August 31, 2017

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  • I was again waking everyone up this morning. We must all be a bit jet lagged or maybe we have mono or something. My people are tired still in the mornings, Robby and I are pretty exhausted too (but maybe we need to go to bed a bit earlier.)
  • I grabbed Whitman out of his bed and brought him down while he was still asleep this morning. After a bit, I was able to wake him up enough to put his clothes on him. I think we have turned the corner on him getting dressed by himself-if we lay out his clothes, he can pretty much put on everything by himself. He even put on a sock the other day. I know this isn't impressive for a 4 year old but for Whitman, who has been babied by us all, this is a huge milestone! But yes, in the morning when he is so very sleepy, I do still put his clothes on him.
  • He found his breakfast and soon he was off to school. This was an exciting day-he had homework to turn in and a little gift from Hawaii for Ms. Stacy. It took two trips upstairs to get Reagan up, but soon everyone was awake and doing their school work.
  • Today went immensely better than yesterday. It always helps when Robby is home. We were able to fly through school today which always makes me happy and tomorrow will be our 4th day of school this week (we did one day before we left) so tomorrow will be even easier.
  • Anderson asked to make lunch, and he did such a good job that I quickly wrote "help mom make lunch" on next weeks chore lists. I am not sure why I haven't completely handed that job off already. 
  • After lunch, the kids worked on a few chores and before I knew it, they were outside. Everyone played outside and even though I did a few chores around the house this was the longest afternoon and evening ever. Seriously! I don't have any big chores to do-I did put some clothes in the attic, gather some things for the kids to take places, clean my desk, and earn a continuing education hour but other than that, I think I need a hobby.
  • My boredom probably came form the fact that the kids just stayed outside. It was after 7 when they all finally ventured back in. It has been a few weeks since the kids have spent so much time outside. They came in tired, hot, stinky and hungry-signs of a perfect day!
  • We ended the day with pizza and watching the Hogs. The boys were sort of into the game-well, they were more than I was. We let the kids stay up entirely too late watching the game but everyone was in bed by 10.

August 30, 2017

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  • No one was awake this morning when I rolled out of bed. I opened the blinds and did a few things before Graham came down the stairs. Whitman had already been in our bed for a while. I am not sure when he crawled into bed with us but I know that he wanted to sleep in the middle.
  • I tried to stir the kids one time and was able to wake up Keaton and Campbell. Anderson was close behind. I then had to holler up to Reagan a few times to get her to come downstairs. I did think about my friend who's mom would spray their face with a water if they didn't get up the first time.
  • Robby left for work and the rest of us started on our school work. I already knew how things would go today since we have had a pretty good break. Some Dennies did better than expected and others did much worse than expected. We survived though and everything was finished by a bit after noon.
  • It was nearly 1 when I did finally get things picked up enough that I could think about making lunch. It was just sandwiches again but when I pulled out a bag of chips, the kids were super excited. I guess I just need a new bag of chips each sandwich meal to keep everyone happy.
  • This afternoon we did some laundry and then I sat in the living room and had myself a nap. I was exhausted today and even though my nap was full of interruptions (all of the kids were in the living room too) I woke up feeling much better!
  • I had my shower and was about to call everyone for supper when the neighbor kids came out. The kids ran out and I just hated to have to call them inside after just 30 minutes. They acted (and smelled) like it was super hot outside. Everyone had to change shirts and then it was time for our leftover supper.
  • Then it was on to church for our first Wednesday night. We had missed the first two so finding our spots were a bit tricky. Everyone seemed happy about their classes except Anderson. The preteen classes are divided into 4 (or more) different rotations and in one of his, he is the only boy.
  • I finished with my job a bit early so I started picking everyone up early. The kids are all much easier to pick up this year so that is wonderful. We headed home and Robby had a bit of a snack for everyone and soon it was bedtime!

