July 22, 2019

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  • It was nice sleeping in a little bit today. Campbell, who really needed some rest, slept until after 10. The rest of the boys were up fairly early-as in, I was just getting out of bed when I noticed Graham outside hitting the ball with his new bat.
  • The morning went by fairly quickly-laundry, dishes, reading to Whitman and the treadmill. After I finished the treadmill, I helped to finish packing Campbell. I thought that she was packing in a large suitcase (carry on size), but when I took her to camp, I was surprised to see that she was actually packed in a tiny suitcase compared to the other girls.
  • After noon, we headed to take the campers to camp. Campbell and Graham were be at Camp Paron for a few days. I know that they are going to have a super time. Graham, just like his older brother does, gave me a hug before he got on the bus while Campbell, just like her older sister does, did not even wave bye to me when she got on the bus.
  • After leaving church, I headed to Third Realm with Keaton and Whitman. I thought that I would try to defy the statistics one more time and leave with no injuries. We were indeed able to leave with no injuries so that is a win. They had fun jumping, and I took my computer and was able to accomplish a few things.
  • The rest of this afternoon seemed to fly by. I did spend some time on the computer getting things ready to make another shirt or two tomorrow. It is kind of fun designing shirts-or coping someone else's design of a shirt.
  • Robby, Keaton and I did run out for dinner. We had a mystery shop so the others stayed home while we went to eat. I think that they were a bit bummed that we had such yummy food while they had leftovers-they had a choice to go with us. But when we did get home, they did devour all of my leftovers!
  • We watched a bit of a magic show thing on tv then I played Monopoly with Anderson, Whitman and Keaton. Reagan opted to take a shower while we did that! It was an exciting evening around here-not really! 

July 21, 2019-5th Trip to Branson

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The plan was for us to wake up at 8:30 this morning. We were going to let the kids sleep in. I woke up before my alarm went off-went to the bathroom, dropped my water bottle and realized that I did a poor job of closing the blinds. As I was crawling back in bed thinking that my girls sure must not be tire to sleep through all of my racket, Robby text telling me that the boys were all still asleep so he was going to let them sleep a bit longer.

I did the same, but after a while I did get myself ready and woke up the girls. They moved fairly quickly because my crew was almost all dressed when I went to take a load of cords to Robby's room. I opened the door to see that Anderson and Whitman were awake but still in their pajamas while Graham was still sound asleep. Robby went to eat breakfast-I tell you, he loves his sausage and biscuits.

There is something wonderful about loading up in a motel. It took us about .3 seconds to load up the van and pull out of the parking lot. There is nothing better than parking right in front of your room. All of us except for Robby had missed the hotel breakfast, so we stopped at Krispy Kreme. Everyone else in Branson also stopped at the Krispy Kreme. It was so crazy that Robby didn't even try to park, he just dropped us off and came back when we called after buying our doughnuts.

We ate our doughnuts in the car on the ride home. Robby and I spent most of our drive home working on our packing lists for upcoming trips. We have completely revamped how we pack in the car, and it is throwing us for a loop. For example, he forgot shredded cheese in the ice chest and I forget my pivotal brown bag that I carry into and out of every hotel. We needed a better list, and I made one.

We stopped at our regular McDonalds, and the women's bathroom line was incredibly long. We should have known that it would be since it was that way on the way up to Branson. That was our only stop on the way home. When we did make it home, our unpacking went the most smoothly that it has ever gone before. We, seriously, were like a well oiled machine. It was pretty amazing-I almost would have had time to squeeze in a nap.

After the laundry was finished, I helped Campbell and Graham pack for camp. This is the last camp of the year and I can't be more than happy about it. I am done with summer. Once the packing was finished, it was time to run a few errands.

Graham, Campbell and Keaton went with Robby and me to get gas, run by Walmart and do some Krogering. They all left happy since they each bought something-Graham a wiffle ball bat, Campbell and Keaton each bought rompers which I think are hideous but they love.

We also picked up pizza and brought it to the Wilson's house to celebrate their homecoming from their crazy long trip. We did have ulterior motives because we asked them about a zillion questions about Disney. Once we learned everything that we could for the night and once it was past bedtime, we headed home ourselves.

The kids went right to bed, they were tired and there are lots of folks around here with the sniffles. 

July 20, 2019-5th Trip to Branson

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So this is my second blog since I just deleted the one that I worked on today in the car, and by the swimming pool and the one that I worked on as the girls were showering. Needless to say, this one might be a bit shorter than the other one that I have already worked on. 

I didn't sleep that well last night. Well, I didn't feel like I had slept very well, but my watch said that I did sleep over 7 hours. I did have some crazy dreams which did make my night a bit more entertaining. When I woke up though I felt super rested so that was good.

Most everyone opted for leftover doughnuts for breakfast. Keaton did walk to the breakfast area with Robby and me. I had a muffin while Robby had his sausage and biscuits. Keaton opted for the not traditional breakfast food of popcorn. 

We then drove on to Silver Dollar City. As we were driving up, we could tell that it was going to be a crowded day. Robby did mention that we were a bit later than he wanted for us to be. He dropped us off so Reagan wouldn't have to walk so far on her ankle. Yesterday was quite a bit for her, but she did seem to recover nicely last night. 

The kids split up some in line for Time Traveler and some in line for Thunderation. The lines weren't too bad but I couldn't figure out why they weren't open yet since it was after 9. Then I looked at the app to discover that the park wasn't open until 9:30 so that was good. The kids were able to ride those rides with the Heltz before we moved on to another ride or two or twelve.

My kids aren't afraid of anything and ride pretty much anything all of the time. Campbell is the main rider and won't ever sit anything out. When we split up with some folks going one way and others another way, she is the one who is torn because she wants to do both rides.

It was crowded and hot today. When we left, Reagan tried to take Whitman on the log ride, but after she saw the huge line she turned him around. Apparently, everyone was at the water rides and not on the roller coasters so the kids were able to ride quite a bit.

We stayed until noonish and then headed back to the hotel. We fired up the panini maker for our sandwiches. The kids said that they were better with the panini maker so I guess we will be taking it on trips from now. 

Afterwards, some folks climbed in the pool-Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman. I went out there with them and since there was no shade, I sat under an umbrella and almost sweated to death. I was miserable and probably got a little bit too hot even though they just stayed for about 40 minutes. I should have gotten in the pool so I wouldn't have had to fry in the sun.

When the kids left the pool, Robby headed to the laundry room with the clothes. He washed clothes while I took my nap. He was napping while I had the kids swimming so I did feel like it was my turn and it was a super wonderful nap. When the laundry was finished, Robby and I folded it.

Then it was time for us to go shopping. We used our coupon at the Disney store and left with 3 shirts for Anderson, another shirt for Graham and one for me. Then we walked through the sweltering heat to the Vera Bradley store. Robby had a coupon and of course I found a bag-I do just love bags!

Supper was next but we sure didn't want to eat anything hot. Keaton and Whitman opted for McDonald's hamburgers while the rest of us had smoothies and half sandwiches from Tropical Smoothie. The smoothies were delicious and they cooled us off enough to head back to Silver Dollar City.

The park was open until 10 tonight and not only was it hot, but it was also crowded. We were still able to ride quite a few rides. The kids enjoyed seeing the park at night-I did not! It was a bit too dark for me so it was a bit difficult to keep up with everyone. 

We did find the clearance store along with a few funnel cakes. Everyone had fun and all enjoyed seeing the fireworks. Some of the kids were on rides or even in line for rides during the fireworks. Robby and I were behind some trees watching them-that is how we like to see them.

