May 31, 2021-Memorial Day Weekend in Memphis

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Once again there is nothing better than camping sleeping. And Reagan would probably agree that there is nothing better than tent sleeping. I think that she had a great time sleeping in that tent. 

The last morning is always spent packing up. We do it slow and steady so it doesn't seem like too much work. Reagan was already working on packing up the tent when I saw her and asked Anderson to help her. Both big boys helped quite a bit with everything. We even had Whitman hauling trash to the dumpster with his brothers.

Check out was noon, but we were rolling out a little bit before then. We spent 3 nights on this trip-and it was 3 nights with sewer hook up. That means that we couldn't dump our grey water (sink, shower water). Wes bought a contraption to haul and dump that water at the dump station so we did use that two days. Sometimes you are able to run that water to the woods, but that is often frowned upon. 

However, we also filled up our black tank (potty water) this morning. That wasn't too big of a problem since we were right by the bath house. Robby could have easily unhooked and drove to dump yesterday, but we were glad to see just how long we could go. So now we know, in 3 days 8 people fill up that black tank-that is a lot of poo!

On our way out of the park, we did do our dumping-I used to think all of this is gross, but really now it is all kind of interesting to me. Don't tell Robby that or he will have me doing all of the dirty work. We then waited on everyone else and headed back towards Arkansas.

It took us no time at all to get over the bridge. Friday when we arrived, we were pretty worried about getting back across because of all of the traffic, but that wasn't an issue today at all. We didn't stop at all on the way home-Bentley did great and we didn't have to stop at all. 

Campbell and Keaton rode home with the Heltz. They stopped for gas so we made it home a bit before they did. We unloaded the car-well, Anderson did most of the unloading the car. He even back it off the trailer, and then even drove me to pick up the girls. 

Then it was time to work. Everyone again helped so much with the unloading of the camper. There is just a lot of trips inside. Most of it is dumping laundry in front of the washer. I am currently on my 5th load of laundry with 2 more waiting to be done. 

After the camper was empty and most things were put away, Robby and I ran to get gas for the camper and then ran into Kroger. We picked up pizza on the way home. Everyone ate and then for dessert we had M&M bars that Campbell made while we were gone. She also washed Bentley so she was super busy.

The kids all showered while Robby and I finished cleaning the camper. It is now ready for the next trip! Just a few days until that next trip too!

May 30, 2021-Memorial Day Weekend in Memphis

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We had to set our alarms last night since we had planned to head out between 8:30 and 9:00. Bentley went off before our alarm at 7, but that was fine since our alarms began to ring at 7:30. I got myself ready and then walkie talkied out to Reagan and Alyssa to wake them up. 

They didn't seem to be stirring, so after a bit I went to wake them up myself. It was nice and cozy in that tent, and they were sleeping soundly. It was so cozy that they are sleeping in that tent again tonight. Reagan did say that last night there was a car that went by and they were convinced that it was going to run them over. She also mentioned that she woke up every hour to check the time and that the birds were loud.

There were no noisy cars or noisy birds in our camper. We slept incredibly soundly. I would have to assume that Graham's ear is just fine since he is going strong. Reagan did complain about her ear yesterday, so I offered to find her a clinic, but she declined. However, today she has been her normal self so hopefully it was just nothing.

We had food to make breakfast this morning but because we had little time, we just grabbed poptarts and granola bars on our way to the zoo. The zoo was about 30 minutes from here. And yes, to leave at 9:00, everyone needed to be ready at 8:30. Most folks were ready at 8:30, and we probably even started loading the cars around then. However by the time that each car load runs back to get one more thing, it is soon 9.

The zoo opened at 9 and most of Memphis was there today. Actually, it wasn't really that bad. At the end there were two things that folks wanted to do (one was the snake house), but we chose not to do because of the lines (and well, really the snake house-who wants to do that anyway?)

The zoo is very nice-we seemed to stop at every stop. There were lots of animals-of course our favorite section was the Northwest Passage with the lodge that copied the lodge at Yellowstone. We did go to the Sea Lion show, and we saw them feed the grizzly bears. And yes, I might have shut my eyes during the sea lion show. Graham leaned over to me and asked, "Did you see that?" Nope, I sure didn't.

One fun thing was marked off of Campbell's list at the zoo-she got to try Dippin' Dots. The little balls of ice cream that are super overpriced. Ha! The others bought lunches while we bought snacks. There was a playground there which made Whitman super happy. The one animal that we didn't get to see was the zebras which Campbell really wanted to see. 

After the zoo, our family hurried home to let Bentley out to potty since she had been in her kennel for a good long while. We were unfortunately stopped by a parade-let's just say that it was a parade celebrating sin. While we were watching the parade go by, we just had our own little Sunday morning sermon about what we were seeing.

Back at the camper, everyone regrouped and Robby, Candice, Jennifer, the baby, and most of the girls except for Campbell loaded up to head to Ikea. My boys stayed back with Campbell. Their main activity while we were gone was watching the Hogs win their baseball game. (That is really what Robby did at Ikea too-he pushed Jennifer's stroller with his phone propped up so he could see the game.) Whitman did go to the playground with the others long enough to get his arm stuck-Andrew did say that he panicked briefly (Whitman and Andrew), but Campbell just jerked his arm out and all was well.

At Ikea we were hunting for drawers for under Campbell's bed-hers just keep breaking. They said that they had some in stock, but unfortunately they did not. That was fine though because we were able to fill a buggy full anyway. I can't really even tell you what we bought-a bag or two, a mug, a glass for Reagan to drink out of, scissors, cinnamon rolls and meatballs-I am sure there were a few other things because our total was nearly 100 dollars. Now, I did spend less than everyone else so I guess that I was a winner. 

Robby and I shared a pretzel on the way home. The mustard sauce was so spicy that we had tears in our eyes. When we did get home though, we took a quick walk around the loop before we started on making supper. Tonight's supper was chicken quesadillas and nachos made with leftover bbq. We put cheese, bbq, beans and bbq sauce on those nachos, and they were delicious.

After supper, there was a huge baggo tournament. Everyone played-the big winners were Anderson and Wes, but in second place was Reagan and Alyssa. Let me tell you, my girls are pretty good baggo players. Like maybe we should get our set out more often. 

We stayed outside until after 10 so it was nearly midnight when we did get settled in for the night. Reagan is again in the tent so Campbell and Whitman are in the top bunk-they are sharing the spot since they are also sharing a huge snake that Robby bought for them at Ikea. We sure don't need more stuffed toys, but we got some.

May 29, 2021-Memorial Day Weekend in Memphis

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We slept wonderfully well last night, but that seems to be the case most of the time when we are in the camper. Bentley slept until 7:40 and then promptly went back to bed just like everyone else. We all slept until 9-ish. 

Breakfast this morning was bacon, sausage, and lots of pancakes. Campbell has become the pancake maker here. I did make the batter this morning, but then she quickly went to town on the pancake cooking. Most everyone prefers the pancakes with chocolate chips, so those are her specialties.

After the breakfast clean up, we ventured on a trail. It was pretty woodsy, and I am afraid that it was pretty poison ivy-ish. Ugh, we did make Graham take a shower and wash himself with Dawn dishsoap as soon as we get back to the camper.

The trail was pretty unlevel with lots of walking up hill and down hill. We decided to take Bentley today, and Robby and I both had treats in our pockets because on normal walks, Bentley just stops and doesn't want to go any more.

However, as soon as she got on the trail, she was ready to go. She pulled and pulled for the first mile. We had never seen anything like it. Graham eventually got her to the front of our group, but she continued to pull. He had thought that she wanted to catch up with the others, but no, she just wanted to go.

We guess that we walked nearly 2 miles before came to the exit of the trial nearest the playground. From there most of us walked on towards the playground while Robby, Wes and Anderson walked towards the campground to pick up the cars.

They returned with Anderson driving our van. Robby had a bag of balls and snacks. The snacks were quickly eaten and a kickball game was quickly began. The game ended up being the girls and Wes against me and the boys. The boy team quickly won, but since we were in a fenced off baseball field, Hooper and Bentley were able to run free.  Hooper did more running than Bentley. She pretty much just walked around and then would find a spot and lay down near someone.

It was nearly 2:30 when we made it back to the camper. We pulled out lunch, and soon the boys were watching the Hogs play baseball. By the end of the game, the men folk went to pick up supper. Each family bought their own Memphis BBQ. Then we all potlucked our sides-baked beans, mac and cheese, potato salad and chips. The sides were much better than the BBQ-well, Robby did say that the ribs he bought were very good and the banana pudding that he also bought was pretty good.

For dessert, everyone made s'mores, but made them inside of an ice cream cone. That was different, but it sure wasn't my favorite. I am glad that we tried it, but I won't have to try it again! The kids loved it-anytime you let kids have free rein with m and ms, chocolate syrup, marshmallows, chocolate chips, oreos and whip cream-you know that they are going to enjoy the dessert.

Since it was almost 1 last night when the crew went to sleep around here, we made sure that we were in the camper much earlier. Well, all of us but Reagan was in the camper early-Alyssa and Reagan are sleeping in a tent tonight. They set it up themselves and tucked in there-they have sleeping mats, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, a heater, a noisemaker, and phone chargers so I am think that they are going to be just fine. Oh, they even have a walkie talkie just in case they need it.

