June 30, 2019

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  • Sunday morning and it wasn't a great Sunday morning for Whitman. First we told him that it was church day and then we told him that we were going to a baseball game tonight. He did recover fairly well and seemed to have a good day.
  • Grannymom and Grandpa were in the nursery this morning, so Keaton had to sit with us. I don't think that she minded though my girls were sitting so far from me that they thought that they could get by without opening their Bibles-ha! It didn't work.
  • After church, Campbell and I stayed for her camp meeting while the others headed to Nonna's house for lunch. They did wait on us, and we all enjoyed our early 4th of July lunch. Afterwards, the kids played a game while I worked on Christmas gifts for my kids Sunday school teachers. (Don't judge.)
  • We then ran home for a few minutes. We had time to take a brief nap before it was time to get up and herd everyone to the car. This is when things got confusing for the kids: 4:00 meeting for Graham and Anderson's mission trip, 4:00 meeting for Reagan and parents for her mission trip, 5:00 meeting for parents for Anderson and Graham's mission trip. The kids could not understand this schedule and I almost had to draw a chart to make it clear. 
  • Campbell, Keaton and Whitman enjoyed having the run of the empty church house while we were in the meetings. After they were all over, we headed to the Traveler's Game. First, Robby stopped at McDonalds to pick up our supper. It took him a while and when he climbed in the car with our food, Whitman said, "well, that took longer than the preacher's prayer."
  • The Travelers game was hot and sunny for the first little bit, but then the sun went down and things were pretty nice out there. The kids all found plenty of friends and some of my kids found Pops and his wallet. Whitman and Campbell jumped on the bouncies for a little bit while Graham rode the train and Keaton bought a drink-all thanks to Pops.
  • It was pretty late when we made it home. The kids showered and then finally bedtime. Tomorrow will be a busy day-which I secretly love.

June 29, 2019

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  • I heard Robby's alarm clock go off for about 5 minutes this morning. It went off until he leaned over me to turn off my alarm. Ha! I guess I was sleeping so soundly that I was sure it was his alarm. My alarm was set for swim team early this morning.
  • Campbell and Whitman were the only Dennies awake. I went to wake up Graham and then to Keaton's room to wake her up, then back to Graham, then back to Keaton, then back to Graham before I had any success. I was about to give up and just let them sleep in when they finally did stir.
  • Robby ended up taking everyone. The one good thing about swim team is that it does get us up early on Saturdays and Wednesdays. Robby dropped the kids off and ran some errands while I read to Whitman, folded 2 loads of laundry and emptied the dishes.
  • When they made it home, Robby soon headed outside to work in the yard. Since everything in the house was decent (except for the kitchen floor which is in desperate need of a good cleaning) I headed outside too.
  • We picked up sticks, trimmed some bushes and I tried to spray some weeds. We still have a few things that we need to do in the yard, but it won't happen this week! The tree that fell is gone and that side of the yard is clean. 
  • Robby mowed a little bit while I went back in to fold one or possibly two more loads of laundry. Seriously, we should go back to wearing less clothes. In the winter, my kids wake up in their pjs, do school in their pjs, stay inside all afternoon in their pjs and then go to bed again in the same pjs. Not so in the summer-we start off in pjs, put on clothes, go to the pool in a bathing suit, bring home lots of wet towels and then change into more clothes before finding new pjs. I may have to start using both washing machines again.
  • We soon all loaded up to head to the pool for a little bit. We stayed for almost 2 hours. Robby and I both got in the water which made the kids super happy. Whitman, though, didn't have any interest in practicing swimming today. He did jump off of the diving board and swim to the shallow end tonight.
  • We came home and vegged out a bit. Robby did make hot dogs for supper while I worked on getting another load of laundry started (I promise I won't mention the word laundry tomorrow). After eating, I finished my book as we watched some tv.
  • The Wilsons came over tonight for a little bit. We chatted and ate some ice cream. The kids played outside and played a few games upstairs before they went home. By this time, it was shower time for the remaining Dennies that needed showers and then bedtime for all.

June 28, 2019

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  • I could have slept in a bit more today, but someone was asking me questions way too early in the morning. I don't know what they were asking or even who it was, but it was questions and it was early.
  • I first stop this morning was the laundry and the dishes-those two never ending chores. I read to Whitman fairly early this morning and even found time to read to the girls in between their many bb gun shooting outings.
  • Whitman spent a long time this morning on making a fort. He played in it for a long while as well as Campbell and Keaton. Before 11, we left for Third Realm. The Powells were there so the boys had some friends to jump with.
  • From there, we headed right to the pool to swim. The kids all enjoyed swimming. Whitman even went off of the diving board without his floatee. I guess he did fine-he made it to the side. We only stayed for 2 hours. The big kids are always ready to leave so 2 hours was a good compromise since Campbell could stay forever.
  • Robby was working outside so I joined him for a little bit. I stayed out there until it was almost time to take the big boys to basketball. They were excited to go tonight since they had missed the last few basketball practices.
  • There weren't many boys there, but they still had fun. And I had fun wandering around Walmart by myself. I found a few things I needed and even a few things I didn't need.
  • Once we all made it back home, we had some supper. We all ended our evening huddled around the tv watching a show or two. We stayed up way too late, but I guess that it is a Friday night after all!

June 27, 2019

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  • Today was a get back to normal day. Reagan slept until I woke her up, Anderson was not happy about going to the pool, Graham was up first, Campbell never stopped talking, Keaton did lots of cartwheels and Whitman hung on to his ipad most of the day. I will say that yes, we are completely back to normal around here.
  • My first task today was laundry followed by the dishes. The two never ending chores around here. I did spent a good chunk of the day working on trying to clean my washing machine. Even though I leave the door open all of the time, there is still nasty on my washer. I soaked it in bleach, scrubbed it with bleach, ran a load with bleach and did the same things with baking soda and vinegar. It did help, but it isn't completely clean. 
  • Whitman and I also did a bit of reading this morning. He so enjoys our reading time and so do I. Twice I tried to read to the girls today, but something came up, and we had to change plans. Hopefully, I can catch up tomorrow. There aren't many more days of summer left, and I have some books that I want to finish. 
  • At 11, we went to the pool. Whitman worked on his swimming. This was the first time that he really became upset with me when I made him put on his floatee. I had swam with him for an hour and a half. I left him in the shallow, but he swam to Anderson in the deep (deep for him). So it was floatee time for the boy.
  • We ate our lunch there and stayed for about 3 hours. By the time that we came home, everyone was tired but they did help me clean out the car. I had offered a dollar reward by this time to find Keaton's goggles. We were almost certain that we brought them home after our early morning swim practice before our trip, but could not find them. 
  • Robby had already found one pair of goggles in his car this morning and after my frantic text, looked in his car again at lunch. I had already searched the house top to bottom twice when he came home tonight. I did check his car again and didn't find them. However, when we were about to leave for the grocery store tonight, there they were on the floor of his car. Mystery solved! (Keaton was super glad that she didn't have to buy a replacement pair.)
  • The neighbors came out this afternoon and then again this evening. There was lots of bb gun shooting-and we don't have have the cartridges for the boys' new guns. I can't imagine all of the gunning that will be happening here when we get those.
  • The final shower tonight ended at about 10. The kids were out that late and by the time that they ate supper, it was way, way late. That was fine though because the evening seemed super short!

June 26, 2019-Dennie Family Trip 2019

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It was a little confusing in our room this morning. Whitman didn't spend the night with us, but when he was in our room, he spent his time inside of a cabinet watching his ipad. So we were never really sure if he was there or if he was not there. We did manage to not leave him at the hotel this morning which was a win!

After getting ready and putting in the right contacts, we headed down the breakfast. Tonight's hotel was a Home 2 Suites. They had premade breakfast sandwiches, omelettes and egg dishes. You just had to put them in the microwave. I had what would be similar to a sausage mcmuffin, and it was delicious.

We took a few loads out to the car since packing was a bit more strategic today because we had our 20 or so boxes of Little Debbie stuff from yesterday to shove in the car along with the rest of our stuff. We did not accumulate too much stuff on this trip-mainly Little Debbies and bb guns.

Our first stop this morning was at Fort Smith National Historic Site. We have been there lately, but it was a good stop to stretch our legs plus we don't have Jr. Ranger badges from there. We watched the film-well, I will say that I stayed awake barely. I did zone out during a bit of it because later when Robby asked me if I remembered this or that, I had no idea what he was talking about.

The last time that we were there, we were not able to go into the court room area. A guide person was there so she let the kids all sit at the bench and hold the gavel. That was fun. Whitman was so intrigued by the prison, but he was not at all interested in the gallows once he figured out what they were for.

When I asked the workers there for Jr. Ranger books, I told them that we would mail them in. They quickly handed my 6 Jr. Ranger badges so that I wouldn't have to mail them in. That was incredibly nice-and will save Robby some money. I did promise that that we would definitely complete the books.

Our next stop was at McDonalds. We grabbed a quick bite of lunch. It took a while to find seats since that McDonalds was pretty crazy busy. Campbell, Keaton and Whitman all enjoyed playing on the play place.

The next stop was at Grannymom's aunt's house. She is 90 years old and was so happy to have company. She was a genuinely happy lady. The kids were perfect as we sat and visited for a fairly long while. Whitman did eat most of the lady's chocolate candy on her coffee table. As soon as we left, the kids were rewarded with a cool drink and a snack.

We then made a quick stop before moving on down the road to get home. We did listen to a podcast about the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs on the way home.  Soon we were dropping off Grannymom and Grandpa at their house.

We unpacked the car in no time. It does help that a lot of our travel stuff, I just keep upstairs ready to go. I don't even unpack most of it now-it just stays boxed up-if I could only do that with our clothes and food.

The evening was pretty quiet around here. We watched some baseball and watched a lot of Campbell's Northwest Law show. There was a late fend for yourself supper followed by a way too late bedtime for the crew.

June 25, 2019-Dennie Family Trip 2019

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Oopsie, I left the camera in the car tonight so the only pictures up tonight are the ones from our phones.

We again slept wonderfully last night. I think that everyone was a bit sad to by leaving our big hotel today. We are downsizing tonight to a smaller, more modern hotel. Graham and Anderson had been to breakfast and were back by the time that we stirred this morning.

Whitman wanted to just stay and "eat what we packed." I tried to explain that we didn't pack any breakfast food, but he didn't care. We did finally convince him to come downstairs with us. I had my yogurt and granola this morning while Whitman ate a blueberry muffin. And don't be surprised that Robby had his biscuits and gravy-he has to get them from somewhere since he sure doesn't get biscuits and gravy at home.

Les and his crew headed out this morning while we still had another full day to play. After loading up the car, our first stop this morning was the Daisy BB Gun museum. It was a little bitty museum, but at the end of the museum they had refurbished BB guns (10-15 dollars for most). The boys could not wait for Robby to get to the end of the museum. As soon as he finished his tour, everyone was asking for a BB gun (everyone except for Reagan and Whitman.) Whitman didn't really care at all but the boys told him that if they got a new one, then he could have his old one.

We did end up purchasing 3 new BB guns-a pink one, one that uses an CO2 cartridge and a BB gun pistol. Anderson, Graham and Campbell were beyond excited with the purchases. We then went to 7th Street Market to walk around a little bit. We had to park in the grass and knew it wasn't the best choice when the big truck beside us got stuck in the mud.

The market was a neat little area and would be a happening place at night time. I would be interested to see it at nighttime sometime. It didn't take us long to walk around since there wasn't a lot going on, so we had a few extra minutes and decided to get some more ice cream at the Walton museum.

Then we went to Grannymom's sisters house. She had sandwiches for us and everyone enjoyed a visit there. We were there for a while, and once we left we drove by the hotel to see if our rooms were ready. All but our room was ready, but after unloading the car the room was ready.

The kids had their eye on the pool so they headed off with Dana while Grannymom, Grandpa, Robby, Whitman and I headed off on another adventure. We stopped first at the Little Debbie outlet closest to us, but there wasn't much of a sale.

So we decided to drive another 20 minutes to get to the outlet in Gentry. That was fine with me and with Whitman because he was delighted to help us fill up our buggy. Whitman did want to swim with the others but he did still enjoy our trip because of the cookie we had from the hotel, a sample at the first stop and lots of ipad time.

When we made it back to the hotel, all of my people had put their clothes on except for Campbell and Keaton. They certainly didn't mind going back to the pool with Whitman for a little bit. It was pretty pleasant at the pool since the building provided plenty of shade. I used that opportunity to work on my blog for a little bit.

After swimming we ran back upstairs to work on getting ready for supper. We all piled into the van and headed towards Fayetteville. First place to drive by was the apartments that Robby lived in while he was in school here. Then we drove around the campus for a bit.

We finally stopped Hammontree's Grilled Cheese. We didn't have to wait long for our tables tonight. The adults were at one table and the kids were right beside us. It worked out perfectly. I had a delicious sandwich with a grilled apple, lots of cheese and fig jam on it. I also found out that I like sweet potato fries. Dana ordered some and they were scrumptious.

The kids had plans of swimming again tonight, but the cool water from earlier and the crowds tonight made the kids (and mostly the adults) rethink their plan. That was fine though because we were able to put in a load of laundry. We all sat in the room watching the World Series game and eating a little snack before bed.

I was very careful tonight as I took out my contacts to put them by my bag and not near Robbys. This morning, Robby asked if I put on his contacts. I told him that I did not because my case is blue. He told me that his case was blue. I really didn't believe him until we were at breakfast, and I saw him trying to read his phone. I could see really well-very, very well-almost too well. When we did get back to the room, we quickly switched out contacts and all was well. Tomorrow though I will definitely remember that my case is white or is it blue?

June 24, 2019-Dennie Family Trip 2019

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Our night didn't start off too peacefully with Reagan and Anderson shoving each other around in the bed last night. Robby did say that at one point, he even had to move Anderson over. I think that those two are not used to sharing a bed. 

Graham had set his alarm clock for 7 this morning, but he let his alarm ring like I let my alarm ring-over and over and over again. It rang so long that I had to wake Robby up so he could wake Graham up to turn the alarm off. 

The big boys were soon up and headed to breakfast while the rest of us slept for another hour or so. We did finally start stirring but had at least 4 different kids tell us that we only had so many minutes before breakfast was over. We made it in plenty of time and had our fill. Whitman had doughnuts which we also took back to Reagan. I had a bagel with flavored cream cheese which was delicious. And Robby had his standard hotel fair-biscuits and gravy.

After breakfast, we had a bit of downtime in our room before loading up for our first attraction of the day. We headed to the Bentonville Square and the Walton 5 and Ten store. We had been there before, and the museum is a pretty neat place. The kids enjoyed walking through the museum since there were lots of hands on things to do.

What they really enjoyed was the ice cream at the end. There are not many times that they are offered ice cream right after they have eaten a big hotel breakfast. The prices are not 1940s prices but they are fairly close. We all ate our ice cream outside at the tables, and it was very pleasant. 

They had a little car that you could ride. The sign said under 50 pounds but the workers kept coming out bringing more dimes so the kids could ride. After we left there, we headed to Crystal Bridges. We have been to the museum before but still enjoyed walking through it today.

The trails outside are really neat. We enjoyed exploring them and spent most time doing that than actually seeing the art inside the museum. There was one spot inside of the museum where you looked out these huge windows to see a rock area that would make the most beautiful waterfall in the rain. Yesterday would have been a perfect day to see that. 

We did see a Frank Llloyd Wright house on the ground of the museum. We have read about him lots this year plus we have even driving by a gas station that he designed in May. His houses always intrigue me, and I love the simplicity of them. Maybe I am ready to downsize (not the yard part but just the house part.)

After seeing quite a bit of Crystal Bridges, we headed to lunch. We finally ate that ChickFilA that we were planning on eating yesterday. Lunch was good but then we needed something else to do. So we headed towards Pea Ridge National Military Park. That park is connected to Wilson's Creek in Missouri which is where the boys stopped on their way to Omaha.

We walked in to the visitor's center just as they were showing the last film of the day. It was a good little movie-I guess. At one point Grandpa snored during the movie so Grannymom woke him up. Then he said, "that was Tara." I guess I made it a bit too obvious that I was taking a cat nap on the front row of the theater. It was nice to rest my eyes for a little bit and really, I already know who won the Civil War. Though I did feel a bit bad when Campbell said that it was one of the best park movies she had seen.

We then had to rush to the hotel to grab bathing suits and then to the other side of town. We went to Robby's cousin's house to swim. They have a very nice pool so the kids highly enjoyed themselves. They had supper for us-pizza, salad, fruit and even cake which we all enjoyed. 

The little boy there was 5, and it took him and Whitman a very long time to hit it off. When they did start playing, they were riding a big pink flamingo in the pool while pretending that they were on a pirate ship. We probably would have left a few minutes earlier except that Whitman was so enjoying playing with his new friend.

Though when we did get back to the hotel, Grannymom asked Whitman what his new friend's name was. Whitman was quick to respond with, "I thought YOU knew those people." I guess he was concerned that we crashed a party without anyone knowing whose house we were at. 

After we made it back to the hotel, we decided that we might just need a little snack and since there is an Andy's Custard within walking distance, we might as well. And when I say within walking distance, that is termed rather loosely since it was almost a mile that we walked for frozen custard. 

Everyone went except for the oldest and youngest of our group, Grandpa and Whitman. Whitman wasn't too interested in ice cream. Keaton wasn't either but didn't want to be left out-she did find her a diet coke to enjoy. After eating our ice cream, we mosied on back to the hotel. It was so pleasant outside that I hated that we hadn't taken our ice cream walks the other nights that we were in town.

When we made it back to the hotel, we made the kids change so we could do a quick load (or two) of laundry. Right now the clothes are in the dryer-Graham is asleep, the other two boys are playing on their ipads, Reagan is also on her ipad and I do believe that the little girls are watching a show before bed in Grannymom's room.

June 23, 2019-Dennie Family Trip 2019

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Event though we went to bed late and event though the bed was small, we slept wonderfully with the rain beating on the windows. At one point in the middle of the night, we did hear a crash. Robby got up to look and see which kid bumped into which wall or door but it wasn't the middle of the night nor was it a kid bumping into something-it was just Graham closing the door of the restroom at 8 in the morning.

Graham later whispered to us that he was going to go down to breakfast. This caused Anderson to shoot out of bed while saying, "Wait for me." As they walked out of the door, Whitman jumped out and started asking, "Where are you going?" After Whitman was awake, the rest of the room started stirring.

Anderson was back fairly soon and then took Whitman to breakfast. Campbell stayed at the Embassy in Little Rock, and the breakfast sounded like a typical motel type breakfast there. This breakfast, however, was not that. They had pretty much everything-at least everything on my list: granola and flavored cream cheese. I wanted to try an omelet but thought maybe I will tomorrow.

Robby braved the monsoon to go and get Whitman's life jacket so the crew could go swimming. And swim they did. The pool area was a good size so everyone played and played. It did help that Lilly, Cash and Zach were there as well.

The other kids began to trickle into the room. I took the girls back first and then the boys came in. Whitman and Robby didn't show up for the longest time-at least an hour and possibly more. Robby eventually text me pictures of Whitman sitting in the hot tub with another family. He had made quite the friends.

Robby eventually asked me to come and gather the boy. The other family was leaving so it worked out well. I told Whitman that he played a long time at the pool. He told me that when you find friends that you enjoy playing with then the time passes quickly. I guess that is very true. After the pool, he took quite a long shower trying to get the chlorine out of his eyes. Our pool water doesn't really bother his eyes, but hotel pools really do a number on them.

After swimming we had a bit of downtime. I had myself a cat nap while the big boys and one of their cousins were playing tag on the 3rd and 4th floor. They brought this up-I guess they were feeling guilty about getting in trouble by a hotel worker. Ha! Of course, we won't soon let them forget it, but secretly we were pretty glad that they did mention it to us. I guess that is why mothers should not take naps!

We soon headed to the movie theater-well, 3 different movies actually. My crew minus Reagan and Anderson went to see Toy Story 4 while most everyone else went to see Aladdin. Reagan and Anderson missed seeing Aladdin with us while we they were at camp. Toy Story was good but Aladdin was still better. 

During the movie, Whitman and I shared a seat since our seats were kind of spread out. It was so comfy cozy but I didn't fall asleep. Mainly I didn't fall asleep because every time I would get comfortable, my side would hit the button to cause the chair to sit up. Everyone single time!

After the movie, we all headed to Chuys to eat supper. We didn't have to wait to incredibly long before our table for 18 was ready. Most of my crew all split something mainly because we had just been feasting on popcorn, candy and cokes. I don't think that any of my kids like Mexican really, but I will agree that Chuys is not my favorite Mexican place.

We stopped by Walmart on the way back to the hotel. I had hoped to find Anderson some slides and a shirt there, but we struck out on both. I could have stayed at that Walmart for a while since it was so nice and clean and full of stuff. I didn't browse too much though because the kids were anxious to get back to the hotel.

They were ready to meet up with their cousins back at the pool. Things were pretty rowdy in the pool tonight and that was really all because of us. We swam until ten and it was nearly midnight when my big 2 finally put up their ipads and went to bed.

June 22, 2019-Dennie Family Trip 2019

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After going to bed around 1:30 last night, Robby and I both woke up around 2:30 to go to the bathroom. That was really a pretty wonderful time to wake up-we felt rested and still had a few more hours to sleep.

Our alarms started ringing at 6:30, but after doing quite a bit of chain sawing yesterday, Robby was moving a bit slow. He asked for me to walk on his back, but since I didn't want to hurt him even worse, I just stepped over him to grab the laundry. 

There was laundry and dishes and last minute packing and trying and trying to wake up the kids. We changed plans midstream and instead of us all leaving from swim practice, the swimmers and I just ran home for them to shower and to pick up everyone else.

While we were gone, Robby did dress Whitman who I had moved to my bed. Whitman was still sound asleep, so I did stir him enough to give him some breakfast. Robby was starting to be concerned that maybe the boy was getting sick since he was sleeping so much. He spent most of the drive this morning singing and talking so I am pretty sure that he is just fine.

Swim practice went well today. Both of the coaches today were really good-I know that the kids are learning so much, and it is all such good exercise. I even feel like I get a work out just watching them.

When we made it back home, things went into high gear and soon we were loaded up and in the car. Our first stop was to pick up Grannymom and Gramdpa. Then there was gas and lots of cleaning of the windshield. 

Then we were on the road to Eureka Springs. Our first stop was at the park in Clinton. We needed a bathroom stop as well as a lunch stop. The kids had a few minutes to play before and after we ate our lunch. Reagan, Anderson and Graham are funny-they think they are too big to play but still want to play. They spent most of their time on the little carousel.

After we ate, we all used the restroom and were back on the road. It had been a fairly quiet ride since the kids were engrossed in their ipads. We did stop once at a rest stop. The building looked like a lodge, and Whitman said, "Well, what National Park is this?" I explained that it was just a bathroom stop, but after we had looked at all of the brochures, he was quick to ask, "I thought you said that this was just a bathroom stop?"

We did stop at Sonic soon after the rest stop. We needed to try their ice cream sandwiches. By consensus, the chocolate chip cookie ones were much better than the oreo ones. They did hit the spot and everyone was pleased with their little snack. 

Soon we were driving into Eureka Springs. This was my fist visit there, and it definitely was a different place. It is pretty and was surely something to see. We met up with Les and his crew and walked around the downtown area. There were lots of shops and stores to browse in. 

We did make a very long but nice haul to 2 of the springs from which the town received it's name. Well, I don't really know that last fact but just made it up. I think that it is accurate though. Our next stop was the Crescent Hotel. They were having a wedding there so we really couldn't wander around too much since many areas were blocked off. It was a very quaint old hotel-apparently the most haunted hotel in America. We will have to read up on that little interesting tidbit. I actually have a podcast but the road to our hotel tonight was a bit too curvy for me to ask Robby to find and play my podcast.

After the hotel, we met up with Dana and her crew. We ate Bubba's BBQ which is where Robby grandpa used to love to eat in Eureka Springs. They were seating us 4 by 4, so after Zach, Anderson, Whitman and Cash went in, the lady came back out and said that she could seat one more with the boys. I am sure that she was hoping that an adult would sit with them. I took that opportunity, but they didn't need me and were perfectly well behaved.

Once my food did come, I did take my plate to Dana's table so Graham could join the boys for supper. His food had already come, and I do believe that he was wishing that he was sitting with the boys. We switched spots while I devoured my delicious bbq sandwich. 

It had started to rain while we were eating with quite a bit of thunder and lightening. When we did leave the restaurant it had cleared some, and we drove towards the Passion Play. Our first stop there was the huge Jesus statue. After a group picture by the statue, we headed up to a little church. The kids were more concerned with see saws behind the church house.

We then drove back to the main area of the Passion Play and walked through the gift shop while Robby and Grannymom picked up the tickets. By this time, we could tell that it would be a pretty chilly night so we were pulling out jackets and blankets and even a towel to wipe down the seats from the earlier rain. 

There was a little petting zoo that we walked around before heading in to the play. The place was massive and thankfully tonight there wasn't too many folks there. We ended up very near the front-Campbell was actually on the front row with the rest of us scattered on the few rows behind her.

At one point, the speaker asked for volunteers to help. Campbell and Graham's hands shot up and they were chosen. They helped pick up envelopes of donations. After they helped, they were able to get something from the concession stand-they both chose popcorn.

On the way back down or possible up, Graham fell down. Bless the boy. Last night he was fooling around on the treadmill and scraped most of the skin off of one of his knees. Now he also has a scraped knee all on the same leg. It didn't seem to phase him too much, and Grannymom had a bandaid for him. Possible that popcorn helped!

Soon though we realized that it might just be a wet passion play. Robby headed off to the car to gather our umbrellas (3) and ponchos (10ish). I have had those ponchos in the car for years now, so I had wondered if they would still even be good. We are incredibly lucky that I put them back in the car. Last night I was debating what room we had and moved them to the shelf. This morning, I second guessed myself and put the poncho box back in the car. Best decision of the day. 

Robby passed out umbrellas and ponchos and soon everyone was mostly covered.  It drizzled pretty good. Robby and I ended up under an umbrella with Whitman in my lap and a poncho on all of our legs. My left shoulder became pretty damp with the umbrella water falling on it, but we survived and soon it had stopped raining.

The Passion Play was excellent. Now, if the church choir could sing a few songs along with way, it would have been even better. The goats and the camel was probably my favorite part. Now, when the doves were released and flew around and around, Robby and I watched them, and not the show, for a good while. 

It was all really great, and Jesus' ascension was pretty cool. When the play was over, we hauled it back up to the top of the seats and headed to the car. The road to Rogers was pretty interesting-continuous curves and 2 one lane bridges. 

About the time we made it to straight roads, it started to rain again. We were soon in Rogers at the Embassy. We unloaded and quickly found our rooms. Keaton and Campbell are sleeping next door in Grannymom's room. I took myself a leisurely shower once everyone was settled. Afterwards, I was shocked to see that it was already 12:30 and my people were still up. I don't think tomorrow is a crazy busy day so we will have plenty of time to relax. 

June 21, 2019

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  • This morning was Campbell's official half birthday, and she didn't let us forget it. This morning she was asking me when exactly she was born. I quickly explained that it would be her half birthday about the time that it was bedtime since my doctor had me wait to have her since he was at a Christmas party. 
  • Robby took the VBS-ers to their last day. They so enjoyed it-every single day they seemed to have fun. I am certainly glad about that...and I am certainly glad that Immanuel has VBS for 5 days and not Geyer. Just getting them there and picking them up every day was certainly enough for me....
  • Though when I opened up a notebook of Campbell's today, it was all worth it. She had written that it was her prayer journal. Then she went on to write out a prayer. My girl was listening this week.
  • While they were gone, we were in high gear here. Remember I said last week that on days before trips, I always get in my steps plus a few thousand more. I worked with Whitman-we are still slowly reading Wizard of Oz.
  • Then there was a bit of math work with Anderson. I also helped Anderson and Graham pack and wrote out exactly what Reagan needed to put in her bag. 
  • We then headed to pick up Laynie and Camryn on one side of town. Then we picked up Campbell and Keaton on the other side of town. Then it was to Little Ceasars and then the pool.
  • The kids gobbled up the pizza at the pool. I am not sure how many pieces everyone got, but they were all asking for more the second hour of swimming and was almost a fist fight over one last piece.
  • They all had fun swimming, and we stayed for about 2 and a half hours. My people just need people there to swim with. This was the first time that Reagan spent most of the time in the pool, and so did Anderson and Graham. I worked with Whitman on his swimming, and he did really well. 
  • We took the McGuire girls home and then ran home ourselves. I made the kids pick up 5 loads of branches before coming in. They didn't stay in long because soon they were back outside. Whitman did fall asleep on the way home so he lucked out of having to do some yard work. Of course, us all picking up 5 handfuls of branches didn't make a dent in the yard.
  • Then Campbell and Keaton worked on their packing. I had finished that when Robby came home with supper to start working on and some school stuff for me to put away. He went out to begin working on the tree.
  • One neighbor brought over his chainsaw. He would have stayed to help but had to leave. Robby was making his way through the tree, but the part that fell was about a foot thick. Then the other neighbor came with is massive chainsaw. He knew what he was doing and knocked it out. Tony and Shannon pulled up about that time, and after supper Tony helped Robby out some more. It takes a village. We still have quite a bit of limb hauling or burning but there will be time for that later.
  • We ate our supper, and then the kids went out with Layne to pick up a free milkshake. Then we had a long overdue Dennie vs Wilson kickball game. Well, there are so many Dennies, that a few of us had to infiltrate the Wilson's team to make the teams even. The score was close and everyone stayed in a good mood.
  • We celebrated the successful game with a huge ice cream cookie. Yep, I still have one more left. Best summer dessert and I love to have stuff ready to go in the freezer. We visited way too late but enjoyed every minute of it. 
  • When the Wilsons headed home, we all got to work-there were kids working on the garage, emptying the dishwasher, straightening the bonus room, folding laundry, showering and vacumming. We got it done!
  • After we tucked the kids in, I loaded the car some, folded laundry, packed my bag and worked on the kitchen, before working on the blog! Busy days are our favorites but unfortunately, I was too busy to get many pictures at all. I have to get better about that!

June 20, 2019

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  • Tonight's blog is brought to you by electricity provided by Entergy. And as I look in my bedroom and down the hall, we are definitely making up for all of the electricity we didn't use last night and this morning-every single light seems to be on. 
  • Robby and I slept perfectly well with the fan blowing right on us this morning. The boys must have slept well because they were all still sleeping this morning. I know that Campbell and Keaton slept well also because even though they were stuffed in the same bed, they were pretty difficult to wake up.
  • Robby took Keaton and Campbell to VBS while the rest of us hung out here in the dark. I opened the blinds and then decided that I probably should close most of them since I didn't want any heat from the sun coming in. 
  • I did empty all of the dishes out of the dishwasher this morning and wash them by hand. I felt like I was living in the dark ages. I was able to read to Whitman and even read myself a little bit. I read for a tiny bit and then decided that I would enjoy cleaning some baseboards better so that is what I did.
  • I wasn't able to do my laundry so I did take a load or two to Nonna's house. Then it was on to pick up Keaton and Campbell. The original plan was to go to the pool this afternoon, but their power was out so we picked up Reagan and headed on home. 
  • Everyone grabbed themselves some lunch and soon we were back in the car headed to Third Realm for the afternoon. We drove back by Nonna's house on the way home to pick up the laundry. 
  • Tonight Campbell and Keaton's VBS had their little program. Each of the grades sang a song and the girls knew all the words and motions. Afterwards, there was food on the parking lot along with bouncy houses, a petting zoo, horses to ride on and firetrucks. Whitman couldn't wait to get on the bounce house while Campbell was super excited about getting to ride the horses.
  • After it was over, we ran by Grannymom and Grandpa's house who are still without power. Then it was home for a bit of downtime before bed. Campbell and Keaton watched a game show in our room. Whitman was also in our room watching his ipad. Reagan found a backpack that she wanted Robby to do so they did some online shopping. Anderson was in his spot in the living room while Graham was on the xbox. It was a pretty peaceful evening.

