2018 Dennie Family Resolutions

I had said that we weren't going to do resolutions this year, but I just couldn't help myself. So even though, we know that we won't accomplish most of these; here they are:

Read 6 books

Have better posture
Plan our meals better

Spend all her gift cards

Get a job
Build all of his destroyed Lego sets

Score 10 goals in soccer
Become a better basketball player

Have a lemonade stand
Bake more (she said 200 times but I think 'more' would be better)

Play basketball

Read a Christmas book
Learn to read (I added that one)

And just for kicks, let's review last year's resolutions to see what complete failures we are. I will say that we did have some pretty good resolutions last year. Campbell and Keaton were the resolution winners and completed all of their resolutions while Robby and I are the resolution losers completing none of ours. Here are the 2017 resolutions:

1. Weigh 188 or less. (not even close)
2. Climb Pinnacle twice. (nope)
3. Bowl a game of 150 or better. (never went bowling this year)

1. Lose 10 pounds. (Almost, but I have probably gained it back since Christmas.)
2. Fill our house with music. (Music is just more noise, and noise kind of makes me crazy.)
3. Climb Pinnacle with the family. (I wanted to go for my birthday next week but I think it will be too cold for that.)

1. Add more accessories to the bathroom (nope)
2. Move the dangerous swing (YES, Grandpa and Robby moved the swing closer to the soccer field earlier this year.)
3. Have more root beer floats. (I can't remember having any root beer floats this year.)

1. Go to a football game. (YES, Razorback and high school games)
2. Go to Altitude, Big Rock and the movies. (Well, we did go to Altitude once to enter in a drawing but didn't jump so I am not sure if that counts, didn't go to Big Rock, but YES we did make it to the movies.)
3. Ride an upside down roller coaster. (We didn't go anywhere with roller coasters this year.)

1. Go to a football game, putt putt and a new restaurant. (YES, college and football, YES, as a reward with Robby, YES, I am sure we have been to one new restaurant, surely.)
2. Run 2 times a week on the treadmill. (Ha, we do have a new treadmill this year but this hasn't happened yet.)
3. BBQ with Dad. (Robby rarely BBQs so that one would be hard to accomplish.)

1. Play soccer. (YES, I love these easy resolutions)
2. Make supper and dessert (also make jello sometime.) (YES, she is always in the kitchen and would kick me out if she could.)
3. Hang shelves over bed. (YES, Robby and Grandpa hung their bedroom shelves early last year)

1. Go some place to eat. (YES, that's my girl, love resolutions like this!)
2. Learn to read. (YES, 5 down and 1 to go!)
3. Go to a new state. (YES, Hawaii!)

1. Learn to pedal a bike. (Not even close, he would rather dig in the dirt.)
2. Read a book. (Well, I have read plenty to him but reading practice starts Tuesday.)
3. Jump on a bouncy. (YES, I am certain he has at some point during the year.)

December 31, 2017-Happy New Year's Eve!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Since church was at 11 this morning, we were all able to sleep in as late as we wanted. Well, almost as late as we wanted, Reagan woke Whitman up so he could come down and get ready. And I certainly could have stayed in bed a bit longer.
  • Everyone put on clothes-though Graham did wear a short sleeve shirt. That boy has almost as many clothes as Keaton, who has more clothes than Reagan and Campbell combined) but he still picks a short sleeve shirt. I would like to tell him that I paid good money for those long sleeve dress shirts and he better wear them. Fortunately, I haven't been the one paying good money for those shirts, so I can't say that.
  • Church was fine this morning though Whitman was as restless as ever. He will randomly point to people during the service and ask, "Is he a stranger?" or "Is she a stranger?" He is just odd! After church, we headed to Nonna's house for lunch. She had BBQ and all of the fixings. My Campbell loved the cracker chips that Nonna had and could have eaten the whole package. Pops tried hard to get the boys to try some of his fruit cake for lunch, but they would not at all.
  • We did all try some of Campbell's birthday cake. This was the first Sunday we had been at Nonna's house since Campbell's birthday so she had a cake for her today. Campbell truly enjoyed blowing out one more set of candles. The kids had some time to play at Nonna's while we watched the end of a football game.
  • Afterwards, we walked around Lowe's for a bit and bought a cabinet. Tony and Robby have plans to eventually work on my fireplace shelves, and now that the cabinets are bought, they can't renege on the deal. It was cold outside and the kids hurried into the car leaving Robby to load the cabinets into the van by himself. (I may or may not have already been inside the car myself.)
  • I sure could have taken a nap this afternoon but I ended up working on Legos upstairs with Anderson. I had mistakenly thought that this ship would have been easier to do but we are having to search for every single Lego. All the while, Anderson is telling me about each piece, each character and the plans for us rebuilding many more Lego ships. I used to love Legos....get that "used" to love them. Just kidding though, I do love spending time with my boy.
  • Soon, it was time to get our New Year's Eve party started. Robby and I heated up supper choices-BBQ pizza, sausage pizza, pepperonni pizza, chili, cornbread, chicken roll-ups, sweet and sour chicken or spicy chicken with rice. The kids all picked different things and it was like working in a diner. Not many folks have take orders on a piece of paper when they are making supper but we sure did tonight.
  • While we were eating, we did make a few New Year's resolutions. And even though the boys wouldn't try Pops' fruitcake, they sure did try Robby's crazy spicy chicken. I had some yesterday and it was so spicy that my mouth burned for an hour. Those boys knew the chicken was spicy but they never acted like their mouth was on fire. I was actually very disappointed in the whole thing. I was expecting them to roll around in the floor and chug water from the sink but they were being a bit manly about the whole thing.
  • We then played a game of Uno Attack. Campbell won but we played until Robby and Whitman were also out. Then we turned on The Holiday Inn. We saw that play in NYC last year but since then they have filmed the actual play. So it was neat to see it again. It held the kids attention really well even though we had to stop the movie a few times-to eat Campbell's lava cake that she made for dessert and to ring in the New Year with pictures, hats, horns and poppers.
  • We watched our movie for about 30 more minutes after the New Year and then it was bedtime for everyone. Hopefully, my kids all made resolutions about sleeping in past 9 in the morning!