August 29, 2017

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  • When I finished the blog last night, I was a bit concerned that Whitman was going to have a hard time going to sleep. It wasn't him that stayed up until 1:30; it was my girls. We would hear them occasionally and go up there, and each time that we did, they were wide awake.
  • I did let them sleep until about 9:00 and then I went on upstairs to wake them up, and hopefully, they learned a bit of a lesson. Doubtful though. Graham was up early this morning, but the one kids that I needed up wasn't yet awake.
  • Whitman went back to school today and he was pretty excited about it. Robby said that he did fine at drop off and pick up. It was pretty impossible to wake him up this morning so I was glad that he did fine at school.
  • By 9:30, my crew and I were leaving for our first homeschool day with our buddies. Everyone met at the Powell's house and swam until lunch time. Robby brought Whitman there just in time to eat his lunch. I sat with him as he ate a bit, and then he decided that he was ready to get in the pool.
  • He swam for a bit and then it was time to paint rocks. Everyone was so excited about painting the rocks-there were a ton of rocks to choose from. The kids loved painting the rocks. I probably should have taken a few pictures of their painted rocks. The thing now is to hide the rocks for someone else to find. Graham has already decided that he is going to take one of his rocks to Alaska and hide it.
  • After rock painting, there was lots more swimming to do. We made it home after 2 this afternoon. The kids must have been pretty tired because we didn't really hear much from them at all. 
  • I made supper-tonight's supper was a winner compared to last night's supper. Robby again bribed the kids with ice cream so they would be willing to work on some chores tonight with a good attitude. That seems to be working-they are happy, I am getting chores done at night, don't have to scramble during the day, and the house is clean (well, cleaner.)
  • The kids had to have showers tonight and then they watched some tv before going to bed. They were a bit sour about the time that we put them to bed since they were hoping to stay up later, but they were tired!...and so are we!

August 28, 2017

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  • At 8:20 this morning, Campbell came down and climbed into our bed. I was very glad that she did because I jumped up and called the doctor to make an appointment for her. Then I joined her back in bed and after setting my alarm, I went back to sleep along with everyone else in the house.
  • I was thankful that I set my alarm because the next thing I knew my alarm was ringing and Robby was getting up to get himself ready. He volunteered to take Campbell to the doctor so I could do some work around here.
  • Campbell was the only one awake when she left, and no one else woke up until after 11. I opened everyone's blinds at 11 and had to sent Whitman upstairs at least 3 times to help wake Reagan up before she finally woke up which was after 12:30.
  • My task today was the mound of laundry-at least 6 full loads. The kids all took 8-9 pairs of clothes (our usual packing consists of only 4-5 changes of clothes but there was no laundry for us on the boat.) So let's do a bit of math: 9 times 6 is 54 shirts, 54 pairs of shorts, 54 undies, 108 socks and on and on that list goes, plus pajamas, jackets, dressy clothes and bathing suits.
  • I pretty much worked from 10 until 4 on laundry and finishing unpacking. Campbell and Robby quickly ran by Nonna's house to drop off a suitcase before her doctor's appointment and then they saw Grannymom and Grandpa afterwards and then a quick trip to the store.
  • Keaton, Whitman and Graham made a store and sold the kids their lunches. It was pretty much a snacky lunch since we were out of most items!
  • Campbell was fine-she was a bit wheezy so it is some albuterol for her the next few days. Hopefully that will solve things but asthma and allergies were also questioned. I feel like she hasn't coughed as much today but she is definitely not 100% which could be due to exhaustion!
  • Jason came over just about the time Campbell and Robby arrived home. He brought lemonade and cookies from Chickfila. By the way, Chickfila makes great chocolate chip cookies. He played a few games with the kids and eventually had to leave to head to the gym. I believe that he might be in kid withdaw after spending over a week with my noisy crew.
  • Once he left, we finally finished up the laundry and unpacking. Then it was soon supper time. Robby found a few frozen dinners in the freezer and set himself up a buffet. He told the kids it was just like the cruise ship-they could pick what they wanted. They didn't think that was as great of an idea as Robby thought it was. 
  • Everyone did get enough to eat and when we bribed them with ice cream afterwards, they worked pretty hard on a few chores tonight. When the house was clean, we sat down to watch a few tv shows before bedtime.
  • I would have thought that everyone would be tired today but a few minutes ago it sounded like they were having a nerf gun war up there. I did check and it wasn't that but at least 1 jumping on their bed, 1 bloody nose and 5 pottiers.

