Florida February: January 31, 2020

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Robby's alarm went off at 6:30 this morning which confused both us until we realized that it was yesterday's alarm. Today we didn't have to wake up until 8. When I did leave the room this morning, Graham was playing the xbox with his school all done beside him. 

I started to wake everyone else up-some were harder to wake up than others. My Reagan and Whitman were very difficult to wake up. That was fine though because while they were starting to stir, I finished working with Graham, Keaton and Campbell.

Whitman did his school work (still just another half today) with me while Anderson worked on his. Somehow Reagan had forgotten about her school work which mean that she had to do it tonight. Then we did some reading together before everyone started to get ready.

I took my shower a bit late so while I was doing that Robby was making lunch for us. We then headed to Hollywood Studios for a little bit this afternoon. Our first stop was the Indiana Jones show. We have seen it a few times before, but Whitman always acts like he has never seen it before and jumps at every loud noise. 

Then we met up with the Crafts for the Frozen Sing Along. I did my best to stay awake, but as always it was a little bit difficult. Afterwards, we headed to the Pixar area and got autographs and pictures with Edna Mode and Mr. Incredible. 

Next we rode the Alien Swirling Saucers. We were on the ride when it suddenly stopped, and they herded us back to the gate. We waited a while-I was hoping that they were going to pass out fast passes. Instead we got to ride the ride again! Ha! I was sure looking forward to that fast pass and using it on something fun (not the swirling saucers).

It started sprinklng so we decided that we would call it a shorter day. We took all the Craft girls home. The original plan was to go right swimming, but the rain continued so they played in the house for a while. Finally, we decided that the rain wasn't too bad, so we headed for the neighborhood pool. 

It isn't that big, but it is heated. The kids had a blast swimming for probably an hour or more. Whitman started off struggling a bit in the pool since he has not swam in a while. However, he soon remembered how to do it and was swimming across the pool. Now his swim is still ugly, and I have to watch him like a hawk, but he was able to do it. (And yes, he will get a few more swim lessons later this year.)

I took a car load of kids back to the house and threw them in the different showers, while Robby walked the rest of the kids home. We did run around like crazy getting 10 kids showered and grabbing suits and towels so I could wash them. 

Soon the Craft adults arrived with their supper. I had tacos for my crew, and Traci did as well. Everyone ate, and then the kids watched a movie in the living room on a projector. We even had ice cream for dessert too so everyone was happy.

Once they headed back to their place, my crew helped pick up the house before they had a bit of downtime. My Keaton and Campbell worked on their tomorrow's school (yes, even on a Saturday.) Then after calls to Grannymom and Nonna, it was time for bed!

Florida February: January 30, 2020

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Even with the extra three kids tonight, we still made it to rope drop this morning at Animal Kingdom. The park opened at 9 so we were almost in line at 8 which meant that we had to leave the house at 7:30. Unfortunately, that meant that we had to wake up at 6:45. Yikes!

It did help the girls waking up since they had buddies over here. Whitman completely put on his clothes and then climbed back into his bed and fell asleep again. Bless, this Disney stuff is tough. The kids found breakfasts, and most were even able to eat before we left.

It was a cloudy day today so it stayed just a little bit cooler than yesterday. However, as we were leaving the park this afternoon the sun came out, and it quickly warmed up almost too much. Most everyone is wearing pants and a jacket though during the day and evening right now. Anderson didn't wear a jacket tonight and was just fine. Meanwhile, I had one my light jacket plus my heavier one, but no hat and gloves. They may have to come out later though.

We worked so hard to make it to the park this morning early so we could ride the new Avatar ride. We call it "new" even though it is around 3 years old. We were not the only ones with that idea-about 10,000 others seemed to walk the path towards the ride this morning. I don't know if it was that many, but it was a lot.

We were in the park and well into the line by the time that park officially opened. The Crafts got a ride swap so Casey rode first, then Traci was able to ride with two kids riding again with her. Abigail and Graham were able to go so Graham was beyond excited about this. He had said yesterday that he hoped to ride two more times on this trip-he wasn't even thinking that it would be today and not just 2 but 3.

We were off the ride by 9:50 and then headed to the Boneyard playground. My kids love playing with their buddies so they were completely happy to play for a long while in the playground. Then we all rode the train to the petting zoo area. The kids found one of the Wilderness Explorer spots and got books to complete. They have stops all over Animal Kingdom where the kids can stop and learn something. This one was a scavenger hunt for animals so they certainly enjoyed that.

We then went to a drawing class and learned how to draw Ed who is a hyena from The Lion King.  I think that everyone really did good. Whitman was pretty frustrated, but even his looked pretty decent. The instructor did really well-it seemed quick a few times, but everyone was mostly able to keep up. 

Afterwards, we had to ride the train back and headed out of the park. We did stop for an ice cream drink-basically a Dole whip with strawberry syrup (maybe it was strawberry-it was red at least). It is certainly nice to take a break-you need a break when you walk over 20,000 steps in a day.

Back at the house, the kids did half of their school again. Really, if we could do half a day of school each day, I would be perfectly pleased. Everyone did their math so that was a lot of explaining and checking that I had to do. Campbell and Keaton were finished early so they swam and were done before Whitman and Graham were able to join them. 

Whitman did get into a bit of trouble today during school. That did light a bit of a fire under him, and he went to town so his stuff didn't take too crazy long. After he finished, I did make him lay down with me for 10 minutes. I was hoping that he would fall asleep since he really was acting like he needed a nap. He didn't take a nap, but I did!

After my nap, there was dishes to put away and laundry to fold. Robby heated up chicken nuggets and made mashed potatoes for supper. We ate and then loaded back up for Animal Kingdom. Tonight our first stop was the safari. None of us had ever done it during the evening time so that was certainly neat to see. The lions were sitting right on their rocks so we could all see them perfectly.

Then we rode the Navi river ride followed by another bite of supper in the Pandora area. The supper was pretty decent, but not nearly as good as Flame Tree. We were pretty scattered around, but right at 7:59, we ran to the Avatar line one more time. 

We were pretty much the last folks in the line, and I think that there were only like 20 of us on the entire ride. We were on the lower level tonight, and I believe that it was the best seats in the place. Once the ride was over, we left the park and walked the mile (seemed like it) to our car.

Back at the house, there was another load of dishes to empty, and Robby and I even made a batch of breakfast burritos before the kids went to bed. Today was pretty fun, and I know that my kiddos are exhausted!

Florida February: January 29, 2020

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We just let that alarm clock ring and ring this morning. It was like we were on vacation. I had told the kids that I would wake them up at 8:30, but at 9:30 people were still just getting out of their beds. That was fine with me though.

Campbell was the first one awake. She found her school, which is a bit ole mess. Then she worked on it, until she heard lots of others stirring. Graham was the next one awake and immediately started on his school. I just had everyone do the rest of their school from the other day so no one had math or writing which really lightened their loads.

We finished school and even did our work together this morning. Robby joined us on our Bible reading since we are trying to stick with the church's schedule. Around 11, we cooked about 5 pounds of hamburger meat along with 3 pounds of sausage. We made speghetti for supper along with mac and cheese for a snack some evening.  While we cooked, Campbell, Whitman and Keaton swam some. It continues to be ice cold water, but they didn't seem to mind. Campbell was in the pool probably for an hour.

Soon we were all sitting around the dining room table eating our lunch. It has been a long time since we all ate supper together at home-basketball kind of slowed down our supper eating-so it was nice to eat together. 

At 1:30ish we loaded up for Walmart. Well, we were going to Epcot, but Walmart had to be our first stop. We had a few more things to buy this afternoon-light bulbs, hand soap and dish soap were the main things. This trip didn't take nearly as long-Robby went one way and I went the other. We were soon back at the front. That Walmart is just crazy since it was still busy, and it seemed that every single person was buying things for their vacation.

We then met up with the Crafts at Epcot. They were trading pins so we quickly caught up and did that. The kids still love trading pins-Anderson and Graham are probably the most into it. If they ever find a pin that they think someone else can use, they will grab it for them.

