June 30, 2017

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  • Today was the boys' last day at VBS. We took them so they didn't have to leave as early this morning which was a good thing because they didn't jump up this morning. Campbell was up before the boys left and I tried to be quiet so Reagan and Keaton would sleep a bit longer. They did but not as long as I had expected.
  • It was dreary and I was moving slow this morning so I never made it to the treadmill which would have been a good idea since I just ate a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I worked on Whitman's sight words, Keaton's reading book and Campbell and I made a tutu that she had received for her birthday.
  • Robby and I did spend a good long time hanging my new picture frames in the living room. Grandpa helped me cut them boards and screw them together. Then Robby helped on the last few steps. I am just beginning to get things hung on these walls-five and a half years later.
  • Soon, Shannon showed up with the boys. They enjoyed VBS and Graham said that he wanted to go again next year. I have not asked them for the final results but they did agree that crafts were better at our church but Rock Creek's snacks were much better than at our church.
  • I heated up leftovers for lunch and we played a round of spoons before everyone put on their bathing suits and we headed to the pool. Brett came along with us and the kids enjoyed playing for almost 3 hours. This is our 12th time to go to the pool this year which is great but I still have about 20 more trips before the summer is over.
  • I did take Whitman's life jacket off for a bit today. I have been doing this every once in a while but this was the first time I let him go down the slide. He slid down and came up. I would grab him and give him a push to the ladder and he would get there. It wasn't pretty but he made it. Then he would let go of the ladder and sink to the bottom and come up shouting, "I touched the bottom." He just might get the swimming thing this year.
  • At almost 6, we headed home and everyone jumped into showers. Afterwards, we had supper-sandwiches. Then we picked up around the house. Robby and Whitman left for a midnight (almost) run to the grocery store while everyone else and I played another round of spoon followed by a new game Reagan learned on her mission trip.
  • We watched a few episodes of the Bates and then it was bedtime for my crew.

June 29, 2017

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  • Today was the last day of soccer camp, last day of basketball camp and the last day of the mission trip. Tomorrow we will just have VBS and then I don't plan on leaving the house at all on Saturday (Actually, I already have a list of things to do and places to go on Saturday.)
  • I had to wake up everyone this morning-even the boys. Yesterday, Anderson had debated going to VBS because his throat hurt some from screaming but not today. He knew that Ms. Shannon was going to pick up doughnuts on their way so he was anxious to get his clothes on so that he didn't miss his ride.
  • Robby took the girls to soccer camp and then headed in to work. I stayed home with Whitman and fought the urge to take a nap. The dreary weather would have made a perfect nap day. Whitman did want a lot of my attention and after cuddling and reading to him, I tried to sneak off to the treadmill. I was able to get some done but he was a bit needy today.
  • He might just be tired of all of our running around because he did NOT want to leave the house today to go and pick up the boys. He tried to convince me that Daddy was home and he could stay home. He even did a fake baby cry the whole way to Rock Creek to show his displeasure about coming. But as soon as we had the brothers, I was passing out lunch and lemonade and he forgot all about it.
  • The boys enjoyed VBS but were anxious to get to basketball camp. They both were their basketball shirts and have asked me to sign them up for next year. Whitman and I picked up lunch for me and then on to pick up the girls.
  • We arrived just in time to see them call Keaton as camper of the day. She could not have been more proud of her 10 dollar McDonalds gift card. Campbell, bless, was so proud of her little sister but she so wanted to be camper of the day too. I had already explained to the girls the other day that their were lots and lots of boys and girls and many of them deserve to be camper of the day too.
  • They both had a great time at soccer camp and received medals and tshirts. Campbell said that she wished soccer camp could be longer. Both of them were crazy tired though. We came home for a bit and soon it was time to leave again.
  • This time everyone was asking to stay since Robby was home. We explained that I was heading to one side of town to pick up Reagan and he was going to the other side to pick up the boys. I was a bit surprised that the girls didn't want to go with me to pick up Reagan but later learned they had heard that their might be a Sonic trip in Robby's car.
  • After picking up the boys, Robby and his car did stop at Sonic and then headed home. At church, Whitman was happy that he had a chance to play on the playground while we waited on the buses. We went in to potty twice and then the buses arrived.
  • The kids were told to help unload the trailer and Reagan worked and worked and worked. Soon most everyone was gone and my girl was still working. Whitman had sat himself down in the shade and I realized that if she was ever going to stop working, I was going to have to help finish unloading the trailer. So Whitman and I got in on hauling some tables. I am not sure if Reagan worked like this all week long but gracious me, I couldn't have been prouder of her.
  • Our Sonic drinks were waiting for us at home and as soon as we walked into the door, I threw Reagan's clothes into the wash and then everyone had some downtime before supper. Robby helped me on my pictures frames and before too long we were eating.
  • I had pulled out a freezer meal and even though it was a win before, it was a fail this time. Personally, I thought it was delicious-or at least it killed hunger. Hopefully, everyone's taste buds will change because we have leftovers and one more in the freezer.
  • Showers were next and everyone needed a good hosing down. Then we had a bit of time to watch a Bates tv show before going to bed for a much needed rest.