August 27, 2017-Hawaii Adventure!

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This blog will be fairly short because everything seems to running together in my mind and not only that, it all seems like it was so long ago too. I left off last night when we were getting on the plane to LA. Nonna, Pops, Jason, Anderson and Graham were in the back of the plane and the rest of us were in the middle.

I had stressed the importance of sleeping on these flights home but after I finished my movie, I realized that I was the only one up front who was not asleep. Campbell was on one side of me. She was sitting by the window with her legs in my lap. Whitman was on the other side of me and his head was in my lap. I slept it must have been pretty lightly because I was constantly pulling his legs out of the aisle.

We must have slept at least a good 2 hours because the next thing I knew, they were sounded the ding and we were starting our descent. We arrived in LA before 5 and as soon as I saw the boys, we could tell that they didn’t sleep at all. They were too busy watching movies and tv shows! (But I can’t really blame them, they had quite a few movies that even I wanted to watch.)

Robby bought some breakfast items from Starbucks and we waited for our next flight. It was ice cold in the terminal and everyone finally pulled out those coats that I had packed in their carry ons-Everyone but Whitman because last night (or whenever I packed) I decided that his jacket was too big for him to be hauling around.

On the next flight, Whitman and I were in one back row with Anderson and Jason beside us and Graham in front of us. Now, on this flight we all slept so well and so long that we didn’t even get snacks or drinks! Whitman slept pretty much the entire time and I was probably only awake about an hour of the 4 hour flight. Thankfully, Anderson and Graham caught up on their sleep during this flight.

It was a bit bumpy coming into Dallas-there were a lot of clouds. I guess that I have mellowed out a bit in my older years. Flying used to unnerve me a bit but now, I am pretty zen about the whole thing. The kids never seemed to notice any of the turbulence but they don’t really know what is to be expected while flying since it is all relatively new to them.

Once we landed in Dallas, we set off to find our bags and Robby went to pick up our van. We drove to Rockwall and ate a lunch/supper the Cotton Patch Café. It was pretty good though my chicken tortilla soup was pretty vegetable-y.

When lunch was over, we were soon back on the road home. The kids played their ipads, Nonna and Jason snoozed, Pops stayed awake to make sure that Robby stayed awake and I did some snoozing and staying awake watching Robby.

At one point, Campbell asked what time it was and we told her that it was 4:30. She asked if it was 4:30 in the morning or 4:30 at night. That is how confused we all are on our times! We made it home around 7:45ish except we didn’t go home, we headed straight for the Wilson’s house.

We stayed there entirely too long chatting about everything and eating brownies before we finally headed home. The kids were great tonight helping us unload. We managed to get everything in the mudroom and start on laundry. The kids jumped in the showers and a bowl of ice cream before bed.
I think that most everyone is exhausted but I am afraid that poor Whitman who has slept all day long is not going to be able to sleep too well tonight!

August 26, 2017: Hawaii Adventure!

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It was a sad morning waking up the last morning on the cruise ship. I think that at least 2 of my kids have decided that they want to work on a cruise ship and maybe Robby and I have discussed just living on one as well.

By 7:20, the kids were delivering pajamas, dirty clothes, hairbrushes, carry-ons and toothbrushes to our room. Robby loaded all of their carry-ons with the ipads, and then we were all heading to the buffet. I had assumed that most folks had already gotten off of the boat because there were few people in the hallway and they all seemed to be leaving.