It is 11:52 right now, and the lights are off in our camper. I think that most folks are probably already asleep. I have already had my shower so when my blog is finished, it will be bedtime for me too.

May 28, 2021-Memorial Day Weekend in Memphis

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We woke up around 3:30 with Graham at our bed. Of course when someone wakes me up in the middle of the night it is usually because someone has thrown up, so I jumped up before he could even start talking. He then whimpered to me that his ear was killing him.

He has had a cold for a few days and even complained of his ear hurting a little last weekend. So on Monday morning I asked about his ear, and it was fine. However, it was not fine last night. I started rummaging through my medicine box and did find some antibiotic drops along with some ibuprofen.

However, that was not the medicines that I was looking for. I gave him those, and then headed to the camper at 3:45 in the morning in the rain to see if I could find ear ache relief drops. And poop, I sure didn't have any. I think that I just threw them away since they were years past their expiration date. 

I did put a warm wash cloth and then a heating pad on his ear. It took him a while to go to sleep, but it also took Robby and I a while to get back to sleep. By the time that I had Graham settled, Robby had already found where I needed to take him in the morning for a check up and made sure that our insurance worked there. He also checked what pharmacy would be open early too.

At 7ish, Bentley woke up to go to the bathroom, and I only stayed in bed a bit longer before getting ready. I then woke up Graham who was thankfully sleeping soundly. Poor Bentley is used to sleeping in our bed after her morning potty. There was none of that this morning-I think that she did sleep a little bit by Robby in the floor of his office closet.

Graham and I were at the doctor before 8. I think that we were the first people in the building. It is all different now with the silly covid rules. It took us nearly an hour, but we did find out that he had a pretty good ear infection-she thought that his eardrum might even burst. The doc prescribed him some meds along with telling me how much ibuprofen to give him, and then we were on our way.

We went to Kroger to pick up his medicine. He wanted to go to Sonic, but since we were tight on time, I told him he could find something at the grocery store. He was quick to decide on a P3 (a grown up lunchable) and I suggested a drink to go along with it. Then we grabbed his medicine-pills. I asked if he could swallow them, and he assured me he could.

By the time that we left the parking lot, he had swallowed his first pill. Golly, I was certainly proud since I can not swallow anything but tiny pills. We hurried home and were home for about 30 minutes before we pulled out in the camper heading for Memphis.

The kids were up and most of them were ready. I encouraged people to brush their teeth and make their beds while I worked on the laundry and the dishes. I hate coming home to unmade beds along with laundry or dishes. Though this morning Robby did wash our sheets, so they are still in the dryer so yes, I will come home to an unmade bed and laundry!

It didn't take too long at all to get the T. O. Fuller State Park in Memphis. The bridge traffic was a bit wild. We followed the GPS and left the interstate which probably wasn't a good idea. The traffic that we got into was just stopped while the interstate at least continued to move.

We did stop once somewhere on the way because we did forget ice cream. Of course there was something else as well-icing-that I needed. While I ran into Walmart, Robby helped the kids make their lunches. I have been eating salads that I made Sunday and put in jars. This was my last one so I did have to have a picture of it.

When we pulled into the campsite, we quickly found spot and pulled in. This is a pull through which is nice. Then we worked on leveling. Leveling this time was a bit tricky but we got it to work. We have to be high enough in the front for the kitchen sink to drain, and we have to be higher on the left for the shower to drain well. Our front left was the lowest today, so it took all of our blocks to get the front end high. We did it and shouldn't be so slanted that we roll out of bed or anything. (Though Keaton might because we have taken the railing down from the top bunk, and we are trying out a pool noodle tucked under her sheet.)

Then we worked on all of the other set up-hooking up, slides, tent, rug, lights, bikes-and the list just keeps going. This morning, I told Robby that camping is really a lot of work, and I can see why some folks don't like it. But we really do love every minute of it-we are worker people, plus we just enjoy this type of work.

After things were set up, the kids quickly found the playground. Robby and I did walk the loop to check things out a little bit. Before too long it was time for us to start on our supper. We should have probably just tried one new thing and not tried everything new-but other than grilling our bread, everything we ate tonight was a new grilling/cooking adventure for us.

We aren't steak people, but Reagan sure is so we had steak tonight. Then we also grilled some chicken. Also there was corn on the cob that we grilled in their husks. And hassleback potatoes that we made in the dutch oven (though I had to finish them in the microwave.)

Our meal was pretty excellent though I was disappointed that the potatoes weren't any better. Those are something that I am going to have to try again. The chicken was great, and I think that the steak people were at least pleased. And the corn was pretty tasty as well. 

After supper was cleaned up-which took a while, we went to work on dessert. Chocolate cake made in the dutch oven. We did have a brief crisis when we realized that we didn't have any eggs yet. Jennifer was bringing us some fresh eggs so we didn't pack any. We quickly googled nearby stores, looked to see who would be good a neighbor to ask for 3 eggs, and then found lists of egg substitutes-we are limited on our ingredients in the camper, but yogurt and flour was on the list so that is what we had and used.

We took a walk while the cake baked over the coals. When we came back it was almost done was just about perfect. Well, it wasn't that great, but it was hot and it was fun to make. We did top it with Blue Bell ice cream so yes, it was perfect.

After 10:30 the Heltz and the Fergusons arrived. There kids were still awake too, so all of the kids came out to play and chat for a little bit. We all had to be quiet since it was quiet hours. Around midnight, Jennifer went in with her boys so I went in as well and went to work turning this moving house into 8 beds for everyone.

By the time Robby shooed the kids in, all of the beds were pretty ready. Bedtime didn't seem like it took anytime tonight. After everyone brushed their teeth, it was soon lights out-after midnight so I am sure that folks will be tired tomorrow.

Graham update-he hasn't really complained of his ear all day. He did say that it felt full, but he has had 3 doses of medicine plus has been taken ibuprofen regularly. Hopefully, he sleeps perfectly well tonight.

May 27, 2021

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  • I think that my crew continues to sleep later and later each morning. It might be because I made it clear last night that I wanted everyone to start on their school within an hour of waking up. I asked Whitman to start working with me, and he was quick to tell me that he had set a timer, and it had not been one hour.
  • Robby and I weren't around too long this morning since we had to run to the zoo. We bought a zoo pass to help easy this weekends zoo visit costs. We picked that up before heading to the cheesecake place for a little end of the week reward.
  • Then it was back home to work on some school work along with packing everyone. There were lots of trips to the camper getting everyone's clothes in there. It isn't hard at all, but it sure was warm outside today.
  • Robby turned the camper around while I made him call me to help him back up. He has done this many of times, but better safe than sorry.
  • Campbell, Keaton and I went to the pregnancy center today to volunteer. We were pretty busy there today-folding lots of clothes, organizing lots of clothes and preparing lots of diapers to give away. I do enjoy it when we are busy there though.
  • We came home just in time for me to help a bit more on the camper. It was pretty late this evening when we finally started on our supper. We had leftovers along with some egg rolls. The kids helped us straighten a bit after supper. Then most of us settled in to watch the Hogs play baseball. 
  • The boys just had ice cream for a snack. And hopefully, they saved some for me to eat tonight too!

May 26, 2021

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  • If you are keeping count, this morning when Bentley crawled into our bed after her morning potty she laid her head on top of my head. At least she has moved away from laying on my neck. 
  • I started the day with the laundry and dishes before finally making sure that Reagan was awake. She left with me pretty early for her this morning. We went to get her hair cut-she wanted it layered, and I think that she was pleased with the outcome.
  • Then we did a few errands-Kohls and Lowes-before meeting everyone else at Grannymom's house. Well, Graham and Whitman opted to stay at home, but everyone else joined us as we headed to the Gucci Goodwill.
  • That was certainly the highlight of the day for my people. Campbell and Keaton found a snapcircuit set for Whitman which was practically brand new. Anderson found himself a few hundred baseball cards and also chatted with Graham to see if he wanted a box as well which he did. 
  • Let's see Keaton bought a shirt and a pair of pants, Campbell found 3 shirts, and they both bought two large stuffed animals (I couldn't talk them out of it.)  Reagan found a shirt, a sweater, a goose tiny pot and two ceramic clowns. Again, I tried to talk her out of those as well.
  • Grannymom did find a dress and a shirt so I guess that everyone left with something except for me. Well, I did buy a stuffed toy for Bentley, but I don't think that that counts. The girls were quick to wash all of their stuff while the boys went to town trying to figure out what to do with all of their baseball cards.
  • I spent a good deal of time packing the food in the camper today. Robby did mention that our food packing seems like a lot of work, but it really isn't that bad-and of course, I pack way too much and always have tons left to bring back in the house after a trip.
  • The only other activity that we had today was for Reagan. She had a swim/tiedye party at a friend's house. We picked her up at 9 or a few minutes after. By the time we dropped all of the people off, it was nearly 10. We enjoyed the drive around though-and it kept us from doing any real work back at home-like cleaning this house.

