June 30, 2021-4th of July on the Road

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We were up early again this morning. I think that might be our new habit. This morning it was already 9 when I had finished most things on my list and wasn't exactly sure what to do next. We started the morning early with our sleepover puppy barking since she heard Robby moving around.

Robby took her out, and right afterwards Bentley didn't want to miss out on the fun so she also had to go out. We were able to get Bentley to rest for a little bit longer, but soon all dogs were eating their breakfast. This was the day of dogs, because I even ran over to take Annie out to potty and eat for a little bit. When I returned home from that, it was time for me to pick up the Fordyce and Grannymom camp crew.

They arrived 2 minutes late so that was perfect. I found my Keaton and Campbell. It took them a while to find all of their bags, but soon we were also picking up Whitman in the parking lot. On the way home, they told me all about their trips. Actually, I never finished hearing the rest of Campbell and Keaton's trip. 

They told me every single detail-what they ate, where they went, what they did. By the time that we were home, I felt like I had been on the mission trip myself. They were so excited...and so exhausted.

At home, we threw their clothes in the washer and started it up. It didn't take long and by 3 we were loading up and heading out for our few days on the road. It took about 5 minutes for Keaton to be sound asleep on the couch with Bentley. She slept for about 2 hours.

When we stopped at a gas station, I went to the back to look for Bentley so she could potty. I found her on the bed sound asleep with Campbell. Those girls were tired! Keaton usually never takes naps so I know that she was tired. 

We soon arrived at Lake Fort Smith. It is a really neat park-not really a great group spot since things are so spread out. It is more of a relaxing park-and it is perfect for our one night stay. After unhooking the car, Robby backed the camper along with the trailer into the spot on the first try. He was super proud of himself for not having to unhook. And what made it all even better was that we didn't have to level since the spot was already perfect.

The next plan was to heat up our supper-chicken spaghetti. This is one of the girls' requested camping meals. Since it is easy to make ahead and easy to heat up, we will have it quite a bit. Well, we thought that it would be easy to hit up. We have out it on the blackstone, and it has always worked perfectly. However, I packed this pan of chicken spaghetti so full that Robby couldn't stir it so he dumped it all on the griddle to heat up. 

This worked perfectly, until the cheese started to burn on the griddle. When it was time for him to clean it, it took forever. He had definitely worked up a sweat! The kids were happy as they could be playing with a water gun so all was well.

After we finally cleaned up from supper, we headed out to explore. It was almost 8-our first stop was the visitor's center. It was closed, but we walked around the building and to the lake overlook. Then we drove around the cabins and lodge.

And then we went on a hunt for internet. Currently, we are parked on the side of the road in a deserted gravel lot in the middle of nowhere Arkansas-but we have 1 bar of internet and we are taking advantage of it. I am also trying to upload my pictures, but I don't think that is going to happen-actually I just checked and surprisingly the pictures uploaded.

On this little gravel area, a man and his boy just drove up beside on us on an atv and let a snake out of a bag. The snake must have been at least 5 foot long. It didn't look like it was crawling towards our car but I am just not too sure. Hopefully, we can finish our internetting before Bentley decides that she needs to go to the bathroom.

The plan is to explore here more in the morning and then head towards Oklahoma. Oh, yes, you need an update on the other Dennies-Reagan went to a baseball game today, and she reported that she bought a shirt and jewelry. Anderson and Graham went to the arch-they didn't go up it, but they did walk around the museum. And those two favorites also sent me a picture of themselves at the arch!