I was completely wrong because the buffet was crazy. I guess everyone wanted one last free meal before having to get off of the boat. I had my usual-eggs benedict, a baked tomato and a muffin (today was an apple bran muffin which was delicious.)

We ate and ate until it was finally time to leave our rooms. Since our stuff was in our rooms, we headed down to grab our backpacks and disembark for one last time. The line to get off of the boat was long but soon we were in the terminal looking for our luggage.

Last night, we set all but one bag out in the hallway for them to bring to the ship terminal. I had said that I didn’t want to do this but changed my mind since I had filled them up as I was packing and knew that I wouldn’t need in any of them. It just seemed so simple as we entered the terminal and the kids started grabbing their bags saving us lots of steps with all of our stuff.

It seemed simple until Anderson said that he couldn’t find his bag. We all started looking for it and of course the bag that we couldn’t find would be the one that was solid black! We looked in our section (there were different colored tags divided into different sections.) We looked in other sections. We finally had started asking workers to help us and after a good 20 minutes, Robby went to file a lost luggage claim.

We figured that all hope was lost for finding his bag today so Robby headed on to pick up the rental car. He had to uber to the airport and then come back to get us so we knew that we had a bit of extra time. We stayed in the terminal looking-Pops and I looked at every suitcase from all 2000 guests this morning and still couldn’t find that bag. I was about to lead the troops out to the street to start waiting for Robby when I saw an elderly couple from another country getting off the boat (it seemed) and leaving a suitcase in our section.

It looked like Anderson’s so I beelined over to it to check and sure enough it was. I worker man who had been helping us was nearby and I told him that we had it and then gave him our lost luggage paper. He spoke to the couple and found out that they had already been to the airport and opened the bag to discover that it wasn’t theirs. They returned to pick up their bag and thankfully we were there to see them leave it back in the spot!

We all breathed a big sigh of relief and since everyone had asked what was in that bag and I had no idea, we unzipped it. The luggage lost would mostly have been Robby’s dress clothes and shoes along with some of the kids clean clothes. We then headed out to wait on Robby-it took him a bit but eventually he arrived with a 15 passenger van and we even had room for our luggage.

We really had covered Oahu very well but since our flight didn’t leave until 8:38, we still needed a car so we didn’t have to waste away at the airport all day long. Our first stop this morning was at the flea market around the Aloha Staduim. If you can imagine every single toursity gift shop that we have seen this entire trip encircling the stadium then you will know what this flea market looked like. It was pretty overwhelming. We did find Reagan a red dirt shirt from Kauai and everyone also bought a shirt at another stand (how could we pass up 7 shirts for 20 bucks.)

By the time we made it back in the car, we were hot, hot, hot! Robby was quick to find us a 7-11 for a few slushies. Everyone was much happier when they had their slushies in their hands. Then we headed back towards the North Shore.

On the way there, we found Tropical Farms Outlet. They had macadamia nuts, coffee and other Hawaiian wares there. But what caught our eye were the coconuts. We had not had any coconut juice this entire time and since we were about to leave, we sure couldn’t pass up that experience.

The man was great and talked to the kids explaining everything to them. We watched him chop the top off of the coconut. Everyone tried the water and then the man chopped up pieces of coconut for us to try. I have never tried real coconut but now that I have, I just don’t need to again. It doesn’t taste like much at all!

Even though we had already been this way, it was still a beautiful drive. We jumped out of the car to take a few pictures at Chinaman’s Hat. We had seen it last trip around the island but didn’t stop for pictures. Next stop was the Sea Arch at Lahie. It was another picture stop where we just jumped out of the car and then back in.

By this time, it was well passed lunch and we are still used to eating and eating well. Robby had spotted North Shore Tacos and we stopped there. It was a Hawaiian flared Tacos for Life which was delicious. The kids said that they liked it better than Tacos for Life and they must have because we cleaned our plates!