December 30, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Whitman came into our room this morning at 7 or was it 8? But then we never heard anyone for a very long time. I think that they were all in the bonus room watching a movie. Keaton was the late sleeper today. Everyone has really enjoyed sleeping late these last few weeks and all of that is definitely coming to an end. Church tomorrow is late, Monday is the holiday, Tuesday should be the day we start school but Whitman is still off so maybe we will do a tad bit, but on Wednesday we have Bible study so that will be the first day that we have to wake up and start moving.
  • After the dishes this morning, there was one load of laundry to fold and soon another one was ready. We also washed the boys sheets and blankets which was 3 loads. We should wash all of their sheets more often but gracious, it is a bit overwhelming. I did add it to the kids chore list to help me with it-we will see how well all of that happens.
  • I did meet Anderson upstairs to work on his Lego thing today. This is the big lego piece that he bought last year with all of his birthday returns. I think that it will be easier to put together than the other one, but we did hit a few pages today where we had to search and find every single piece on the page. 
  • By noon, we picked up and I had everyone do a few chores. I didn't understand why the boys were working so hard and fast until I was reminded that it was basketball time. The boys watched most of the game but near the end, I was in the kitchen and the living room became pretty rowdy. Anderson and Graham were standing in front of the tv calling the Hogs, Campbell and Keaton were cheering with their pom poms and Reagan and Whitman were wrestling (not everyone can be Hog fans.) We all watched the end of the game together in the living room and cheered on the Hogs.
  • Robby and the big boys went to the Wilson's house to help Tony with some building. While he was gone, I put my little helpers to good use, and we reorganized my pantry in Robby's office. It had become pretty cluttered, and we made it shiny and new. Now, I should have probably moved right on and worked on my real pantry, but we will save that for another day.
  • When we had finished that project, I played a few games with the kids and then Campbell made 2 batches of cornbread for tonight. The chili was already heating up in the crockpot. The Wilson's came over for supper and after supper, Shannon watched Robby make her cookies. And gracious, even with her watching, our cookies just don't turn out as well as hers. Maybe we just need to find our own special recipe.
  • Robby and Tony worked on plans to revamp our fireplace while the kids played a game and watched a movie. After they all left, we picked up and the kids headed to bed. I had left Whitman's tent up one more day thinking that he would sleep in it again. Tonight though when he was brushing his teeth, he told us that he wanted to sleep with his brothers and climbed into his bed. Before I could finish explaining the stock market (yep, seriously) to the boys, Whitman was sound asleep.

December 29, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Let me think-right now I am not even sure of what day it is (or was since it is after midnight). Okay, hopefully I have it all straight in my head. My alarm rang right at 8 this morning, and I dialed the phone as I was getting out of bed. I snatched the earliest two appointments that I could and was satisfied of the time of 9:50.
  • After I had put on my clothes, folded the laundry and emptied the dishwasher, Tony was knocking on the door. Now, if you have been to have my house lately and sat on my couch, you know that one side is completely broken. Your chin hits your knees when you sit down. It does make a cozy little spot to cuddle in, but probably is not conducive to having guests over.
  • Tony and Robby went to town on the couch while I loaded up with Campbell and Graham. Even though Graham swore to me that his ears didn't hurt and that he felt better (sure didn't sound better with him snotting and coughing), I still drug him on to the doctor. I think that he wanted to stay and play with Brett but to the doctor he went.
  • It was a short visit-Campbell had one infected ear and Graham had two ears that weren't infected but they weren't healthy looking. So they both received medicine. From there, I ran into the pharmacy to pick up their meds, and thankfully I didn't have to wait forever. Neither one was too happy to hear that the medicine was bubble gum flavored and that they had to take it twice a day (Whitman's right now is just once a day.)
  • When we arrived back home, the couch was almost fixed, and Keaton was sitting staring at them working. It looked like she had just been up for a few minutes. By the time that Campbell and Graham had drank their medicine for their first dose, Reagan was stumbling down the stairs. Sleeping until almost 11-what a wonderful Christmas break.
  • We then had a bit of downtime until I made chicken tortillas for lunch. We ate and then everyone started on showers. Soon we were loading up heading to a funeral. As we drove there, Robby gave the kids the low down on what would happen there and reminded them that it was a very solemn event...and as we pulled into the parking lot, there were 4 of those huge blow up air men flapping in the breeze by the front doors. Robby explained that this was not normal funeral protocol. 
  • Now, the kids were perfect during the long service. I can say that because Whitman fell asleep and snored during most of it. Now, he has been saying lots of things like, "how do you die?," "how old will I be in when I die?" and "I don't want (insert name here) to die." 
  • After the funeral, we stopped by Sonic as a reward and then headed to NLR. Robby had to pick up something for work (which wasn't there). I ran into the smallest Kroger ever while Robby found gas. Then we ordered the kids pizzas from Pizza Hut (they have the same Book-It program that I did when I was a kid and could earn a free mini pizza each month.) It took forever to get a hold of them and order the pizza. Robby also had a mystery shop which it took over an hour for the food to be ready. 
  • By the time that we made it home, everyone was antsy and hungry. Robby had to take pictures of his food but did that quickly. By the time that the car was unloaded, we were serving up some grub. Most everyone ate pizza, but there was also fries, nachos and a burger along with a delicious cookie. Everyone left with plenty to eat and the fridge is full of leftovers for tomorrow,
  • The Wilsons were lonely, so we went over there for a bit and ended up staying until after 11. The kids were busy watching a movie or something or another (I am not sure what they were doing but they were being quiet.) When the ballgame that was on finished, we headed home. By the time we made it in the house, everyone was exhausted and headed right to bed. 

