March 31, 2018-Happy 5th Birthday (party) Whitman!

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  • Today was all about Whitman! It even started with him bursting into our room at 4 this morning. He must have been running down the hallway because he was still going at full speed when he dived into our bed loudly whispering, "I want in the middle." When I woke up later in the morning, Robby was gone. I quickly saw why since Whitman's feet were laying on Robby's pillow. His head was on my pillow, but I had scooted down in the bed and wasn't bothered by any of this.
  • Though just a bit later, I was bothered when the boy took all of the other pillows out of the bed so he could make a spot to watch his movies in the living room. I didn't survive in bed much longer after that.
  • Everyone found their own breakfasts this morning. Robby and I ran to Kroger this morning to pick up a few bargains. When we made it home, Reagan was still sleeping and Keaton had just woken up. 
  • After we unloaded, Robby went to work on the yard and I went to work on the house. Thankfully, most of the birthday party stuff was ready to go already. Cash came over so the boys played outside mostly with him. They did all take turns mowing the yard a bit. Robby said that Graham was very cautious (a good thing), Anderson was a bit wreckless and Campbell didn't want to move the mower at all. She was a bit skittish.
  • At 12:30, I called everyone in so they could grab a bite of lunch to eat. The girls combed their hair, and we were soon loading up the car. We arrived at the soccer fields about an hour to early. We probably didn't need to arrive that early since soon the party was set up and the kids were all playing football. It does help to have lots of hands to help with things.
  • Last year during Whitman's birthday party, he asked when his friends were going to arrive. I tried to explain that his best friends were already there-his brothers and sisters-and he even had his friend Cousin Cash and Cousin Lilly there as well. This didn't fly very well. So this year, we did have friends. Micheal, Ryker and Luke were all there along with his cousins and lots of brothers and sisters. 
  • Whitman had said that he wanted a soccer party so that is what he got. We started with a few soccer games and then sang Happy Birthday. We had chocolate covered pretzels, black and white doughnuts, popcorn, orange slices and soccer cupcakes. 
  • After eating, the kids played for a bit, and then it was present time. My Whitman was super excited about every single thing that he opened. He first opened cookies that Reagan had made for him. They were orange, and he was thrilled. He received candy, books, clothes, a bathing suit, a pillow, a stomp rocket and even more. 
  • Once the party was over, we cleaned up and headed to eat supper. First we had to run a few errands-Kroger (yep, again) for me while Robby bought gas, back into Kroger for one more thing, Target (they didn't have what I wanted) and then finally to ChickFilA for supper. While we were there, Robby and the big three ran to Lowe's to pick up a few things as well.
  • When we made it home, we unloaded the car, and then the kids played outside with Whitman's new stomp rocket. Afterwards, it was shower and chore time. Graham helped me make a corn casserole for tomorrow. Then we watched a bit of basketball before heading to bed. Today was a pretty busy day, and tomorrow will be even busier! 

March 30, 2018

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  • I didn't jump right up this morning since I thought that today would be a normal ole day. I made my morning rounds-emptying the dishwasher, bringing the clean laundry to my room to fold later, opening the blinds, putting toothpaste on the kids toothbrushes and waking everyone up.
  • The boys were all awake, and Graham was diligently working on his school work. He knew Robby was going to Grannymom's house to help lay some sod, and he desperately wanted to go. I told Robby that I didn't mind so Robby gave him a bit more time to finish a few things and I let him skip the others. The boys was so excited. Robby did say that he worked pretty hard all morning long.
  • The rest of us were just about to start on school when Candice text asking if we wanted to go box sledding by the Clinton library. My list for today was long, very long! But going box sledding was also on my fun things to do list! I debated and finally said yes and am so glad that I did.
  • I told the kids how long we had before having to leave, so they grabbed their breakfast and got right to work. There were lots of school things that just didn't happen today but that is okay-sometimes life is more important. 
  • Graham got back just in time for us to leave at 11. We met the Heltz downtown at the library. Candice had lots of boxes and I had some as well. The kids didn't have to take turns on the boxes, and they slid down the hill a zillion times. I even got in on the action. 
  • We had a picnic as well, and the morning couldn't have been any more perfect. It is definitely something that I want to do again. Now, something that I don't want to ever do again is take all of my crew clothes shopping. After we left downtown, we picked up our Dairy Queen Blizzards, and then we went to get Reagan an Easter something.
  • Seriously, shopping with 6 kids isn't all it is cracked up to be. I thought that Anderson might just start crying when Reagan came out of the dressing room and said that what she had tried on didn't work. Thank goodness she finally found something. She found a grey sweater with a light pink undershirt. I wasn't crazy about the shirt but she liked it so we grabbed it. 
  • I was so relieved to find Reagan something successfully and to not absolutely lose my mind while shopping that I turned into Sonic to get everyone slushies. I was already in the parking lot when I did remember that they had just had Dairy Queen. I still got them slushies since they really did deserve them after all. They really did well shopping. 
  • Back at home, we unloaded from the day and I started making chex mix and chocolate dipped pretzels for Whitman's birthday. I then managed to get one more coat of pain on my drawers just before Robby called the kids outside to dye Easter eggs.
  • We dyed the eggs. Whitman, Campbell and Keaton could have dyed eggs all evening long while Anderson and Graham asked if they really had to dye 6 eggs? I remember dying a dozen myself so when my kids only get to do 6, I feel a bit bad. Though 36 eggs are a lot for us to eat this next week.
  • After the Easter egg dying, everyone played a bit of football in the backyard while I worked in the house some. I joined them towards the end of the game. Robby, Graham and Whitman ran to pick up Whitman's his cupcakes and supper while the rest of us started on decorating some Easter cookies.
  • When they came home, everyone ate and then Graham and Whitman started on the cookies that were left. Everyone else took quick showers before Graham and Whitman finished their cookies. We doubled the recipe so there were lots of cookies to decorate so hopefully there will lots of cookies to eat!
  • Once everyone had their showers, we had a cinnamon roll birthday cake to start celebrating Whitman's birthday. He enjoyed the attention! After we ate, it was time to brush teeth and head to bed!