We walked past some living statues in Epcot. They are having their Festival of the Arts so there are artsy things so many places. We picked up our Passholder magnets and then walked to ride Soarin. After the ride, we stopped to have a snack. Then it was time for our Living with the Land boat ride.

Epcot has a new movie in that section called Awesome Planet. It was good and yes, even though the movie was just 10 minutes long, my eyes got a wee bit heavy during it. Whitman wanted to sit in my lap during the movie which is just so warm and cozy.

Then we rode the Nemo ride. By this time it was starting to sprinkle a little bit. We decided to head to France so we could eat our snacky suppers in a covered area. Our original plan was to watch the Beauty and Beast Sing along before staying later for the fireworks. However, by the time we were done with our suppers, the singalong had turned into the movie about France.

And for supper, we had planned on just snacking from our bag. However, the kids seemed famished with just one thing from the bag. So Robby bought some ham and cheese croissants, bagguetts and some other pastry for a little snack. That sure made my people happy! We will have to plan better tomorrow and bring some heavier snacks.

So we opted to just come home early and skip tonight's fireworks. The big 3 Craft girls came home to spend the night with us so they were grateful for the extra time to play. We will still have to see the fireworks another night. 

We walked back to the cars, loaded up the extras and headed back to the house. We were in the house with most kids showered and all kids snacked up before 9:30. It was quite an odd experience being home so early. I will be finished with the blog by 9:45 and our clothes will soon be in the dryer. I guess that it will be a good thing to get in bed before 1 since we are planning on doing a rope drop tomorrow morning.

Florida February: January 28, 2020

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Hotel sleeping is good, but so is rental house sleeping in Floriday. It was well after midnight when Robby and I laid down. The kids were also in bed pretty late so not surprisingly it was tough waking everyone up. 

Once the kids were awake, it didn't take too long for them to find their breakfasts. Most everyone had their breakfasts but then still had to finish it in the car ride to Magic Kingdom. We are fairly close to Animal Kingdom, but do have to go a little bit longer for Magic Kingdom.

It is probably the most difficult park to get to. First parking, security, then the tram to the Transportation Center, and boat to Magic Kingdom. Even though it is not easy to get to, it is still worth it. Just magical!...and pretty chilly this morning. Most of us had jackets on but some did not. Even with my coat on it was a bit windy. Soon the sun was out, and things were warming up.

We made it right after the park opened and hurried on to Space Mountain. The line was still waiting outside so while they waited, I ran to the bathroom really quick. Thankfully, they were still outside so I caught up with them. 

Space Mountain is always really fun. The kids love it-Whitman especially. It kind of gives me the creeps thinking that it is a rickety old roller coaster. We survived the coaster and went to meet the Crafts. 

Most everyone rode on the Tea Cups followed by the People Mover. There wasn't really a line for it, so that does show me that the crowds are a bit less than last time. Even though it still really seems crowded here. 

We then walked back across the park to ride the Jungle Cruise. It is a classic, but after riding it a few times lately, I don't have to do it again this trip...or next. The kids still enjoy it-or at least Whitman does. He still ducks when the lady says to "duck." 

From there, our plan was the to do the Pirates scavenger hunt, but they didn't open until noon. Instead, we opted to go to Tom Sawyer Island. None of the Dennies or Crafts had been on the island before. It was a real treat. First, we crossed the river (not really sure if it should be called a river) on a raft. Then we headed off to explore.

There was a windmill to climb up, two different caves to explore, a little playground, a rope bridge and a fort with secret passageways. Before we knew it, the kids were off playing hide and seek. They had a blast. Reagan played with Gabriel the entire time instead of joining the others. Everyone came back hot, tired and even a bit sweaty from the explorations. It was such a quiet, peaceful setting. You could have even forgotten that you were in Disney.

After we left the island, we headed to eat lunch while the Crafts went towards their next fast pass. We had one for Pirates, but even the fast pass line was too long for us. So we went to Pecos Bill for our lunch. I took a picture of our food-we bought 3 sides of chicken ($12) and brought 2 packages of tortillas. That along with all of the sides off of the taco bar, we made ourselves a pretty great meal. Anytime 8 people can dine at Disney for 12 bucks, it is a win!

We left there and met back up wtih the Crafts at Buzz Lightyear. Anderson was the big winner on that ride with over 300,000 points. Then it was time to head back to the car. We opted for the monorail this time on our way back.

Soon we were at the cars and heading to the house. Once back in the house, everyone did 3 things for school. I, of course, picked the hardest to do. That did take a little bit of time, but still less than an hour. As soon as people were done, they grabbed a snack.

And it didn't take too long at all, for Campbell, Keaton, Graham and Whitman to find their way into the pool. I do believe that it was super freezing, but they swam away anyway. I am sure that they will be swimming again tomorrow!

While they were swimming, I worked on some laundry and even swept the floor. It is just like home-always work to be done! Once the laundry was folded, we zoomed on out of the house. We could have made spaghetti but we didn't have noodles, we could have made chicken quesadillas but we didn't have chicken, we could have made chicken spaghetti but we didn't have noodies, get the idea? There were quite a few meals that we had planned for but they were all missing something-we knew that was the case.

We talked about just making cheese quesadillas for supper, but we decided that we since we had tortillas for lunch we would just grab something on the way. We ended up at Taco Bell eating tortillas and Mexican food...just like at lunch. That was fine though because it sure was good.

Then we hurried to meet the Crafts at Animal Kingdom. Casey and Abigail rode the first ride with us-Dinosaur. That is always a fun ride-it is like you are being tossed around like a rag doll. Then we did some walking around killing time. 

The park closed at 8 tonight so the plan was to get into the line for the Avatar ride before the park officially closed. Traci had not ridden it, so I took her littles (all 4) around with me while they were in the line. 

We went to a line that said 35 minutes, but only waited about 15 to ride our ride. Then we mosied around the park spending most of our time looking for Gabriel's lost shoe. Yep, I had the baby when we discovered that he had lost a shoe. Since we didn't have anything else to do while waiting on the others, we asked cast members about it, looked for it and even went to guest services to ask. No luck. It was fine though and actually gave us something to do.

The others ride line said 120 minutes. They only waited 45 and soon were finding us. They were all on cloud 9 because the Avatar ride is really the best one these days. Whitman was disappointed this morning when we said that we were going to Magic Kingdom because he wanted to go to Animal Kingdom to ride Avatar. 

After meeting back up with the others, we headed to the car and to Walmart. We had already been warned that this Walmart is a bit crazy. And even at 10:30 at night, every checker was working and the lines were 3-4 deep. We had quite a bit of food to buy-250 dollars worth. We did it as fast as we could but 8 people shopping is never fast!

Soon we were back at the house unloading groceries as fast as we could. Some had short showers, but soon everyone was in their beds! Tomorrow will be a bit slower...or at least we think it will be.

Florida February: January 27, 2020

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I know that I say it every single trip, but there is just nothing like hotel sleeping Robby did get up and go to the bathroom at 7 this morning. I thought that it was still the middle fo the night so I was a bit bummed when he told me the time. That was fine though because I had slept wonderfully. I think that the kids had as well. Anderson and Whitman were all curled up on their bed and looked to be sleeping well despite Anderson saying that he struggle to fall asleep last night because of his bed buddy.

We had our breakfast at the hotel. It looked like the girls left about an hour before us. Graham did say that eating breakfast takes us a lot of extra time, but as I was eating my granola and yogurt, I told him that it was worth it.

Robby drove for a little bit this morning, but soon I was the driver for the rest of the day. I was able to start my blog before I started driving, but again I was so interested in our podcast that we were listening to that I was completely distracted.

After I started driving, we finished up one podcast and listened to another one. Today’s was about a missing Georgia lady. It was a bit spooky since we were driving right near the town. Unfortunately, we didn’t finish the story, so who knows what happened.

We stopped for gas once and stopped for lunch at Arbys. We also spent a good deal of the day talking to Keaton and Campbell on the phone. They were having so much fun and wanted to tell us all about it.

