July 23, 2021

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  • This seemed to be the first day in a long while that I didn't have a huge to do list. There was still plenty to do early this morning including a walk for Bentley along with brushing her (you could brush her forever because she continuously sheds). There were dishes and laundry and all of that was finished before 9 this morning.
  • The boys were starting to stir around this point. As soon as Whitman was finished with his breakfast, I started working with him on his school work. We are hitting it hard-spelling is going great. For example we wrote 25 words today for his spelling, and usually he could just write 5 words a day before we had to give completely up. 
  • Around 11, I left with Campbell for a whirlwind shopping trip. We went to the post office, to Five Below, to Kroger, to Walmart and then we made a surprise trip to Sams. I say a surprise trip because we saw a sign that said "free" in the front of Sams so we mosied on over. 
  • And what was free you ask? Well there was a food truck out front where Campbell received half of a hamburger, baked beans, a yogurt, an ice cream bar, and pink lemonade while I had potato salad, a chicken wrap, yogurt and an ice cream bar. We were pretty pleased with out little lunch and went inside to sit at the tables to eat. 
  • Afterwards, we did some Sam's browsing. Then it was home for a while. The big kids went to Dave and Busters and then to eat pizza with a group from church tonight. After they left. I told the girls that I was going to take Bentley on a walk.
  • I knew when I stepped outside that our walk would be short since it felt rainy and the trees were really blowing. I didn't know how short it would be. We made it to the mail box when I looked back and saw the rain falling on the other side of the yard. It was coming fast and we had to run back to the garage. The dog and I did just sit in the garage and watch the rain fall until it was time for us to leave for the pool.
  • By the time we had all of our things together, the rain had stopped and the weather was perfect. We picked up pizza and met almost all of the buddies at the pool. Robby ran to pick up the kids so we were all there until the pool closed at 9. 
  • We then came home for showers before everyone headed to bed. This is no bed time night so I am sure that my crew will stay up late tonight! (Though hopefully not too late since we have an early morning)

July 22, 2021

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  • I have just been pretty exhausted today. Maybe it was because that dog of ours saw a squirrel this morning while she was laying in our bed after she went potty. Usually she will lay quietly in the bed for a long while. Today though she wasn't having it-she was on squirrel patrol. I guess I need to invest in some less see through blinds.
  • Reagan and one of her friends that spent the night made muffins at some point this morning-before I woke up. I think that they actually were making themselves a bedtime snack because after making the muffins we never heard anything from them for a while. When Robby went to the bathroom in the middle of the night, he could hear that they were still awake. I guess I probably am not as tired as Reagan is!
  • Before the boys were awake, I walked Bentley, folded the clothes and emptied the dishwasher. I alternate between the dishes and laundry as my most hated chore. Today it was the dishes! We use a lot of paper products, but we still seem to have a dishwasher full every day. I can't imagine what it would be like if we didn't use paper stuff too.
  • Campbell and Keaton returned this morning from Grannymom and Grandpa's house. They had a fun visit and came home with a few treasures that they bought while out shopping. Campbell also returned with samples of all of her food that she made-my observations: the mashed potatoes were a bit runny, but they were really good. The green beans were good though I'm not a fan of frozen green beans. The meatballs were a bit too salty or something though I ate quite a few for my supper tonight. Oh and the rolls were delicious. Unfortunately, the lava cakes were all gone, but Campbell said that was definitely a keeper recipe.
  • This afternoon Robby took the little three to the pool. They had a few thunder delays but still enjoyed swimming. They stayed until after 5. This was our 30th visit to the pool this summer not counting swim team practices. 35 is my goal each year so I think that we will definitely make it. 
  • While they were there, I went to the pregnancy center for a little bit. I spent my time folding clothes and organizing pants. The time quickly flew by and soon I was heading home. When I made it home, I met the Amazon man who Anderson had been waiting on all the day long. He had bought a game earlier this week and was watching the clock hoping that it would arrive today.
  • This evening we just pulled out leftovers for supper and sat around staring at our devices. Well, we did spend some time torturing the dog. Campbell and Keaton had bought dog rain boots. Bentley didn't mind us putting them on her, but when we did she would just stand there and not move. When we would get her to walk she would kick her leg out and look like a crazy dog-it was super entertaining for us!

July 21, 2021

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  • I think that I had to wake up three times last night to go to the bathroom. I guess that I drank entirely too much water before bedtime. I used to be careful not to wake Robby up, but now I am careful to not wake the dog up.
  • Thankfully, I didn't wake her up, but she did wake up at her usual morning time. Then it wasn't long until Candice arrived to pick up the kids for swim team. This was their last swim team practice. I think that they were a little bit bummed about it. However, they all came in excited telling me that Keaton was going to move to the big lane next year, and Whitman was going to move to the middle lane.
  • When they arrived home, Campbell and Keaton started getting things ready for their afternoon and evening. They were going to spend the night at Grannymom's house so there were bags to pack, chores to do here and food to pack.
  • Campbell made supper tonight at Grannymom's. I believe that she had to start on everything fairly early to get it all done. On the menu this evening was mashed potatoes (Keaton's favorite), meatballs, green bean bundles, rolls and lava cake (Campbell's favorite). It sounded like everything worked out really well-I was a bit worried that Campbell would get overwhelmed and kept reminding her that Grannymom could certainly help her at any point. However, it sounded like she didn't need too much help at all.
  • This afternoon I did what I had been looking forward too all day long-taking a nap! I had planned on just sleeping for one hour but it ended up being a bit longer than that. It was wonderful! I was even able to get Bentley to lay at my feet like a good dog and snooze some too. 
  • I did jump up after my nap because I really did sleep a bit too long, and things were about to get busy at the house. Anderson and Graham were leaving for a Bible study at Rock Creek. Good for them going someplace new with new people. Our church is lacking in activities for them so glad they can find them somewhere. 
  • Brett drove them and when they came home, they joined Reagan and her group of friends who came over for the evening. I think that there are 3 girls and 2 boys that came. They spend a lot of time outside. The boys played basketball and the girls made cookies (though after seeing the cookies that they made, from a package no less, they need to all go to cooking camp.)
  • Whitman had a thing at church tonight-it was Impact for his grade. We brought a lot of things for the Little Rock Family Care Home. Then we had a scavenger hunt around the church-this was a hit! He so enjoyed it. Each thing that we found had a little thing that needed to pray about. He wanted me to pray for most of them. However, when it was time to find the mirror he headed inside the boys' bathroom. I told him that he would have to pray since I couldn't go in there. And as I stood there holding the bathroom door open, I could hear my sweet boy saying a prayer!
  • The extra kids stayed until ten tonight and then things slowed down a bit at the house. Currently, the dog is sleeping on her pillow, the girls are watching a movie, Whitman is on his ipad, and the boys on their xboxs. Kind of peaceful around here.