March 29, 2018

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  • When I went on my morning rounds this morning, I saw that Anderson was awake, and I assumed that Graham was upstairs in the bonus room. I was very surprised to find him still sound asleep in his bed at 7:50. What in the world? When he did wake up, the first thing that I asked him if he was sick. He was just catching up on some much needed sleep.
  • Today was a big day for Whitman-Easter egg hunt at school and first soccer practice. He was ready to get in the car and start his day. The rest of us began school, and at 10, I had to jump in the car for Whitman's Easter party.
  • This was the last class party at Geyer's preschool. I have been going to parties there for about 8 years (counting Ms. Stacy's classes and the PreK3 classes). Some years, I would have to bounce back and forth between kids parties since we would have one in each class. I think I am fine with not having any more parties to go to up there!
  • Whitman did have a blast at his little party. Now when it came time to find the eggs, he did so want to find one of his own that he didn't pick up any at first. The other kids all had their 12 eggs when Whitman finally put one in his bucket. He did find one of his eggs that he brought from home and this seemed to make him happy.
  • Back at home, I finished up school. I did leave Reagan and Anderson with their math books for them to check. I know that Anderson gets his math right now, and I had seen that he had already done most of it when I had left. Reagan had at least finished one page though her math is a bit confusing right now (for her and me!) Actually, thinking about her math has made me decide that we will probably do 4 or 5 math problems each day this summer. It won't hurt anyone and will take just a few minutes.
  • Once we finished school, we had our lunch. The kids worked on their chores and I worked with Whitman on his school work and Anderson on some legos, then Reagan, Keaton and I headed out.
  • Reagan needs a new Easter something, and yes, I have waited until the last minute. We had to buy our groceries so we did look at Kroger but there was nothing there. Next was Target where we picked up some eggs that were on sale. Reagan did try on 4 things there, but nothing that she liked. Two were probably a bit too off the shoulder for me but at this point, I probably would have gone with anything and even everything that she liked. We will have to go out tomorrow for some more shopping.
  • We made it home in time for me to unload the groceries and then reload the car with Keaton, Campbell and Whitman for their first soccer practices. Campbell is at least a head taller than everyone else on her team. Whitman and Keaton have a team full of timid little kids (except for Keaton). My girls did great, just as I knew they would. But Whitman, I was shocked. He did so much better than we could have ever imagined. He listened, he tried, he hustled. I was shocked!
  • Once at home, the little girls and Whitman unpacked their uniforms. Soon Robby was home, and I stared on supper. After supper, the kids had their showers and watched some tv with Robby. I stayed in the kitchen painting a set of drawers, boiling 4 dozen eggs and baking 5 dozen cookies. 
  • The kids headed to bed a bit late. For some reason, Whitman is wide awake. He has been down the stairs twice-once to ask if he could sleep in Graham's bed and once to get water. I am not sure why he is not tired, but gracious I am. 

March 28, 2018

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  • Graham was the only one dressed this morning when I made the circle checking on the progress of everyone. Anderson and Whitman were up watching videos about minecraft. The girls were all sound asleep. Their room is so dark in the mornings that I think they could have slept another hour or two. (I could have.)
  • Soon everyone was stirring, grabbing breakfast, and loading up in the car. Our load was a bit lighter this morning since we didn't stick around for lunch at Rock Creek so we didn't have lunch to haul with us. We did have Anderson's snack. 
  • The kids love taking snacks to Bible study. I am glad they enjoy it, and I don't really mind. Though Reagan does have snack next week and Campbell and Graham have their snacks the next week.
  • After Bible study, we ran to Dairy Queen for our weekly Blizzards. They have more choices so the kids took a while to make their choices. If you are going to Dairy Queen soon, I highly recommend the peanut butter one or the smores. 
  • We were home early and while Robby was out, he picked up a pizza for lunch. The kids devoured it as I read a few stories. Then we all did history before I worked with Whitman on his reading book. 
  • Keaton helped me make cookies for later this week. She would get upset with me while we were baking if I talked louder than a whisper. She knew that if her sisters heard us in the kitchen, they would join her and she would lose out on being the solo helper.
  • Before I knew it, it was time to think about supper. Robby made quesadillas for our supper. We ate and then were back in the car headed to the library and church. The kids had fun at church but no one had as much fun as Graham, who won 2 dollars in his class. I am not sure what he did to earn the money but good for him.
  • Back at home, everyone put on their pjs and had an ice cream sandwich before heading to bed.

March 27, 2018

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  • This morning seems so long ago that I can really barely remember it. Whitman was a bit sour because he didn't have time to eat here at the house and had to eat his breakfast in the car. I am sure that he forgot about not wanting to eat in the car as soon as they pulled out of the driveway.
  • The rest of us had our breakfasts. I did let the kids make scrambled eggs in a mug in the microwave. Let me tell you, that is truly a game changer. Unfortunately, 2 eggs in everyone's mugs means that we are already dipping into our Easter egg dying eggs.
  • After our breakfast, we headed to my room to work on our together work. We are still plugging away on our history, but we did finish our science today. That is fine because we still have plenty of books to read to go along with our history book, and there are books about our upcoming trip that are on the to-read shelf.
  • Everyone did well on their work today. I do think that Reagan's writing is pretty tough right now-I know I never had to write stuff like she is or maybe I have just forgotten. Thank goodness she kind of has picked it up quickly and knows what she needs to be doing.
  • After we finished school for the day, we had our lunch and then did some chores. The kids tried to find the neighbors, but they couldn't come out today. There was still lots of in and out. We get more use out of the basketball goal than anything else in this house. Graham went out and shot some, the girls would play a bit, Anderson even mosied outside. They would do this over and over all afternoon long.
  • Robby picked up Whitman on his way home. He even got in on the playing outside for a bit. They came in and were all a bit wet from the drizzling rain. I wasn't home for too much longer before I headed off for Bunko for the evening.
  • The kids had bbq for supper which they weren't too big on. Everyone had showers since tomorrow is back to Bible study. Anderson is taking his famous chocolate chip pumpkin muffins for his snack so I know that he is pretty excited about tomorrow.

