September 24, 2018-Spur-of-the-Moment Mid West and Beyond Trip

(click here for today's pictures)

Everyone was almost asleep by 11 last night, the laundry was complete and the blog was finished. That is an early night anytime for us and especially on a vacation. I woke up at 7 and headed to take my shower. The shower was an odd shape. By the end, I felt like I had showered in the pod that takes you up to the top of the St. Louis Arch.
It took me a while to stir the girls, but soon we were meeting the boys in the hallway and walking to breakfast. Their breakfast was average today so everyone was pleased. This was the first hotel that had hot chocolate so that was nice. I even had some last night as the kids were swimming.

Our first stop this morning was only about 5 minutes from our hotel. We made it to the Miller Boat Line ferry just as the other ferry was leaving. So we had to wait for the next ferry to arrive. While we waited, the kids played on their ipads for a bit.

Soon we were on the ferry. Man, it was rocky. I was worried that Robby would get a bit sickly because of the rockiness but since it was just 18 minutes, he was fine. The skies were pretty overcast, and storms were definitely coming. We were not sure if the wind and waves were from the upcoming rain or if they are just a common occurrence here on Lake Erie.

We have never been on Lake Erie much less an island on the lake. Put-In-Bay is a busy island town. They were having an old timey car race there today, so the boys enjoyed seeing all of the cars. There are few cars there so golf carts are the main mode of transportation. We had debated renting one instead of bringing the car over, but by the time we rented one, the price would be about the same.

Our main goal was to see Perry’s Victory Peace Memorial which is a large monument. Perry was a sea captain in the War of 1812. We watched the movie, browsed in the gift show and rode to the top of the monument. The kids enjoyed using the binoculars to see the neighboring islands.

After the monument, the kids received their Jr. Ranger badges before we headed down to the main part of town. Everyone played on the playground while I walked in a few stores with Reagan. I was looking for a Christmas ornament while she was looking for a shirt. I did find my ornament after much searching, but she did not find her shirt.

Then we hurried back to the ferry. Keaton did not get the concept of the ferry. She had heard 30 minutes but not the part about “leaving every.” As she came down from the monument, she worried, “I think it has been more than 30 minutes.” We tried to explain, but she was a bit uneasy until we made it back to the dock.

Robby was as well. He wasn’t worried about missing the ferry; he was worried about them closing the ferry. They will close it when the wind is high so we definitely didn’t want to sleep on Put-In-Bay tonight without a hotel room.
There was no reason for anyone to worry-we made the ferry just fine. We were the first car in line. This ride was rockier than the first. Campbell was the only one who braved getting out only because she wanted to get wet. I wouldn’t let her though! The water was splashing all over our car during the crossing. I had never really seen anything like it!

From the ferry, we drove right by our hotel from last night on our way out of town. We had about an hour to go to Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We had planned on going there first, but the beginnings of the day’s rain caused us to change our plans to another national historic site. Upon further research, we realized that they were closed on Mondays so we switched the GPS back to Cuyahoga.

Both of these places were in the same direction so it worked out perfectly. We arrived at Cuyahoga Valley National Park as it was just sprinkling. We walked through the visitor’s center, and the kids turned in their booklets to earn a Great Lakes Jr. Ranger badge. We also walked around outside a bit despite the sprinkling rain.

We did hear at the Visitor’s Center that tomorrow is the big race at Put-In-Bay. We had originally planned on going there tomorrow but those plans changed due to the rain in Branson. We were super glad that we weren’t trying to go tomorrow-it would have been a mess!

After the Visitor’s Center, we drove to Brandywine Falls. Robby swears that we have been here before, but I am not so sure! We walked down the boardwalks to the falls. It was a rainy mess, but no one really seemed to mind very much because it is kind of fun playing in the rain.

Once we made it back in the car, Robby worked on finding us a hotel for tonight while the kids worked on their school work. I could have taken a nap in the car, but I was busy working on the blog and answering questions about school.

I think that today was a pretty perfect day for us to have our rainy weather. It didn’t really hurt us too badly on our plans. Now, I hope that we don’t have any more days like this though (it looks like tomorrow will be more of the same though!)

When Robby found our hotel, we headed straight there. This was a nice suite which is completely different than last nights much older hotel. This hotel even had a supper. The menu shows things like BBQ or taco salad which would be wonderful to have tonight. However, the supper tonight was sub sandwiches! Ha! We have had our fill of sandwiches, but we still ate there. It was free, and it was a bit different so that made it all still yummy. It did help that there was a coke machine that went along with supper. Everyone filled up on coke and then barely had room for the cookie that we brought in from the car for dessert.

It was a pretty perfect day. Things worked out well for us and we did get a nice relaxing evening which I think that the kiddos might possibly have needed!

September 23, 2018-Spur-of-the-Moment Mid West and Beyond Trip

(click here for today's pictures)

After our little water incident the night before (almost spilling a tiny cup of water on sleeping Whitman), tonight’s water incident was much more exciting. Robby and I were the only ones awake. We were lying in bed looking at our phones and computers planning the next few days. Robby had his large cup of ice and water on the nightstand while below the nightstand Whitman was peacefully sleeping. Robby grabbed something in the dark room from the nightstand. When he did, he knocked over the cup of water. This caused much scrambling by us trying to turn on the lights. Most of the water was still in the cup which thankfully landed right side up in the drawer of the nightstand. However, a large portion of it was laying on the floor just inches from Whitman. If the water had hit any differently Whitman would have gotten a bath in ice cold water. Robby picked up Whitman while I pulled out the soaking wet blankets and sleeping bags. Then we hung them up to dry while finding him more covers. It was quite exciting. Kids just don’t have a clue about what all happens while they are sleeping. Now, tonight there will be no water allowed on the nightstand. After we stopped snickering about Whitman and the water, we went on to bed.

We were also sleeping peacefully until the silly wake up call happened again this morning at 5. This time I didn’t make it to the phone in time to hear the message, but I did get the phone to stop ringing. We woke up when our real alarms went off this morning. Packing up from a hotel is easier than it used to be with no one who could really help. The kids are good help these days but there are still lots of people to navigate around. We packed up our bags and then went to eat our breakfast. Most everyone had waffles today, though Reagan and I had bagels. I do believe that some of the kids would pick a hotel breakfast over any other place to eat. I guess they love all of the choices. After we ate, we loaded the cart and packed up the car.

Today our first priority to was to ride the model Ts again before heading into the Henry Ford Museum. The Hetlz were there early just like us and again we were waiting at the front gates as they opened them. The music is playing and walking into Greenfield VIllage is Disney-like. It is really a pretty special place and unfortunately not many people know about it. Not only did we ride the Model Ts once this morning, but we rode them twice! Everyone divided up and we were on the first round of cars during the day. The drivers talk the entire time, and you learn a ton of info. (Floorboards-made of boards on the floor, Dashboard-originally in carriages to protect the driver from the dash that the horses flung up from their feet.) On each of my Model T rides today, my goal was to find out when the best time for us to return is. Halloween and Christmas sound pretty intriguing, but I am not too sure that I can get Robby to drive us back to Detroit in just a month or two. After riding the Model Ts again, we headed right to the carousel to ride it one more time. The carousel last over 5 minutes long which is about 3 minutes too long for me. I guess we do get our money’s worth though. The kids absolutely loved it.