Soon we were pulling up to the gate for our neighborhood. Robby and I had to check in at the front office, and then it was off to find the house. The kids were beyond excited. Graham has been the most excited about the house-I was afraid that everyone was going to knock Robby down trying to get in as he unlocked the door.

When you walk in there is a bedroom on the left (Andersons) and the garage is on the right. The garage has a pool table (crooked), foosball, air hockey (broke), along with a washer and dryer. Next on the left is a dining room which now has all of my school stuff boxed up along the walls. On the right opposite the dining room is a bathroom which leads to Reagan’s room.

The master is also on the left side of the house with a huge bathroom and a large closet which now contains bazillion of empty bins of ours. There is a living room which leads off to the enclosed pool area. The pool isn’t huge but it is adequate. And off of the living room is Reagan’s room which is on one end of the hall. Then there is a Mickey Mouse room with two twin beds for Keaton and Campbell. The next room has Mario Cart bedding for Whitman and Graham followed a bathroom at the end of the hall.

We have maxed out every bit of space in this place. We have brought enough stuff for a month or even a bit longer! As soon as we explored, we started unloading the car. We worked for at least 15 minutes doing that. Then the kids started unpacking their bags. We stayed as long as we could until leaving to the meet the Crafts.

Today was did Hollywood Studios. Abigail rode with us on Star Tours. The boys were excited that today’s ride was using the new Star Wars movie. We then walked through Star Wars land-it seemed crazy crowded. 

We waited in line for awhile before riding Alien Swirling Saucers. Then it was time for the Toy Story ride which is always a favorite. Then we headed out of the park to ride the Skyliner. I rode with most of the littles, and they had a blast riding it.

When we arrived at Epcot, it was kind of sprinkling so we didn’t want to take any Skyliner chances so we opted for the boat back to Hollywood Studios. We all walked to our cars. The girls had their bags so we loaded up and brought them back to the house. Whitman was so excited to get Keaton a tour of the house.

It didn’t take long for the girls to unpack their bags and make their room all cute. Meanwhile, Robby and I were working like mad trying to unpack. It took a bit but we finally unpacked and called it a night!

Florida February: January 26, 2020

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It is hard for 8 people to sneak into church late. Our morning didn't start off in a frenzy, but when all of us had to walk to the 4th row and plop down, you would have thought that we had been in a frenzy. 

Our alarm went off at 7, and we were up soon afterwards. I had the dishes put away and laundry folded before Robby was out of the shower. The kids were still sleeping. This was surprising since Graham was practically giddy last night.

We put new sheets on our bed before Robby went to wake up the kids. They didn't take too long to stir. Of course almost everyone had one last thing to squeeze in their bags. Reagan's bag is crammed full, and mine is just as packed. We both might have needed larger bags for this trip. She did just say that she had beads, a curling iron, a straightener...I just hope she has some clothes in that bag.

Almost pretty much the entire morning, Robby or I was giving instructions to Keaton and Campbell. The list went on and on-obey, be a help, don't fight, eat whatever, be kind, include everyone. The lists went on to include where things were in their bags, how to charge their devices, when to use them and on and on.

Finally, we were walking circles through the house unplugging things and looking for left things. The current count is one item left at home. We left in plenty of time to not only be early to church but to also be able to run by a Redbox for a movie or two. We made it to our turn off of Lawson, when Robby remembered that he didn't have his wallet. 

That is what caused us to all have to waltz in late. I had sent Keaton and Campbell in to see Nonna and Pops since they wouldn't come to their house to change clothes. Robby was off looking for Whitman's bag and Bible that we think we left at church last Wednesday night. He wasn't able to find it so if it was there, it will be long gone by the time that we return. At least it didn't have his new First Grade Bible in it. 

We all met up at the door to our section and had to wait until the crowd stood up. Even with the crowd standing up singing we were still pretty obvious sneaking to our seats. It is still better to be late to church than not there at all so no worries. Though I did giggle about us walking late throughout the service.

Everyone went to Sunday school before meeting back up in my class. After we followed the Crafts towards their cars to give the girls their bags...and that is when I realized that Whitman wasn't with us. We hadn't even left for the trip and had already left someone. He wasn't far behind though and we were soon all caught up.

The girls traveled today with the Crafts in the rig. They had to run home to grab their ride so they were about an hour behind us all day long. They have the phone so they have text us a few times. It does sound like they have had so much fun. I think that they will want to upgrade our van for a motor home. 

Once we left church, we ran to Nonna's house to change our clothes. It didn't take too long and the kids left with their hands full of cookies. They gobbled those up before we made it to Popeyes for lunch. The kids have been anxious to try their new chicken sandwiches. They didn't disappoint-they are thicker though and breaded differently. I didn't even eat all of mine. I would definitely get it again, but it is just as pricy, if not more than ChickFilA.

Reagan was the first one to have to stop and that was before West Memphis. Then we didn't really hear much from anyone else again for hours. We definitly have the quieter crew in our car. No one hardly even asked for snacks. We did stop two more times during our drive here.

The kids spent most of their time on their ipads while Robby and I listened to a podcast. We still have more to listen to tomorrow so I am anxious to get back in the car! There is also a book on tape that I want for the kids to finish up listening to. Hopefully we can get around to all of if though we just have about 5 more hours to drive tomorrow-maybe 6.

We had misty rain for a little bit of our drive-it was just that messy stuff. Soon though we were out of it, and really only had to slow down once for traffic. We were happy to be at the hotel at a decent time tonight evne though it is 11:30 here now. Everyone is still awake, but that is fine since we don't have to wake up too early tomorrow.

We stayed at this hotel last time that we were here so everyone quickly found spots for their bags and shoes. The beds are all made and soon the kids and us will be in them!

January 25, 2020

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  • Today was the last day of basketball for the Dennies. Graham and Anderson's team have a few more games, but we will miss those. We made it in time barely for Keaton's game this morning. She had spent the night at Nonna's house.
  • Her team did pretty good today though they still lost. Keaton did really well this year. She is a fierce guarder and is tall enough that she grabs many rebounds. After her game, she recieved her trophy and was super pleased.
  • Though all of the kids had losing seasons, they weren't the worst on their teams. My Dennie basketballers were about middle of the pack, and we couldn't ask for more. Actually, this was a much better season than last year since all of the coaches were great and even our church buddies.
  • Between games, we ran home for a little bit. Graham and Keaton went to Nonna's house during the break while Whitman went to Grannymom's house. They missed out on lots of packing and running around like crazy folks here at the house. 
  • I will say that we didn't do the treadmill today since there was no need-Robby already hit his 100 miles on the treadmill in January mark so we were able to take a break today. That was nice since there was very little time to sit today. Actually, the only time we sat down was during the kids' games and while we were eating.
  • Campbell's game was next. She didn't get many chances to touch the ball today but hustled the entire game. My Cambpell never wants to sit down during the game. If she is able to be on that court, that is where she wants to be. They also lost their game but just by one point.
  • After Campbell received her award, it was the boys turn to play. Gracious, their team was beat today. On the tip off (is that what it is called?), the ref had the two smallest players do it, so Graham was the one on his team. He was able to knock it to his team mate and that was about the only thing that happened well on their team today. Well, I will also mention that when their score was 5, Anderson had scored 4 of those points. I do think that they had fun this season.
  • Today, on one of their very first plays, a player on the other team was racing towards to goal to shoot. Graham was right behind him and let out a scream as he approached. Robby later told Graham that was one of the things that he did when he was playing basketball. He said that he would try to clap in the opponents face so they would miss their shot.
  • After their game, we ran to David's burgers to cash in a free meal (2 actually). Graham and Campbell went in with me so while we were waiting on our to go order, the happily had samples of ice cream and fries. Then it was to Marshalls for Reagan and I to find her leggings while the others ran to 5 Below for some trip supplies. Then it was to Kroger for a few last minute snacks.
  • Once we made it home, everyone worked-showering, packing, cleaning. They all worked and worked hard-maybe because we were withholding supper until we were close to finishing. Soon we had finished, and we again pulled out everything from the fridge. Not only did we eat the leftovers, we emptied it and unplagged that fridge. 
  • The car is loaded-most of our bags, a panini maker, basketball, volleyball, soccer ball (why all of the balls?), quesadilla maker, and at least 10 bags of gold fish! What else could we need?  