March 26, 2018

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  • First day back after Spring Break, and I really didn't have high hopes about how this day would go. I woke up later than I would have liked but still in time to get my stuff done before the house woke up too much. 
  • Whitman was thrilled to be heading back to school today. I think that he really did miss it. The others here weren't so excited about heading back to school. We had our breakfast, did our reading and then everyone started on their work. 
  • The day went really, really well. It does help tremendously that everyone has a few less things to do each day. Their workload right now should probably be a normal workload since everyone finishes well and since a lighter workload makes everyone happier.
  • We finished school, and then everyone started on their lunch. I read a bit during lunch and then the kids worked on their chores. Some chores were done much better than others. The girls all spent a really long time on their room this afternoon.
  • Campbell and Keaton also worked really hard on the downstairs part of the house. That is probably because I said that if I find any candy trash on the floor, everyone would lose 10 pieces of candy. 
  • This afternoon went by fairly quickly: Reagan worked on craft, Campbell worked on her pottery set, Graham played some basketball and the xbox, Anderson worked on his Legos and watched a few videos, and I am not really sure what Keaton did.
  • Nonna and Pops brought Whitman home, and they also brought chocolate bunnies for everyone. The kids pretty much devoured most of the bunnies while Nonna and Pops were still here. 
  • After they left, I worked with Whitman, and soon Robby, Reagan, Anderson and Graham headed to their first soccer practices. That left Whitman, Keaton, and Campbell here with me. The girls played with their sand and bounced between inside and outside until the neighbors finally came out.
  • The soccer crew came home and played with the neighbors until they had to go in. Then everyone ate spaghetti while cycling through the showers. After everyone was clean and full, they had a bit of downtime before it was finally bedtime. 

March 25, 2018

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  • The girls were stomping above our head pretty early this morning. They were so loud that I didn't even have to ask if Reagan was awake, I just knew that she would have to be awake with all of that noise happening up there.
  • I couldn't get many takers on my muffins again this morning. Whitman did eat some of one but when it came time to load the car, I asked him if he wanted to bring his breakfast. He said that he ate everything but the muffin, and he didn't want to bring it. I guess my apple raisin muffins were a fail. Though I did send some home with Shannon for Tony to eat (she refused), and he did say they were edible. 
  • After church, Reagan and Anderson's groups stayed for pizza and then 2 hours of jumping at Third Realm. The rest of us went to Nonna's house to eat lunch. She also had a special birthday cake for Whitman to start his birthday celebrations.
  • Graham and Whitman headed home with Robby while Campbell and Keaton headed to run some errands with me. We ran to Lowes, Sams, Walmart, the Dollar Tree, Michael's and Target. I pretty much bought everything that I had on my list for those stores. Well, I did put one project on the back burner since this might just be a busy week with starting school, church and CBS starting back, science fair projects coming up, Easter and all that goes with it, along with Whitman's birthday party. 
  • We made it back to church about 20 minutes before they kids were supposed to arrive. That gave us a chance to see Grannymom and Grandpa as they walked to their car. Then Reagan and Anderson arrived early so we didn't have to wait too long. They had a good time and talked the entire way home about their afternoon.
  • I did a few chores before Robby and I cleaned out the fridge for supper. Unfortunately, we didn't really make a dent in that fridge but it does look a little straighter. We all just hung out and watched tv until bedtime tonight. Campbell did make a package of cookies which everyone promptly devoured. 
  • We tried to put everyone to bed before 9 tonight, and we almost made it though. Maybe tomorrow we will be closer to the perfect 9'o'clock bedtime.

March 24, 2018

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  • I was pretty sure that no one was awake except for Robby and I this morning. It was just after 7 when I walked through the living room. I would have never have known that Graham was awake except that I didn't see his ipad in Robby's office. It was fine that he was awake but that little stinker squandered his last day for a long while to sleep in.
  • I turned on the oven to bake some apple raisin muffins. I had 3 today, and I think that some of my kiddos had one. Though I did see Whitman over the trash spitting some of his muffin out. Seriously, I am raising quite a few people that just won't try anything new.
  • I picked up Shannon at 8, and we headed to Kroger to pick up some sale items. I flew through the store filling up my cart and was delighted to see that my total was less than I had expected. Afterwards, I dropped off Shannon and ran home to get my kiddos ready to head down the road.
  • Tony mentioned getting mulch yesterday, and Robby jumped on that idea. Robby would have gone with us to the neighborhood Easter egg hunt, but us getting mulch was much more important since it is has been on our list for ages. 
  • The Easter egg hunt was again lots of fun. The first thing the kids did was hit the bouncy houses. Whitman spent a good time playing with the bubble machines while the big kids walked and walked on the cake walk trying to win a baby cinnamon roll or a pickle. 
  • There was an egg toss as well. Reagan and another girls were on a team, Campbell and Keaton were on a team and Anderson and Graham were on another team. Whitman didn't care about playing the egg toss so he went back to the slide.
  • Reagan and her teammate made it to almost the end but the boys ended up winning with Campbell and Keaton in second place. They could not have been any more excited. Then it was time for the Easter egg hunt. We had had a talk in the car that they weren't supposed to be greedy during the hunt, but everyone was told that there were plenty of eggs and to even use 2 baskets. 
  • Use 2 baskets they did. The kids filled up bucket after bucket of eggs and would run to me to pour their bucket into a Walmart bag. It was wild and crazy, and they loved it. This year we did leave our eggs there after we emptied them out of all of the candy. The big kids practically filled up their buckets with candy. 
  • After the egg hunt, we had lunch-hot dogs, chips and cookies. Whitman said, "this is a like a restaurant that has games." While the kids ate, I took the now full Easter baskets back to the car-two trips for me! When we had finished eating, we headed home for a bit.
  • The kids helped straighten a tiny bit, and then I headed out to work in the yard for a while with Robby. By this time, the neighbors were already out, and my crew was playing outside as well. This did come in handy when we needed someone to haul a tarp of leaves to the woods.
  • When we finished, Robby ran some errands, and I started on supper. It was after 6:30 when we finished getting supper ready. The Wilsons came over and ate quesadillas with us. We topped off our Spring Break with a pecan pie. The kids played outside and ended their evening by watching a movie.
  • When the Wilsons left, my crew had their showers and then climbed into their beds. Tomorrow might just be another busy day.