From there we headed over to the massive Henry Ford museum. The front is shaped like Independence Hall and inside is spectacular. It is a bit overwhelming when you enter it. I think my model T driver told us that the museum is 14 acres, and I definitely believe it. We headed straight to the build a Model T area. We were all able to put a piece of the car together. At the end of the day, we walked back by to see it completely assembled. Then we watched a recording of the I Love Lucy episode when Lucy and Ethel worked at the candy shop. After we had seen their assembly line, we worked on a little assembly line building Model Ts. Next up was the chair that Lincoln was shot in. Rosa Parks bus is always a neat stop to see and sit in. The kids all listened intently to the lady inside telling them about it. While we were on the bus, my Whitman started saying “I’m black, and we are all equal.” Bless that child. From there, we headed towards the Weinermobile. The museum is so massive that you could stay inside of it for days. We saw some doll houses that were magnificently built. Everyone took turns climbing up into a combine. It was huge and everyone wanted to climb up inside of it. Robby ran to buy a cup from the village. They offered free refills, and boy we certainly got our money’s worth. There was another Model T that we were able to sit in for a picture. Then it was a walk through all of the trendy things from the past few decades. The Dynamaxion house was near there. The house is basically a round tin house. It is pretty Jetson-ish. I think that I would enjoy living in one because there were lots of windows. Robby did listen to the person talk about the house. He told me that I didn’t want to live in one because they had condensation. Therefore, we would need to have interior gutters which often become stinky.

I believe that our lunch break was next. We ate in the parking lot again. Today, we pulled out the table cloth and ate on the grass. Now, my Reagan, Anderson and Graham opted to eat in the van. I do believe that they were a little embarrassed about us eating on the grass beside the sidewalk. Or maybe they were worried about the massive amount of bees that were all over Greenfield Village. Our sandwiches again tasted great today. We are out of sliced cheese but since we were eating outside we just used shredded cheese since it wouldn’t make a mess in the car. After we ate, we joined the Heltz’s back at the museum. We saw the presidential car section. All of the cars in the museum actually work. We had listened to a podcast they said that you would often see oil leaking from these well maintained cars. There were lots of cars to see-old cars, fast cars, motor homes and everything in between. The kids stopped for a while to play in a service station area to work on a car. They highly liked this little break. From there, or maybe before we made it there, we walked through the train section of the museum. The trains were massive there, and there was even a model train set that the kids watched for a long time. We walked through the airplane section where everyone made their own paper airplanes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember how to make an airplane like the man at the library a few weeks ago. There was one more thing the kids desperately wanted to do before left the museum-make knex cars and race them down a little ramp. They did this for about 15 minutes and could have stayed for another hour! It was nearly 3 so we walked towards the Village for one last hurrah before heading on our merry way.

We had never walked down to the working farm area so that was our first stop. We toured the farm house. The kids enjoyed discovering what the corn cobs in the outhouse was used for. On our way to the train roundhouse, we walked through the barn. There was supposed to be a turntable demonstration, but it didn’t happen today. That was fine though because Whitman was going to be devastated because he was too young to do it. Back to the carousel we then went. We had to wait to ride on it this time. The crowds today were pretty heavy, but I can certainly see why because it was a beautiful day with perfect 70 degree weather. After the carousel, the Heltz headed back to their motor home because they had about 5 more hours to ride before making it to their evening destination. We opted to wait in the pretty long Model T line to ride one last time before we closed the park down. At closing time, we heard the factory whistle blow and headed out of the park. We did make a run through the gift shop on our way out. Robby bought the kids all a sugar candy stick and he bought me a loaf of hobo bread (raisin and walnut).

Once we made it to the car, we unloaded and readied for our hour and a half drive to our hotel. I worked on the blog while we listened to a comedian. He was quite funny. After 30 minutes, I passed out snacks-oatmeal cream pies, hobo bread, chex mix, and rice krispy treats. The drive back into Ohio was really pretty. The part of Ohio that we drove through was really pretty. There was corn fields and beautiful old farm houses everywhere. Even after a slight detour, it just took us an hour and a half before we made it to our destination. We didn’t see a whole lot of the town, but it seems that we are almost in a beach/lake town in the middle of Ohio. I think that tomorrow will prove this to be a very beautiful area. Tonight we have two hotel rooms that we have spread out in. Super was chicken tortillas in the hotel room. This trip, we have been uber prepared on our meals. Too often we have had to eat sandwiches twice a day which is something that we just don’t like to do. Robby had chicken, shredded cheese and salsa in the ice chest so that along with chips and tortillas, we had quite a super.

Everyone but Reagan swam for a little bit after supper. The 4 big kids played a game that Whitman created, and they played it for a long time. Now, once they stopped playing Whitman had himself a good old fit. He just stood on the edge of the pool sobbing. The boy was just exhausted. His little legs have walked over 5 miles each day for the last few days. Robby said that once they got back in the room, he calmed down some. The laundry is drying and will be done soon. Then it was be bedtime for these two rooms! Tomorrow will be another busy day.

September 22, 2018-Spur-of-the-Moment Mid West and Beyond Trip and Happy Birthday Robby!

(click here for today's pictures)

It was exactly 5 this morning when some strange noise started happening in our room. There were plenty of options of what this could be. We have with us lots of dinging things with us-3 phones, 3 computers, 6 smart watches, and 6 ipads. Robby was by the night stand and started knocking things off of trying to find out what the noise was. I did guess that it was the phone and headed that way. Of course, I had to make my way over the landmine of children sprawled around in this room. I made it to the phone, picked it up and heard the recording telling me that this was my wake up call.

When I climbed back in bed and told Robby what the noise was, he asked why I made a wake up call for 5 in the morning. Since it is his birthday, I was kind and politely said that I did not make a wake up call for 5 in the morning….especially since it was at least 2 hours before we needed wake up.

The real alarm did ring at 7, and we were soon awake. Robby ran downstairs to throw in a load of laundry while I was in the shower. When he was unplugging watches from the nightstand, he realized that during the commotion in the night, he spilled a cup of water. That would be fine except below the nightstand Whitman was sleeping. He felt him and fortunately, no water had spilled on him!

Robby ran to put some clothes in the laundry this morning since we had a bit of extra time. Then we all put on our clothes and headed downstairs to breakfast. There were many more choices today for breakfast than yesterday. Whitman and I were the last ones to make it downstairs since we did let him snooze as long as he could.

By the time that we made it down, Robby already had us waffles made. When Robby finished cooking his waffle, we promptly stuck two candles in them. We sang Happy Birthday, and then Robby opened up an envelope full of cards from everyone.

We only had about 15 minutes to drive to Greenfield Village. Today was our 3rd trip to the village, and it did not disappoint. We had hugely talked up this day to the Heltz, and thankfully, I think that they enjoyed it as much as we did.

Even though we had seen the Heltz on Wednesday, the kids were delighted to see them today. It was like a big old family reunion. We were there before the park opened today which gave us time to get our tickets and ride passes.

The first event was riding on the train through the park. Then we walked along to ride the Model Ts. I was in the car with the 4 little people-Whitman, Michael, Charlotte and Keaton. The girls sat in the front and the boys and I were in the back. Our guide was excellent. The kids took it all in and even asked questions.

After the Model T ride, we headed towards the Porches and Parlors section of the VIllage. Henry Ford believed that children learn best by seeing and doing. So he created the Village for the kids that attended his school.

All of the houses that are there are the actual historic homes, laboratories, offices and businesses. Even the dirt that is under the houses was taken from the original location. Henry Ford was pretty amazing in his desire to preserve so much history.

We rode the carousel along with an old timey bus, and this afternoon we even rode in a horse and carriage. The kids loved every part of this. Now, they were all super good as we went through the houses and listened to the workers tell more about the houses.

Even though we were there all day long, we still didn’t even see the area that contains the craftsman area or the farm area. We have actually never walked through the farm area. You truly do need a day and a half for Greenfield Village.

We did stop for a lunch break this afternoon. We walked the our van to eat our sandwiches while the Heltz went to their motorhome for their lunch. Afterwards, it was back into the Village to learn more.