June 28, 2017

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  • Day 3 of VBS (Anderson and Graham), day 2 of soccer camp (Keaton and Campbell), day 2 of basketball camp (Anderson and Graham), day 4 of mission trip (Reagan). 
  • The boys were up first this morning and I did have to wake up Campbell. Anderson is still very hoarse and even asked to stay home today. We encouraged him to go and did tell him that he could stay home tomorrow if his throat was still sore (though I did mention that I think doughnuts were the breakfast plans for tomorrow so I bet he can't pass that up.)
  • Shannon took the boys to VBS and once Anderson was on the way there, he did perk up. Robby took the girls to soccer camp and Whitman was still at Grannymom's house for his sleepover. 
  • That left me all alone in the house which rarely happens. I flew through my list and soon was on the treadmill. I decided that spending time on the treadmill is really just a time waster. Seriously, I had so much that I should have been doing and no time to the treadmill but I pressed on.
  • Soon I was on the road headed to Goodwill just to look around. I didn't find anything but did have to hurry to pick up the boys. I would have been there on earlier but I just drove right on past Rock Creek and kept on driving. After I turned around, I picked up my boys who both had a great time.
  • As they ate lunch, I shuttled them to basketball camp. Next stop was picking up Whitman from Grannymom's house. He had a good time but was also happy to see me. Then we drove to the soccer fields to pick up the girls. 
  • We were there a bit early and had time to see the girls before everything was over. They were having a good time and didn't even sit near us during the close. 
  • Back at home, the girls and Whitman helped me make a dessert for Reagan's return. The dessert was Keaton's idea and Graham really wanted to make something to for his sister (so sweet that they missed her) but he will be gone most of the day.
  • We were home just long enough to finish the desserts, when we loaded up to pick up the boys and then meet Robby at the pool. Robby brought pizza and soon Cash and Lilly arrived. The kids played and played until around 7. I headed home with the boys and Robby and the girls were not too far behind us. We changed and then headed to the Wilson's house.
  • After an almost two mile walk, we played some cards. Now, my mission is to teach the kids how to play that game. When we noticed that Whitman was sound asleep, we decided that we should head home and put that baby into bed. Everyone else headed to bed too and my girls were so excited when we reminded them that Reagan will come home tomorrow.

June 27, 2017

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  • Everyone was awake early this morning. I guess the boys some how wake up Whitman and the last two mornings, he has thought that it was still night time despite the sun shining. He comes to our bed and lays down. This morning when I got up to use the restroom, he asked me if it was morning. When I told him that it was, he hopped up and headed to the living room to join the others.
  • Keaton and Campbell were awake early this morning because today was soccer camp day for them. They could not wait for the day and were dressed and ready before the boys which never happens.
  • Shannon dropped by to pick up my boys and they were off to VBS for day 2. They were pretty excited about this morning and were both dressed in yellow shirts to support their yellow team. Soon afterwards, Robby took the girls to camp leaving Whitman and me left at home.
  • Whitman was completely happy with being the only one at home. We read at least 8 books this morning, he helped me make granola and he even watched some tv. A bit before 12, I fed Whitman and packed a lunch for the boys. 
  • We picked up the boys. They both had fun even though Anderson is pretty hoarse from screaming all morning long. I fed them, and Whitman again, in the car as we drove to basketball camp. I dropped them off and then we headed to Grannymom's house.
  • Whitman had patiently waited for his stop and was thrilled to get to spend the night with Grannymom. He had remembered to pack his two bears this morning and even brought 3 books for Grannymom to read to him. 
  • From there, I drove to the other side of the earth to pick up the girls from soccer camp. They had a great time but I should have sent them more water (same with the boys at basketball). We ran home for a few minutes and the girls did a bit of reading and as soon as we were done, it was time for me to pick up the boys.
  • Keaton and I picked them up and drove home as they told us all about it. They had a great time. Once at home, Anderson did a bit of painting and a lot of lego-ing. Graham played the xbox and Campbell and Keaton followed me around the house. 
  • Robby and I made supper-I fried eggs while he flipped pancakes and cooked the sausage. The kids had some downtime and just as they thought Robby was about to say brush their teeth, he told them to load up in the car. 
  • We picked up the Wilsons and headed to Sonic for a half price shake. This delighted the kids and they enjoyed running around for a few minutes while we drank our shakes. Once at home, it was well past bedtime and my sleepyheads went right to bed.

June 26, 2017

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  • The boys were up early this morning because they were anxious for Shannon to come and pick them up. She offered for them to go to VBS at Rock Creek and they jumped at the chance. 
  • They left a bit before 8 and even had time to see Shannon's office. Then they changed into their shirts and VBS soon began. Anderson wasn't too sure that he wanted to go to VBS again this week but Graham and he had the best time. They told me all about it on the way home-the moon pies being so much bigger at Rock Creek was a definite highlight. Tomorrow, they are dressing in their groups color and can't wait.
  • Meanwhile back at home, Keaton, Campbell and Whitman had their breakfasts and even read a few books with me. They also painted, played their ipads, played Chutes and Ladders, shuffled lots of cards, watched a few movies and helped me straighten a few times. 
  • At 12, I jumped in the car to pick up the boys and when I dropped of Layne, I picked up Brett. He hung out at our house until it was time for us to leave again. Around 2, we loaded up for the pool and when everyone was settled there I ran a few errands. 
  • I went to the Dollar Store, Michaels, Walmart, Staples and then back to the Dollar Store again. The kids played and played-Brett entertained the boys and the girls had lots of buddies that were there. We dried everyone off and then headed home for showers.
  • We popped a freezer meal in the oven and were soon eating. After we ate, the kids all sat in the living room playing on their ipads before we watched a tv show before bedtime.
  • Reagan update-we didn't hear much today but we did see some pictures. She worked a sports camp this morning and then went on a hike this afternoon. I think that this evening they did more canvassing of the nearby neighborhoods. I know that she is having a blast!