March 23, 2018

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  • After our little Branson run, we slept in quite a bit. Well, all of the kids except for Reagan didn't sleep in. Graham was the first one awake at 7; that poor boy can't sleep late at all. Reagan didn't come down to the stairs until after 11. She was dressed and ready for the day, so she may have been awake for a while.
  • My main task this morning was the laundry and lots of it we had. I think we had clean clothes ready to be folded before we left for Branson and some more in the dryer so that with two days of clothes, I was pretty far behind.
  • Whitman and I worked on his science fair project-The Three States of Matter. We melted ice to make a liquid, froze water to make a solid and even made steam on the stove. I read to him some as well, and as soon as Reagan walked down the stairs, I gathered everyone to read history to them.
  • Reagan then made herself an egg, cheese and meat bagel. Graham then came in and made an egg sandwich. When our lunches were cleaned up, Anderson asked to make chocolate cakes in mugs. So he made 7 of those which took quite a bit of time. I told Robby that it would probably have been easier for us to make a whole cake. His mug cakes were very good. I wasn't going to eat one but ended up eating all of Whitman's since he didn't want his.
  • My kitchen was a busy place today since Campbell and Keaton also made some mixture to make crystals. I didn't really care since they weren't making slime. That fad seems to have passed. I also made batter to make apple raisin muffins at some point tomorrow depending on what time I wake up.
  • The neighbors didn't come outside until 2 or even after. All of the kids played outside all afternoon. Whitman even went down the road to play until Reagan brought him back. We aren't sure if he asked to come back or if he was causing a problem and Reagan encouraged him home with a snack. Either way, he was happy to be home for a snack and a movie.
  • At supper time, we headed to the Wilsons for supper. Tony recreated the potato sausage mixture from Silver Dollar City. Robby also had some hot dogs for the kids along with ice cream for dessert. The kids played Bingo for a cash prize so they were quite for a long while.
  • Shannon and I made our grocery lists for an early morning Kroger run, and then it was time for us to head home. It was a late night for my people and tomorrow is their last day to sleep in!

March 22, 2018-Branson Adventure #1

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  • I woke up quite a bit last night but each time that I did and looked at the clock, I was relieved to see that I still had plenty of time to sleep. Robby was up first this morning and started waking up the crew as he was getting himself ready.
  • It is nice that the kids are all getting bigger and things are starting to get pretty easy. Campbell came out of their room and declared, "everything is out of our room." Not only did she make sure everything was out, but she knew to tell me so I didn't have to look again. It didn't take too long for the kids to dress, and soon we were hauling our bags to the van.
  • We then walked to breakfast at the hotel which was very good. Robby had read that two little old ladies made breakfast there, and they indeed were there today making breakfast. There was pancakes, biscuits, eggs and quite a few other choices. I think that everyone left full.
  • After running to the bathroom, we then headed back to Silver Dollar City. By comments of Facebook last night, we had already guessed that there would be quite a bit more people there today than yesterday, and it was true. We could tell in the parking lot that it was already much more crowded.
  • Once we entered the park, we headed right to the one roller coaster that the kids really wanted to do-Powder Keg. They were pretty close in the line and stood there forever while they tested and tested and retested that ride. Meanwhile, Robby and I took Campbell, Keaton and Whitman to Fire in the Hole. He then rode it again with the girls while Whitman and I checked on the ones still in line.
  • They probably waited 45 minutes when they started loading people on the ride. Then someone's seat didn't work so they had to take everyone off and send a tester on the ride. Poor park employee testing out seats to make sure they work! He survived and soon the ride was going again. Seeing all of this got to Graham and he jumped ship and didn't wait for his turn! Which I certainly don't blame him at all.
  • After their ride, we all split up again. The boys went with the Wilsons to ride Wildfire and then to the Lost Mine. Robby took Reagan to the barnswings and then met us. My group rode a little covered wagon ride, Keaton and Whitman rode little swings and then we rode the hot air balloons, where I easily could have lost my lunch...if I had eaten lunch! Then we all did the Lost Mine before heading out of the park.
  • It was a short morning but was a good end to our Silver Dollar City day. Robby is already working on when we can come back sooner than we had planned. We were in a bit of a hurry on the way home because the Wilson's had to be at the airport to pick up Layne from her mission trip.
  • We stopped to pick up McDonalds-everyone pottied while I ordered and Robby bought gas. Then our only other stop was at Corseys to pick up some bacon for a friend. Robby and Tony couldn't resist buying themselves a meat stick.
  • When we were almost back to Little Rock, we decided that the Wilsons probably didn't have time to get to the airport if we took them to their car. So we all went and greeted Layne. Then we dropped them off at the car before we delivered the bacon.
  • The library had family bingo tonight so we headed there. Since we hadn't had supper, everyone had cheese, crackers and meat that we had taken on the trip. It was enough to fill us up along with the library's chips and salsa that they had. 
  • The bingo was lots of fun-when you bingoed, you won a book. The kids all won at least 2 books each. There was also door prizes which the Dennie's won 4 of 10. We won a 10 Target gift card, a t shirt, a Batman mug and a Stormtrooper mug. The boys weren't too thrilled about coming, but we all had lots of fun.
  • It was all work though when we made it home. Everyone worked on unloading the car and putting things up. Whitman tried his best to get out of work, but once he realized he was having to work like everyone else, even he was a good help. It didn't take too long for the car to be clean, the clothes to be in the wash and bags unpacked and put away. 
  • The kids then started on their showers and soon it was bedtime. I think that they were all pretty tired tonight because I didn't get much feedback when I told them that it was bedtime! I am pretty exhausted myself.

March 21, 2018-Branson Adventure #1

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We woke up before the sun came up, and Robby and I quickly decided that we weren't designed to rise before the sun rises. The kids, however, were on the go while we were still laying in the bed. By the time that I was ready, the kids were all dressed and finished packing.

The kids had their breakfasts and as soon as they had finished, it was time to load up and put shoes on. Everyone helped out-my Graham is starting to really think about how he can help. The Wilsons arrived a few minutes early while we were still running around like crazy in the house.

Soon we were all loaded up and pulling out of the garage right on time. We picked up Tony and left their car at the Heart Hospital, and then headed on up to Branson. It didn't take too long before we were pulling out all of the goodies that we had packed to eat. I do think that before 9, we had eaten cookies, rice krispy treats, trail mix and cheese, meat and crackers. It might not have been 9, but it was way too early to be snacking!

And snack we did all the way to Branson. We stopped at Fergusons, and Shannon and I jumped out of the car to buy cinnamon rolls for everyone. All of my people had a half while we zoomed on down the road. It didn't take too many turns before Keaton said she didn't feel great. We cranked up the air and brought her to the front of the car by Shannon and me. She soon was chattering away feeling much better. The air wasn't on since it is kind of chilly so that combined with the curves probably did briefly get to her little tummy.