July 20, 2021

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  • When we went to bed last night, Robby didn't feel good at all. So I did the night time routine by myself and then stayed up way too late on my phone since he was sleeping soundly beside me, Thankfully, he felt fine this morning, and thankfully Bentley also cooperated and slept until 7:30 for me. 
  • I then laid back down for a few more minutes until my alarm blared at 7:59. It was time to call and get a doctor's appointment. Appointments are hard to come by right now, and I was fortunate that I wasn't told to go to an urgent care clinic. A nurse later called me back, and we were able to snag an appointment.  
  • Anderson's ear hadn't really improved any. He said that he didn't sleep much last night because of the pain. We went to the doctor around 10-he just had a bad case of swimmer's ear. We were given drops, an oral antibiotic and she put a wick in his ear. We had never had that done-basically a cotton ball to suck up the nasty. He wasn't able to leave it in his ear long since thinking about it kind of made him crazy.
  • After his doctor, we ran to get him a hair cut. So many folks have told us how cute he is right now with his hair. He wasn't too excited about getting his hair cut since he was afraid the lady would move his tender ear. 
  • Next stop was Sam's to pick up his medicine and to order cupcakes for Campbell's 1/2 birthday party next week. I then ran into Walmart to buy some sausage and price some weights (randomness, I know). 
  • Oh we did run the boy by Sonic. He needed a drink and 2 sausage burritos. He had to eat his burritos slowly because it hurt for him to chew. 
  • Robby took Campbell, Keaton and Whitman to church this morning. They had Terrific Tuesday where they made lots of crafts. It was set up where they could go to whatever room they would like and make the craft in that room. They all seemed to really enjoy it. Robby had to pick them up as well since I wasn't able to get back in time from my errands with Anderson.
  • We were home for what just seemed like a few minutes when it was time to head to the pool. Robby left first with Reagan and Graham. They got their first round of covid shots at Kroger (Anderson had gotten his at the doctor's this morning). Then we all met up at the pool for a few hours.
  • Campbell had a friend come over this afternoon and tonight. They, along with Keaton, made cakes this afternoon after the pool. It was a super big mess, but their cakes were actually impressive and tasted pretty good. They even cleaned up most of the mess so I can't complain too much,
  • Next up was swim meet tonight. Graham earned 2nd place ribbons. (One of Graham's races only had 2 boys in it while the other did have lots more). Keaton received one second place as well. Campbell finished 4th in one of her races so she almost earned one-this year she is competing against kids a year older than her so it is a bit harder to earn ribbons.
  • And finally Whitman! Whitman won a second place ribbon. He was shocked. We were shocked. I'm just not sure what happened at all there. We celebrated a victory when Whitman finished his race in second place. He was so happy to touch that wall, turn his head and see that someone was still racing against him. That was enough for us and him 
  • However, when they called his name and gave his a ribbon? His race just had 3 people in it-but he was competing against at least 3 other boys who swam. That means that Whitman beat 4 other kids in his back stroke. (Tonight I had told Robby that really the only way for Whitman to earn a ribbon this year is for it to be a mistake-hmm, wonder if it was?)
  • Back at home tonight, we ate BbQ for supper. Then we followed that up with cake that the girls made and some ice cream. Campbell, Keaton and her friend are watching tv upstairs while everyone else is being pretty quiet-I am tempted to let them stay up, but the last swim practice is tomorrow. 

July 19, 2021

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  • We did discover that Bentley does wake up earlier when we are at home because of the bright sunlight filling our room. And apparently Whitman does too because he was the first Dennie awake this morning.
  • I worked and worked for way too long on the laundry this morning. We had most everything from the camper along with two loads of our clothes. I am not a patient person and folding laundry does require a bit of patience,
  • At some point this morning, I did work with Whitman on his school work. He asked to do spelling first which made my heart happy. He even spelled "disagreed" correctly today. I think that we are certainly getting there with our spelling-maybe this will be the year that he can work through things independently. (I'm not giving it much hope though!)
  • Anderson's ear is still bothering him. My plan had been to wait until lunch and see if it was improving and if not make an appointment then. However, at lunch he acted like it was getting better-not hurting but still stuffy. Later tonight though it was back to hurting so I guess I will be making an appointment in the morning. 
  • Campbell and Keaton spent a good bit of the afternoon moving Campbell out of their shared desk/table and into the desk in the little office area in the living room. Reagan didn't really use it much last year so those girls moved her out and Campbell in. We will see how that works out-Campbell's new area is seen when you walk through the house so I won't let it get messy which she has a tendency to do.
  • Around 3, we took Campbell, Keaton, Graham and Whitman to the pool. They swam for a god while, I ran some errands, and when I returned all of them but Whitman climbed out of the pool after swimming 30 laps. I think that they were pretty tired-Graham and Keaton never even got back in the pool after all of that work.
  • The evening was kind of slow-we did have pizza for supper. We had some coupons for the kids plus we are now trying to eat pizza most days of the week (Friday, Saturday, Monday so far this week). 
  • I have big evening plans-it is about an hour until bedtime. The blog is finished so I plan to keep the laundry going plus wash my hair! Wild and exciting times at the Dennie hosue.

July 18, 2021-Lake Catherine State Park

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Oh there was some good sleeping this morning. Even Bentley knew that it was raining, and everyone was supposed to be sleeping. We didn't stir until nearly 10 this morning. Robby and I had wanted to walk on a trail this morning-that had been our plans at least. However, with the drizzling rain we knew we weren't going walking on any trail this morning.

We slowly started stirring and packing up this morning. We never had a lot of things out outside so there was little to pick up. What we did have to pick up was wet so that made things interesting. Thankfully the rain did stop when we were loading up the bikes so that made it easier (though Robby and I were both prepared with our rain jackets.)

We were soon loaded up and heading out of the park. Well, we did take time to have some sausage biscuits. We still had to eat kind of good even though it was a rainy Sunday morning. After everything was put away, it was then time to head out. 

I was in the mini van with Campbell and Keaton following Robby in the camper. It didn't take anytime to get back to Benton. Our first stop was Kroger-I ran in to buy some gift cards so we could get a discount on gas. Gas isn't cheap, and the camper takes a wee bit of gas. 

After Robby filled up the camper and topped off my car, I headed with the girls to Walmart. I had seen online that the Bryant store had one inflatable kayak. It was half the price of the same one on Amazon. I doubted that we could even find it since often their online inventory isn't that great. Surprise, we were actually able to find 2. I know that since we bought them, we won't have the opportunity to use them for the rest of the summer. However, I do think that they will be good investments and really a whole lot of fun. (4 out of 6 Dennie kids said that their favorite thing was kayaking this weekend. The other 2 said Larry's pizza.)

Soon we were all at home. The ones that had beat me home had really gone to town emptying the camper. They were practically finished by the time that my girls arrived. I had them do a few trips and that thing was empty, laundry going and most things put away. Now Robby and I worked for the rest of the afternoon on getting things put back correctly since some things had to dry out this afternoon.

We did make time to take the little 3 to the pool. They always enjoy a few hours at the pool-and today, the slide and water fountains were back on. They love the slide, but I really don't like the loud noise that comes with all of the gushing water. 

We hurried home after 2 hours so we could make last night's meal tonight. Since we went out for pizza last night, our planned meal was done tonight. The Wilson's came over and the boys told us all about church tonight-it was a murder mystery.

Anderson dressed as a cowboy from the 1920s while Graham donned Pops' suspenders and hat dressing a newpaper deliver boy from the 1920s. They had a blast I think. Now Anderson's ear is bothering him. I am pretty sure that it is swimmer's ear so we are currently trying everything we can-drops, pills and a heating pad-so hopefully it will be better in the morning. Despite all of this, he also had a good time tonight.