We had to make one last run by Mike’s Huli Huli chicken before we drove on to one last beach stop. Unfortunately, we couldn’t swim since the time was ticking down on our vacation. We did let the kids walk to the beach (Sandy Beach) and watch the crazy big waves. I have never seen waves like that and was surprised at all of the people swimming despite the “no swimming” signs. Anderson grabbed some sand from the beach and we all pottied one last time before the airport.

We did make one final stop before the airport-Leonard’s Bakery. We enjoyed the masaladas (fried ball of cinnamon dough) and thought that we needed one last treat before the long haul red eye flight home. We made it to the airport, and Robby dropped us off to go and take back the car.

He tried to give me a scare saying that he couldn’t find my driver’s license. I was pretty sure that I didn’t have it but did look anyway. I didn’t have it-the kids were starting to panic but I told them that I would be happy to be a Hawaiian resident. Eventually, Robby did write saying that he found my license. If you haven’t notice, poor thing loses stuff daily. He even laid his wallet down once today and had to have someone hand it back to him. Even lost his phone at the airport-couldn’t find it in his backpack.

Soon Robby arrived and we all were able to check our bags and go through security. Nonna was wearing a shirt with a bit of bling on it which caused her to have (these are her own words) her first breast exam in an airport. We had finished going through the line, reloading our ipads and putting on shoes when Nonna and Pops finished.

Then it was a bit of waiting in the airport until our flight tonight. I am going to go ahead and post the blog now since we will call this the end of Saturday.

August 25, 2017-Hawaii Adventure!

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Around 6:45, Whitman, Keaton, Robby and I headed down to breakfast. We were there long enough to grab something to eat and then finished as we rode the elevator back down to our room. Everyone else was ready or almost ready, so Robby and I headed to go and get the cars. It wasn’t too far but was still a good walk so early in the morning.

Everyone was waiting outside when we arrived with the cars. We headed towards the North Shore of Kauai. The drive was beautiful and even though the drive was almost an hour, we didn’t stop until we made it to Hanalei Bay Beach Park.

There weren’t many people out and about at 8:30 in the morning. The kids were at first disappointed with the small waves but they still had a good time. We did move a bit down the beach where the waves were a bit higher. Even though the waves weren’t huge, they made a huge crashing sound possibly due to the crescent shape of the beach.

The kids could venture pretty far out and they used their goggles mostly so they wouldn’t get the salt water in their eyes. The first time today that Whitman was crashed down by a wave, he came up saying, “that water is yucky!” He isn’t quite used to the salt water yet.

Keaton worked hard on digging a hole and really wanted for the water to fill it up. She waited and waited but as we headed back towards Nonna and Pops we saw that her hole had been filled. Keaton’s bathing suit bottoms would continually fill with sand-it would get stuck in the lining so she couldn’t easily get it out. I finally had her swim out and throw me her bottoms so I could rinse them and get the sand out. She thought this was the funniest thing ever-skinny dipping!

Graham and Reagan spent a lot of time trying to handstands in the water, and Anderson enjoyed digging holes to bury Whitman’s feet in. After about an hour, it was time to head back to the boat. The cars needed to be back by 11. When we did leave the beach, we headed on up the mountain to explore for a few more minutes but soon had to turn around when we reached some traffic. There is just never enough time to explore!

We do like to take advantage of every opportunity and did take a quick detour to the Opaeka Falls. It was just another waterfall that you could see from the side of the road. We weren’t stopped there too long and ran back to the car to make it to turn in our cars on time.
We would have returned our rental cars on time except that we forgot to get gas. Robby found the gas station on his phone just seconds after he had passed the turn for it so that led us to a long stop light. We quickly bought gas and rushed to the car rental place. I think that we were exactly on time though Robby did get charged extra for being late (which he had reversed since he had to wait on the lady to check his car in.)