We had one potty stop on the way, and before we knew it, we were entering the gates of Silver Dollar City. In the parking lot, we could tell that it would be crowded today. It was so crowded that we saw quite a few folks that we knew (though the Wilsons saw many more folks they knew.) The Atwoods, who live between us and the Wilsons, parked right beside us. Once we had unloaded and bundled up, we hiked to the entrance.

Even though it has been two or three years since we have been to Silver Dollar City, Robby hiked right to Fire in the Hole where we jumped in line. Everyone loved Fire in the Hole, and off we went to the next stop. I think that we then went to Wildfire for the big kids to ride. We tried to get Campbell on it, but she would have none of that, and I certainly don't blame her. They had a blast on that crazy roller coaster.

Next up was Outlaw for the same big ones. They rode it twice and while they were on it, Keaton, Whitman, Campbell, Robby and I went to the log ride. We rode it once and then met up with the big kids before another log ride. From there, I believe that we stopped for a bite of lunch since it was after 1. We had a fry bread BBQ sandwich and the skillet meal. I didn't get any of the BBQ, but the kids weren't too crazy about that bread. The skillet meal, which I have always wanted to eat, was delicious. We then walked by the cinnamon bread place. Even though we really wanted some, we passed and moved on.

The swings were next for Campbell on up. Keaton needed an adult to go with her so I drew the short straw. Round and round make Robby and I nauseous since we have gotten old, but it bothers Robby more than me. The others had to wait in the single rider line, but Keaton and I walked right on since we had to ride in a double swing. We finished that ride in time to join Whitman on the frogs followed by the firefly ride.

The others then went to the pirate ship, and Whitman, Keaton and I went to the Dumbo type ride. From there, we walked through Grandfather's Mansion. Then Campbell on up rode a wet ride. I tried to tell everyone that it was a poor idea to get wet on a cold day, but they disagreed. Despite their soaking wetness when they walked off, they enjoyed every bit of it. 

We had one last ride before we left-Thunderation. I rode with Whitman, and he did wonderful, loving every minute of it. Robby had promised Campbell that he would ride a ride with her so Keaton rode with Ms. Shannon. At one point, I looked back and tears were just streaming down Keaton's face. Shannon was trying to calm her down but bless, she would have none of it. It was pitiful! We have talked up riding that ride tomorrow again, and it sounds like she has agreed to ride it with Robby. Hopefully so and hopefully she will enjoy it more when she knows what to expect. 
We took a few pictures and then headed out of the park and headed towards Lamberts. Tony, Shannon, Keaton and Campbell waited in line for us while we ran to Walmart to get Whitman some new shoes. About every 4th step he would take, his shoes would come unvelcroed, and I couldn't handle that tomorrow. Reagan, Whitman and I ran through that store. Reagan found the shoes while I tried them on his feet. As soon as we found the pair, we ran (I walked, Reagan hustled, Whitman ran) to the bottled water and then paid. By the time we made it back, Tony was calling that our table was ready. 

Some of my kids have been to Lamberts, but none remember it. The kids were all at one table, and they LOVED it. For starters, they all had their own drink and not water. The drinks are served in these huge, I mean huge, cups. Then they started throwing the rolls. Keaton was thrown the first roll of the kids, and her eyes just lit up when she caught that roll. Even Whitman got in on the act, asking for a roll every time the people came by. Everyone had their own plate of food and Nonna would be proud-Anderson even asked for a to-go box. He put a few things in his box though I am sure there was enough food not eaten on their table to feed a small country. And Campbell, my girl, filled her to go box up full of rolls!

It was definitely an experience, one that my kids loved. We did the Dixie Stampede last year, and honestly, they probably enjoyed Lamberts just as much. Afterwards, we drove back to Branson and stopped at Hurts Donuts. They had all kinds of crazy donuts there. Even though we were crazy full, we still all had one donut. Most everyone ate only half and we might snack on them tomorrow. From there, it was just a short drive to the hotel. Our room has 3 bedrooms so we are all spread out tonight, but just for a little bit because we need to be at Silver Dollar City right when it opens tomorrow.  

March 20, 2018

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  • The bus pulled out at 8:45 this morning. I had told everyone last night to be ready at that time because we would read our history before we left, but a dozen free Krispy Kreme doughnuts seemed more important that today's topic that we would have read about during the medieval times.
  • I ran in Krispy Kreme, and before I could even climb back in the car, the kids were passing around the drink and eating their first doughnut. We headed to Heifer Ranch in Perryville this morning. It was a pretty drive out there. Though I did become concerned about my children's education as we drove over Lake Maumelle, and and Graham shouted, "Is that the ocean?"
  • I knew it would be chilly this morning though I didn't quite know exactly how chilly it would be. Graham did heed my advice and wear pants though Reagan and Anderson did not. I probably would have put on some long underwear and gloves if I had known the wind would be so vicious. 
  • Despite the chill, we still had a really good time. I had never been to the ranch, and it was something to see. We checked in at first and then headed to tractor ride around the farm. There we saw quite a bit of the farm including some houses build like those in different countries. 
  • Then it was on to the animal barn where the highlight for my kids were holding the goats and trying to get near the turkeys. It was a bit warmer in the barn so we stayed in there for a few extra minutes. Then we played a few of the games they had set up outside. It was so cold that not a one of my kids asked me for snow cones when we walked past the snow cone truck. 
  • The gift shop was cozy warm and we shopped and shopped in there though we never bought anything. After we were warmed up, we hiked back to the front and watched a video about Heifer. Campbell wanted to see the llamas so on the way to the car, we saw them briefly.
  • Back in the car, I passed out graham crackers and goldfish; our pantry supplies are getting low. It wasn't long before we were back in Little Rock parking at Dairy Queen. Today was free cone day and it couldn't have been any easier to get our cones. Keaton didn't want one but she still held mine and took a picture. I am not sure why she doesn't think that she likes ice cream even though she eats a blizzard every week. 
  • When we made it home, the neighbors were waiting outside for us so from 2 on the kids have been outside playing. They have played over here and down the street. Whitman even ventured out for a bit when the new neighbor boy came out to play, but as soon as he left, Whitman came back in to watch his minecraft videos.
  • I was able to mark a few things off of my house cleaning list this afternoon, and Robby cleaned the van really well this evening. So I guess that we have had a very productive day around here full of Spring Break fun.
  • It was nearly 7:30 when the kids came rolling. I passed out supper to some (leftovers) while the others showered and then they switched. When all of that was over, it was time to pick up a bit before bed. Everyone was pretty excited when they went to bed so I know that they will all be up early ready to go...maybe one of them will wake me up!