May 25, 2021

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  • Bentley didn't sleep on my neck today so I did sleep more soundly during the morning hours. Ha! Actually, I was up early for me and even up early for summer break. 
  • One for the first things that I did this morning was work with Whitman. I pulled out his school work for next year and quickly remembered that 3rd grade school work is no joke. He has lots of things to do-we probably should start now! He just doesn't move quickly at all-3rd grade may take us two years (thankfully we are ahead in spelling and math) (And when I say ahead in spelling-he is behind but ahead-we started the book a year early, but he only finished half of his this year.)
  • There was the never ending laundry. The past two days the girls and Whitman have gone swimming at the neighbor's house. They have loved it, but that sure does create all kinds of laundry. Tonight I did hang their towels out to dry on the clothesline-guaranteeing that they will not swim again this week or that it will rain buckets!
  • The big event today was taking 3 kiddos to the orthodontist. Anderson, Graham and Campbell. There were xrays, pictures and lots of talking about their teeth. Anderson has work that could be done, but nothing major and from what I understand he can wait. Graham definitely needs braces since he is wearing down his teeth due to his overbite, and Campbell has one tooth that is baby tooth sized which will have to be corrected. So soon there will be 2 Dennies in braces (and by soon, I mean probably late this summer.)
  • We did stop by Sonic on our way home, The kids somehow think that whenever we go to an appointment of any kind, they deserve some type of treat. Really, nothing happened at the appointment today. It was super easy-I just think that they are spoiled!
  • I did take Bentley on a short little walk today. She did great the other day when we were walking at Maumelle Park and really seems to do better when we are not near the house. However today she did great until we were back in the driveway. It didn't matter how many treats I tried to give her. She was sitting down watching two neighbor dogs walk around around and wasn't going to move at all. I had to carry her home-now what am I going to do when she is 75 pounds. I guess I need to practice carrying her every day so when she is huge, I will have gained some muscles and still be able to carry her.
  • Robby and I ran to the grocery store tonight to pick up some things for this weekend. We basically bought things for our meals. The other night we bought a huge buggy full of junk and didn't spend nearly a hundred bucks. Today, we bought half a buggy of meals and spend well over a hundred dollars. It is just cheaper to eat junk-though we do seem to ear really well while camping. The planned weekend meals are grilled steaks and chicken with hasselback potatoes and grilled corn-and that is just for the first night! 

May 24, 2021

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  • I slept fairly well until this morning when Bentley crawled into bed with us after her morning potty break. For a good long while she insisted with sleeping with her head on my neck. This is sweet and all, but she has such sharp teeth and they were right by my neck! I'm not exactly sure if I can trust her completely or not. She might be trying to permanently get my spot in the bed. Thankfully, I did survive to start the morning.
  • Whitman was awake first, but for the most part everyone was still sleeping when I started waking people up for the dentist around 10. Even the big boys-I guess the weekend just did them in. Or we have just been staying up way too late every night.
  • Keaton and Campbell had their dentist appointments today to get their cavities filled. They both had a cavity in the same tooth. Reagan went with us because we dropped her off at a friend's house on the way home.
  • During the appointment she opted to stay in the car. I parked in the shade and left the keys but explained that she couldn't leave it on the whole time. We were almost finished when she faced time (of course when we were talking to the dentist). I handed the phone to Keaton but could still hear the panic-the car alarm was going off. She finally figured it out just about the same time that we were all walking out...and then I set the alarm off!
  • We dropped her off and stopped at Walmart since the girls couldn't decide where they wanted to stop for a treat. Keaton wanted Starbucks and Campbell wanted Sonic. I suggested Walmart and they could get what they wanted. Keaton picked a jug of strawberry lemonade while Campbell picked a bag of lime tortilla chips.
  • I was back at home then long enough to walk on the treadmill before leaving again to take the boys to D-group at church. We did stop at Bass Pro on the way so Graham could buy himself a hat. Then they did their group at church while I sat in the car eating my lunch, reading a book, playing on my phone and taking a nap.
  • I was then back at home long enough to do a few things before I left out again to pick up Reagan at Sonic. She had a fun day-even had a picnic lunch at the park. Then back at home, after we all ate supper, Robby started mowing the yard.
  • Campbell, Keaton and Whitman did spent a bit of the afternoon and early evening swimming at the neighbor's house. They are already enjoying swimming this year and I am already upset about the extra laundry it brings. Though I do have a new clothesline outside, but I think it might rain tomorrow.
  • Anderson, Whitman, Keaton, Campbell and I played Catan this evening. Keaton was on fire and about to win, but Anderson came back and did finally win the game. That is my favorite game right now, but I never ever seem to win. Maybe next time.

May 23, 2021

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  • It was hard for me to wake up this morning, so I knew that it was super hard for all of the kids to wake up as well. It did probably help that I brought Bentley with me to wake up everyone. She would hop up into each bed when I pointed to the bed. Then she would crawl all over who was in the bed. We went from Graham, to Anderson, to Campbell, to Keaton. Then we went downstairs to see Whitman who told me that Bentley had already licked half of his face. So we climbed up to wake up Reagan and Kennedy before I had to stop waking people up and get myself ready.
  • We did the church and Sunday school thing before splitting up. Robby and the kids went to Grannymom's house to eat lunch, while I ran home to let the dog out for a few minutes. And few minutes it was, I was only home for about 10 minutes before leaving again.
  • My out of town friend was having a birthday party for all of the birthdays that we missed this year. It was tons of fun-the food was delicious and we even made bracelets. Well, unfortunately, I didn't make all of my bracelet. I just strung the beads, but didn't learn how to tie the knot. Now, I won't be able to teach my girls.
  • I came home just as Robby had left the take Reagan, Anderson and Graham to Raymar. They canvassed the neighborhood for next week's outside service and talked some about their Plant mission trips.
  • Robby ran some errands on the way home, but was soon out the door again to pick up the crew. I was busy straightening the house which seems to be a constant these days. 
  • Soon the WIlson's were over and we were having our Sunday night supper. We had taco meat-I believe that our 10 pounds of taco meat from the camping trip has fed around 50 meals. That sure isn't too bad at all.
  • Currently, Robby and I are watching youtube cooking video while I am tying. Then we will find the kids and put them into bed!

May 22, 2021

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  • Campbell, Keaton and Whitman were the first ones up this morning-well, actually I was the first one up this morning because I had to wake them up. Pops and Nonna stopped by to pick those three strawberry pickers up for an early morning run to the strawberry patch.
  • Unfortunately, they weren't able to find as many strawberries as they had hoped, however, they had a great time. Nonna said that they were a sweaty bunch when they had finished picking the strawberries. It was enough for me to slice a bowl full, and then they have a few that they can eat.
  • While they were gone, I did the only productive things that I did all day long-empty the dishwasher and put a new sheet on in the camper. Really, that is about all that I have done worth anything all day.
  • Oh, yes, I have been completely distracted with the 1000 piece puzzle that we started yesterday and finished today. Campbell and Keaton have been my mine puzzlers. However, Robby did help a little bit this evening. I was also able to get Anderson to do a few pieces only when I was bribing him with food.
  • The most exciting activity today was taking Bentley to the pet parade at ChickFilA. There wasn't much to it, but Bentley did dress up and received free nuggets. Well, she didn't really get the free nuggets-we did. Oh, we also took her through a car wash for the first time. She didn't really seem to mind at all.
  • The next adventure was taking Reagan, Kennedy, Graham, Campbell and Keaton to a few stores-Michaels, Hobby Lobby, Goodwill and Walmart. Gracious me. It took us a little while but I do think that everyone found something. The main search was for shirts for the big kids camp coming up. We were able to find some so that was good. 
  • Then there was lots of new discoveries at Goodwill. Campbell and Keaton both snagged some shoes. Kennedy and Reagan both found things at Goodwill and decided to split their purchases-I could never figure out how exactly they were going to split their clothes. They didn't seem to worry about it, so I sure didn't either.
  • As soon as we came home, I left again with Robby to wash the big white van and do some grocery shopping. When we did come home with the groceries, Campbell was quick to remind us that we also had a grocery delivery while we were gone. Yes, we were shopping while we were having groceries dropped off at the house. Necessities from Walmart and sales from Kroger. 
  • We made it back home just as Campbell, Keaton and Whitman were going to the neighbors house for swim for a little bit. They swam while we made supper for the others. When they came in, they quickly showered before eating their supper. 
  • Soon it was after 10 and this crew was headed to bed. Last night was stay up late night so I am sure that folks are super tired tonight.

May 21, 2021

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  • It was good to be back in our own bed last night. If we can't be in the camper, then our bed is second choice. We did put Bentley in her kennel when she was still awake last night and ignored her barking at 2 and 4-yep, we have spoiled her. She would prefer to sleep in our bed, but we did make her wait until 6 this morning.
  • Her barking at 2 and 4 didn't bother me at all because I didn't hear any of it at all. Seriously, that is kind of strange for me. I used to be the one hearing every time anyone was awake upstairs. And I promise, I'm not lying n bed completely still and evenly breathing so Robby with think that I am asleep-I really am!
  • I was fairly productive today. I don't think that my kids did any chores at all. Well, some of them did get their laundry and Whitman did work on his bedroom for a minute. The boys did help me out when I went to town spackeling their room. We intended to paint near the first of the year-I guess as long as we can get it down in the first half of the year. 
  • The camper is now clean and restocked for the next adventure. And when I say restocked, I mean it has enough stuff (paper products, cleaning supplies, and cosmetics) for us to live out of it for 6 months. 
  • I did take Campbell and Keaton with me when I went to Nonna and Pops' house for a few minutes and then to the library. They went into the library by themselves. This was a big deal for them. They have only done this a few times. They stress out about it, but they sure didn't want for me to come in with them.
  • Reagan had a picnic tonight at Maumelle Park. We just had to pick her up, but we still arrived pretty early so we could walk around a little bit. And walk around we did, we walked and walked and walked around the loops. It was a pretty perfect evening.
  • We then picked up Reagan, ran across the river to pick up her buddy, then dropped off two other kiddos at their houses on the way home. We were gone most of the evening-long enough for the others to text and ask about ice cream! 
  • I certainly said that they could have some since they wouldn't be able to find the Blue Bell! Though Anderson was diligently searching for it when we did get home. We did let him have some as long as he saved plenty for us to eat tonight.

May 20, 2021-Mississippi Gulf Coast

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I don't think that I like waking up early. Ha! Robby and I were up fairly early this morning-possibly because our alarms were going off, possibly because I had to go to the bathroom or possibly because Bentley threw up (her current morning routine.)

Either way, it was good that we were awake and moving because today was head home day. Before I realized it, Robby was already loading up the van. It didn't seem like we had been awake and moving for too long when we were pulling out of Gulfport headed towards home.

It was a really great trip despite the rain. We may have to take Campbell back to the beach sooner rather than later since she is the beach loving girl and probably felt a bit slighted due to the weather. Tonight I asked the kids nearby what their favorite things were-Whitman said that his favorite thing was the ice cream we ate the other day while Anderson said that he enjoyed spending time with the grandparents. If Bentley was able to speak, she would say that today's ice cream was her favorite-since Robby bought her a a whole ice cream cone!

We stopped less on the way home plus we had less rain to deal with so we arrived home a bit earlier. That was great. We did stop once in the morning for gas and a potty stop. Then we stopped in Lake Village at the visitor's center for a super windy picnic. We followed that stop up with ice cream from McDonalds to help ease the pain of having to go home.

Then our next stop was at Grannymom and Grandpa's house to drop them off. We soon were home and unloading the van. It doesn't take long to unload the van and put things away-it does help to have 6 helpers. Plus when you finish in the van, you really don't have to go back and clean everything like in the camper so that does save a bunch of time.

This evening since we didn't have any groceries, Robby and I ran to pick up pizza. Then after eating, we did go back to the camper to clean it up from the last trip since we didn't get to it before this trip. We also made a quick run to the Wilson's house to pick up some of our mail. 

Finally, it was bedtime for this whole crew. Some of them are pretty excited that tomorrow is Friday-no summer school, no chores (well, little chores) and no bedtime on Friday.

May 19, 2021-Mississippi Gulf Coast

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I tell you this rain just keeps on falling here, but we keep on having the best time. I sure am not ready to leave, and I know that the kids aren't ready to leave-they actually want to go to Goodwill before we leave. I have offered to take them to all of the local Goodwills including the Gucci Goodwill when we do get home since it doesn't look like we will get to stop there.

So let's see, the first thing that happened this morning was breakfast. Then we loaded up to go and see the light house in Biloxi. We were hoping for a tour, but they didn't have any today because of the weather. We still toured the visitor's center which was really well done. Anytime they have things for the kids to actually learn something, I am a fan.

Of course my crew quickly found the movie-sometimes you call it a film, but when it is almost an hour long-a movie is what it should more accurately be called. Even though it was long, it was really well done. It was about Biloxi and Katrina. Some of my kids had never heard of Katrina and now they know ALL about it. And by the way, I'll always evacuate if encouraged to during a hurricane. 

When we left Biloxi, we headed back to last night's second choice for dinner-Lil Rays. We had an assortment of seafood dishes-well some of us did. I had crab cakes, Grannymom and Grandpa had catfish, while Reagan and Robby had shrimp po boys. Everyone else had chicken-well Whitman just had a grilled cheese.

Afterwards, we headed back to the house. On the way we did talk about "loading up" and heading to New Orleans for a little bit. I guess that Whitman was listening to us, because he came right in, picked up his bag and asked what he needed to do with it. He thought that we were really "loading up." We just mean "loading up" as in grabbing more drinks, snacks, charger cords and the dog.

It took about an hour and a half to get to The Big Easy. I know that Grandpa, Grannymom, Campbell and I snoozed a bit on the drive there. This is really good sleeping weather the past few days. Anyway, we were soon right in Jackson Square finding a parking spot.

We found a perfect spot to park. Then some folks went to the restroom while Reagan, Anderson, Keaton, Bentley and I stayed behind. Reagan had Bentley on the leash and started walking toward some steps that went down. Bentley couldn't see the steps from her vantage point and could only see the mighty Mississippi in front of her. She was NOT going-bless it. Reagan drug her for about 3 feet before she realized that Bentley had stopped walking. We finally coaxed her to the steps and she relaxed and went down one step.

Our first stop was Cafe Du Monde for a few beignets. The beignets were delicious so that was fun. We have only been there twice before-once before kids when I was sick as a dog and the last time in 2010 before Keaton and Whitman were here. So it had been a while since we had eaten New Orleans beignets. I think that everyone liked them-though most of the kids agreed that they preferred the Disney beignets.

Now, let's talk about poor Bentley some more. The traffic didn't seem to bother her today since they were going kind of slow. It did unnerve her the past few days if we walked towards the beach from this house (like pick her up and carry her). However, today it was the saxophones. I think she was pretty much terrified the entire time that we were there-so many new sights and sounds. She did meet a puppy her size and age and was happy then. She did also enjoy the beignet. And man, you certainly meet a lot of people when you have a puppy dog. 

Some of us then walked through Central Grocery which is home of the muffeletta. I probably should have bought Robby one but we had already had our lunch. I did find a gaudy ornament for our tree which I am excited about. The next stop was some pralines from Aunt Sally's praline shop. We saved those for the car and for tonight. We did mostly agree that we prefer the creamy pralines to the original ones. 

We took some pictures in front of the St. Louis cathedral before leaving New Orleans. Beignets and pralines-what more is there to do? It was a fun little day trip for sure. We did have to stop on the way home for a bathroom. That was fine since we were right near a gas station and Robby did need to fill up before tomorrow's trek home.

When we came in tonight, there was some packing and some dog washing. Some kids had showers while some people fixed their supper-leftovers. It was clean out the fridge night here and eat up all of the opened food. We did pretty good, but yes, I am taking home about as much as I brought. I really have enough for a few more days-possibly a week.

Grannymom, Anderson, Keaton, Graham, Campbell and I played a game of Trivial Pursuit tonight. I have never played that game so long that some one actually finished it. Anderson and Grannymom did win and man, they had the easiest questions ever. It didn't hurt that this was actually the Young Players edition from the 80s that Nonna still has at her house. Some how though there questions always seemed to be a lot easier than my questions.

Currently, Bentley is asleep, Robby is doing work, Reagan is having a coke in a glass glass-she has decided that is all she wants to drink out of now, Anderson is on his ipad on the couch, Graham is on his ipad in his bed, Campbell is doing the same but in the top bunk, Keaton just finished packing up her bag and Whitman is hanging out in the kitchen drinking lemonade-but it is soon bedtime for the people!

May 18, 2021-Mississippi Gulf Coast

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This was not exactly the beach day that we had planned, but it was a pretty perfect beach day for me. The rain derailed our plans a little bit-well, maybe even a lot. However, we managed to completely fill the day.

We started our morning with pancakes and sausage. Then we loaded up and headed to the Waveland Ground Zero hurricane museum. A few miles down the road is the town of Waveland, Mississippi which was ground zero during Katrina. The town of Gulfport was pretty much destroyed during that time as well. 

In fact the house that we are staying in is older than 15 years old so it must have survived Katrina, but it also must have been badly damaged because all of the houses between us and the beach are brand new. I watched a video today of different houses and buildings in this town before Katrina, right after Katrina and today. Most things here do not seem to have been rebuilt.

Back to the museum though. It was just a free little county museum which was pretty interesting. They had a line drawn near the ceiling which showed where the water had reached. Also, they said that many folks survived Katrina because it happened during the daylight and they were able to see their way out of wherever they were. 

Reagan came right after Katrina so none of the kids really remember it like we all do. They still played along and learned a thing or two. We did reward them with a quick trip to the playground when we were finished with the museum.

Then we came back to the house for our lunch. We pulled out the sandwiches and all of the fixings. The day was rainy off and on. It seemed more rainy as we planned to go to the beach this afternoon. We have been walking Bentley fairly often up and down the little street that we are on, and it seems that each time we walked her, it isn't raining but by the time that we get home it is sprinkling some.

We could have walked to the beach, but Robby drove us since we had a few things with us. It was completely unlike the beach in Floriday-we were the only folks around. Campbell and Whitman loved playing in the water-only up to their knees. Graham and Anderson worked really hard on sandcastles. Reagan mostly watched from the lawn chairs while Keaton pretty much avoided all things salt and sand since she feels that it makes her skin itchy.

We stayed for probably over and hour, and it was the perfect amount of time to stay at the beach for me. Back at the house, folks started on showers. When they finished most of us ran to a beachy store to look around. Of course most of the girls found shirts to buy. Reagan even found a ring and Keaton an ankle bracelet. 

Then it was back to the house to pick up the others. Our Plan A for supper was outside and the wind and spitting rain made that a no go. Plan B was closed so we opted for Plan C-which Robby said he would also rate as a C+. We ate Murkey Waters BBQ. 

It was definitely a lively place. The food was pretty good, but probably not the greatest. Robby and I had nachos which I liked, but the chips became soggy way too quickly. It did definitely kill hunger. Campbell and Graham had wings which they thoroughly loved.

On the way home, I ran into the only store that was open-the Dollar Tree. We are running out of toilet paper in our bathroom. Robby also thought that I needed some meds since I have a cough. I don't feel bad at all, but do have a pesky little cough. Of course while I was running up and down the aisles with everyone in the car, I did find a few other things. I love a good Dollar Tree and they are all so different. I probably could have stayed in that one for a little bit longer.

Back at the house, we played a few rounds of Sleeping Queens before finally calling it a night. Well, the plan is to call it a night, but I must now go and tuck in all of these children.

May 17, 2021-Mississippi Gulf Coast

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Our morning started super early for us, and trying to wake the kids up at 6:30 was nearly impossible. The only thing that helped get them moving was knowing that we were going on a trip. This trip is a different type of trip than we have taken lately since we drove in the big ole white van. 

We determined that it has been over a year since we have gone on a trip in the van-Jan/Feb of 2020 to Florida to be exact. After that there was Covid and nothing was happening, and then the camper came along which has really changed how we travel. So yes, this van trip was like a novelty to us.

And I am happy to report that we do all remember how to travel well in the van. Even Bentley followed suit and did perfectly well on the ride down to Gulfport, Mississippi. We picked up Grannymom and Grandpa around 7:30 and then hit the road.

We stopped once this morning for a potty stop. I am not sure who had to go to the bathroom more that time, the kids and I or the dog. The next stop was McDonalds for lunch-that was plan B. Plan A had been a rest area but the rain had started back so we weren't able to have a picnic lunch. However, when we climbed out of the van a McDonalds someone shouted at us that they were not open inside. So we them moved on to Plan C-back to a picnic lunch but in the parking lot of a fruit stand. 

The kids ran into the use the bathroom while Grannymom and I made lunches. Then Robby drove for a little bit longer before I drove the next leg of the trip. And let me tell you, some how I always end up driving in big cities, in heavy traffic or in a downpour. Today it was a down pour. Thankfully the rain didn't last too terrible long-at least the heavy part. It was kind of odd that I even had to wear my sunglasses while I was driving in the rain-it was still kind of bright outside.

Robby then drove us on into Gulfport and to our little house on the beach. Now, our house isn't really on the beach but is maybe 2 or 3 blocks away. Grannymom, Grandpa and most folks took a walk on the beach while Robby and I put away our things. There is just a lot of things for all 8 of us. And bless it, even though we went to the store tonight, we probably didn't have to-I have packed enough food for this whole neighborhood.

Keaton, Anderson, Bentley and I headed over to the beach next. You have to cross some pretty good traffic to get over there so I did pick Bentley up since the cars kind of spooked her. However, she was not spooked at all by the sand-she loved it. Too bad she can't really get on the beach because I think that she would really love it.

We just walked for a little bit and then walked around a nearby street to look at the houses. A hurricane must have caused some damage here recently, because all of the houses nearby the beach are new. We pulled out taco salad ingredients-heated up the meat and made some cheese dip and had ourselves a big Mexican meal before heading out to go and find some ice cream.

It was the most beautiful drive to the Creole Creamery in Bay St. Louis. The ice cream did not disappoint-really, ice cream pretty much never does disappoint. Robby and I split a sampler ice cream where we had 6 different ice cream choices. It was pretty delicious. The kids all had waffle cones except for poor Keaton who does not like ice cream and had herself some oreos when we came back to the house.

On the way back, we did stop at Walmart to grab some milk, sausage, eggs, zip ties and yogurt. Yes, there is always something strange that is needed-zip ties are to hopefully fix the inverter that charges all of the peoples devices as we zoom down the road. Having fully charged devices is very important to us all!

We had a few minutes of down time before it was finally time for all of the kids to head to bed. The dishes are washing but the laundry is on hold for tomorrow-it really is a vacation!

May 16, 2021-Devil's Den Round 2

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Yesterday’s pictures:

What a fun weekend trip this has been. Though currently I am sore all over my body from climbing up and down on our hike yesterday, I am stuffy and congested from pollen, and I am exhausted from coming home from one trip and packing for another one. However, I will go to bed a happy gal because this weekend was so much fun and the kids are so looking forward to the next few days as well.

Bentley did her morning routine of getting into bed with us. She also has unfortunately continued her morning routine of throwing up just a little bit each morning. I think that she has been eating way too much grass and everything else. However, I hope that she stops that little nasty habit soon.

For breakfast this morning, we kept things simple with some French toast and sausage. Graham had really been wanting French toast, and I think that he liked it. However, Robby and I are not too big of fans of it. But it was warm so I did eat all of mine.

Pretty much the entire morning was spent loading up. We have learned that packing up the camper is not a sprint, it is a marathon. You just do a little bit at a time and try not to rush. It can be overwhelming to pack up-2 tents, 3 tables, grill, 7 chairs, 5 bikes, 2 scooters, 2 skateboards, 1 hoverboard, 1 rug, 1 string of lights, 2 poop hoses, 2 water hoses, 3 balls, 1 trailer and 1 car. That is not even what has to happen inside of the camper. That list is for another blog.

We were able to get everything loaded and put away fairly decently. The goal is to load these outside things up so neat and clean that they will not have to be set out or washed before the next trip. And of course, the trailer and the car have to be loaded so perfectly in hopes that they are still attached when we do get home. Actually, the trailer and car haven't really been a problem at all. We do that all pretty smoothly right now.

We pulled out maybe around 12:30. We then waited a bit on the Kamps to load up-that was perfect timing because while we were loaded and stopped, I worked on lunches. Actually, I worked on lunches by telling the kids to make their lunches. I did make Robby a sandwich and heated up chicken fried rice for me. 

Then we were all on the road-the Fergusons had left earlier to meet family, the Heltz also left early to go and eat. That left the Crafts in the front, Kamps next and us bringing up the rear. And the rear we did bring up. We would go for miles and miles not being able to see them at all. We eventually did catch back up, so I guess that slow and steady does win the race.

We did have one heart stopping moment. I was looking down, but Robby did see a piece from the trailer in front of him or hit by that vehicle come flying towards him. It hit the hood and probably a few others places. I just heard the huge bang and thought that we had lost another tire. Thankfully all was well even though we might have a new scratch. 

We made good time getting home and stopped at the big church on the way to kid swap. My kids weren't too happy about swapping back to our ride because they knew that we were going to work when we made it home. And work they did. They helped unload and we were unloaded in record time.

Soon, Robby went to fill the camper back up while I kept the laundry going and folded (currently 5 loads). When most laundry was done the kids packed their bags again. Robby and I have always loved living out of a suitcase, and I think that my kids might too-well some of them for sure. 

We did take a break from working to have supper with the Wilsons. Tony made hamburgers for our supper, and they were very good. We ate and visited some before heading home to load up the van. I had intended to clean and reload the camper. However, I lost steam and will just do that next week. I didn't lost so much steam that I couldn't have a bowl of ice cream before bed though!

May 15, 2021-Devil's Den Round 2

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I didn't sleep as well as I usually in the camper, but I still slept pretty well. I probably should have known better than to drink water bottle after water bottle while I was sitting at the picnic table with the girls before going to bed.

However, I didn't know any better so I was up at least 3 times and possibly 4 times to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Plus, Bentley was awake fairly early and stirred quite a bit. Still our camper slept later than all of the other folks around here. I did feel pretty well rested so that was a good thing.

The first order of business this morning was break fast. We did have ourselves quite the breakfast at that. Campbell made muffins, I made biscuits and orange juice, while Robby made bacon, gravy and eggs. We do pretty good at the breakfast game-we also had sausage which we chose not to make as well.

We all had plenty to eat and didn't leave too many leftovers. That was a good thing. By the time that we could get things cleaned up, it was time to start meeting everyone for our hike. Folks wanted to go in the morning when it wasn't a warm and that was a really a good idea (though it was overcast all day long and never really did get hot today)

We left Bentley in the kennel because even though we love her to pieces, we knew that she couldn't do that hike at all. Bless it, that dog can barely walk around the loop without having to stop and take a few breaks. I knew that we would have to hold a 25 pound dog for a few miles and that just wouldn't work out.