June 19, 2019

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  • This blog is being brought to you by the generator of the 2012 ice storm. Robby had hoped tonight that after plugging it all up that the lights would kick back on, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
  • I will spare you from all of the day's events because I am sure you are just interested in finding out how the trampoline fared during tonight's storm. Well, it is upright and looked to be just fine....though it is in a different spot by about 15 feet. It ended up against the tree house which is probably what saved it! That would have been heartbreaking.
  • Also, one half of a tree is down plus there are lots of limbs to pick up in the yard. We weren't at home when the weather came through but it must have been pretty messy. Thankful for a roof over our heads and no trees in that roof.
  • Let's get back to this morning though. This was the last day of basketball camp for the boys. Overall, I think that they had fun and were tickled to receive a pretty nice basketball at the end of camp.
  • Campbell and Keaton are still enjoying Vacation Bible School. I just think that they would be tired from two weeks of VBS. Campbell, however, is a social butterfly and thrives off of being near people. 
  • Whitman and Reagan were glad to see the kids come in around lunch time or maybe they were glad to see the lunch that Robby brought home for everyone. They all ate and then we had a few minutes before it was time to load up for Third Realm. 
  • The kids enjoyed jumping there. I think that the boys prefer Third Realm over the pool. Anderson did say that he was exceptionally tired today and his legs were even jiggly from the basketball camp.
  • Once we came home, the kids jumped on the trampoline and played outside some of the afternoon long. I had already finished all of my chores and then some this morning. I was so productive that I even made time for my self to walk on the treadmill. While I was walking, I thought that I probably should have been a bit slower on my chores so I didn't have to walk.
  • Reagan had at thing at church tonight. They had intended to go play putt putt and eat snow cones, but ended up eating pizza and playing dodgeball at church. That is what Reagan really wanted to do.
  • The rest of us ate supper at the McGuires' house tonight. The kids were able to swim in the pool for a long time before the storm came up. They started seeing lightening so they got out of the pool. Afterwards, though they went back out and chatted until the storm really did come through.
  • We did eat one of our huge ice cream cookies at their house tonight and it was exceptionally good. It was a fun treat! Good thing I have 2 more. What was I thinking that we might need 3 of those. I guess it is better to have too much...and those extra 2 ice cream sandwiches are probably the reason that Robby has the generator going right now to the freezer outside.
  • I just looked on the map and it looks like half of Little Rock is out of power. Looks like both sets of grands are out of power. Right now we are good here since the generator is keeping at least one of my fridges cold. It is also running a fan and lamp in our room plus charging all of our devices. The plan is for me to take a shower soon so I better jump in there now before the gas runs out on the generator.

June 18, 2019

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  • The boys rolled in at 2:30 this morning. I slept off and on until they arrived. When they did pull up, each boy was sprawled out in their own row. Graham stirred when Robby stopped the car. Anderson had to be woke up to go upstairs. Whitman was sound asleep, and Robby had to carry him up to his room.
  • Even though the boys had gotten in late, they did head to their basketball camp this morning. They were hard to wake up-and a bit on the grumpy side as well. Campbell and Keaton had VBS so they left just as early as the boys.
  • Now, this morning when Whitman did wake up, he couldn't understand why we didn't put his pajamas on him. Pajamas or clothes-he still slept very well and didn't wake up until almost 9.
  • I dropped off Anderson and Graham at their camp, and then dropped off the girls. I rushed home for a little bit to work on unpacking the boys and packing up the girls. 
  • I was fairly productive but did take a break to read to Whitman. He had made a fort upstairs so we read in it. Afterwards, I had to wake Reagan up to tell her that in a bit they would meet me at the pool. 
  • I picked up the basketball campers and then picked up the VBSers. They all were a bit tired-that was easy to tell because they were all a bit fussy. Everyone did calm a bit when Robby arrived at the pool with pizza.
  • We all ate and everyone but Anderson swam. Reagan usually isn't big on swimming, but when Whitman asked her to help him swim, she was in the water in a heartbeat. When Robby left after an hour, 3 kiddos went with him but the little 3 stayed with me to swim longer.
  • We weren't at home very long before it was time to turn around a leave again. Tonight was Campbell, Graham and Keaton's first swim meet. They all did super-it is probably pretty hard racing with a ton of people watching you. Keaton received a 2nd place ribbon for her back stroke, Campbell earned a 3rd place for her back stroke and Graham got a 2nd place for his backstroke. 
  • It did help that 2 of our swim team families were out of town. I think that my people won't always get a ribbon, but they were super pumped today. It is kind of like a soccer game, now that they have won something then we will be good not winning anything else. 
  • Afterwards, we celebrated with Sonic drinks before supper at home. The kids did some trampoline jumping before they finally made it inside the house for their supper. Next up was showers and a way too late bedtime for a sleepy crew!

June 17, 2019-Little Rock and OmaHOG Fans

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Little Rock:
  • This morning was again an early morning with my alarm ringing at 7. The girls asked to go to VBS at Immanuel and since I couldn't say no to taking them to church, that is where we headed first thing this morning.
  • Our VBS started at 9 last week and on the first day, the line to register was backed up almost out the door. I had preregistered on the computer yesterday but wasn't too sure if that all worked out since it was just yesterday. We were there by 8:20 and quickly found Campbell and Keaton's packet.
  • But that was about all that was happening-they were a bit later to arrive than at Geyer. By almost 9, things did seem to pick up and the girls found their spots. 
  • I headed home to do some work around the house. I had intended to do some work on the computer, but the internet was being a bit fussy. When Reagan woke up, after I had picked up the girls, she was almost frantic about me fixing the internet. I explained that there wasn't really much that I could do. I did unplug and plug something back in and that seemed to help. Though I am not sure if it was just a coincidence because it could have been a lamp that I was unplugging!
  • Before long it was time for me to retrieve the girls. Keaton was sitting by one of her old CBS friends who she was super excited to see. This girl goes to real school so Keaton hasn't seen her in two years. Campbell was sitting by one of her buddies from swim team. I do think that everyone had a really good time. 
  • Now, I will say though that as soon as I picked those girls up the got so ugly with each other. This same thing happens with them every time that we leave CBS too-so it is something about Immanuel or they are completely exhausted (that's my guess.)
  • We ate a quick bite to eat at home, and then met the Heltz at Third Realm. Candice and I watched the ball game looking intently for the boys. The kids would even walk upstairs to where we were occasionally to watch a bit of the game.
  • Once we left there, I took my crew to the pool. Reagan watched the game on my phone, Campbell and Keaton swam and swam and I put a pool towel under my head and had a siesta. I guess I slept so little that my fitbit didn't even count it as a nap so I probably shouldn't have even mentioned it on here!
  • While we were at the pool, I half jokingly asked the girls where we should go on a trip. Campbell suggested Silver Dollar City to which I vetoed. Keaton said that Bahamas to which Robby and the checkbook would veto. Reagan surprised me by saying a football game. I mentioned going to the Miss Arkansas pageant next year to which Reagan strongly vetoed.
  • I have been super excited for the boys knowing that they are having a great time. I do think that my little girls are a bit bummed that they aren't on a trip too. They just have to wait until Saturday when the Dennie bus leaves again.
  • After the pool, we came in and soon Campbell and Keaton went back out. The neighbors were all out-so many neighbors were out that Reagan even went outside to play. Everyone stayed outside until nearly 8. 
  • When they all came in, my crew had their showers and then we all ate supper. I pulled out a fridge full of leftovers but everyone chose nachos. Campbell and I did work on the leftovers though by topping our nachos with ham and baked beans.
  • We played another round of Sequence while we ate our supper. Then the girls watched a short movie and before long at all, it was time for bed. It looks like it will be a late night for me and an early morning!
  • Robby is currently driving all the way home tonight. So the boys' part of the blog is written by me. He has given me notes so hopefully I do their awesome day justice.
  • Robby woke up the boys-Anderson was already stirring. They had to get to breakfast by 9 so there was no sleeping in this morning. Then it was back to the room for a little bit. Robby did some real work while the boys played on their ipads.
  • Then they packed up and got back on the road of Omaha. The boys were excited to get back to the Fan Fest but they had no idea the fun that was in store for them.
  • Robby wanted free parking so as they were trekking from their parking spot a mile away, a man came up to them and asked if they had tickets. Robby said that they did, but the man said that they would probably want his.
  • Indeed they did-two seats right behind home plate on the 8th row and two more seats in the club level seating right also right behind home plate. The tickets also came with a pregame party-burgers, nachos, bbq, drinks, popcorn, ice cream and all you want of this. 
  • The kids had indeed thought that they had died and gone to heaven. Whitman was finally enjoying a baseball game! Except it hadn't started! 
  • As Robby was settling Graham and Anderson into their awesome seats, a man beside them offered up his phone number in case Robby needed to get a hold of the boys. Wasn't that nice?
  • At one point during the game, Robby came down to give the boys some money for a snack. He wasn't too surprised that they spent every single penny of the money that he gave them. I will say that I have never seen a bucket of popcorn so big as I did in a picture Robby went me. It looked to be larger than movie popcorn, but Robby did write that it was much, much cheaper.
  • Then Robby realized that the couple Whitman and him were sitting by were the ones who gave him the tickets. He said that if they had ended up staying for the next game, the people would have probably offered their house-that is how nice they were. 
  • For the boys, I wish that the game had a better outcome, but what a neat experience for them. I know that they loved it-and if they had won, Robby probably would have stayed another day or so for the next game. He was enjoying it all as much as the boys.
  • The original plan was to drive half of the way home today and half in the morning. But the plan soon changed to drive the entire way tonight. They made a few potty stops, even stopping for a ChickFilA supper, but for the most part they pressed on. 
  • As of right now, they have less than 3 hours left until they arrive home. Robby is listening to a sermon right now so I am going to shut my eyes briefly. I'm setting my alarm to wake me up to so I can keep him awake after his sermon is over.