June 25, 2017

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  • The morning began early with getting Reagan out of bed so she could ready herself to leave for her mission trip. Robby took her to church to meet her group at 8:15. They received their shirts and then loaded the buses and trailers. 
  • Afterwards, her group went to the first worship service  and the 40 or so 5th and 6th graders and 20 adults were sent off to Heber Springs. They had lunch at CiCis pizza in Hot Springs and then arrived to unload. They canvased the area letting people know about the sports camp and backyard Bible clubs happening during the week. Afterwards, one group had showers then supper and worship at Brad Johnson's church. Then the second group had showers later in the evening. 
  • Candice sent a few pictures and it looks like Reagan and her buddies are all sleeping in a Sunday school room. Everyone's mattresses and sleeping bags are all laid out and Reagan is right in the middle.
  • After Robby dropped off Reagan this morning, he came back home to pick us up. We were doing decent on our time but still had to scramble so we could make it to church on time. We greeted the grands and then headed to our Sunday school classes.
  • My class was smaller today so that made things go pretty smoothly. Then we headed to church followed by lunch at Grannymom. She had spaghetti and pie-chocolate and key lime so everyone left the table happy. 
  • We played a few games there before we left and Campbell pretty much worked on learning how to shuffle all day long. I am afraid that I am raising a card shark because she is determined to figure out how to shuffle just like I do. I guess she will always be able to get a job in Vegas.
  • The afternoon flew by and soon I was downstairs having the kids pick up. We spent most of our time working on the legos which had become a disaster. Anderson plays probably an hour a day up there and cleaning up after himself is not a skill that he embraces. We worked and worked and made a very good dent. 
  • While we were working, I did notice that one child seemed to step up and take Reagan's place-Keaton. She worked harder than I had ever seen her work and was even trying to encourage the boys. It will be interesting to see if the dynamics around here change any with Reagan gone for the week.
  • I vacuumed while Robby made quesadillas for supper and we will even have some for lunch tomorrow. The kids then hung out for the rest of the evening. The boys played legos and xbox. I read to Whitman and Keaton while Campbell shuffled her cards. Soon it was bedtime! and ice cream time!

June 24, 2017

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  • I woke up this morning when Whitman and then Graham came and laid in our bed. I actually thought that Graham was Anderson so I was surprised when he asked me to go outside. I asked the time since even though there are not many neighbors, I didn't want him waking them up at 7 with a bouncing basketball. It was late enough so I agreed but a few minutes later he came backing saying he had changed his mind and asked if he could play the xbox.
  • We didn't to a whole lot this morning. Robby and I did take Whitman to Kroger with us. We picked up a few things and left the other kiddos at home. They were all vegged out in front of the tv. I left my phone with them and all was well when we returned.
  • When we came home, we unloaded and I eventually started pulling out lunch. I decided that we would just clean out the pantry and fridge so lunch consisted of: biscuits (expired and uncooked in the fridge), apples, applesauce, yogurt, goldfish, vanilla wafers, popcorn, vienna sausages, beef jerky and possibly a few other things.
  • Robby headed out to mow for a bit and I headed to fold some laundry with a brief stop for today's nap. After tomorrow's nap, I shall be fully recovered from VBS and will give up my napping habit.
  • The kids migrated outside after putting on their bathing suits. The neighbors were out so the kids were able to play for a 10 or 15 minutes before we drove down and picked them up. We had supper at the McGuires. The kids played in the pool and even sat down to play a game of cards.
  • Todd had cooked some delicious meat and we all enjoyed BBQ along with oreo delight made by Kennedy. The kids played until I think they were pretty worn out. When the sun started to go down, we headed home.
  • Everyone had showers and then we watched a quick Bates before bedtime for me crew.

June 23, 2017

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  • We probably arrived at church earlier today than we have all week long. I was teaching the little kids class and wanted to be there in plenty of time to get all of my toys laid out. The kids walked with me to my new class to help me carry my bag and then they were off to their classes. 
  • Campbell enjoys her class but she is the only one who is not too anxious to go. She would rather hang back with me for as long as she can. Yesterday, she was called up on the stage for an M&M sorting game. I should have taken a picture but I was way in the back. Campbell did win beating 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders.
  • Back to today, everyone had a great time during VBS and my bag was crazy heavy this morning but this afternoon, it took both boys to carry it to the car. After we gathered everyone, we headed to Nonna and Pops' house for lunch.
  • The other day the kids had helped Nonna snap some green beans so today she cooked the green beans with them along with potatoes and ham. Everyone ate some of the lunch-Anderson passed on the ham, Keaton passed on the potatoes and Whitman barely eats anything. Now, Reagan did eat at least a half pound of ham-that girl loves meat!
  • After some playing, we came home and unloaded the car and after some straightening it was free time. A plumber came to replace our hot water heater so that was the afternoon's entertainment. Now, I did miss out on most of the entertainment because I was taking a nap. Today wasn't a 4 hour nap but maybe a 3 hour nap. Seriously, I don't know if I could physically take one more day of VBS.
  • Jason came over to take the big boys to the movies. They watched the new Cars movie and then ended up meeting us at Wendys for supper. We had went there for supper and afterwards, we picked up some ice cream and headed to the Wilson's house for the rest of the evening.
  • When we arrived, Shannon and the kids were playing Nertz and it brought back all kinds of college days memories. I loved that game-still do and I even won one hand of it. We stayed until late and shooed the kids into bed as soon as we made it home.