We ended our day at the village with playtime on the playground and a walk through the roundhouse to see the trains. Then we headed to look through the gift shop for a little bit. The only thing I saw there was Hobo Bread that I have wanted to make since we were here the last time. This time I will try a bit harder! I should tell Keaton and Campbell my plans, and they won’t let me forget it.

To celebrate Robby’s birthday, the Heltz ate with us at Ford’s Garage. It was a nearby restaurant that was so creatively themed like a auto shop. They said that our table would be split up so we were pretty happy to see that it was together. I could just imagine us sitting at one table with the kids sitting at another table across the restaurant. I just don’t see how that would go over well.

Most of the kids ate hamburgers which were seared with the logo from the restaurant. Robby and i split a burger along with bbq mac and cheese which was delicious. Keaton has told just about anyone that will listen that her birthday is in just a few days. Today, however, she delighted in telling the server that it was her daddy’s birthday. They told him twice and soon Robby was surrounded by folks singing to him. The singing was neat and all, but they must not give out a little dessert for birthdays because he sure didn’t get anything.

The girls wanted to go swimming tonight when we made it back to the hotel. We vetoed that idea because we needed a bit of time to regroup, do laundry, shower and possibly catch up on our rest. We were able to do most of those things, but until I get my laundry folded and put away neatly again, I will feel a bit scattered.

I think that Robby had a pretty perfect birthday. To us there is just something magical about Greenfield Village. We will be able to see it one last time tomorrow before and possibly even after we tour the Henry Ford Museum. Then we will head back on the road. Now, we aren't even sure where tomorrow evening will take up, but I sure can't wait! 

September 21, 2018-Spur-of-the-Moment Mid West and Beyond Trip

(click here for today's pictures)

We woke up at 6 as planned, and soon everyone was getting ready. Graham was the first one to stir this morning of the kids probably because he was the first one to go to sleep last night. Our of all of the kids, Graham is the one who becomes tired the easiest. Well, Whitman was asleep pretty soon too last night. He even went to sleep before we had taken him potty, so I had to take a sound aseep Whitman to the potty before I went to bed. He did stir enough to do his business and then went right back to sleep.

A bit before 7, we were all loading the car. It is nice that the kids can help so much with this now. Though today, they did a bit more running and yelling than their usual helping. The weather was looking ominious already. We were certainly glad that we had decided last night to head on towards Detroit today rather than waking up to the upcoming Branson thunderstorms and then scrambling to load up and get on the road.

Breakfast opened at 7, and we were there as soon as it opened. The lady had not even put out the waffle mix yet which was probably good for us because it did save us some time. Reagan and I had bagels while Campbell and Keaton had toast. Whitman feasted on an apple and cereal. The boys and Robby enjoyed the eggs and bacon.

We ate quickly and then ran back to the room to potty before loading up. Our first activity was listening to the second disk of our book on tape. We did have to stop this when we pulled over at the largest candy store. Now, I am not too sure if this was actually the largest candy store, but it was a fun gas and bathroom stop. We did leave with a big bag of candy-everyone was told to pick 5 items from the candy barrels.

After the kids all did 3 school pages, we did pass out the candy. The school pages were fairly easy-more for my sanity than the kids. They each have 15 pages to do on our trip. Now, Whitman does have 20. Nothing was too difficult, and they were finished before I was off the phone trying to activate a new creidt card.

We were a bit worried about being in rain on our drive today. However our drive through Missouri was cloud but rain free. I tried my best to look at car license plates, but I don’t think that I am very observant. The kids aren’t too interested in playing. I think they have deicded that since we found all of the states on our last trip, then we don’t have to find anymore.

Things were going splendid on the road until we hit a pretty good traffic jam. We just sat for at least 20 minutes. Robby was on a phone call and was able to do some emailing while we were in park. Then the traffic did start to crawl again so we took a potty stop at a rest stop before passing out drinks. It was a super relief to get back on the road.

I just hated having such a long ways to go today. There are so many places that I want to stop, but we don’t have time. We could use a day or two in St. Louis and driving to Chicago would just add 8 minutes to our route. I guess that I will have to save those stops for next year.

Despite the long way, and despite the GPS still saying that we had over 8 hours, we still made one stop in St. Louis. We needed a snack and Ted Drewes was right on the way. We ate our custard as we took a few pictures and then it was back in the car. Despite having custard in my tumy, I was still a bit bummed drving by the arch and not being able to stop. There is so much to do and so little time!

We then drove a bit longer in Illinois. Reagan was the one who needed to stop, and it coundn’t have been better timing. Across the street from the gas station, was a much smaller replica of the St. Louis arch. Of course we had to get out and snap a few pictures. Now, those pictures do make it look like we were right underneath the real arch.

I believe that was the stop that we also ran into Burger King to grab something to eat. We had planned on making sandwiches for lunch. I had actually even taken orders, but since we had already stopped, we opted for fast food for lunch and sandwiches for supper.

Casey, Illinois is the home of the world’s largest pencil, rocking chair, wind chimes, birdcage, pitch fork, golf tee and mailbox. And we saw them all! You would have thought that we didn’t have over 5 more hours to drive! Indeed we did though plus we would lose an hour during the drive.

Once we were back on the road, we played a few rounds of bingo. My prize bag is completely full so the kids were delighted when they one and not pleased when they lost. We had 4 different winners today-only Katon and Whitman lost.

After bingo, we listened to a podcast about hauntings at Greenfield Village. It was kept the driver awake, but other than that I probably wouldn’t recommend it...even though I had already recommended it to the Heltz.

The last few long driving days that we have had, we have spent the morning playing around stopping here and there. However, the late afternoon and evening has been spent driving and driving without stopping. Today was no different.

The next stop was when I started driving, I think. It is all a bit hazy to me right now. Robby passed out supper to everyone. There is nothing better than sandwiches when you are traveling. He did forget the mustard on mine, but I certainly know how difficult it is to make 8 sandwiches in the seat of a car while driving down the road at 70 miles per hour. It was certainly still delicious.

We listened to a comedian for a good part of the drive. At one point, I was laughing so hard that I was crying. Of course, that made driving a bit difficult for me. Robby passed out snacks a few times before we eventually made it in to Detroit.

The time changed hurt us a bit but it was not too bad of a driving day. By the time that we settled into our beds at the hotel, it was almost 12:30 here. The Village opens at 9:30 tomorrow so we will be able to sleep in for a bit extra tomorrow.

September 20, 2018-Spur-of-the-Moment Mid West and Beyond Trip

(click here for today's pictures)

Robby and I woke right up with our alarms at 5:30 this morning. We did stay up a bit later than planned but we were able to empty the dishwasher and do some laundry. Those were things that we would have had to do early this morning.

By 6, Robby and I were ready and began waking up the kids. They woke up fairly easily-all except for Whitman. After I had made his bed, he climbed right back into it and managed to sleep a bit more since I lost track of where he was. He has started sneaking off-to watch his movies, avoid school work or to just disobey. This morning, he wasn't doing any of those; he was sleeping.

Our goal was to leave at 6:30 this morning, but it was about 6:40 when we pulled out of the driveway. This morning Whitman and Reagan were in the back of the van. Keaton and Campbell were next to the back row, and Graham and Anderson were on the second row. Every other spare inch of the car was packed full of clothes and food.

The first hour of our trip was spent listening to a book on tape. Then we moved on to watching a Netflix movie. However, the movie didn't work out too well. I then tried one of our movies, Home Alone, and it did work perfectly. So hopefully, we just had a bad netflix movie since I am sure that we watch quite a few more over the next week.