We stayed until after 10 and had to fight the crowds to get out of the park. We did ride a shuttle to the car which helped Reagan with a few steps. She was definitely slowing down by the end of the night. Once we made it back to the hotel, everyone had to shower, drink some water and go to bed. It is now 11:30, Campbell is watching tv, Reagan is on her ipad, Keaton is asleep and I still have my shower to take! It was a hot day but it was sure a lot of fun!

July 19, 2019-5th Trip to Branson

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What a wonderful morning-I slept until around 8:30. I did stir briefly before then when I heard someone getting ice out of the ice maker. But then it was right back to sleep for me. We had planned to leave this morning around 11 and it took us until right at 11 to get ready to go.

I did work on the laundry first then there were dishes. When I try to go back and list everything that we I did this morning, I really have a hard time thinking of exactly what I did do. At some point, I did make lunches for everyone. We had thought that making lunches at home would be easier but when Robby looked all around the kitchen at the mess that I had made, he mentioned that maybe making lunches in the car doesn't create such a big mess.

Around 11, we pulled out and headed to Branson. We stopped at our normal McDonalds and even saw someone that we know. Then it was back on the road. The hotel did call on the way to say that the credit card didn't work. Robby called them back, and they told him that they had cancelled his reservations. It was fine though since we had time to run over there before finding the Heltz at Silver Dollar City.

We had been worried about Reagan today so we tried to make it easier on her, but there just aren't too many ways to make things easy for her walking so much. She did fine and hobbled around much better when Alyssa showed her that she was wearing the ankle brace backwards. She did fairly well, but did ask for a piggy back ride from Robby at one point.

It was hot today and there seemed to be a lot of people at the park, but there were little waits on all of the rides. Some of us went on Time Traveler and others on Thunderation. The Time Traveler line is usually long but today we finished both rides at about the same time.

From there, we went to the log ride. Whitman and Robby rode it twice while the others went to Wildfire. Then it was on to some more roller coasters one right after the other. The kids love them and Whitman goes on any ride that he can and when he isn't tall enough, he is content to just sit around and drink our drink. 

By the way, we bought a cup which gives you free refills in the park. You can have cokes or even icess. We refill it probably about 10 to 15 times each day. Even though we paid a lot of money on that cup, those poor park people are losing money on our drink! We get a refill, down it and then immediately walk right back to the same place to refill it again. Now, we just need to see how we can split a bottomless milkshake at Disney World.

We stayed at the parks until almost closing at 7. Robby tried to walk ahead and so he could pick up Reagan and the rest of us, but Reagan didn't want to stop and sit so we almost walked the entire way back to the car before we met up with Robby.

Back at the hotel, some had showers while Robby and I worked on supper-chicken tortillas. We thought that this hotel didn't have a microwave so we brought our panini maker, but dang it we forgot our shredded cheese. No worries though-we had planned on cheese and crackers tomorrow at the park but used that cheese on the tortillas tonight and they were delicious. We don't know if they were so good because of the cheese or because of the panini maker.

As Robby and I were making that delicious meal, Whitman was taking a bath. He was in the bath when I walked in the room so I really paid no attention to what was happening. A few minutes later, Robby jumped up and ran to the bathroom. By Robby's reaction when he opened the door, I knew exactly what was happening! I looked over his shoulder and saw that the water was so high that Whitman was about to float out of the bathtub. Seriously, he was about to float over the top of the bathtub. There was water everywhere!

When we finished supper, we headed to Krispy Kreme to get doughnuts. Since the one at home has closed the kids have been in withdrawls. They even passed out hot ones-they were all delicious. Graham even tried to get a 4th doughnuts when we had to cut him off. Someone even suggested that we try to open one up at home and do it right.

Back at the hotel, the rest of the people had their showers while I sat in the boys room and did my blog. Then it was bedtime for the crew-but first medicine for Reagan and her leg, ice for her leg and ear drops for Keaton (she is getting over swimmers ear.)

Tonight as we were putting ice on Reagan's ankle, she unbandaged it and saw that it was even more bruised than earlier. There is now a bruise on both side of her ankle-this was almost too much for Reagan. She said that she felt sick just looking at it. We might have to take it a bit easier tomorrow!

July 18, 2019

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  • We woke up Keaton and Whitman and herded them off to camp. Since Campbell was at Grannymom's house, and Reagan was obviously sleeping, I had the morning to myself. I marked my list of quickly and was soon sitting in my chair reading my book. I didn't read too much since I was waiting on Robby to come home. He had picked up some craft supplies for me.
  • So I spent the rest of my morning working on getting ready to make a few more Disney shirts. I am not a super crafty person, but it is sure fun to be able to make something. Today I was working on a shirt for Robby. I don't have his shirt yet, but will be able to knock it out quickly when I buy his shirt.
  • Reagan did hobble downstairs around lunch time. If it wasn't for the kitchen being down stairs, I don't think that she would ever come down. She is just as content as she can be up in her room, and since summer is just going to last for about one more week around here-why not enjoy it? 
  • After lunch, Grannymom and Grandpa brought Campbell home. She had a great evening and morning over there and even did some shopping. While they were here, Reagan found a recipe that she wanted to make. She convinced Campbell to make the cupcakes while she went to town making blueberry icing.
  • The icing was delicious-anytime you have 5 cups of powdered sugar in something, then it is bound to be good. However, the texture of the icing was almost slimy. This of course turned Reagan off and she decided that she didn't like them. Now tonight, we did have those cupcakes for snack and for those that didn't eat the top of the cupcake with the icing, I gobbled it up!
  • This afternoon I went to see the final performance at Family Farm. Keaton and Whitman had a great time this year. I think that this was probably a good growing experience for Whitman-doing new things, going to a new place. He did great. And Keaton is the best big sister ever. She made sure that he did the right thing and was with the group.
  • Keaton also made sure to make him drink the cups of lemonade so he could save his gatorade for home. She would put their full drinks in her bag, haul it around all day, bring it home, label and put it in the fridge for another day. I would try to use those same drinks each evening for the next day's lunch, but she would have none of that. 
  • During their performance, Robby, Reagan and Campbell went to pick up the boys. They had a super great time and were as talkative about their trip as a preteen boy could be. Graham seems to have recovered well from being sick. He did say that if they would have asked if he could go home, then he would have come home. (And I would have been there in record time to get him.) But I am super glad that he stuck it out. 
  • Anderson was asked to help get the shower trailer ready to haul home. He felt like that was pretty cool and told me all about it. They both said that everyone worked really hard and I know that they did.
  • By the time I made it back from Malvern, the boys were already home and their clothes were in the wash. We worked around the house some and tried to clean out the fridge for supper. Afterwards, Robby and I took the little 3 to the pool while the others showered and packed their bags. This is really the first time that I have let the boys pack their bags without some assistance. We shall see if that was a good or idea or not. It wasn't that hard for them since they basically just had to put everything in the clean laundry pile into the bag.
  • The kids enjoyed the pool. Even though we haven't swam in a while, Whitman still remembers how to swim. He still makes me nervous though! The boy likes to be under the water much more than I would prefer. 
  • Once at home, there was still work to do. We aren't leaving at the crack of dawn so there is plenty of time to work tomorrow. Or hopefully there is plenty of time to sleep in tomorrow!