June 22, 2017

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  • By 12:15, all of the girls were asleep. I couldn't have asked for anything better. I had probably only been asleep for a little bit when Whitman climbed into our bed. I don't know if he had looked for his brothers since he sometimes gets into bed with them. Since they weren't there, he came down and found us. I pulled him in bed with me and soon we were all scrunched but snoozing.
  • My alarm went off way, way too early but I dutifully climbed out of bed and started my shower. I was already dressed and had done a bit in the house when I decided that I just had to wake up the girls. They were all sleeping ever so soundly. I opened the blinds and started pulling off blankets so I could put them up.
  • By the time all of the girls were awake, I had put up all of our sleeping bags, all of our blankets and our pillows. This only left the girls' stuff upstairs making it easier for me to do a double check when it was time to leave.
  • Robby arrived back home with doughnuts and we were soon passing them out with orange juice for everyone. They had a few minutes to eat and then it was time to load up for Day 4 of VBS. 
  • On the way to church, we picked up the boys from Grannymom and Grandpa and then arrived at church, a few minutes early. We were able to haul in everyone's stuff and soon found moms and classes. 
  • I told the story in my group today so I was busy but it did make the morning pass by quickly. Reagan went home with Kennedy today and they had a big time this afternoon. She tried to tell me what they did but I am not really sure-something about making food and then having to eat it blindfolded.
  • The rest of us had leftovers had home and then we worked a few minutes in the house. Afterwards, I took a nap-a 4 hour nap! It was absolutely wonderful-I did have intentions of getting up earlier but it is not often that the stars align for a nap that long so you must take advantage of it.
  • The kids stayed busy this afternoon with perler beads, Campbell's new presents, movies and Legos. Around 5, we started getting ready to leave for VBS family night. It was pretty decent-there was a magician (illusionist is the new term, I hear) and he was interesting. Then hot dogs, chips and snow cones were on the menu. Whitman tolerated a few bites of his hot dog to earn his snow cone.
  • The kids ate their snow cones outside and then it was time for showers. After everyone had showered, they had a few minutes of downtime while I prepared my story for tomorrow. Then it was bedtime for everyone-I think that they were so exhausted!

June 21, 2017-Happy Seven and a Half Birthday Campbell!

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  • Day 3 of VBS and the crew moved even slower today. Graham and Whitman were the only ones awake and Whitman helped me wake everyone else up. This VBS stuff is tough-reminds me every day of why we don't go to school. Though, if the kids did load up and go to school everyday, I could take them and crawl back into bed! That is currently all that I can think about and come tomorrow afternoon, I am taking a nap! 
  • I did have time to French braid Reagan and Keaton's hair this morning. I must be getting quicker at braiding since I was still able to put my clothes on after all of that work. This also reminds me that I am so thankful that the boys have short hair. I can't imagine having to think about their hair too.
  • Once at church, I grabbed a few extra bags and started loading the car up for the afternoon. Then it was on to my class for the morning. Once VBS was over, I grabbed Keaton and Whitman and then we went to get the big kids. Laynie and Campbell were next up along with Anderson and Graham. Soon we bumped into Reagan in the hallway. 
  • My big boys went home with Noah and Ethan. They had a blast and stayed busy with the xbox, hockey and a host of other things until they headed to the pool. Whitman was only looking for one person and he was happy to see his ride for the afternoon-Grannymom. He went home with her and spent his time swinging and playing. They also met us at the pool.
  • Along with Laynie, we met Eden, Caroline, Abigail and Adilyn. I had a van full of excited girls on the way home. Since Campbell's birthday is right near Christmas, her Christmas party is just a bit hard to do so this year, we began the celebration early with a half birthday. It will make Campbell's family Christmas party much, much easier. 
  • Robby was working from home, so he had lunch almost made when we arrived home. With my 3 girls, we had 8 girls and then the Zoey and Hannah walked down making our total 10. Reagan and Hannah have been great-they helped the girls play games and how wonderful was it that Reagan had thought to set out games. She also made scavenger hunts for the girls.
  • They did all of that after lunch and even had time to play outside some. I passed out brownies and then urged everyone to put on their bathing suit. As soon as I loaded the car, we headed to the pool. 
  • My big boys were already there and soon Grannymom dropped off Whitman. I was then responsible for 13 kids-eeek! Sara was there with me and helped me count heads over and over again. Robby brought us pizza and we began our birthday celebration.
  • After swimming for about 3 hours, we loaded up and headed home. If I have ever thought that running 6 kids through the shower was tough, I was wrong-13 kiddos cycling through the shower is crazy! (and results in lots of laundry)
  • Shannon and her kids came for cake and Laura and the rest of her kiddos showed up just in time. Jason, Grannymom, Grandpa, Nonna and Pops arrived too and soon we were singing to Campbell. We probably should have only sang half of the Happy Birthday song. We had cake-checkerboard cake which was made and iced mostly by Campbell and oreos dipped and decorated by Reagan.
  • Then it was present time-Campbell opened lots of craft supplies and swimming toys. I think that she was pretty pleased with her loot. Afterwards the girls played a few more games before we turned on Parent Trap for them to watch. Everyone found a blanket and laid down.
  • In the middle of the movie, I brought the girls popcorn for a snack. I didn't realize that this movie was 2 hours long-who starts a 2 hour long movie? Me, I guess! Currently, the movie is still playing but I do have a few girls that have already fallen asleep.
  • Campbell has had a great half birthday and now I must go and fold 3 or 4 more loads of clothes!

June 20, 2017

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  • Day 2 of VBS and we did move a bit slower this morning. Whitman was up until after 11 so that might have been part of our slowness. Graham slept later than usual probably because he was sleeping in the bonus room (he left his bedroom at some point to get away from Whitman.)
  • After VBS, I ran into the library to pick up a book. Next up was lunch at Nonna and Pops' house. Nonna had lunch ready for us and we all gobbled it down. I let briefly to run to the grocery store with Keaton and Reagan.
  • They were both disappointed that I was not going to Walmart since they wanted to get presents for Campbell's birthday. They were a bit limited in their birthday gift choices but they did make some good choice that I think Campbell will enjoy.
  • Back at Nonna's house, the kids had been put to work. The neighbor had brought over some green beans and the kids went to snapping. Everyone, but Anderson, got in on the act. He was probably too busy playing with the legos.
  • When we ran in to pick them up, we couldn't stay long because of all of my frozen goods so soon we were driving back home. The kids helped unload the car and then we went to work on all of our chores!
  • Soon the house was straightened, Campbell's presents were wrapped, and we were working on the cake. We decorated Campbell's cake and it does look fine but I am certainly no cake decorator. Reagan was nearby decorating cookies for the party and Graham was hanging around the kitchen waiting to make brownies also for the party.
  • Graham didn't stick around long enough because he did see the neighbor outside. All the kids ventured out to play and were outside until 7ish.
  • I was at Bunko this evening so I did miss out on the evening activities but did get the report. After they played outside, everyone ventured in for showers, supper and a quick movie before bed.

June 19, 2017

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  • First day of VBS and I had told the kids that at 7:15, it was time for clothes, breakfast and teeth brushing. The big boys were up first and remembered what I had said. Whitman was soon downstairs and I quickly put his clothes on him. 
  • Robby had to wake up the girls but they didn't waste any time getting themselves ready. Everyone was able to have breakfast before we left the house, and soon we were on the road.
  • I checked everyone in-Reagan took off to find her class once she was sure she understood where they were meeting. Anderson and Graham just took off to their classes but Campbell wanted for me to walk her to find her group. Then I dropped off Whitman and Keaton. Next up was finding my own classroom.
  • The morning seemed to fly by and soon we were at Grannymom's house changing into our bathing suits. As soon as we changed, we were out the door meeting Robby at the swimming pool. He brought us lunch and we all dug in-VBS makes you hungry. Cash and Lilly were already there but soon even more buddies arrived.
  • We stayed for 3 hours and I think that some of my little ones eyes are a bit pink by the time that we made it home. Everyone helped me unload and then it was time to work on Campbell's cake. 
  • I had 3 cake making helpers-Campbell, Keaton and Graham. Whitman would have helped but he fell sound asleep on the way home. Campbell decided on a 3 layer checkerboard cake with a smaller 3 layer tie dyed cake on top. Yep, what in the world was I thinking when I agreed to this? We just baked the cakes today which wasn't too bad so hopefully tomorrow will be doable as well.
  • After the kitchen was cleaned, we had a bit of downtime before supper time. Robby and I pulled out a few things from the fridge and we just had a buffet. After supper, the kids ran through the showers.
  • We ended our night with watching a Bates before going to bed. Since Whitman had a great nap, he has gone to sleep not so greatly. Currently, Graham has decided to go to the bonus room to sleep-we will see if that lasts but hopefully it will!

Dennie Family Trip to Atlanta: June 18, 2017

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Everyone slept perfectly well last night which was wonderful. I know that I have written about this but our bed at home must be pitiful because Robby and I always sleep so perfectly in hotels. Maybe we should invest in a new mattress and bedding. Graham and Whitman dressed and then waited on us to finish packing. Then, we all headed down to the stairs to breakfast.

We ate our breakfast and then waited and waited on a cart. No carts every appeared so we hauled it all down the hall, down the elevator and to the car. It didn’t take that much longer and soon we were all snug in the car along with Cash headed down the road.

Before we knew it, we were crossing the line into Alabama. We stopped once for gas and soon afterwards had to stop again for another potty stop. We had a few snacks before our stops and then afterwards. The kids were absolutely silent during the first stretch of the trip-I am so thankful for Ipads and downloaded movies.

I worked on my VBS lesson as Robby fought through the rain. We watched both services of church so that passed the time a bit too. After crossing into Mississippi, the ipad newness must have worn off because the kids were soon getting a bit antsy and noisy. Trust me, antsy kiddos are not a good thing!

When we were close to Memphis, we stopped to get gas and potty. We had thought about buying lunch there but ended up at McDonalds. Grannymom and I passed out the lunches and then we were passing out drinks. From there, we soon crossed into Arkansas.

The real rain started then. It was pretty windy for a good while but thankfully, the heavy, heavy rain didn’t last too very long, but it did rain the entire rest of the way home. We passed Grandpa his Father’s Day present which he opened. Then, Robby and I both turned on our hotspots so the kids could play Minecraft together which is what they have been wanting to do for a good while. Now, they are sitting a mere inches apart but they feel the need to be next to each other in the virtual world as well.

Keaton was the one who needed to potty on our last stop. We were hoping that we could distract her and she would forget about asking, and thankfully she did forget. As soon as we pulled into Grannymom’s driveway, we did shoo Keaton out of the car to potty.

Once we made it home, we unloaded and unpacked the car. The kids helped and we were all finished in about an hour. Now I do have 3 laundry baskets of clothes-they are clean though! Before we left on our trip, the kids helped me hang a Father's Day banner and had all made cards for Robby. Everyone was so happy for Robby to open their cards and he even received shoes for Father's Day (he usually doesn't get a present!)

