hands and put them like this (showing me 2 cupped hands) and the water did this (waving his arms everywhere.) Then I had to sit on the thinking pillow and next time I won't do this (showing me his 2 cupped hands.)"
  • We were in the house for just a few minutes when the others started arriving. The kids played outside some but then we all did get to work with today's main task-stuffing Easter eggs for the Shack. We had over a thousand eggs to stuff and man, it was quite a task. It wasn't hard at all-the hard things was keeping those silly kids from eating all of the candy.
  • After we had finished the eggs, we had dessert. I had made a brownie cake for Whitman but also found out that Brodie shares Whitman's birthday. So we sang to both of them-Whitman wasn't too sure about everyone singing/shouting at him but he did enjoy blowing out his candles. 
  • And if you notice in the pictures, Whitman is in a dress shirt this afternoon. He washed his hands at home and again ended up with a wet shirt. I sent him to get a new one and he came back with a Sunday shirt. I tried to convince him to get another one but he would have none of it. So I buttoned him up and sent him on his way-Sunday shirt and all.
  • After dessert, we kicked the kids out and they stayed outside until after headed home. Alyssa Kate stayed here and after a bit, it was time for us to meet Kennedy and Kaleigh to complete Reagan's Christmas present. Reagan had asked for movie tickets for Christmas and Beauty and the Beast was the movie she picked. I brought in cokes and candy for the girls and bought a huge things of popcorn-they were perfectly happy and on the way home Reagan was trying to decide what she wanted to next year for her Christmas present.
  • The others were outside until after 6 again. Then they came in for showers and supper. We arrived home while they were watching a show. Reagan had her shower and then joined the others for a few minutes before it was bedtime for all the Dennies.

March 27, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • The boys were up this morning when I went upstairs to wake up Keaton and Whitman. I opened the blinds in the girls' room and grabbed clothes for Keaton and then moved on to wake up Whitman. He is dead weight in the morning when I pull him out of bed. That poor sleepy boy! When I did mention that this was Pops' day, he was pretty excited about it.
  • We grabbed their breakfast and soon they were out the door with Robby. Keaton took a glow stick to school today since today was letter "G" day.  The rest of us started on our breakfasts and then went to work on school.
  • This was a bit of a difficult school day today-my Graham, the usual culprit, did just fine. Reagan distracted Campbell so that Campbell was still doing school at 4. Anderson did well and managed to finish his school before lunch.
  • Not only did school take a very long time but my people were so incredibly ugly to each other. I am not sure exactly why but gracious me. They earned no kindles and no tv until 5 each day indefinitely. Now when the kids told Robby this, they said that I had said no tv or ipads for forever. I am pretty sure that it not what I said but it will be the case until they can begin to be kind to each other again.
  • I made a brownie for Whitman's birthday for us to eat tomorrow. Campbell, Keaton and Whitman helped me sort the M&Ms for the top of the cake. After a bit of tv and playtime, the ugliness hit an all time high so I kicked the kids outside.
  • They stayed outside until after 7 when Robby finally called them home. I had already headed off to Bunko. Robby had everyone shower and then they went to work on pizza for supper. After supper they watched a Little Big Shots and then headed to bed.

March 26, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Sunday morning and I walked through downstairs at 7:50 opening blinds, putting toothpaste on toothbrushes while headed upstairs to wake up the crew. The only Dennie that I encountered was Graham. I told him to run upstairs and put on his church clothes, he took the blanket off of him to show me that he was indeed already dressed and ready for church. With this, he became my Sunday morning favorite.
  • I then went into the boys' room and laid Anderson some clothes on the floor and before I went back downstairs he was wearing those clothes and headed down. I went into the girls' room and laid out clothes for Keaton and Campbell (I don't dare pick out clothes for Reagan) and before I could leave the room, they had both told me that they didn't want to wear what I had picked out. I said that was fine but to put up the clothes I laid out and then to pick out their own clothes. Thankfully, they both managed to pick out acceptable clothes.
  • I did have to carry sleeping Whitman downstairs and laid him on my bed. I grabbed his clothes also and eventually Robby woke him up enough to put clothes on him. Robby passed out leftover doughnuts to most before we were soon in the car and headed to church.
  • We did the Grandparent walk by and then everyone headed to their Sunday school classes. My class had quite a few less kiddos today so that made things easier. Then on to church-the boys and Campbell were all sitting together with me next to them and then Reagan and Keaton followed by Robby on the end. The kids are usually good in church but I always get a bit nervous when I can't reach everyone to swat them on the head. I only had to do a little swatting today!
  • Then lunch at Nonna's house-baked ziti and chocolate cake. The kids enjoyed lunch and they enjoyed playing for a bit and then we headed home. The kids helped unload the car and then Robby had to work on getting their movies stared. 
  • Once he did, I made sure that everyone understood that we were going to take a nap...and if they came upstairs for any reason then they would also be napping with us. It was amazing-we heard no one until much later in the evening. 
  • We heated up leftovers for supper and pretty much cleaned out the fridge from yesterday's meals. Then we watched a few shows before putting everyone into bed-they are still a pretty tired crew! (They should have had a 3 hour nap like us!)

March 25, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • At 2 this morning the lights came back on. This usually wakes us up but tonight we also have some new something that sings a little song when the power is turned on-we aren't sure what made that noise but it was a pleasant wake up. Robby did the walk through turning off lights and making sure that everyone was still sleeping.
  • No one really stirred until after 8 this morning. Robby went to get doughnuts for breakfast and the boys were the only ones awake then. By the time he returned everyone but Keaton were awake.
  • Whitman went to sleep in his bed last night but we moved him to our room when the power went off because he was sleeping alone in his room since the boys were in the bonus room. I didn't want him to wake up in the middle of the night and be alone and in the pitch dark. So when he did wake up in our room, he came and told me, "I went to bed in my room and then I dreamed and I dreamed that I was in your room and then I was."
  • The kids devoured the doughnuts once Robby brought them home. They played inside for a good bit of the morning but then they headed outside to play. They did play inside some but were mostly outside.
  • The Wilsons came over at some point and we worked on adding letters to her new sign. I baked some potatoes and later in the afternoon they returned and we ate potatoes and corn (yes, two starches but we had cleaned the freezer earlier in the day and the pantry is getting low.)
  • Before lunch, which happened around 2 or 3, Robby and I moved every single piece of furniture in our living room except for the couch and the piano. I am pretty pleased with how things are looking. I do know that my garage sale money will be used for accessories for around here.
  • We worked on Shannon's next sign after lunch and spent some time on figuring out her cricut. At some point today, Tony stapled my 6 little signs that the girls and I made (they are the cutest little things).
  • Shannon ran home to clean out her fridge and bring over some food for supper and Robby found some pizzas and soon we were all eating supper along with an apple pie for dessert. I couldn't have been more excited because after finishing Shannon's project, we played my Ticket to Ride game, which I have been waiting to play since my birthday.
  • Robby was the winner of the game but the kids thought they were all winners because they stayed up well past 10 watching a movie and eating ice cream! They were some tired kids tonight and I am sure that they will be exhausted in the morning during church!

March 24, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Whitman slept fine last night and so did the rest of us. Graham was up at his regular time but without Anderson around this morning, I think that he was a little bit bored. He came in our room and laid down beside me long enough to ask if he could play the xbox. I told him that he could and he was off.
  • Later in the morning, I had already seen Reagan and even spoken to her but I went upstairs to do something and it looked like she was still laying in her sleeping bag. I walked closer to see who was laying down and discovered that that little stinker shoved pillows in her sleeping bag and then put an American Girl doll near the top with her dark hair sticking out so it would look like Reagan's hair. Hope that isn't a sign of things to come.
  • Campbell was outside in the driveway working on a craft/Christmas project with me (the year is a third over already so yes, working on Christmas is now acceptable.) She painted, I painted, Keaton woke up and stumbled outside and painted. We finished what we could do of her project and started on Reagan's project. She painted, I painted, it was a painting kind of day.
  • I did the laundry and that was about the only thing that did happen productive in this house today. The kids went outside to play with the neighbors and everyone stayed outside until 6ish or even later. 
  • Reagan and Campbell finished their projects and they are just absolutely adorable-I could probably even sell them. Robby spent his morning and afternoon and even some of the evening working on his workbench. He took everything out and cleaned it out. If you told him that you needed a 5/16th washer, a 2/20th drillbit, a spark plug and bicycle pedal he could run out there and grab it in seconds. (I did just make those things up but that whole area is cleaner than it has ever been.)
  • Once we finished his chore, we came inside to clean up before letting the kids come in. The neighbor is spending the night so my boys were pretty excited.  After everyone had showers, we sat down for quesadillas, rice and chips. The kids ate up and then had a few minutes to play.
  • After a bit, I pulled out the ice cream and everyone gobbled up a bowl full and enjoyed putting toppings on it. My Campbell loves her some sprinkles. Around 9, we let the boys start a Star Wars movie. The girls are upstairs watching it too but I doubt that will last too long. Whitman is down here watching a movie with me and Robby is watching the news in his office. 
  • My plan is to take Whitman to bed when his movie is over and then I may doze on the couch until it is grown up ice cream time!
  • As I was tucking Whitman in bed tonight, he told me that God and Jesus see us all of the time. I agreed. Then he added in disgust, "I want to go to heaven, not Hawaii, ugh."
  • Update: It's 12:45 a.m and the power is out. It went out around 11 just before the boys finished their movie so everyone was still up except Whitman. Lots of excitement and scrambling for flash lights. The boys watched the end of the Florida basketball game on Robby's phone. Then we all headed to bed. Boys are in the bonus room since neighbor kid is spending night. We ended up bringing Whitman to our room since he was in his room by himself - who knows when the lights will come on...estimated time is 6:00 a.m.

March 23, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Things were going splendidly last night until about 3:30 when Whitman joined us. Grahammy had brought him down because he was coughing. I pulled him next to us and the boy continued to cough. I told Robby that he could go upstairs and he soon did.
  • That baby coughed and coughed. We tried Anderson's breather but that didn't really help. We sat in the bathroom with the shower on hot to breathe in the steam but that didn't really help either. By this time though, I guess that he was too tired to cough any more. He put his head on me and fell asleep. 
  • I woke up right at 8:03 and called the doctor to make an appointment for him. I text our 10:00 appointment time to Robby and didn't know anything else until Robby was waking Whitman and me up at 9:30. We were out the door so fast that I left my phone at home but there was no news to report since Whitman just has a cold or possibly allergies.
  • He was awfully cute at the doctor's office. They measured him and then weighed him and that is when he shouted out, "Three years old." I guess he though that needed that for his chart.
  • When we came back everyone was stirring around the house and some were thinking about going outside. We did a few things here and then the Wilsons asked if we wanted to go out to eat. So soon the kids were at Grannymom's house and we were out the door.
  • The kids took Wilson for a walk, played on their ipads, went to the creek, played soccer, ate and had a great time. We went to eat at Monkey Burger and then walked around looking at RVs. Robby has his eye on one now! Then we went to Painted Tree and then on to Home Depot to buy some wood so Tony could make Shannon a bowl and me a sign.
  • Pops went to Grannymom's house to pick up Anderson and when we picked up the kids, we dropped off Anderson's bag. Then I loaded up a few things and headed to the Wilson's house to supervise Tony cutting my signs. They are now all cut and I can't wait to make them! I have even enlisted Reagan and Campbell's help but that will be tomorrow's project!
  • Robby let the kids play at our house until the neighbors had to go in and then our crew had showers. Afterwards, they came to the Wilson's house with ice cream to celebrate the making of the signs! We were out way too late but it was a pretty great day!

March 22, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • The boys were pretty much up at 7 but I had no reason to get up early this morning. Campbell joined me in bed around 8ish and she did eventually go back to sleep. Soon Keaton and then Whitman joined us. We all stayed there for a few minutes until Whitman decided that he was starving.
  • Everyone found their breakfast and played their ipads for a bit. At 9:30, I told them that they had to work for 30 minutes on chores. Everyone was pretty agreeable since I made it clear that they would be done at 10, which is the time that the neighbors had planned on coming out. 
  • I kept my word and after 30 minutes of work, the kids were dismissed and out the door they all went. Soon the neighbors were all out and they played despite the chilliness in the air. Whitman started out playing outside but didn't last too long-he said that it was cold and came in.
  • The kids basically stayed outside from 10 until 5 today. They played basketball, ultimate frisbee, baseball and countless other games. Around 3, I did sent Whitman out again since the kids were back in our yard. He had been inside watching a movie this afternoon and coughed so much that it reminded me of the time that Anderson had his first asthma attack.  Once he was outside though, he didn't seem to cough too much.
  • I spent the afternoon finishing straightening the house and working on a few things around here. I did have to go outside at one point and tell the kids that the next time someone comes into the house to tattle one more time, then everyone is going to bed.
  • I had to call Reagan in to take a shower around 5 along with Keaton and Campbell. The little girls were getting to stay tonight but understood that they were too be my "kitchen help" and they were excellent kitchen help.
  • Reagan's friend, Grace, is moving to Florida so some of the girls got together tonight for a going away party. They had ice cream, a photo booth, made a picture with their fingerprints, played outside and even played a game inside.
  • The girls had a good time and so did the boys because they went out to Chick Fil A with Robby. Poor Whitman was coughing so much that he could hardly eat-so when he came home, he had a steamy shower and was put to bed (and is now sleeping soundly.) The boys came home before the girls left but they watched a few movies as the girls' friends left.
  • After everyone left, we picked up and then it was bedtime for my crew. I probably should have let them stay up a bit later than usual since it is still spring break, but I was tired!

Spring Break Trip 2017-March 21, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

When we were ready this morning, Graham, Campbell and Whitman went downstairs with me to eat breakfast and Robby and the others were there very shortly. This morning’s breakfast was probably the best yet. It was my favorite because they had flavored bagels and strawberry cream cheese. I was also hoping that one of the kids tried an apple cinnamon waffle but there were no takers for that. The kids ate and ate-they actually ate so much at breakfast that I am questioning if we have to feed them for the rest of the day.

Loading up didn’t take anytime at all today and soon we were on our way to the Ft. Smith National Historic Site. We had left our parks pass at home so Robby had to pay admission for me and him. We watched the movie about the fort and Judge Parker. Then we walked around the exhibits-locking people in the jail was a favorite for my kiddos. They also had a replica of the courtroom and the the gallows outside that we walked through.

After stamping our books, we walked on the trail down by the river. We were able to see the Arkansas River and part of the Trail of Tears. The trail was .7 miles but you would have thought we had made Whitman walk 7 miles. Once back in the car, we all did have a drink to cool us off. The weather was warm but not nearly as warm as yesterday.

The kids watched a movie in the car as we headed home while I tried to read all of the magazines that I had brought to read on the trip and did not and worked on my list for this next week.We listened to our book for a bit and then we were near Russellville and you can’t just drive past Whataburger without stopping. So we stopped and all had our lunch-burgers and shakes for everyone. We did order way too many fries and brought them home to add to our last night’s leftovers.

Then Anderson picked the movie and we were zooming closer to home. I tried to convince Robby to stop a few different places on the way home but he didn’t take my suggestions-Arkansas Wine Trail, Tacos for Life in Conway, Buffalo River, anywhere-there is nothing sadder than the last day of a trip!

On the way down the road, the kids saw the neighbors so they were very anxious to help put everything up. I used that to my advantage and soon the car was unloaded and everything except for my bag and Robby’s bag had been emptied and put away. As soon as I said that we were done, they were out the door and down the street.

The kids then mostly stayed outside until nearly 7. They did come in for a little bit and worked on Lego movies but were soon back outside. The neighbor Dad and Mom did walk down for a bit-he played basketball with the kids and I visited. While they were here, we did talk about our March Madness brackets. He was trying to think of a specific team's name and Reagan was the one who was able to name the team that he was thinking about. I couldn't believe it-just doing those silly brackets has caused her to be more interested in the games.

The kids did come inside just as Shannon was arriving. They had their showers while Shannon and I looked through cookbooks and planned our freezer cooking day. Tony and Brett soon arrived and we all dug into the ice cream. The kids had multiple bowls full but we didn't since we are trying to watch our figures (or possibly because Robby had already put it back in the freezer.)

The Wilsons were around long enough for us to plan a few road trips and then they had to leave-it was nearly 11. We soon put the kids to bed and everyone seemed to be pretty happy to not be in a hotel. Even though they are in bed late, my crew will still probably be up early, early. We have only one thing to do tomorrow-clean the house so there is no reason to wake up early!

Spring Break Trip 2017-March 20, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

We all slept great again last night-my people sleep better in a hotel than anywhere else. Robby and I always sleep better in hotels as well-possibly we need to invest in better bedding. Whenever Robby says the words “breakfast is closing in a bit” everyone always starts moving very quickly to put on their clothes. We were up early enough that breakfast wasn’t closing soon but his words still get everyone moving.  

Soon we were in the lobby grabbing breakfast. Most everyone had what they had eaten the day before-Keaton had toast, Whitman had yogurt and cereal, Anderson ate cereal and I am really not sure what everyone else had. I did have myself a bagel but they aren’t nearly as good without flavored cream cheese.

We then loaded up the car which is so much easier now that everyone can carry their own weight. Then we headed towards downtown Bartlesville. There was an old locomotive that you could climb in and we took full advantage of that. The kids climbed and posed picture after picture. As we were about to leave, we looked at the bell and wondered why they weren’t able to ring it. I went back up into the locomotive to see if I could ring it myself and indeed I could. I am sure that the townspeople wished that we had never figured that out because everyone then rang and rang that bell.

Our moms are coming here next week so we went to one of their planned stops-Keepsake Candles. We had heard that the kids could dip their own candles very reasonably priced. They all were able to dip a candle and so enjoyed that. Then we let tehm all pick a scented votive. It was a neat little place full of cute things.

Then it was on the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile. We just followed the cars and people-it seemed like most everyone in our hotel was going there this morning. We drove around the building once-on one and a half sides of the building there was a line of people waiting to get into the restaurant. Another line was half a block long waiting to grab something from the to-go area.  Eeek! That meant we weren’t eating there then.

Robby did drop me off and ran inside to look for the directions to the lodge. We had seen on their site that the lodge was open for visitors during spring break. I then went back outside to meet Robby and the kids on their way in. We browsed through the Mercantile and gracious me, I don’t think I have ever seen so many people in on place. It was craziness. There was neat things to see everywhere and I sure could have filled up a shopping basket but I don’t think my people could have waited while I joined the line of 50 or so waiting to check out.

We did venture upstairs where they have a neat little bakery. It was also crazy crowded. Robby tried to wait in line for a bit to get us a few treats but the line wasn’t moving at all. So we headed to the car and had a snack. Then it was on the Lodge, where the Pioneer Woman films her tv show.

It was quite a drive there-about 25 minutes and much of it down a gravel road. It was fine though because there were wild horses everywhere. We could also see smoke from grass fires. The ranchers burn the grass here so it will have more nutrients and less weeds for the cattle to graze on during the summer. We were able to see them lighting the fires, filling up their water trucks and spraying the fires. On the way out, we even saw Ladd driving by.

The Lodge was full of people looking around. It was a beautiful country lodge-huge kitchen table, tons of windows, massive fireplace-I could have stayed there. You were able to browse through bedrooms and everything. In the middle there was a huge pantry full of food and Pioneer Woman dishes. There was also an addition on the back with a huge industrial kitchen which I am sure has been added since her show began.  One bedroom even had some of her clothes and a table with all of Ree’s makeup. Dogs were laying around everywhere and Campbell was in heaven petting them. We walked around the back deck and enjoyed the beautiful view.

On the road leaving the Lodge was a BBQ stand so we stopped there for lunch. It was typical roadside food-delicious. The BBQ sauce did have tiny pieces of pickles chopped in it. It was all very good but it was a bit hot outside since it is well into the 80s. We devoured 4 huge sandwiches and 2 large containers of fries before getting back in the car, which has been starting wonderfully today.

We had to drive right through the fires on the way off of the Drummond Ranch. The fire was so hot that we could feel the heat in the car. We did drive back through the town to check out the lines at the Mercantile, which were not quite as long but long enough for the staff to have passed out umbrellas for everyone who was waiting in the sun to eat their lunch.

Pawhuska was the home of the first Boy Scout troop in America so we stopped at their little statue and let the kids play at a tiny park for a few minutes. Then it was back in the car for a quick stop at the gas station. Robby got gas and we all pottied before I drove on to Tulsa. We listened to our book, I ate my driving candy-candy that I save to eat when I am driving, Robby worked and Keaton slept.

In Tulsa, we stopped at Webber’s Root Beer stand. We had a root beer float, a frozen root beer float, a mug of root beer and a tiny hamburger that we all tasted. It was ridiculously prices but with the fun. We all crammed into the tiny eating area and after my crew sat down there were only 2 empty stools. It was pretty tight in there but that did provide plenty of ambiance.

We had another 2 hours to drive to the hotel after leaving the root beer stand so we all pottied before getting into the car. From there it was just 2 hours to Ft. Smith and we didn’t even have to stop. Campbell was asking for a bathroom by the time that we arrived and Robby took her and Keaton in to the hotel with him to check in.

Later Keaton was happy to report that not only were they able to use the restroom, they also had a cookie. Graham was quick to ask Robby why they all didn’t get a cookie. Robby replied that he tries not to advertise that he has a basketball team with him. I reminded him that we have more than a basketball team.

After we unloaded our stuff, Robby found a neat little restaurant for us to eat at tonight-Calico Country. It was Cracker Barrel-ish but the meal began with them bringing warm cinnamon rolls to the table. That is the way to start a meal! We ended up with leftover so we brought bag a doggie bag since tomorrow we will be heading home after seeing the National Park site here.

Once we went back to the hotel, the kids changed into their pjs and everyone had a bit of ipad time before bed. I think everyone had a good day. Anderson said that he was ready to go home (not sure what is wrong with him) but Whitman started crying when I told him that he we were going home tomorrow. He said that he wanted to stay in a hotel forever!

Spring Break Trip 2017-March 19, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

Last night, we realized that it was awfully quiet in our room when the air conditioner wasn't on. We had never replaced Robby’s fan that he usually brings on trips so I suggested that he find a white noise app. He searched and searched for a decent sound and finally ended up with noise that sounded like rain falling...or possibly baking frying. I am sure that Reagan was a bit disappointed when she woke up and discovered that we were not actually cooking bacon in the room.

Robby and I were in bed a bit later than everyone else since we did do a load of laundry-why not? Around 8:30 this morning I realized that Robby was already awake and in the bathroom. Before I knew it, Whitman and Keaton were climbing in bed with me. They were wide awake for a good long while before anyone else woke up. Reagan and Anderson were my last two to wake up.