June 16, 2019-Little Rock and OmaHOG Fans

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Little Rock:
  • It wasn't too difficult waking up Keaton, Campbell and Zoey this morning. My people always seem to stir a bit better when they have buddies sleeping over. Soon they were dressed and downstairs eating the muffins that they made last night.
  • Reagan came in the door a second after their little girls had left to walk Zoey back to her house. I was able to empty the dishwasher before we loaded up to head to church. Church did Father's day very well this year. Sunday school was over before we knew it, and we headed to Pops' house for lunch.
  • They had ham and mac and cheese for lunch today which was very good. It was actually so good that most of my girls had some of the leftovers tonight for supper. We gave Pops some popcorn for his Father's Day present-lots of odd flavors which we knew he would like (barbeque, banana and pickle.)
  • After eating, I worked on a project using Nonna's iron. It didn't work too great, but it did work better than with my iron. My iron is probably still mad at me for selling the ironing board at a garage sale years and years ago. I was just trying simplify my life.
  • Back at home, I had the most wonderful nap ever. Maybe I can't nap as well when the boys are here. You wouldn't think that they would be too noisy. When I finally did wake up from my nap, I did a bit of home repairs-Campbell has a drawer that the front comes off. I fixed it yesterday, but today after it broke again, I really fixed it this time. If it does come off again, I am throwing the whole thing in the trash. 
  • Then the girls had supper while I read a bit to them. Then we all played a game of Uno. I won fairly quickly but it took forever for someone else to win. Reagan was done at that point and left Campbell, Keaton and I to play Sequence alone. I just can't play that game without thinking of Debbie Dillon. 
  • The girls had a bit of downtime before it was finally time for bed. I have been letting them stay up fairly late the past few days. I will say that I can see that summer will soon be over, and we will have to get used to the early bedtime that doing school needs. I can't say that I will be sad when summer is over-this summer stuff can wear a person out. I can't wait for the consistency of school. (Now, I will just have to remind myself of this when school time does come.)
  • After they went to bed, I worked on the blog and my laundry-never ending!
  • With several early mornings lately, I thought it would be good to sleep in and since it was Father's Day...sounded good. Of course mornings I don't need to get up, I seem to wake up anyway.  But the boys were sleeping good. I knew breakfast ended at nine so I decided to make my way to breakfast and load a few plates up with some choices.  By the time I got to the room, all 3 boys were on their iPad and had a slew of Father's Day cards ready for me to open. They had even thought to bring the girl's cards too. (Or maybe Mom helped!)
  • With a free day, we decided to head to the Omaha Zoo. We had heard rave reviews about the zoo and by the looks of the parking lot before 10:00, others had too.  We ended up parking right beside Infield at the Zoo. In the middle of the zoo parking lot sits a memorial to the home of the College World Series since 1950 before being demolished in the summer of 2012. They have some of the original seats, home plate and the base lines.  Today was neat because some older players from former series were out pitching wiffle balls to various kids. They were so encouraging and it was a neat atmosphere. The boys, of course, enjoyed hitting the ball, running the balls and even shagging out in the infield. They could have stayed longer but we decided to head into the zoo.
  • It was definitely an impressive zoo. I would say among the San Diego Zoo or Memphis Zoo.  The first thing that caught the boys eyes before we even made it in was the Desert Dome, the world's largest indoor desert located under the world's largest glazed geodesic dome. It featured plant and animal life from three deserts around the world.  We then visited the orangutans, the birds in the aviary, before we stopped for our water bottles and a snack from the backpack.  Then it was thru the Asian Highlands for red pandas and tigers. Then we checked out the sea lions and then antelopes and tortoises before the Skyfari caught our eye. It came at about the right time because we had done a lot of walking and this was going to save us a big walk uphill. But the ride was perfect because we had a bird's eye view of lions, elephants, zebras, rhinos and giraffes.  We hopped off the ride and then walked thru the aquarium and it too was expressive with a walk thru stingray and shark exhibit along with all kids of sea life.
  • By this time we were getting hungry but the Infield at the Zoo caught the boys attention again so they couldn't resist hitting a few more balls.  Then we decided to drive to our next stop and eat our lunch.  Since we didn't do laundry last night and we had a bit of time this afternoon, we headed back to the area where our hotel was because we had spotted a laundromat. Thought it would give a quick way to do a load as we killed some time.  I started the wash and then came back to the car and fixed sandwiches for everyone. After eating, we all came inside since there was Wifi and waited for the dryer to finish. (It may have been the boys first trip to a laundromat. Good experience for them!
  • We were right across the river from TD Ameritrade Stadium and the boys were wanting to go back to Fan Fest, companies like Geico, Coca-Cola, Capital One have all kinds of activities set up with freebies and snacks.  We managed to snag free parking 2 blocks away - couldn't have been much better even if it meant parallel parking the big white van. The Fan Fest was a lot less crowded than last night when we  got there so the boys were able to do the home run derby, show off their pitching arms and even have a try at lacrosse. There were plenty of Coca-Cola samples and cards to be punched for free water bottle, cooling towel and clear mini-backpack. The Vanderbilt / Louisville game ended while were there and Mississippi State and Auburn fans were making their way into the area so it began to get crowded again. We finished up and made our way back to the car.
  • We opted for a hotel back in Lincoln tonight. It was about 45 minutes away but a lot nice hotel tonight with lots of room and a bed for everyone. We picked up pizza on the way to the hotel and fixed our plates before the Miss State / Auburn game started. We took a break for the boys to take a quick swim. Then it was one more load of laundry since we had wet bathing suits. But it's just nice have suitcases of clean clothes vs. dirty clothes. (Or Tara has made me obsessive about laundry!)
  • This may be our earliest night. Boys playing iPads and were keeping an eye on this ballgame. Breakfast ends here at 9:00 as well so we'll have to stir but won't have to rush to get back to Omaha to hopefully at least get 1 victory for the Hogs before we make our way back to Little Rock.

June 15, 2019-Little Rock and OmaHOG Fans

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Little Rock:
  • We had swim practice at 8:30 this morning. I only had one of mine going since Campbell was at a sleepover, but 2 Heltz girls also needed to go so we couldn't skip. Well, Keaton is a bit stressed about the meet on Tuesday so she would have not wanted to skip if I had even given her the choice.
  • For about 2 years now, Graham has wanted to do swim team, but each time all I could think about was sitting in the hot sun while they were practicing. It has been nothing like that this year-each time I have been to swim practice, I have ended up covered up with a towel! Brrr. 
  • After practice, we ran home for a little bit. I should have probably stayed on that side of town, but I didn't have any errands to run nor did I need to spend any money. The girls had time to play and dry out, before we turned around and headed back to the pool.
  • I don't even put on my bathing suit and act like I am going to swim these days-it is just too cold. There is no reason for me to get in that water at all. I even debated wearing flip flops today since I was worried that my feet would be cold. It might be decent or almost warm in the sun, but in the shade it is chilly.
  • After the pool, we ran to Grannymom and Grandpa's house for a little bit. We stayed for a while and then headed home. Reagan was anxious to go down the road to Hannah's birthday party. Campbell and Keaton were anxious for her to go too since that meant that Zoey would come here for the night.
  • The girls have made a craft, rode bikes, jumped on the trampoline and been very busy. I even had them make pumpkin muffins for their breakfast. They also read a book about crepes and made some strawberry and nutella filled crepes. 
  • We also ran a few errands before watching the Hogs play. Well, I watched the Hogs. You could probably use the term "watched" very loosely since I would run and do something and then come back to fast forward through the game. 
  • I was mainly keeping my eye on the score and watching to see if I could see the boys. I didn't see either for a long while-the score or the boys! It didn't turn out the way that they wanted, and I haven't heard yet when my crew may be coming home. I might just have to meet Robby in NW Arkansas later next week for the start of the Dennie family trip. 
  • The girls had a snack and settled in to watch a movie. They tried first in the bonus room but we couldn't figure out the tv up there. So they ended up in the living room for their movie. As they watched their movie, I finished up the Hogs game and watched the new Miss. Arkansas be crowned. 