After eating, we did all celebrate National Ice Cream day with a few tubs of ice cream. The kids went to town and we were left with just a bit of ice cream left! We ended the evening with lots of laundry and lots of ear drops (Bentley is getting some as well as Anderson)

July 17, 2021-Lake Catherine State Park

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Aww, there is nothing better than camping sleeping. The only thing that could have made things better would have been if there had been rain falling on the roof of this camper. Every night when we go to bed in the camper, Robby tells the kids to wake him up if they are hot or cold in the middle of the night. I had gotten up to go to the bathroom-and despite having to crawl to the end of the bed, crawl over Robby's feet, open the curtain, open and close the bathroom door, flush the potty, open and close the bathroom door again, close the curtain and crawl back into bed-Robby sat up and said, "what do you need, Babe?" 

I told him that I just had to go to the bathroom and needed to get back into bed. He had thought that I was Keaton and was even a bit confused about my answer. I guess I have crazy bed head like Keaton! Despite all of this, we all slept for a while this morning. Bentley had to potty around 7:30, but we did go ahead and sleep until 8:30 which was super nice after a week of waking up early for cooking camp.

Breakfast this morning was chocolate chip pancakes, bacon and orange juice. Everything was pretty perfect. We took a few walks this morning. Keaton, Campbell and Graham walked with Bentley and I to the volleyball net again. They played some volleyball until Robby arrived with the car.

He drove us to the marina-well Graham walked with Bentley and Keaton rode Campbell's bike. Robby checked on renting boats-the big ones were all gone for the day. However, there were plenty of kayaks. Robby rented 3 and Campbell, Keaton and Graham jumped in them.

Well, they really didn't jump in them. We hadn't planned on doing anything right then so they were without bathing suits or great water shoes. Some took off socks, and it took a little bit of convincing that they could indeed paddle successfully to our campsite. Campbell and Keaton were both a bit concerned. We knew they wouldn't have any problems and plus they had on life jackets!

Robby rode the bike back while I drove the car back to the campsite with the dog. It took the kids about 15 minutes to arrive at our site. Campbell was pretty happy when she saw Bentley and I sitting on the dock. 

As soon as they arrived back at the campsite, there were bathing suits thrown on, and the kids were in the water and floating around on the kayaks. I even did a bit of kayaking-I usually sit out on those things, but I really enjoyed it today. Anderson and I went almost to the middle (probably not really) of the lake. I wanted to go to the power plant across, but when Anderson told me that was really far, I quickly changed my mind.

However, later in the day Robby did bet Graham and Campbell that they couldn't go to the power plant and back in 20 minutes. We really did not think that they could make it there in back in 20 minutes, but sure enough they rowed all the way across that lake and back in 16 minutes both earning 2 dollars.

Grannymom and Grandpa came for a visit today. They were around while the kids were kayaking and even for lunch. We had sandwiches...and gracious me! We forgot to eat the pasta salad that I had made for our lunch. The last time we went camping, I forgot to make it. And now this time I made it ahead of time so we wouldn't forget and we forgot! Ugh!

Anyway, we had sandwiches which Robby grilled. Graham commandeered the last little bit of mozzarella cheese to make himself a pizza like last night. I used the leftover pita bread for a sandwich-Robby heated it up, and it was absolutely delicious. But it would have been better with that pasta salad. I might just have me a bite right now.

The kayaks were due at 3 so around 2:40 the kids headed back to the marina with them, Grannymom and Grandpa headed home and by the time that we got back to the camper, it was getting dark. It actually got very dark very fast. Robby and I had already covered everything up, but we did some more picking up while waiting on the storm.

When we finished, we pulled out chairs and sat down to watch the storm roll in, When it did come, it came with a vengeance. Robby and I scurried into the camper. At first it was just rain, but soon the thunder and lightening came. There was one clap of thunder that was so, so loud. The little girls jumped, Bentley saw them jumping and jumped herself. Graham soon came out of the shower and asked if we had heard it. Then he said that he thought that he was going to die it was so loud.

The storm lasted for about 30 minutes, and soon the rain had passed. Well, we thought it was finished raining. Robby and I took Bentley on a walk, and when we returned we were covered in drops of rain. This was enough for Robby decide that making our fried rice and lo mien noodles on the blackstone tonight wasn't in the cards.

So we loaded up and went to civilization-Larry's Pizza. It is kind of strange that we have been to this Larry's Pizza in Malvern already this summer when we were camping and when it was raining. That trip was when we were at Lake Degray. This time we had all of the kids. I think by everyone's jovial attitudes that they had a good time. Campbell, Keaton and Graham found a dollar in coins and begged a dollar from Robby, and ended up spending about 30 minutes in the game room earning tickets--enough tickets for them each to have a few pieces of bubble gum.

Then we walked through the Dollar Tree which was adjacent to Larry's Pizza. Robby didn't even bat an eye as every child (except for frugal and sensible Anderson) found something that they had to have. We left with slime, a baseball bat, hair ties, a kitchen brush and a few more "must have items." 

When we returned to the campsite, those middle three decided that the ball and bat from the Dollar Tree would work best in the lake-so swimsuits were back on and they swam until it was almost dark. They had to shower off again, but they had a blast. 

It is currently 10, and everyone is in their bed playing on their devices. I am about to take my shower, and then it will be bedtime!

July 16, 2021-Lake Catherine State Park

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I love my Campbell, and I absolutely love that she had the opportunity to go to culinary camp. However, after taking her every day this week, I am more convinced than ever that homeschooling what we should be doing. Ha! I am just not cut out to wake up early and drive people somewhere every day of the week. Seriously though, after waking up so early every morning, I have been asleep by midnight every night. (Probably a sign that I need to be going to bed earlier.)

It was competition day at cooking school. I am not sure how many people were in groups, but each group was given a basket of ingredients that they had to use. Campbell's group made pasta with marinara, roasted veggies, along with some type of beef (which was delicious), and pineapple upside down cake with a chocolate ganache.

When she left today she had a certificate of completing Culinary level 1, along with an apron, a knife set (which included a huge knife, a paring knife, and a veggie peeler), a certificate for Best Dessert, and a certificate for Most Creative. She had the best time this week. I asked her if she had to pick between her Impact trip or cooking camp-she confidently and without hesitation that she would rather go to cooking camp. We were really impressed with her week at camp. She currently has big plans to go to each grandma's house and cook them a meal. She even has it planned out!

We spent most of the morning packing up. Our food level is kind of sad in this camper. Since we aren't going to be camping long, we didn't pack a ton of things. Now, I still probably have enough food for half of a week when usually I have enough food for a whole week. Our cabinets look bare-though we are currently eating ice cream and no one is going hungry at all.

We looked at the weather all day long worrying about the rain. There was no reason at all for us to worry today-well, we did have to fight it some but overall the weather was perfect. When I did leave in the car with Keaton, it rained on us pretty good. Keaton and I were driving because we decided that we weren't really going far enough to tow the car, but heavens we still love having a car. Also I ordered some vinyl from a place in Benton so we left early to pick it up. 