December 28, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • First let me apologize for our lack of pictures today. We just have one. I did remember that we needed pictures tonight after I had tucked the kids into bed, but since it was after 11 and since we have two "sickly" ones, I figured that it wasn't worth waking them up for a picture.
  • Last night, Graham had complained about his ear, and we even did ear drops before bed. So this morning before 8, I asked him about his ear. He said that it was fine and no matter how I asked him, he was certain that he felt much better. So I opted not to call for an appointment for him today (which turned out to be a mistake.)
  • Reagan woke up at Kennedy's house so before noon, we loaded up to pick her up. From breakfast time until then, we really didn't do a whole lot around here. There was laundry, dishes and lots of straightening but we didn't really do much.
  • After picking up Reagan, we headed to Dairy Queen for our weekly Blizzards. Everyone loves to eat ice cream when it is not even above freezing! The kids have settled on their flavors and everyone gets the same thing each time. Now, Keaton just eats the M&Ms that we ask for on the side from the M&M Blizzard. Robby said that we need to just start bringing her some candy and that way we could order a Blizzard that Robby and I would enjoy.
  • When we thawed out from the ice cream, we went to Grannymom's house for a bit. Whitman, Robby and Campbell stayed over there while the rest of us ran to Walmart for a bit. Campbell stayed behind because while we were out and about, her ears started to hurt. I called for an appointment for her but by then they were all out.
  • Anderson had some money to spend and looked at the Legos but their stock was pretty low so he didn't see anything that he had to have. He was wise and decided to wait until he was sure. Keaton found something that she wanted too and almost bought it but decided not to at the last minute. Graham also had some money but bless, his ear had started to hurt and he just couldn't think of anything that he wanted since he was distracted by that.
  • Campbell stayed at Grannymom's house for the rest of the afternoon. She cuddled up in their big heated bed with the tv on and a bell by her side-that girl ate it up! The rest of us ran home for a bit.
  • Then we loaded back up with the Wilsons and went to eat Mexican after picking up Campbell. Robby called just to make sure she felt like going out to eat and she perked up pretty quick and was ready to go. We all ate our fill of Mexican and then headed home.
  • The kids watched some tv and played for a bit while the grownups ate and talked. Then Robby and Tony turned my couch over and started working on it. It is on its last leg and if tomorrow's repairs don't help, Saturday it will be headed to the dump!

December 27, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • We were up a bit earlier this morning than we have been this week. I really don't even know what time it was that we woke. I honestly am not even sure what day it is, and I think that is exactly how things are supposed to be on the week between Christmas and New Years.
  • At some point this morning, Reagan joined Whitman, Keaton and Campbell in the tent. It was a tight squeeze and soon became so noisy that I had to go up to referee. The kids found their own breakfasts this morning-leaving the leftover monkey bread mostly for us. I do think that Anderson found it even though I had tried to hide it in the back of the fridge.
  • This morning, I folded about 90 loads of laundry. I had not folded anything since before Christmas. The kids were all busy playing and reorganizing their Christmas goodies while I moved on to organizing the hats, gloves and scarfs. I think we are going to need them all pretty soon.
  • After lunch, Reagan and I loaded up for a few errands. The first errand was dropping Reagan off with Kennedy. They had a big night and even went to the movies. After I dropped her off, I ran in to Walmart and then Michaels and the Dollar Tree. Then I was at Sams for an hour returning something and then waiting on Robby's medicine.
  • By this time, I was getting tired but still had a few more stops. Yesterday, a nurse from the kids clinic had called and said they were prescribing me another prescription for Whitman. The pharmacy couldn't find the prescription, called the doctor and for some reason, they really didn't prescribe anything but just told me that they did. Argh! The pharmacist was very nice and did assure me that what Whitman is on is adequate. I was pretty ticked and did call the clinic. All that to say, I may be in the market for a new clinic for the kiddos.
  • From there, I just had to run to the library and pick up some goodies from Nonna's house. Then it was home to unload. Everyone must have missed me since they spent a good deal of time following me around when I arrived home. Robby said that they played most of the time that was I gone but also watched a movie.
  • I played a game with the girls and had planned to work on more Legos with Anderson but never made it there. We had our supper and then the kids had some downtime for a bit. I had a lot of downtime and sat in my bed on my computer until I fell sound asleep.
  • Robby was soon waking me up because Shannon was over with 3 big boxes of clothes for the kids. They were being productive over there and cleaning out while we are just lounging around. We did sort through the girls' clothes and soon it was bedtime for the crew.
  • Whitman is sleeping in the tent with the little girls. I think that they were telling "spooky" stories after we tucked them in, but right now they seem quiet so maybe they are all asleep.