July 17, 2019

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  • This morning seemed a bit hectic even though everything went smoothly. Campbell, Keaton, Haley and Whitman all slept in the bonus room. When I went to wake them up, they all stirred fairly well. I took down the fort while the worked on getting their green clothes on. This was team color day so I spent a good while last night finding green shirts from the attic. 
  • Traci brought over her girls and took Campbell on to swim practice in her car. Then Robby loaded up the campers and headed to Family Farm. Also about that time, Candice text saying that Graham had been sick last night. 
  • Poor thing. Sounded like he was pretty sick. She said that he was eating breakfast and sent me a few pictures of him throughout the day. I hope he continues to feel better and can sleep really well tonight. 
  • I ran around the house doing some chores. Not only was I worried about Graham this morning, but I started worrying about Reagan's foot. I was not too sure how well she will be able to hobble around Silver Dollar City this weekend. (Tonight update: she hobbled around pretty well tonight so in a day and a half hopefully it will even be better.)
  • After swim practice, I picked up Campbell, and we headed out to do some shopping. The first thing that we did was go to Walmart. Campbell was looking for a swim suit but we didn't find anything. She did find shoes that she wanted, but they were too small there. I did look to see that another Walmart had them.
  • So we went to Hobby Lobby really quickly and found just what I needed along with a project for Campbell. Then it was to the other Walmart to find Campbell's new shoes. She was so excited about those new shoes and I was thrilled that she used her gift card to buy them!
  • Afterwards, I ran Campbell home so she could pack and then she headed to Grannymom's house for the rest of the afternoon and evening. That just left Reagan and me here together. As soon as I had finished my lunch, Reagan asked to go out to eat. I declined but did help her make her smoothie-well, I didn't really help, but I did get some things out for her. She was pretty proud of her drink since it did taste better than Tropical Smoothie.
  • I worked most of the afternoon on a sign to hang in the kitchen. I am sure getting good use out of my cricut the last few days. Before too long, it was time to take Reagan to church. They had a mission trip reunion along with a game night. She said that she spent a lot of time playing nertz which was my favorite card game during college.
  • We ate our supper fairly late and then the watched some tv before it was finally bedtime for the crew.

July 16, 2019

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  • Another early morning of Family Farm. It was raining pretty well as Robby picked everyone off and dropped them all off at camp. Back at the house, we had a slow morning. Campbell and I did some Legos, and I did quite a bit of chores. 
  • Our day did get interesting around noon. We met some buddies at Third Realm and not too long after we made it there, Reagan hurt her foot. The girl was in quite a bit of pain. I thought that we would just walk it off, but that didn't happen.
  • We had an errand to run and each time we went over a bump, Reagan would squirm and wince. When she took off her sock, I expected her foot to be swollen instead there was just one large swollen part-like she had two ankles. 
  • I traded in my thoughts of just having her ice and elevate it in for a trip to the doctor. The took xrays and the doctor that we saw was wonderful. Her ankle and foot were just fine, but she probably has a pretty good sprain.
  • Of course I felt a bit silly taking her to the doctor, but I would have been worried watching her hop all around the house. She is making sure that she tries to stay off of it and keeps it elevated. Hopefully, it will be better tomorrow.
  • Now this extra errand did manage to interrupt Campbell's shopping time. She had planned on going to Walmart and Five Below to spend some money. However, we were just able to run into Walmart to look for a yellow shirt for her camp while Reagan sat in the car.
  • Once we made it home, I got Reagan settled and then went to work on a Disney shirt for Keaton. It is cute, and I really like my heat press.
  • Robby brought the campers home, and Haley is spending the night with us. The girls went right to town. The first activity was jumping on the trampoline. Soon after, they built a fort and somewhere in there we had supper and made them take showers. 
  • After their movie was over and popcorn was finished, it was bedtime for the little girls, Whitman and Haley. They all slept in the bonus room under their fort. I tell you though, going to camp makes the kids super tired, but so does not going to camp-tonight there were lunches to pack, clothes to wash, green shirts to find in the attic for tomorrow's color day and shoes to dry. I'm not sure when my summer vacation begins but if it is almost over like the kids' summer vacation, then I have certainly missed it! Seriously though, it has been a nice break from school but I am ready to return to the normal school schedule. 

July 15, 2019-Happy 19th Anniversary

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  • It was an early Monday morning. I worked on getting my crew up and ready-Anderson and Graham while Robby focused on his bunch-Keaton and Whitman. We were able to get everyone in the car a bit after 7:30.
  • My car headed to McDonalds to pick up a smoothie for Graham and a breakfast burrito for Anderson (he wasn't crazy about his because of the peppers.) Then it was on to church for those two. The left for their mission trip to Fordyce. 
  • Anderson was pretty excited but Graham was a bit nervous. He will do just fine and will do wonderful. Though he even asked us the other day what would happen to him if he got sent home. I reminded him that he was not going to get sit home since he does the right thing. 
  • I have seen pictures of the boys from today. We also heard from one mom that was there that Graham is doing fine, and one dad wrote the Anderson worked hard and even knocked on some doors today. 
  • Robby had the Family Farm bus. He picked up Haley from the church house, and then he picked up Anna and Sophia. The kids were all excited about camp. Whitman was probably the lest excited. He, like Graham, was a bit worried. 
  • This evening when the campers came in, the report was that they all had a blast. They are all in the same group which is good because I know that Keaton will take care of Whitman. Their group climbed a rock wall, rode horses and did the paddle boats. Whitman did all of this so he did just fine today.
  • Back at the house, it was just Campbell, Reagan and I. Needless to say that it was a pretty quiet day. I did some chores and even worked some Legos with Campbell. Around noon we met some buddies at Third Realm. Reagan was still asleep so I didn't make her go with us. Though tomorrow she heard that we might go shopping so maybe she will wake up a bit earlier.
  • Tonight Robby and I went out to eat to celebrate our anniversary. We went to Red Door and unfortunately, won't be going back! My food was really pretty good as was the cheese dip. However, Robby's soup was so salty that he could not eat it. 
  • We then looked for some place to go and get ice cream or dessert, but there are no dessert places open late in this city. I guess we could make some money if we opened up a dessert place that stays open late except you can't scoop up milkshakes while traveling. 
  • We did stop at one dessert standby place-Kroger. We picked up what we needed for the week along with some Blue Bell ice cream-it is our anniversary after all. Though I think we are too full to eat any tonight.
  • Once we came home, the kids had leftover birthday cake and then we packed up lunches for tomorrow. Whitman had already asked his sisters if he could go to bed while we were gone tonight so he certainly didn't complain at all when it was bedtime. And he was happy to sleep in his box in the girls room. (And yes, we still have that huge trampoline box in my house!)

July 14, 2019

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  • Let's see, after I finished my blog last night I did sneak downstairs and fold about 2 more loads of clothes. There was another one that Robby folded tonight, but at least the laundry was finished when I did go to bed....around 2:30. 
  • I did wake up right as my alarm was ringing. I went ahead and got ready before stirring the girls. Everyone in the this house was still asleep-even the boys. We had let them stay up as late as the girls. They were finishing the last of the Indiana Jones movies. 
  • Whitman had stayed up with the girls watching their movie, so he didn't even get a shower last night and of course, he didn't get one this morning. (He did have one tonight though.) I am looking forward to the Sunday morning that Whitman doesn't moan about it being a church day. I know that will happen one of these days, but it hasn't happened yet.
  • Everyone did stir fairly well. I did have to sing while waking up the girls. Soon it was time for me to start making their breakfast. I do use the term "make" fairly lightly since I was just heating up waffles from a box. 
  • Soon both cars were full (well, not really but there was 12 of us ready for church. A bit different today was that Campbell and Keaton sat on the row in front of us with some of their friends while Reagan sat with some of her friends. I made sure that I was right near Campbell and Keaton. While I didn't have to poke them during the service, I did give them the stink eye a few times.
  • When it was time for the invitation, Campbell looked back at me and asked if I was going with her. I said that I was and she headed down the aisle. When we got to Dave, he asked what was going on and she said nothing! Ha! I know the feeling. Finally she did tell him that she asked Jesus into her life. 
  • After church, I had a meeting for Campbell and Graham's camp next week. Of course, all I could think about during the meeting was having to pack Graham and Anderson for their mission trip this week. 
  • Campbell stayed with me for the meeting and afterwards, we hurried to Nonna's house to eat our lunch. They hadn't waited on us which was fine so we gobbled down our food so we could catch up and eat dessert with everyone else. 
  • We stayed there for a while, but since it was raining and since it was Sunday afternoon a nap was definitely in order. It was the best nap ever. After we had been sleeping for a while, a good while, the kids did start coming in asking for food. We eventually got up and started to work, and we had lots to do.
  • Robby cut the boys' hair while I packed Graham and Anderson for their mission trip. That took a little while even though they didn't have to pack as much as Campbell did for her camp. Next was packing lunches for the Family Farmers tomorrow.
  • Now as much as I do love the rain, I will admit that this is not the week for it. The boys were going to do most of their work outside this week and Family Farm is mostly outside so both places will have to move to their plan Bs. Hopefully, the rain won't be constant over the next few days.
  • Robby made our supper tonight, and we all ate together which hasn't happened in a while. Then there was lots of tv watching and ipad playing until bedtime. Tomorrow will be another busy day-actually, it will just be a busy morning!