Then we all rode the car shuttle to the boat. Let’s talk about that ride for a minute. We have met many nice people on this trip and we have met many people that have had too much to drink. Often, it is difficult to tell if which one is which. Like on the rental car shuttle-was the lady just being nice when she asked me if all of my children were real or was she drunk? 
The lines to get on the boat were long but my kids didn’t care because they were headed to the pool. Campbell and Reagan found food at the buffet and headed outside to eat by the pool. The rest of us got our food by the pool at the pool party. We ate and the kids swam. I played some ping pong with Graham and Reagan and got everyone a few bags of popcorn.
Reagan and Keaton went down to take their showers so I ran down to help Reagan and Campbell pack their bags. Soon the boys were down as well and they were racing to change before the magic show. They were so excited because the pool water had been splashing and sploshing everywhere. The boat was really rocking this afternoon (It is pretty rocky now too-so much so that our empty hangers are whacking against the wall and my clothes line of bathing suits is swaying so much that they will be dry by the morning time) Whitman, Campbell, Anderson and Graham went to the magic show with me. It was neat because the man was teaching everyone how to do the magic tricks. The boys loved it and I am sorry to say that you will probably have to endure a few tricks when you see my boys next.

Robby dropped by and picked up Whitman. At the end of the show, the kids went to Nonna and Pops’ room to show them all their tricks. I went to the boys room to pack them up-I have some suitcases that are full of souveneirs, leis, and bags of clean clothes. Then I have some suitcases that are shoved full of dirty laundry. I do have fabreeze and have sprayed in generously on our dirty laundry this week but goodness, I hope the TSA workers don’t pick my dirty laundry bags to open or they will be in a for a smelly surprise!

Around 4:45, we were all dressed and headed up to the 6th floor to view the Napali Coast. We were very near the end of the road today and the cruise picked up where our road would have ended. The coastline is beautiful with lush green jagged mountains shooting up from the crystal blue water. My kids enjoyed watching the sights for about 2 minutes and then they were done. I sent everyone but Campbell and Whitman up to play chess (they ended up playing checkers.)
Campbell was talking to one of her friends from kids’ club and Whitman, well, bless is just Whitman and can’t be trusted! We then all met up at the Liberty dining room. This was our last night and we again enjoyed our fancy supper. Now, I will say that it takes entirely too long every single time. The food was delicious and pretty much everyone at the table had jello or lava cake for dessert.

I suggested to Reagan that she have lava cake for her Hawaiian themed birthday party. She was quick to point out that lava cake isn’t Hawaiian. This exasperated Robby to no end because we have heard the man from his app say at least 20 times this week that volcanoes formed the Hawaiian Islands. Bless that child!

After supper, my kids were in a hurry to run downstairs to change their clothes to get up to the kids’ club. It was pajama night so finding something to wear was pretty easy. I dropped them off and they were all so excited to enter the room full of kids playing games.

Robby and I had big plans to go to another show tonight but after watching the hurricane news for a bit, we just opted to nap until time to pick the kids up. Seriously, we are that old! Today, when we were watching the hurricane news we heard that there were 4 cruise ships that couldn’t get into port. Reagan said that she wished she was on one of those boats! Pops did learn yesterday that they bring enough food for 3 extra days just in case. I am sure that the folks in Galveston are thankful about that.

When I picked up the kids tonight, they had been watching a movie. We walked out to the pool area to see it. The pool water has waves so high that it is splashing out of the pool. It was crazy to see. Reagan asked, “why is the water doing that?” I guess she already has her sea legs and didn’t notice this boat rocking!

We went to the buffet to get some ice cream before bedtime. Reagan ended up getting pasta too-that girl likes to eat. Keaton was so tired that she couldn’t eat. Graham thought he spotted land out the window but we decided that it was just probably another boat or two. Once we had our fill of ice cream, it was back downstairs.

The kids were mostly already wearing their pjs but some brought me extra clothes and shoes to pack away. I wasn’t going to have our suitcases ready tonight for them to take to the terminal for us but have packed all but one. Whitman fell asleep about as soon as his head hit the pillow and Keaton was asleep soon after.