We then waited for Robby and the crew to get close. When they did, we just zoomed on the interstate right behind them and followed them the rest of the way to Lake Catherine State Park. We have the best little spot-we are right on the water with a dock right by us. Now we are right across from the power plant, but still it is beautiful. 

Robby worked on getting set up while I was busy taking pictures of the kids enjoying our spot. Campbell pulled out the fishing pole and started fishing. Reagan and Anderson sat up chairs overlooking the lake. Keaton and Graham spent some time trying to convince Bentley that it was safe to walk on the dock (they eventually got her out there.)

We debated packing up and cooking out supper under a nearby pavilion. However, the rain didn't come like we expected so we made our supper. Of course while we were eating, there was threatening sprinkles that fell off and on. 

Robby made pizzas on the Blackstone tonight. They were delicious-we had sausage and pepperoni. Next time I might make myself a bbq pizza. We were able to walk all over this campground. It was a perfect evening-a tad humid but not hot at all. 

Most of us walked over and played some volleyball. Keaton is obsessed with volleyball right now. And after playing tonight, I did realize that most Dennies aren't very good at volleyball. We did play a game called Nuke-em which we were much better at than volleyball.

There was more walking and more sitting around staring at the water before we all migrated indoors. Around 9:30, we had our camping snack-cookie dough ice cream. There is really not a better snack than that no matter where you eat it.

It is almost 10 now, but I'll tell you what the next plans are-pajamas and brushing of the teeth. Then we will let the kids stay up a good long while playing on their devices.

July 15, 2021

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  • Cooking school day 4-this was the first morning that we had to wake Campbell up. The other mornings she has been awake before we had even planned to wake her This morning Robby went up there first and after realizing that I never heard her footsteps above my head (I was still in bed waiting until the last moment) I had to go up there and wake her as well.
  • Today Campbell came home with her tshirt along with a full meal-stuffed chicken breast (I thought it was really good but Reagan thought it was just so-so), bacon wrapped green beans (I think Pops had one and liked it, but Reagan didn't like the mustard dipping sauce), hot rolls (Robby proclaimed them delicious), honey butter (Campbell said she didn't like it), and mashed potatoes (I tried those and thought they were really good.)
  • After camp, Robby took Campbell to Nonna and Pops' house for a little bit. They grabbed lunch from ChickFilA, and Campbell enjoyed hanging out over there. She did know that the rest of us were going to the pool, and when she heard that her best buddies were going to be there, she wanted to catch up with the rest of us.
  • Robby brought her to meet the rest of us...but maybe I should catch up on the rest of the morning. Bentley and I went on a walk after we (the dog and I) dropped Campbell off. Then it was chores for me. Lots of packing happened-I'm a bit bummed currently. It looks like it is going to rain the entire trip. That is fine with me, and I'd be happy as I could be stuck in the camper all weekend due to the rain. However, for the kids the rain is not the best option.
  • The boys all did their packing this morning too. Keaton didn't make a cake today or even ask to cook. I think that was because she was asleep until 11.Reagan was even stirring before Keaton. When she did come home from the pool yesterday, she did tell me that she had swam some crazy number of laps-like 34. I guess she had completely worn herself out.
  • Keaton was only awake for a little bit before it was time for us to load up and go to the pool again today. The buddies showed up so it was a crew today. After we had swam for a little bit, Campbell showed up and was able to play for a while.
  • Robby took the big boys home. They enjoyed swimming, but they were ready to go. I stayed until 4:30 so that was quite a while for me-three and a half hours. After swimming, we all headed home-the girls still had to pack.
  • I pulled out everything from the fridge for the kids to eat. Thanks for Campbell and her cooking this week, the fridge was pretty full. Once they had picked their food and started eating, Robby and I left to go out to eat.
  • We ate at Tazikis-we had the hummus, pimento cheese and split a chicken dish. We were so full by the time we had the chicken that we weren't even able to eat everything. I guess that we should have saved some room for dessert, but we just walked around Walmart instead-we are wild and crazy.
  • We stopped at the WIlson's house on the way home, and then came home to dish out some ice cream for the kids. After that it was soon bedtime for this crew!

July 14, 2021

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  • This morning we were leaving for cooking camp along with swim team practice. Campbell once again had a great time at her camp. She came home with focaccia bread which was absolutely delicious along with homemade linguine, marinara and meatballs. That girl is in her element in that camp. (Robby said that there was a spot open for next weeks camp too (Culinary II) and if it wasn't so dang expensive we would send her again!)
  • Robby drove the bus to swim practice. He picked up the neighbors on the way there. He was able to run a few errands during it and pick up a few things that we need for this weekend. He even bought them a drink and some cookies while at the store. 
  • Before we could put away the things that Robby bought along with the groceries that were delivered, Keaton was asking to make a cake. And make a cake she did-a two layer iced cake with flowers all over it. She did a great job and needed minimal help. I think that she wanted to have her own cooking school here at home.
  • Graham went birthday shopping with Nonna and Pops this morning. They went to H and M, Nike, Bass Pro, and Academy. They might have been even gone to a few stores that I have forgotten about. I know that Graham had a blast out shopping and even had lunch at ChickFilA.
  • I worked with Whitman this afternoon-and for some reason it took forever. I have been slowly adding in things that we have to do for school, but gracious his mind was elsewhere today. He was probably thinking about things like "if you hair loses melanin when you age and changes colors, why don't your eyes change colors too as you age since they have melanin in them?" (Actual Whitman question from the other day-eye color does get darker as you age due to increased melanin)
  • Anderson and Graham went to a Bible study at Rock Creek tonight. I think that they enjoyed it. They came home with a book-so that is a good sign. Brett drove them and even hung out a little when they returned home. 
  • By the time that they did return home, there was a house full of Reagan's friends here (mostly girls but one boy). That crew hung out mostly in the bonus room, but did manage to play outside some. I think that there was a basketball game of some kind that happened.
  • Robby took Whitman, Campbell and Keaton to the pool. We tried all day long to get our buddies to join us but never got any takers. So he took them to swim for a few hours this evening. That did help Reagan out since her little sisters want to be like her and hang out with her friends. 
  • When the swimmers came home tonight, we cut Keaton's cake and pretty much devoured every bit of it. We did just have a little bit to save for tomorrow so I am sure that will be gone before people have finished getting their breakfasts.

July 13, 2021

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  • Day 2 of cooking school for Campbell. Today was all about Mexican food. She made tortillas, beef, pico, guacamole, and rice. Campbell was so proud to bring all of this home from her class. That girl just beams when she leaves the building. By the end of the day, Graham and Keaton had all decided that they want to do cooking school next year too, and Campbell of course is planning on going back.
  • Today was also Terrific Tuesday for Keaton and Whitman. They were just at the church for 2 hours, but I think that they had a blast. Their activity today was escape rooms-they were in groups and had to solve puzzles. I think they had fun even though some one moaned that they were all Bible puzzles.
  • And our final out of the house activity tonight was a swim meet. For perspective, our team scored 70 something points and the other team scored over 200 points. Graham and Campbell did end up with a 3rd place ribbon for one of their strokes. The kids all did really well and tried hard. However, the other team was just a bit more serious than we are. Whitman swam the freestyle last time, but this time he did his freestyle, backstroke and participated in 2 relays with little grumbling at all. 
  • Let's see what all happened here at home-there was lots of chores though I seem like I might be the only one really doing them these days. That's fine-the kids can have their summer off, but school/routine is right around the corner.
  • We played a bit more of our Monopoly game. Keaton is just barely hanging in there and has even started to have to sell her properties. I did somehow end this round with quite a bit of money so hopefully it stays that way.
  • Anderson and Reagan had to watch the dog and make supper while we were at the swim meet. Anderson heated up our meatballs while Reagan made mashed potatoes. It was hot and ready when we arrived home so that was pretty perfect.
  • Robby and I took the dog on another walk tonight at the kids showered. Tomorrow is day 3 of cooking school, swim practice and birthday shopping for Graham.