July 13, 2019-Happy Half Birthday (party) Campbell!

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  • Robby took the swimmers to swim team this morning. He did have to wake up everyone but Graham, I think. They swam hard, as always, and then stopped by Sonic on the way home. While they were gone, I kicked it up into high gear around the house.
  • Anderson was waiting on Cash to wake up before he had his breakfast. He so wanted Cash to eat a breakfast burrito but Cash wanted a poptart. So I had a breakfast burrito, and a bit later when Robby came home, he brought me a snack from Sonic. It was all delicious! I could get used to two breakfasts.
  • We did a bit of yard work this morning. The boys and I picked up sticks while Robby did some staking down on the trampoline. Robby spent the rest of the day working. Now, when he came inside from working he was covered from head to toe in dirt. Filthy!
  • Campbell helped me decorate her cake. The icing that I made didn't work out very well, but it was still a rich and delicious cake. Campbell knew exactly what kind of cake that she wanted and it did turn out really cute.
  • I took Cash home a bit after noon. Then I ran to the store with the big boys. They picked out their mission trip snacks while I did some shopping. They were able to convince me to buy a few things that I don't usually buy. Sometimes I can be a softee.
  • Once we came home, I quickly found my spot on the couch because I knew that it would be a busy evening. Before too long, it was time to get up because the party was about to start happening. Campbell has seven friends here so the house was immediately loud and chaotic. I knew that things are crazy when Graham asked what he could do to help me and Anderson picked up dirty plates in the kitchen.
  • We met Candice at Kroger for a scavenger hunt with the girls. My team had 5 on it, and surprisingly Keaton is the one who took charge. We actually thought that we had won except that we had forgotten one item (jelly that wasn't strawberry or grape) so we had to go back to get it. I am glad that Campbell was on the winning team even though my team lost!
  • As we were walking out, it was thundering so I knew that the pool might be iffy. I already had games planned out in my head, and Robby asked Campbell if she wanted to see a movie, but she really wanted to try swimming. It couldn't have been any more perfect because we were the only folks at the pool except for one or two people. It was like our own private party.
  • Robby and Graham came with pizza for everyone to enjoy. Meanwhile, Sara was on the other side of town picking up Reagan who had a wonderful time on her mission trip. Anderson was home to greet her so at least she didn't have to come home to an empty house.
  • We stayed at the pool until 8:30 and then headed home. Then we used all of the hot water in the city for all of these people to take their showers. Finally, it was time for a game about who knows the birthday girl the best. Anderson tied with Laynie and matched 6 out of 9 answers with Campbell.
  • Next up was cake and presents. Campbell opened up lots of fun stuff-candy, bracelet kit, Mickey Mouse earrings and much more. The girls then bedded down to watch a movie. The movie ended fairly late and one even decided that she wanted to go home. Thankfully, it was less than 2 miles for her mom to come and get her! 
  • After that, I did go upstairs to make sure that everyone went on to sleep. It is almost 1 now and I think that they are all asleep so I am headed downstairs to fold 3 or 4 loads of laundry that I have been washing this evening!

July 12, 2019

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  • Big news: On Monday at camp, Campbell asked Jesus into her heart! She is pretty proud but also a bit shy about this. We couldn't be more excited for her.
  • Our morning started here fairly early as always. By 8:15ish we were in the car loaded and ready to head to Arkadelphia. Keaton and Sophia had a blast last night and didn't even finish their movie that they started around 10 (it just only a 22 minute movie so I thought surely they would make it.)
  • They were still up before I was and were going strong as I took down the massive fort in their room. The girls room was so neat and straight the other day with Reagan and Campbell gone. I guess that I just need all of the kids to leave for a little bit and I will be able to clean this place up. (Most will be gone next week so maybe I shouldn't imply that when they are gone, I will clean. Instead when they are gone, I plan to nap!)
  • Last year, the traffic was bad and we barely made it to Reagan's Praiseworks performance. This year we were early and found enough seats near our people. The program today was great. Campbell's group of around 300 kids sang about 3 or 4 songs. Campbell even had a part doing something with a string it in. Their songs were great.
  • Then that group left the stage and another 300 kids came up. Oh, wait, I forgot about the full orchestra of kids that played 3 songs at first. Then the 2nd group came up and did their songs. I was feeling pretty good thinking that it was all over but alas, another group of 300 kids came up to sing. 
  • Now, don't get my wrong each group was amazing. These kids are so talented and to hear them singing praises was wonderful, but a person just wants to stand up after 2 and a half hours. Now I do moan about all of this, but hopefully we will have to opportunity to send some of our people to that camp next year and will be down there again.
  • After it was all over, we gathered Campbell and her luggage. Then we headed home. Once we were at home. we quickly unpacked Campbell and then she laid down for a little bit. Ha! She was exhausted. 
  • Before too long though we all met Cash at Third Realm. Then we came home for a bit. Campbell laid back down to watch some tv while the boys played. Around 6 we went to the pool. We took our supper and had some pizza, hamburgers and hot dogs. It was like we had cooked out there, but had actually just heated back up our Dairy Queen burgers that I had picked up earlier in the day.
  • The pool wasn't too crowded tonight which was good. The kids enjoyed playing and the boys loved having Cash there with us. We stayed until 8 and then headed home. The neighbors were outside so the kids played outside for a little bit.
  • When they all came in, they started on showers and then all sat around me watching me make a shirt for Whitman. I am hopeful that the shirts last and turn out well. We shall see!
  • I put Campbell and Keaton to bed around 9:30. Whitman also slept in their room since they boys are sleeping in the bonus room. He is actually sleeping in the trampoline box. We have gotten our moneys worth out of that trampoline just from the silly box!