March 19, 2018

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  • This was the first day of Spring Break, and it did start with sleeping a bit later than usual around here. Well, probably not too much later since I was up by 8 which is near when I usually get out of bed but my alarm had not rang for 45 minutes so that is probably why I felt like I had much more sleep.
  • Campbell, Keaton and Whitman helped me make a batch of scones for breakfast. I didn't really great hopes for these scones since we have tried to make another scone recipe before, and they were a flop. Maybe it was my help, but these were very good. I would definitely make them again.
  • Around 10:45, Reagan woke up. I handed her the last scone and gathered the troops. Even though it is Spring Break, we still have history to do this week. I am not sure how many days we will have a chance to read it, but any day we can do it is a day that we don't have to read it this summer. No one seemed to mind especially since I ended our reading time with a book about Aladdin.
  • Everyone tried on their bathing suits to just make sure that they had something to wear if we do swim later this week. I think that some of my girls will need new suits, but I just can't remember if their bathing suits were saggy or not. We will just have to see.
  • Once my chores were finished, I hopped in the car and headed out for a few errands. First stop was Nonna's house to drop off a stained shirt. Then to the library to pick up 25 books and drop off at least that many. The post office followed by the Nike store to spend a coupon were the next stops. After that, I had another coupon at Pennys, and then I wrapped up my shopping at Walmart. 
  • The kids had their lunch while I was gone, and the neighbors even came out. Graham did help them with their garden chores and bit and even came home with blisters on his hands. They don't work that hard in my yard! It took a bit before all of the neighbors did come out, but when they did, even Reagan went out to play.
  • Everyone enjoyed playing outside in this beautiful weather until it was time to load up and head to the Wilson's house for supper. I brought our hog dogs again and Shannon pulled out some of their leftovers. We all ate, and then the grownups walked while the kids played a few games of kickball.
  • We stayed over there way too late, and when we came home everyone showered and packed before heading to bed. Overall, we had a very productive day around here, and I am not too sure if tomorrow will be as productive but hopefully it will be as much fun.

March 18, 2018

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  • Sunday morning and when I climbed out of the shower, there was only one Dennie not dressed for church. Anderson probably was dressed for church already, he was probably even at church already, but he wasn't here since he had spent the night with Grannymom and Grandpa. Graham was my only one dressed this morning.
  • Whitman was in my bed for a bit but snuck out of our room before putting on his clothes. I woke up the girls and then herded Whitman towards his Sunday clothes. Soon everyone was ready, and we were on our way to church.
  • At church, Keaton has been sitting with Grannymom and Grandpa in the old folk section. And every single week, I get at least one compliment of what a little lady she is back there. The lady today said that she just acts like she wants to be there and is so perfect. 
  • Meanwhile, madness is happening on our pew towards the front. Well, not really madness today. We have not gotten on to Whitman about his church behavior this week so I am not really sure why he asked me at least 3 times if he was doing better today.
  • I told him that he was indeed doing very well. He sat there today with his Bible in his lap the majority of the time. He even said after church that he now likes big church "halfway." I am not sure why he has changed his mind.
  • Before my Sunday school, I headed to the bathroom. I do keep my phone in my back pocket and as soon as I was pulling down my pants, kaplop went my phone. I didn't hesitate to reach down in the potty to grab my phone. I am sure the lady in the stall right next to me wondered what in the world was happening. I jerked my case off and tried my best to dry it off. It was fine thanks to the case but my pants were soaking wet since I had used them to dry my phone. Speaking of, I should probably throw those jeans in the wash.
  • We had lunch at Grannymom's house. I took some of my leftover bread from last night so we had plenty of bread. For dessert, Grannymom made a delicious cake that I really liked even though cake is no longer my favorite of desserts. The kids played a few games before we headed home for our Sunday afternoon nap.
  • The afternoon flew by and soon we were loading up to pick up some pizzas for supper followed by our weekly Dairy Queen Blizzards. The kids have settled on their flavors-Whitman: vanilla, Keaton and Campbell: M&M, Graham and Anderson: Mint Oreo and Reagan: Ultimate Chocolate Brownie. When we eat there, Robby and I take a bite of everyone's Blizzard to just make sure that it is okay. Tonight, Reagan, Keaton and I ran in to pick them up so we ate in the car so Robby and I didn't get a bite. I really do just love ice cream-I do think that it is my favorite food.
  • When we made it home, we settled in with our pizza in our lap watching the UMBC basketball game. The girls migrated else where since they weren't too interested and I even missed some of the game to work on our massive pile of laundry that needs to be folded!
  • Tomorrow starts spring break around here, but I have a massive list that needs to be accomplished. The first thing on the agenda tomorrow is making scones which is actually something on my list (it isn't all work!)

March 17, 2018

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  • We probably should have gotten up this morning and made some green pancakes with some green milk, but we didn't. We just told the kids that they could get their own breakfasts. It was Saturday morning after all. 
  • The boys were all awake this morning and Keaton and Reagan even woke up earlier than I thought that they would. Campbell had spent the night at Nonna and Pops' house. She was up at a decent time this morning as well and wanted to bake something else. She had made St. Patties day cupcakes yesterday so today they just made playdough.
  • I did make breakfast burritos this morning but not to eat but to freeze. I did them a bit different this time and just made the filling so we don't have to struggle heating up the tortilla and not getting the insides warm. The kids did a lot of vegging this morning and around 11, Robby and I headed outside to work in the yard.
  • Before we could even start on the yard though, we began working on the garage. It wasn't that bad but there were lots of little things to work on-Robby wanted to fill up the water bottles, but someone had filled up the sink with rocks (presumable Whitman). I wanted to hang a workbench, so Robby had to put hooks in the wall. We want a bike rack for all of the kids bikes, so we had to figure out what might work.
  • Grannymom and Grandpa came over about this time. Grandpa and Robby worked on a light switch, while Graham helped me make some bread. (It ended up being delicious.) Anderson went home with Grannymom thus missing out on lots of stick picking up.
  • The kids helped us quite a bit with picking up sticks however they are a bit out of practice in their yard work and will need much more practice in the days to come. They were rewarded with popsicles though.
  • Once the kids went inside, they were only in for a bit when the new neighbors came down to play (I say new because they are trying to buy the house next door but they are actually old neighbors since they now live two houses down.) So out the kids went to play, and they played until it was time to leave for the Wilson's house tonight.
  • Some time during the afternoon, Nonna, Pops and Jason brought Campbell home. We had already finished picking up the sticks so her and Anderson will have to do some makeup work tomorrow. It took Robby and I a bit to finish up emptying the trailer, throwing away some old wood, rearranging under the shed, trimming a bush and then cleaning up everything.
  • When we came in, I showered and then got my bread ready to bake. Robby had to throw it in the oven since I was at Kroger. We then met up at the Wilsons. We brought my bread and Campbell's cupcakes. They had some supper, and Shannon even made her cookies, which I have suggested that she start selling. 
  • We stayed until the Hogs finished their baseball game and then it was home for showers and bed.