June 29, 2021

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  • The boys were already awake this morning when our alarm was going off. Actually, when I headed out of my room to officially wake them up, they were both in the kitchen dressed and ready. I think that they were a bit excited.
  • I dropped them off at church at 7. They loaded their bags and quickly found their friends. I think that Reagan's group took at least 4 buses-maybe more, but the boy's group is just 7th and 8th graders so they just filled 2 buses.
  • I don't know too much-but Anderson had chicken for lunch (I think Popeyes). Graham ate and then went to Goodwill and bought a shirt. They had Freddys for supper. It also looks like Anderson went for a late night swim.
  • I know even less about Reagan's day. She wrote that they woke up, did their mission projects and then ate supper. She has been wanting to go to Crumbl Cookie for a while, and they stopped there tonight. She was too full to buy anything but did eat some of the other folks' cookies. They also played kickball tonight.
  • And finally Campbell and Keaton. I know that they did their mission projects, and since everyone was working hard, they all got Sonic drinks as a reward. 
  • Let's see-what did I do all day? Since I dropped the boys off so early, I had finished everything including running some errands by 11. Bentley and I cuddled up on the couch in the camper and took ourselves a nap.
  • She needed that nap, because Delta came over to spend the night tonight. Those two dogs spent most of the time playing-Delta is a ton calmer than Bentley. Bless it-she will be ready to go home. At one point, Delta was standing completely still while Bentley was running circles around her.
  • Robby and I did sneak off tonight to eat supper out and run some errands. We went in 3 different stores, only needing one thing from each store and came out with at least 2 bags at each stop.

June 28, 2021

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  • Currently, Bentley is mad at me because I am trying to put drops in her ears. She went to the vet today and did in fact have ear infections. Apparently, golden retrievers get ear infections quite often. I have put one drop in one ear and have two more to go in that ear along with 2 in the other ear. She has moved from the bed to the floor and keeps starring at me! She is so tired but she will not close her eyes because she doesn't trust me! This is probably not going to end well at all!
  • My morning began with some laundry and dishes. Fairly uneventful day really. After Whitman remembered to eat his breakfast, he just asked me two questions-When was Grannymom camp? and What snacks did I pack for him? 
  • Grannymom and Grandpa picked him up around 2ish. He was pretty excited to leave. I jokingly asked him if he was going to take his ipad. I knew that the answer was going to be of course. However, I was wrong. He told me that he would take it for when they didn't have any activities.
  • The boys spent a good bit of their afternoon packing. Everyone is different-even though all of the kids have had packing list, Reagan rewrote the list for what she would need. Keaton neatly folded her clothes and then helped Campbell do hers. Graham stacked his shorts and shirts in different piles while Anderson stacked his in outfits. And Whitman just asked me to pack for him.
  • We spent a good deal of the day putting things in the camper. I think that I have almost everything packed. I even was able to work on the house for a few minutes tonight so maybe I can kind of have a slow day tomorrow! Ha! That won't happen!
  • I have seen pictures of Reagan today but not heard from her. The group went to Red Rock Amphitheater which we have been to before. I wonder if she will remember having been there. I have seen a few pictures of Keaton and Campbell-looked like Campbell spent some time at a car wash today, and I am not too sure what Keaton did (I can't really remember the pictures right now!)
  • Okay, it is about time for me to try to those ear drops again!

June 27, 2021

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  •  Sunday morning and Bentley was not the first one awake. Robby was the one waking both of us up this morning. I had my alarm set, but Robby was chipper well before the alarm went off. Bentley and I both woke up a bit reluctantly. 
  • I had nursery for church and then moved on to Sunday school. When you do have nursery, you leave feeling like you haven't been to church so I will be confused about what day it is until we can get back to the church house.
  • Lunch was at Nonna's house today. They had pork tenderloin which is a crowd favorite. After eating, most everyone played a game of Trivial Pursuit. I believe that the big winners were Jason and Keaton. Of course we didn't finish the game-who can ever finish a game of Trivial Pursuit.
  • Soon it was time for me to take Keaton and Campbell to church to leave for their mission trip. This year the 3rd - 6th graders are getting to go on the Fordyce mission trip. They will be gone until Wednesday, and my girls were so, so excited!
  • They were a bit apprehensive about all of the unknowns-which bus, which group, where they would sleep. Thankfully, I did get some insider information and knew that Keaton would be just fine and have a buddy with her (and one of my buddies would be her group leader). I haven't heard about who Campbell is with just yet, but I can probably get the info tomorrow. I am sure though that she has become a leader of her group and is enjoying every minute of it.
  • After I dropped them off, I ran home for a few minutes and worked on getting the camper back in order. Robby and I always end up moving things around after every trip. We have already switched the blanket and drinks spots today. I am sure that we will do more reorganizing tomorrow. I have one whole cabinet that I want to reorganize.
  • We then took the boys to the swimming pool. Some of the other families were there-our group is dwindling since quite a few are on the mission trips. The kids had fun swimming, and we almost stayed until the pool closed.
  • Back at home, the kids heated up their leftovers from last night. Then Robby and I worked forever on the grocery list and menu for this next week. We haven't really been to the store since we came back from the last camping trip so this was a large grocery order that we placed.
  • We put the boys to bed way too late, but I am sure that they weren't tire and are up there talking anyways.