July 12, 2021

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  • When I was little and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I never thought to answer "a chauffeur." However, that is certainly what I am now! All weekend long plus from what the calendar looks like, that is what I am going to be this week as well. 
  • My first passenger this morning was Campbell. This was her long awaited cooking school! She was given cooking camp from Pulaski Tech for a Christmas gift in 2019. Of course silly Covid messed that up, and there was no camp this year. Thankfully, there is camp this year-she has to wear a mask, but we will take it.
  • At 6:30 when Robby went to take Bentley out, Campbell was standing in the kitchen ready to go. She was so excited that she happily chatted the entire way there. Once there, I dropped her off for her adventure. 
  • I did receive two pictures from her-one a selfie telling me she made it in and the other was a picture of what all she had chopped plus something on her finger. I later found out that she cut her finger when laying her knife down. She said that she wasn't the only one who did that today.
  • She was in a group with about 7 other kids, and they were busy all day long. When she came back to the car at noon, she was carrying the fruits of her labor-a frittata, a biscuit and strawberry shortcake. (She even brought some extra insides of the frittata home and made Robby and I one for supper tonight-it was quite delicious)
  • When we picked her up, Robby did join me-but after waiting in Campbell's pick up line, we needed a Sonic drink. Then we also picked up pizza since I was carting my crew along with 3 girls that spent the night to the pool.
  • It was a crew at the pool for sure today. This was actually the first time that all the pool mommas have been there together. It was quite entertaining to see how we completely took over the pool. 28 kids were there today with our group-that is a lot of people (plus the deep end was closed so it was pretty crowded!)
  • After the pool, I only had my crew to bring home. Robby had already run Bentley to the vet for her heartworm shot. Ugh, it made her sick for a little bit-I just think that she has a tender tummy. 
  • Once we ate our supper from Campbell, we loaded up with Keaton, Campbell, and Whitman to go and see Grannymom and Grandpa for a few minutes. 
  • While we were there, Keaton received a change of plans invitation to spent the night with a friend. So when we returned home, we made the last run of the day to drop her off. It was a busy day, but my Campbell has so much fun this morning at her camp, that we are just super excited for her.

July 11, 2021

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  • Sunday morning wasn't too rushed today. Robby even had time to take Bentley on a morning walk. I think that she is becoming dependent on those walks to do her potty business, and I don't think that is such a good thing.
  • We left on time and were able to sit with all of the buddies today since the services were combined. Anderson did actually ditch us and sit with a group of teenagers in the front. A few weeks ago, I wanted to take a pictures of all of my people sitting in the pew with their Bibles in their laps. I didn't...and now I wonder if I can ever get them back in the same pew. 
  • Sunday school was fine today. We had a smaller group than usual which meant teaching was easier. We have such a good group. I will kind of be sad when our group moves up a grade.
  • Our lunch was at Nonna and Pops' house. Keaton delivered her cookies that she made yesterday along with Pops' monthly socks from our Sock of the Month Club. Nonna had Mexican with my favorite corn dip. 
  • We played a few rounds of Racko before we finally headed home to get Bentley out. Campbell was gracious enough to watch Bentley this afternoon while Robby and I had a short nap. She didn't give them any problems-they were able to stare at their ipads while making sure that dog didn't eat any furniture (though I don't have any furniture down here that I would be upset if the dog ate-well, I take that back. I'm not ready to get new furniture just yet.)
  • Reagan had a birthday party at 5 today so I took her and Kennedy there. Then Robby took the boys to Rock Creek for their youth's Sunday night service. And finally we all met up at the pool for a little bit. Robby did pick up some Taco Bell for our supper.
  • We were worried at first because the thunder caused the kids to stay out of the pool some. However, it soon stopper thundering, and the kids were able to swim for the rest of the evening. It was a perfect day to sit by the pool because the weather was so nice-I am afraid that tomorrow when we go, the weather will not be so pleasant.
  • Robby picked up the boys and brought them back to the pool for a few minutes. Then we all headed home at 8 when the pool closed. The boys did grab some food at McDonalds on the way home. The next stop for me is picking up Reagan around 10 and then bedtime for this crew-tomorrow is a busy week.

July 10, 2021

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  • This morning started off with swim practice for Campbell, Keaton, Graham and Whitman. Now Whitman usually moans and groans most times that we leave the house. However for swim, he just gets up, puts on his suit and doesn't seem to mind at all. Now he still isn't keen on competition, but practice he is all about.
  • While they were gone, I did my morning routine-dishes, laundry, walk the dog. I did brush her today-usually when I brush her the hair just comes off and floats away in the air. I try to brush her until I can't see any hair, however I never get there and just have to stop. Now, today, I couldn't see the hair at all-maybe I just didn't have my contacts in or maybe she doesn't shed on Saturdays. That would be handy.
  • When the swimmers arrived home, Robby and I started on a little table at the foot of Anderson's bed. We set the tent up and were in the shade at most of the time that we were working. We actually finished fairly quickly, and I started painting it.
  • I did take a break painting it, to walk with Keaton, Campbell and Whitman down the road to the little church for a snow cone treat. They enjoyed them and the walk was nice-but hot.
  • I also took the big boys to Rock Creek again for the day. They were there all day again. When they came home, they were both chattering away-their team won first place. Yesterday, they told us that there team wasn't too athletic, but I guess that still managed a win.
  • Anderson asked if they could go back tomorrow night for their youth group's regular service. Of course the answer was yes since the kids can always to go to church. There was even talk of going on their summer camp trip next year too. I am so glad that they had a great time. 
  • Campbell helped Robby mow the yard this afternoon. She really enjoyed mowing, and I couldn't watch! Robby said that she was very cautious-that's a good thing.
  • We spent our evening at the pool-there was a party there and not many other folks. It was a pretty perfect evening for the pool. The Wilson's picked up the boys, and we all met back here for ice cream. 
  • They brought Annie, and the dogs were pretty good....for a little bit. Bentley eventually started getting a bit scary looking and barking! I don't know what her problem was-silly dog. I do know that she has to start obeying without treats!-maybe we need to start working on that!