Everyone quickly put their clothes on this morning-it is surprising how quickly the kids get back into the traveling routine. They put their pjs in their bags and brushed their teeth mostly without being asked. Then it was down to breakfast. My people loaded up-sausage, eggs, toast, waffles, bagels, cereal-we ate almost as much as we did yesterday at the Wilson’s campsite.

After we ate, we all returned to the room to grab our bags and then we were in the car. We drove by one Walmart to possibly drop off the car which hesitates to start. The line was pretty crazy so we decided that we would risk it for a bit longer. We thought about listening to church but had already missed some so we turned on our book on tape.

Once we passed through the Duggar’s town, Tonitown, we did stop at a Walmart for them to check the car battery. I believe that they were able to get right to the car but it still took a good long while.We walked around and walked around. This Walmart was nicer than ours and had many, many more things to look at so we did look like we had never been to a Walmart before.

After about an hour and a half of walking around, we did head to the McDonald's at the front. Robby bought nuggets and then cookies for us to eat as we shared a drink. Robby would check on the car occasionally as I played a never ending game with the kids. Almost 3 hours after we arrived, we did leave with a brand new battery. Kind of odd to get 2 bad batteries in just a few months but hopefully this will solve the problem.

Soon we were in Oklahoma and zooming down a toll road. The kids turned on their ipads and I passed out snacks to hold us over until tonight’s supper. It wasn’t too long until we were in Bartlesville. We were able to meet my suite mate from college and her family. They had a tall tower that the kids enjoyed climbing up and then we walked down to a neat playground. The kids played and threw the ball a bit.

Let’s just take a minute to discuss this Oklahoma wind. I have heard people talk about it but it was craziness. If we had been at home, the tornado sirens would have probably have gone off. Ha! It was crazy windy and I am sure that all of the pictures show a bunch of crazy haired people in them. Around 5, we headed to our hotel and turned on the Hog game.

Robby ran to pick up pizza and we ate as we watched some of the game. Whitman didn’t watch much of the game but did watch his movies. Keaton and Campbell didn’t watch the game either and instead they played something. I am not sure what but they did straighten our shoes, clean off a table and turned off the lights in our room-I guess they were playing hotel maid.

We gobbled up the pizza during the game and my crew was still crazy happy at the end of the game (well, except for Graham who had the Hogs winning it all on his bracket). They were all happy because everyone was getting to go swimming. This was the first time they had swam in a while so we made sure everyone remembered everything-4 big ones did, Whitman didn’t miss a beat with his life jacket on but Keaton had forgotten her swimming skills but was fine once we put her floatees on here, which stayed on her the rest of the time.

The kids swam and swam-they raced, they jumped, they squealed, they soaked in the hot tub, they had a ball. I took Whitman and Keaton back a few minutes before everyone else so we could get the showers started. Then Robby and the others came back. After showers, Robby did laundry with Keaton and Campbell and most everyone had hot chocolate before watching a bit of tv, reading a few chapters in Psalms for Reagan, which Whitman fell asleep during, and then it was sweet bedtime!

Spring Break Trip 2017-March 18, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

Our alarm clocks both rang at 6:15 this morning. Robby said that he could not figure out why in the world he had set his alarm for a Saturday morning. He quickly remembered that we had places to be and soon we had both finished hitting snooze and were up getting ready.

Before we could do too much, we could already hear the girls above our heads working on making their beds. The boys were getting themselves ready too. It is nice that our people can do most everything by themselves-especially since Robby and I seem to be taking longer and longer to get ourselves ready.

I passed out doughnuts to everyone and they also packed a baggie of cereal for the road. We had planned on leaving at 7:00 but did leave around 7:15. Not too shabby for a Saturday morning. That is really not too shabby for us any day of the week. Soon the lights were turned off and Robby and I were circling around the house looking for any last things to throw in the car.

The kids were amazed that there was no one on the road and soon we were on the “fast road” listening to our book on tape. We did pass out the ipads so everyone could pick their next round picks. We have all completed full brackets and currently Campbell is barely holding on to her lead but the upsets today will hurt quite a few of the Dennie picks.

We only stopped once on the way to Devil’s Den. We had told the Wilsons that we would arrive at 10 and when we left the interstate we saw a sign that said 17 more miles. Robby drove like a crazy man so we could arrive as close to 10 as possible-10:30. We drove right to the Wilsons just like we knew where they were-they had sent us multiple instructions about how to get there and thankfully, I took notes or we would still be circling around on the other dirt road.

When we arrived, Tony had breakfast almost ready and man, that is truly the way to camp. We pulled our chairs from the van and sat down to enjoy bacon, sausage, biscuits, hashbrowns, eggs and pancakes. When we were finished with our meal, we watched them clean up! Couldn't have been better! No, we did help clean up some while the kids went walking on a trail.