June 26, 2021

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  • This morning started early-not as early as yesterday though. I took the swimmers to their swim team practice. I had two books with me planning on reading, but I didn't get very far at all! That was fine though there is always tomorrow. Though Robby is currently trying to speed read the book I checked out for him because it is due in a few days with a list of others trying to check it out as well.
  • After swim, I did run and get my hair chopped off. I decided yesterday that it was too long, and I couldn't do another day with it. Robby suggested that I go after swim to get it cut instead of me doing it myself. 
  • We then quickly came home, and the kids put on dry clothes. Along with Robby and Anderson, we all piled in the car and headed across town. Today was the day that they had the Father's Day gold tournament that we have been going to for many years. It wasn't before Father's day this year nor did they have trophies. 
  • However, they still had doughnuts and cokes to munch on while we were playing our free rounds of putt putt. They also had door prizes. We received a ticket for each kid for the door prizes-and won a Colton's gift card with four of the five tickets. That isn't too bad at all.
  • The first round of golf was fiercely competitive. Graham did beat Robby by a slight bit. They were closely followed up by Anderson. Then Keaton, Campbell and finally Whitman. The second 18 holes, I even played. However, we were stopped short when huge rain drops started to fall from the sky. It seemed like the bottom was about to drop-but it didn't. We still called it a day...mainly since they were finished handing out gift cards!
  • Back at home, Robby and I started working on hiding the new air conditioner cord in the camper. So it was a yellow extension cord going down the corner by my bed. After putting it in wire casing and giving it two coats of paint, it looks like it was originally part of the camper. We have skills!
  • Around 2, we took Campbell and Keaton to the pool for two hours. They enjoyed swimming with their buddies and could have stayed another hour, but we had to finish our cord project before supper time.
  • We did decide to go out and eat...since all 4 of our gift cards that we won were from Coltons. And since we had two leftover from last year that we hadn't used. It is fun when we can go out to eat and people can just get whatever they would like. My Whitman splurged and had a grilled cheese. Keaton and I had grilled chicken. Anderson had chicken tenders. Campbell and Graham though don't lose any opportunity-Graham had steak and Campbell had ribs. Robby had soup and egg rolls.
  • Back at home, I had the kids bring me pile after pile of things that I need to put back in the camper. We did make the camper bed which took care of a lot of piles-10 pillows make a lot of piles.
  • Reagan made it to Denver this afternoon. I haven't gotten many pictures from her, but I have seen and copied quite a few pictures that she is in-looks like she is having a great time.