We stopped only once on our way to Silver Dollar City. I had just pulled out my computer to begin the blog right before we stopped. However, when I came back to the car, Robby was sitting in my spot. Now, I did oblige and drive the rest of the way to Branson.

The kids were super excited when they realized where we were this morning. It did seem like our drive was fairly short. We pulled into the parking lot at Silver Dollar City about 15 minutes after they opened. The parking lot seemed a bit light so we were pleased with that.

Indeed, the crowds were wonderful today. The kids were able to ride whatever they wanted over and over again. The longest wait was probably for Time Traveler but that was just about 20 minutes. Despite the great lines, the weather was still a bit warm. It did reach 90 or a little above.

We began in the General Store. We let them know that we had 3 September birthdays so they handed Reagan, Keaton and Robby birthday buttons. They also gave them a little bag of taffy. The lady also gave us a map and circled the other placed that we needed to stop for their birthday goodies. Of course, we made it a priority to find all of those other stops. They were given a little bag of kettle corn and a tiny ice cream cone. And the whole family enjoyed their 2 dollar off coupons on cinnamon bread. And yes, we bought 3 loaves of cinnamon bread-we ate 2 and saved one in the car.

We did Thunderation, which is Whitman's favorite ride, followed by Time Traveler. Then we walked over to the kiddie section. We were able to ride everything there. I always leave that area a bit woozy because I have to ride the swings twice, once with Keaton and then with Whitman. I also have to ride both pirate ships with the kids.

Now, Robby missed out on this section of the trip because he was doing some work. Somebody has to pay the bills. He actually went to our secret spot-behind the cooking school on the back porch. It is cool and shady back there and is actually where I plan on coming to sit when I am old!

By this time, we were hot and a bit cranky. Well, we weren't that cranky. We bought a few drinks and along with chicken and beef nachos. We gobbled them down; I think that the heat made us all a bit hungry. From there, we headed to Fire in the Hole followed by the bigger roller coasters.

Now I think that the next stop was the log ride. As soon as we stepped off of that ride, it started to sprinkle. We refilled our drinks and then sat down for a few minutes. At some point during the day, we sat down in a show. Robby was quick to point out that Whitman was already sound asleep. I remember glancing that direction and looking at him, and then I don't remember much else about the show. I had fallen asleep as well and snoozed until Robby tapped me suggesting that we go ahead and leave.

From there, we headed on to more big roller coasters. Then we did ride the circle raft water ride. Since I was already soaking wet by that point, I volunteered to go on the soaking wet raft ride with Whitman. I was drenched and still even a bit chilly from that ride.

I was happy then to walk to the car because it gave me a chance to dry off. Our next stop was to buy shoes for Reagan. She needed new tennis shoes and gracious me, shoes are expensive. It was a buy one get one half off deal, so Anderson also ended up with a new pair of shoes.

Then it was a short jaunt to the motel. We are staying in the same motel that Robby and I stayed at when we came here a few months ago. It is an older motel that has been completely redone. Reagan said that she thought that was the nicest hotel ever.

It probably seems super nice since we are in two rooms tonight. Our room, the girls room, is quite a bit bigger. The boys room connects to ours so we are all super spread out. Now, I will honestly say, that our room is much more organized than the boys' room.

As soon as we walked into the room, kids started cycling through the showers while I began heating up the BBQ. This was our first trip to ever bring BBQ on. Many nights we struggle finding something to eat. We just don't want to grab fast food nor do we want to sit down at an okay-ish restaurant. Now, tonight, we could have certainly eaten at Billy Boy's Dairyland which is our Branson favorite place right now, but we opted for our first meal of BBQ.

It was delicious and hit the spot. We also had crackers and cheese so everyone was stuffed by the end of our supper. It worked out perfectly. Afterwards, we did our nightly laundry load and then it was bedtime. Now, doing laundry tonight helped wonderfully since we were hot and wet today!

The original plan was to have another night here in Branson with another rain free day at Silver Dollar City. However, it doesn't look like the weather is going to cooperate with us so as of 10 tonight, we will be heading on North tomorrow.

September 19, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • I love that my people wake up early on Bible study mornings. It means that they are excited, and nothing could be more wonderful. I, however, did not wake up early this morning. I was so, so tired this morning or maybe I just didn't want to get on the treadmill. 
  • I had to help keeping the babies during Bible study. We had a few fussy ones so I was walking around most of the time. After Bible study, we went to the park. Unfortunately, the park was not only hot but also full of mosquitoes. Needless to say, we did not stay very long at all today. That worked out well because we had plenty of things to do this afternoon.
  • Anderson and Reagan made their EAST logos. I read to everyone, but when I asked Whitman if we could skip our work together today, he said. "sure, that would be just great." I am not too sure he enjoys our work together time!
  • Reagan had to go to the orthodontist this afternoon for an appointment. That said that she was doing good but needs to brush more at her gum line. I will certainly take that. Back at home, there was laundry, chores and even catching up on Whitman's baby book. The kids did have a bit of free time but all too soon, it was time to turn back around and head to church.
  • We arrived incredibly early, but that was fine because the kids had pizza at church. Whitman and I even had time to see all of the grands. Then it was time to head to our classes. I spent my evening on the playground with the preschool.
  • Once church was over, Anderson and Graham grabbed me some ice and then we headed towards home. Since the kids had jumpys tonight, they all needed showers. They did that and even though we let the kids stay up a bit later since we were busy working and making rice krispy treats, tomorrow will still be an early morning for all.

September 18, 2018

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  • I hit my snooze for as long as I could this morning. I could already hear Graham and Campbell working in the school room. Actually, I could hear Graham in the school room sneezing. Just like Robby does, Graham sneezed at least 20 times in a row.
  • After everyone was awake, we all grabbed breakfast and then began our school work in my bedroom. We skipped eating in the kitchen and everyone ate in my room as I read history. I did make sure that no one left in the middle of history to go to the mailbox.
  • I am not sure how this happened today, but at 11 I had finished working with everyone except for Whitman. He also had every single bit of his work left. I thought I was already learning to be patient with the other kids, but gracious I will be the most patient person in the world by the time we are finished with Whitman's kindergarten year.
  • Just like yesterday, this afternoon was also a blur-packing, school work, reading, Jr. Ranger books, more packing, treadmill-This week my afternoons have been completely full. And honestly, I would rather my afternoons be full than slower. Well now, I guess a wonderful afternoon nap would be rather nice. 
  • The neighbors have been out about 4 times since May and of course tonight they come out just about the time that we have to call them in to leave. We headed to Nonna's house for supper tonight to celebrate Robby's birthday. I had told the kids that Robby would be 43 but I think I was wrong, and he will really by 44. 
  • Pops made burgers and Nonna had pie and brownies. Afterwards, Robby opened up his presents-gift cards and some cash. The kids all played hide and seek in the dark and had a blast.
  • When we left there, Campbell, Keaton and I ran to Walmart to pick up a pair of shoes for them for the trip. Then we rushed home. I did some more packing while everyone else took their showers. Everyone did make their lunch for tomorrow, and Graham created a logo. We let them stay up late enough that Whitman was super exhausted when it was finally bedtime!