January 24, 2020

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  • The last day of school around here for a while! Yippee! I think that I was more excited than the kids. Everyone but Anderson and Whitman were finished by 9:30ish. Anderson is slow and steady while fooling around some. Whitman on the other hand can't even be considered slow when doing one math problem takes him an hour. He had much less than normal today and gracious, if it still didn't take all day!
  • As the kids finished their work, I would pack up their books. Our load will be a bit heavier this time due to all of the school books. Hopefully, we will use most of the papers that I pack so we can not bring so much stuff home.
  • Keaton and Campbell left this morning with Nonna. They spent the night over there tonight. I know that they had lots of fun and even manged to eat out. They called me a few times on their ipad and both times they were playing with a bucket full of slime.
  • Reagan spent quite a bit of time this afternoon packing. I have not even gone upstairs to see what all she had packed. I do believe that she has included her giant hooded sweatshirt from Christmas-that girl does not plan to get cold at all.
  • Anderson and I worked on finishing a Lego set that we had to rebuild after homeschool day earlier this week. It didn't take us too long. I do have a strange obsession with finishing all of the Lego sets. I think it is because I really want the extra lego bins to be manageable.
  • There was also a lot of car packing today. We have done quite a bit and hopefully the rest will happen easily tomorrow. When you look at all that we cram in the car, I am always surprised that it is all able to fit. Maybe I am an overpacker? Would we need all of this stuff if there weren't 8 of us? 
  • The boys had basketball practice tonight while Reagan, Robby and Whitman went to eat at Chilis. Then they picked up food for the boys so everyone came home happy with full stomachs. 
  • I was at a birthday party tonight so I didn't get home until fairly late. And I also came home happy with a full stomach! Tomorow is the last basketball games so that will be wonderful!

January 23, 2020

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  • Another school day around here. We started our work around the same time as usual and soon everyone was working on their own. We worked a bit ahead the other day so many folks finished earlier than usual today and some have even finished tomorrow's school.
  • Reagan is one that is finished for tomorrow. Her math is super easy right now-beginning geometery-so it didn't take her too long to knock out two days worth of school. Once she finished, we went through her books to figure out what we needed to take. Eight grade is no joke. Her condensed pile of books is about 12 inches tall. I knew this would be the case going in, but gracious if we are carting all of these books across state lines, then I am going to make sure that we use them. 
  • Speaking of school not at home, I also have to make my kids aware that there will be times when we do school in the evening or even at night. Some days we will just do one thing and not all of it, but I sure hope to accomplish quite a bit.
  • This afternoon I did run to church. I am going to help with the concessions during soccer so I was working on figuring all of that out. Then it was back home to pack up a few more folks. Andersosn and Graham are now all packed. They were super easy to pack-they laid out their stuff, I put it in and done in 20 minutes.
  • Tonight Campbell had basketball first. While she was practicing, Anderson and I looked for shoes. He tried a bazillion shoes on, but we could never find any that worked well. We had to zoom out of the store to pick up Campbell and drop the boys off for their practice.
  • Then Campbell and I went to Kirklands followed by picking up pizza for supper. And again, I had to zoom out of the pizza place to rush to pick up the boys. I was just a few minutes late each time, but no one seemed to mind.
  • The Wilsons were over tonight, but we still devoured our pizza while chatting away and munching on Shannon's cookies. When they headed home, the practice-ers had showers and then bedtime!

January 22, 2020

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  • It was certainly a cold and rainy day. It was probably good that it wasn't raining this morning whne it was time to wake everyone up. In 30 minutes, everyone at this house can wake up, get ready, eat breakfast and manage to empty the trashcans. I couldn't be more pleased with my crew!
  • We were sure hoping to see some winter weather today while we were at Bible study, but we didn't see any at all except for lots of cold and dreary rain. We said goodbye to our teachers and told them that we would see them in a week or two or five!
  • Then it was off to meet Robby at Kroger to get gas for the cars. There was talk of running into Kroger to buy some breakfast foods for the trip, instead we just opted for McDonalds for lunch for Robby's car and Walmart for my car.
  • I just had Whitman and Campbell. Walmart didn't take us too long-we had to buy one grocery item, 5 cheap plastic ponchos to carry in my backpack plus shoes for Whitman. Bless, I am not sure where the Walmart shoes were, but there was only 1 pair that was in his size. It took him a while to decide if he would like them, but when he decided he did, I grabbed those shoes and headed out of the store. 
  • This afternoon I did work on some Legos with Anderson. Then there was also some treadmilling for me. Finally, I packed Campbell and Keaton. They had followed my list and laid all of their clothes out. When it was time for me to help them pack their bags, it took us no time at all.
  • We ate our supper tonight at church since it was ham and cheese croissants. Then it was time for classes-Robby helped my group. There aren't many of them, but it is still a bit chaotic. It doesn't last too long, so soon we were back in the freezing car.
  • Once at home, the kids put away their laundry followed by pjs and a snack. Reagan did make herself a coffee float. She wasn't too pleased wtih it-possibly because she had to use the ice cream from inside of an ice cream sandwich. However, she did eat it all! Then it was time for vegging out before bedtime. 

January 21, 2020

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  • Last night Robby said that we should walk on the treadmill "early", but I didn't think that his interpretation of "early" would be quite so early. Gracious. My alarm clock hadn't even rang yet. I do know that most normal folks had been up for a while, but to me it was still early!
  • We did walk, then the kids started to gradually stir around the house. I had everyone work on their Bible study and one more thing. My super hard workers picked the easiest things ever to do so they were done in no time at all.
  • Our crew started arriving at 10:30.  Today we had 30 folks over, and in case you are wondering that is a lot of folks. The average age was probably around 6 today so it was pretty busy.
  • I have been super excited about this day for a bit. Kim came over and taught the kids a little art lesson. She used watercolors today, and it was so great. She had things for the littles to do and then things for the bigs to do.
  • I would have assumed that the littles attention span would have been short and the bigs would have been too cool for this. Not so. The littles all stuck with her through four different activities and then painted pictures. 
  • The bigs (fairly small group) really worked hard at it. When Kim told them that they could now paint something, they went to town. The boys looked up pictures on the phone, and the girls really took their time. Art is not something that we do around here any so today was perfect.
  • Afterwards, the kids ate, trashed the house and then went outside to trashed the yard. Once everyone left, my crew went to town picking up. I tell you they really do great at picking up. Within minutes, the house was back in order and everyone was starting their afternoon veg out.
  • Nonna and Pops came over for a little bit this afternoon. I have a sweatshirt that has a  stain that Nonna needs to work on before we leave. She is my miracle stain worker. Once they left, I laid in my chair for a few minutes before we all loaded up for Keaton's basketball practice.
  • Her coach was under the weather tonight so Robby and his assistant coaches (that would be Anderson, Graham and Campbell) helped. They all had fun. and practice went by quickly.
  • Then we ran to ChickFilA to redeem our receipt day receipt. We had shakes and soup-along with quite a few sandwiches. Supper was wonderful, but it was just too chilly going to and from the car. I am pretty much wearing my heavy coat all of the time lately-even in the house!
  • We did stop by the Wilsons on the way home for a cookie and for some chocolate chips. Campbell has snack tomorrow, and even though we didn't forget, we did wait until the last minute. We soon had her snack baked and were ushering everyone to their beds! 