I did have to call my kiddos back for a little meeting about staying together. Reagan and Anderson had started off in a run leaving Whitman crying, Keaton running back to get me and poor Campbell and Graham trying to gather everyone together (My middle two sometime don't have any sense at all but other times they have more sense than the big ones.) After everyone, including the nearby campers, clearly understood my instructions about staying together they went off again on their trail walk. And when they did return, they were still all together!

The kids played football, wiffle ball, ultimate frisbee and soccer. They also walked on the nearby trail multiple times and drank their weight in drinks. When breakfast clean up was done, we started on lunch/supper preparations. Keaton, Whitman, Campbell, Shannon and I did walk around the camp area and asked to pet a horse. The man asked if they wanted to get on the horse and Whitman said he did. He sat up on that horse and said "is it going to go fast?" After we took him down and walked away, he realized that he didn't get to ride the hose and was not pleased.

The next adventure was a one and a half mile trail-Devil's Den trail. I am not really sure but it seemed much, much more than a mile and a half. It must have been because it seemed like we were constantly walking down steep inclines. The trail was really neat and we were able to see some caves and odd cracks and crevices in the rocks. It would be another beautiful trail to walk in the fall. Whitman was very, very concerned that we were going to go into a cave and would be beside himself asking about where Campbell was each time we left a cave area.

Anderson and Graham stayed up front with Brett and Luke (Brett's friend) and Reagan stuck pretty close to them. They had a blast and could have walked for another few miles. The end of the trail ended with a beautiful waterfall and by this time the weather was warm and it would be been nice to get a bit wet in the water.

After the trail, we drove around a bit before heading back to the campsite. The kids played some more and soon we were eating chili and fritos, which is one of our favorite meals. Tony had also made apple cobbler in the dutch oven which we had as we loaded up our chairs and said our goodbyes.

We drove to the hotel and Robby checked in. We unloaded and then the kids all took crazy fast showers. They were absolutely filth-a sign of a good day. Whitman had fallen asleep in the car so I carried him up to our room. After everyone else had been in the shower, we undressed him and I put him in the shower with Robby. Robby scrubbed him up and then got out. A few minutes later, I asked him if he wanted to get out and he said "Why am I in here?" The poor guy had no idea why he was in the shower or how he had even got there.

When everyone was clean, we drove just a few miles to the baseball stadium. It was crazy crowded and Robby started to worry that maybe we couldn't get tickets. We were able to get them in the outfield. I have only really been to Traveler's games and this was nothing like that. The crowd was much more livlier. In fact, I always hear people talk about homeschooling on the road but tonight, I learned that it was indeed possible. My littles learned words like "suck, nuts, fat pig" but my favorite comment from tonight was "Umpire, open your good eye!"

The outfield was like a big party with everyone bringing in their chairs, grill and ice chests. We sat down on the grass and weren't really able to see but could a bit. My Graham really, really wanted to catch a ball but none came our way. One of the innings was at least an hour long and it was just a bit chilly. We did eventually end up in seats near the Wilsons and were there for the ending of the game.

When we initially sat there, the crowd was pretty upset about a call and they were letting the umpire know about it. Campbell listened to this for a while and then she said, "I am ready to go." I calmed her down and soon the crowd was calm as well.We did all see Ribby, the Razorback Hog and Keaton asked to take her picture with a cheerleader...and then Whitman became pretty enamored with them himself.

It was after 10:30 when the game was over. We had a snack in the car, rice krispy treats, and then headed upstairs to get into our beds. Whitman made it clear that he slept in the bathroom when he was a baby but now he has "growed." I believe that Campbell was the first one to sleep tonight and probably everyone but Anderson is asleep right now. It has been a late night but we have to wake up at a decent time tomorrow because breakfast ends at 9:30-I guess if we miss it, we can drive back down to the Wilson's campsite for breakfast there.