Bentley had her chew toy while we headed on the hike. This time it wasn't wet, cold or snowy so it was a lot easier hike. Now we did have a few more littles on the hike with us this time, but we still managed to make good time on the trail. Sometimes I felt like we were in a race! Ha!

The trail was just really pretty. I am not sure how far we walked but I do think that we were gone almost 2 and a half hours. There was even a spot for the kids to play some in the water. After the trail we came back to the campsites to eat our lunches.

We had easy lunches-sandwiches, but Robby made them fancy by frying them up on the blackstone. That just made them delicious. Now after lunch, we pulled out the pound cake, blueberries and peaches and griddled up some of them. That was absolutely delicious. It was so good that we shared with all of the adults.

Meanwhile, Wes was busy making fried oreos for everyone's afternoon snack. They were very good too-we did spend a lot of the day eating. As I was just about to fall asleep this afternoon, it was time for a kickball game. The kickball field is in the middle of the loop and when all 32 of us were playing the game, we were sure to draw some attention. We even had a few others kiddos join our game.

I do know that my team lost today-it certainly wasn't from my mad kickball skills. Actually, it probably could have been because of my mad kickball skills. When the game was over, it was soon time to start on our suppers.

Tonight's supper was taco salad. I just had to make the meat and everyone else brought enough stuff for the supper. We also celebrated Michael and Maia's birthdays with cake. They had presents to open which they did, and then the kids headed off to play with all of their new friends-there was a capture the flag game along with a kickball game in the dark. 

The kids all stayed up pretty late tonight, but we ended the night with ice cream before going to bed so we all went to bed tired and happy.

May 14, 2021-Devil's Den Round 2

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Robby and I both get a little bit giddy on trip days so much so that it causes us to wake up early. We probably should have trips planned every week day so we wake up and start moving. By 8, 2 loads of clothes were folded, showers taken, dishes emptied, and the dog had pottied a few times. We were  moving.

The plan was to leave around 10, and it was about 10:15 when we did pull off. I ran to pick up Noah a little bit before we left, and he rode with us. The kids are pretty good about helping us pack and load the last few things. The only thing so far that we needed has been an earring back-Reagan lost hers half way here. In the white van, I carry spare earring backs-I guess that I should in this rig too.

It took about 4 hours to get here. We stopped once for gas-Robby says that you have to stop to fill up at some point on the way here or on the way home, plus he likes to park this when it is full so that means he will fill up when we get home. All that to say, we got gas on the way here. Bentley was glad that we did so because she needed to use the restroom.

The gas station had a dog park area-fenced in area. Robby told me to take her over there so she could run a little bit. I didn't want to go because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to catch her-bless it, when we went inside, Bentley didn't leave my side. 

There was a bit of traffic on the way up here-I didn't notice too much because I took advantage of us to make the kids lunches. Most folks wanted corndogs so I heated them up in the microwave as we were sitting in the traffic. I had hummus and Robby had a ham and cheese croissant. There was also 2 bagels and a hot pockets. There are some benefits to traveling in a moving house.

We were the first ones here this afternoon. That was fine with us-we had plenty of time to set up without people watching us-which meant that we could sit down and watch all of our buddies have to set up their camp. The kids helped some, but really all they can think about is getting the bikes off the back and pulling out scooters and skateboards from the back of the car. 

The boys do understand that they have to help more than the girls do. Of course there are lots of things that we need them to do-the bikes are difficult, the tent is cumbersome, the trailer is heavy-we do put them to work. Whitman was even handed the blower to blow off the picnic areas. 

With Bentley, we have one helper that is out because they are having to walk her since she needs to potty after the ride. Keaton helped put out the mat while she was zooming around on the skateboard. Our spot is across the loop from where we were last time. Some folks are on the other side, but in the middle is the big grassy field. In December, things were wet and no one was able to play or even walk out there. 

However, today there have been volleyball games, kick ball games, basketball playing, and even foursquare happening. Plus the loop is pretty perfect for the kids to ride their bikes and things around. We can pretty much see them the entire way. Now, this place has filled up quite a bit so there are lots of campers.

The Fergusons arrived next followed by the Heltz and Crafts. Soon the Kamps showed up in their new pop up (which is surprisingly nice and roomy). The big kids ended up taking a walk to the visitor's center while the rest of us just sat around. It was super pleasant outside-I just had on my light jacket, not my long underwear and multiple jackets that I packed just in case that I need them.

There are 22 kiddos in our group so we do take up a lot of space and probably make a lot of noise. But everyone seems to be having a good time. Tonight for supper, we tried something new-fried rice and lo mein noodles. I will say that it was definitely a winner, and we will make them again sometime. Of course, as Robby and I often do-we go big. We had enough fried rice that we gave out plates to extra kids, fed extra adults, and still had leftovers. We probably could have fed the whole crew here tonight. I probably will even have some of those leftovers tomorrow for lunch.

After supper, it seemed to get dark fairly quickly. After setting around for a little bit, it was soon time to get the s'mores out. We brought the chocolate, and my campsite had the fire so the party was at our house. All of the kids really enjoy making s'mores-well, who doesn't? I didn't get any pictures through because I was busy unwrapping Hershey candy bars as fast as I could for all of the kiddos.

It was nearly 11 when we all finally headed into the camper. It takes us a good while to get everyone situated and find all of the blankets. When the kids do get into bed, I think that they are all pretty tired and don't stay awake too long! I know that I won't stay awake too long tonight!

May 13, 2021

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  • I won't even tell you what time this dog woke up today. I thought that she was waking up because of the sunrise, but I really think that she is now waking up so she can get into our bed. Seriously, I have decided that she just likes us and can't get enough of us during the day. And I am also afraid that we have created a spoiled little puppy. 
  • I worked the whole day long, and seriously, I felt so scattered all day long. I did manage to get a few things accomplished during the day. The house is semi straight, the camper is mostly packed and all of the kids are accounted for so I will say that this day is a win.
  • There is still a pretty good list that I have to mark off tomorrow but for now all is well. Reagan did sneak off for a bit today and go to her school's picnic. I think that she had fun there, but was ready to take a nap when she returned home-take a nap and eat a chicken pot pie. 
  • Campbell and I went to the pregnancy center today. Traffic was bad on the way there so we were there even later than usual. We had stopped Walmart before and probably should have left a bit earlier than we did. We were able to help some and soon, everything was finished up there.
  • We then made one more stop before making it to soccer practice. While we were out, I told Campbell that I needed to use the restroom but I would just wait until practice. When we showed up, Campbell wondered aloud what the signs on the restrooms were. Robby was quick to tell her that there was an email telling everyone that the restrooms were closed due to a water line break. 
  • Yikes! So Campbell and I loaded up in search of a rest room. It didn't take us long to decide where we should go-we went to a friend's house just down the road. We were back within 10 minutes and all was well!
  • After practice, Robby grabbed some supper for us, and we came home at ate. Afterwards, there was some more packing followed by lots of straightening. Hopefully, everyone sleeps well tonight-the dog included!

May 12, 2021

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  • In case you were losing sleep over my dog waking thoughts from last night. The saga continues-this morning Bentley woke up at 6:08 and sunrise was at drumroll please....6:07. Interesting, isn't it? Now, she does sleep in the corner of my room behind the tv cabinet with a blanket over her cage, so how can she know when the sunrises so well? 
  • Also just to continue with our Bentley antics, last night Robby was downstairs and fussed a bit at the boys because they were still going strong acting a fool upstairs and not sleeping. A few minutes later, we couldn't find Bentley downstairs. We walked around and walked around, until climbed to the top of the stairs and saw her curled up by the boys door. I don't think that she liked them getting into trouble and went up to comfort them.
  • For so many things to accomplish today, I think that I was able to finish a few things. I guess the biggest item marked off of the to do list was getting the big boys a hair cut. Their hair had started looking fairly shaggy. I did kind of like it long, but a hair cut was a necessity. I will say that I probably should have gone to beauty school-really, I probably still should go to beauty school.
  • This afternoon the kids and I loaded up with Nonna to go and pick strawberries. The berry patch was a ways away, but not too bad. It was really a pretty spot, and the kids enjoyed picking the strawberries. We have been strawberry picking before, but it has been many, many years ago-so long that even Anderson was trying to remember what exactly how strawberries grew.
  • We picked two full buckets full-about 10 or so pounds. Nonna paid for me and get the senior discount. Strawberries aren't cheap-I put up 4 containers and paid over 10 dollars for each container. Ha! But the experience was well worth it. 
  • Everyone did well picking the strawberries. Anderson stayed with Nonna and helped her out. Whitman took it very seriously again and went right to work. Campbell was determined to pick more than anyone else. I didn't let my people get more than 3 buckets because I was afraid that we would fill as many buckets as we had. 
  • When we made it back home, I loaded a few more things in to the camper. Robby spent the evening getting a few more things ready to go. Campbell and Whitman decided to clean out the garage. They did a great job and really made a difference.  Plus they found about 15 balls that we threw away because they didn't keep air.
  • We had leftovers for supper-we are trying to clean out the fridge. And I didn't have many takers on helping me clean out the fridge. I did tell Robby that no one had eaten the salad that he bought-he was quick to admit that he didn't buy a salad or the hummus in the fridge. Apparently the day that we missed a bunch of our Walmart order, we also received a few surprise items.
  • It was kind of a quiet evening-I did dye some of Campbell's hair. See what I mean about beauty school. She now has red tips again. I am not sure how well it will stay in, but she is happy.
  • The certain highlight of my day was this evening when I asked Whitman to complete his daily chore. Now, for some reason when I made out my summer chore chart, I thought I had 5 kids and assigned rotating chores dealing with the dog only to the big 5. That left Whitman without any so I had to be creative. Today, his "chore" was brushing the dog's teeth. Let's just say we have the most patient and good natured dog-Whitman tried his hardest, even laying on the floor under her mouth. He was able to brush one side, but we called it good-and we have never laughed so hard!