June 25, 2021

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  • This morning at 6 Candice rolled into the driveway to pick up Reagan. Then they headed to church and were soon off to Kansas tonight and Denver tomorrow. Reagan was awake and finishing packing before I even went to wake her up this morning at 5:30. The girls said that she did tell them bye when she came downstairs. 
  • We have pretty much tracked her all day long. We did get a few text messages tonight from here-their van had a covid scare. Someone's dad tested positive so that child was headed home. And at one point they weren't sure if the whole van would be sent home too. Thankfully, a rapid test determined that child didn't have it so Reagan's van will be quarantined from the group for 24-48 hours. 
  • I think that Reagan and all the kiddos were pretty stressed about everything. Thankfully, it all played out within an hour or two. Reagan was a bit bummed about missing somethings (I think just church on Sunday morning), but she was super relieved that they are able to stay on the trip.
  • As for my other children today-they all slept in. Robby and I left to run some errands when the boys had just started waking up. We did take Bentley to ride with us-she was a pretty good car dog. We did make 7 stops, and she was only able to get out at 2 of those-Grannymom's house and Lowes. And bless that dog's heart-she was super skittish at Lowes. The automatic doors almost gave her a panic attack!
  • When we came home, we did paint the ceiling so the patch matches a bit better. We tried to hide the cord from the new camper air conditioner, but we needed a larger cord hider thing. We hung the boys' shelves in their room. And really that is about all that we did for the rest of the day. 
  • This evening we did load up with the three littles and headed to the pool. We stopped first for some supper from McDonalds before letting them swim until it was time to close the pool for the evening.
  • Once at home, I tried to get things ready for tomorrow before bedtime for the crew-now, there isn't a real bedtime on Friday nights around here so they are all in bed, but have no plans to go to sleep soon.

June 24, 2021

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  • Robby woke up a few times last night to check on Bentley. About 7:30, he finally did take her out to potty. Then he put her in bed with us and she snoozed until almost 9. We had a little sigh of relief when she did take a sip of water for me. She wouldn't eat any food for me, but a bit later she did gobble 3 pieces of food for Campbell.
  • Before noon she was still acting pretty pitiful. However, around two she started turning a corner. We first noticed this when her slow walk returned to her normal prance, and she even started gnawing on her hands again. 
  • She is still definitely on the mend, but at least she is much, much improved from yesterday. Our morning pretty much revolved around watching her and trying to give her something to eat or drink. I did tell Robby that our kids may not be very compassionate about somethings, but they are compassion filled when it comes to Bentley.
  • There was a game of Rubikub today along with some school work and chores. I didn't have a very long list of things to do-I decided last night that since I wasn't really going to get much done, then I shouldn't write out a long list! Ha! I did finish my list so I made sure to make everything attainable.
  • This afternoon we did go and pick up the camper. Robby was super pleased with the new air conditioner. I am not pleased-I am going to have to wear a parka in there now. I am always cold-even woke up shivering last night-and now I am going to be even colder in the camper. People will find it strange that I have to sleep in long underwear just to stay warm.
  • After picking up the camper, I took Campbell, Keaton and Whitman to the pool. Robby ended up meeting us later and bringing our supper. We stayed until the pool closed at 9 so the others had to watch Bentley.
  • She has started to want to lick her stitches which is a big no-no. So eyes have to be on her most of the time. Well, really eyes have to be on her all of the time! Robby made a list of who was watching her and when they were to watch her. So that did keep the non swimming crew busy tonight.