September 17, 2018

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  • I knew that I wouldn't be waking up early this morning, but I did wake up on time. I was glad at least for that. Campbell and Graham were already awake working on their school work. Graham has been flying through his work lately which is pretty nice...except when he is finished with everything by 10:30. 
  • I woke up the crew and as usual, Whitman was not in his bed. I couldn't find him at first but then noticed him at the foot of Anderson's bed. He was awake enough that he had already opened up Anderson's blinds a bit so he could see out. Pretty much every night, Keaton or Whitman don't sleep the entire night in their bed.
  • We ate our leftover doughnuts for breakfast this morning. Then it was time for our school work. I had to zoom through our reading together today because I had so many books out for us to read. I am trying to take a basket full of books back to the library before we leave for our little road trip.
  • The kids started on their school work and things went fairly well. Whitman continues to leave and not come back to his school work quite often. I spend a good deal of my morning hollering, "Whitman? Where are you? Come back in here." 
  • Though today during our work together, the girls and Whitman were coloring. He had already left once for the bathroom, but then asked if he could go again. I knew he wasn't heading to the bathroom since he had a paper hidden behind his back, but since the probability was low of him remembering anything we were reading about Hernando Cortez, I let him go. When he returned, he told us that there was mail. I shushed him and continued reading.
  • When we were finished reading, he again told me that there was mail. I told him wonderful, and then Graham offered to go and get the mail. I had assumed that Whitman had placed the picture that he drew somewhere in the house. I was wrong. He had walked out to the mailbox and put his picture inside of it. Indeed, we did have mail! And I better have Robby double check that the chimes are working on all of the doors so I can hear when people leave this place.
  • Everyone was finished with school by lunchtime...except for Campbell. She had a big time today and was in no hurry at all. Reagan even finished most of 2 days of school. I will tell you, I do believe that I have become a pro at finding the volume of a cone or pyramid. I am almost positive that I never knew how to do those things, but now I help solve those problems daily. That game show Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, well, I could probably win that game show right now!
  • After lunch, we finished a few chores and did our afternoon reading. Grannymom and Grandpa came over for a bit. Grannymom then took the girls to a store for a little bit. They were out most of the afternoon until Robby picked them up at supper time. They all came back with a new tops and each one of them couldn't wait to show everyone their new duds. 
  • While they were gone, I helped the boys pack their bags, helped Robby clean the van and did a little bit of loading it, walked on the treadmill, and read to Whitman. It was a fairly productive afternoon. 
  • When my girls returned home, we ate supper-pizza. Then the girls did their packing, well some of it since they still have some things in the laundry. Everyone did a Jr. Ranger book. I have apparently saved the difficult ones for the end. 
  • The evening passed fairly quickly and all too soon, we were putting everyone to bed....and pulling out the ice cream!

September 16, 2018

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  • So last night, I think that it was nearly 1 when I went upstairs to tell the girls that it was really bedtime. I then went downstairs to continue reading my book, which I had just started during the night. I had planned on going back up to lay down the law to anyone who was still awake at 1:30, but instead I read until I finished my book until 2. 
  • I then waked up the stairs to see if anyone was awake. I stayed on the steps for a long while waiting to hear anything and surprisingly I didn't. They must have been asleep, or they were very quiet. 
  • At 7, I stirred as Robby was leaving to pick up the other kids and doughnuts. I decided that I better wake up the kids before feeding my animals. Reagan was already in the restroom, but the rest of the girls began stirring quickly when I opened the blinds. 
  • I walked down the road to feed my animals one last time. I was grateful that they all looked alive and well after having to depend on me for a few days. This afternoon Campbell and Keaton delivered the neighbors mail. They gave Campbell a 20 dollar bill, and she came home thinking that she would get all of it. Unfortunately, I reminded her that other folks did help. She was not too pleased but will still end up with half of it once I split it up tomorrow.
  • Robby was soon home with the others and with doughnuts. The girls ate as soon as they were ready. There was lots of hair curling and eye shadowing upstairs so I was surprised when everyone was ready to go on time. I probably did help that I was shouting how many minutes were left every 10 minutes.
  • At church, most of the girls ended up sitting above us in the balcony. I wasn't too crazy about that since I would like to be able to keep my eyes on her. After big church, everyone headed off to Sunday school. Robby and I were the only teachers in our class today so the hour went by really quickly.
  • Lunch was at Grannymom's house. She had oreo delight to celebrate Robby and Reagan's birthdays. Reagan opened up a letter board, calligraphy pens and some cash. Robby received another fan along with a gift card or two. It was a pretty good end to Reagan's birthday celebration and beginning of Robby's birthday celebration.
  • After we ate lunch, the kids played for a bit before we headed home. After 2 short nights in a row, all I could focus on during church was my afternoon nap and it did not disappoint. We finally woke up in time to send Reagan off to her Life Group.
  • While she was gone, I pulled out school for the next two days and for the week when we return from our little trip. We also fed everyone before Robby headed off to pick up Reagan. The kids waited anxiously for their return, because soon after they came home we set up another popcorn bar for everyone.
  • The boys were the most bummed about missing our popcorn bar last night. It wasn't really too elaborate since we just had popcorn along with chocolate chips, marshmallows, some crunchy cereal, m and ms, skittles and possibly some other candy but I can't remember what else! Everyone filled their bowl with popcorn and then added lots of toppings. It was quite fun, and Robby and I even had a bowl full before our bowl full of ice cream once the kids went to bed!

September 15, 2018-Happy Birthday (party) Reagan!

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  • I slept as late as I could this morning, but the chickens were calling my name. Actually, they weren't but maybe cupcakes were calling my name. I made Reagan's second batch of cupcakes this morning and then did my chicken duty. So far my egg count is about 20 which I guess is good. It is a lot easier collecting eggs from Kroger though.
  • It wasn't too much later when I jumped in Shannon's car and headed to Vintage Market Days (I think that was the name.) It was basically booth after booth of farmhouse decor. It did make me feel a bit inadequate but was still fun. Shannon and I both took quite a few pictures of things that we can make. I am not too sure of how much we will actually make though.
  • Then it was back home for a bit. Reagan and I did start to ice her cupcakes but soon I realized that I didn't have any shortening. So later in the afternoon when Robby went to pick up Graham's watch, which he left at practice last night, he did run again to the grocery store.
  • Reagan had spent the morning working on getting things ready for her party. I can really tell that she is growing up. She had sleeping bags lined upstairs for everyone. She had cleaned her bedroom and even prepared all of the games. I almost think that she could have the party without me even being here.
  • I slept through most of the first half of the Hogs game. When I woke up, I could tell that I didn't miss very much at all. Robby and Graham were running their errand so I walked down to feed my little farm. 
  • When Robby returned, it was time to make the icing. Reagan did it 3 different colors, and it turned out so very good. She was pleased. Soon after, girls started arriving-Sara, Alyssa, Emma, Ava, Lily, Kennedy, Cate, Lochlan, Presley, and Logan. Yes, it was a very full house!
  • While everyone was arriving, Robby started on supper-spaghetti, green beans and bread. Reagan had picked out the supper, and it sure couldn't have been any easier to make. There are quite a few leftovers, but we will certainly eat them up. 
  • Next up were presents-Reagan received lots of pens, notebooks, candy, a bucket full of pineapple stuff, one of her very own sweaters (from Graham), IOUs for cookie dough (from Keaton and Campbell) and a Thomas the Train pillow (from Whitman). I do believe that she was pleased.
  • After presents, we all gathered to sing Happy Birthday to our 13 year old. She blew out her candles, and everyone had cupcakes. Soon afterwards, Robby loaded up the crew to head to Grannymom's house for the night. My two little girls would enjoy the party just way too much if they stayed her.
  • Reagan then began her games. The first one was to guess the number of skittles. Then there was a much wilder balloon tied around your ankle game which involved moving all of the furniture. Then there was a candy winning dice game that everyone enjoyed. It was fairly quiet for a good little bit. Robby was still gone dropping off the kids and picking up more drinks so it was just me and the girls. I was able to clean the kitchen and get some of the popcorn bar ready.
  • It was after 10 when we started the movie so the popcorn bar was served around 11. The girls are currently still watching the movie so hopefully, the evening will be quiet and sleep will come soon to all!