May 11, 2021

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  • So Bentley has been waking up at 6:10 the last few mornings. I had read that dogs are very sensitive to light and wouldn't you know it, sunrise is at 6:09. Interesting. I will be very curious to see what she will do in the pitch black camper-fingers crossed that she does sleep better.
  • Now instead of being upset that she wakes up early, we certainly are not. We know that we should get on up and start our day, but instead I just look at the clock and go right on back to sleep happy as I can be since I have a few good hours of sleep left before time to start my day.
  • Now Robby didn't sleep the morning away this morning. He was up and gone before it was time to start work. His mission for the day-change the tire. He ran to buy some things that he needed. Yes, he could have borrowed them but since this is the second tire problem we have had, he is going to be prepared. 
  • By lunch, the tire was off and on it's way to the repair shop. Unfortunately, it couldn't be repaired, but that is fine. Robby replaced it and was still grateful that none of this happened zooming down the highway or Friday morning. The new tire is on the camper snugly, and the tire pressure system is now programmed correctly and working well.
  • I did lots of packing again today. It is kind of funny that a person can work all day and really not be able to see any progress. However, at noon we left for our afternoon out. The first stop was at Nonna and Pops' house briefly. We were dropping off Pops' sock of the month club socks. Then we went to the library-Campbell and Keaton left the place with books galore like they had never been to the library before.
  • The big even today was volunteering at the Arkansas Foodbank. We do this occasionally, but this was a big day because Whitman is now old enough to go with us. I do think that everyone enjoys the foodbank-it is work though. We are there for 3 hours, and other than a 15 minute break we work the entire time.
  • Today's task was a bit confusing-we had to check dates. There are two different types of dates-expired by and best if used by. Then some things past the date were fine and others were not. Then if things were ok on the date, we would have to tape them up if they were broken, and finally we would have to put things in the correct category of boxes. While the man was explaining everything, Whitman asked me if I would help him. I think he was a bit overwhelmed-but so were we.
  • I began with setting things out for Whitman to put in the right places, but soon he was doing it without my help. We would work and empty a pallet of stuff, and as soon as we did they would bring another one to us. It seemed to be never ending. 
  • Lily came to our house and Campbell went to the Kamps when we headed home. I wasn't home too long before I headed to my puppy kindergarten graduation. I had asked everyone if they wanted to go with me-Campbell had, but she was gone, Whitman had, but he changed his mind, Keaton had, but she had a friend over, Anderson was playing his ipad, Graham was playing his xbox, but surprisingly, Reagan wanted to go with me. 
  • I was glad for her company, and I think that she enjoyed it. We had to do an obstacle course with our dogs not on the leash. Thankfully, Bentley did not embarrass me-bless one dog pooped in the middle of her turn. We did okay-at least we didn't poop everywhere. And really she didn't run away from me and make a scene so that was good. So we did finish the class and earned a certificate, a dog toy and a some treats.
  • Back at home, we headed up some pizzas and ate before I ran to get Campbell. I then had the kids finish their chores and school before I went to the camper to pack for the evening. I am currently cooking rice for our Friday night meal of fried rice and soon it is bedtime for my crew.

May 10, 2021

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  • Ah, our first day of summer vacation around here, and I worked harder today than all of last week put together. I spent most of my time getting things ready for the next few days around here. There are lots of things that need to happen and lots of lists to make.
  • After making more lists that probably necessary, I did load up my sleepy crew and head to the dentist with everyone. Six dentist appointments and only two cavities (Keaton and Campbell). I will definitely take that as a win. Reagan came bopping out of that dentist office-she was so proud that it was finally not her with a cavity. Anderson had also stressed himself out about having a cavity so he was pleased as well.
  • This isn't surprising, but we were told that Anderson (slight misalignment), Graham (more misalignment) and Campbell (missing a tooth) will all need to get braces soon. We knew that was all coming, but yikes. 
  • We did celebrate the only two cavities with frostys from Wendys. It did take us about 30 minutes to get those frostys, but since I was thanked about 5 times then I would say that they were worth it. Graham and Anderson then ran in a store with me since we were on the hunt for them some shorts.
  • Back at home, there was more working in the camper for me. Robby and the little girls ran a few errands and went to Grannymom and Grandpa's house for a little bit. 
  • Tonight we had toasted ravioli for supper-Robby and I both talked about it being the highlight of living in the dorms and eating the cafeteria food. 
  • After our meal, Robby went back to the camper to start checking on things before we leave-and he found a flat tire. That was unexpected and disappointing. However, it is the perfect timing-he already had a jack arriving tomorrow and there is plenty of time before we leave to get things fixed. Hopefully, the fix will be easy and smooth. This is just a good reminder of why you are prepared and why you double and triple check all of the important things.
  • That all did kind of bum Robby out, but since there was still some cheesecake left he went to bed happy. Bentley also went to bed happy-Campbell gave her a bath tonight and she just snoozed for the rest of the evening afterwards. She will also go to bed happy tonight because we took out the divider in her kennel-it is now the entire thing so she will have plenty of room to stretch out.

May 9, 2021-Happy Mother's Day and Happy 89th Birthday (Party) Grandpa!

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  • Bentley woke up at 5 this morning. We weren't really sure why she did, but she wasn't headed back to bed without getting out to go potty. So Robby took her and then brought her back to our bed. I now think that the dog woke up and decided that our bed was more comfy-so I fully expect this to happen again tonight. 
  • We were in a rush to head to church this morning since in lieu of our traditional Mother's Day breakfast (Robby and the kids make me waffles and I act surprised when they bring them in to me), we headed to pick up doughnuts.
  • Of course we only had about 9 gallons on gas left when we got into the car. So when Robby stopped for doughnuts, he just parked at the gas station. Since the line was out of the door at the doughnut place, I asked him if he wanted me to get the gas while he was getting the doughnuts-he was pretty adamant that I could not do that. I think that he was afraid that I would later give him a hard time about me having to pump my gas on Mother's Day.
  • Church was good-15 kiddos in our Sunday school class. More and more kids keep coming back which is a wonderful problem to have. After church, we headed to Dana's house to celebrate Mother's Day and Grandpa's 89th birthday. 
  • Dana had bbq for lunch, and everything was delicious. The kids played outside some and then Grannymom and Grandpa both opened up some presents. We soon left so we could get home to let Bentley out of our kennel. She had been in for a long time but didn't have a problem.
  • What she did have a problem with was with going back to sleep for my Sunday/Mother's Day nap. At first our nap was not a nap at all. I can't complain too much since I was one of the ones hoping to get a dog! 
  • Eventually Robby (and Bentley) did get up, and I was able to finish my nap. Afterwards, I worked on this week's to do list-it's a wee bit long, but I'm not stressed at all because we are finished with school. 
  • The Wilsons all came over for a little bit tonight. They brought some supper and I supplemented with some of our leftovers, and we made a meal of it! We all visited for a while and watched the dogs play.
  • When they headed home, we started picking up the house and some of the kids had showers before it was bedtime. 

May 8, 2021

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  • Graham and I had the first shift at the concession stand today. It was a fairly busy morning, and before we knew it the rest of the family had arrived. Today was the last soccer game for us since we will miss next week.
  • At 11:30, I had Robby coaching, Reagan, Anderson and Graham refereeing, and Campbell, Keaton and Whitman playing. It was a fairly busy hour for all of us-I spent my time walking from field to field watching everyone play.
  • Campbell's team did lose today, but man she played her hardest. I so wanted that girl to score. Keaton's team won and my Keaton had a free kick against the goalie and scored. I was looking her direction at the time and was able to see her score. She was our only score-er this year-twice. And on the little fields, Whitman, who isn't really crazy about soccer, did so well this year. His favorite part about soccer was the snacks!
  • We stayed until the games were over-the playground is open so that is where Whitman spent most of his time today. Even though he had his ipad, he enjoyed the playground more. The boys helped pick up some, and Robby and I counted the concession stand money (that's a stressful job-not sure why people want to ask me questions when I am counting.)
  • I had a car load of kids (9) on the way home, but I still stopped at Walmart. They wanted to come in and I said no way! I ran my errand quickly before dropping of my girls at the Kamps and Noah came over to our house. The boys played outside some while I unpacked all of the bags. The soccer bag will turn into our swimming pool bag this week.
  • Robby and I were about to set down and rest when we decided to be productive. We added shelves to the camper, fixed the wobbly dinette back and even loaded up new lawnchairs. There is alot to do this week since we leave for one trip Friday, come home Sunday and leave again on Monday. And we would have it no other way.
  • After working in the camper, we came in. Campbell gave Bentley a bath and everyone else also had their showers. I am actually getting ready to have some of my Mother's Day cheesecake that Robby bought me yesterday! I should probably wait until midnight, but nah!