June 23, 2021

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  • I will apologize now that we don't have any pictures from today. This has been a bit of a busy and crazy day. And really, this getting a dog spade thing has been a much bigger deal than we thought it would be.
  • Let's start with this morning. Robby took Campbell, Keaton, Whitman and Graham to swim team practice. I had told Keaton and Graham that we might go to T. J. Max since they wanted to check out the water bottles there after practice.
  • While they were gone, I snuck out of the house with Bentley. I dropped her off at the vet for her spade, microchip and nail trim. She was so excited to see new people that she didn't even notice them taking her to the back. 
  • I had a few minutes to spare so I went to the library and caught up on my phone while waiting for it to open. Then I ran in to pick up books. Next I met Robby where we dropped off the mini van for some air conditioner work. 
  • From there we did go to T.J. Max where we weren't able to find water bottles like Keaton or Graham wanted. We probably have enough water bottles to circle our house twice, but I was hoping that they could find one since they both have upcoming birthdays and need presents.
  • Next we decided to run into Walmart so Campbell, Keaton and Graham could buy snacks for their upcoming mission trips. However, Campbell did get the bring clothes memo that Keaton did, so first I ran into Walmart to buy a pair of shorts. She did have on her swim suit and her shirt was long, but really, I don't want to be on the people of walmart website. 
  • So I bought a pair of shorts that I would like and ran back out for her to change. Then I took the kids into the store while Robby worked in the car and Whitman played on his ipad. The kids picked out their 8 dollars worth of snacks which turned into 10 dollars worth of snacks or 12 dollars.
  • We then came home for a little bit. I guess I was rushing around because Campbell asked what I was in such a hurry about. I had little time and lots to do because a bit before 1 I left with Reagan and Anderson to buy their snacks.
  • Their snack choices were interesting-well, Reagan's were-she chose rice cakes and raspberry cookies. Then we had to run to Academy to buy a few things for Reagan. While we were there, I offered to get Anderson a new shirt. He picked out a shirt that had red and blue solo cups-this reminded me of a drinking game, but Robby reminded me that we drink coke out of solo cups so the shirt was bought.
  • From there, we met up with Robby, the others and some buddies at the pool. We stayed there for about 2 and a half hours before my car left. We first picked up Bentley who peed on the floor and threw up before I could even pay and get her to the car.
  • Then I dropped Reagan off. Before we made it home, Bentley was sick in the car. I was home long enough to see how pitiful the dog was. She just could not get comfortable at all. She would lay down, get up and then lay down again. She only would stop this pattern to throw up which she has done over and over this evening. Tonight Robby did get her to take a tiny sip of water which is all that she has eaten and drank since she has been home. 
  • I took Campbell and Keaton to our meeting at church. The parents had a meeting while the kids also had a meeting about their upcoming mission trip. Then we headed home for a quick supper. Anderson did find some ice cream that we didn't know that we had in the freezer, so that called for a celebration with the Wilsons.
  • When they left, I soon was on my way to pick up Reagan at her friends' house. I dropped off Noah, and then we came home for bedtime since it was after 11. Bentley is currently sound asleep on our bed-we will let her sleep her for a while before putting her in her kennel. We hate to move her if she is resting.

June 22, 2021

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  • Today wasn't the relaxing summer day like yesterday. It was a bit busy. I had to wake everyone up early so we could head to the Arkansas Foodbank at 9. We barely made it on time, but we did. Not only did we have to grab breakfast for the road, but we also had to bring bathing suits and lunches since we were making a day of it.
  • At the foodbank, there were lots of people there this morning. Usually we are the only volunteers working our shift, but today we were joined with 20 other young people. They were using an assembly line to fill boxes. 
  • Whitman actually helped them a good bit. His task was to put a box of potatoes into each box that passed by him. He did really well, and I think that the boys that were over there helped him out. My big boys worked on breaking down all of the boxes that were used during this process.
  • This left the rest of us cutting bags for fruit. Their fruit goes in these mesh bags which come from rope like spools. Once the bags are cut, then they have to be tied at the end. We made thousands of these bags. So many that we had to take breaks using the scissors because our hands were sore. It was a bit of a boring job!
  • We worked and worked hard during from 9 to noon. I thought that we worked so hard that we deserved Sonic drinks to enjoy on our way to the pool. After picking up the drinks, we headed to the pool and stayed there for 2 hours. Campbell and Keaton even snagged a later ride and stayed for one more hour before coming home.
  • I don't feel like we were home very long before we left again. I was able to finish getting school ready for the kids this next year. It isn't all ready since I now have to go back and do some fine turning of stuff, but I am definitely closer and everything has all the things that they need (well, except for reading books for Reagan and Anderson's english class at Comm Central and there is one more book that I really want to do for Reagan but I'm not too sure if I really want to do it.)
  • Reagan went swimming at someone's house, so Anderson, Graham and Keaton accompanied me to drop her off. Anderson isn't big on running errands at all, but we had shoes to exchange. We had bought him shoes that arrived today online which were too small. We found replacement shoes, which of course were more expensive. As the man was ringing me up, he asked if I was a first responder and could receive 10 percent off. I clearly said that I was not, but he still gave me 10 percent off. That just about made up for the difference in my shoes which made me do a happy dance. I did have to confirm with Anderson that I did in fact answer his question correctly since I did get that 10 percent off.
  • Back at home, