December 18, 2018

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  • School day number two this week. The kids ate their breakfasts as we did our morning reading just as usual. We are reading a few Christmas-y Bible verses each day. So I handed Campbell the Bible and thought that she would look up the verses that had her name written beside them. However, she somehow read the exact same verses that Keaton had read yesterday. Of course, I was the only one who realized this...which makes me wonder, am I the only one listening and learning anything during all of our reading?
  • I am not exactly sure why, but the kids have been finishing their school work early. This is a good thing possibly. But since they pick out what they have to do each day, by tomorrow it will all have to be finished...even the hard stuff that they have saved for the very last day! Eeek! Not so sure if anyone will actually be finished early tomorrow.
  • We had our lunch after school. Then everyone stared on a few chores. I worked on trying to clean the boys' windows. They have gotten a bit moldy or something-y since they get wet each cold morning. I sure do't want any of that messing with Anderson and his allergies. Speaking of allergies, even though Keaton doesn't really have any-her excema is sure flared up right now.
  • During our reading this afternoon, I read some and then everyone picked out a Christmas book and read it out loud to the group. That was quiet entertaining and took a while! 
  • The kids played on their devices for a while. The neighbors did come out for a little while this afternoon so they all ran out to play. They played basketball and four square for a good while-long enough to come in and be all stinky!
  • We loaded up to start Campbell's birthday celebration with dinner at the restaurant of her choice-Taco Bell. Then we also went to see Wreck it Ralph. Now, Whitman did not want to see this movie at all. He had seen a commercial and was scared to death of the princesses in the movie. I am not so sure how our Disney trip will go over with poor Whitman.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 7 Days until Christmas

We have been to Roosevelt's Inaugural Site in Buffalo a few times. I don't remember that we have ever taken the tour of the house. This year on our spur of the moment road trip to the midwest and beyond, we packed in a lot of history and Roosevelt and his inaugural site was part of it.

The tour around the house was decently high tech with lots of voices speaking about the events in history. The preview room was full of sites and sounds from the World's Fair that was happening during that time. It was all pretty impressive...but again, if you have seen one old house then you have seen them all. Here are is the post from that day.

December 17, 2018

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  • Monday morning and the kids were up and ready to start school. They could not wait to get downstairs and pull out their school work. Not really. Campbell, Whitman and Anderson were awake this morning and on their ipads. Not really sure where Whitman slept, but his water bottle was in Anderson's bed so I guess that Whitman crashed with his biggest brother for at least some of the night.
  • School was fairly uneventful today-well, until Robby came in and told us that Santa was at Bass Pro. We cleaned up a little bit, put on clothes and took a break from school. There were only about 10 people in line for Santa and the Kamps were one of those. The kids were super excited to see their friends for a few minutes.
  • We then walked through the store for a minute before picking up fries from Chick Fil A. We did run into almost everyone we knew who goes to Robinson Middle school. They were all on a field trip.
  • We scarfed down the fries on the way home. Then we had the rest of our lunch-today has been clean out the fridge day. We made a bit of a dent before having everyone start on their chores and the rest of their school work.
  • When Anderson and Whitman finished their work, we did a bit more reading. Then the kids had some free time. I did have Campbell and Anderson wrap their presents to their sibling. I actually spent most of the afternoon in the attic wrapping presents. 
  • Soon I did leave for Bunko. I left ab it early so I would have time to do some shopping. I was only able to go to Kroger, but found plenty of things there to fill my shopping cart. Then I met the Bunko girls at Tacos for Life.
  • Meanwhile, my crew was eating their supper. Robby said that he felt like a short order cook helping everyone make and find their supper. After supper, the kids had their showers and then settled in for a movie-they all watched a Hallmark movie without me!
  • Graham and Reagan were the only ones awake when I made it home. Just two more days of school left before our Christmas break!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 8 Days until Christmas

On the second day of our all 50 states road trip, we stopped at the Cozy Inn in Salina, Kansas. It was a burger joint that served up little sliders. Their max seating capacity was less than our family, so we opted to eat outside after Robby ordered our food. However, after just being in the restaurant for mere seconds, we left reeking of onions!

Not all of the kids liked the onion-y burgers but I sure thought that they were delicious. It was a pretty good Mother's Day lunch stop. Click here for the blog from that day.

December 16, 2018

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  • Anderson was already dressed this morning when I walked through the house. I was on my way to go upstairs and start waking everyone up. It was good to see that he did already have his clothes on, yet it looked a bit like he had slept in his clothes. Possibly, I need to pull that iron back out-nah!
  • We were soon headed out to church. The music was the same as last weeks-the Christmas choir special. The sermon was different but the music was the same to give folks the opportunity to bring guests. Anyway, despite the beautiful music last week, when Anderson realized that the music was going to be the same, he exclaimed, "well, why did we come back?" 
  • I was in the nursery so I did miss the repeat performance. However, I did manage to finish up just in time for the last song. After church, the kids, Robby and I headed to our Sunday school class. Today was Christmas parties in our Sunday school classes, so we were pretty busy by the time the morning was over.
  • We had lunch at Nonna's house. They had spaghetti and the fixings for lunch. Then we celebrated Campbell's upcoming birthday with a birthday cake. After the kids played for a bit, we soon headed out.
  • Robby started to work on preparing food for tonight's shin dig while I took Reagan out shopping. She said maybe 4 words on the way to the stores, but after shopping at Old Navy, Target and Platos Closet, she chatted the entire way home.
  • We made it home in time for me to lay down for about 5 minutes before it was time to start getting ready and loading up food for our Christmas party with the Wilsons, Atwoods and Phillips. 
  • We had tons of food and lots of laughs during our party. I did make sure that I took my vest off for our group picture since I didn't want to have to retake it! I ate pretty much the entire time and especially loved Laryn's sweet oyster crackers. 
  • As we seem to do these days, we stayed out way too late. Once we made it home, we did some of our Christmas count down activities, and then it was finally bedtime for the crew. (And yes, it was time for a Christmas movie for me.)

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 9 Days until Christmas

The kids had not been to Lamberts in Missouri. This March, we were in Branson with the Wilsons, and we all drove to Lamberts for supper. I don't even remember being hungry when we went, but we sure ate our fair share of food.