January 20, 2020

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  • I was having some crazy dreams this morning which is why you probably should not hit snooze on your alarm clock for 30 minutes before you decide to wake up and get out of bed. Whitman and Keaton were sleeping soundly in their bed all cuddled up together when I went to wake them up. Of course, Reagan was also asleep. 
  • It was kind of hard to do school this morning since it is officially a holiday. Since we are having a few extra days off of school soon, it was necessary that we did do our school. Graham got a little frustrated that he couldn't figure something out, but we worked through it and soon he was finishing up his school work.
  • This afternoon I did work on Legos a little bit with Anderson. I tell you it can be so frustrating to look for a tiny piece for minutes, and then Anderson crawls up and finds it immediately. We almost finished a Lego thing today so hopefully tomorrow we can wrap this one up.
  • The big task today was packing Whitman. I am not too sure that I have packed him enough clothes, but I do have to remind myself that we wear the same things day after day around here. I did have to buy him some more socks tonight, but hopefully after that and a new pair of shoes, he will be fixed up.
  • The boys had Trail Life tonight. I asked them if they had fun, and they all said that they did. Anderson won at gaga ball so that pleased him. Whitman's group talked about plants while the big boys talked about first aid.
  • I had Bunko tonight so was gone most of the evening long. We ate out and finally found a restaurant that was open until 10. When I came home the kids were already headed to bed. Tomorrow will be another fun day so they need some sleep.

January 19, 2020

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  • This morning everyone was stirring-actually, Campbell was at my bedside before my alarm went off showing me her curly hair. We had worked pretty hard last night wrapping her hair around paper towels to get wavy curls. Despite my doubt, it did work and worked really well. They probably would have stayed better if I had some type of product to put in her hair. It was cute though-even before my alarm rang.
  • Since everyone was awake this morning, I didn't even have to walk up the stairs to wake anyone up. I did just have to yell up the stairs to make sure that Reagan was awake. Soon we were loaded up and headed to the church house.
  • After church we rushed to Grannymom's house to eat lunch. She had chili which was perfect because it was pretty chilly outside. Once we had our lunch and Oreo delight for dessert, we headed to the capitol building for the March for Life.
  • We found lots of our buddies so the kids enjoyed standing around and eventually playing with their buddies. Whitman found some boys with sticks to play with. I spent a good deal of time making sure that Whitman wasn't actually using his stick to hit people (he never did) and making sure that the others didn't hit him (they just hit each other-probably were brothers).
  • Once we made it home, Robby wanted to make cookies and I wanted to take a nap. I won so we snoozed for a little bit. Then we woke up and made the cookies. We ran out of Hershey kisses so Robby went me to look for the Hershey bars that I packed for the trip. It took me about 30 minutes to find them, but eventually I did and the cookies were properly topped with some chocolate.
  • Robby picked up Brett from his church along with supper from Burger King. We all ate and then the kids played basketball along with a card game. There was also some oobleck making. That is currently happening right now and I am doing my best to not go in the kitchen to see the big mess that I know is happening. I am also not going into my bedroom because that is where a pile of laundry is waiting to be folded. So I am pretty much trapped in my chair under my blanket-which is pretty perfect!

January 18, 2020

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  • I do think that sleeping in on a Saturday would be a perfectly wonderful thing, but I also know that there is no Saturday sleeping in for me in the near or even far future. That is fine though because we just have one more week of basketball after today. 
  • Keaton and Campbell were up before we were this morning. They were excited about the day and both dressed and ready laying in their beds on their ipads. We left Whitman and Graham at home this morning and met Reagan, who had spent the night at Grannymom's house, at Keaton's ball game.
  • Keaton's team lost by just a few points, but let's talk about Keaton. She is the rebound queen-every time there was a ball near by her, she would grab it. Also, she scored at least 16 points during the game. 
  • We then ran to pick up Anderson, who had spend the night with Jacob. He was happy to see us but was probably more happy to see the sausage biscuit we brought for him. We then all ran to Kroger to pick up some chips. Anderson was anxious to go in with us since we found him sale Legos there last week, and we did again today. He bought a 16 dollar set for 10 dollars so that was good. And those new shelves that we just got for his Legos are pretty much filled up already.
  • At home, we just had a bit of time. I did some packing work, and then it was time to leave again. Campbell's game was next. Her team did well and even squeaked at a win. Campbell got a few shots in and continues to improve. Just like Keaton's team, there are a few timid girls, but then there are some pretty tough ones-Campbell, not surprisingly, is one of the tough ones.
  • After the game, we ran to Hobby Lobby and picked up some pizza for a late lunch. After lunch, we gathered aroung the tv to watch the Hogs. About the time their coach started acting up, I started to wake up-it was after all getting a bit loud in the living room. The hogs couldn't pull it off, but the kids still had basketball on their brain and went outside to play some. 
  • Robby and I decided that we should do our treadmill time so that is what we did. Then he took Anderson and Graham to the Nike store. Anderson needs new shoes, but they couldn't find any. Graham only has socks with holes so he did find him some of those. Unfortunately, we now also need to find Anderson shoes before travel day.
  • When they returned home, we played Robby's game from Christmas-The Oregon Trail. Whitman has been so anxious to play that he could hardly wait or sit still! It is a group game so we did win despite many of us dying of dysentary. Afterwards, it was soon bedtime for the crew.

January 17, 2020

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  • Wonderful Friday! It was kind of a busy Friday, but wonderful nonetheless. Actually, I guess it wasn't too busy. We did our school this morning and treadmilling this afternoon. 
  • Since it is a bit colder today, there wasn't as many folks running outside. Graham did play for a while outside. Campbell and Keaton have been working on their puzzle. Whitman even pulled out a 100 piece puzzle today. He did it quickly but mainly because it was pretty put together while in the box.
  • This afternoon Reagan and Robby drove to Walgreens. Reagan did the driving-she was a bit nervous but did just fine. Then she headed to Grannymom's house to spend the night.
  • Once Robby came home, Anderson, Graham, Campbell and Keaton loaded up with me to drop Anderson off at Jacob's house to spend the night. Then we ran one errands before dropping Graham off at basketball.
  • Robby had spaghetti ready for us when we arrived home. We ate and then he went to pick up Graham from basketball. They grabbed Graham supper before coming home. 
  • We then made some yummy cookies for our evening snack while we watched some Scooby Doo. Well, Whitman watched the Scooby Doo-he is a bit obsessed with it right now!

January 16, 2020

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  • Campbell and Graham were both up working hard on school work this morning. They along with Keaton were all pretty much finished by the time that we started on our reading early this morning.
  • When most people are finished with their school early, they are anxious to work with me. They aren't officially finished with school until they finish working with me so they were ready to do this. I flew through the first three and then slowed down. Anderson and I don't have a lot to do together but his math is kind of hard to check these days so it takes a while. 
  • Campbell and Keaton helped Whitman with his school work today. I did have to often tell them to stop doing it for him. For example, if his math was 13-5, Campbell would say "what is 3 plus 5?" and on his phonics, they would read both sentences for him leaving only the picture for him to match. He is a smart kid, but he quickly figures out how to get by with doing very little.
  • By 11:30, most peope headed outside. Actually, everyone did-Reagan was the first to herd a group to go with her. Whitman and her played for a long while on the trampoline. He was out there in his long feetie Minecraft pjs. Anderson even took a break from his school to go and play. 
  • Later in the afternoon, I even ended up outside for a little bit to play some basketball with the people. It started off as me, Anderson and Graham but Keaton and Campbell came to join us. The kids were a bit highstrung, but I was a bit too because I was freezing to death. I tell you it took them about 10 minutes to pass the ball in once-it was too cold for that silliness!
  • There was treadmilling this afternoon along with some fort making by Keaton and Whitman. I have not yet been upstairs so I don't know what kind of fort treat awaits me. I have kind of given up on the house lately because my plan is to clean really well right before we leave. 
  • This evening, Robby and I had a dinner at church. The chicken, cake and rolls were really great. The but onions in my salad and broccoli in my rice make me not as happy! Despite the extra veggies, we still enjoyed the dinner.
  • Meanwhile, it took a village to get my Thursday basketball players to practice and back home. Sara took them and brought Campbell home while the boys' coach brought them home. They had fun at practice and all headed to the showers when they came in the door.
  • This evening I should have been working on my blog some or actually cleaning off my incredibly messy school desk, but all of the kids were sitting in the living room. Some were watching tv, some watching their ipads and some doing school. It was too perfect for me to leave...
  • And that did last for a few minutes but then it quickly came to an end. Keaton and Whitman didn't do their science today with Reagan so she decided to do it tonight. She wasn't that friendly with them so the reciprocated with not listening at all. It didn't go over very well. I would have thought that by now they would have figured out how to act.

