December 31, 2019-New Year's Eve!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Another wonderful day of not really knowing what day it is nor having much of anything to do. I am a bit sad that this little break is coming to an end; I could get use to this. 
  • Yesterday, I remembered that we had not yet planned for Sunday school for next week. I wrote our co-teachers and told them that I would do it. They quickly wrote back and said they were surprised I was already thinking about Sunday school. Then I finally realized that it was only Monday and not the Thursday that I thought it was.
  • There were dishes and laundry this morning like usual. Plus I did make a dip for tonight and helped Graham make Oreo balls. They would have been a lot easier to make if I had a food processor. Maybe that will have to be on next year's Christmas list.
  • There was also Legos to be put up. I helped Anderson cart all of his new stuff upstairs. Whitman worked on his Disney pins, and I pulled out school for Reagan for next week. Campbell worked on finishing a Lego set as well. We didn't really accomplish much today, but somehow I was busy most of the day long.
  • A bit after noon, we loaded up for our second movie in two week-Jumanji. Don't tell anyone, but I had planned on taking a nap during this movie. However, I was so interested in it that I stayed awake the whole time. Now at the very end I was starting to get sleepy, but as soon as I closed my eyes the movie was ending.
  • I was able to get my nap this afternoon for a few minutes. When my alarm did go off, it was time to gather the people and load up. We headed to the Crafts for a New Year's Party. The NYEs that we have had partys have really been less than the nights that we have. 
  • We had chili, hot dogs and lots of other goodies. We were outside most of the night long, but the bonfire kept us cozy. Robby strongly disagrees, but I just love going to bed with my hair smelling of campfire smoke.
  • The kids were able to run around outside and even watch the tv that Casey had set up. They all had fun-my bigs even enjoy watching and playing with all of the littles that were there. We did move the party indoors for the big event. The station that was on didn't have the NY ball dropping so Whitman was disappointed to not see the ball drop. 
  • After it was 2020, we tried to pick up for a second before grabbing our stuff and heading home for bed. We have one extra tonight, but it was still pretty much bedtime!

December 30, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • I am still trying to be productive, but I believe that I have finished all of the fun things and am now to the not so fun things. I did clean the snack cabinet along with reorganizing everything under the bar this morning.
  • Then it was time to take Reagan, Anderson and Alyssa to the church house for game day. They said that there weren't too many folks there, but they also had a good time. Some friends, pizza and games-what more could you ask for.
  • Keaton went with me because she was cashing in on her Christmas present! Build a Bear! My bag was full of gift cards, and Keaton could hardly wait for us to get to the mall. She chatted the entire time that we drove there. She was so excited. 
  • I had never built a bear before either and was pretty excited myself. We took our time and walked around browsing before we did finally get started. She found herself two bears, a boy and a girl, and we began stuffing them. 
  • She had an idea of what outfits she wanted for them to wear, but she did change her mind a few times. We eventually found their perfect outfits and then made their birthday certificates. She could not have been any happier with her bears that she made. She is even planning on going back for her birthday.
  • We headed home for lunch with the others. Soon afterwards, Whitman went to work painting some more. He has now used all of the colors to create 2 canvases that pretty much look the same-orangy brown with a W in the middle. He is as pleased as he could be with them though.
  • I worked on school this afternoon and did what I seem to do constantly these days-pick up trash off of the floor. I am not sure where this trash is coming from, but gracious me. I could vacuum twice a day. (It actually would probably help if I did vacumm once a day.) Meanwhile, Campbell was baking some cookies-that girl loves to bake!
  • Anderson and Reagan came home this afternoon and told us all about their day. We then had a bit of downtime before we left with 3 middles-Graham, Keaton and Campbell. We ran to Walmart, Kroger and then ChickFilA for supper. We did bring the others some supper home so all were happy this evening.
  • Tonight after showers, Whitman worked his Lego set from Chrsitmas. He has had sets before but his overly helpful, Lego loving brother usually does more of the work. Tonight, Campbell and Anderson set there talking him through the build. I stayed near by to make sure that Whitman did everything himself. I was pretty impressed.
  • After that, I looked at the clock and it was close to 10 so it was to bed we all headed!

December 29, 2019

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  • Last night Robby had seen a brown sweater in Graham's closet. He asked him why he didn't wear that, and Graham said that he didn't like it. Robby told Graham that it was the nicest thing in his closet and told him that he was going to weat it.
  • Graham wasn't too happy with his sweater, but he was a handsome guy. I also picked out a matching grey sweater for Whitman. I would have picked out one for Anderson but he didn't have one. 
  • Sunday morning and no Sunday school here so that makes things a little shorter at church. It is kind of odd going to church for just a little bit. It was almost like we didn't want to leave when the service was over today.
  • When we finally did leave the church house, we found ourselves at Dickeys to eat BBQ for lunch. Pops is still sickly, and we sure don't want to get sick ourselves. We enjoyed our lunch and even met a young man who had 6 siblings. 
  • My one question that I always ask people from large familes, is if they are close to their siblings now. That is one of my biggest hopes for my kiddos is that they will be buddies when they are all grown up. 
  • We did run through Walmart just to see if there was any sale goodies left for us. We did find some candy for the kids but that was all. Robby said that he was looking for more rice krispy treats...but he didn't say this until we were back home. He probably should have mentioned it earlier because Reagan and I saw plenty that we could have bought.
  • Back at home, we had ourselves an early and long Sunday afternoon nap. The kids were fairly quiet-we were only disturbed once when Whitman brought us "debit cards" to use at his snack stand downstairs. 
  • When I did wake up, there was painting and organizing...I don't actually feel like we have done as much organizing this holiday as we did last year. We still have a bit of time, but this house could stand organzing in every single room. Maybe I should make a list.
  • Around 7:30, we started on supper-waffles and breakfast burritos. The Wilson's also called and after supper, we ended up going to Sherwood Forest to see the Christmas lights. The last time that we went, there were cars for miles. We waited so long in line that one child had to go to the bathroom in the trees.
  • It was not at all like that this year. There was pretty much no one there! We drove through and were able to slowly enjoy the lights. On the way home, we stopped at Wendy's for some Frostys. Then it was once again bedtime for the crew.

December 28, 2019

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  • When we woke up this morning, Anderson was at the table working on his Legos and Graham was upstairs playing on his xbox. By the time that I was ready and walking through the house, I did make sure to give Anderson a hard time for not finishing his Lego set that he was working on. He has used some pretty good self discipline to not work all of his sets at once.
  • We left the house right before 9, and the girls were not up yet. I heard that Campbell didn't wake up until 9:30, Keaton woke up much later than that and Reagan beat them all with sleeping until 1. 
  • We picked up the Wilsons and ran a few errands-Dollar General, Walmart, Old Navy, Kirklands, Walmart (another one), Sams and Kroger. We were doing a bit of speed after Christmas shopping. By the time that we came home, we had filled the trunk and had to start filling the back seat.
  • Campbell wrote while we were gone telling me that she had taken her medicine and finished her Disney board. Everyone but Whitman has finished their Disney boards now. They are huge and filled with pins. I know that this current trend/obsession will pass with the kids, but it is fun right now. 
  • After our shopping, I ran to pick up Whitman. He had a great time last night and this morning. Pops, not so much. He picked up the stomach bug so Whitman didn't see much of him. In the car on the way home, I did make Whitman put hand sanitizer on his little hands! Hopefully Nonna doesn't get sick nor Whitman.
  • When we did finally all make it home, I helped Anderson do a bit of splatter paint to his canvas. Then Robby turned on one of the ballgames for a little bit. I watched the back of my eye lids for a few minutes and not the game.
  • Then it was time to head to the Wilson's house for the evening. Reagan drove us over there. She did well-it was getting dark and spitting rain. Now, she does like to veer to the right to avoid traffic which would be fine except the right is only a ditch! I don't really remember learning to drive-I don't think learning scarred me, and hopefully we won't scar Reagan!
  • Shannon had made chili-we did contribute some meat to the pot and some crackers to the table. In between ballgames, the kids finally decorated ice cream cones into little Christmas trees. Whitman has been waiting to do this for a long time-and things have finally calmed down a bit.
  • We stayed until halftime and then rushed home for showers. It has been a great week and I am a bit bummed that we only have one more free week before life gets pretty busy again.