  • When the alarm went off at 7:00, I definitely hit snooze.  But had to make a decision on today's plans pretty quick.  With the game start at 6 p.m., and us being only about 3.5 hours away in Kansas City, we had a few options. Had thought about taking boys to the NCAA Experience but it didn't open until 10 a.m. and then we would have the full drive. Thought we might be too rushed for it (will have to come back to KC), so opted for more history instead and extra hour drive. 
  • Anderson did stir once he heard me up and around. But Graham and Whitman both had to be woke up. Since we were making an extra hour drive, we had to move fairly quickly so I announced we would head to Krispy Kreme and skip the hotel breakfast if they wanted to and could get ready pretty quick. That definitely provided motivation and soon everyone was dressed and the cart loaded.
  • Krispy Kreme was only around the block. We ran in and made our selections and hit the road toward Beatrice, Kansas. What's in Beatrice?  Well, first a population of 12 thousand but I was beginning to wonder as we made the 3 hour drive toward Beatrice. There was not much in the middle of Nebraska.  But right outside of Beatrice is the Homestead National Monument of America -- dedicated to the country's homesteaders.  We checked out the movie here and also picked up the junior ranger books.  Museum was interesting and had facts about the very first homesteaders to the very last one, a man in Alaska who filed a homestead in 1978.  We also checked an original cabin from the time period they had on the ground before headed back to the car.  We made our picnic lunch and soon were on the road to Omaha literally. 
  • Well, we did make a brief stop in Lincoln, Nebraska. We had never been here so we did drive by to see the State Capitol and for a quick photo op.
  • Soon we were in Omaha and passed right by TD Ameritrade Stadium and made our way across the river to our hotel for the night in Council Bluff, Iowa. We were only 2 miles from the stadium so we decided to check in and get our stuff settled since the first game was only in the 5th inning.
  • We had a quick snack thinking we might could avoid concessions (no luck!) and then jumped back in the car crossing back over the river. We quickly remembered we forgot Whitman's hat so we went back over the river. (He ended up not wanting his hat but we had it anyway).
  • We lucked in a free parking spot and walked over the stadium just as the first game between Michigan and Texas Tech was ending. Folks began flooding out as we took our first pictures outside the stadium.  Since they have to clear the stadium before the second game, we walked around outside the stadium and found ourselves at Fan Fest where we enjoyed some of the games and activities and free Coke samples.
  • They were soon opening the gates and we entered at Gate 3 and walked right up to the outfield and a great view of the whole stadium. It was an impressive site for college baseball. Our seats ended up being right at the foul pole of 3rd base and by the Arkansas pitchers. The boys were able to watch them warm up and hope for a ball (no luck!). But the boys felt like they had a front row to the action.  The sun was out strong so Whitman opted to hang out at our seats which were just a few rows back from where the boys were hanging out. I had promised him popcorn so he was on his best behavior. Sometimes it doesn't hurt to bribe - he said baseball was his favorite but he was good thru the whole game. (Well, the snowcone in the 6th inning tided him over.)
  • There was not a lot of offense in the game as it come down to a pitching dual. 0-0 going into the 9th and we knew it could go either way. And it did not go our way with the Seminoles scoring a run in the top and we never really had a chance at the last at bat.  So it didn't end the way we wanted but we definitely enjoyed our first College World Series experience.  So much we have opted to come back for Monday's 1:00 game in the loser's bracket. Hoping we can at least help the Hogs get back on the right track. (Or maybe I'm just avoiding the 10 hour drive home.)
  • We made our way out of the stadium and did a bit of souvenir shopping. Walked back to the car and were back over the river in no time. We called Grannymom and Grandpa and then run thru the Wendy's drive thru for a late supper. (Graham did opt for nachos at the game while Anderson had joined Whitman for a snowcone.)
  • We stayed up way too late but plan on sleeping in tomorrow since we have a whole day to kill. I'm sure we'll find something to do in Omaha.

June 14, 2019-Little Rock and OmaHOG Fans

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Two-for-one blog entry today as the boys are off to Omaha for the College World Series while the girls man the fort back home (while on the go).

Little Rock:
  • It seems to me that I have been waking up earlier in the summer than I did during the school year. Something is just wrong with all of that. This morning, Campbell did come in my room before I was out of bed. She sat on the edge, chatted for a while and then asked me to scoot over so she could lay down-there was a whole side of the bed open that she could have walked to, but I had to scoot over.
  • We picked up Nonna and Pops and drove to Wye Mountain to pick blueberries. I left knowing two things-that berry patch is so much better than the one we have been going to and I want to buy the place. It is for sale, so maybe we could.
  • The drive was shorter than I had expected and the weather was absolutely perfect. I was completely surprised at how many people were there. But there was still plenty of bushes to pick from. You wouldn't believe how easy it was to pick the blueberries-you could stand in one spot and gather dozens at a time. 
  • It took us less than an hour to pick 2 gallons of blueberries. The girls decided that they wanted blackberries too so I let them pick a half gallon of them. I am not a huge blackberry fan, but did much on some. Gracious though, as we were paying I did look over at Campbell and she had blueberry juice all over her mouth. I am surprised that the guy didn't charge me more!
  • We headed home and I did some things around the house-the windows and dusting. The girls jumped on the trampoline and then came inside to watch a few shows. I used this opportunity to be super productive and catch up on some sleep. It was a wonderful nap, until Campbell again woke me up. I will say though that at least this time, I had told her to wake me up at a certain time.
  • Soon it was time for us to run a few errands-we picked up 2 Heltz and 1 Kamp and then went to Tropical Smoothie for their flip flop day. We all had on our flip flops and got ourselves a free smoothie. I don't think that Keaton or Campbell really liked theirs-they were a bit watery and banana-y.
  • From there, I left all of the girls in the car as I ran into the store. Then we dropped off Campbell and Eden at Caroline's birthday party at Embassy. They had big plans for the evening-eating out, shopping and swimming. Then we picked up Kennedy.
  • Next, I took all of the big girls to Sara's house so she could take them to a Middle School pool party. Keaton, Charlotte and I came on home. They had a whole list of things to do this evening.
  • I went right to work on making some big chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. I made 2 huge ones and even made the cookies to make a 3rd, but I ran out of ice cream. I had already used a gallon. 
  • I also worked on some teacher Christmas gifts but they aren't working out quite like I wanted. I even had time to make the girls supper during all of that. 
  • I will say that sometimes, Keaton can make me crazy-she won't get her way and will just collapse on the floor. However, tonight she has been as mature as possible. I had just sat their supper in front of them when the neighbor asked if they could play. I told them that they could go and I would reheat their supper later. As Keaton left the table, she said "sorry, Mom." I thought that was very kind of her-though there wasn't anything to be sorry about-after all it was just a chicken tortilla that I heated up in the microwave.
  • So they played outside quite a while tonight while I worked on my projects. It was nearly 10, when Reagan and Alyssa came in. They had enjoyed their pool party and going strong still. I encouraged the little to go to bed at 10:30 but I still hear movement above me now at 11:15. It is slowing down and getting quieter-swim practice comes early in the morning.
Road to Omaha:
  • All the boys slept good last night - as we always say, "There just something about good 'ole hotel sleeping. Since this hotel had hardwood floors, everyone opted for a bed even if that meant sharing. Graham drew the short straw and ended up with me. Not really a short straw though - I move the least of all of them and even ended with Graham's foot propped up on at some point in the middle of the night.
  • I stirred around 7:00 and soon Anderson was waking up on his own followed by Graham. We all manged to get ready and even I took a load to the car before we finally had to wake Whitman up. But he woke up in a good mood and was dressed in no time. We headed down for breakfast where it was the standard fare of eggs, sausage and powdered donuts for Anderson, powdered donut and Blueberry yogurt for Whitman, donut for Graham and biscuits and gravy for me.
  • We headed to the car where it was slightly sprinkling and overcast but by the time we made it to Silver Dollar City, there was no rain. We got a prime parking spot and headed into the park. Graham joined the line for Time Traveler and the rest of us got in line for Thunderation. We were still there 20 minutes before the park officially opened so we had a bit of a wait. But we rode twice before we met up Graham.  Then it was off to Powder Keg for Anderson and Graham. They said they literally walked right on with no waiting. So when they got off, the headed straight back to ride again.  (It pays to get to attractions right at opening!).  Fire in the Hole was not operating for some reason so really the only other thing on the list and the thing Whitman had talked about since last night -- Grandfather's Mansion.  He got the biggest kick out walking thru the quirky house. He wanted to do it again but I bribed him with ice cream and the other boys couldn't believe it -- we never buy ice cream at the park.  Between last night and this morning, we were able to do all the things on our lists so we headed out of the park. Meanwhile, the rest of Branson was arriving at 11:00 and it looked like it was going to be a crowded day at the park so we would glad to escape.
  • Got back to the car and got on the road -- we did make a quick stop at the McDonald's on the road out of town. We didn't go inside -- I just needed to squat on their WiFi a bit to handle a few work related tasks.  But soon we were zipping the back roads of Missouri and off to our next step, Wilson's Creek National Battlefield.
  • I knew I would score some brownie points by picking up some Junior Ranger books for Tara from here. And it was a new national park site for us.  The things you learn - who knew the second major battle of the Civil War took place in Missouri. We watched the park film -- Tara would have been in heaven (nap heaven that is since she has a penchant for taking naps during park films.) But the boys and I ate it up -- it was almost 30 minutes long but it was well done and kept our interest for the most part :)  We then headed out on the park loop via car where there were several stops. We made a couple of the stops including the farmhouse that was in the middle of the battle and ended up taking care of the wounded. Then we did a trail to see a battery and a cabin. Whitman wasn't too keen at this point for the mile up and down trail (since the sun had started coming out.). But he survived.
  • We jumped back in the car and by this time it was 2:00 and we were getting hungry. I had to take a work call and by the time it was over, we were near a Kum & Go and opted to get gas and pick up lunch there. From there, it was two hours to our next stop, another national park site -- Fort Scott in Kansas. 
  • It was almost 4:30 when we got there and they were closing at 5:00 so no park film here. We did get more Junior Ranger books for later and stamped our books. The town in the 1950s restored the fort to its appearance in the 1840s. It was self guided thru the different buildings including the arsenal, brig, officer quarters and the horse stable.
  • We then drove on into Kansas City and opted to head straight to Winstead's Steakburgers. We've been several times. While the burgers are pretty good, we always enjoy getting the huge Skyscraper Shake!  The boys opted for vanilla tonight and didn't have any trouble finishing it off. 
  • Then it was short drive to the hotel where we got checked, showered and did a round of laundry. No one even turned the tv on but the boys managed to stay up until 11:00 playing the ipads before we called it a night.
  • Tomorrow's destination ... Omaha where the game starts at 6:00 p.m. Go Hogs!