January 15, 2020

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  • My friends text this morning and when they did, I was soon jumping out of the bed. Not only did I have about 40 minutes to get myself ready, but I also still had to wake up everyone else. I have a suspicion that the kids do th to sleep in only on days when we have to leave the house.
  • We packed our lunch this morning with plans to go the park after Bible study. Some people pack a decent lunch (a peanut butter roll up with goldfish or crackers and peanut butter) and some people don't (a bag of goldfish or a granola bar.) 
  • We had to scurry around to get ourselves ready in time, pack those yummy lunches and empty the trashcans before we left the house. Reagan kind of watned to drive some of the way, but this weather is just nasty.
  • I dropped everyone off to their classes and then headed to Candice's car. She drive us to Bible study each week after dropping off the kids. And each week lately, we have been getting there a little bit late-that is fine with me because we have a few minutes to visit before class starts.
  • The kids were bummed after Bible study that we couldn't go to the park. I have two stores that I need to go to but didn't have what I needed so we headed home. I will say that I miss the visiting time with the girls, but I certainly enjoyed the extra time at home this afternoon.
  • After I ate my lunch, I helped Whitman work a puzzle and later in the day helped Campbell and Keaton with a 300 piece puzzle. Anderson and I worked on more Lego finding. I guess I am feeling pretty patient today with all of that tiny work happening.
  • I had time for the treadmill too along with pulling out Keaton's work for the trip. Now, I have not touched the now two clean loads of laundry in the floor of my room. I am pretending like it is not there. Hopefully, they will disappear before bedtime!

January 14, 2020

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  • This was a fairly low key day around here. It was pretty much like most days around here-school, chores, treadmill, basketball practice, late night organizing. I guess I should elaborate a little:
  • The morning started off fine-we did some more reading. Before our trip, I am trying to finish our Bible story book, but I know that I will never finish that silly history book. We are almost half way so that is good. This is level 4 so next year, we will go back to level 1 which will be wonderful because the lessons are so much shorter. Today we read just 2 pages of two chapters about the Civil War in our book.
  • The rest of school went well. Whitman had about 3 things left to do when I climbed on the treadmill. However, he was just beside himself because he wanted to help his sisters. Campbell and Keaton had poured out everything from their desks and cabinets in the floor of the school roon and were slowly cleaning it up. 
  • Those sweet sisters stopped what they were doing, made their lunches and helped Whitman finish his work so he could help them. I do believe that this task took at least a few hours to finish. They did a pretty great job. When I came home from my errands, I helped them finish just a few things. Now, later this week, I should do my desk because it is the worst looking one in the school room right now.
  • I had my regular blood pressure check today. My doctor seems to be a bit test happy still. My blood pressure was fine-actually the best that it is has been a long while. (Not as good as Robby's which is incredibly low.) I guess that treadmill walking helps a bit after all.
  • I ran to Walmart and Sams alone today to pick up a few things on my trip list plus a refill of meds for Anderson. Then it was back home for some packing-seriously, we might need a uhaul!
  • Robby took Keaton to basketball practice tonight. While he was gone, I vacuumed the rest of the house since he had done the other half earlier, plus I worked on some picture picking. Then they came home, and we started on supper.
  • Afterwards, Robby and I worked on the last pantry. We did pull out a bin of food for the trip so that did make the pantry seem emptier. Afterwards, I worked on some Legos with Anderson. He was working on rebuilding something and needed my help finding pieces. 
  • Then it was back downstiars to find Robby with a project of his own-going through all of the instruction manuals and booklets. We knocked that out and quickly sent the kids to bed!

January 13, 2020

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  • Monday morning and there was little drama. We did our reading and are working on knocking out all of our library books. I only have 66 books checked out right now, so hopefully by next week we will have a few less checked out. 
  • Spelling on the first day of the week is often fairly easy so that does help with my time. Anderson flew through his math today, while Whitman was still working on his school work at 5. Don't feel too bad for him-he played with his magnets, he shot bb guns with the girls, and he found a zillion other things to do during the day instead of his math page.
  • I did my treadmill time around lunch then had a sandwich before we started work on our afternoon reading. We are contining our work on our chocolate project from the other day. Today, the kids just had to design the packaging and pick a name for their pretend chocolate bar. Poor Campbell and Graham couldn't agree about theirs at all. Graham was extremely patient with his sister.
  • The next task was putting up a few Christmas presents-yep, there are still presents sitting around my living room. Robby and I even have some left in our bedroom. We put up quite a bit and even packed our Disney pins. 
  • I then used Campbell and Keaton's man power to help me do some packing. The bonus room is now filled with piles of boxes and bags. Things are a mess up there, but it is coming together. We might be ready to leave on time!
  • We went to the Ferguson's house to watch the ballgame tonight. When I told Whitman what we were doing, he was quick to ask if we had to watch the ballgame. I assured him that he would get to play. He loved playing with all of their toys along with playing with the boys. 
  • We had chili, cheese dip, brownies and rice krispy treats. I think that my big boys ate pretty much the entire time that we were there. We all had a fun visiting and watching the game. We did come home after the 3rd quarter, so once the kids had brushed and were in their pjs then we did let them watch the end of the game. Needless to say, it was a very late night!

January 12, 2020

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  • It was a chilly Sunday morning. As we were leaving, Anderson asked if his black jacket when with his Sunday shirt. I was quick to assure him that of course it would be fine, and honestly, when it is below freezing you can pretty much where whatever you want to church....
  • Except for Whitman-he didn't get to wear whatever he wanted to wear. He wanted a sweatshirt, but instead I opted for a fleece pullover. It was orange so why would he not like it? Well, he didn't like it at all and pulled it off as soon as we came in the church house.
  • Sunday school went fine today-19 first graders definitely made the morning go very quickly.
  • After church, we headed to Nonna's house for lunch. She had lasagna which everyone enjoyed-except for Whitman. He was a bit upset with me because I made him put some lasagna on his plate. He didn't understand why he didn't get to eat what he wanted to eat. It is tough being 6 in the Dennie house-don't get to wear what you want, don't get to eat what you want.
  • Reagan drove us home from Nonna's house. She did very well. Now, sometimes it seems that she is driving way too slow and other times it seems that she is driving way too fast (45 mph). She really did very well though-we made it! I asked her if her palms were sweaty-she said no, but mine sure were.
  • This afternoon we did have our Sunday afternoon nap. It was wonderful. Robby doesn't like Sunday afternoon naps as much as I do. And he sure didn't like it when we had to do our treadmill time after our nap. We did have a few minutes between nap and treadmill. Robby brushed his teeth while I had some cookie butter. Can you guess which one of us has actually lost weight from the treadmill time this year?
  • Reagan and Anderson went to their life group tonight. While they were gone, the rest of us had supper and that was pretty much it. Their group is pretty short so soon it was time for Robby to pick them up while I worked on school for next week. 
  • Of course at 9 tonight, instead of herding the kids to bed, Robby and I started work on rearranging the kitchen pantry. We didn't do as much organizing right after Christmas but we have been catching up lately, and I LOVE it!We have done quite a bit of organizing, but still have lots to do!