December 26, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • After yesterday's early morning, this morning was a bit more relaxed which was much needed. Around 9, Robby had Graham turn on the oven and soon we were serving up cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
  • Everyone enjoyed them but before they did eat, I had to wake up Keaton and Campbell who were the only ones still sleeping. Everyone else was upstairs playing some xbox game that Anderson received in his Christmas stocking. I am surprised that the girls were still asleep because the sound of them playing that game echoed throughout the house. There was lots of screaming and squealing.
  • When breakfast was finished, I threw Whitman's clothes on him and Robby, Whitman and I headed to pick up the Wilsons. The kids stayed at home and seemed to enjoy it their quiet time. Now, Graham did let me know that Campbell and Keaton were fussed at each other often. The kids found their own lunch-I can only imagine what they ate!
  • We hit up a few stores-Kirklands, Walmart, Kroger, Sams, At Home, Lowes and Target. I did buy two little signs at Kirklands, a few lights at Kroger and lots of candy at Walmart. We didn't find the one thing that Whitman was helping me look for-a Christmas tree.
  • Maybe we will find one soon somewhere that they are just giving away. Whitman did great possibly since we didn't hesitate to bribe him with candy and drinks. He did fall sound asleep on the way home though! Shopping is tough on a little guy.
  • Once at home, Robby helped Graham make a playlist for his google home and set up Reagan's fit bit properly. I played two games with the girls and did some cleaning. When it was almost supper time, Robby suggested that we go out to eat and to a movie.
  • We loaded up and used our coupons at Taco Bell and then watched The Greatest Show on Earth at the movies. It was really entertaining movie and everyone set spellbound through it all.
  • Once we made it home, the kids needed showers even though it was late. So we did that and then put everyone to bed. Tonight, Whitman and his tent is in the girls' room and Keaton and Campbell are in the tent with him.

December 25, 2017-Merry Christmas!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Late last night, we turned on the chime in the upstairs hallway so we could hear when anyone entered that hallway. And by golly, those kids were in that hallway a zillion times. Now, when I say "those kids" I really mean Graham! That boy was so excited about Christmas that he didn't sleep a wink and walked down the hallway frequently to go to the bathroom. 
  • Whenever Graham did walk down the hallway, the alarm in our room buzzed which woke us both up. We didn't so much mind that someone was awake upstairs but that is the same sound we hear when any outside door is opened in the house, so it always startles us if we hear it in the middle of the night-even when we know it is just a boy who is ready to see his gifts.
  • Before 7, I headed to the kitchen to put the monkey bread in the oven. I only had one bundt pan so I used an angel food cake pan as the other pan (mistake). We soon woke up the kids, who weren't asleep at all. Well, Whitman was asleep but he quickly jumped up when he heard what day it was.
  • Robby videoed the kids running into the living room which was crammed full of presents. We don't go crazy around here but just a few presents for each kiddo multiplied by 6 is a ridiculous amount. They are only kids once!
  • Everyone ran to their stockings and dumped them out. They were all pleased with all of the things inside. Whitman's favorite stocking gift was a can of shaving cream for him to play with in the shower. Campbell's favorite gift overall was from her stocking-a streamer on a stick. 
  • Just about as soon as we opened the stockings, we realized that something was burning in the kitchen. My angel food cake pan was pouring the liquid from the monkey bread onto the bottom of the oven. This was then burning and then entire kitchen was smokey. We told the kids to take a break on the present opening which was like trying to stop a moving train. 
  • Robby and I (mostly Robby) worked on cleaning the oven and putting the monkey bread back in the oven. In hindsight, I should have just waited and cooked one bread in the bundle pan and then the other (as we ended up doing) or lining the angel food cake pan with foil.
  • The kids were fine waiting on us since they were going over their stocking stuff. When we came back it was time to open the presents. Let's see how well I can remember things:
  • Reagan received a fit bit from Santa, a planner and movie tickets for her and her friends from us along with a sparkly bag and colors from Campbell.
  • Anderson received a race car track from Santa (Santa has a hard time pleasing him and might have not done so good this year either), a tool set and Legos from us, and a Cavalier's hat and a watch from Graham.
  • Graham opened a google mini from Santa, a tool set and a Golden State sweatshirt from us, and a Razorback duffel bag and a gallon of Gatorade from Keaton.
  • Campbell had baking supplies and a gift certificate for a cookie decorating class from Santa, doll bunk beds and a sticker book from us, and an apron, two little stuffed animals and buttons from Whitman. (If you remember, Whitman was so excited to give Campbell buttons and sure enough, when Campbell opened the box, she shouted "buttons!" And I swear, Whitman turned and looked at me like "see, I told you she would want those.")
  • Keaton received a treehouse for her Woodzeez from Santa, a sticker book and doll bunk beds from us, and a water bottle and stuffed animal from Anderson.
  • Whitman received magnets from Santa, a fort making kids from us, and a lap desk, play dirt, a little bear, and a toy microphone (the gift he had been asking for) from Reagan.
  • Robby racked up with some more socks and a sound bar while I opened post it notes (my favorite), a turquoise necklace and tennis shoes.
  • After we had opened presents, I went to work picking up the living room while Robby headed to the kitchen. Soon the grands and Jason started arriving. The kids were all excited to show off their presents. I think that they were all pretty pleased with their loot-it has been a big 3 days around here.
  • We ate our monkey bread, grapes, oranges, breakfast casserole and pineapple for breakfast. Then we went to work opening up presents and figuring out everything for the kids. I told Robby that since their presents are getting more technical, I can tell that things are easier for me. He handles the technical stuff so that is less for me to help with. 
  • The kids all had gifts to give to Nonna and Grannymom. Each one was something that the kids helped make and they were all so excited to watch them open their presents. When everyone did leave, we had about an hour to clean the kitchen, straighten the living room and get ready before heading to Dana's house.
  • The kids were already putting their stuff in their little piles before everyone arrived this morning, so they had some more time to make things nice and neat before lunch. At lunch time, Dana had three different types of chili for us all to enjoy. It is a perfect low key end to all of our Christmas festivities. Dana invites my parents and Jason so everyone is able to celebrate together for just a bit longer.
  • The kids brought over some of their new presents and they enjoyed seeing Lilly and Cash's new stuff as well. They played outside off and on but it was just way too cold out there. We stayed a while and then headed home. 
  • We worked on more presents this afternoon and almost didn't take down the tree. We forget why we do it-we enjoy the Christmas stuff when it is up and it doesn't bother us. But after Christmas, when the toy store has exploded in my living room, you just have to get rid of something. So the Christmas tree must go!
  • Robby and I went right to work on project tree take down. The kids played with their new stuff for a while and then the neighbors came out so they were occupied while we stole their last few minutes of Christmas. We de-Christmased everything downstairs before we loaded up to the Wilson's house.
  • Since my crew hadn't eaten, we brought bread and cheese and made grilled cheese sandwiches. Robby and I ate lots and lots of sweets. Shannon had some out and I had brought some as well. The kids played some inside but ended up going outside for a pretty long time. It was probably about 30 degrees but no one seemed to mind-I guess that they were moving around enough that they stayed warm.
  • It was nearly 11:30 when we came home. We had to drive home with the car light on so Whitman would stay awake even though it just takes two minutes to make it home. He was getting to sleep in his new tent, and I wanted him to remember it. I guess that is a good thing that we were out so late because he (and Graham who joined him in the tent) were too tired to talk or be silly as they went to sleep. 
  • It was a pretty wonderful Christmas day and I do think that all of my kiddos went to sleep tonight with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads!  