July 11, 2019

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  • I was sleeping well this morning when Robby left for Conway. It isn't often that he is out of bed before I am since it seems like all I am doing these days is hauling people to swim team or camps early in the morning. I should have taken better advantage of my sleeping in day today.
  • I worked on making Campbell's cake for her half birthday on Saturday. I think that she will want to decorate it herself so I am saving that part for her. Though that will probably happen the day of her party which is the same day Anderson and Graham will need to be packing for their trip. 
  • There are just two more weeks of summer happening at this house-I'll tell you the run down starting with tomorrow: pick Campbell up from camp, pack boys and Campbell's party, Sunday, 4 days of mission trip for Anderson and Graham while Keaton and Whitman go to Family Farm, 3 days in Branson, Campbell and Graham at camp for 4 days, 1 free day, swim team meet, Sunday, Graham's birthday and school starts. I will need a vacation after this summer is over.
  • We left for the pool around noon. Keaton was so excited because we were bringing Sophia home with us after the pool. The kids swam pretty hard and no one seemed to complain when we left after just 2 hours.
  • On the way home, we stopped at Grannymom's house to pick up Graham. He had spent the night at Grannymom's house. He helped them work in the yard some and even earned himself some spending money. On the way home, we stopped at Sonic to get a drink which made everyone happy.
  • I did some treadmilling this afternoon and worked on getting a bit more of school ready since that is happening soon. When Robby came home this evening, he worked for a little bit before we all loaded up for the pool. 
  • We first all got gas for our cars before Robby ran to get pizza for the evening. The big boys and Robby left after an hour while the girls and Whitman stayed a bit longer with me. Whitman spent the last little half in the deep end today. This morning he swam really well, but tonight he wasn't in any rush to get to the sides and preferred to just bob up and down. He thinks this is loads of fun while I think that it is a just a terrifying. 
  • Once we came home, the girls went to town on completing everything on Keaton's sleep over to do list.  There was dancing, popcorn, gymnastics, nail panting-I feel like I have had a friend over and am exhausted!

July 10, 2019

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  • I will apologize in advance for my blog since I have already fallen asleep a few times on the couch tonight. I even sent Robby a link to an article while I was snoozing. Hopefully, I can stay awake for the next few minutes or so at least while I am typing.
  • The morning started at 5:40 when I went upstairs to make sure that Reagan was awake. She was sitting in her bed, fully dressed with the lights on. I did remind her that Keaton was trying to sleep in her room, but she pointed towards Keaton who had her head covered and was sleeping soundly, so I let them be. 
  • I went to get myself ready when I remembered that Graham wanted to go with us this morning, so I ran back upstairs to wake him up. He jumped up and soon we were on our way to church to drop Reagan off for her mission trip to St. Louis. 
  • We did stop at McDonalds to buy her a drink for the road. She had wanted to buy a frappe but opted for a smoothie instead. She was afraid that she wasn't going to like the coffee drink. However, Graham and I liked her smoothie better than Tropical Smoothie's smoothies.
  • We told her bye and then stayed until the buses almost left. We tried to wait them out but they were still figuring out seats for people, and we needed to run home for Keaton and Graham's bathing suit.
  • We made it home with about 5 minutes to spare before we had to load up and leave again. I ran upstairs to wake Keaton up and soon we were back in the car. It was swim practice morning, and the kids swam hard this morning. I was able to do a little bit of work on my computer so that was great.
  • Then it was soon time to head back home. When we came home, Anderson asked where we had been. Bless, he is not the most observant child! I did some things around the house while the kids played on their devices, did some school work and emptied my trash cans.
  • Soon it was lunch, and everyone made their own lunches out of our leftovers. I had time for the treadmill before we all went to Third Realm with the Powells. The boys enjoy Third Realm more than the pool these days and I think they all enjoyed it today. 
  • After Third Realm, we dropped Graham off at Grannymom's house to spend the night. She told us about a tshirt sale at Walmart so that was our next stop. We bought a few...10! (Keaton 3 blank ones and 2 that were Disney ones, Whitman 2, Campbell 1, Graham 1, Anderson 1) We were there long enough to almost fill up our buggy of other things that we "needed." I did but a few things for Campbell's birthday party.
  • Afterwards, Robby met us there and we headed to eat out. We ate at Texas Roadhouse. Just like Mexican restaurants and their chips and salsa, I could leave the restaurant before our meal arrives because of the rolls. I love their rolls and cinnamon butter that they bring out. I could fill up my to go box of rolls-oh, I did!
  • We did stop at Sams on the way home. Then I sat to look at my computer and fell asleep while Keaton was cuddled up against me. Whitman had his shower and before long it was bedtime for the skeleton crew that remains here.

July 9, 2019

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  • We did sleep in a little bit this morning, but the house was still a hopping even though I was still in bed. Noah's dad came to pick him up before my girls were even out of the bed. Once they left, I read with Whitman and then we jumped in the car.
  • Our first stop was Chick Fil A for breakfast. If you dress like a cow today, you receive a free entree. Well, we put on white shirts and taped some black spots on our shirts and called ourselves a cow.
  • We then ran into Hobby Lobby for a little bit-I had a few things to pick up. Afterwards, we met lots of buddies at the pool. We swam until noon when Nonna and Pops came to pick up Graham. They took him birthday shopping but first he stopped at ChickFilA for a free lunch.
  • The rest of us swam a bit longer before heading to another ChickFilA for our free lunch. We ran into the Powells and a few others so the kids were thrilled to have a huge table of buddies to eat with. 
  • After we were finished eating, Graham, Nonna and Pops showed up. Graham hadn't hit this ChickFilA up for lunch so he had himself a second lunch. Yes, we are a bit on the ridiculous side!
  • We then all went home for a little bit. I had a list of things to do but spent most of the time working on my cricut for tonight's project. Before I knew it, I was rushing everyone around to go and eat a ChickFilA for supper....yep, seriously!
  • The Heltz were there so we ate with them before meeting them again at the pool for tonight's swim team. The team that we swam against was pretty good, but Keaton and Graham both did really well. Graham did snag a 3rd place in his backstroke event so that made him happy. 
  • I had brought my sandwich from supper to the pool for Robby. I have decided that I really don't want to eat ChickFilA again for quite a while. A person can just have so much chicken, and I have hit that point!
  • After the swim meet, we were glad to head home to cool off for a little bit. It was a super hot swim meet in the sun. The kids cycled through the showers and as soon as we were done with that, it was almost bedtime.
  • But first, I made my first Disney shirt. Robby bought me a heat press so if you need a shirt, you can come and help me make one! I think this might just be fun!

July 8, 2019

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    • Campbell was stirring this morning before her alarm went off and before my alarm went off. She was beyond excited since she headed off to JoyWorks camp at Ouachita. This is the same camp that Robby and I both went to when we were young-same camp yet much different. 
    • I know that I have told the story on here before, but I will again. I went to music camp in the 6th grade and one of the counselors was Robby. I had the biggest crush on him, and when we went back to school, I told all of my friends that I was going to be Mrs. Tara Jo Dennie. Well, I now am-except my middle name is not nor has ever been Jo. Not really sure where they came from.
    • We packed the last few things in Campbell's bag and Keaton and Graham joined me in taking her to camp. There were quite a few more kids this year than last year when Reagan went. She would have liked to go again but leaves for her mission trip this week.
    • After waving bye to them, we headed home with Noah in tow. The boys have done pretty much nothing all day except play on their devices. They have gone outside for a bit and have done quite a bit of eating. 
    • Reagan did some painting this morning while Keaton, who is already a bit lost without Campbell, made cookies very early this morning. Keaton made her cookies all by herself-I did the oven work and scooping the cookies on to the pan but other than they she did it all. 
    • Robby brought the kids to meet me this afternoon at Third Realm. They all jumped and enjoyed jumping with all of their buddies. They played hard and were pretty worn out when we came home. 
    • I wasn't home for too long when I had to turn around and leave to take Whitman to his swim lesson. I bribed him well and he did "awesome"-his word. I was super pleased with how hard he worked. He swam like a champ...now only if he will do it tomorrow at the pool.
    • Whitman and I picked up burgers on the way home so that was supper for everyone. The boys eventually settled down to watch a movie...it was actually way too late to start a movie. They were quiet for a little bit and then it was bedtime.

    July 7, 2019

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    • Sunday morning and Whitman's weekly fit wasn't that bad today. I get not wanting to sit still for an hour and a half, but gracious I hope that someday he loves church. The boys were all awake early this morning, but we did have to wake up the girls.
    • After church, we ate our lunch at Grannymom's house. The kids played outside for a little bit, and I even joined in on a game of cards. When we came home, Campbell packed a few last minute things in her bags.
    • Robby and I had our Sunday afternoon nap. Actually, my Sunday afternoon nap is probably why I don't have a fit like Whitman on Sunday mornings. After our naps, we did kick things up in high gear.
    • Well, not too high of gear-I was on hold or talking to people on the Disney dining line for around an hour. While I was on the phone, we picked up the house, loaded up, picked up pizza and arrived at the pool.
    • We had our supper there as I finished my call. (I was able to get a dining reservation for 23 folks which apparently takes an almost miracle.) The kids swam for a little bit, and Robby even got in the pool. Whitman doesn't care too much about swimming these days. He did jump off the diving board a few times, but was no hurry to get to the edge but none of this bothered him at all.
    • After swimming for about 2 hours, we headed home. I did something that I thought I would never do-used kool aid to dye Campbell's hair blue. Not all of it, but just the ends. We tried to do Keaton's hair, but it is just too dark to dye. Now, I have to find some how to dye her hair a little bit before her camp.
    • The dying of the hair took just about all evening long. There was a bit of time afterwards for us to veg out a little bit before staring this next busy week!

    July 6, 2019

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    • The morning started early with swim team practice at 8:30. I am not too sure who will want to do swim next year. Campbell didn't really want to do it this year. Graham has always wanted to do it, but I think he won't care to do it again. Keaton seems to be loving it so she might be willing to do it again. I would love for Whitman to do it, but I just don't know if the boy will be able to. He is just not that motivated to swim consistently right now.
    • After swim, we ran to Walmart to pick up some snacks for Campbell's camp, along with a bathing suit for Graham, a new brush for Campbell and we also bought 2 pairs of shoes (when shoes are 3 dollars, you can't pass that up.) I know that you probably don't care exactly what I bought, but it was a good mental exercise for me to remember all of that.
    • The library was our next stop-3 books for Anderson, 1 for Campbell, and 2 for me-in case you were wondering! Ha! Afterwards, we joined the others at home. Robby had spent the morning folding laundry and cleaning the chairs that Whitman had gotten dirty yesterday. I had worked on them some, but this morning we realized that it was not enough and they needed some more scrubbing.
    • Reagan mentioned last night that she wanted to get her hair trimmed. She never ever wants to trim her hair so I jumped on that this morning and swiftly took her to get a cut. She just had 3 inches cut off and it really looks good. When we left, she acted like maybe she regretted it, but later today she said that she might should have cut some more off. 
    • Afterwards, we went to spend some of her gift cards at Tropical Smoothie. It took almost a long as Reagan's hair cut to get her food there. But she must have liked it because she said that she was going to get it the next time that she goes there.
    • Nonna and Pops ran over for a little bit this afternoon. It even rained a little bit over here which was so wonderful except I wanted to take a nap and never got that chance. I was about to when I realized that it was really time to start getting ready for the pool. We did run to the Wilson's house to pick up something and to drop something off.
    • The pool was fun tonight, all the crew was there-4 families. We were missing one family but still had 18 kids there. We stayed until they closed the pool tonight, and I do believe that everyone had a blast.
    • When we came home, I went right to work on putting some vinyl of Layne's Disney magic band. I was really testing it out to see if I could do it with ours later on. We will have to see how long the vinyl stays on hers. 
    • While I was doing that the kids were rotating through the showers and eventually went to bed. Whitman has been working hard on a magic show that is happening tomorrow. That will be interesting.

    July 5, 2019: 2019’s 4th trip to Branson on July 4th

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    When we went to bed last night, the chance of thunderstorms this morning was pretty good, so we told the kids that if it was rainy, we would skip the park and head on home. When Robby’s alarm was about to ring this morning, the thunder was rolling and it soon rain. He turned his alarm off, but woke just a bit later to beautiful skies.

    We all jumped up and scurried around to still make it to the park near opening. We ate breakfast in shifts as we were finishing getting ready and loading the car. We made it just a bit after the park opened. Half the crew went to ride Time Traveler and the other half went to Thunderation. My crew rode Thunderation twice while we were waiting on the others.

    At one point today, we were discussing what flavor ice cream we would get later in the day. Whitman said that he wanted vanilla. Robby encouraged him to “wear the red dress” and order something more exciting. (“Wear the red dress” has been our theme this year which means live life to the fullest. For example-don’t save that red dress for a special occasion, make a special occasion out of today.) Whitman looked up at Robby and said, “Instead of wearing the red dress, can I wear the red shirt?”

    Then we all met up for the Flooded Mine followed by Wildfire for a couple of spins. The kids looked at Powder Keg but the line was way too long there. At one point, Robby took a few to the Barn Swings while Anderson, Whitman and I went to the crazy wet ride. We didn’t ride it, but the boys enjoyed spraying water on people. We eventually had to leave because Whitman continually just stood in front of the people with water guns with his arms spread out just begging them to shoot him. 

    It was one more run of Thunderation for some and a walk through Grandfather’s Mansion. Then it was on to the car. We were over halfway to the car when Whitman remembered his puppy dog that he had brought into the park. So, we never ever carry around toys with us, but he asked this morning if we could just put that dog in my bag. I figured why not (mistake). At some point, as we were leaving Campbell got the dog out of my bag and gave it to Whitman. 

    While we were looking in the gift shop, Whitman and Anderson went off to play with the pop guns. We were in the parking lot when he asked about his dog. I thought about not going back, but after seeing that silly Toy Story 4 movie about the lost toys, I thought that we must,

    So Graham, Whitman and I grabbed our tickets and practically ran back to the entrance of the park. It was haul getting there, then we had to get to the gift shop where the dog was. And sure enough, that tiny puppy dog was laying right where Whitman had put him down. He looked lost and sad. Whitman was relieved to have that dog in his hands again. 

    After that we ran back to the car. Robby had pulled up some so we wouldn’t have as far to go, but after that brisk adventure, I am sure that Whitman will not want ot leave stuff anywhere anymore. He walks so slow anyway so this was almost like torcher for him.

    We were out of meat and cheese so Robby ran into a little store to fetch some for lunch. I made the lunches and as son as we were finished, we arrived at the College of the Ozarks for a little ice cream snack. 

    I would so love for the kids to even think about going there-you leave with no debt. We walked around the Keeter Center after we ate our ice cream. The ice cream portions were huge, but we pretty much ate everything we had. Whitman had cotton candy and finished his in seconds. 

    We toured one of their hotel rooms and sat in the beautiful lobby. We almost spent an hour there, but it was a nice end to our little vacation. After exploring a little bit, we returned back to the car.

    In Harrison, we did stop at a bakery thrift store. Robby had talked about it the other day, but we didn’t see it on the way up. Today though we found it and stopped. It was pretty decent and loaded up 3 bags of goodies.

    Before we knew it, we were almost home. We were a bit surprised that we had not needed to stop on the way home for a potty break or two. Robby was getting antsy to move around a bit, but we made it. 

    Everyone helped unload the car and put things a way. Well, most everyone-I did find Whitman in the living room on his ipad. I quickly took that a way, but later Robby found two chairs wet in the living room. I first looked at the ceiling-it was fine, but Whitman’s pants were not fine. Gracious that boy. I guess he was so interested in his ipad that he didn’t make it to the bathroom-he didn’t even try to make it to the bathroom. He was sent to the shower in hopes that he doesn’t do that again.