September 14, 2018

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  • Unfortunately, even though it was Friday this morning, I still set my alarm early enough to walk on the treadmill before school. I did hit snooze for absolutely as long as I could before getting up. After my walk, I brushed my teeth, put on my contacts and flossed, which is on my to do list.
  • Then I woke up the kids asking if they wanted to go with me to feed the pets. Graham and Whitman were the only ones awake, but Campbell did jump at the chance to ride down the road.
  • We fed and watered the rabbits, looked for chicken eggs and fed the dogs. The dogs are the easiest of all of the animals to deal with. This little assignment has reminded me that I don't want any type of pets any time soon. Not at all. I can't even keep the weeds out of my flower beds-why in the world would I want more responsibilities?
  • Even with doing all of that, we were able to start breakfast on time. I guess that it did help that I woke the kids up earlier than usual to ask if they wanted to go with me. So when I came back everyone was awake and ready to eat. Since we do have a few extra eggs from the neighbors chickens, I asked the kids if they wanted eggs for breakfast. Most everyone turned up their noses, but Campbell did ask if I had any eggs from real chickens. Not sure if this homeschooling is working on her!
  • School went fairly well. Friday's are lighter days for me since no one has spelling, if it is our 4th school day of the week. Reagan had finished most or all of her school yesterday as did Keaton. Graham was done by 10ish or maybe even before. That just left Anderson, Campbell and Whitman. 
  • They finally did get everything done. I can already tell that Whitman will be just like Anderson when it comes to school work. Campbell is working hard but third grade is just a big year for us. There is lots more for her to do than last year so of course it takes her longer.
  • We then had our lunch followed by some heavy duty house cleaning. I was shouting out orders like a drill sergeant while vacuuming. When I have my kids just do their chores, things are done half way. However, when everyone is working with a goal in mind (cleaning the house for Reagan's party) they all seem to do much better. 
  • Soon the house was clean, and we settled in to read some more school work. We also did another Jr. Ranger book. I had Campbell set an alarm so we would finish in plenty of time to get ready to leave, but finished way early. 
  • Even though we did finish early, when I finished my stuff and sat down, I only had 3 minutes until it was time to load everyone up. I had already almost fallen asleep once this morning while Whitman was doing his phonics. 
  • Today was the kids EAST day. They did a lot of work on graphic design today. From what I could see walking by the door twice, they made a Mickey Mouse head. Anderson said that his worked perfectly while Reagan said that hers was square shaped. They are all enjoying the class, and I am hoping that this weeks homework will be less than last weeks.
  • While they were at East, I read with Whitman some, we checked out many more books and we went to a program. They had the world record airplane man there. He showed many different airplanes, and we all learned about drag and lift and lots of other scientific-y things. Then he showed everyone how to make his winning airplane. Everyone enjoyed it very much and soon it was time for the others to finish with East.
  • I dropped the boys off at East and then headed home. Lily and Eden are spending the night with us. Eden and Campbell helped me feed the pets tonight. Then we rushed home to make a cake before the Wilsons came over for supper. Everyone was very helpful making the cake and it was decent (the icing was not my favorite at all though.)
  • Robby grilled hot dogs and hamburgers for supper. After we finished eating, Robby went to pick up Anderson and Graham.  While they were gone, Reagan made her first batch of cupcakes. I had grand plans of those cupcakes being done by now, but I just don't know when that would have happened. 
  • I filled the cupcakes into the pan and over filled them. It was a mess-too messy to use. So tonight we made another batch and plan on making the second good batch tomorrow morning. That still leaves the icing of the cupcakes to be done tomorrow. She had already spent most her time this afternoon on getting ready for one of her party games. There is still much work to be done tomorrow, but I think that there will be plenty of time. At least I hope that there will be plenty of time. 
  • The girls played a few games, played with their American Girl dolls, made a scavenger hunt and watched the longest most ever. I was after midnight when I put them in bed. And just a few minutes ago (almost 1) I could hear talking and movement above me. Hopefully, they will go one to sleep because I am about to go to sleep too.
  • Once the house was quiet, we straightened for a bit and then went to work on the blog before bedtime. Tomorrow may prove to be a busy day as well! I am already looking forward to Sunday's nap.  

September 13, 2018

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  • I hit snooze a few too many times this morning. I know that I am running late when the school room seems full of people working and I am still in the bed! I wasn't incredibly late so we were able to catch up a bit.
  • Everyone had their breakfast. The kids have gotten very territorial about their breakfast stools. Campbell and Keaton desperately want to sit by Whitman and everyone else will do anything to prevent this from happening. At one time we had assigned stools that would rotate every morning. I guess that I may have to go back to that!
  • We then our reading together time. Afterwards, I have to work with each kid individually. Last year, I would struggle to find who wanted to work with me first. However, this year everyone wants to work with me first. I think they all want to get it over with, which is what I would want to do as well. Now, if you do work with me first, then you have to usually come back and fix your math with me so maybe first isn't always the best.
  • Once school was over, we had our lunch and then did a few chores. I did list everything that would have to be done tomorrow in preparation for Friday's sleepover and Saturday's birthday sleepover so their chores were a bit less today. 
  • We did some more reading in the afternoon and worked on more Jr. Ranger books. I am not sure we will ever finish all of our Jr. Ranger books! Then Anderson and Grahamd worked on their typing for East. Now, I make them do typing every single week, but no one has ever taken it this seriously before.
  • And let's talk about talking something seriously. Reagan is still working on hers. if that child doesn't complete a level with 100 percent then she does it again. That child! She also spent most of the afternoon working on tomorrow's school work. 
  • Around supper time, Campbell, Graham, Keaton and I went down to the neighbors to feed their dogs, chickens and rabbits. Keaton was so scared of the dogs that she couldn't even come in the gate (the gate that didn't even have any dogs in it!) Graham and Campbell helped with the rabbits while Anderson watrered the chickens. Then Graham and Campbell both left.
  • Anderson wasn't going to leave me there by myself. He helped me with the chickens. He kept the door to the coup guarded from escaping chickens while I collected the eggs (a dozen). Then he helped me feed the dogs who were amazingly calm. 
  • We both needed showers after our farm adventure. Then it was time to load up for Refresh at church. Reagan is now too old to go so she gladly stayed home. The others had a good time at church tonight. 
  • Once at home, we had a few minutes of downtime before everyone headed to bed. When I came downstairs, I realized that we would be awake and doing it all again in less than 12 hours...that just made me especially tired!

September 12, 2018-Happy Birthday Reagan!

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  • I didn't have to wake the birthday girl up this morning. Campbell ran down about 7:15 to fetch some hair spray for her sister. Reagan was busy curling her straight hair. This was the second week that the girls were up early on a Wednesday primping before Bible study.
  • I was also awake early on this Wednesday. I walked on the treadmill before getting ready. Then I had time to hang our fall wreath and do some packing. When you do wake up early, you have plenty of time to accomplish things before leaving the house which is very nice.
  • Reagan had not gotten her breakfast this morning so Robby made her eggs to put on her bagel. Of course we put a candle on that bagel and sang to her. I do believe that she might truly enjoy being the center of attention especially on her birthday. (I'm kidding-she loves being the center of attention.)
  • As we headed to Bible study, I ate my weekly Wednesday bagel. Wednesday's are long days around here but my Wednesday bagels and library trips do make them a bit better. Campbell could not wait to get into Bibles study this morning because she had her snickerdoodle cookies to share with everyone. I do believe that they were a hit!
  • After Bible study, the weather was a bit iffy so we headed to St. Andrews to play because they have a wonderful pavilion that we eat our lunch under. Robby showed up after lunch with cupcakes for Reagan and Sara's birthdays. They share a birthday along with 2 other ladies at church. When Reagan found this out, she commented that all of the people born on her birthday were very pretty. I also added that they are all extremely sweet and kind people.
  • Anderson left the park with Robby to run a few errands and grab a bit of lunch. The rest of us left eventually to head home. Once at home, everyone helped me unload, did their chores and settled down for a quiet afternoon.
  • Reagan spent a good amount of time working on her typing. Campbell, Keaton and I walked down to the neighbors house because we are going to feed their animals while they are out of town (dogs, chickens and rabbits), Whitman did his reading with me, and Campbell, Keaton and Whitman all worked on their Jr. Ranger books. 
  • All too soon it was time to think about leaving again. Robby took Reagan out to eat steak for her birthday. That girl loves her some steak! The rest of us headed on to the library and then to the church house. 
  • I wasn't in games tonight, instead I told the story. When Whitman saw me, he gave me the biggest hug ever. Oh, he can just melt your heart sometimes. He is definitely the most affectionate Dennie. 
  • Once we made it home, everyone had a snack. The boys had showers while Reagan and Keaton got a head start on their school work for tomorrow. 

September 11, 2018

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  • Graham and Campbell were both awake this morning when I started stirring. They were both already working on their school, and Campbell needed help with some of her math. I am never to crazy about doing math at 7:30 in the morning. Yikes! 
  • I think Reagan is awesome and totally amazing!!!-that is what happens when you leave your blog unattended and Reagan is around. I think that she is pretty excited about her birthday tomorrow. She is also continually making plans for her birthday party on Saturday. Today she cleaned the girls room and organized it. Unfortunately, Campbell and Keaton are having friends over Friday night so the room may end up trashed again.
  • Once again Anderson finished his school early. I know that I should be excited about this, but I am not sure of what is different so I am worried that something is being omitted. Though the last 2 days, he has done all of the things I require him to do each day and has also chosen easy assignments. That is fine, but that leaves the more difficult ones for later this week!
  • We are out lunch a little bit after 12:30. I was waiting on Reagan to finish her typing. They have to complete a typing program by the end of the year for their East program. I am having the boys do one section each day. 
  • However, Reagan may be a bit type A personality because she spent most of the afternoon working on her typing. Each section has multiple levels, and Reagan does each level until she scores a hundred percent on it. She has also completed over half of the program already. Gracious. I wonder where she gets that!
  • The afternoon was spent reading with everyone, reading with the little 3, reading with Whitman and working on Jr. Ranger books. This is all extra stuff that we have started this year. The kids still have plenty of time to play, enjoy life and netflix the afternoon away.
  • There was also some cooking this afternoon. Campbell signed up for snack for her Bible study class. I debated signing up everyone all at once. Instead I just let them sign up whenever they wanted. Of course this means that we will have snack just about every other week until Christmas!
  • I finished the treadmill just about the time that Robby came home from work. We both worked on some packing. My 6 page packing list can seem overwhelming, but once you start pulling everything out, it does go pretty quickly. I guess we could even leave a few days early!
  • We had leftover spaghetti from last night for supper. Afterwards, there was lunch packing for tomorrow, showers and some straightening. Then we didn't do much of anything until it was bedtime!

September 10, 2018

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  • I don't think finishing school at 7 is too bad, do you? Gracious me. It wasn't really that bad of a day. I will admit that we didn't work the entire time since I had to drop off the van, run to lunch and then pick the van back up. Let's start from the beginning...
  • Graham was the only one awake this morning. It then took a while for me to wake everyone else up even though breakfast was chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, cereal and yogurt. We finally did eat our breakfast while I read a few books.
  • Then it was time for our work together time. I try to only do all of that for an hour or so but today we did run over. I had already worked with Keaton last night so that helped me some. Campbell was the only one who didn't finish her work before I had to leave to drop off the van. I was super surprised that Anderson finished his work before lunch time. We will just see how much he really did tomorrow when I double check everything.
  • When I returned, we all worked together for a bit longer-there was more reading, Jr. Ranger books, EAST for the big kids, reading with the littles and working with Whitman. I hadn't finished with Whitman when Robby came to tell me that it was time to pick up the van.
  • We headed out and were soon back. I jumped on the treadmill and meanwhile Robby made supper. I finished just in time to grab a bite to eat. The kids helped clean up the house for a bit while we cleaned up the supper dishes.
  • Reagan spent a good bit of time working on a birthday banner for herself. Her birthday preparations are in full swing. 
  • That is when I finally sat down with finish Whitman's daily reading. It was late, but I still had time to pack a few things for our upcoming trip before we all sat down to watch the Bates.

September 9, 2018

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  • Anderson and Graham were the first ones awake this morning. I went upstairs to wake up Camryn and Reagan, who were sound asleep. Then it was time to wake up Keaton. She had started the night in the floor by Whitman's bed and ended up in Whitman's bed. I didn't see Whitman in his bed, but later found him up against the wall in Anderson's bed. 
  • Even though we were awake in plenty of time this morning, we still barely made it into church before it begin. I had to drop of my Sunday school bag so I am not even sure if the kids were able to see the grands before church or not.
  • Sunday school was fairly uneventful until we lost a kid not once but twice from my class. It would have not been a big deal if it was a Dennie but it was not. Thankfully, we did find him, and I was probably a bit put out when speaking to his mom. 
  • Now, Campbell had spent the night with Camryn and as soon as church was out, she left with Eden for her birthday party. Campbell had a blast there and after it was over, she hung out at Caroline's house until Robby came to pick her up. So we haven't really seen to much of Campbell the last day!
  • For lunch, we went to Nonna's house. She had a birthday dinner for Reagan with lots of pork tenderloin. Reagan even had a big birthday balloon. She also opened up some pens, lots of gift cards and money! I think she was pretty pleased with the beginnings of her 13th birthday celebration week. (Yesterday, Camryn gave her a huge soft blanket for a present.)
  • This afternoon was kind of quiet. Robby and I had a nap while the kids played. When I woke up, I went to work on making breakfast burritos to put in the freezer. Anderson loves them and had just run out. 
  • Robby left to take Reagan to her first life group meeting. She is in the student ministry now-her life group is 7th-12th graders. Growing up. She didn't seem as nervous going to this as she did her first other student ministry stuff. It probably helped that Alyssa was there to walk in with her.
  • I had just pulled out pumpkin muffins out of the oven when Robby went to pick up Reagan and Alyssa. While he was gone, we straightened the house, did some laundry and put on pjs. Soon it was time for bed around here! This week will be very full!

September 8, 2018

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  • Last night as I went to sleep, I set my alarm thinking that there would be no way that I would need it. Sure enough though, my alarm went off at 9, and I had not yet woken up. I had to run upstairs to wake up Campbell and Keaton so they could get ready for the morning.
  • I hurried through my shower and soon the girls and I were headed to Anna's birthday party. It was a panda birthday party, and my Keaton had on panda earrings. She was so excited about the party. Campbell was also excited about the party, but she was absolutely thrilled to hold baby Gabriel.
  • Robby had left this morning to go and pick up Whitman who had spend the night at Grannymom and Grandpa's house. They ran a few errands and made it back home before I did. Cash had slept longer than the boys this morning, but everyone enjoyed eating the leftover doughnuts for breakfast this morning.
  • We made lunch for everyone at about the same time that Camryn arrived. Campbell already had her bag packed and also headed to Laynie's house to spend the night. My Campbell doesn't get too many over night invitations so this made me supper happy.
  • I did my treadmill this afternoon while the kids bounced from in and outside. Soon it was time to load up and take Cash home. Then we scurried on to church for Date Night.
  • Robby and I had gone out to eat yesterday by ourselves, so tonight we did the next best thing-we went to Kroger. We almost filled up two carts but still had time for him to drop me off at home before going to pick up the kids.
  • I worked putting up groceries the entire time that he was gone picking them and pizza up. They had lots of fun-the boys enjoyed the big screen video games that they played. Keaton made a mug for a craft. We had heard that Whitman's group was having a luau so of course he dressed appropriately. He had lots of fun but was disappointed that they didn't "dance" (do the hula) tonight.
  • The Wilson's came over once Robby returned with the kids. They tried to help us cheer on the Hogs but it didn't work. We did all enjoy some pizza and lots of popcorn despite the loss.
  • After the game, we put everyone in bed. Reagan and Camryn are sleeping in the bonus room so that would leave Keaton alone in her room. She would never last half of the night by herself, so she is sleeping next to Whitman on the floor.