The kids absolutely loved Lamberts! It started with the huge drinks that they brought for them. It was like they were drinking from Sonic Route 44 drinks. This of course made them happy. Then the man came out and starting throwing rolls to people. You should have seen Whitman's eyes light up. He was quick to get in on the action of catching the rolls. Campbell just spent her time catching rolls to fill up her to go box!

Every time that we have been back to Branson, the kids have begged to return. Maybe sometime next year. Here is the post from that trip.

December 15, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  •  Basketball day! Keaton took a little bit to wake up this morning, but she was soon running through the house in search of her basketball uniform. The others were soon moving around grabbing their breakfasts.
  • Keaton's game is always fun. It takes about 5 shots for either side to make a basketball. And since we are sitting with all of our grands, the Heltz and their grands, and the Kamps our section gets a bit noisy. There is lots of clapping, shouting "the other way," and laughing so her game is quite possibly my favorite.
  • Now, Keaton might just be a little basketball player. She is a super good guarder, and even scored a few points today. After the game she went home with Lily and Eden and Noah came over here. The boys played the xbox while the girls helped Robby make some cookies and played outside. I was looking for a few more presents (struck out) and picking up some groceries.
  • After we cleaned out the fridge for lunch, we headed back to basketball. Campbell's game was next, and she scored today. Now, my girls are not timid at all. They just do super great! Campbell scored this week, and their team also won.
  • Graham's game was next and boo if they were again so close but still didn't win. Graham tries his hardest. His team is pretty decent really. The keep the score close but just never can finish with a win. I do hate this, even though I feel that losing is really good for the kids. However, Graham is the Dennie who takes it the hardest. He just gets so bummed about them losing. 
  • And Anderson's game was the last game. He has one great coach and one coach who one family member (you know who you are) offered to go and punch in the face. Most of Anderson's team plays super hard. Anderson included; I really think that the Friday night practices have been really good for both boys. The team Anderson played today was a bigger team then his team, but again they squeaked out a win.
  • After the game, we took Alyssa Kate home, and soon the kids were playing outside with the neighbors. Robby used the leftovers in the fridge to make nachos. Then we decided to go and look at Christmas lights. 
  • Robby offered for the neighbor girls to come with us. Let me mention that he is such a fun dad. I need a bit of time to prepare for having extra people. Robby, however, is always offering for kids to come with us-one extra last night, two extra during the game, two extra when looking at lights. It is always a party around here.
  • We went to Richardson Place tonight to see their lights. They really go all out so there were lots to look out. We ended the evening with Chick Fil A shakes and ice cream. I have been waiting all season for their peppermint milkshake! 
  • Once we made it home, it was shower time for the kids, but we also had time to brown 3 pounds of meat, make a few dozen cookies, fold a load of clothes, start another load of laundry, empty the dishwasher and watch a Christmas movie before bedtime. I did want to wrap a few dozen presents but that will have to another evening!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 10 Days until Christmas

There are just some beautiful places in these 50 states. I think that we had even seen some of this area before, but this time we drove through the Columbia River Gorge on our way to Portland, Oregon. It was just mile after mile of beautiful scenery.

We walked up to Multnomah Falls though we weren't able to get too close due to a forest fire a few years ago. They said it would be years before you could go back up to the bridge near the beautiful waterfall. Then we drove to the Vista House and overlooked the gorge. Here is the post from that day's travels. 

December 14, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • No one was super pleased about having to do school this morning. It is hard to take a break in the middle of the week and then get right back after it the next day. It did cheer them up to learn that we only have three more school days until the end of the year. 
  • I still might try to to read that history book on a few of our days off. I have not yet checked to see if we are half way yet. But my library pile is down to only 71 books checked out so that is at least a good thing. 
  • For some odd reason, Anderson was finished with school around 10:30. I tried to find something that he missed, but it looked like he did indeed do it all. Some days there writing assignments are just shorter and when you add that to an easy math lesson, then you are set!
  • Everyone actually finished at a decent time. Even ole Whitman, bless. I feel pretty confident that if Whitman was in a classroom, he would be super far behind or would definitely be on meds. Though sometimes, and it happened today, things seem to click for him, and he can speed through his work. 
  • We tried to clean out the fridge for lunch, but there is just too much in there for us to even make a dent. I read a bit during lunch and then even read some more after everyone's chores were finished.
  • Today was Anderson, Graham and Whitman doctor's appointments. They all had their check ups, and it was much less eventful than Keaton freaking out over having blood drawn. (Robby actually had his check up today too and requested to have an allergy screening like Keatons. And, her results came back a few days ago-she has a very mild allergy to dust. So no need for any other treatment/allergist/etc.)
  • Anderson was the one who had to have his shots today. He is used to having his flu shot so he didn't mind, but after thinking about it for an hour I think that he got a bit nervous. He was fine afterwards and even laughed at himself for getting worked up.
  • On the way home, we grabbed Sonic drinks as a rewards. Then we dropped Whitman off at Nonna's house for the evening. My Whitman had spent most of the day making a fort at home so I would bet that is what he did at Nonna's house tonight.
  • Alyssa came over to the house tonight to spend the night and the Wilson's came over for supper. We had tacos and all of the fixings. The kids watched a movie and then played outside for a pretty long time. We did let them stay up until almost midnight so we will have some pretty tired basketball players tomorrow!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 11 Days until Christmas

We always try to hit as many National Parks as we can. In Washington state, we had a few hours and decided to go to Olympic National Park. It didn't take too long before we realized that we had found a hidden jewel.

Olympic was stunning. We walked through thick trees to a waterfall. Then we found a gorgeous lake. They had little cabins around that we immediately decided that we wanted to come back and stay a few days. We enjoyed it so much that Robby even bought us t-shirts from there! Here is the post from that day.