July 9, 2021

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  • Early this morning Bentley I did our morning walk. I sometimes can't figure out this dog out-occasionally, today she would get skittish and stop walking. Who knows what she saw or heard. I can usually get her to come after a few seconds, but always in the back of my mind I wonder if she is seeing something real or protecting us from something-bear, scary man, rabid dog, big foot?
  • I worked with Whitman this morning, but the biggest activity was cleaning Campbell's desk. I hope to do Keaton's tomorrow. Campbell's desk only took 30 minutes-and I know that since we set a timer. She was not pleased with the idea of cleaning it-I certainly was though!
  • I did take a break from cleaning the potties at the house, to take Anderson and Graham to Rock Creek for the entire day. On the way there, we did drop Campbell off to join Keaton with the Hetlz. They went swimming for a few hours this afternoon.
  • After dropping off the boys, Reagan drove on to Walmart to buy shampoo with her extra mission trip money. Then we went to Old Navy where she ended up buying some jeans at H and M. From there, she had be drive, but we did stop by ChickFilA for her lunch.
  • Once at home, I finished with those potties before taking a quick nap. Then it was time for the rest of us to load up to head to the pool. There were some buddies there, but unfortunately, the kids couldn't swim in the deep end since it was cloudy-that doesn't sound clean! Ha! 
  • We stayed long enough that when we did come home, we only had a bit before Robby and I left to pick up the boys. Well, we did leave a bit early so we could stop by Sonic.
  • The boys had a blast at their thing today. They told us all about it on the way home. It was soon bedtime for our crew though because tonight is Friday night which means bedtime is optional (though my big boys are good about making Whitman go to sleep by midnight!)

July 8, 2021

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  • In the mornings after Bentley has been awake for a little bit, she has no interest in staying in our room. She only wants to leave our room and first eat her breakfast. Then she only wants to go outside. She will actually let the whole house know that she wants out the door with her continuous barks. 
  • For some reason she is a little bit restless, I guess, in the mornings. So I have been trying to take her on a walk. The walks aren't that long, but they do seem to calm her morning barking. After our walks, I have been brushing her outside.
  • Today, I forgot the brush so we returned back inside for that. I brush her on the patio table so I can reach her easier-this has been going on since she was little. However, today was the first time that she tried to jump on the table-she almost made it, but ended up back on the ground. I guess she likes our early morning brushing sessions.
  • The kids were not awake very early at all today. Whitman was even up after his brothers. We did some more spelling-a new spelling book shouldn't make me so happy, but I am. Then we read some of his Harry Potter book. 
  • Everyone has a little bit of school work to do this summer. Some do theirs very well (Keaton), and some don't (I probably should name names!) The ones that don't do theirs very well are just kind of doing extra stuff. Now Keaton is already working on her 4th grade stuff so that will be helpful this next school year.
  • Now no one is doing any math this summer. And I know that will be a mistake, but it has made my summer more pleasant! Ha! I guess there is a trade off. I am not too stressed about it-well, I'm always stressed about school. 
  • For example, this year most of my big kids friends will not be at Bible study this year. They will be at their co-ops or even real school. My big 3 are already a bit bummed about this and would happily skip. However, I know that out of all that we do, Bible study is the most important so it (in some form) is really non-negotiable. So I've been busy praying for new, good friends from Bible study for my peeps. 
  • We did play some more of our Monopoly game today. I believe that Graham will probably end up winning. I have a slight chance-we both have houses built on our properties. Now, he does have some spots that now cost 1500 dollars so basically if one person lands on that, then they are done.
  • Campbell, Keaton and I went to the pregnancy center today. On our way, we stopped at TJ Maxx for Keaton to buy a water bottle. I tried to convince her to let us buy it for her birthday, but she had to have it now.
  • We were able to help quite a bit today at the pregnancy center. Keaton and Campbell bagged up diapers while I tried to fold clothes. Then we worked on organizing two different closets. They were crammed full of things, but hopefully we were able to make them a little bit straighter. 
  • On our way home, we ran by Walmart for buns for supper. Then we were at home for a few minutes before we all loaded up again for the pool. Robby had grilled burgers for us to eat there, and they were perfect-or maybe I was just hungry. 
  • We swam with all of the buddies until lightening cut our visit short by a few minutes. That was fine since it gave us a bit more time at home before bedtime.

July 7, 2021

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  • The morning started early with swim team this morning. I read a book and even planned some school while I was sitting there so I was super pleased. Actually, the book that I am reading is about raising grateful kids in an entitled world. And as soon as the kids finished swimming, I was asked for doughnuts and Sonic drinks. When I declined, I was told that Dad always buys them for us. I just moved my bookmark back to the very front of the book so I could start reading it again!
  • Once at home, I did take Bentley on a walk-this time we stayed away from the big dogs so I didn't have to carry her home. Robby took her 2 walks today too so this dog is completely worn out. It is almost 11 right now and she still hasn't been able to snooze much tonight, so hopefully she will sleep in tomorrow.
  • Not much out of the ordinary really happened today. The only thing that I can think of is that Whitman started a new spelling program. I am sure you remember me pulling me hair out last year with him and spelling. It is hard abandoning paid for books that worked for everyone else, but that must be done for him. So we started something new today...and it might just make all the difference in the world. (Fingers crossed)
  • At 1, I took Campbell, Keaton and Whitman to Rock Creek-they had 4 huge, inflatable water slides set up in their parking lot. It was a lot of fun-and it was hot! So very hot. Like you couldn't stay too long or you would die hot. Like I thought about going down a slide fully clothed hot. Like we just stayed about 30 minutes before climbing in the hot car which was cooler than outside hot.
  • The kids had a blast though, but they were also ready to get to the pool. Some of the buddies showed up at the pool, and we stayed for about 2 hours. I actually left with Whitman after our two swims, but Campbell and Keaton stayed a little bit longer.
  • Robby and I took Reagan to a friend's house before I ran home to get a shower before the next activity. Tonight we went to a going away party for our missionary friends from church. Their 4th child became one of Campbell's (our 4th child) good friends. I am so disappointed that they are leaving, but I hope that the girls can keep in touch.
  • The party was outside so the kids had a lot of fun running around-Anderson chose to stay home since he didn't really know the folks. Whitman and Graham chose to come-since there was going to be desserts!
  • Once we came home, I was home for a little bit before leaving again to go and pick up Reagan. It was a long evening, but maybe tomorrow will be a bit quieter (nah!)

July 6, 2021

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  • There was lots of laundry happening today. Thankfully, most of it had already been washed today so that just left a lot of folding and putting away for today. Robby helped me reload the camper this afternoon and really, we are ready to go again (physically and emotionally).
  • The kids slept pretty late today. I had already taken Bentley on a short walk this morning before everyone started waking up. Well, Campbell was just barely awake when I did leave. Our walk was very short-one neighbor dog in a fence scared the living daylights out of Bentley while a loose dog scared the living daylights out of me. 
  • Back at home, I worked steadily on my list until I got to the treadmill part. That sure wasn't for me! Ha! I sure need to get back on that thing, but what kind of fun is that? Actually, I have my Hallmark movies ready to go-maybe tomorrow.
  • Campbell and I ran to Walmart during lunch with Robby to grab an odd assortment of items-baby bibs, basting pan, big tent, breakfast foods and well, some other things that don't start with the letter B. I was trying to go with a theme, but honestly most of our items didn't start with Bs.
  • I did take Campbell, Keaton, Whitman and Reagan to the pool this afternoon for a little bit. They all enjoy it, but really the pool is a bit sad. It just needs a good cleaning, the water slide doesn't work and the metal chairs are all rusted and lopsided. 
  • When we came home, we eventually worked on supper-actually there wasn't much working. It was kind of a make your own supper night-most nights seem to be that around here. We just have so many leftovers. Shannon came over to visit with us so we pulled out the ice cream, Then the rest of her family came-the boys ended up playing outside and getting super sweaty before coming in.
  • I probably let the kids stay up too late tonight, but everyone was quiet-so that is a good thing!