September 7, 2018

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  • I was scrambling around this morning since I have been making muffins on Fridays for breakfast. This morning though I was a bit later than usual since I did sleep in. On my behalf though, I was still the first one awake. I did have a few cans of expired cinnamon rolls that I yanked out of the fridge and shoved in the oven before waking up the crew.
  • They killed hunger even though I didn't cook them long enough. I had baked them an extra 5 minutes yet they still didn't seem to finish, and we definitely needed to get the day started.
  • I thought this day might be a little easier since Campbell, Keaton and Graham had very little school work. They still all had to work with me which takes some time. Campbell works with me the longest, and we have 6 things to do together (multiplication tables, history, reading, grammar, spelling and another grammar).
  • I have also let my guard down on Whitman. That boy has learned to just disappear during the school day. It was 11:30 today, and he still had his phonics to do. That is his hardest thing so his bit sisters decided to help him. I am not sure how much help they gave him because I think they pretty much did it for him. 
  • Anderson was the only one still working after lunch. We all read, did some chores, finished another Jr. Ranger book and all 3 big kids finished their East homework for the week. I headed up to the treadmill while the Campbell and Whitman were working on a fort.
  • Robby made the kids supper while I finished up. Then we dropped the boys off at basketball, and Whitman off at Grannymom's house for the night. Robby and I went out to eat by ourselves! On the way home, we picked up Krispy Kreme doughnuts for a snack tonight.
  • When basketball was over, Cash came home with us to spend the night and we devoured a box of doughnuts! The kids all zoned out this evening on their devices while Reagan worked on making a sign. She has grand plans to sell it so hopefully that works out!

September 6, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Thursday morning and things went well. Laundry had been done the night before. I walked on the treadmill and emptied dishes before Graham had asked me a single question about his school work. He was downstairs right at 7 already working on his school work. 
  • I still had to work hard to wake everyone up this morning. I have found that if I stay upstairs talking to someone about some upcoming event or something exciting, then the others will wake up a bit easier because they are curious as to what we are talking about.
  • Everyone ate their breakfast, and then we started on our work together and daily school work. I seemed to be scrambling most of the day to catch up and to urge people to work on. Now, Keaton did finish today's work and tomorrow's as well. Campbell was still doing work today at 4, but she ended up doing most of her work for tomorrow too. I did try to explain that maybe next time she should finish one day's work before starting on the next day's work!
  • Around lunch, I headed off to get my hair cut. Most everyone was done with their school, and by the time that I made it back home everyone was almost done with school. The big 3 still have quite a bit of work to do on their EAST stuff. They hopefully can finish tomorrow.
  • I was home a bit and soon headed out again to meet the homeschool moms for some year long planning. We did talk about making a newspaper this next year which I am pretty excited about. 
  • While I was gone, Robby made everyone supper. They even completed the laundry and did the dishes. Tomorrow morning should go splendid with all of my first chores already finished.
  • I arrived home just as everyone was heading to bed. I kissed the crew goodnight and then had a bit of time for a show and some reading and very possibly some cookie dough.

September 5, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • When I went up the stairs towards the treadmill, I heard Campbell (I thought-though it was actually Reagan) coughing. I think that those girls were already awake because when I went to start waking everyone up, the girls' ipads were already gone. They were all in the bedroom, dressed and ready to head to the first day of CBS. I guess they were a wee bit excited!
  • I do believe that everyone had a good day at CBS. Reagan, Graham, Campbell and Keaton are all in the same classes. There are lots of new people so they will have many new friends. Anderson is now in the Jr. CBS program and would be with Reagan's class, but they have divided it into boys and girls. Whitman is now in Keaton's class with her and will be in that room for the next two years.
  • I have the same leader that I have had before. This is our 6th year of CBS. I know two people in my class, and I am really excited about our study of Genesis. I think it will be very interesting. 
  • Afterwards, we met our crew at the park. The kids enjoyed playing for a good while until we headed home. It was pleasant but was still a bit warm outside. 
  • Reagan went home with Kennedy for the afternoon, and I made the rest of the kids come home and do some work. The boys both did some of their EAST stuff. Everyone did two things of school. Bless Campbell last week she multiplied two double digit numbers and did it very well. This week she is multiplying a triple digit number with a double digit number, and it is not easy at all for her!
  • I also did some reading with everyone and even had a few minutes to sit down before loading up for church tonight. The kids all have lots of fun in their classes. Keaton and Campbell are the only ones who have to say verses. They both worked and worked on their different verses this week. Keaton could also earn bonus bucks by saying the fruits of the spirit which she knew. Now, Campbell could earn bucks by saying the 12 tribes of Israel. We put them to song and practiced, but I didn't think there was any way that she could say them tonight. Sure enough she did. In case you are wondering some of them are - Judah, Benjamin, Isachar, Dan, Gad, Nepthali, and a few other guys!
  • Once we all made it home, the kids had showers and then a bit of ice cream before bed. It was a pretty busy but pretty good day.

September 4, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • You would not expect the first day of school after a holiday to go well, but surprisingly it did go very well today. I was shocked, to say the list, when Anderson told me before lunch that he was finished with school. His school today was just the perfect easy day-no writing in writing, easy math, and grammar with me. He was pretty pleased with himself, and I was as well.
  • Campbell was the last one to finish her school today. I am not too sure what all she did that slowed her down, but she didn't mind having to finish a bit of stuff after lunch. I am actually surprised that Keaton wasn't the last one-for some reason, I think that everyone thought today was the day that they had to read with her. So she read with at least 3 of the big kids while trying to do her work.
  • After lunch, we finished some chores and then did some more reading. By the end of all of our daily reading-15 minutes at breakfast, an hour in the morning, 15 minutes at lunch and then 30 more minutes in the afternoon-my voice starts getting a bit hoarse!
  • Once we finished that, everyone did their Jr. Ranger books. Then it was time for me to read some with the little 3. We are reading Pippi Longstocking. Afterwards, I read to Whitman, and he did some reading. He was reading to me today, and Keaton walked by and said, "I didn't know that he could read a book." Barely, but he can!
  • Much of the afternoon was spent with Reagan, Anderson and Graham working on their stuff for their library class. Since this is their first time to do this, it is a bit difficult trying to figure things out. I hope that it becomes easier, but they still have quite a few assignments to finish this week. 
  • After the treadmill,  I played a game with the little 3. Soon Robby was home. Even though we had eaten leftovers and sandwiches for lunch, I pulled out more leftovers for supper. I did make some BBQ chicken boneless wings to go with the meal. Unfortunately, I didn't buy the boneless wings and they were real wings! Urgh! That was fine because I was able to pull off the meat, but I still have another bag of those!
  • Once supper was over, we had some downtime until we watched a Bates. Robby made two batches of popcorn though we added butter and it wasn't that great. Hopefully, we will get it all figured out. We do know how to make some yummy kettle corn, but the kids don't like that as well. Reagan wants to have a popcorn bar for her party so we will have to figure it out soon.