December 13, 2018-Happy Birthday 12th Anderson!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Even though there wasn't school this morning, we did still work together. First though, it was time to celebrate Anderson's 12th birthday. Since we did sleep in, we didn't make a special breakfast instead Anderson's poured himself a bowl of cereal. He is also the one who asked for a candle!
  • After lighting the candle, we all sang to him before we did our work together time. The kids were thrilled about not having school. Once we did finish our reading, everyone worked on their chores for a few minutes before some free time.
  • Right before noon, I took everyone to Grannymom's house so I could do a little bit of shopping. The kids had lunch over there, and Grannymom had cupcakes to celebrate Anderson's birthday a bit more.
  • While I was shopping, I stopped at around 9 different stores. I finished just as Robby called from picking up the kids. Earlier in the day, Robby had asked Anderson what he would like to eat tonight. after much thought Anderson did say that he would like to have chicken and waffles. 
  • We all met up at Chili's since that is the only place we know of that has chicken and waffles. There waffles are so sweet, and we bought way too much food! Whitman didn't have any shoes but since Robby carried him through the downpour, he was fine. 
  • From there, we all ran home for about 10 minutes before Robby turned around to take the boys to basketball. Campbell also went along for the ride. While they were gone, I did a bit of looking at all of my purchases along with some work for school and quite possibly a Christmas movie.
  • Robby did some speed grocery shopping while the boys were at basketball practice. When they came home, Nonna and Pops were here with cake and ice cream for Anderson's birthday. We didn't do a whole bunch today, but we did do a lot of celebrating.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 12 Days until Christmas

In Zanesville, Ohio is a little place called Tom's Ice Cream Bowl. During our September trip, we had looked for ice cream for a long while. We even tried to go to two ice cream places that were closed-imagine our disappointment.

We were a bit concerned about this Tom's Ice Cream Bowl because it was in the middle of a residential area. We were delighted when we finally found Tom's. We assumed that the scoops would be like others, so we ordered everyone 2 scoops. The scoops were ridiculously huge-so large that I couldn't even finish mine! Here is my write up from that day.

December 12, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • What a day this has been-it has been pretty wonderful whirlwind of a day. We were awake even a bit early this morning and before we are normally awake, I was putting away dishes and folding laundry. 
  • Soon our buddies started arriving, and the kids could hardly contain their excitement. Well, Whitman was pretty ready for everyone to go the minute that the arrived.
  • We had lots of activities planned, but first we started with breakfast. Heather had brought muffins and juice for all of the grownups. 
  • Then we started on all of the crafts. The kids made bath bombs, cookies in a jar, dipped chocolate spoons, candles, and sets of magnets. I was super dreading all of this, but it worked so much better than I could have ever imagined. 
  • The kitchen was of course a wreck after all of those craft projects, but we were able to sweep most things up before we started passing out lunch. The moms had brought potato soup and all of the sides for lunch. The kids ate outside and then played until we cleaned up the lunch mess. That was kind of the theme of the day-making a mess and then cleaning it up.
  • Anderson didn't eat any lunch because he said that he didn't like potato soup. I tried to explain that potato soup was like mashed potatoes but that didn't seem to help. Now, much later in the afternoon he was the child who was starving to which I said too bad!
  • The next activities were a snow man relay outside and then a massive game of bingo. After that, it was time for the kids to pass out the presents that they bought. Anderson opened a basketball, Campbell and Reagan had red box gift cards, Whitman had a blow gun toy and Graham and Keaton opened up candy. Everyone was pleased with their loot.
  • Then we went in the kitchen to sing Happy Birthday to all of the December birthdays-Anderson, Lily and Campbell. The kids enjoyed their cupcakes outside as the mommas started packing up. Ethan, Noah and Charlotte did stay at our house afterwards, but I made sure that they were willing to help pick up. 
  • Once everyone left, all the kids helped pick up the house and yard. I worked on the kitchen and just as I sat down, Robby pulled in. I think that he had been spying on me and didn't want to come home, until the work was finished. 
  • I had just a few minutes until it was time for us to load up to head back to church. We ran by the library first, and then on to church for supper. The kids were excited to get to church since the boys had a Christmas party-snacks and gifts (popcorn for Anderson and a Starbucks gift card for Graham), Whitman also had a party with cupcakes and games and Keaton and Campbell's party was cookies and games. Reagan was the only one without a party though they were supposed to wear their ugly Christmas sweaters tonight or bring their ugly friends. Ha!
  • Once we made it home, we ran over to the Wilson's house for a little bit. We had a snack over there and stayed and chatted for a good bit. Then it was time for home and bedtime for the crew-tomorrow is a big day around here!-a birthday!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 13 Days until Christmas

Hawaii was the 50th state for everyone (except for Whitman who soon made it to his 50th state in North Dakota). The cruise that we were on cruised through Glacier Bay National Park. There is something pretty spectacular about floating right up next to a glacier. The weather was a bit yucky outside, but we still braved the elements to take a few pictures outside. It was truly something to see. In the kids program, all of the kids were given Jr. Ranger badges and patches so one of those badges has now ended up on our tree. Here is that post.

December 11, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Another day with starting school a bit late. Today wasn't all my fault. Everyone had their breakfasts and were sitting in my room. I looked around and was missing a kid though. I guess I hadn't waken her up well enough. I ran up to wake her up and she groggily came down the steps.
  • This morning at the end of our reading, I did look over and see Anderson snoozing away. He was wide awake while we were reading about Bloody Mary, but I guess reading our picture book about The Best Christmas Ever put him to sleep. 
  • The kids did their school work, and things were fairly uneventful. I am having to watch everyone fairly closely to make sure they do their work with excellence. Now I did let Anderson skip one thing today-I needed help in getting the house ready for tomorrow. And I figure after doing two pages of math, handwriting, writing, parsing 10 sentences, and a host of other things that skipping one little thing won't kill him. 
  • Keaton headed out to the dentist for an appointment at noon. They found a cavity yesterday, and we sure wanted to get her in for her work before the end of the year, so I jumped at today's appointment. The first one they mentioned was today at 8, which would have been a stretch!
  • Keaton did perfectly at the dentist. Afterwards, she was rewarded with a drink. She sure hates shots at the doctor's office, but didn't seem to mind at all about anything that happened at the dentist office. And yes, our dentist has already text to check on her, if you ever need a recommendation let me know!
  • Back at home, we were in Homeschool Day prep mode. We straightened and then moved all of the chairs out of the kitchen. For some reason, the moms all decided earlier in the year that we all wanted to make crafts for the kids to gift on our December date. What in the world were we thinking? 
  • I have supplies to make bath bombs which we tried and failed at (maybe tomorrow will be better) and cookies in tiny little jars. Campbell helped me sample everything and set everything out. There will also be games, presents and card making. I love a party and my kids love a party with 18 of their closest friends. Yep, that is 23, actually 24, kids at the house tomorrow-don't be surprised that Robby will be working in Conway.
  • We worked all afternoon getting stuff ready. Then an hour before basketball practice, I ran to Walmart with the girls. Basketball practice was next. While I was sitting there, I remembered that I had a kid with a birthday this week so after practice, we headed off to Sams to buy some cupcakes for tomorrow. 
  • Once we made it home, showers were well underway. Robby made quesadillas for supper while I helped Reagan with her gift. Anderson asked for a snack tonight. We told him to find one and goodness the boy looked and looked for something and finally settled on cereal. I offered cereal to anyone else but didn't have any takers. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 14 Days Until Christmas