March 17, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Most everyone woke up this morning with green on. I did catch Reagan "pinching" Whitman so I had to remind him that he did have green on under his clothes. He was quick to pull his undies and pants down both trying to show his sister that he did have on green underwear. Before I knew it, she was looking at me saying that I didn't have any green on. I had to point to her that I did have green on my shirt.
  • Since Robby was off today, I suggested that he fix breakfast this morning and he opted for doughnuts. He took Keaton, Whitman and Campbell to Krispy Kreme in hopes of coming home with some green doughnuts. They came home with doughnuts but our pitiful Krispy Kreme didn't have green ones. Thankfully, the color didn't matter because we devoured those doughnuts.
  • While they were picking up breakfast, the rest of us did some speed school. We weren't finished by the time they arrived but we did stop to take a break for breakfast. Then we were all back at school work.
  • By noon, everyone was finished and we were working on chores. We made sure that we finished in time to cheer on the hogs to victory. I did take the girls upstairs during halftime to pack their bags and then as soon as the game was over, the boys each went upstairs to pack-it is much easier packing with a boy than with a girl.
  • After the game, the kids migrated outside and the afternoon zoomed by. Around 5, a truck came to deliver a dryer-yes, the downstairs one is the one not working but we bought a dryer for the upstairs. Our dryer upstairs did work the other day but it has been sporadic for a long time now-one of the main reasons that we stopped doing laundry up there. It was past time since that dryer lived with Robby before the Gamble house. The big truck and the men delivering the dryer did provide some entertainment for Whitman this afternoon.
  • Anderson and I smoked Robby and Graham in a game of hoops (smoked might be an understatement) and then Robby started cutting the boys hair before everyone came in for showers. I emptied out the fridge for supper which worked out well and then we watched 2 little shows before bed.
  • While we were watching tv, Robby was working on his cord box (two nights or 28 nights-we still have 6 ipads, 2 phones, camera, 2 laptops and the list goes on.) In the cord box was the camera chip that he had "lost" on our big road trip last year. On our 25th night last year, this is what I wrote:
    • Robby and I spent a good deal of our sleeping time last night looking for his camera chip. It had been right on the bed before we started folding our laundry but somehow when he went to look for it, it was gone. He has others and the pictures are all on the computer but it was one of his newer fancy ones. We looked in the sheets, we looked in the now folded and put away laundry, we looked under kids, we looked everywhere we could possibly think of it but that thing has disappeared. We finally gave up and went on to bed.
  • And just imagine that silly camera chip was pretty much right where it belonged the entire time. I can now vividly remembering dumping out every single things in the kids bags looking through their laundry, moving kids around to see if they had rolled on top of it and taking the sheets off of our hotel bed. Gracious me! Trust me, Robby will be the one scooping up the ice cream tonight!
  • After our shows were over, it was time for the kids to head to bed. We did one next to last load of clothes before setting down for a few minutes before Robby and I get up to pack our little bags. Tomorrow is an early morning!

March 16, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • It took a bit longer than usual to get Keaton and Whitman ready for school this morning. I had washed Whitman's St. Patrick's Day shirt and went to pull it out of the dryer this morning. The clothes were still damp-that isn't too crazy odd so I pushed the button to start it again and nothing. Eeek! 
  • I went to his drawer and did find a green shirt with a basketball on it. Really, what could be better than a St. Patrick day and March Madness appropriate shirt rolled into one? Robby would say that a working dryer would be better than that.
  • Thankfully, we do have a dryer upstairs-though it only works 50% of the time. I took the laundry upstairs and hoped for the best. I divided the clothes up in small batches and thankfully that dryer did work. Robby called to schedule an appointment for the downstairs dryer (April was the first available) and then he went ahead and ordered a new dryer for upstairs (we need dependable.) Tonight we explained to the kids that a working dryer upstairs means they will soon be doing their own laundry (my goal is to work myself completely out of a job.)
  • Robby took the littles to school and I did school here. We were rolling today and I was able to finish a few things around here before heading to pick up Keaton and Whitman. On the way home, I stopped by Nonna to drop a few things off and I ended up dropping off 2 extra little things. Whitman wanted to stay and Nonna said that they could. They ended up going shopping and playing for a good long time.
  • Back at home, the others had finished school and I helped them finish chores as well. Then it was time for lunch. As soon as lunch was over, the neighbors were out so the kids headed out. They spent most of their time sitting in our garage in lawnchairs watching basketball. 
  • Robby, Reagan and I left to get gas for the cars while the others played. After Robby's tank was full, he headed home and Reagan and I headed to Kroger and then Kohls. We were able to pick her up a swimsuit and she was a happy, happy girl. My baby wanted a bathing suit with a shirt (My prayers for modesty have been heard.)
  • We were only home for a bit when Robby left with Reagan to pick up Keaton for the first soccer practice of the year. It wasn't too much longer when I left with the boys and Campbell. We picked up Whitman on the way and dropped off more stuff at Nonna's house. I then dropped off my car load and picked up another car load. The kids would have loved to have stayed for all of the practices but since it has become winter time, we headed home.
  • I threw my people in the showers and threw supper in the oven. When Robby came home with the others, they had speed showers and we were soon sitting eating tonight's manicotti. When the kitchen was clean, we moved to the living room for another round of sock ball! Reagan was the grand champion and she was very relieved because she was able to keep the family trophy.