We then sat down to eat a bit of supper. Once supper was over, the kids noticed a car on the land behind us. This pretty much ruined our day. Robby did go and meet the folks walking around in the back. They now own the land behind us and were thinking about where to put their house. Yep, even though we knew this day would come, it is still a kick in the gut.

We drowned those sorrows with ice cream and brownies at the Wilson’s house. They told us all about their trip and we told them all about ours. Whitman fell asleep while we were there and even though we had said that we would leave at 9, we were a bit after.

Once we made it home, the kids were sent straight to bed because tomorrow is the first day of VBS, and it will be an early morning.

Dennie Family Trip to Atlanta: June 17, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

We were all sleeping so peacefully last night until Graham came and tapped me saying that he was going to be sick. And bless that child, he was sick again and again and again and even a few more times. I even got him to go to bed a few times but up he would jump right back up. I sat up with him in the bathroom and we chatted awhile, put lotion on our legs, brushed teeth and I continually washed my hands.  Around 6, he finally went to sleep and as I was, Whitman, who was sleeping between us, roared very loudly at me. I asked Robby if he was dreaming and sleeping Whitman answered back, “yes.”

Robby kept turning the alarm back and at 8, we tried to get up quietly so Graham could continue sleeping. He did not want to though! He was up and I would tell him to go rest and in 5 minutes he would pop back up saying that he had rested! Grannymom took everyone else to breakfast while Robby and I got ready. By the time that we were ready for breakfast, we could hold the boy off no longer-he was rested and ready to go downstairs to eat.

I did limit his breakfast to a piece of toast and some Sprite. Everyone else ate-Whitman stuck with his pancakes but my girls discovered the chocolate chips and made a breakfast of them. Robby had to have a secret meeting with a lady in the kitchen to get biscuits this morning-a hotel breakfast is not a hotel breakfast to Robby unless they have biscuits. The lady found him some biscuits and he thoroughly enjoyed his biscuits.

After breakfast, we loaded up and followed Les to the NCAA Football Hall of Fame. Less than a year ago when we stopped in Atlanta for the day, we discovered the Football Hall of Fame and promised the boys that the next time we came to Atlanta, that it would be on our must do list.

Robby dropped us off and took a bit to park but he still barely beat Les and his bunch. The first room of the museum was a football field where the kids could attempt to kick field goals. None of my crew were able to do this but Josh and Zach made quite a few. They also had to run a few plays and dive on a mat to catch the football. I knew my Graham was just fine when I saw him make his first dive to catch that football. The boys could have stayed in that room for days, not just hours but days!

Whitman was completely happy in that room as well because there was a monitor that would tape his “touchdown dance.” He would dance and dance-I do believe that he did this at least 50 times. Occasionally, his dancing vidoe would show on the big screen in the room and he would happily watch himself.

The entire museum was pretty cool with lots of interactive stuff. At the beginning, they scanned our tickets and we put in our names. Keaton’s badge must not have been done correctly because whenever we would walk by a monitor, it would say something like, “Hi Tara, Hi Whitman, Hi Mike.” Whoever Mike was followed us around the entire place! She did happily scan my badge when she did some things.

The kids were able to call plays, be on a pregame show and wear a virtual reality headset. When we had finished seeing everything, we were soon back on the field and the boys (and girls) were catching, throwing, and passing. We bought Reagan a shirt and the big boys shirts at the Hall of Fame. They usually do not get any souvenirs since 25 bucks a kids equals a lot of money but we did splurge.

We filled our van to capacity when Les, Shelley, Josh, Zach and Cash all joined us on a ride over to The Varsity to eat. Eating at the Varsity is an Atlanta tradition for us-good greasy food. I had a BLT and a fried pie but must everyone else had hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and everyone had a milkshake!

After the Varsity, we dropped of our extra passengers at CNN and then headed across the park to towards the Aquarium. The park was full of people there for a festival so it was crowded and the traffic was rough. I had just gone to sleep when Robby told us that it was time to get out. He dropped us off at a playground and the kids played for a few minutes before we became hot.

Robby was still trying to deal with the traffic and park the car, so we headed over to the Coke museum store just to browse. He caught up with us there so then we walked across the plaza to the Georgia Aquarium. Our tickets were for after 4, saving us nearly 10 dollars but we probably should have come an hour or two later because it was very, very crowded! It was still worth the price (I guess) but it is always good to be reminded of why summer traveling is not my favorite. The aquarium is very, very impressive.

Our first main stop was the dolphin show. As we entered into the huge area, we were warned that the first 10 rows were the splash zone. It has been many, many years ago but we all sat in a splash zone before at Sea World thinking that we were not going to get splashed and we left drenched. So the only Dennies in the splash zone today were the ones with no sense-that would be Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman. Yep, all of them.

The show was impressive though I was afraid the dolphins were going to run the swimmer people into the walls but anyway, at the end the dolphins did start splashing. They splashed and splashed but the section that the kids were in never really got wet. I think that had a few drops on them but not soaking wet so I guess they were the ones with more sense-they were closer to the action, could have gotten out quicker and didn’t end up wet.

After the show, we started touring the rest of the aquarium. The kids enjoyed any of the areas that they could crawl through tunnels to see the animals better and petting the stingrays was a hit. There were two rooms that were my favorite-one was full of shiny pretty fish and the other one was a moving tunnel that you could go through and see the fish. After we watched the 4D movie, we had done everything in the aquarium except for the ne think that Keaton and Campbell could not wait to do-go to the gift shop!

We found them both new hats and I think that they were pretty tickled. Traffic was pretty crazy getting out of downtown so it took us a bit but soon we were back at the hotel. We pulled out some cheese, yogurt, crackers, chips and some of Grannymom’s popcorn and made ourselves a meal.