January 11, 2020

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  • It was an early morning this morning-well, not really. We jumped out of bed at 7:50 and scrambled around here to leave at 8:30. We did manage to cook a pan of cinnamon rolls, empty the dishwasher and fold a load of clothes before we left.
  • Keaton had her basketball game first this morning. Campbell kept score and thought that Keaton's team lost by 2 while on the other side of the court, we kept score and thought that her team won by 2. Who knows! It was a good game, and Keaton is a great gaurder. Though quite often, I find myself shouting, "take the ball out of her hands;" my Keaton needs to be a bit less timid.
  • Keaton and Campbell went home with Nonna and Pops. Reagan and Whitman were still at home since they set Keaton's game out. So the big boys and us ran to McDonalds for a little breakfast. Then we went to Kroger to see if they had any more Lego sets on sale like last night.
  • Last night we didn't do a good job looking at all of the sets but did grab Anderson one. Today, our plan was to study them and possibly let Anderson buy another or even buy one to sell. However, there were none left at all. That was fine with Anderson though because after spending the night at Grannymom's house, he was anxious to get home and see his new set that we (actually, he) bought last night.
  • During our basketball break, we cleaned the fridge, plugged it back in and loaded a bit of it up again. Then there were the blasted 4 miles on the treadmill followed by quick hair cuts for some. I ran to pick up Campbell and take her to her game early so she could take team pictures.
  • Campbell's game was good. They really hustled. At one point, the other team was trying to shoot in the wrong goal. Campbell's coach was shouting at them that they were going the other way while Campbell was shouting at him to not say anything. She planned on winning that game one way or another!
  • We then had a few minutes to run and get gas and another Kroger run for me during our next basketball break. Then it was the boys' turn to play ball. They tied their game and then it went to overtime. My Graham really stepped up the intensity of his playing today, and Anderson is pretty consistent-a fierce ball grabber. 
  • The only thing about this down to the wire and overtime game was that it lasted forever. The game went about 15 minutes over the normal time so we had to hurry home to watch the last basketball game of the day-the Hogs. 
  • I will say that I didn't see much of that game. I did cuddle up on the chair and slept even though the exciting end of the game. The kids cycled through the showers while Robby and I worked on supper. While we were doing that, we did manage to hang up my new laundry sign from my birthday.
  • We all ate, and then I settled into the school room pulling out school when the Wilsons wrote. We headed over there for the evening. Reagan debated going, but did ask two important questions before she decided-Will there be food? and Can I drive?
  • The answer to both of those were yes. Shannon had cookies and Reagan did drive us over there. Anderson stayed back working on his new Lego set while Whitman stayed home and pretty much covered all of the living room floor. 

January 10, 2020

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  • Aww, our last day of school for the week. How wonderful it was. We read quite a few books and things were fairly smoothly for the most part. My people were pretty awake this morning when I went to wake everyone up-I was the one starting school 15 minutes later than I had planned. 
  • The kids zoomed through most of their school work. I do think that Fridays are my favorite day-and really why should they not be? If we have done school for 4 days, then we do not have spelling (except Whitman) so that does lighten the load a bit.
  • After we did our school work, well, everyone but Whitman, who was still working on his last page of math, we had a small project. Eariler this school year, Robby printed me out a logic book that I wanted to do with the kids. I have planned on doing it for weeks and months, but the first project has caused me to hesitate. 
  • Today, though we did it. Basically the book is about a stolen chocolate bar. The first activity is to determine which recipe for chocolate is the favorite. The kids loved this task. They worked together in groups to make 5 different tiny chocolate recipes. Robby walked in the kitchen at one point, looked around and walked right back out. It was a mess! 
  • However, everyone did help clean up though. My next activity was the treadmill. Robby had already done his so it was just me...until Campbell and Keaton joined me. They enjoy my Hallmark movies. However, when they started to talk, I had to make it very clear that there is no talking while on the treadmill!
  • The boys went to basketball practice tonight and then spent the night with Grannymom and Grandpa. The Wilsons, Robby and I went out to eat for my birthday. Then we went to Kroger and shopped till we dropped. We debated even getting a buggy but then completely filled it up. 
  • While we were gone, Reagan made pasta and mashed potatoes for supper. She said that she knew it didn't go together, but that is what she wanted. I told her that was fine with me. Then Campbell, Keaton and Whitman made mug cakes and wrote to me to tell me that they were amazing! 
  • I do think that it was a pretty good day for all of the Dennies. Now, we just have to wait for the weather to pass before we can get some sleep!

January 9, 2020

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  • School went well this morning. We had our school this morning . Things went fairly well-we are working hard to finish a few things up before February. I know that we will do less school even on days when we "do school" while we are gone, but we still have to do a decent amount because who wants to be finishing up school in the middle of July!
  • I think that my kids have already transitioned into vacation mode around here....at least when it comes to chore time. That continues to be a bit of struggle getting back into that routine. However, I can't say much because I am a bit lax on my housekeeping these days as well. I saw a lady post today that she would pay someone to come and fold her laundry-I thought about signing up for that job! At least our laundry and dishes are caught up.
  • After lunch Whitman still had about 5 pages of school left (math which takes forever, a handwriting page which also takes forever along with 2 phonics pages which is can breeze through). When I finished with the treadmill, I walked through the house and found Whitman on his ipad. I was quick to ask about school, but Reagan was quick to tell me that she helped him finish. I had not asked her, but she worked with him to help him finish-incredible sweet.
  • I wasn't really around much today. By 2:30 I left to work at the pregnancy center, then a quick trip to Lowes for shelf holers, and finally to the church for Refresh. While I was gone, the house was pretty busy....Campbell made cookies for everyone's afternoon snack. Soon afterwards, there was basketball practice for Campbell, Anderson and Graham. Robby had pizza for supper for everyone, and they were just finishing up when I came in.
  • Just like all other families, Robby and I rearranged a few kitchen cabinets tonight right before bedtime. We did move the toaster to a lower shelf which makes sense because the kids can't really reach it or if they can, then they can't put it back. We also moved the panini maker which we use daily, into the kitchen and out of Robby's office. I really love to have things organized. 
  • It was then bedtime for the kiddos. Keaton has put pillows underneath her mattress making her bed into a hospital bed. Graham has about 14 blankets on him while Whitman has decided that he likes sleeping with his shirt off. These people!

January 8, 2020

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  •  As we lay in bed last night, we debated waking up early for the treadmill. I did suggest an alternate plan (Robby exercise while we are at Bible study and I do it in the afternoon.) He was quick to go with my plan so we hit snooze just as long as we could this morning.
  • Even though we didn't have too long this morning before it was time to go, but we were able to empty the dishwasher and the trashcans....well, I was able to empty the dishwasher and trashcans! The kids did pack their lunch and get ready without too much drama.
  • We did Bible study-it was nice to get back in a routine, but the routine is hard! The kids just don't seem as happy this year in their classes since we have made the switch to being at two different places. 
  • Afterwards, we went to Fellowship to play on their playground for a little bit. It was nice outside-a little chilly, but I had my jacket so I was good. When we left, I let Reagan drive for a little bit. My plan was to let her drive to Kroger, but I started to doubt how busy it would be to get there. 
  • Instead we drove around Fellowship and did get on a real road. I quickly found a parking lot to turn into since I didn't know where we were going. I then had her park and back up to head back to Fellowship. Then my plan was to have her stop at the stop sign and change drivers-but gracious is there was not too cars behind us!
  • So I had her keep going-through a round about! She did fine, but had no idea where she is supposed to go. I hope that practicing will help that. I should have left earlier tonight for church so she could drive more, but a little every day is my goal.
  • Once at home, the boys weren't here for too long before heading to Dave and Busters to spend the rest of their gift cards. They spend most of their money and even found some prizes-a shirt, a blue fuzzy llama, and some candy. I did my treadmill time and had time for a few things before it was time again for church.
  • Wednesday nights are hard. Keaton is in a room with a bunch of spirited (nice word) kids. She did have a different teacher tonight which she said helped, but she was almost in tears again tonight as she asked me to change her classes. I assured her that we just have 2 more weeks before a break. Not so sure that church should be this difficult!
  • I am not too sure that she felt that great too because she sat in my lap while watching the Hogs and scratched all over. I found zyrtec, cream and lotion and medicated the child up. The big boys were the only ones who stuck with the Hog game tonight before bedtime.