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2017: Merry Christmas

This Christmas morning we close our 8th year of our Christmas Ornament Countdown with an ornament from this April. It is a pretty fitting ornament since Noah's Ark, which we saw in Kentucky, reminds us that there is just one way for salvation. And since that one way for our salvation was born on this Christmas morning many years ago, I thought this ornament was a perfect fit.

Even though you have heard about Noah's ark all of your life, it is hard to imagine just how bit it really is. It is pretty mind blowing to realize that one family built the entire ark by themselves.

It was a great trip (click here for pictures from that trip) and I hope that we maybe can go back when there are fewer crowds. Our crowded trip did make me grateful that we weren't on the real ark packed full of animals. 

I hope you have enjoyed our Christmas Ornament Countdown this year, and I hope that you have a wonderful Christmas.

December 24, 2017-Brock's Christmas Eve

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Whitman and Anderson were the first ones awake this morning. Anderson ended up on the couch and Whitman ended up in our room asking about milk. I helped him find his breakfast and then jumped in the shower myself.
  • By the time I was out, more people were awake and most clothes were on. For some reason though, I was the one scurrying around half dressed most of the morning. Robby was loading up the car as I was giving Whitman his medicine. (He seems much better today, eyes are perfectly, Campbell's eyes are also fine as well.)
  • When we drove into the church parking lot, we were surprised by many cars. It was a full service and we ended up in the front-there was an empty row between us and the preachers. I am not a big fan of our fam being on full display for everyone in the sanctuary. We did survive though without any big catastrophes.
  • During the church, they had the kids come down to the front for a little bit. I am always a bit panicked when Whitman is unattended, but he did fine. Reagan and Anderson didn't budge when they asked for the kids to come down-those two are growing up.
  • After church, we had planned to come home and eat. Then we decided to go to Arbys but briefly changed that to Subway before we ended up at Jason's Deli. We had not eaten there in a long time, and it just hit the spot. Everyone seemed really pleased with their lunch, and Robby and I loved our steaming hot potatoes.
  • Once at home, we picked up a bit and Robby and I tried to take a nap. It was a fail. We had Whitman in bed with us and he tossed and turned into I finally told him to leave! Our nap time ended with me telling the kids to all go to their beds until I had gotten ready for this evening. My people seem to think that when I am sleeping, in the shower or in the bathroom is the time to come and talk to me. I do love talking to the kids when I am awake and fully dressed.
  • After I was dressed, Robby began working on breakfast and the kids joined us in cooking and straightening the house. Soon we loaded up and headed to Nonna and Pops' house for our Christmas eve celebration.
  • It didn't take too long before we dug into supper. Nonna had made ham-I believe the kids picked that over turkey. As soon as we had finished eating, the kids, or possibly Pops, were anxious to open the presents.
  • We passed everything out and went to town. All day long today Keaton has been talking about Campbell's watch. She has asked me if I put it on her list. She has tried to figure out if she had enough money to buy one. She has wondered if Santa would bring it. All the time, I knew that Nonna already had it wrapped for her. That by far was her favorite gift tonight. Graham was in the same boat and has asked me about if an NFL size football would be under a tree and it was tonight. Now, I am not sure if that was his favorite or if it was his pocket knife or poster. Reagan seemed to be pretty pleased with her Bible that she can color in along with her art supplies. Campbell loved her big bed pillow that she received, and Anderson, well you know Anderson, he just loves any and all Legos. Now, Whitman was pretty pleased with the packing poppers that came in his boxes tonight. That was probably his favorite gift but his favorite real toy was his the mini muffins that match his toy pie that he plays with daily.
  • Oh, my favorite was a mop and Robby's favorite was feet for his yeti ice chest. We are exciting folks around here. Tonight, Robby was opening a present beside me. He said that it was from Jason. I briefly thought, "hmm, Jason has wrapping paper like me." Robby said he thought, "I think I recognize this box." Then when he opened this, he remembered ordering the camera bag inside. He pulled it out and I started to wonder, yes, yes, he opened the wrong package. The camera bag was a gift that we had bought for Jason!
  • The kids opened a few presents, and we all had dessert. Then it was time to head home. Since church was this morning, it was kind of nice to not feel rushed tonight. Once we came home, everyone went outside to throw our their reindeer food. 
  • Next up, we unloaded the car and everyone had time to set their presents out. Then we loaded up Santa's plate with cookies, took a picture of the kids in their matching pj bottoms and everyone headed to bed!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2017: 1 Day until Christmas