July 5, 2021-4th of July on the Road

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Once again we slept super late. It was absolutely wonderful. As soon as Keaton realized that it was in fact daylight, she was ready and out the door in a flash. I kept trying to wake up Campbell by telling her that her friends were outside, but she took a little longer to wake up. That was probably because all of the kids were up until midnight or a bit after last night.

We had ourselves some sausage biscuits today for breakfast. They were certainly easy to do since we just had to microwave everything. Then we started putting things back up. The saddest part of camping is when you have to start packing everything back up. 

Thankfully, this time we didn't have that much to put up. We never really set up too much stuff at our campsite. Though when you don't set all of your stuff up, then you are just juggling it from one spot to another as you grab the things that you need. It did make for an easier day this morning.

I worked inside while Robby did some work outside. The inside is just a lot of straightening-same routine that happens every morning, except things are neatly put away or thrown into the shower for us to wash at home.When we finished, we walked over to where the kids were having a huge baggo tournament. 

I don't know much about who all played. I did hear that Whitman and Anderson were on a team together-they won one game and then last the other one. Whitman was a bit pouty when they returned. He told me that he was tired of people trying to make him feel better. I told him that probably people were trying to make him feel better because it was silly to be upset about losing a game. He then replied that hearing "You did a good, but we just did better" does not make a person feel better. I would have to agree with him.

Since Robby had dumped yesterday, we didn't have to get in the line to dump. At one point, I counted at least 5 campers in the line. We left with the Fergusons and Crafts. We stayed near the end of the line and had two extras with us. Robby and I didn't pay much attention what was happening in the back of the camper, because we were busy listening to our audio book.

We stopped to get gas and gracious me, it took forever to get to a pump. That was fine though because the kids made their lunches while we were stopped-that is just so much easier. I mean really, if we aren't stopped then making lunches feels like you are standing in an Indy 500 car which happens to be on two wheels while making the lunches. 

When we did get home, the kids helped unload the camper and car. Soon things were back in the house and being put away. There has been lots of laundry happening this evening-that kind of makes me sad since that means there is lots of folding to be done tomorrow.

After supper tonight, Robby and I went back to the camper and cleaned that baby. It is still empty, but it is clean. We can load and leave in just a few hours now! Actually cleaning it doesn't take long at all. I dread it every time, but since it is so small there is little to do.

Reagan hasn't been home since last Friday, Campbell and Keaton haven't been home since Sunday, Whitman hasn't been home since Monday and Anderson and Graham haven't been home since Tuesday so all of my people were ready to take shower at home, be in their beds and chill at home today.

Tonight at almost bedtime, Whitman asked for a snack. He wanted popcorn, but I suggested a cookie or popsicle. He then asked for milk, but we don't have any. Then he found just what he wanted-whip cream. He wanted a cup full of whip cream. And since he is the 6th kid, we squirted him some whip cream for him to enjoy. Graham walked by and asked what he was eating, and Whitman proudly shouted, "pure whip cream." 

July 4, 2021-4th of July on the Road

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We all slept in until after 8 this morning, and we weren't even really stirring until 9. It was absolutely wonderful. For breakfast this morning, we had biscuits and gravy along with chocolate chip pancakes. We are pro at making pancakes-well, Campbell and Keaton are. And well, the gravy was from a can. We tried to make it the last time that we were out, and it was a flop so we need to work some more at home before we take the gravy show on the road again.

After breakfast, we took Bentley on a short walk and sat around chatting. It was nearly noon by the time that we all loaded up and headed to the pool. We were surprised at the crowds today-they were nothing compared to yesterday's crowds. I am sure that this place could even be fairly empty in the middle of the week. 

The kids certainly enjoyed the pool. The slide is the main draw, and I would bet that Keaton and Whitman went down that slide at least 20 times today. At one point, Whitman said that this was the best day ever. 

Anderson and Graham stayed at the pool area for a while, but then asked to go down to the lake. Robby took them down there and told them to be looking for him in an hour. They didn't have watches so were worried about when the hour was. However, he told them he would get their attention if they weren't back to shore. When he pulled up, they were both walking out of the water so it was perfect timing.

He took them back, and then Robby returned for the rest of our swimmers who were at the pool. It was 2 or maybe 3 when we went back to the camper for lunch. We pulled out hot pockets today along with sandwiches. Bentley had another walk, and there were even a few rounds of baggo being played.

Keaton and Anna worked so hard on a scavenger hunt for all of the little kids. It was so cute to see them all decked out in red, white and blue glow sticks running around tonight looking for their clues. Those girls put a lot of work into their scavenger hunt.

Around 5:30 we headed to the lake so the kids could play one last time on the huge inflatable obstacle course. We thought that it closed at 7:30, but it closed at 8 so the kids had 30 more minutes to play. And they definitely used that-Campbell and Whitman were the last ones off and took their time swimming to shore. 

We put up our tent and the breeze was pleasant out there tonight. It was a really nice evening, and we were in no hurry for it to end. Of course when our evening did end, we were then in a hurry-there was lots to do tonight and it was already late. We tried to reload some of the car, plus make Graham's apple dump cake and heat up supper before it was way too dark. 

We ended up eating while there was still some light-it was probably 9ish. Tonight's supper was BBQ-I heated up way too much, but that is fine because we will eat it this next week. Graham's dump cake took a while to make-and unfortunately, I didn't really like it. Hmm, I have had this before and thought that I did like it. I guess that I just don't have a good recipe so I will not be on the recipe hunt for that. Making things in the dutch oven is kind of fun-especially since we line that baby with foil and there is no clean up. 

After we had finished eating, the fireworks started. They started off small and Bentley was fine. However, when what sounded like tannerrite went off, she started to get very nervous. We pretty much had to hold her or sit by her for the rest of the evening. She still did pretty good, but man did she want to go in the camper. It was around 10 when Robby did go ahead and take her in the camper so she could relax.

I went to the Fergusons and played a round of baggo. I was on Traci's team, and we were great teammates-since we both weren't very good! We did lose, but had a great time doing it. I stayed out chatting with the moms until it was almost midnight. Then back in the camper, there were quite a few things left to do. Right now, I am the only one still awake-and the dog is in my spot in the bed. 

July 3, 2021-4th of July on the Road

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Bentley was the first to wake up this morning around 8:30. Well, I really don't know if she woke up first or if Robby woke her up. Either way, her usual 6:30 stirring time was pushed way back. I guess that the camping life agrees with her.

Soon Robby was putting cinnamon rolls in the oven. Then we heated up some sausage in the microwave and had precooked biscuits from Sams. We were definitely taking the easy way out today-and really, it was easy, but it was also delicious. We both thought that the biscuits were better than what we usually make, plus they were cheaper. I feel like we will be buying those boxes of biscuits again our next camping trip.

After eating breakfast, we waked around a little bit outside. Thankfully the water attractions don't open until 11 so we had some downtime this morning before it was time to go and play. Our group started at the pool. Anderson and Reagan stayed back at the camper for a good while and missed the pool side of things.