June 13, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Today was the last day of VBS-I am pretty glad that they aren't doing it on Friday also. That would have just pushed a lot of people over the edge. Today's snack was a cookie which wasn't as good as yesterday's scones, but you take what you can get.
  • Whitman was pretty tired this morning-so tired that he didn't put on any underwear. Poor Robby tore up his hotel room looking for Whitman's undies. He never found them so I would have to assume that he did neglect to put them on. 
  • After VBS this morning, Robby swung by the church to help me take down my tent and haul it to the car. That was a huge help because that thing is heavy. Our room was decorated so cute, but all day today we were gradually taking things down. By the time that last class came, it looked pretty sad!
  • Once at home, I unloaded by VBS stuff while Robby loaded up his ice chest and then the car. After a dentist appointment for Robby and his work finished, the boys pulled out for their trip to Omaha. They were all pretty excited, but I also think that my big boys weren't too sure about leaving the rest of us. They know it means extra work for them!
  • Robby said that Whitman was sound asleep by Mayflower. He snoozed for a long time and woke up and asked "So, what's everyone doing?" They did stop once on the way for a bathroom/ice cream stop. Then it was on to Silver Dollar City. 
  • Robby said that this was the perfect time to go to SDC because the crowds were pouring out as they were going in. They were able to ride a few rides but focused mainly on the wet rides that we rarely let the kids do. They were all soaked!
  • Meanwhile, when they left I loaded up and took my girls to the pool. The water is still chilly and the breeze was so cool that I almost needed a blanket out there. The girls swam very little since it was so chilly. I thought about coming home early since they really weren't swimming, but my chair was nice and there was no laundry to fold at the pool.
  • Once back at home though, I kicked it up in high gear-folded my laundry, made a face mask, made breakfast burritos, cleaned the kitchen and emptied the dishwasher. Then it was time to run out the door for VBS family night.
  • They had hot dogs and hamburgers at Raymar, but even more fun was the water inflatables that they had for the kids to play on. Campbell and Keaton had a great time and were soaked! Now, Reagan didn't get wet, but she disappeared with her friends playing ball. She was even disappointed that the soccer goals were not out so I am not really sure that type of ball they were playing. 
  • We stayed until it was over-actually, we stayed longer than that! The girls were playing and I was chatting, so there was no hurry. Once at home, the girls had their showers and then we worked a long time on straightening upstairs. I cleaned up the boys room while they worked on their room. I am not sure who's room was the messiest, but both look a bit better now. 

June 12, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • VBS day 184-or maybe just 3. Gracious me. VBS stresses me out or possibly makes me need a nap! This morning we divided and conquered with Graham, Campbell and Keaton heading to swim team practice at 7:40 while the rest of left for church at 8.
  • The water was so chilly at practice that they finished a bit earlier than usual. That was fine since the kids were rushing to VBS. They did have time to run into Grannymom's house to change their clothes and then to church they went. Robby even bought them a Sonic drink which made them all happy.
  • Reagan was a bit stressed because we didn't get to church at 8:15. Her paper told her to get there at 8:15 and it was 8:18 when we pulled up into the parking lot. Ha! Now, the parking lot was practically empty since folks are arriving later and later each day. 
  • After VBS we headed home for a quick lunch. The kids had time to veg out while I ran around the house like a crazy woman. I usually have about the same number of steps each day but on days before trips (apparently, even trips that I am not going on) my number of steps doubles. 
  • At 2, we did load up to go to Gulpha Gorge in Hot Springs. We met Wallace, one of Whitman's little friends. It is a camp ground that has a shallow (mostly) stream that the kids were able to play in. 
  • It was lots of fun-everyone enjoyed wading around in the water. There was one deep area so we did put on the kids floaties. So then they could just have at it. Keaton on up though were able to go where ever they wanted to. 
  • I did realize that we do need to invest in some water shoes. Everyone made due with what they had-but Graham did take the shoes that I had planned to wear so I had to gingerly walk all over the rock with my bare feet. 
  • There was one rock that was even a slide so Campbell had lots of fun helping the littles down it. It was a really fun time and I am so glad that we went. There was a lot of traffic on the way home, so it took a bit longer than normal. 
  • When we made it home, Robby cut the boys hair and then I ran to Dana's to help with a Cricut project. Back at home, we heated up the last manicotti. I guess I need to make some more for the freezer. We did clean up a whole 9x13 pan-yikes! I remember when an 8x8 would feed us. I am sure the kids were hungry from their pretty busy day.
  • After supper, there was lots more packing and loading of the van. Then it was soon bedtime for everyone around here. Tomorrow is crazy hair day so my girls are planning on waking up way too early!

June 11, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • VBS day 2-my people moved a bit slower this morning, and it didn't help that we had to leave 15 minutes earlier today than yesterday. (Tomorrow some are going to swim team practice so they are going to leave even earlier!) 
  • Whitman was the slowest to wake up this morning. I brought him downstairs to lay in my bed and when Robby discovered him later, he was sound asleep again. Today was color day at VBS so everyone was wearing a specific color-we did find out that we don't have many yellow shirts around here.
  • VBS flew by for me since I told the same story 5 times. I was only able to get one bite of my cinnamon roll each time before it was time for the next group to come in. Now, the adult snacks are the envy of the kids-Reagan was very excited this year to because since she is a worker, she is able to eat the adult snacks.
  • After every thing was over, we headed to Nonna and Pops' house for lunch. Unfortunately, Nonna was getting her hair cut so she missed us. Pops had lunch ready for us all. He had everything ready, and it was a delicious lunch. The kids gobbled up a whole package of tortillas as they ate quesadilla after quesadilla.
  • From there, we went to the pool for just 2 hours. Campbell was not pleased with me since we left after 2 hours. I have figured out that 2 hours is about all the big kids enjoy and after that they they get a bit bored. 
  • I didn't get in the pool because it was chilly, chilly today. Whitman always wants me to work with him swimming, but today I didn't feel too bad since he had a swim lesson tonight.
  • Once at home, I unloaded and put things away and then sat down for a minute-which turned into 45. I was exhausted! Soon it was time for Whitman's lesson. He is doing fine but doesn't use his arms. I know he just needs more practice. 
  • Robby had supper, well breakfast, ready for us when we got home. It was delicious and we all gobbled it us. Afterwards, it was shower time for everyone.
  • We had plenty of time to finish our Holes movie tonight. Whitman would run out of the room whenever the movie became intense. When the movie was over, it was soon bed time!