I know this ornament just looks like a string of seashells, and that is true but it really is a lei that was given to one of the boys as boarded the cruise ship this year. The kids had never been on a cruise and they had been excited about this trip for years. 

After spending a few days in Honolulu, we boarded our NCL Pride of America ship. The girls were given purple flower leis and the boys all received seashell leis. We had a few hours to explore the ship before time for supper.

The first night was probably my favorite supper event. The kids were so excited about putting on their clothes-the boys had Hawaiian shirts and the girls all had dresses. Supper was incredibly nice but it last so long that Whitman laid his head down on the table and went sound to sleep. 

That day was a great start to our Hawaiian cruise and you can click here for pictures from that day.

December 23, 2017-Dennie Family Circle Christmas

(click here for today's pictures)

  • At 7:20 this morning, I was walking out the door with Whitman in tow. It didn't seem like anyone was awake in the house until I was in the mud room and then could tell that someone, probably Graham, was upstairs playing on the xbox. When I grabbed Whitman from his bed to wake him up, the boys room was still dark but I guess my Graham was already awake.
  • Whitman and I ran by Pennys first since they were passing out 10 dollar off of 10 dollar coupons. We walked in, received our coupon and then turned right back around and headed to the car. Our goal was to be the first ones at the doctor's office and that we were. When another car pulled into the parking lot, we hightailed it into the office even though it was still 5 till.
  • Before 8, we were already in a room and soon the doctor was seeing us. Whitman was right when he said that his ear hurt. Indeed, it probably did-actually both ears were infected and the doctor even said that he had pink eye. (Though I think he just has more of a cold in his eye.)
  • The pharmacy didn't open for about 30 more minutes, so Whitman and I went back to Pennys to spent our coupon and when we walked in, the lady handed me another coupon, which Robby spent later in the day. After we made our purchase, we headed back to the pharmacy to pick up Whitman's medicine.
  • Once at home, Robby gave Whitman his medicine before he left to run some errands and I headed upstairs to work on Legos with Anderson. Earlier in the morning, he had text me about a time to meet him upstairs. I think he enjoys working on his Lego's with me and I sure wouldn't miss it.
  • We did finish this Lego vehicle. I have no idea what we made but it was some Star Wars something. Reagan wrapped two last Christmas presents and Campbell wrapped a birthday present for a party in January. 
  • Then I headed downstairs to fold some laundry and listen to Keaton read the last lesson of her reading book! Whoop, Whoop. I am so tired of that thing! I have been through it 5 times and am not going to take a break and will jump right in it with Whitman in January. Thinking about it makes me want to bang my head into a wall, but that book has successfully taught everyone to read so far so I guess it is worth it.
  • The kids ate lunch as I read a bit. Then it was chore time for everyone. After chores were finished the kids had some downtime before it was rest time. Since I knew that it was going to be a late night, I wanted everyone (especially Whitman) to have some quiet time. Everyone else settled in with their ipads but Whitman climbed into my bed with me. It took him a while to go to sleep and after he was asleep, it took me no time to fall asleep.
  • The kids had already taken their showers but I jumped in the shower. Soon, we were all loaded up and heading to Grannymom's house for our Dennie family circle Christmas. Les and Shelley were already there and Dana and her crew arrived about the same time that we did. Grannymom had everyone little presents and we drew numbers to pick our presents. (I opened some Skittles but traded for a tape measure since I always have to use Graham's or go to the garage to find one of Robby's. 
  • Then we broke into groups and played Left, Right, Center. Lilly won all of the quarters from my group and Whitman and Keaton's won in their groups. My Keaton and Whitman were thrilled to win their games. Then we ate supper-Grannymom had ham, so we made sandwiches and then there were more desserts than we could eat-and we certainly tried.
  • Josh played Silent Night as we sang along and then we opened presents. The kids were pretty excited about presents. I will hit the highlights-From me, Robby received a pair of jean, lights, and socks. Grannymom bought my present which was a pot holder, candle, and a work bench. Reagan said that her favorite present was a shopping trip with Dana and Lilly. Anderson's favorite was probably the Lego set. Graham said that his favorite gift was the hockey sticks. Campbell loved her watch and was even wearing it at bed. Keaton loved her sleeping bag and is in it tonight. And finally, Whitman came not wait to open up tent up. We will try to hold him off until Christmas night and then he can sleep in it all he wants. 
  • After presents, we sang another carol and then ate some more food. Robby went to work on his lights and trying to figure out Anderson's light up football. They finally figured it out and Whitman and I worked on his fire station. It was a pretty perfect Christmas and everyone enjoyed themselves.
  • When we finally made it home, the kids unpacked their stuff and laid everything out. Once Robby had hung up his new lights, we tucked everyone in while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads (nah, not really, they were too tired for anything but falling asleep.) 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2017: 2 Days until Christmas