March 16, 2018

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  • I had warm pumpkin chocolate chip muffins made for the kids this morning-over 2 dozen of them. I had 6 more spots in my muffin tin so I did make a bag of chocolate chip muffins. Of course, my girls only wanted the chocolate chip muffins which caused quite the uproar this morning. Keaton and Reagan do not like the pumpkin chocolate chip muffins which are the best muffins on the entire planet. I guess they all can't be winners.
  • After the muffin dilemma was solved, we started on our reading for the morning. I am knocking out the library books this week since I am trying to get my total number of books lower before we leave for our trip in 60 something days. 
  • School went well. Most everyone had a bit less work to do today. Reagan is writing a 5 paragraph essay. It has been a bit confusing mainly because I am still not too sure what she was actually supposed to write about. It is like I have missed a page of the book (I haven't since the page numbers align.) This is her second day to work on it, but I do think that she does get it today.
  • Whitman was in a very good mood today and let Keaton and Reagan do his reading work with him. I wasn't able to accomplish a whole lot during this time, but it was nice to have the day off from doing his reading book. We have been pretty consistent on doing it at least 4 days a week since January 1st. 
  • Campbell usually dallies during school, or has so lately. Today she knew that Nonna and Pops were coming to get her. I was also quick to remind her that she had to finish school, pack and do her chores along with decorating cookies.
  • We cut out our St. Patrick's Day cookies last night and after Reagan made the icing this morning, we all decorated the cookies. Graham only decorated 3 or 4 of his allotted 5. Whitman only did 3 of his. I guess this was the reason that the girls had plenty of cookies to decorate or maybe I miss divided. Seriously, I think their cookies keep getting better. I guess if Robby's job doesn't pan out, the kids can start a cookie decorating business.
  • We had our lunch as I read a few chapters of a book to the kids. Then Nonna and Pops came to pick up Campbell. Pops cut my cantaloupe for me since my knife skills are lacking. After they left, we all went to work on our leftover chores.
  • My main goal today was pulling out school work for the next time we do school. I sat down just as the Hogs started their comeback in the first half. Unfortunately, their comeback was brief so I then started on working on some of their school work for next year. 
  • The kids all migrated outside and that it where they stayed until it was time for us to leave. It is funny that the kids always seem to be outside or playing happily and quietly when we have to pick up and leave the house. The boys had basketball, and the rest of us met the Wilson's at a Mexican place.
  • Eating out is overrated. I didn't really even like my salsa but one of my enchiladas had a really delicious sauce. Afterwards though, we went to my favorite place-Kroger. We bought some chicken that was on sale along with some cheese, cereal and ice cream. 
  • We picked up the boys, picked up their supper and then went home to enjoy some ice cream with the Wilsons. The boys waited on something on the computer to load while the girls watched a movie. It was a late night for our kiddos since we let them stay up a bit later even after the Wilsons left. There was a homeschooling thing on the news along with watching Virginia play the last big of their ballgame. When it was bedtime though, my people gladly went to bed since they were worn out.

March 15, 2018

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  • This day was a bit different because Whitman had his school conferences. Robby took him to Grannymom's house this morning but not as early as Whitman would have liked. He kept asking me if he could eat his breakfast, which he usually does on school mornings. I wouldn't let him though since he would be here still and could eat with the rest of the tribe. 
  • He did finally eat his breakfast and soon left for the day. The rest of us buckled down and started on our school work for the day. I was only here until 10 when I had to jump in the car for Whitman's conference at school. 
  • Whitman more than any of my other Dennies, I am a bit more concerned about. However, he had "C"s on everyone on of his items on his report card (C for complete) except for cutting in a straight line which he had an "E" (E for emerging). I couldn't have been any more pleased with the boy.
  • When I came back home, everyone had finished their school work. I still had to work with everyone so it was nearly 12:30 before school was officially cleaned up and finished. We then had our lunch and afterwards, Graham spent quite a bit of time watching basketball and checking the brackets. Poor guy, he is in last place of our family bracket right now. I am in first, but I know both of those standings will not last too long.
  • This afternoon I took Campbell and Keaton to the store with me. We needed a few little things but they had sales today on certain items, so we picked up a few of those. (There are things on sale just tomorrow too so yep, we plan to go back.) The girls both enjoyed pushing their shopping carts around the store and really, they were a help to me.
  • Around 4, the neighbors all came out and the kids all headed outside. Now the neighbors went in, came out, went in and came out again. On their second time to go in, we had supper since it was warm. I didn't think that the neighbors would come back out again but indeed they did so a game of chase happened in the front yard for a very long time tonight.
  • The kids came in around 8:30. Some went to the showers and those that didn't make the first shower cut, rolled out some shamrock cookies and then the groups switched. I baked the cookies but since it was 9 by the time all of this finished, the decorating of the cookies will have to happen in the morning.
  • Nonna called me tonight as I was reading to Whitman, and he was quick to tell us, "you are wasting time." He didn't want me to do any talking but instead wanted me to read to him. Spring break begins tomorrow and the kids and I are super excited about it-they are probably so excited that they will have a hard time sleeping tonight.