Around 9:30, we headed to the pool with all of the cousins. It was pretty crowded but the crowds did eventually thin out. The kids swam until almost 10:30 and then it was back to the room for showers. The girls are all sleeping in Dana’s room tonight, Anderson is in Grannymom’s room, Whitman is between us and Graham is in the other bed.

Hopefully, everyone will sleep well tonight because we have to head home in the morning.

Dennie Family Trip to Atlanta: June 16, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

In the middle of the night last night, Whitman tried to get into our bed. He was next to Robby and Robby was able to get him to lay back down in his spot. Whitman protested and told Robby that there were ants down there (or at least that is what Robby thought he said.) Now, I would have let the boy climb in bed with us but slept through all of this. Robby and I were already sharing one pillow so he didn’t want to have to share with anyone else.

When I woke up and heard this story, the first thing I did was check my baby for ant bites. There were none! This morning he did add that there were colorful ants so we are not sure if he was dreaming or just making up a really good story.

Robby ventured down to breakfast before the rest of us woke up. When he came back, I was hoping that it was 2 in the morning and not 7. It was indeed 7 so I was soon in the shower and everyone was getting ready. My kiddos were tired this morning but the promise of breakfast got them stirring pretty quickly. Also, Campbell spotting two elevator repairmen riding up and down on the top of an elevator spurred them on as well.

We went to breakfast and thankfully, the crowd was not bad at all. Reagan had an omelet but everyone else had normal hotel breakfast food. Whitman loved their little pancakes and ate at least 5 of them. After, we ate and chatted we headed back to the room for a few minutes. Our room was already cleaned and before too long we were on our way towards Stone Mountain.

We drove right into the park and Robby quickly found our tickets. We took our family photo and then we were all headed to the ropes course. Keaton was barely tall enough but after a few deep breathes in, she was tall enough. She was so excited...briefly. My poor Keaton tried to be brave and would get her courage but soon lose it. Robby was up there with her and they were able to go across a few things holding hands. She would try to smile but the next second she was starting an ugly cry. Robby said that at the end of the second level they talked about going down but they continued with the level that had a big sign above it saying “super challenge.” I think she was pretty proud of herself for doing it but I am not sure if she will ever do one again.

Now, Campbell started out with the boys and she was soon left and by herself. I would catch her occasionally in tears but after a bit, she would press on. She never quit and even did the third level. She did great and would have enjoyed it a bunch more had she been with Shelley, Dana or Robby.

The others, Anderson, Reagan and Graham, were off and had a blast. They zoomed through the bottom two layers and enjoyed the third level. Reagan said that she fell once and was just dangling and the man had to come nad help her, but that didn’t stop her at all.

My Whitman didn’t really seem to care that they were up high and he was not. He played in a huge sand area for the longest time and was completely happy. Behind the ropes course they even had a kiddoe ropes course that he could do and he enjoyed running through this one a few times.

Once everyone had finished the ropes course, a few of them spent a bit of time on the climbing wall. After everyone was climbed out, we walked to the back of the park and began a game of putt-putt. Les and his people were a bit ahead of us so after skipping a few holes we did catch up. The kids all enjoyed playing putt putt even though I “lost track” on the score and had to stop keeping score. In my defense, it was hot, I was holding a lot of stuff and Whitman wasn’t happy with receiving any needed golfing instruction!

We finished our putt-putt and joined up with everyone in the cafeteria. We all had lunch and Robby and I had to wait forever for our sandwiches and by the time that we received ours, I do think that everyone else was already finished. We still had a few minutes to eat before we all headed towards the train.

They had a nice little train ride that circled the mountain. It was cool on the train and I could have fallen sound asleep. I am not sure why all places think that you have to have a show along with the train ride. Stone Mountain did and it was cute and dinosaur themed like most everything else but gracious, just drive us around and drop us off.

After the train, we all rode up to the top of the mountain on the tram. My Graham was a bit terrified of it but I do think that he enjoyed it once he was on it. Whitman just kept saying, “I can see the whole world” over and over again. It was hot on top of the mountain, The granite atop that mountain was odd-flat but a moon-like crater surface.

On our tram ride back down, our car stopped briefly, and I could tell that Graham could have panicked pretty easily. I was afraid that we were going to be up there for a bit longer than the 30 seconds that the car was actually stopped. Thankfully, the car began moving again and we were soon back down the hill.

The free cokes that came with our ticket helped keep everyone happy during the day. I have Whitman’s stroller in the car but thought that maybe we would come back to the car but we never did and the boy was a trooper. He walked and walked! We saw a 4D dinosaur movie which was quite entertaining.

Then we walked onto a dinosaur exhibit-we thought it was museum like but it was kid heaven. Climbing nets, slides, foam balls and guns to shot those foam balls. The kids all played and played in there. After lots of playing, we herded them onto the wet ropes course. I didn’t know what to expect with this so I came prepared with extra shoes and even bathing suits. Once we saw it, we knew that they wouldn’t even need bathing suits because it would be just more of a sprinkling.

I was wrong-the water was broken so the ropes course when the kiddos were going through it was dry! They still had fun but probably would have had more fun with the water. It was still a lot easier without the water! When they had finished, we met everyone else and headed just a few miles down the road to a Mexican restaurant.

Shelley called ahead and they already had our tables set up. We sat down and were soon ordering. Robby and I split something and were still full-mainly because we had already eaten our weight in chips and salsa. We filled our bellies and then headed back to Stone Mountain for the evening laser and light show.