    It wasn’t too long after we had unloaded that we loaded back up to go to the Wilson’s house. We let Reagan stay at home while we were gone. We ate over there and had lots of Disney talk. The kids played outside, inside and even did some sparklers. 

    We stayed out way too late since tomorrow will be busy days for everyone, but we had a good time. When we came home, it was pj time and bedtime for the crew. I think that everyone had a really good trip-so good, we may just do it again soon.

    July 4, 2019: 2019’s 4th trip to Branson on July 4th

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    There is nothing like hotel sleeping. We all slept well, and Robby and I slept longer than anyone else. The kids were all in the one room with 2 beds and a couch so they were all stirring much before us. 

    When I did go to make sure that everyone was dressed or at least getting dressed, I found Keaton, Campbell and Whitman in the bathroom. They were playing beauty shop and doing Whitan’s hair. Later, I was in the other bathroom getting ready, and I could hear Whitman say, “Can I see my hair do?” The very next words he said caused me to burst out laughing. After looking at himself in the mirror, he exclaimed, “Well, I can’t tell a difference.” 

    The girls didn’t seem too disappointed that all of their hard work was in vain. They were all tickled that the three of them had on Under Armour shirts that all had a big Under Armour sing on the front. 

    Once everyone was ready, we did head to breakfast. They did have some homemade pancakes, but I wasn’t too pleased with the breakfast myself-no granola, flavored cream cheese or even no bagels. I did manage with some toast and yogurt though.

    It didn’t take long to load the car today. We have the back seat out like we usually do, so loading just consists of throwing everything in the back instead of having to strategically place each item in a certain spot under the seats. Now, there is a few trade offs to this-a row of kids are sitting right near us (sometimes it is just good to have a conversation by ourselves) and also we are bit more crowded up front. This seating/packing arrangement will definitely need some tweaking if we are to use it for a long trip. 

    Our first stop this morning was to Walmart. Then we headed to Springfield where we bought gas at Sams. They had a car wash there that we were able to go through for free. However, Robby never really acts like he knows how tall the car is. So during the car wash, I went through trying to help the car duck so it wouldn’t be too tall. We made it through successfully and no parts of the car were ripped off in the process. 

    We then stopped at Sams to pick up a few things that we didn’t really need. We are thinking about our few Disney trips and what is best to pack the car. I might just be easier to fly down there or to have an RV or to just stay at home.

    We did make another stop in Springfield at the Bass Pro. It is the largest Bass Pro and man, it is big. They had little museums about their history and about their racing. The kids climbed on more atvs and boats than ever. After looking at and touching pretty much in the store, we headed to the car. 

    We grabbed our lunch supplies and headed down the road. As soon as we were finished with our lunches, I passed out the fudge that we had bought at the Bass Pro store. We all agreed that the fudge from today was much better than the fudge that we had bought in Mackinaw Island. We bought almost the same amount today and paid about ⅓ less. It didn’t take long for us to devour it though!

    We soon arrived in Mansfield and found the Laura Ingalls Wilder historic home and farm. This is the house that she moved back to in her later years. First we toured the home that she died in. It was pretty neat to hear that her husband, Almonzo, had built much of the house and most of the furniture in it. Old houses are so neat to me seeing how they were built. This house had tiny little rooms, but a room for everything-library, music room, writing room, etc.

    We then went through the museum which started with a short film. The museum part was small yet interesting. We have read most of the books so most everyone remembers quite a bit of the story. I do think that it is time that we restart the reading and listening to her books. I could have browsed through all of the books in the gift shop a little bit longer because there sure are a lot of books about Laura and her daughter Rose.

    Next up was a quick walk through the Rock House which is a home that Laura and Almonzo briefly lived in during their retirement years. It was sparsely furnished so their wasn’t too much to see, but it was a pretty cottage style house. 

    We then drove through downtown Mansfield, which was shut up tight for the 4th. It was actually a sad small town and would have still been pretty sad if things were going strong. That town needed a Pioneer Woman to come through and open a few stores.

    Since we had sandwiches for lunch, we needed something for supper. Robby wanted to try Godfather Pizza. We ended up just getting the buffet since it was easier than ordering a pizza. I was super glad about this because I have been wanting to go to Larry’s Pizza at home. This way, I have gotten my fill of pizza buffets and won’t have to go to another for awhile.

    Really though, there is nothing more American then going to a buffet so that was probably a great way to celebrate the 4th. The pizza was good and the dessert pizza was even better. I do believe that the mac and cheese was a hit with most of the kids. 

    After supper, we drove to the Coleman store. We have already bought an ice chest on the trip so there wasn’t a reason to buy one today. We browsed their outside tent sale and then also went inside the store. 

    As Campbell and I were leaving the bathroom at the store, we walked passed a girl who was looking down at some merchandise. I briefly thought that she looked like a mannequin. However, Campbell must have really thought that she looked like a mannequin because Campbell tapped the girl on the shoulder. She quickly realized that she was real, and we both had to walk a way quickly because we couldn’t stop laughing. It was one of my favorite parts of the day. 

    The last stop of the day was the hotel. We had debated going and watching more fireworks but decided that one firework show was enough! The kids all wanted to go swimming-which actually frustrates me some because my boys never want to go swimming at home, but always do at a hotel. 

    They all did have fun swimming which was good. After they finished swimming we went back to the room. The kids went through the showers as Robby tried to start the laundry. His first attempt was in vain since they were all full. There is nothing more frustrating than that.

    We watched some tv and vegged out in the room until it was finally time for bed. We heard fireworks all around us and at one point, Campbell was standing in the window watching them! Laundry didn't finish until too late, but we passed the time watching an old National Treasure movie. Tomorrow we head home...maybe.

    July 3, 2019: 2019’s 4th trip to Branson on July 4th

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    Robby and I woke right up at 6 to some strange sound happening outside. It was like a banging sound but it happened over and over again. It wasn’t a gun shot or firecrackers, nor was it a ball bouncing. My only guess was the someone was cleaning off their shoes banging them together but they must have been some super dirty shoes. Who knows but it went on and on enough that Robby even looked out the window. 

    It did take us a while to go back to sleep but we were finally able to. We then slept for about an hour before waking everyone else up. Some moved a bit quicker than others-Reagan is like a snail in the mornings moving so slow while Whitman is like a turtle trying to always cover up his head. Anderson is my morning person though almost all of the time. 

    We at our breakfast at the motel. They had a decent selection but no flavored bagels or granola, other than that everyone left pretty happy. We then headed to Silver Dollar City. On our walk to the gate, we could tell that it was going to be a pretty warm day. It really was except these was just plenty of shade I guess because it wasn’t truly bad. 

    For some reason, while the kids were waiting in line for their first two roller coasters-Thunderation and Time Traveler, I ended up in the Time Traveler ride. I wasn’t too pleased to be getting on the ride for my second time, but thought if it is time to go then it is time for me to go! The ride wasn’t that bad-well, I really don’t know since I just smiled and closed my eyes the entire time. I did tell Campbell, my ride buddy, that I would open my eyes the next time that I went on that ride.

    From there we moved on to the big roller coasters. There were people riding and every single thing. Whitman did ride on Powder Keg again with Anderson. Now, Whitman is in the height that he is supposed to ride with someone 16 or older. Yesterday and this morning they let him ride with Anderson, until their second try this morning. Then they didn’t let them. Robby took a big one for the team and rode the ride with Whitman. Later, we looked at the pictures and noticed that Whitman is pretty stoic during the rides-his face is just the same as if he was riding a carousel-like he has not a care in the world.

    There was lots of refilling our drink cup today. The cup was extra but our refills are free for the year so we utilize that thing to the max. We refilled it at least 30 times today-seriously. I am not sure what Robby paid but it was worth every penny. 