May 7, 2021

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  • Bentley had a vet appointment today at 9. Whitman was the only one awake this morning when we snuck out of the house. Bentley did fine at her appointment-2 shots and nails trimmed. She now weighs 26 pounds. The dog is funny-she just whined and whined when the people there were not giving her any attention.
  • Also this little interaction with vet did make my laugh today. I mentioned how friendly she is. He was quick to say, "yes, they are mostly all like that when they are puppies." He continued with, "then some get territorial or bad tempered." Oh, great! That is just what I wanted to hear. He did finally finish with mentioning that Bentley's breed is fairly good natured.
  • Back at home, I started on getting ready for our party tonight. Campbell wanted to have an ice cream party to kick off summer. Soon it became Campbell and Keaton's ice cream and brownie party. (Keaton doesn't like ice cream.) As soon as they walked down the stairs, I put those two girls to work.
  • They pulled out all of the toppings for the ice cream, they helped get tables out, they made the brownies and helped us later in the day pick out the ice cream. They did work for this party tonight. Whitman, who is often oblivious to life, did ask why Keaton and Campbell got to have a party. I asked him if he wanted to have a party with his friends. He said "yes" so I guess that is next on the list.
  • Also, the other day Campbell and Keaton were talking about everyone's games being at the same time on Saturday. They continued to say that we (the spectators) could turn our chairs one way and watch Campbell and then turn our chairs the other way and watch Keaton. Whitman, who was not involved in the conversation at all, shot back at them, "Well, what about me?"
  • Campbell, Keaton and Graham went with us to run a few errands this afternoon-Sams, Gas, and Kroger were the places we needed to go. However, we ended up at ChickFilA as well along with Five Below for some boogie boards for the beach. 
  • Back at home, there was time to go and get Annie. She is home alone so Bentley had a party with her friend for a little bit this afternoon. Bentley did figure out how to get out of her collar-actually, she would jerk so hard that she would snap it open. She quickly was given a new collar (not from the Dollar Tree!)
  • Then it was time for tonight's party. Even though we had a few friends not able to come, we still had a great time. There were about 10 girls here plus my folks. We had ham and cheese croissants. The kids played outside-gaga ball, a relay race-there were even games inside-cookie face, draw a picture on a paper plate, and bingo. Of course there were prizes! 
  • Then the evening was ended with an ice cream sundae bar. We had tons of toppings and I think that folks had lots of fun. It was a pretty fun evening-and I'm glad it's over!
  • When it was over, we went to play with Annie some more before it was bedtime for her. Then we came home to clean up after the party. Keaton and Campbell have one friend over and tonight is internet night so the kids get to stay up later than normal-actually, it is already later than normal and they are just brushing their teeth.
  • Graham is working early with me at the concession stand so he will get to leave at 7:30ish with me. This is our last soccer game-the season was just a little bit too short for me. But I will be glad to sleep in-though our next few Saturday's are spent out of town so there will be little sleeping in....until probably school starts again and things get back to normal. 

May 6, 2021

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  • I was up at 6:30 with the dog, but out of all of the days this week today was the longest that I could sleep so we climbed back in bed and snoozed some more. We just had one book to read aloud today along with our Bible chapter so we were soon working on school work. 
  • School went fine today-mainly because it was the last day Well, it is the last day, but there are a few things we will do this summer. Some things are finishing from this year and others are getting ahead for next year. 
  • Yesterday while we were at the Nutrition Center, I was able to get all of my school organized and planned for next year. Now, I just have to buy the things that I need and start getting things pulled out and ready to go. My goal is to do that early in the summer!
  • I am currently taking full advantage of having people that are capable of doing thing well these days-Campbell made brownies, Keaton organized the pantry-it's nice when the kids can work and work well. Now they do a lot of things sloppily-but when I find what they love (baking/organizing) then they do things with excellence. Though I still have quite a few kiddos that I just don't know what they love yet.
  • We ran to see Annie for a little bit this afternoon. Then it was back home for the treadmill for me. When I finished that, it was time for us all to load up and head out to soccer practice. We were there a few minutes early, but soon it was practice time.
  • Whitman isn't a huge fan of game days, but he certainly loves practice. Bentley loves practice too-her friend Sully was there tonight, and they played and played. It was a pleasant evening-just like I wasn't ready for Wednesday nights to end, I am really not ready for soccer to end as well. I could stand a few more weeks of it-at least until we are miserably hot.
  • After soccer, we went to Nonna and Pops' house to celebrate Mother's Day. Pops made hamburgers and everything was absolutely delicious. After eating we played a game of trivial pursuit before we headed home.
  • The kids had planned on waiting up until Robby came home-I quickly put an end to that idea. It will be fairly late when he does get in and they are up late enough as is! Hopefully, they will be asleep when he does get home and hopefully, they will get home quickly and safely.

May 5, 2021

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  • So this was the earliest day yet this week. Graham and I had to be at the Nutrition Center at 8:15 this morning. You shouldn't be surprised when you learn that when we left, the house was still snoozing. All but Bentley, she slept until my alarm at 6:45 and then we played pretty hard so she would snooze in her kennel until everyone else woke up.
  • I think that Campbell was the first one awake-or the first one to remember that we had a dog. She did get her out and feed her breakfast this morning. I had left a long list of chores with strong encouragement for everyone to keep the house clean. When we eventually did come home, they had very nicely done both things.
  • Graham had a pretty long day at the Nutrition Center-they drew his blood every hour. They just put an iv in to make it easier. Of course he did great and didn't seem to mind it at all. I was the one who was a bit more antsy-it was a long day to sit in a waiting room chair without any food. I didn't know he had to fast-or I would have brought myself some food to eat on the sly.
  • He was greatly rewarded at the end of the visit with ChickFilA-sandwich, shake and fries. All of my other folks were also rewarded with ChickFilA. Grannymom and Grandpa came over to eat lunch with everyone to help break up their day just a little bit.
  • They ate outside on the patio and enjoyed the nice weather. The girls even drove to the plant nursery where Campbell bought some watermelon seeds. She has since planted them, watered them and even checked them a few times today.
  • Tonight was the last Wednesday night for the summer. I would say yippee, but really we have missed so much church that I just can't get too excited about it. My kids love it too so folks were a bit bummed. Now my big kids did all have tacos tonight and the littles had popcorn and snow cones so who can be sad with lots of snacks.
  • We even stayed at the church house until almost 8 before heading home. When we did come home, we found our suppers and all eventually crowded in the bonus room to watch The Call of the Wild which is the book that we just finished reading.
  • After the movie was over, it was time for my crew to go to bed. Tomorrow is the last full day of school for everyone-next week starts our summer school schedule!

May 4, 2021

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  • I probably stayed up too late last night playing on my phone because when I had to go to the bathroom at 6 this morning, Bentley was ready for me to take her to the bathroom-or maybe she was ready to get in the bed with me. 
  • Either way, we were both able to get a bit more sleep. This was not a lazy day because Reagan had to be at school for first period this morning. I think that her classes and Anderson's will both be first period next year-ugh!
  • She did manage to bribe me to take her to ChickFilA on the way for her to get a coffee. When I did get home, it was still just about the time that we usually start on our together work. We did all of that with no problem and soon folks were starting on their school work for the day.
  • The one worrisome part of the morning was checking to see if the dishwasher ran. The night before and last night, I swore that I ran it-the dishwasher stuff was even in there, but the dishes weren't clean. Today I promise that the clean light was on, yet it was not clean. 
  • So I crossed my fingers, said a prayer and tried again this morning-and things worked perfectly. I was super dreading hand washing 2 days of dishes. We pretty much used paper products today just in case things don't work tonight. We were actually doing good on our lack of dishes usage, until Reagan made some desserts tonight.
  • I had to run to the store really quickly today and on the way home we picked up Reagan from school. This was her last day at Comm Central for the year, but she still has a few things to complete before the school year is over.
  • I wasn't home for too long this afternoon before it was time for me to cut up my hot dogs and go to puppy class. This was our next to last class, and this the one thing that we failed out was to call our dogs and have them come to us. First time, Bentley did perfectly. Second time, she just sat and stared at me-I'm on the other side of the room squealing her name, jumping and waving my arms and nothing! Finally the dog did waltz over to me-I think that she just wanted me to look like a fool for a little bit!
  • While I was at puppy class, I did get some good news. Anderson's shoe was found-at the neighbor's house on their front porch. That dern stray dog took his shoe. It was still in tact and all was well-I was very grateful since finding that shoe saved me about 60 bucks!
  • Reagan went to the talent show at school tonight. When she did come home, the rest of us had already eaten our chicken spaghetti. She ate and then started on some baking. Soon, the plan is to have some ice cream before bed and then bedtime for the crew-we will try to get to bed earlier tonight than last night!