December 27, 2019

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  • We didn't sleep in as much this morning, and I am not sure if we were really any more productive today than yesterday. 
  • Now Anderson quickly finished up the Lego nook. I do believe that I will need Grandpa to make me one or possibly two more shelves to complete our area-our new bookcases could just use one more shelf. Other than that though, the Lego nook looks nice and new and clean...though Anderson has not yet built all of his Legos from birthday or Christmas. He is trying his best to make it last as long as possible.
  • I worked on the dishes and I think that laundry. I am not sure. We are off on our laundry right now. There always seems to be a load in the floor that is waiting to be folded. Or if the load is folded, then those clothes are waiting to be put away. 
  • Robby and I had done a lot on our Christmas last night so today wasn't too bad. The big boys and Robby worked on putting trees in boxes as I packed up most everything else. By the time they were finished, I had everything upstairs. We just had to shove it in the attic, clean up and call it done.
  • So with Christmas gone, the kids presents everywhere doesn't seem as overwhelming. Now, tomorrow we just might start putting up one present a day. I don't really like putting up my presents either but it does have to be done. I did put up a few today-vinyl and Christmas dishes.
  • Operation move my Christmas dishes worked well today. It was super easy to move, and I think that I might use them more next year if I don't have to crawl inside of my bar to retrieve them.
  • Around noon Pops and Nonna came to pick up Whitman. He was so excited to leave yet he didn't want to leave his new toys (his words). So I let him load up a bag full of his new things. As he was leaving, he was waving his Forky toy at me. I am sure that he had fun tonight.
  • I do believe that I had a good nap this afternoon. Robby says that it was 3 houres, but I don't see how that would be possible.  The kids worked on their Disney pin boards. They have amounted quite a huge pin collection so they all have new canvases to display/organize their pins. Campbell and Anderson still have some work on theirs. Plus I didn't get Whitman one so maybe I can convince him to use one of his small Christmas canvases for his pin board.
  • We ran to the Wilson's pretty late tonight. We had already eaten a little bit here, but we did manage to make a supper out of everything that Shannon pulled out of her fridge. The kids played some and the adults made plans for tomorrow. 
  • Once at home tonight, there was some laundry to do along with some picking up before it was finally bedtime.

Decmeber 26, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Well, we weren't as productive today as I had hoped, but we did accomplish a few things. Our productivity could possibly have been increased if we wouldn't have stayed in bed until almost 10. I could get used to this holiday living!
  • As Campbell and Keaton were getting ready this morning, I worked on some of my spices-adding a few more to the fridge. When they were ready, we headed off in two cars.
  • Our first stop was the drop off my car at Kroger. Then I ran into return one thing at a store. Our next stop was Kohls. We had 5 free dollars to spend there. It took us a while to find something, but I did finally find a pair of jeans for my birthday.
  • Next up was a walk through Target. I found two plates to match two that I have at home. I also found one item for next year's stocking. Walmart was next, and there were a few more things that we found there. Mostly we filled the buggy up with food items that were on clearance, but I did also find a few little things for next year. Campbell and Keaton were thrilled that we let them buy some make up that was on clearance.
  • Then a quick walk around Sams where Robby picked up a blanket. Tacos for Life was our lunch. Kroger was next for another quick browse through the Christmas stuff. It was so cold in there that I couldn't stay long. Then we filled up the cars with gas, and Robby went to get Starbucks for Graham and Reagan.
  • When I came home, Whitman and Reagan were outside playing soccer. She was really working with him. I later learned that they had eaten their lunch outside together. I let them play and worked in the house while I waited on Robby to return with his trunk load of goodies.
  • We unloaded while the kids all played outside. It has been beautiful weather. Robby and I started to work on the bonus room Lego nook. We built two tall shelves and replaced two smaller shelves. Anderson still has to put the Legos back on the shelves, but hopefully this will give him some more room. Either way, it looks so, so much better, but anytime you make things neat they look better.
  • We hurried and finished just as the Wilson's headed our way. Robby made waffles which we all devoured. The kids played Blokus and Cribbage. Shannon and I had to help figure out how to play Cribbage with them, so we ended up playing a game of it ourselves after eating some ice cream.
  • Once the kids were in bed tonight, Robby and I took the ornaments off of the trees, took the trees down and moved all of the Chrirstmas stuff in the kitchen. We just have to put all of that stuff in boxes and in the attic tomorrow along with finding a spot for my Christmas dishes (my main goal tomorrow...plus maybe another Walmart run, you never know what you may find.)

December 25, 2019-Merry Christmas!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Wow! What a busy day this was. I am sure that most Christmases are busy, but this one was pretty perfect. (Though my favorite Christmas to date has been the one that begin the ice storm where we were iced in one room for the next few days.)
  • Robby and I woke up around 7 to turn on lights and brush our teeth. Soon it was 7:20, and we headed up to get the kids. We told them don't plan on stirring until then, but it sounded like cattle were above my head running from one side of the house to the other. They were so excited. Graham is probably the most excited about Christmas morning.
  • We took our obligatory stair picture and then let everyone loose. They quickly found their spots. The stockings this year were pretty epic. I will say that our stockings are on the small side-very small. Now, they are very vintage so there is no changing them. 
  • I guess that "Santa" (notice the quotation marks-every time that Keaton says the word 'santa', she uses air quotation marks) shopped all year on the stockings. Stockings are my favorite, and I think that the kids enjoyed them too. Not only were the stockings full, but "Santa" had to use a box beside each stocking to hold the overflow.
  • Let's review a few of what everyone received. Everyone gets one present from us, one from Santa and one from the sibling that drew their name. Some of these "one" gifts have a few parts to them. Also, Keaton, Campbell and Graham all bought everyone gifts as well. So here we go:
  • Reagan-soccer goal, duffel bag and money, and an oversized sweatshirt and cookie dough.
  • Anderson-droid building experience, Lego set, 2 Brickheadz and popcorn.
  • Graham-NBA experience, duffel bag and sweatshirt, basketball hoop and Funko pop.
  • Campbell-Pulaski Tech Cooking School Camp, 3 games, and a make up bag and ipad cover.
  • Keaton-Build a Bear experience and househoes, crocs and slime, and a game and makeup brushes.
  • Whitman-a broom (he asked for it), a bean bag chair, and a cardboard house, water bottle and plastic cups to stack.
  • Robby-a game, electric knife, scratch off tickets and that was it-I think I need to do better next Christmas for him.
  • Tara-tennis shoes, cooking pans, Nertz card game and some cash. 
  • We unwrapped and unwrapped. It was quite fun watching the kids open their goodies. I do think that everyone was super pleased with what all they received. At least I do hope so. I had cleaned up the living room just as Nonna, Pops, Jason, Grannymom and Grandpa begin arriving.
  • Robby had made monkey bread and sausage biscuits for everyone to enjoy. We also had raspberries along with some caramel machiatto for Reagan. Everyone enjoyed showing off their presents to all of the grands. Plus they all had one more present for the grandmas which they loved giving.
  • We had about an hour of downtime before heading to Dana's house for our Christmas lunch. Robby laid down on the couch, and Whitman sat in my lap. He played on his ipad while I leaned on him and took a brief nap.
  • Then we loaded up for Dana's. The kids took some of their games and enjoyed playin them with their cousins. We all enjoyed Dana's chili which was delicious even though the weather is not cold at all. 
  • The kids could have stayed and played for the rest of the afternoon. However, we headed on to our house. The first thing that we did was put together Reagan's soccer goal. She was pretty happy about it and even spent some time shooting some goals. 
  • All of the kids hung out outside and even found some neighbors to play with. Anderson ran with Robby to throw away a few things while Reagan and I moved a car which ended with us driving around the block a few times. When I say "us" driving-I really mean her. She did really, really good.
  • Robby then started to work cleaning out his shed. Some squirrels have made their home in the shed. I tried to help him, but it was hard since I had my hood on (didn't want one of those landing on my head) and since I was not going to step foot in that shed at all (again I didn't want one of those landing on my head). All I could think about was the song about the squirrel going berserk. Yep, I may not sleep tonight.
  • He worked on that for a very long time. I did help cautiously some but ended up inside straightening. The kids played some games tonight until we were hungry enough to make some Bagel Bites.
  • The Wilsons called so we took our supper over there. We ate some of their food and they ate some of ours. As we were eating, Whitman crawled into my lap and was soon sound asleep. He had a super tiring Christmas I guess. Robby moved him to a bed, and he slept until 11 when we headed home.
  • We all played some games-everyone had lots of fun, and it was a super perfect end to our Christmas day.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: Merry Christmas

Visiting Mackinac Island had been on my bucket list for years and years. We were so close last year, but just couldn't quite fit it in. So this year, when we were able to return to the same area, we made it a priority to visis Mackinac. It did not disappoint-so much so that it is back on my list for a return visit when hopefully we can stay longer and have a bit warmer weather. This will be the ornament that I look out for years and years to come and smile remembering our day on the island. It was such a wonderful time. Click here to see pictures from that day.

Even with the addition of one more Chirstmas tree in the house this year, I have quickly realized that I have enough travel Christmas ornaments for three or four families. I have two options-to stop traveling or buy more Christmas trees. Seriously, I might have to slow down on my ornament shopping.

I hope that you have enjoyed my little ornament countdown. I have certainly enjoyed strolling down memory lane with you. The Dennies wish you and your family and very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

December 24, 2019-Merry Christmas Eve!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • We slept later today than yesterday which was nice. I know that there won't be any sleeping in tomorrow morning. Once we started moving, there was always something to do-dishes to unload, laundry to fold, milk to pour, even a bit of laser tag to play. 
  • I had a few presents to wrap, and Robby also had a few things to wrap. I think that the kids are all over wrapping because I couldn't find anyone to help with the last few bows that I needed to tie.
  • Robby bought us tickets to Frozen 2 this afternoon. It was a pretty good movie though I still like the first one better. Keaton got a bit bored during the movie, but still said that she liked this one better. 
  • There were two people sitting between us so Robby and the big 3 were on one side and I was the little 3 on the other side. This would have made sharing our popcorn and drink difficult had we not planned ahead. 
  • This afternoon, I could tell that Reagan was pleased with most of her Christmas gifts from last night because she was wearing them all-new shirt, new swaeater, new socks, new earrings.
  • After the movie, we hurried home to put on our church clothes and load up a few things before heading out again. Tonight was the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church. It is always so neat to see the place full of candles. 
  • But gracious, we had a time with our candles tonight. First Reagan's candle ended up broken and without a cup so I gave her mine. Then when it was time to light the candles we could not get hers lit for anything. Then Whitman "sneezed" blowing out his candle and Reagan's candle. I was ever so glad to get to the last verse of Silent Night so we could blow those candles out!
  • The kids couldn't wait to get to Nonna's house for supper. I guess they were excited about supper-or maybe it was the presents. Nonna had made a full Christmas supper. The kids were thrilled about the ham, and I couldn't stay aways from all of the sweets. And by the way, Nonna's chocolate pie was pretty perfect.
  • Once we were done with the obligatory pictures and supper, it was finally time for presents. The kids opened lots of things-I will mention the highlights. Reagan: socks-yep, she's growing up. Anderson: Legos. Graham: laser tag. Campbell: croc charms. Keaton: gym mat. Whitman: Spiderman rolly thing
  • It was a pretty wonderful Christmas. We made reindeer food which was a mess! The kids played with their toys and ate desserts until it was finally time to leave. 
  • Once at home, we spread out that Reindeer food before coming in to put up our presents. As I worked on tomorrow's monkey bread, the kids each picked an ornament and talked about it. Next up, we read Twas the Night Before Christmas followed by sitting out our cookies for Santa. 
  • The Wilsons came over for a few minutes. The kids just hung out and played with their new goodies. They enjoyed the reprieve from having to go to bed early. Once it was finally bedtime, there was lots of movement happening upstairs. That might have been because Robby and I were going u and down and up and down the stairs bringing box after box of things down to sit beside the Christmas tree. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 1 Day until Christmas

Dum Dum suckers are all around our house-there are currently at least 3 huge Sam's sized bags in Robby's office, there are about 200 wrappers on my desk for the little girls' craft project, my church bag has a ziplock full of Dum Dums which I bribe the kids with and give out on Sunday mornins and Wednesday nights, picture frames covered with Dum Dum wrappers were just given out as gifts, and there are probably even a few Dum Dum sticks stuck to my carpet under some furniture somehwere as well. We are all about Dum Dums!

It would be safe to say that touring the Spangler Candy Factory which makes the Dum Dum suckers was a highlight of this year's travels. We all loved the tour so much that I bought my largest ornament to date-a huge Dum Dum sucker that I have happily stuck in the branches of my kitchen Christmas tree. Here is the link to that day's travels.

December 23, 2019-Dennie Family Circle Christmas

(click here for today's pictures)

  • When I tucked the girls in last night, I told them that I did not want to see them until after 8. As soon as I could last night, I did put my phone down and go to sleep just in case this was a repeat night.
  • Thankfully, it was not like the night before. Not only did I sleep well all night, but so did the girls. I did wake up at in time to call the doctor to make sure that we had an appointment. 
  • I started on picking up the house this morning. I worked on bathrooms until Campbell woke up and started work on her candy cane cake. She worked super hard on it, and it really turned out well.
  • When we left at 9:40, I told Campbell that our goal was to be home by 1. I was pretty surprised that we made it home well before one. We were in and out of the doctor's office in less than 30 minutes. 
  • Yes, Campbell is indeed sick-one ear has fluid which is normal. The other ear was infected enough that her ear drum did burst. Bless, I hadn't seen her ear dripping fluid but it sure was by the time that we had made it to the doctor today.
  • We then zoomed to the pharmacy which didn't take too long at all. Then one store to pikc up the last present followed by some speed shopping at Kroger. We were actually home before 11:30. 
  • The kids all had their lunches and started watching a tv show in the living room. My plans had been to work on the icing for the cookies after lunch, but instead I became hooked on the show. Then I decided that the chair was pretty comfy so I took a quick nap.
  • Then it was time to work. We made 3 batches of icing so we could have 10 different colors for our cookie decorating. I knew Campbell didn't feel well when she was the first one to quit icing the cookies. Graham was the next one to bail. 
  • Keaton acted puny all day long-she just says that her stomach hurts though she is still eating. I have no idea what is wrong with her. I do suspect that she is a bit scared that she is going to get sick again. At least I hope that is what it is going on-she did perk up tonight, but spent most of the day moping around.
  • Anderson worked much longer than I thought that he would. Graham did come back to make a yoda which both boys ended up making. Once Anderson was done, Whitman looked around and shouted, "well, I quit too." 
  • That just left my Reagan and me. She was determined that we finish. I told her that we didn't have to do them all, but she insisted. We worked and worked until all of the cookies were done. 
  • Graham took a shower this afternoon. When he had finished, I read two Christmas books to the kids. I hadn't cleaned up the kitchen so when Robby came in from his errands, he walked into a huge kitchen mess.
  • Soon the kitchen was clean, and Campbell was napping. Robby worked on the kitchen floor, and soon we were headed to Grannymom's house for the Dennie circle Christmas.
  • The Mississippi Dennies were already there when we arrived. Soon Dana and her crew arrived. Then we played a few games-charades, hum the tune and "who am I?" Whitman was on team 3 and was so excited. 
  • After the games were over, we passed out presents. The kids all loaded up. Whitman opened a present first-it was a car track, and he was so excited about that. He could have gone home right then and been completely happy. He also received a box of books, a soccer ball, marble track and art supplies.
  • Keaton opened a box of clothes, a blanket, boots and a gift card. Campbell was thrilled with her mini fridge, blanket and backpack. Graham had a laser tag set, a funko pop, a game, and a few gift cards.
  • Anderson had to wait a while before it was his turn. He opened legos, money, gift cards and a card shuffler. Reagan had a blanket, beads, earrings, and possibly something else. I can't really remember.
  • Dana had my name and gave me a tray along with dishtowels (I needed them desperately) along with a set of oven mitts. I have one oven mitt but my other one is one of Campbell's tiny toy oven mitt. I am anxious to use them. Robby received a tow strap and is ready the next time one of our cars gets stuck in the mud. 
  • After presents, we ate supper and continued snacking on the table full of goodies. We had so many sweets that we barely touched any of them. The kids opened up some presents and played until it was time to head home.
  • At home, the kids put on their pajamas before laying out their stuff. Everyone was excited to find their spot to display their goodies. And yes, my goodies are displayed as well!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 2 Days until Christmas

I do believe that this is the third ormanet this year of Greenfield Village/The Henry Ford Museum. We just can't help it! When you love a place as much as we love Greenfield Village, it is hard to just leave with one orament. This one, however, is by far my favorite.

The Model Ts have always been one of the neatest attractions there. My kids have read about them, enjoyed riding them, helped build one, and even discussed buying one themselves. What a neat experience that we have had to be able to ride in a Model T. I am a bit sad that it will be a few years before we will return to Greenfield Village, but this little ornament should definitely remind us of our travels there. Here is the link to one of our days at the village this year. 

December 22, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Robby gave me a hard time at midnight last night, when I didn't turn my phone off as he turned his phone off. I told him that I would only browse for a few more minutes, and I did. Because at 12:30 when I woke with a start to someone staring at me, I was sound asleep.
  • I thought it was Whitman at first, but it was Campbell. She was crying and said that her ears hurt. We have noticed the past few days that she can't hear very well. We knew her ears were stopped up, but without fever or any other symptoms we hesitated to again take her to the doctor. Needless to say, the alarm is set for 7:59 tomorrow to get a doctor's appointment.
  • I quickly found ear drops and settled Campbell back down. She was good, and I headed back to my bed. I was sleeping soundly when Reagan popped in at 3:30 to tell me that Keaton was sick. 
  • I hustled up the stairs to find Keaton standing in the bathroom. She was crying, but the words that I heard the clearest where, "my new pajama pants." Robby had bought the little girls new Christmas pajama pants yesterday which they are super proud of. I assured her that her pants would be clean by daybreak and indeed they were.
  • I cleaned and cleaned upstairs. I did decide that I need to have some cleaning supplies upstairs to help in my middle of the night cleaning jobs. I helped Keaton rinse off her legs and soon was making her pallet on the floor. 
  • She sat on my bed as I was working on her blankets. Robby rolled over, opened his eyes and jumped when he saw Keaton sitting here. This startled her and she jumped as well. It was fairly comical to watch.
  • Once Keaton was snug and cozy, I stayed awake until she fell asleep. I will say while I was awake I kept thinking off all of our sick nights-the night I was sick on Christmas eve and Anderson was just a few days old, the day that I worked so hard to lay our blankets so the kids and I could watch movies all day after being sick that night, and my favorite of memories: when I had 4 sick kids in the floor of my room when Robby came down that morning. Good times!
  • I was so incredibly thinakful to wake up when the sun was up. Keaton seemed fine and everyone was moving around the house. We had to scurry a little bit this morning and did make it to church before it started which was a good thing since I had nursery duty.
  • After church, the kids found their way upstairs to decorate some sugar cookies. Then it was off to Grannymom's house for Sunday lunch. We were there earlier today because we didn't have Sunday school and spent some time watching home movies of past Dennie Christmases. 
  • This afternoon I recovered from my unrestful night with a great afternoon nap. Hopefully, there will be no nap needed tomorrow but I am not too sure right now. After our naps, I went to work in the kitchen while Robby went to work folding laundry. It seemed that we worked just about the same amount of time.
  • Keaton and I made brownie crinkle cookies, I made some dip, Cambpell made a candy cane cake and everyone helped me cut out sugar cookies. Then it was time to heat up supper for the crew. 
  • We didn't do a whole lot this evening-just sat around mostly. We did pull our Santa Christmas countdown. We hadn't gotten to that this year at all. I do believe that our Disney trip kind of threw us a little bit, but we will get it all accomplished. 
  • At bedtime tonight, Keaton still says that her stomach hurts. Now, she did eat some crackers and cheese for supper. I do know that she is exhuasted so hopefully that is all. Campbell had fever earlier in the evening which Tylenol helped. She did get some ear drops before bed so hopefully both of my girls can sleep well all night!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 3 Days until Christmas

We looked forward to our November Disney trip for almost a year. We knew we were going for over a year and for almost a year, Robby had annual passes bought just waiting to activate them. He has dreamed of buying annual passes for years and years, and this was his opportunity.

This trip began with a tour of ChickFilA headquarters in Atlanta. Then we went to the beach for a whole day which the kids absolutely loved. Then it was to Fort Wilderness campground and Disney World for over a week. The Crafts and Heltz were able to join us, and it was a super fun.

The kids not only enjoyed the rides, but really seemed to enjoy the parks and the magic of it all. We were able to watch fireworks, ride the Skyliner and even ride the new Star Wars ride. It was a super time-so super that we bought two ornaments which was fine because I did my best not to buy another one on our last trip there a few days ago. Here is one day's blog of our November Disney trip.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 4 Days Until Christmas

I didn't get to go to the College World Series with the boys, but the way they still talk about it, I would have to assume that we will probably end up visiting Omaha again soon. The boys had so much fun on that trip. It was different traveling without us girls, I am sure, but they had a blast. My girls think that we need a girl trip this summer, but I think that College World Series sounds like a lot of fun.

This the blog from their last day-it was a losing game, a drive straight home, but VIP tickets to a party along with awesome seats.

December 21, 2019-Happy 10th Birthday Campbell!

(click here for today's pictures)

  • We started celebrating Campbell's birthday this summer with her half birthday party. We celebrated a few weeks ago with the grandparents. We again celebrated in Disney World with a birthday button and fun birthday lunch. And we celebrated some more today.
  • We began with muffins for breakfast before Keaton's basketball game. They were pretty good muffins-the girls usually make them, and I usually don't get any. Today, Robby was the chef, and he made plenty for us.
  • Keaton's game went well. The girl that was guarding Keaton was all over her. Keaton would just stare at her for a little bit trying to figure out what in the world to do; then she would take off trying to outrun the girl. She did hold her on though and did pretty good today.
  • When the game was over, the big boys, Robby and Jason headed off to see the new Star Wars movie. They had a big time and enjoyed eating lots and lots of popcorn.
  • The girls, Whitman and I ran home for a few minutes before games. We did some wrapping, and then Keaton made some Christmas candy. She has been so looking forward to making Ms. Shannons' recipe. It didn't disappoint her-she had fun-or me-they were indeed good.
  • We then left the house and rushed to the library before making it to Campbell's game. Her team tied the game and only lost by 2 points. They had fun and are definitely improving. 
  • Once her game was over, we ran a few errands while waiting on the boys' game to start. The kids favorite was our stop to Wendy's for frosties. It was a birthday after all!
  • Then the boys had their basketball game. Their team lost-no surprise there, but they really play well. If they all were about 6 inches taller, then the scores would definitely be different.
  • Whn the games were over, we ran home for a few minutes. The living room was dark so I was soon fast asleep. Keaton and Campbell wrapped up a whole bunch of presents for their American Girl dolls and even stuffed their stockings. 
  • Then we loaded up for our annual Christmas lights outing. We stopped first at the capitol building. We walked all through the capitol to see the sights. Our next stop was Arianna's for a pizza supper. The food was all delicious-most Dennie's even at the salad and many of them used ranch on their pizza and breadsticks. At the beginning of the meal, they were making fun of us for using ranch on the breadsticks, but by the end they had joined us!
  • We then walked through the Capitol Hotel to see their beautiful tree. Some day, I do think that I would like to get dressed up fancy, go somewhere fancy and stay there. Since we had to walk by Hurtz Donuts on the way back to the car, we had to stop.
  • We had left the candles at home, so Reagan improvised with some straws, and we were able to celebrate Campbell's birthday one more time before heading home.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 5 Days unitl Christmas

Seven trips to Branson this year plus one hopefully after Christmas. We have definitely gotten our money's worth out of our Silver Dollar City pass. The kids always have fun riding the rides, and Robby and I enjoy walking around the park. We have been in the cold weather, warm weather, with a sprained ankle (Reagan), but we have always had fun.

Here is the link to our last Silver Dollar City trip. This year they had their Harvest Festival where the park was filled with pumpkins. It was one of our most fun visits.

December 20, 2019

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  • The last day of school for winter break-I would have assumed that everyone would have been up early with bells on to begin the day. Ha! I had to wake everyone up at 8:10. They were all sound asleep. I finally did manage to get Whitman and Keaton down to my bed. Soon we did start on our reading-yes, in case you were wondering, I did finish reading all of our Christmas books. Though I have two more to pick up at the library tomorrow....at least I hope I get to the library tomorrow.
  • Also, I am not sure if you have been keeping up on my amount of presents to buy. I was at 8 this morning. I did buy one while we were out today, plus I found one more needed thing in my bathroom cabinet. Seriously, whatever it takes. 
  • Anderson took the longest on school tonight, but everyone else zoomed through....even Whitman who finished pretty early. That gave me some time for chores for a bit. Then Reagan and I planned to head to the store.
  • Graham was our unexpected guest-he was about to have a meltdown over the xbox, so he quickly earned a seat in our car shopping. Taking a preteen boy to the mall was the worst punishment ever! Things went well at the mall, once we got there Graham was in a better mood. 
  • Reagan didn't find anything there so we went to another store, where she still didn't find anything. She can't think of anywhere else she wants to look, so I mentioned that she could just get cash as part of her gift. She did not like this idea at all, so now who knows what I will do...possibly hyperventilate!
  • Once at home, I did some wrapping and played some games with the kids. Then Candice came over needing a shirt done. We worked on that for a good while since the words were super tiny. Thankfully, we got it done!
  • Keaton spent the evening with Nonna and Pops-Actually, she left fairly early in the day. As soon as she finished school, she was ready to get out of here. She had a big evening running errands with Nonna and Pops.
  • Campbell and I made some cookie dough tonight, but other than that it was a fairly quiet evening around here. We found some nuggets in the freezer for supper. The kids also found some ice cream for their snack while Robby and I (mostly I) watched a Christmas movie. This was my first one in a while, and I do think that I needed to watch one or maybe two to get in the Christmas spirit.

December 19, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • My people look forward to today almost as much as they look forward to Christmas. Actually, Whitman has never asked when Christmas is; he only asks how many days until the gingerbread party.
  • Everyone must have known what day it was, because I had no trouble waking them up. Graham is already finished with his school while Campbell is pretty close. So that made my load lighter today. 
  • Now Whitamn was all about getting his school work done today. Robby had carefully explained that if he didn't finish then he wouldn't get to decorate his gingerbread house. At 10:30, he had two things left and asked me if he could still go if he didn't finish those two things. I tried to explain that he had 3 hours left! He is never finished by 11, but today he was!
  • I worked on some wrapping, while Robby, Reagan, Campbell and Keaton went driving. Reagan drove to Shannon's street. Then she even drove almost the whole way to Nonna's house. Robby didn't seem to shaken up when they were done, so I guess that she did pretty decent.
  • The rest of us met up with the drivers at ChickFilA for reciept day. We ate up and then rushed the Craft's house for the Gingerbread party...and we were surprised when we were the first people there.
  • It made sense that we were the first ones there because we were there an hour early! Ha! I have no idea what I did, but at least we weren't late. It was fine though because we were able to help get everything ready. There were a lot of people that were soon arriving so many hands made light work.
  • The gingerbread party again did not disappoint. Whitamn worked for so very long on his. Graham had big plans, but he probably worked the least. Anderson stopped working on his house to go and talk to the little kids. Reagan found her buddies and was pretty creative with her house. Keaton's house looked like she had found something on pinterest. Campbell loved entertaining the baby but worked so long on her house that she even took a break. Robby came too this year and held a sleeping Gabriel most of the party.
  • We stayed as long as we could at the party, but we eventually had to leave for basketball. We stopped by the house to drop off a few things and pick up a few things. Then I dropped off Campbell, Graham and Anderson at practice. 
  • I picked up something at Micheals, bought two things at the Dollar Tree, ran by Starbucks, met Robby for gas, and did some grocery shopping. That sounds pretty ambitious during a basketball practice-it was! But it did help that Robby went to pick up the people while I finished grocery shopping.
  • At home, we heated up croissants and ate Keaton's cookies for dessert. Reagan and I wrapped a few things and as soon as we were done we realized that it was already bedtime. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 6 Days until Christmas

We do love us some Chick Fil A-right now I could sure go for a peppermint shake. This year we had the opportunity to go on a Chick Fil A tour at their corporate headquarters. Their headquarters were pretty amazing, and the tour was really informative.

It was really a neat thing. We hope that we came return for a longer tour of their kitchen area another time. When we left the tour this time, we were all handed a card for a free chickfila sandwich. It was like we had won the lottery. Here is the link for the blog from that day.

December 18, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • There had been a big debate in this house about laughing gas the last few days. Cambpell and Reagan were having dental work done today. They felt like they needed laughing gas, while their frugal parents would prefer to save 100 dollars.
  • This morning, Robby's first words to me where, "I guess get the gas." Ha! I decided that I would just see what happened. Reagan had been pretty terrified of not getting gas-drama! Today Graham, who was tagging along because he had two teeth that were hurting, might have even used the word "wimp" talking to her on the way to the dentist.
  • Everyone else stayed at home and did a bit of school work. Whitman worked most of the morning on one page of math. Robby was probably in need of laughing gas after dealing with Whitman and his spaciness.
  • Reagan went back first and did fine-without gas. Campbell was next. They came and asked me about gas, so I told them that whatever they thought was fine with us. She did use laughing gas, which means a smaller Christmas gift for her. Her cavity was further back, and since she is just 9 we will give her a pass.
  • Finally, Graham. He had two baby teeth that were hurting him. Jolly said that they might come out in a week or in a few months. Once he pulled them, he did say that they were very inflammed. For some reason, those of us in the waiting room thought that he was getting gas. Reagan was ready to gloat when Graham came out.
  • He had cotton all sticking out of his teeth with cheeks that looked like chipmunks. The lady said that he said he didn't want gas and did just fine. Oh, if you could have seen Graham glaring at Reagan doing his own gloating. It was my favorite part of the day.
  • When we left, we ran a few errands-the kids were a bit quieter while we were shopping with their sore mouths. Campbell and Graham did finally get a shake while Reagan waited a bit longer for Starbucks. They did fine for the rest of the day. And when Jolley checked on them tonight, everyone was just a bit sore but overall good.
  • Not a whole lot happened here this afternoon. I had a nap; Robby was actaully napping too. We were both too tired to do anything when we heard Keaton asking Whitman what he was doing. Reagan had already reported that there was water all over the floor in the kitchen. Robby did hear Keaton telling Whitman to get some towels over and over again. (Tonight I did discover that my laundry basket was full to towels.) Later, Robby did smell lots of cleaner smells coming from the kitchen and had to tell Whitman to stop cleaning. He was so proud when he told Robby that he cleaned all of the kitchen, though I am still wiping slime off of walls and cabinets.
  • Robby, Shannon and I met at Walmart tonight to go out and eat. First we did some shopping-and I knocked out about 3 more gifts. I am on a roll today! We ate at On the Border, while Brett and my kids played a zillion games at the house...and ate a zillion scoops of ice cream. Chips, salsa, shopping and ice cream-what could be better?

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 7 Days until Christmas

So there are some National Park sites that we have been to multiple times. Lincoln Boyhood Home is one of those places. By a quick blog count, it looks like we have been there 5 different times. It has become so familiar to us that it is beginning to feel like it is also my boyhood home. It is a neat and educational little stop. This time we walked along a trail and had a really good time seeing all of the munuments placed along the trail. Here are the pictures from our last visit there.

December 17, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • Today went much smoother than yesterday. Whitman did run downstairs and grab his ipad right before it was time to work together. He wasn't too pleased about having to put it down. 
  • We did some reading-almost finishing our Christmas books. Though at Bunko tonight I made a list of other Christmas books that I want to read next year to everyone. One friend offered for me to take some of her books home to read, but I told her that my plate was full enough.
  • Everyone did their school work this morning and most folks even worked on the rest of the weeks work as well. Reagan was even doing school work tonight when I left for Bunko.
  • She did have a big afternoon-went shopping with Grannymom. ate lasagna, had a frosty and even practiced driving. That is something that she has been asking to do on a fairly regular basis. I guess that we will have a driver pretty soon-she is working hard on studying for her test as well.
  • This afternoon Robby and I ran to get gas, dropped off my car for an oil change and tire rotation (good thing we went because we had a fairly low tire-we had not noticed and had been accustom to the "low tire" light being on), ran to Target and both had our eyes checked.
  • We did good at the eye doctor. Robby only wears one contact now-one eye to read with and one eye to see with. Both of our prescriptions stayed the same so that worked out well. He bought new contacts and I am trying out some new ones. I will say that my eyes have been incredible itchy lately-I maybe should take some zyrtec along with the kids.
  • Once at home, I ran to Shannon's to pick up Campbell's ipad. Then it was home for a little bit. Keaton and Robby headed off to basketball practice while I made supper for the kids. Then I headed off to Bunko for the rest of the evening. We made earrings there and had a blast.
  • I stayed out way too late and everyone was sound asleep when I made it home!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 8 Days until Christmas

If you have been to Beatrice, Kansas then you have seen more of the US than I have. I haven't visited Beatrice or the Homestead National Monument of the US which is located there, but my boys have. On their way to Omaha to watch the Hogs play, they were able to learn all about America's homesteaders.

I actually wouldn't mind to homestead right now-except living on a farm in the middle of nowhere might sound like a bit too much work...and how could the UPS man find me? Here are the pictures from that day of their trip.

December 16, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • It was a pretty rough morning since we had not done school in a few days. First, it was difficult to wake my people up. Then, they weren't used to doing any work at all. Bless Graham, he almost had a breakdown because something that was marked as #2 was also marked as #3. 
  • When our homeschooling journey is over, I can't say for sure what all my children will have learned, but I definitely know that I have learned patience. I am no way perfect, but I am a much more patient person than I was a few years ago. 
  • Now, all of this drama just happened for about an hour this morning, because it was soon to stop and get ready for the day. Today was our homeschool Christmas party. We didn't do a while lot of Christmasy stuff, but we had a massive game day.
  • The day was so much fun. Everyone played so many games. Whitman and Brody played game after game. The big kids spent a really long time playing poker. Campbell and Keaton also played a bunch of games. It was neat seeing the different games. I do believe that we had so much fun today, that we will probably do this again.
  • Not only did we have fun playing games, but we also had fun eating. I made ham and cheese crossiants. There was fruit, a veggie tray, green beans, cheese dip, salsa, spinach dip, popcorn, homemade graham crackers with dip and rice krispy treats. Needless to say, it was a real party!
  • Everyone stayed a while playing the games. When they did leave, the kids helped clean up the house which didn't take too long. I had time to wrap a few presents before the boys left for their Trail Life meeting.
  • Tonight they toured the Benton police department. The big boys were pretty pleased that they got to hold an assault rifle and Whitman even was put into a jail cell. 
  • While they were doing this, the girls and I went to the Wilson's house to watch Shannon bake. She baked the entire time that we were there-I helped a fraction of the time, but mostly just watched. She had it all under control. Of course, everything that she would make, I would have to sample!
  • The boys joined us with their supper. The kids played some games upstairs while the grown ups chatted downstairs. It was a nice end to a busy day!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 9 Days until Christmas

Probably not too many people visit the National RV Museum who do not have an RV. We did though. No motor home, no plans for one, yet we have been to the museum. It was interesting, and we did enjoy crawling in and out of all kinds of old and some new RVs. The kids would have loved to play hide and seek in that place.

It was a neat little stop, and I'm glad that we went there...I am also super glad that we stopped at the bakery in Shipshewana right after the RV museum. Here is the blog from that day of our trip.

December 15, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • There was no Sunday morning drama here which I was thankful for. Whiamn ended up sleeping with Graham last night-poor Graham probably let the boy sleep with him so he would calm down. And Keaton and Campbell were both in Campbell's bed this morning when I went to wake them up.
  • The choir at church sang the same music this week that they did last week. That was fine with me-I could listen to it each week. Whitamn easily knew the order of the service because once they started singing the last song, he told me that it was almost time to leave.
  • Our Sunday school classes had their Christmas parties this week. It was fun in our little room, and all the kids came in telling what all they did in their classes. They also must have had so many snacks that Nonna had quite a bit of pizza left after lunch today.
  • We rushed home so we could have a great afternoon nap. The dreary weather was wonderful for our naps. Cambpell and Whitman played outside in the misty weather for a good while this afternoon. 
  • Reagan and Anderson left first tonight for their life group Christmas party. They had waffles and lots of toppings. Also, they there was a dirty santa game. I never heard what Reagan ended up with, but Anderson came home with an empty iphone box. Plus a girl gave him her tiny bop-it game so he did feel like he had done well. I am glad that I just suggested that they take things from the pantry for their gifts.
  • Everyone else left for our life group Christmas party. There was taco salad and all of the fixings. It was loads of fun....as some of the pictures show. They had games for the kids and games for the adults. Everyone participated and it was just a grreat time. 
  • After Reagan and Anderson's life group was over, they joined all of us at our party. We stayed until after 9 so when we made it home, we scurried around to clean up a bit and then head to bed.
  • Graham had to come down since Whitman was upset. When I came upstairs, he was by Anderson's bed crying. We turned on the clock light. I asked him what he was scared of-snakes and murderers. I assured him that neither were in our house, and we also talked about how Jesus would protect him. Maybe he will rest better tonight!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 10 Days until Christmas

There are a few things that you have to do when you visit Mackinac Island-ride in a carriage, see the big hotel and eat fudge. We were able to do all 3 of those things on our visit there in May.

Well, we did almost all of those on Mackinac Island. It was actually so cold there that the fudge that we bought, we chose to eat it back at our warm, yet buggy, hotel back in Mackinaw City. Here is the post from that day.