The weather was perfect and with Shelley’s blanket and towels and a few of our towels, we had plenty of room to sit down. The lawn soon filled with people but the kids still had some room for some frisbee and football playing. Before the show, the announcer invited people to come to the bottom of the grassy area for a dance party-Whitman heard this and he was on his way. We couldn’t see him dancing and Campbell, his chaperone, didn’t give us a report but he must have danced his heart out, because soon, even during the fireworks, he fell sound asleep.

The show was a mix of fireworks and lasers. There were even a few drones and fire and water. It was a pretty neat show with quite a bit of patriotic-ness in it. The grand finale was the Star Spangled Banner and it was a perfect way to end the show.

We hauled sleeping Whitman back to the car and were soon back in the hotel. The kids showered and spread out in their spots to sleep-Keaton is sleeping in Grannymom’s extra bed, Anderson is in their pull out couch, Graham and Campbell are on our couch, Reagan is in our extra bed and Whitman is tucked safely between the beds. My kids could get used to this kind of hotel living!

Dennie Family Trip to Atlanta: June 15, 2017

Everyone slept well last night and my room didn’t stir until 7 Eastern time. The girls had already been downstairs for breakfast and chose their regular hotel breakfast of toast and jelly. When my crew went downstairs, we ate a few more different items-yogurt, waffle, eggs, sausage, muffins and eggs.

After we finished, we headed back upstairs to load up the car. Soon we were back on the road driving through historic Villa Rica. It was a neat little town. Our first stop of the morning was the Delta Flight Museum. It was a pretty neat little museum with quite a few hands on things to do.

Before we started the museum, Keaton got a bit car sick. After walking around for a bit, she did feel better-probably her sitting in the way back of the car is the best thing for her. She perked up quickly and was soon chasing and pushing her brothers jockeying to touch all of the hands on things.

We watched a short little movie and then toured one plane. It was great practice for Hawaii since it has been 5 years since any Dennie kiddos have flown. We talked about putting our bags under the seats, buckling up and where the air comes from. The kids thoroughly enjoyed seeing the plane. I do, however, think that Graham is going to be a bit scared on the flight. He will probably need to sit with me so I can reassure him or sit by Anderson so he will be distracted. Campbell and Keaton already found their desired seats in the middle of the plane with Nonna between them. They will keep Nonna so busy on our flights that she won’t have time to look at her watch and count down the hours.

We walked through the gift shop and I wasn’t able to find an ornament. There weren’t any with the name of the museum on them. Anderson quickly found a hat that he wanted but we passed on it. My kids sure love to spend money-wonder where they get that from?

Back to today though, they had a huge 747 outside that you could tour. It was pretty impressive and I think that all of my kids took a good liking to the first class pods. I tried to explain to them that they probably wouldn’t be riding in one of those for a long, long time.

After the museum, we headed down to Truett’s Luau in Fayetteville, GA.  It is a restaurant that Truett Cathy, the Chick-fil-a founder, started when he was in his 80s. And yes, with a luau we were practicing for Hawaii a bit more. We had a bit of a drive to get there but the kids passed their time with ipad movies.

Robby was able to load movies on 4 of the ipads but Graham’s ipad may have possibly bit the dust last night. Robby has tried one fix but it did not work and he has one more idea that hopefully will work. Everyone shared their ipads and the car was silent.

Truett’s Luau did not disappoint. Half of the place was a Hawaiian themed restaurant and the other half was a Hawaiian themed Chick Fil A. Robby ordered Kalua pork tacos, I had pineapple chicken tacos and pineapple rice.  Everyone else had regular Chick Fil A food.

In the front lobby, they had ukuleles, grass skirts, hats and some type of Hawaiian xylophone. The kids loved all of this and it was a pretty fun lunch stop. Robby even bought a shirt and bought me a Christmas ornament. After eating, we were back in the car and drove about 30 miles to our hotel.

We are staying at an Embassy and they have these fancy dancy keys. Well, at least we thought they were fancy dancy because we sure couldn’t get them to work. Our keys weren’t coded yet so once we had working keys, it wasn’t as fancy dancy as we had thought.

They also had an assortment of drinks and snacks out on the counter. I was quick to tell the kids that those were not for us because they cost but soon Robby was telling me that they were complimentary. This was like Christmas morning to my people. Before we finished unloading, Robby and Reagan were splitting a Snickers bar.

After we were all unloaded, we watched a bit of tv and waited on everyone else to arrive. Soon Les and crew were here and after a bit of chatting, we headed down to the swimming pool for a bit. Half of the pool was taken up by swimming lessons but the kids still had plenty of pool to play in.

Once everyone was water logged, we climbed out and headed towards the evening snack that the hotel put out. We certainly made a dent in it and they had the best cinnamon somethings. Afterwards, we waited on Dana and her crew to arrive.

From that point, it wasn’t too much longer until we loaded up and drove just down the road to eat pizza. We ate at a Pie 5/Blaze type place. My crew had eaten and eaten the hotel snack (and so had Robby and I) so we didn’t need much. We split a few pizzas which kind of made me sad because I was too full to try the peach pizza that they were advertising. The kids topped off their pizza with gelato and then we headed right back to the hotel.

It was still a bit early to call it a night so we let the kids swim one more time while Robby worked on the laundry. It is now 11:35 and Reagan, Keaton and Whitman are wide awake watching Robby and me try to get all of our stuff organized and ready for in the morning. Anderson is sleeping on Grannymom’s couch and Campbell and Graham are on our couch. It was a pretty great day but I will have a tired crew in the morning!