The pool is pretty big yet it only goes to 4 feet. However, they have a huge splash pad which Whitman loves along with two massive water slides. Unfortunately though, they don't have much shade at all. I guess that swimming at our pool definitely spoils you in the shade department. 

After a good while of swimming there, we moved the party to the lake. I think that most of the kids really enjoy this more. A big draw is the kayaks that you are able to use-I think that our group were on the kayaks for a crazy amount of time. Actually, when most folks had gone home-Wes had to swim out to our girls who were in kayaks since he and Robby couldn't get their attention from the shore.

Robby brought his tent-we have definitely gotten our money out of this tent. It provided great shade today. The weather was warm, but in the shade it was definitely tolerable. Robby and I ran back to the camper to pick up Anderson and Reagan and lunch. We brought ourselves a table and made sandwiches for our crew.

So yesterday we didn't swim until 5ish, and today the crowd was much thicker. It was kind of wild the number of people. Thankfully the place is pretty big so the crowd is kind of spread out. Now, this afternoon Robby, Casey and Wes deemed that it was time to go since the crowd was getting a little louder and wilder. 

By this time though most of our crew had gone back. Robby had even shuttled some of our kids back to the camper. I was at the pool with Campbell and Whitman. And let me tell you about those two-they pretty much spend the entire day together. Whitman can't get back onto the obstacle course when he falls off so Campbell was his buddy. Then at the pool, they were inseparable. They both had the best time-in fact they were having so much time that we just let them stay longer than planned.

That made us the last ones to leave the water. This was fine since all I had to do for our supper was to open the container of sour cream. We had our group meal tonight-taco salad. I had just signed up for easy things-tortillas, chips, sour cream and salsa. As always it was delicious. 

We also celebrated Eli and Ryan's birthday's tonight. Jennifer had cupcakes and ice cream so that made it quite the party. After the presents were opened, it was time to head back over to the fire works. It was the same show as last night, but Bentley did so much better tonight. I was still holding her, but she wasn't so skittish-well, the fireworks did start before we made it over to the bank, and she did just stop walking. I had to carry her the rest of the way-she is not light!

After the fireworks, the party pretty much shut down and everyone headed to their campers. We had been having a baggo tournament, but it eventually became too dark to finish that. Whitman and I were on a team, and let's just say that Whitman scored everyone of our points! 

July 2, 2021-4th of July on the Road

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Thankfully we didn't have to swim out of the campground this morning. The water did rise about 2 feet more towards the camper, but we were still in the dry. I am not too sure if I mentioned yesterday, but one man across from us was completely penned in by the water. Surely he saw it coming, yet he didn't move his lawnchairs, grill or trailer-they were all partially submerged.

We didn't stick around too long there this morning. We didn't really have much of a plan, but knew we didn't want to risk the lake rising anymore. So we pulled out around 10 or maybe even a bit before. Grannymom had mentioned The Gathering Place in Tulsa. We looked it up and after seeing that he had a big parking lot, we headed there.

We had no trouble finding it and the parking lot was indeed big. That was a sign for us so we were pulled in and spent the day there. As soon as we did pull in, Robby had to register for a campground in October. While he was doing that, I was locating the big kids.

Soon Robby and I had unhooked the car, and he was leaving to go and get Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Caroline and Alyssa. He was gone for maybe 30 minutes which gave me time to straighten for a few minutes. When they arrived, we had some cookies for a snack before heading to the park.

Robby stayed back since he was heading to the laundry mat with our one load of laundry. Candice had already taken the kids laundry with her to the laundry mat that she was at. I walked with the kids, and we walked and walked. We passed basketball courts, a bike track, a skateboard track, but still couldn't get to the park where we could play.

I finally had to ask a security guard. He was very gracious and even walked us there-we ended up walking at least a half mile before arriving. The Gathering Place is a 500 million dollar park in the middle of Tulsa. And I will say that it is amazing. We are really almost past the playground stage, however, this place was neat. So neat that I offered to bring Whitman back for his birthday.

The reason that he loved it so much was because he loved the water section. It was all kinds of water things that you could twist and turn and make the water go, splash and stop. The kids did really well and din't get soaked though they easily could have. We needed the water to cool us off after our walk. That was the warmest part of the day, because not too long after we made it to the park, the clouds came out which made the rest of the day very pleasant.

We left the water area and arrived at the main playground part. It was at least an acre maybe two. It was large enough that I felt like I needed to sit at one designated point so everyone could know where I was. This meant that I couldn't get many pictures. The place was also large enough that the buddy system was enforced-well, mandatory.

Anderson followed Whitman around for a long time, until he deemed it too exhausting. Then Graham claimed the Whitman job. Around this time the Fergusons showed up. The had parked by us in the huge parking lot, and Robby had chauffeured them to the nearest parking lot.

After another good while, Robby showed up with Sonic drinks for everyone along with bread, meat and cheeses for us to make sandwiches for the crew. That hit the spot for sure and everyone had energy to carry on.

The Heltz joined us while we were eating our lunch. After a bit more playing, we then walked across the park to the slide area. They had some neat slides there which we stayed out for a bit. By this time, it was nearing check in at our campsite so we walked back towards the car.

Robby took the Fergusons back to their camper while Whitman got in a few more minutes of play at the water area. Then we went back to our spot-on our way back, we did stop at Weber's Root Beer stand since we were right nearby.

They were out of root beer bottles, but Graham and I did have root beer floats. We enjoyed our drinks on the way back to the parking lot. There we hooked up the car, straightened the camper before getting gas and driving to our next spot.

We were the last of the buddies to arrive-just barely. Andrew helped Robby unhook the car and back in-we didn't set too much stuff up since the kids had their minds on swimming. Actually, we left the camper in a huge disarray, but the kids had a blasts.

We made it to the other side of the campground around 5 today. They have a pool and slides over there, but the main attraction is the huge blow up playground that is on the lake. You have to life jacket up and swim out there so it takes a while...and a lot of energy. 

As soon as we arrived the kids started swimming out there. You could use canoes and paddleboards too for no charge. Basically, the kids played on all of this until it closed at 7:30. Robby and I set up a tent and were perfectly pleasant. We were in the shade and had drinks and snacks so what more could we want. I have a feeling that we will be sitting there a lot tomorrow as well.

When everyone finished, we all shuttled back to the campers. We started on getting this place back in order before starting on supper. Everyone else was having burgers so that is what we had as well-though we probably should have saved that for the 4th. 

As we were eating, Candice found out that across the lake they were having a fireworks show. So we cleaned up and headed over. It was just a short walk from our camper-Robby put the chairs in the wagon. I did think to bring Bentley some snacks since she had never seen or heard fireworks before.

We didn't have to wait too long for the fireworks to start. When they did, Bentley was a wee bit hysterical at first. I had to get Robby to hold her. He put her in a bear hug and soon she calmed down. I helped probably a lot that I was feeding her hot dog pieces as fast as I could. By the end, she tolerated all of the fireworks-though it did seem that she hid her head a few times in Robby's legs.

We then went back to the camper and stayed by ours chatting until 11. So it is now midnight, and my kids are just about ready to put up their devices. Bentley is giving me the stink eye since I just did ear drops in one ear. She just gets them in one ear a night because that is all I can do without waking her up too much.