December 14, 2019

(click here for today's pictures)

  • It was a little bit difficult for us to wake up this morning. Keaton probably woke up better than Robby and I did. I think that she was anxious to get to her ballgame. The rest of the crew was not stirring when we left this morning. From what we can tell (yes, we were spying on them with the cameras), but the first few downstairs were Anderson and Whitman around 9:30. Those kiddos were tired.
  • Keaton sure didn't act too tired during her game today. She did super. We think that her team tied or won-I am not sure. Since her brothers and sisters weren't there, then I didn't have anyone to keep score for me. She scored at least 4 points and did great at defense.
  • After the game, we ran to Walmart and Sams to mark a few things off of our list. The list is never ending and that isn't even my Christmas shopping list. Keaton did get mad at me while we were shopping-I woudn't buy her any candy. Robby was next door at Sams, and she mumbled, "I should have went with Daddy."
  • We hurried home, unloaded the groceries and made about 15 dozen snickerdoodles.  I am not sure really how many it was, but it was alot of cookies to make-especially since we still have the 200 plus from Magic Kingdom. And yes, tonight Keaton was insistent that she make some cookies of her own. We love us some cookies.
  • Before long, it was time to head to the next games. Campbell did super in her game. She scored a few points during the game, and I do believe that she had fun. Her team was so short last week, but this week they were the larger team and the score reflected that.
  • The boys were up next. They were pretty evently matched with the team that they played. They did lose, but the game was close. Anderson made a few baskets, and Graham scored a free throw. Graham was a bit bummed after the game and said that he did horrible. I strongly disagreed with him-if Robby posts one of the pictures from Jason, you will see the boy gaurding Graham is about a foot taller than him. 
  • I met Jodee-she was picking up Reagan. Robby took the rest home for a bit. Then he shuttled Anderson to his church Sunday school party. Meanwhile, I ran to a few different stores and hurried home.
  • Once at home, I worked on unpacking and working on the kitchen. Then it was time for me to pick up Anderson. He had a blast at his party-it is fun watching them turn into teenagers. 
  • The Wilsons came over for a little bit. It was good to hang with some grownups after only seeing little people all week. When they left, some kids had cheesecake-I was so full of cookies that I didn't eat any of my favorite dessert!
  • Robby and I folded the laundry so that caused the kids to go to bed a bit late. That is probably the reason why Whitman was scared-or thought that he was afraid. It took a while for him to calm down-he actually had to lay with us for a few minutes before he finally calmed down enough. Hopefully, he is sound asleep upstairs since we have heard from him in a while.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 11 Days until Christmas

There are so many neat places around to see and so little time. This little town was a complete surprise. We had seen it on the map and thought that a little stop would be interesting. There is a whole theme park there which would have been entertaining. We didn't have time for that on our trip since we were on our way home that day,

In Santa Claus, Indiana we stopped to take pictures a few times with the big guy and even toured a little history museum about the town. Here is the link from that day's trip.

December 13, 2019-Dennie's December Dash to Disney and Happy 13th Birthday Anderson!

(click here for today's pictures)


Not too many people can say that they have come home from Disney early-but we can! Actually, Robby and I have now come home early twice. The first time was on our honeymoon. We caught an earlier flight back home. Our initial plan for today was to do the park, Hollywood Studios, for half a day and then head halfway home.

After having such a great day at Hollywood Studios the other day and feeling like we had done it all, we didn’t need to go there. We did Epcot pretty thoroughly and did Magic Kingdom well last night. The only real thing that we didn’t get to was the Avatar ride and the Seven Dwarfs. We could have tired for one of those things today, but since the boys wanted to play their basketball game, we would have been rushed trying to get home on Saturday. 

Since most of us only had about 4 hours of sleep last night, waking up the kids was a little bit difficult. I put Whitman’s pants on him while he was asleep and just gave up on his shirt and let him stay in his pj shirt. Now when Robby said that if Reagan and Campbell didn’t go ahead and get up, then we couldn’t make it home today-Reagan flew out of that bed. I don’t think I have ever seen her move so quickly.

We loaded up the car and were on the road right at 7. I passed out a birthday breakfast of Poptarts and cereal for the people while we moved on down the highway. The first two hours it was super silent in the car-half dozed and half watched their ipads. My mostly awake crew was Anderson, Campbell and Whitman.

 Robby drove for about 2 and a half hours before it was my turn. We were sailing along fairly well until we weren’t. We crawled along the interstate for about an hour. There was no where to get off so we just inched along. Anderson eventually had to potty so we just pulled to the edge. I tried to figure out how I could potty there as well but couldn’t think of a way to not show my rear to the passersby. Though I was almost to the point of not caring about what they saw.

Overall, our slow down was probably about 90 minutes. I was ever so thankful when we  did reach a gas station. The line for the women’s bathroom was long because we had all been waiting in the crazy traffic.

We drove for a bit longer so Robby could pick up Chick Fil A for lunch. There isn’t too much celebrating that you can do in the car. Now, I don’t see that I have mentioned it but at one of our gas stations stops, Robby did come out with Krispy Kreme doughnuts. We stuck a candle in the doughnut hole cup and sang to Anderson as we zoomed down the road. We weren’t really sure where we would be and what we would be doing today, so when I did remember that I had left my candles and lighter at home, I bought some. I can’t even say out loud what I paid for the lighter because it was so ridiculous! So you better believe that we used it at least once!

Getting through Atlanta only slowed us down more. I tell you, Atlanta and Birmingham need to work on their roads. The misty weather didn’t help any either. At one point tonight, we did try to watch a movie about the Tower of Terror. Whitman just about had a panic attack. The boy was screaming during some parts of it. FInally, we gave him his ipad and put headphones on him so we could finish the movie. 

Around 7, we stopped at a gas station to use the restroom and make our suppers. It wasn’t a fancy birthday meal for Anderson tonight, but he will be home for his game tomorrow so that will make him happy!

We switched off drivers again so I drove home from somewhere while we were briefly in Mississippi. We were home and unloaded by 11:40. The kids were mostly in their beds by midnight...Keaton was actually on the blow up mattress in our bedroom so we didn’t have to wake up the girls when we snatch her and take her to her basketball game in the morning.

I am not sure that Anderson thought his birthday was too magnificent-we couldn’t really celebrate too much so that will leave some more celebrating for tomorrow. 

Dennie Disney Trips

Robby and I are the ones that probably use and read the blog more than anyone else.  We often reference it daily to look something up about what we have done, something the kids have said or even where we have been.  I recently discovered that even though I keep up with the kids state counts and our visits to National Parks, I do not have a list of our Disney trips, so here you go:

Robby-
Disney World-13
Disneyland-4

Tara-
Disney World-10
Disneyland-4

Reagan-
Disney World-8
Disneyland-4

Anderson-
Disney World-8
Disneyland-4

Graham-
Disney World-7
Disneyland-4

Campbell-
Disney World-7
Disneyland-3

Keaton-
Disney World-5
Disneyland-2

Whitman-
Disney World-4
Disneyland-1

And now for the dates of our previous trips:
  • Disney World-Robby and the Dennie family (1982)
  • Disney World-Robby with a church group in high school (1990)
  • Disney World-Robby and his family at Christmas time (it rained their entire trip.) (1997)
  • Disney World-Our honeymoon (2000)
  • Disney World-With Jenna and the Dennies (2004)
  • Disney World-Reagan and Anderson with the Dennie family (2007)
  • Disneyland-Reagan, Anderson and Graham with the Dennies (2009)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham and 2 month old Campbell (2010)
  • Disneyland-Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Campbell (2011)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Campbell with the Brocks and Grannymom (2011)
  • Disneyland-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell and Keaton with the Dennies (2012)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell and Keaton with the Dennie family (2012)
  • Disneyland-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Brocks (2013)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Dennies (2013)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Brocks (2015)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Crafts and Heltz (11/2019)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman (12/2019)


Christmas Ornament Countdown 2019: 12 Days until Christmas

We have been to Michigan, specifically Dearborn, quite a few times. However, even though River Raisin National Battlefield is fairly close by, we have never made it until this year. I was super excited that we were finally able to make that stop this September.