I think that we have seen just about every place that good ole Abe Lincoln has ever been. On our spur of the moment trip this September, we saw Lincoln's boyhood home plus in Dearborn at Greenfield Village, we walked through a courthouse that Lincoln practiced law at. In addition, right next door at the Henry Ford, they have the chair that Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated.

History is just pretty amazing and so is the wax figure maker at the Henry Ford. We thought we certainly needed a figure of Lincoln for our tree. Here are the pictures from the Henry Ford day of this year.  

December 10, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Even though I slept in today, I still had to wake everyone up. Once I did get everyone downstairs, we grabbed our breakfasts and started on school. I did have to keep calling Reagan's name while I was reading because I was not sure if she was asleep or just closing her eyes. My bet is that she was snoozing, but she sure would respond quickly when I did say her name.
  • School was fairly uneventful today. Whitman did work on one worksheet for about 30 minutes before lunch. Then after lunch, it took him about 4 minutes to finish it. I guess he realized that if he went ahead and finished it, then he could watch his ipad.
  • After we did our school, we straightened a few things around the house and even did some more reading this afternoon. Then it was time to leave for the dentist. 
  • Last time we went to the dentist thinking that everyone had appointments, they did not and I had the wrong date. This time, everyone did indeed have appointments. Here was the dentist rundown-Reagan: needs to brush better, Anderson: has a cavity that is on a baby tooth so we will just wait, Graham: needs to floss, Campbell: has an odd permanent tooth but no worries, Keaton: has a cavity which we will fix tomorrow, Whitman: lots of wear from grinding on his front teeth.
  • Now Whitman was the entertainment for the dentist today. He told then he was 100 years old. I did hear him once and peeked back there. It was taking 3 ladies to get him to do the xray. I felt bad for him-he was coughing and crying. Then he looked up at the lady and said, "you put that at the end of my throat." He recovered quickly and was soon just fine. 
  • After the dentist, I lost my mind and took the kids to the dollar store. Everyone bought a present for their homeschool buddy gift on Wednesday. Plus Keaton, Campbell and Graham bought Christmas presents for everyone in the house. I also had a few things to buy so we were in the store for what seemed like an hour or more. Then we even walked through Michael's before heading home.
  • Once at home, we eventually found our supper before Santa's wrapping workshop officially opened. Everyone wrapped their gifts and gracious there is definitely a difference in how girls wrap presents and how boys wrap presents. I eventually became tickled at Graham's pitiful wrapping. I am not the best wrapper by any means but that boy needs some wrapping lessons. 
  • Once the wrapping paper was put up, I did look over my list and determined that I do still need a whole day of shopping to finish up. Hopefully that can happen soon! Tomorrow though is school, dentist, basketball and prepping for homeschool day with 23 kiddos here.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 15 Days until Christmas

In June of this year, we weren't able to take a tour of Jewel Cave. However, we did walk a trail there and enjoy their visitor's center. We had already seen Wind Cave that day and really, once you see one cave, haven't you seen them all? (Kidding, kind of.)

Now, our favorite part of Jewel Cave is the cement box out front. Some of their cave tours require you to crawl though this little cement box before going on the tour. The kids delighted in shimmying through it. Robby and I were wise enough not to crawl around on the ground trying to squeeze through a box for no reason. However, the kids will never forget it though. Click here for that's days blog.

December 9, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Unfortunately, when we looked out the window this morning, there was no snow and not even any ice on the roads. How disappointing. I do love church and all, but I also really love snowy and icy weather. Oh, well, maybe another time. 
  • After waking the kids up, I went to work bagging up Christmas candy for the kids' Sunday school teachers. Only the men received candy so it didn't take too long. There were also 3 who were absent, so we are now eating their candy. It probably would have lasted another week-freshness wise, but it sure wouldn't last a week in this house without being eaten.
  • The boys had anxiously been watching the weather most of the evening and early night as well, so they were just as disappointed as I was. I had told them that I would leave them a note if anything was cancelled, so when I did wake up Graham already had his clothes on.
  • We did the church and Sunday school thing, and then headed to Grannymom's house to celebrate Dana's birthday. We ate and then Dana opened up her birthday presents. The girls then headed to Dana's house to see her puppies. They are enamored with those dogs and have both put a dog on their Christmas list-not going to happen.
  • This afternoon Robby and I had our Sunday afternoon naps. I did wake up in the middle of mine with a runny nose and sneezed about 15 times. I guess I am getting a little bit of a cold, but hopefully it won't last too long. I don't mind sneezing and sniffling but certainly don't want it to get any worse.
  • I then took Campbell, Keaton and Whitman to church to get ready for their singing tonight on the stage. Reagan had left church today with her Sunday school class to go and see her friend in a play. So she arrived back at church and her buddies all sat with us during the service, because when it was almost over Robby left to take them all to their life group Christmas party tonight. It is just one party after another for that girl-and people say homeschool kids are unsocialized.
  • Whitman's preschool group sang a few Christmas songs. He did great-it really looked like he was singing and he stood still on the stage with his fingers not in his nose or pants-we couldn't ask for more!
  • Campbell and Keaton sang next with the children's choir. They also did really well. After church, I ran by Burger King to buy my crew supper. 
  • Robby ran home for a few minutes before heading out again to pick up Reagan. She had a big time at her party tonight and they were out until after 10. Robby said they were busy playing games when he arrived so he came in and had a drink as they finished up. Reagan did leave with a pair of socks as her gift. 
  • Once she made it home, everyone was put in bed with lots of warning about tomorrow being a full school day! It has been over a week since we have had a full day of school, and Mondays' aren't always the easiest!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 16 Days until Christmas

In September, we had the opportunity to hit one of the places on Robby's list-the Heinz History Museum. This was like a Smithsonian focused on the history of Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas plus it was like our Museum of Discovery.

Keaton had been sick the night before, so even though I was walking through the museum with trash bags in my pockets just in case, we all had a really good time. They had a section devoted to Mr. Rogers and his tv show. On the way there, the kids watched and we listened to a documentary about Fred Rogers.

The museum was pretty neat and I am glad that we stopped by. At the end, we were all rewarded with miniature ketchup bottles for doing a scavenger hunt. Those ketchup bottles now end up on my Christmas tree. Click here to read that day's adventures.

December 8, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Basketball day #2, and my people were a little slower to wake up. Today would have been a perfect day to just stay in bed! Whitman sure tried.
  • Keaton had the first game this morning, with all of our crew, our grands, the Heltz crew and the Kamps crew we filled up an entire bleacher plus some. We were also a teeny bit noisy! Keaton's team did win, and we think that Keaton scored a couple of points. 
  • After her game, we had a few hours to kill before the next game so everyone headed home. Keaton and Whitman went with Grannymom to her house. There they had a few snacks, read a few books, played a few games and Keaton even pulled a tooth. Now, all she wants for Christmas is her two top teeth. Now, Whitman did let us know tonight that he "hates that song."
  • At home, Campbell made a batch of peanut butter cookies with the Hershey kiss on top. Reagan used the cricut to make a mug for her life groups white elephant gift. And I made candy to give to the kids Sunday school teachers. Though the weather is looking dicey tonight so I am not too sure if church will happen or not. I guess if I get off the couch and bag up the goodies, then we will not have church. If I don't and just wait and see until the morning, then we will have church. 
  • Then it was back to Immanuel for Campbell's game. Her team won-we were playing Eden's team so the whole bleacher full group was back. Campbell didn't score any points-she is one of the youngest on her team so that gives her a bit of a disadvantage. Last year she was a super scorer every game, but this year she is not there just yet. 
  • Graham's game was next. His team did well, but still lost. They held the other team and both had low scores. He was the point guard most of the time. We did give Graham a hard time because he sure had a hard time holding his hands up high when he was guarding his man. I guess my boy is a good Baptist!
  • Then there was an hour break before Anderson's game. We all loaded up and headed to Sonic to get a drink since it was Happy Hour. Then it was back to the court. Graham was sure hoping that he would be able to play some on Anderson's team since he had the same color uniform, and we knew they would be out some players. However, they would have been considered a forfeit-the coaches had already asked since they were concerned that they would have their needed 4 players.
  • Thankfully, everyone showed up and the did have 4 guys there. This meant that they all played the entire game. There was one player on the other team who was at least 1 foot taller than Anderson, and that was the guy that he guarded for most of the game. He worked hard and his team pulled off the win-in the last seconds! Anderson did score the points to tie up the game. It was an exciting game and great way to end the basketball afternoon.
  • Back at home, it was showers for the players. Then the kids all made pizzas for their supper. We did a lot of watching the weather and lots more watching of Christmas movies. We also pulled out Santa down to start our countdown of Christmas. We usually do this every night in December, but seem to be running a bit behind. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 17 Days until Christmas

We had a long day of driving this May but still stopped for a little bit of fun in Spokane, Washington. The first stop in Spokane was a huge Radio Flyer Wagon that had a slide down the handle. Whitman climbed up it and slid down. He actually slid down so fast that he never stopped and flew at least 3 feet after the end of the slide.

Just a few blocks down the way was the Loof Carousel. It was built in 1909. Even after Robby had told the kids that we weren't going to ride it, he was soon in the line buying them tickets. Who can pass up having a bit of fun on a historic carousel? Here are the pictures and write up from that day.

December 7, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • I had told the kids last night that we would work together this morning at 9, and I had also said that we would have muffins for breakfast. When Keaton walked int my room near 9, she was quick to tell me that I had not yet made the muffins.
  • After a bit, I did get up to work on those muffins. Keaton and Campbell did most of it for me. Now, this morning we had muffins not from the little pouch but from a brand name box. However, my kiddos turned their nose up at the nicer muffins. It didn't matte that I tried to tell them that these muffins were more expensive than what we normally eat. Later though, I tried one of those muffins and indeed they were right. The cheap bag muffins were much better than the brand name box.
  • We did our morning reading, and them I sent everyone off to work on their chores. We didn't seem to have much time because before I knew it, we were grabbing lunch, loading up and heading to Sams.
  • Our homeschool group rang the Salvation Army bell all day long today in front of Sams. Our shift was from 1-2:30. The kids really had a lot of fun doing it this year. Whitman and Keaton sang their hearts out with the rest of us-people seem to donate more when we were singing, and when we had Keaton and Whitman prominently placed in the front of our group. 
  • Once older lady put some money in the kettle and then handed me a 20 dollar bill. She told me to buy the kids some coke and pizza inside of Sams. I immediately looked at our clothes to see if we looked homeless. No, because of the big kids library class presentation and our Christmas party later at night, we had on church clothes. Hopefully, those don't look too homeless looking. 
  • We did go into Sams to buy a coke, but I do think that the rest of the ladies money will be put in the offering plate at church. Meanwhile, Robby, Reagan and Anderson were in Sams buying a coffee mug for a project. As they were in the line checking out, the person in front of them paid for their coffee mug. Maybe, we do need to invest in some better clothes or maybe people are just full of Christmas cheer. 
  • Robby took the 3 littles home from Sams while I headed to the children's library with the 3 bigs. Today was the day of the semester presentations for their library class. I believe that they all did well and had fun during their class.
  • Thankfully, they were finished a few minutes early so we hightailed it back home. We were there a few minutes and were able to help Robby get the food ready. Most everything was already ready but since we had been gone all day, he had to finish up the last little bit. Then we loaded up to leave to our Thursday night crew Christmas party.
  • We have been getting together with this group for over 20 years and our Christmas' have grown from just a few of us to a house full of grown ups and kiddos. Our food was plentiful and the conversation lively. Everyone had a good time, and we stayed out way too late for folks that will spend the morning, the day in fact, at the basketball court.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 18 Days until Christmas

In 4 days after leaving home this May, we were already in the middle of Grand Teton National Park. The next day we were knee dip in Grand Teton. Well, most everyone was knee deep in Jenny Lake. However, as Robby was conducting an icy feet challenge, everyone was standing still in the water.

Whitman though didn't understand and took off deeper and deeper in the water. He kept going until Robby and I were shouting at the kids to grab him. We were not going to put our feet in the icy water. Eventually, Whitman saw Graham racing to him and heard us all shouting at him. This, of course, scared him so he started racing back to the shore. Graham was splashing water in his pursuit, Whitman was slinging water as he was running...needless to say Whitman was drenched by the time he made it back to shore.

We had a good laugh, took some more pictures and walked back to the car to change his clothes before heading off on a gorgeous hike through the Grand Tetons. Click here to read about that memorable day.

December 6, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • I did forget to mention this from yesterday. As we were getting ready to leave Grannymom's house yesterday, I had Whitman go potty. He was in the bathroom for a long while so I went to see what was taking him so long. 
  • I opened the door and the boy was not near the potty. He was, however, laying down in the bathtub. What in the world? I am not sure about what he was doing-surely he wasn't trying to hide. Whatever he was doing, he is just one special child. Gracious me.
  • Have you ever heard a noise in the middle of the night and just knew it was someone talking to you? Last night, I clearly heard Anderson call me. I jumped up, listening and waiting. After waiting a good long time, I finally decided that no one was awake upstairs. It might possibly have been Robby talking in his sleep as he occasionally does. 
  • Our morning was fairly uneventful. We did our together work and then the kids started on their school. They had a bit less today since I had to pull it all out last night. We had planned on being in Branson today, just like last week, so I didn't have school ready. Now, next week, come rain, sleet or snow we will be in Branson.
  • Since I had a bit of extra time, I did make grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. Everyone we very pleased about the lunch, but I think that were especially pleased about the jar of apple sauce that I opened up as well. They just about demolished the entire jar. Maybe we should have applesauce more often.
  • Then we did some chores and afterwards, it was time for some mini gingerbread houses. Yesterday, at the library the librarian asked if we would like some. They had a gingerbread decorating house party and had extras, so she gave me 6 little houses and trees to decorate. She even gave us a bag full of candy to put on the houses. The boys were finished first with Keaton and Whitman next. Surprisingly, this time Campbell took more time than Reagan. It is interesting to see everyone's creations. They can not wait for our real gingerbread house decorating party.
  • This afternoon was filled with some baking-oreo fudge and pumpkin muffins. As soon as things were finished in the kitchen, it was time for supper and for me to head to basketball with Graham. 
  • I took him as the others ate. I did run a few errands while Graham was at practice. Then I hurried to pick up Graham. They had moved Anderson's practice back an hour so when we came home, Anderson and Robby left a few minutes later. 
  • While they were gone, the kids finished their showers. Soon Anderson and Robby were back home. We did give the kids a bit of time to play before it was soon bedtime. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 19 Days until Christmas

The little town of Skagway is just that-a little town. It didn't take too long for us to walk around it while we were docked there this May. We did have enough time to get some drinks, ice cream and popcorn while we were off the boat.

The kids were able to snag their Jr. Ranger badges while off the boat in Skagway. Once we did head back to the boat, the kids went straight to the rock climbing wall. It was a pretty relaxing day. Click here for the blog post from the day.

December 5, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Robby went upstairs to wake the crew up this morning. Graham and Anderson were already up and dressed so Robby did ask if they could wear shorts. We did let them-shorts are fine with a jacket but not sandals. That was our ultimate decision on that. Silly boys wearing shorts, meanwhile I am thinking about wearing long underwear under my jeans.
  • Everyone worked on their clothes, breakfasts and even lunches. I usually make our Wednesday lunches on Tuesday night, but since the kids throw a tiny amount in the bag, I figured that we had time this morning. 
  • We then loaded up and headed off to Bible study. Today was the last Bible for the holidays so everyone also had their teacher gifts with them. The kids enjoyed their last day at Bible study, but I think that they really enjoyed the extra candy and cookies that they had.
  • None of our buddies went to the park today, so instead we went to Walmart and then Bed Bath and Beyond. At the last store, the kids found the message chairs. They stayed sitting on those chairs with their shoes off for at least 20 minutes. Seriously, we were there forever. They loved those chairs so I guess we might just have to come back again during the Christmas holidays.
  • We then went to Grannymom's house to eat our lunches. The girls ate quickly because we then rushed off to another store. We did half of our shopping there so I do plan on going back tomorrow. 
  • Then it was to the doctor for the girls' physicals. We had just told Keaton that she wouldn't have to have a shot when the doctor suggested that we take her blood for an allergy screening. She then began to cry quietly at first, but it continued until the doctor decided that she better just do the blood draw now before the child lost her mind. She didn't say those exact words, but that is what we were all thinking.
  • Keaton sobbed during the entire thing, but did sit as still as she could. I distracted her with my phone and playing a game on it, but that helped just a tad bit. Once it was over, she calmed down and we finally went on with Campbell and Keaton's appointments.
  • Kennedy joined us and then we ran to Grannymom's house to pick up our boys. Then it was on to Sonic to pick up our supper followed my usual Wednesday trip to the library. Finally, we made it right back to where we started the day-church. We were at another one, but still a church house. It was a pretty crazy long day, which I think that I enjoyed, but I am still glad that tomorrow will be a bit slower.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 20 Days until Christmas

Badlands National Park is just a pretty amazing place. Your first reaction to it would not be to say that it is gorgeous or pretty. However, it is just striking. One word I would use to describe Badlands was HOT. We had our picnic in partial shade while the kids climbed up a huge badland-ish hill.

The Badlands is a place that it is nice to visit, but nice to drive away from in an air conditioned car. Here is that day's blog.

December 4, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • As expected, it was 7:50 when I rolled out of bed this morning, but by 8:05 we were all in my bedroom already starting on our morning reading. Keaton was the last one out of bed this morning. 
  • I did make grabbing our breakfast a bit quicker since I told everyone that this morning would be a cereal morning. We have at least 10 choices so there certainly would be some for everyone though Keaton decided that she didn't want any and Reagan turned her nose up at the off brand cereal I bought for her and Graham. That was fine with Graham because that just meant more for him.
  • School was fairly uneventful this morning. I did find out that a few of my people have been slacking on some of their work. That of course didn't make me too happy. After the words I shared with them today, those two children will make sure that they do not "forget" any of their school work again.
  • I used to have a lunch menu so we would all have the same thing. I have been a bit lazy on that lately so at lunch time, there are 6 people in the kitchen making lunches-Whitman isn't make his lunch but I am. Today's lunches consisted off: turkey and cheese tortilla, ham and cheese sandwich, potato casserole, cheese quesadilla, peanut butter on a tortilla, egg and cheese bagel, and breakfast burritos. It is like we are in a restaurant kitchen-of course by the end of lunch, the kitchen is trashed!
  • This afternoon there were lots of projects happening. Graham and Keaton worked on Christmas gifts. Campbell and Keaton straightened their drawers. Campbell and I repaired her broken drawer. Anderson and I did a little Christmas shopping on Amazon. Campbell and Keaton played outside some. Whitman and I read a few books. Everyone read a little bit. It was a busy afternoon. 
  • Charlotte came over right before we all loaded up for basketball-well, Campbell, Keaton and Charlotte. They had their practice as I read a little bit. Then it was time to head home for supper. Robby had supper ready-lots of leftovers. We worked on cleaning out the fridge just a little bit.
  • This evening, there were showers and lots of ipad time. Then once the kids headed to bed, there was even a Christmas movie!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 21 Days until Christmas

Robby and I went to Mendenhall Glacier before kids when we went on a cruise. I don't really remember much about it, but I do know that the glaci
er looked a lot smaller this time. This May when we saw the glacier, we were pretty excited to be there. This was our first stop off of the boat so the kids had their "I've been to all 50 states" sign to hold up for some pictures.

We were fighting the rain during out visit there. We tried once to take pictures but they didn't work too well. When the rain cleared, we took a mile hike closer to the glacier. The rain stopped briefly and we were able to take some pretty awesome pictures of the kids celebrating their all 50 state accomplishment. Here is the blog post from that day.

December 3, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Monday morning and the only one awake this morning was Anderson. I had to wake everyone else up, and no one was very quick to leave their beds. It works the best if I bring Whitman downstairs, but he is so dang heavy as I hoist him out of bed and then carry him down the stairs that I don't know if I can do it much longer. I will probably just have to leave him upstairs sleeping soundly even though he will miss the first half of school.
  • I really should be hauling Reagan down the steps too in the mornings. She has gotten a bit better about getting out of bed but is still the last. I am sure that she really will be the last one tomorrow since we stayed up until 10:30 watching a movie tonight. 
  • Everyone ate their breakfast as I was reading. We even read the Polar Express today. I have only heard the movie (not seen it since we were driving in the car), but the book did seem to be nothing like the movie. Anyway, we also did some real school reading, but it wasn't nearly as exciting. 
  • School went well for a Monday. Since the kids can pick the extra work that they want to do, on the first days of the week, they always pick the easiest things. This means that everyone was finished a bit early. Well, Whitman didn't finish earlier at all. 
  • I was about to become very frustrated with Whitman as he finished up his last bit of school work-putting skip counting cards in order. The cards counted by 5s from 5 to 100. He was jumping all over the room, spinning and dancing and taking forever. Then I looked down at his work-it was right. He was just doing his work his own way. Now, he did get hung up around the 50s so I had to stay with him until he was finished. Keaton would have done this last year in 2 minutes tops. Whitman took at least 20-everyone is different.
  • We read some more during lunch and then the kids started on chores. Campbell and I ran to pick up Robby's contacts and then for an orthodontist consult for her. Our dentist had said that it was time for her to at least visit the orthodontist because she has one tooth that is much smaller than it should be. 
  • Thankfully, they said that isn't a big deal and no need for braces just yet. When the time comes for braces, they will just leave a space for that tooth and after braces she will eventually get a crown on that tooth to make it be the right size. Finding out that she doesn't yet need braces was wonderful news to Campbell and wonderful news to our pocketbook.  However, since Anderson has lost 5 teeth in the past few weeks, I am sure that we will be there next year with him!
  • Once I made it home with Campbell, I turned right around and headed out again. This time, I ran to Sams and Walmart. Then on to Kroger to buy some groceries. I was able to buy a few things for Christmas. I just counted and still have 24 gifts left to buy. Don't panic though, I think I can get it all accomplished. Some of those gifts are small like a pair of socks yet some of those gifts I still have no idea what to buy. 
  • When I made it home, Robby made chili for supper. After we ate, everyone played the game Farkle. We all had fun-Anderson and Whitman especially since they tied for first. Anderson did win in a roll off so the trophy was moved to his shelf. 
  • Next up was hair cuts for the boys followed by another Hallmark movie. Now, unfortunately our movie kept everyone up a bit too late. School might just have to start a bit later than planned in the morning!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 22 Days until Christmas

In 2015, Robby and I first visited the Minuteman Missile NHS in South Dakota. It was brand new and the visitor's center was set up in a trailer and to get to the missile we rode in a park rangers truck. This year, when we returned, everything was much nicer. They had a huge visitor's center with lots of pictures and activities.

We didn't get to tour a missile this time and I was certainly glad that I didn't have to ride in a the cab of a truck with a strange man again. (I've done that plenty-well, just one other time coming home from Memphis when we had to have our car towed.) The boys would have loved seeing the real missile silos, so I guess that we will probably have to go back sometime. Click here to read more about that day of our trip. 

December 2, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • It helped that I had laid out everyone's clothes this morning. I knew that we had a lot of Christmas activities today, so I decided that I would pull out the kids' Sunday clothes last night. I tried to find some Christmasy things, but Whitman and Keaton were the only ones that I could find Christmas duds for.
  • Church was great this morning, and Sunday school was even better. The children's group went from room to room working on mission projects during out Sunday school time. It was a lot of fun-so much so that I wish we could do something like that every single week.
  • After Sunday school, we were still in the parking lot when I realized that I couldn't find my phone. We pulled over for me to look everywhere in the front seat. Robby then looked for it on findphone, and it looked like it was in the sanctuary. Robby dropped Keaton and me off, and we headed to the sanctuary. It wasn't there so I looked downstairs and she looked upstairs. She was the one who found it, and it was already dinging looking for us.
  • From there, we zoomed to Nonna's house. Nonna had sack lunches ready to go for us. We all ate in the car on the way to the Governor's Mansion. Today was the day of their open house so that was our first stop. 
  • I am not really sure what the decorations looked like the years before. This year the theme was a Natural Christmas, and I thought that the decorations were absolutely beautiful. The prettiest that I can remember seeing. It would have been a beautiful place to take family portraits.
  • Our next stop was just down the road at Historic Arkansas Museum for their Holiday event. The kids made bags for their loot. Put cloves in oranges which truly smell really good. Then we saw Santa again before having some cider and gingerbread. Whitman made a smelly sachet which he was so proud to make for me as an "early Christmas gift."
  • We drove to the River Market to see the reindeer that are in town. However, there were quite a few people there so we opted not to stop and just check out the reindeer as we drove by. Then it was home for a little bit before we all left again. 
  • Robby took all of the girls to drop of Reagan for her life group and to pick up Lily and Eden to meet the rest of us. I dropped Anderson and Graham off at Shannon's house to play with Brett while Shannon, Whitman and I met the others. 
  • Rock Creek her their Christmas festivities tonight-there were games, hot chocolate, popcorn, petting zoo, a live nativity and even a play. The kids had a great time, and when it was over Robby took the girls to pick up Reagan.
  • We all met back at the Wilson's house for supper. The kids started playing the game Risk. Unfortunately, they had barely started when we finally said that it was time to leave! They did convince Shannon to let them leave it out so maybe they can finish soon. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 23 Days until Christmas

Yellowstone is definitely one of my favorite places. We have all been a few times now and even though we have seen a lot of it, I would love to go there and stay in the Old Faithful Inn for a few days, possibly even a week.

Old Faithful, the geyser, is neat and pretty amazing and the scenery and wildlife there is breathtaking, but Old Faithful Inn is what makes this place so special. Our first time to stay there, Anderson was a baby. He had excema, we didn't yet know what it was, so I walked the deserted halls with him all night long.

The next time, we were there when Campbell was a baby it snowed 18 inches that night. We had the most wonderful room. Not only was it huge, but we could look out the window and see Old Faithful.

This year, we weren't able to stay overnight in the park, but I can't wait until we can go back and just park ourselves in the rocking chairs in front of the massive stone fireplace. Here is the post from this years, Yellowstone day.

December 1, 2018

(click here for today's pictures)

  • As soon as I opened the girls' door, Keaton sat up and said, "that was perfect timing. I just woke up." I think that she was one excited little girl. Reagan and Campbell were up fairly quickly too, but Whitman took a bit to wake up. Robby had to close the blinds in our room so it would be dark enough for him to get ready without it hurting his eyes.
  • On the way to the courts, we stopped at Krispy Kreme to pick up some doughnuts. Since they had no doughnuts, we headed to Shipleys. Robby picked up our breakfast, and we ate in the car before he dropped off Keaton and me at Immanuel.
  • She got her jersey and put it on, and then counted down the minutes until her game. Keaton did really well during her game. She was certainly not afraid to guard the other team, and she even scored 4 points. Her team won their game, and afterwards we headed home.
  • We had a bit of time at home before the next games. I did some laundry and some dishes. I think that I did something else, but soon it was time to load back up again. Whitman was not too pleased about having to go to back to the gym.
  • Campbell and I ran into the store to pick up some new shoes for her. Then we ate lunch at Freddies before walking around Sams. The main purchase at Sams was tortillas because we go through them like hot cakes and zyrtec because Keaton's excema is crazy bad right now.
  • Then it was on to game 2 and 3. Campbell was on one side and Graham was on the other. They both did really well, I do believe that Graham scored 4 points and Campbell scored 2 (I think). They both had fun and really played hard. Graham was the point guard the entire time, and when it was Campbell's turn to set out, her first words to her coach were, "can I stay in?" Campbell's team won by quite a few points, but Graham's team did lose by a few points.
  • Finally, we had Anderson's game. My boy hustled the entire time. He did score only 1 point, but played great. His team was pretty interesting to watch. One of his coaches is pretty intense, but that didn't seem to bother Anderson at all. Now, they did win partly because the one kid on their team who is taller than the coaches-and yes, the kids is a 5th or 6th grader. Ha!
  • After the games, it was back home for a little bit again. Most folks had showers and before I realized it, we were leaving again. This time for Nonna's house. We had a pizza delivered over there and met Robby who had been out running some errands. 
  • We ate, and the kids played some before we headed home for the evening. Campbell and Whitman had their showers, and then Reagan and I watched a Christmas movie before everyone was quickly ushered to bed.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2018: 24 Days until Christmas

The stockings are hung by the chimney with car, the tree is decorated and Christmas music is playing throughout the house, so I know that it is time for my annual Christmas ornament countdown. This is my 7th year to do an ornament blog. I have been able to highlight almost all of my ornaments. After this year, I will still have about 15 left to blog about another year.

This year, we have been to the Pacific Ocean, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. So with all of those stops, I collected way more than 25 ornaments to blog about this year. Some I spent no money on and others, I spent a bit more than I would have liked.

Today's ornament is in the category. When I first saw it, I immediately liked it, but I didn't really want to pay 10 dollars for it. Yes, I know that I have paid much more many times before. I passed on buying it, and we left the store.

For the next few days, that ornament was all that I could think about. I finally decided that I wanted it. I looked online and couldn't find it. We made it back to a store that would have it, and they did not have the ornament. Robby dropped me off at another store with no luck again.

I had almost given up hope, but when we stopped again at one of these stores, there it was. Graham was standing right in front of it, and it was like a halo adorning his head. If you are wondering what store we frequent so much on a vacation, well, it is 7-Eleven.

Their Slurpees there make all of my people very, very happy. They will ride in the car happily for miles and miles with the promise of a slurpee. Some of them even talk about owning a 7-Eleven in Little Rock someday.

Now, my Slurpee ornament is happily hanging on my tree, and I have probably learned my lesson about not buying something when I see it the first time!