Robby and I have climbed Diamond Head 3 times now-once as kids with our parents, once in 2004 and then again this year with all of the kiddos (click here for the blog from that day). We couldn't convince Nonna, Pops and Jason to go with us this time but we knew there would be lots of folks there so we headed off early in the morning.

We were shocked to see that the parking lot was already full but that didn't stop us. Robby dropped us off and had a cab follow him down the hill until he could find a parking spot. I started on up Diamond Head with the kids since I knew that we would walk a bit slower without him. 

He was quite surprised at how far we had gotten when he did finally catch up. The kids did great climbing up-along with Whitman. He needed someone to hold his hand often and Robby even carried him some. 

We made it and it was well worth the view. After we had taken in all of Honolulu's beauty, we headed back down. The items that I could make ornaments out of were pretty limited but Diamond Head was definitely a place that I wanted to remember.

December 22, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • This morning around 8, Campbell came into our room and asked me to help her with her pottery set. I still had about 2 more hours of sleep but for some reason I jumped up and headed to help her. I am not sure if I was just trying to be a good mother or was too asleep to realize what I was doing. 
  • We made a bowl and plate before I headed back to bed. After that though, I couldn't really go back to sleep. I text Anderson (yes, he was on the opposite side of the wall from me but texting them is more fun.) and we met in the bonus room for more Lego work.
  • We worked for about an hour and made good progress. Then the lights went out. This caused all kinds of commotion-mostly squeals and screams of delight. I opened the blinds in the bonus room and despite Anderson trying to convince me that we could still work, I told him that we would have to take a break. I can barely find those pieces in a well let room much less trying to find them with what little light was coming in from the window. 
  • Since the internet was off as well, when I came downstairs, I thought that we would use our "lights off" time wisely and clean this place up. I had just finished the first round of chores and was assigning more when the lights popped back on. 
  • Anderson and I headed back upstairs and we ended up working for another hour on the legos. We only have about 40 more steps to go-I had told him that I wanted to get both of his big ships done before Christmas but maybe we can get the other one finished after Christmas.
  • When we had picked up the Legos, Robby came upstairs and stared working on the puzzle. We set out a Christmas puzzle and have rarely been in the bonus room so about 75 of the 1000 pieces are worked. I haven't decided if I am going to leave it out until we finish it or if I am going to carefully pack it all up and just start from where we are next year.
  • We worked on the puzzle for a good bit while listening to the never ending rain. Then we fed the kids lunch, settled them down for a movie and ran to eat lunch ourselves. I wrapped a bit tonight and have finished all of my stuff. Reagan just has her present to wrap and Robby is on his on with his presents (which he still has to buy and even tried to convince me to just pick up tomorrow while I am out.)
  • My goal was to not go anywhere tomorrow (except for Christmas at Grannymom's house). I wanted to have another lazy day like today, but after Whitman has mentioned his ear twice tonight, I think we will be making a trip to the doctor at 8 in the morning.
  • Robby made eggs for supper tonight and then we played a game of Farkle. I read the rules but I still think that we aren't playing exactly right. It doesn't matter though because the kids loved it-really, they love any game. And the more I play games with them the more I realize that I need to play a lot more games with them. It is very clear that they often don't know how to act when they win or when the lose.
  • After the game, we watched Elf and ate some of Ms. Shannon's cookies that she delivered today. We also received a package of cookies today from someone. Robby read the name and didn't know who they were from for the longest time but finally realized that they were from some work folks. All this time, he was chowing down on one of the cookies-I asked if he thought they might be poisonous but they were not.
  • When the movie was over, everyone headed to bed-lots to do tomorrow-doctor for Whitman, last day of reading book for Keaton, legos for Anderson, wrapping for Reagan, and who knows what Campbell and Graham will find to do!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2017: 3 Days until Christmas

One of Robby's absolute favorite things to eat is shaved ice. Before we were married, there was a place on Shackleford that we would go to all of the time. I don't think that we even had shaved ice this year but we certainly made up for it in Hawaii.

We only had it once but we did have our shaved ice at the most well known place in Oahu, Matsumoto Shaved Ice. Everyone still ordered at least 2 or 3 flavors but we still weren't too adventurous since we didn't order azuki beans or mochi. I am not too sure what those are, so you will just have to look them up. 

It was a great day driving around the island of Oahu and eating our shaved ice in the North Shore. Here is the blog from that day.