January 7, 2020

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  • Another school day-two days down now, and we really did pretty good. Graham was awake at 7, and by 8:30 when we started school he was finished with his school work. We did our reading first, and then I did switch things up a bit today and work with Anderson first.
  • Whitman had one less page of math, but I do think that his math will eventually be the reason that I send him to school. He just is in no hurry! Reagan is doing geometry now, Anderson algebra, Graham prealgebra, but problems like 13-7 are going to cause me to lose my ever loving mind! 
  • We did our treadmilling this afternoon. I did tell Robby that sense I am older now, I will have to walk slower. I didn't though-I did .2 miles more than yesterday. That isn't a lot, but still it's good. 
  • This afternoon was full of lots of things-painting shelves, building Legos with Whitman, straightening the house and organizing a shelf. What I should have been doing though was making a snack for Keaton's Bible study class tomorrow. I remembered her snack about 20 minutes before bedtime tonight. I tried to convince her to take something already made from our pantry but chocolate chip cookies is what she wanted. 
  • Keaton had basketball tonight so I took her to practice. Then we met everyone at Nonna's house to celebrating my birthday. Nonna had taco soup and tacos for supper tonight along with a chocolate cake. 
  • I had lots of presents to open-a laundry sign, lots of pillows and a shopping trip for later. Whitman had brought his marble track so he enjoyed playing that. And all of the other kiddos are big into Nertz right now. I used to be the Nertz queen in college but my big kids can give me a run for my money now. 
  • Once at home, the kids played outside for a good 30 minutes after we came in. Then there were showers to do and cookies to throw together and quickly bake before bedtime!

January 6, 2020-Happy Birthday Tara!

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  • Robby and I did really good yesterday waking up early to walk on the treadmill. This morning we didn't do so hot. I will say that the last two nights I have slept not as well because we had our alarm set. I feel like I woke up hourly so I could mentally figure up how many hours we had left to sleep. 
  • This morning after Robby had his snooze twice, I did suggest that maybe we just walk this afternoon. I mean, it is my birthday after all, and we were able to do this since we didn't have anything to do this afternoon. 
  • I even decided to postpone the start of school until 8:30. I am sure that the kids were excited about this. I walked through waking everyone but Campbell and Graham up. They had jut woke up and were in a bit of a daze. 
  • Soon everyone was back in my bedroom, eating thier beakfast while I was doing our reading. I am sure that they weren't enjoying it as much as I was. After we did our reading, it was time for them to start on their school work. 
  • Everyone did their work pretty quickly today except for Anderson and Whitman. Bless Whitman. I have decided that spelling isn't his thing. I don't even know if he can really do it well because he just takes so long. So I have decided that we aren't rushing through our spelling book. It is a second grade book so we are still ahead, just not where his brothers and sisters were.
  • When school was over, I finally did my treadmill time. Then we celebrated my birthday with presents-vinyl, jeans, a defrosting tray, and sheets for our bed. (Robby and I are currently sleeping with a twin flat sheet on our bed.) Keaton and Campbell had "secretely" made brownies this morning so we had them for our celebration.
  • This afternoon went by fast and soon we were loading up for supper at ChickFilA. We loaded up on food (free) and even brought a few meals home. There were even milk shakes to share. The boys went to their Trail Life meeting afterwards while the girls ran to Starbucks to pick up a drink for Reagan. It was actually my free birthday drink, but I didn't want it after sucking down a milk shake. 
  • While the boys were gone, Campbell and Keaton used the boys' pocket knives to make sticks into guns and swords. This is something I would have never let Reagan do. We are just completely different parents now than we used to be. Also for example, tonight we heard Whitman in the kitchen. We didn't get up to check. So when Reagan walked through she shouted, "he has a handful of frosting." Whitman quickly replied, "I just have two fingers full." We still didn't get up and then listened to him run the water for about 10 minutes cleaning up his mess. This would have never happened years ago!

January 5, 2020

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  • Our alarm went off pretty early this morning, but Robby and I both woke up for our treadmill walk. I tell you, I do have a love/hate relationship with that thing. I am a bit less sore-I can at least walk around not hunched over. Maybe that will continue to improve!
  • We headed to church at our normal time. I do think that everyone was happy to be back in a normal routine. I was at least! 
  • After church, we headed to Grannymom's house to celebrate my birthday. We had Mexican and apple dumplings which are my favorites. After eating, I opened up a few presents to add to my Christmas loot. 
  • Robby had me look for candles the other day, and I couldn't find what he had asked for. He loves scented candles as much as I do so I will have to hide my two new ones (birthday cake and coffee flavored) from him.
  • Reagan drove through their neighborhood. She doesn't like driving my car but continues to improve. I was anxious for her to drive a bit faster because I wanted to get home for my nap! 
  • Since my alarm rang early this morning, all I could think about was laying down in that bonus room for my nap. And gracious it took me a while to go to sleep. I still had a great nap.
  • Once I awoke, I headed to church for a playground meeting. That went well, then it was back home for a little bit before I headed out to eat ice cream with some of my sweet friends. They wanted to celebrate my birthday so we did by eating lots of ice cream and then sitting in the cars chatting until way too late!
  • I made it home after everyone was in bed and hurried to get my stuff done so I could crawl into bed a bit earlier than usual!

January 4, 2020

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  • What a wonderful last holiday break day. We didn't really do a whole lot. Robby and I did walk first thing after getting up this morning. We are pleased so far with our progress (not missing a day) but also a bit apprehensive if we can keep it up this next week (and tomorrow since I sure don't want to miss my nap.)
  • After our walk and showers, we headed right to the kitchen and stayed there for a good while. We had some whole milk to use so we made 4 more recipes of cinnamon rolls. I will say that today, we got it right. We froze some too so the real test will see if they work as well. 
  • I keep seeing people on Facebook selling things to pay for their kids college-maybe we should start selling our cinnamon rolls. I believe that I would have to sell them for 100 dollars apiece though.
  • Robby had to take a break to run to Shannon's to borrow some flour. Reagan drove there and back. We are determined to get her lots of driving time but are still trying to take baby steps. Robby said that she sure didn't like it when cars would pass by her as she was driving. 
  • We did take another break during our cinnamon roll making to run to to Target. The little girls had some money to spend there-they both bought a gallon of glue along with some brushes. They were tickled pink, as I was since I bought a silverware caddy.
  • Then it was back home.  Soon the Wilsons were over, and we were heating up our leftovers from last night along with hamburgers. Everyone ate around the tv watching the basketball game. Then we all celebrated the win with cinnamon rolls and oreo delight. It was a perfect end to our holiday break.

January 3, 2020

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  • We had to wake up early this morning because Nonna came over to pick up Campbell and Keaton. I did go through the house to wake up the girls and was certainly surprised that my boys were not awake yet. I can tell you for sure that Monday will be very rough.
  • The girls used their Pottery Worx gift cards with Nonna. They had fun painting and stayed there for 3 hours. I believe that Keaton painted two things and Campbell painted three. They have not told us what they made because it is a secret.
  • Robby and I walked again on the treadmill today. I tell you my shins are still so sore. However, since he made it his New Year's resolution to walk 100 miles in January, we have to get it done. And possibly, a long walk on the treadmill helps with all of the snacking that we continue to do!
  • Robby and the boys did use up some of their gift cards today. They went to Dave and Busters for a bit of playtime and a bit of a snacky lunch. They had a big time playing the games and even decided to save some of their money and go back another time.
  • Reagan, Whitman and I decided that we needed something to do out and about today too. So we went to get her hair cut. I climbed in the passenger seat and Reagan was quick to tell me that she couldn't drive there. I did let her drive about a mile down the road, and I can definitely tell that she is improving.
  • The last time her hair was cut, she had it layered. She didn't think they did a great job then, and I did agree. The lady today asked Reagan if she cut her hair the last time-seriously! 
  • Reagan was super pleased today after her hair was cut. Then we walked around Walmart for a minute. We did find some wrapping paper, rice krispy treats and some glue all on sell for next Christmas (the glue is for a stocking or two). Then we had to make Whitman happy so we went for a browse through the toys. Finally, I had to make Reagan happy after walking through the toys so I bought some fries for them to share.
  • We made it home around 4:30 and I was just about asleep in my warm and cozy bonus room, when supper plans were made. Soon Tony and Robby went to buy some Chinese. They came home with enough food for at least 40 people. I have enough noodles in my fridge to circle my house twice! It was delicious though!
  • We then all loaded up and ran to the Wilsons-it wasn't enough for us to trash just one house, we wanted to make it a progressive dinner and trash both houses. (Nobody's houses were really treashed). We had oreo delight at their house and stayed out again way too late!