There wasn't a ton to it-just a battlefield, but I had been waiting for quite a while to see that battlefield, earn our Jr. Ranger badges and mark it off the list. Here is the blog from that day.

December 12, 2019-Dennie's December Dash to Disney

(click here for today's pictures)


We let the kids sleep until about 9:30 this morning. It did kind of kill us to have to miss a few fast passes and not be able to rope drop, but everyone needed their sleep. Even with all of that extra sleep, we moved pretty slowly. Robby had moved our birthday lunch reservations so lunch was at 12:10, so we had no need to rush.

Now, I should have been working on my blog or packing up, instead I was internet browsing. I am starting to panic a little bit since I have 24 Christmas presents still left to buy. And yes, I don’t even have 24 people to buy presents for, but some of the gifts are small and some people I haven’t bought anything for. I think I need to breathe into a bag since Christmas is in 13 days and our celebrations begin in 11. Deep breaths, deep breaths. I guess I will do some internet shopping on the way home!

The traffic was a little thick going to Wilderness Lodge so it took us longer than expected. That was fine though because it was raining off and on all morning long. When we went through the gate at the Wilderness Lodge, the man told us, “Welcome home.” Aww, seriously, how neat that was. 

The lodge is one of my very favorite places-it ranks right up there with the Yellowstone Lodge. We walked around the lodge and took a family picture in front of their Christmas tree-with Graham this time.

We rode the elevator to the top floor to look over the balcony. Then we walked by the hidden little fireplace that was on my list to discover. There was a man on a couch there sound asleep and a lady covered up with a blanket reading a book. Those are really my vacation goals. 

Before our lunch at Whispering Canyon, we walked outside to see the geyser erupt. It started out small. Then the wind caught the water and soon all of the observers were getting wet. Robby and I and most wise other people moved out of the way. Not the Dennie kids-well, Reagan eventually moved with Anderson close behind her. The others, soaking wet!

Next up it was time for lunch. The restaurant was loud and quite entertaining. When the waiter asked Whitman what he wanted to drink, Whitman replied with a confident, “6.” I guess that he was telling his age. It was hysterical.

We had enough food for another family or two to eat. Too bad we couldn’t take anything home with us. I had BBQ nachos which were really good. Reagan and Graham split the skillet meal which was all you can eat. Needless to say, they didn’t need a refill at all. Anderson, since it was his birthday, was allowed to order a milkshake. It was also refillable, and he certainly refilled it.

After the meal was over, the waiter had Anderson and Campbell stand up so the crowd could sing Happy Birthday to them. He had one cupcake with a lit candle that they were both holding. When the song was over, the waiter blew out the candle and took a huge bite of the cupcake. It was hysterical. Afterwards, he did bring a new cupcake for Anderson and Campbell. By this time though, we were all so, so full. 

After we ate, we walked around the hotel some more-the chefs were giving out gingerbread cookies by the gingerbread house. We tried to cookies, but they weren’t our favorites. Though I did save them for me to munch on tomorrow. The kids found someone to do some pin trading with,

Then it was time to get our car before heading to the Magic Kingdom. It was still spitting rain and the rain came down pretty hard while we were sitting in the car after parking. Robby had to do a bit of work before we started our big evening. That was fine though because it gave us time to assess what exactly we would need to take with us for the rest of the night.

Ponchos! That is what we needed. Actually, we just needed them off and on until about 9ish. Wet ponchos are a mess, but we survived and it might have just lessened the crowd during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Before the party started, we rode Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean with our Fast Passes. We had just watched the Swiss Family Robinson on the way here, so it was neat to walk through their treehouse for a bit tonight, Then we were able to get our bands for the party. It was then a walk down Main Street to collect something from the Fire Station,

Then we entered through the official party entrance and received our first cookies-a Minnie Mouse shaped sugar cookie with sprinkles. Next was Buzz with our last Fastpass of the evening. 

After riding Buzz, the rain had started up again so we went to get in line for the 7 Dwarfs, Robby had really wanted to get a picture with them. We had heard that the lines are often long, but thankfully they were decent tonight. We were probably in line for almost an hour, but it was worth it for that picture stop.

When we left the Dwarfs, we received our first snowman shaped pretzel. It was warm and delicious. Now, it would have been better with some sauce to dip it in, but it was Whitman’s favorite treat of the night. And yes, even with all of the cookies that we received tonight, he never found one that he liked.

We will talk cookies for a minute here. They had about 10 stops where you could walk in line receive a cookie. Some places had strawberry fanta, eggnog, hot cocoa, or apple cider, but they all had a packaged cookie. Many of my kiddos especially Keaton with her little grin, would ask for 2 cookies. So at each stop, we would collect at least 10 cookies. Whitman did not care anything about getting the cookies, but I made him on most stops because they rest of us still like cookies.

By the time that the evening was over, we had filled up Whitman’s backpack with cookies-it was brought into the park just for the cookies. We had filled the ice chest backpack with cookies-it was brought into the park just for the cookies. And we had almost filled the emergency cookie bag which we brought. The kids could not wait to get back to the hotel to spread the cookies out and count them like Halloween night. And just in case you were wondering, the total was 237 cookies that we came home with. 

Earlier in the evening, Graham and I were talking, and he said that we “beat Disney.” In the cookie sense, I guess that we did beat Disney. However, overall Disney still beat us! But it was all so worth it!

I can’t really remember much of the order of the night-it is 2 in the morning after all. I do know that we rode Mad Tea Party. It had flashing red and green Christmassy lights. Tomorrowland Speedway was also all lit up with Christmas music playing so rode that...in the misty rain. 

At one point, it was really raining so we did go to Monsters Inc to watch their Christmas show. It was really just like their other show but still funny. Then we rode Big Thunder Mountain. Anderson and I swore up and down that the ride was different this time, but everyone else said that we were wrong. 

Then it was time for the parade so we had to make it to the other side of Main Street. Now the crowds were already thick, but when the parade started we pushed our way to the front. One man even put Keaton on a trash can so she could see better. When she was told to get off, the man told another man to move so the little girl could see. It was incredibly kind. 

Whitman saw most of the parade on Robby’s shoulders. All I could see in my head was the picture that we have of Reagan on Robby’s shoulders watching a parade about 10 years ago. And I just spent way too long trying to find that picture-I guess I forgot that it is now after 2! Whitman really enjoyed the parade, but I think that everyone else did as well.

When Santa passed us, it was around 11:35 so we hurried off to the last ride of the night. We had saved Space Mountain for last-it was also holiday themed inside with red and green strobe lights making the ride look almost lit up...or at least that is what we had read.

When we made it to the entrance, the ride was down! Urgh! This is the one thing that we all had wanted to do. We went to get cookies one last time. While someone was in the bathroom (oh, yes-we did briefly lose Reagan tonight. I did realize that she was gone and stopped. She had a phone with her and quickly called me so it didn’t take long for us to get reunited!) Anyway, while someone was in the bathroom, Robby saw that the ride was back up.

We hurried to the ride like crazy people. All of us but Keaton and Reagan were in one car. They were behind us and almost didn’t get to ride because they ended up shutting the ride down again. We all finished after midnight though so Anderson did ring in his birthday while riding Space Mountain which was really neat. 

There were more bathroom stops followed by some shopping at the gift shop on the way out. We chose the monorail to make it back to the parking lot which wasn’t the best, but it did eventually get us there. We did look over at one time and see that Whitman was sound asleep. Bless the poor child.

Once back in the room, the kids put on pjs and brushed teeth while counting and sorting cookies. Then there was a bit of packing and most everyone was sound asleep by 2. Robby and I will lay down in just a bit (2:15ish) and hopefully, make up for some lost sleep. Tomorrow will be a long day!