March 14, 2018

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  • At 7, Robby climbed out of bed to turn my oven on for me. I had made batter for banana chocolate chip muffins for breakfast. So as soon as the oven beeped, I was out of bed scooping out batter. (I have been really trying to eat healthy this week yet I have made 2 batches of cookies, Robby has made one batch plus I have made muffins. I guess if I am not eating, then all I can think about doing is cooking.)
  • I was out of the shower by the time the timer went off when the muffins were done. The boys were already stirring so I had to wake up the girls. We had Alyssa Kate since she spent the night with us. The girls ate their muffins, and then they got themselves ready.
  • Graham took his cookies to Bible study, Alyssa Kate had her stuff, everyone had their Bibles and Bible study books, Whitman had a coat and everyone even had their shoes on. I thought we were doing so well until I sat down and looked in my bag for my Bible study book which wasn't there!
  • It was fine not having my book but still a bit frustrating. Everyone had a good day, and after Bible study we headed to pick up pizza and then the park. We bought pizza since it was National Pi day and because we had one more certificate for free pizza.
  • We concluded our morning out with our weekly run to Dairy Queen. We then headed home for the afternoon. I read our history with the kids, worked with Whitman, did a bit of Lego-ing with Anderson, walked on the treadmill, made the dough for St. Patrick's Day cookies and heated up supper for everyone. The kids may not have thought that it was a busy afternoon, but I sure did.
  • As soon as we gobbled down supper, we headed to church with a stop at the library on the way. I have about 75 books checked out right now, with 25 more on hold, and about 20 more that I want to read before our big trip. I should really just scratch all of my spring break plans and just read all week long.
  • Church was fine tonight. I had hoped that my kiddos would go out to the playground to play, but since it was a bit too cold, I had to do my Wednesday night preschool game leader job! On the way home, we listened to our current book on tape. 
  • Once we did make it home, the drive home on Wednesdays seems so incredible long, everyone put on pajamas and had a cookie before bedtime.

March 13, 2018

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  • Whitman didn't go to school this morning so we could have laid in bed but instead we had an early morning homeschool day here at the house. The girls had made their beds when they woke up and so had the boys. Graham was the only one who hadn't finished his Bible study so he finished that before we started our morning.
  • We ate together and then did our breakfast reading before everyone put on their clothes and did a quick clean of the house. Then it was time for our daily history reading before more chores. 
  • Soon our homeschool buddies started arriving. Today was our egg day, and my people were very excited. We were down a few families today, but there were still quite a few. Candice had divided everyone up into teams. Then they had 100 pretend dollars to spend on materials to build an apparatus that would protect their egg when it was dropped from the boys' bedroom window. 
  • I helped Charlotte, Whitman and Keaton who were on a team together. We spent 87 of our pretend money on one piece of cardboard, 12 inches of tape, 8 balloons, a toilet paper tube and a sheet of newspaper. It was so cute-Charlotte, Whitman and Keaton all told their ideas and then we combined them to make our project.
  • I was busy with them so I didn't really get to see the other teams. I do know that Anderson and Alyssa Kate worked until the last few seconds and were kind of in a panic. Each group had 3 tests eggs that they could use as well, so a few groups dropped theirs in the house to check their projects out.
  • Finally, it was time for Candice to drop the eggs. The kids counted down from 10 every time. When she dropped the egg, the team would open it up to see if their egg burst. They were allowed to crack but no yolk was allowed to come out. And can you believe, but not a single egg even cracked. We probably should have been from up higher, or maybe we just have a bunch of engineers on our hands.
  • After the eggs, we moved inside to stuff over 1200 eggs for The Shack. This is our 3rd (?) year to stuff eggs for their Easter egg hunt. The kids worked pretty well even though the eggs can be quite tricky to close. It was a lot of eggs to stuff, and it really took a long while to finish.
  • Then the kids had lunch and even though we tried to shoo them outside, they all still ended up inside after just a bit of outside time. It was probably more like an hour though that they were outside, and the house was quiet.
  • Before everyone had left, some of the kids had an egg toss. I looked at the last 4 teams in the egg toss and we were sure to have a Dennie team win. We did-it was one of the boys and Noah, but I sure can't remember which boy it was. Possibly Graham or maybe Anderson. Alyssa Kate and Reagan were also in the finals. I have never seen an egg burst like it did all over Alyssa Kate.
  • When everyone left, my kids dutifully went to work picking up the house and the yard. It didn't take as long today as it has some days, and soon I only had the kitchen left and released the kids. They went outside to play (Alyssa is spending the night) and played outside while I baked cookies for Graham's snack tomorrow.
  • They spent most of the afternoon bouncing from inside to outside. I walked on the treadmill and even made muffin batter to bake in the morning. I was just about to make supper when Robby said that I better wait, and sure enough at 7:20, the neighbors came outside. The kids then played outside until it was dark.
  • Most of them had taken showers when we ate-fish sticks, cornbread, green beans and corn. Afterwards, the rest of them had showers, and Robby made another batch of cookies. The kids ate those as they made their bracket picks. Then they watched a tiny bit of a show before bedtime.

March 12, 2018

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  • Not a whole lot was happening this morning when I climbed out of bed. Whitman wasn't too ready to put on his clothes, but he definitely wanted for me to make him a "surprise breakfast," which consisted of a pop tart, milk and a handful of fruit loops.
  • Soon everyone was stirring, thanks to me having to wake up the girls. We had our breakfast while I read and then did some more reading for everyone before starting on school. Graham, then worked with me first. He was in no hurry to finish his school today since he had been banned from his ipad today due to last night's bedtime.
  • School went by quickly enough today, and I even had time to do some organizing for our big school room paint and switcheroo which will probably have to happen after our big trip.
  • The highlight of the afternoon was when Robby made it to question 11 of our HQ game. We had no idea about the 12th questions. Unfortunately, he didn't win. Though I am not quite sure what we would have spent that 3 dollars and 12 cents on. I did offer to pay him 4 dollars so he wouldn't feel too bad about missing out on the windfall.
  • There was at least one more video made this afternoon., I was on the treadmill the entire time that they worked on it. It was cute, and Graham and Campbell even got in on the action. I did some puzzle working with Anderson, one more Star Wars puzzle before Graham begins on his Las Vegas puzzle.
  • Robby and I had chicken and salad for supper while the kids had spaghetti and meatballs. I did think our salad was pretty good but it might have been even better with some meatballs on top. 
  • After supper the neighbors came out, and the kids played until the sun went down. There was a dog outside which at one point took one of Whitman's good shoes. The boys did get it back, thankfully.  Even though Robby tried to shoo the dog off, we told the kids not to play with it, it continued to stick around.
  • When it was finally dark, the kids came in for their showers. Robby and I went upstairs and walked on the treadmills for a bit while watching a Food Network show. I was reminded that I really like eggs benedict or maybe I am just really hungry. 
  • When we finished, it was time for the kids to go to bed. Tomorrow is a big day so they are all excited about all of the events that it holds.