December 21, 2017-Happy 8th Birthday Campbell!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Day 2 of our lazy Christmas holiday. Whitman came to our room for a minute this morning, and then he closed our bedroom door, had someone fix his breakfast, and sat outside our room watching his movie.
  • Campbell came in next. She was anxious for someone to wish her Happy Birthday. We did that and I even let her open a necklace from Justice. Then Robby made her day. He told her that he was going to the store and asked if she wanted to go. That girl loves shopping as much as she enjoys cooking.
  • Soon Campbell and Robby left. They began their trek at Sonic for a birthday drink. Then they headed to the store followed by a Happy Meal at McDonalds. This morning out was the best birthday present ever for Campbell.
  • Back here, Whitman had all of my pillows in the hallway watching a movie, Keaton and Reagan were on their ipads, Graham migrated from basketball outside, basketball in his bedroom and basketball on the xbox. Anderson and I went to work on a lego set. Two of his really big sets have been partially destroyed so today we started on rebuilding them.
  • I was the one encouraging him to do this, and after we worked for over an hour, I began to wonder why I did such a thing. First we had to take apart what was left from the old one, and then start to rebuild it. Thankfully, so far most of the pieces were found quickly but finding some involved us looking through millions of grey legos. It is just like finding a needle in a haystack! We made it to step 65 out of over 200. Hopefully, we can still finish by Christmas.
  • We then rushed around here and met Robby at Dairy Queen. The people seem to know Robby and the kids which is a good thing because our confusing orders (like a M&M blizzard with no M&Ms) are coming quicker. Today the lady brought our Blizzards and flipped 4 perfectly. The last one she flipped and it poured out on her tray. The kids cackled as she then flipped the next one and it also poured out on her tray. They quickly replaced those two ice creams and everyone was happy.
  • We came back home and Campbell and I made her birthday brownie dessert. Then we had a bit of downtime before I needed to make supper. Lilly and Cash came over to play and the kids all went outside and found the neighbors out. I called Campbell in to help with her birthday supper since she had been very excited about cooking. But she was more excited about playing with everyone. She did decorate the brownies but then she was ready to get outside and play.
  • I worked on supper alone as the kids played. Around 6 everyone showed up-Jason, Nonna, Pops, Grannymom and Grandpa. Campbell had her half birthday party this summer so today was just our family birthday celebration. We had chicken parmigiana, green beans, rice and bread. 
  • Campbell could not wait to tear into her presents. Even though she already had received presents from her friends this summer, she racked up tonight. A pottery kit, art supplies, baking supplies, shrinky dinks, clothes, lotion, a cookbook and a shopping cart for her dolls. 
  • After presents, we sang once more today and had brownies and ice cream. Everyone stuck around for a bit and the girls worked on the shirnky dinks until everyone left. Then all of my people had showers and put on pajamas.
  • Afterwards, we all piled into the living room and watched Home Alone 3. I think that we just have one more Home Alone move to watch. Whitman fell asleep and Campbell and Keaton ended up in the floor right near Robby and me. Reagan made popcorn for everyone and it was a great end to Campbell's 8th birthday. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2017: 4 Days until Christmas

For years every time that we have gone to Branson, I have really wanted to go to the Dixie Stampede. This was our first time and I was just as excited as the kids. It was just as much fun as we had imagined. And the food was as plentiful as we had also imagined. Most of the kids did not enjoy eating with their fingers though and have requested that we bring utensils next time we go!

Since this was a long awaited adventure, going to the Dixie Stampede, it was a must for an ornament. Robby ordered a drink at the pre-show because he knew that I needed an ornament!

Click here for pictures from that trip.

December 20, 2017

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Last night I told Robby that I was turning off my alarm clock and we could sleep in in the morning. Robby laughed at me saying that there would be no way we would get to sleep in. At 9, when we did finally start moving this morning, there were only 3 Dennie kiddos awake. This Christmas holiday stuff can make a person tired.
  • The kids played on their ipads while I did the dishes and laundry this morning. Then, I ran to Grannymom's house to work on a Christmas project. I was over there for about two hours and when I arrived back home, the girls had eaten their lunch and everyone had finished their chores.
  • Keaton and I did her reading book and then she made cookie dough to give to Campbell for her birthday tomorrow. Reagan and Campbell wrapped a present, Everyone played Left, Right, Center and we straightened the house one more time. 
  • Then we jumped into the car and headed to the Craft's house for their gingerbread house decorating party. There were more kids than I would even dare count. It was a blast! Traci had made a zillion houses and even though we arrived right on time, there was already a gaggle of kids working on their houses.
  • The kids had a great time and everyone's houses looked completely different. I was near Keaton and the boys. Whitman only needed me to spread icing on his and then he went to town. Keaton needed help with carrying out the plans in her mind and finding things. Everyone had eaten and licked their fill of icing before running to play in the yard.
  • When the party was over, Reagan left and headed to a cookie decorating party with some of her friends. She had a blast there and said that she was one of the best cookie decoraters. She brought home 7 cookies and was very excited to show them off to all of us when she came home,
  • We had already eaten supper and the kids were watching tv when Reagan came back. I was able to wrap a few presents. I only have about 3 more to wrap and after tomorrow's birthday party, I will be able to relax for the rest of this holiday season.
  • We pulled our Santa countdown, looked at some ornaments and even read a bit before bed. The boys left their tree lights on a bit at bedtime. Surprisingly, their bedroom seemed to be quieter than the girls tonight. Right now though, everyone's bedroom is quiet which means Ice Cream Time!