    The Heltz stayed until noon, and we walked out with them. We drove around Indian Point looking for a spot to have a picnic lunch. We ended up at Table Rock since one place we tried told us that our van was a commercial vehicle and would be 20 dollars. Ha! The state park was a much better choice-playground, picnic tables and bathroom. 

    The kids were able to play while we made lunches. After our little break, we headed to the outlets. Now, we didn’t do a whole lot of shopping, but Anderson needed slides. It did take us about 6 stores to finally find him some. They were a bit more than we wanted to spend, but we found him some and that was really all that mattered by that point.

    We even found some Disney shirts for our trip-Well, Robby (1), Graham (1), Campbell (2), Keaton (2) and Whitman (2) all found some. The rest of us will have to wait until anther day. From there, Reagan and I wandered around the Vera Bradley store-everything was 70 percent off but we still didn’t buy anything. 

    From there we headed to our hotel for the night. We have stayed in this hotel before but are in a different room than last time. This is a large enough room that everyone will have a bed tonight which makes me happy. And in case you were wondering, Robby’s name wasn’t on the hotel marquee tonight!

    After a short break and refilling our ice chests, we headed back to Silver Dollar City. Our main plan was to take the tour of the cave. However, when we arrived here was lightening in the area so there was no cave tour right then. We waited in the area for a little bit until they finally did cancel the tours for the day. That made us a bit bummed-the kids were especially bummed when they figured out that the lightening in the area had caused all of the rides to be shut down. 

    We sat around for a little bit and even went through the magic shop. We finally decided that maybe we should head on out. When we almost made it to the exit, we could hear the rides running again. So we walked to Wildfire for the kids to do twice. Then we all went down the log ride. 

    The log ride was fun, but it did cause us all to be soaked. So when we left the park, we decided that maybe we might should run by the hotel and get some people in dry clothes. The boys and Campbell all were able to take their showers and find some non-wet clothes.

    Then we headed towards Branson Landing for an evening of fun. Robby called ahead and ordered some bbq from Famous Daves. We, of course, had our buns in the car along with plates and forks and were ready to go. We circled and circled looking for a parking place. The whole city of Branson had descended on the Landing to see the evening’s fireworks.

    Robby eventually had to drop me off to go and pick up our food. After getting the food, we eventually lucked into a parking spot a few blocks from where we wanted to go. We then loaded up the wagon, chairs, blanket and supper and went to find a spot to see the fireworks.

    We sat near the Branson Scenic RR on a grassy patch. Robby and I made bbq sandwiches and cornbread muffins for everyone to eat while we waited for the fireworks to begin. There was plenty to eat and plenty of people to watch. 

    Soon the fireworks began, and they were pretty good. We actually stayed until the end. The joke is that usually when we are at fireworks, we leave early so we can beat the crowd-especially at Disney World. The crowd was manageable tonight so we didn’t have to leave! 

    Robby and some of the kids walked up a bit to get a better view. Anderson, Graham and I stayed with our stuff and in the chairs. We were actually sitting behind some trees-it reminded me of growing up sitting behind trees watching Memorial Day fireworks in Little Rock. The boys and I spent our time naming the fireworks as the popped up-Wedding, Flaming Arrow, Merica, Blooming Flower, Fiesta, etc. 

    When the fireworks were over, we did hightail it to the car. We loaded up and headed back to the hotel. The GPS took us through quite a few neighborhoods before we joined the rest of Branson back on the strip. On our drive to the hotel, there were fireworks on all 4 sides of the car. It was certainly something to see.

    We did joke that we probably could have set at tables in our hotel room and seen plenty of fireworks. Once we were back in the room, the last few folks took their shower while Robby dropped some clothes in the washer. Laundry is a hassle on a trip, but with wet clothes from the park, we really almost had to do it today or the car would have been a stinky mess. 

    The kids were in bed and asleep in by 11:20ish just as it was time to pull the laundry out of the dryer. Tomorrow will be another great day...I hope!

    July 2, 2019: 2019’s 4th trip to Branson on July 4th

    (click here for today's pictures)

    We started our mornings like most others-alarms ringing, lots of hitting snooze and then laundry and dishes. Anderson and Graham were already awake with their beds made, but no one else was stirring in the house.

    I tried to wake everyone else up gently, but that didn’t work. I had to roll Whitman out of his bed to make it while having to make quite a bit of noise before any of the girls moved around at all. Once they did though, some had good attitudes (oldest and youngest) and some had lousy attitudes (middle). After a while though, everyone had eaten and were ready and all attitudes improved.

    Robby and I had done most of our work last night so after adding a few more things to the car, we were ready to go. We didn’t make it too far before we had to stop-Conway. But that was mainly to drop Robby off at work.

    The rest of us ran to the Dollar Store and picked up a box of candy for the trip. Then we had time to kill at Sams. This was easy to do because I think that the kids enjoy Sams as much as I do. We walked up and down the candy aisles, the toy aisles, the housewares and cakes. I just need to remember that I should go to Sams to make out my Christmas lists-there are plenty of things that I think I need from there.

    While we were going into Sams, it started pouring outside. We had to run for cover. We made it before getting soaked, but if we had arrived just a minute later, we would have had to sit in the car for a long while. It was kind of nice walking through Sams with the rain beating on the roof. 

    When Robby was done at work, we headed on up north. Robby was on a phone call so everyone quietly played their ipads. It was a very quiet ride-almost strange. We stopped at McDonalds for a potty, snack and computer stop. 

    We had to drive through a few little summer showers. They were never hard, but would just come and go. We were actually pretty sure that Silver Dollar City would be empty tonight because of the rain showers. Our hope was that the showers caused everyone to leave. Unfortunately, it didn’t rain there so the park was still fairly full. 

    Before we went to the park, we did stop by the hotel. It is not too often that your hotel has your name up on the marquee welcoming you. Robby is a platinum member from this hotel chain. I will not tell you how many nights this year that he has stayed in this hotel chain. You might wonder if owning a home is worth it for us!

    After unloading the car and putting all of our stuff in the room which we completely filled. The room is a bit on the tiny side tonight. We then arrived at Silver Dollar City. After walking up to the front, the first thing that we did was stop so we could all play the checkers, tic tac toe and connect four. 

    Then we walked to see one of the roller coasters, but the lines were still long. Soon after, we met the Heltz, and the roller coaster riding began. We mostly rode the big roller coasters today and ride them, we did. Well, the kids did!

    As our kids and the Heltz crew were getting on Powder Keg, Whitman noticed that he was big enough to ride it if he had an adult. Candice was riding it, so we sent Whitman running on after her. He rode the ride and came off saying that it was the best thing ever. Then after riding it again, he felt the same way. I have another roller coaster rider-while Robby and I are riding even less and less these days. 

    The kids had the most fun on the water ride where you soak total strangers. Robby, Anderson and I decided that we wanted to stay dry, so we opted to just watch. Anderson spent his time waiting strategically shooting with water. He was very careful to not get too wet himself. When the kids came around the bend, we could hear them screaming and laughing and knew that it was them. They had so much fun and were all completely drenched when we left there and walked to the log ride.

    We ended the evening with Thunderation. Everyone could have stayed longer but the park closed at 7. We strolled to our car and drove back to the hotel. There we made our traditional hotel meal-chicken and cheese roll ups. Reagan said that it this was her favorite hotel meal. She added that she liked it better sometimes than going out to eat. And she wondered aloud why we don’t eat that meal at home. 

    After we ate, we let the kids swim for a little bit before folks headed back to start on their showers. Of course there was another drink and a load of laundry that happened before it was finally bedtime for the Dennie crew.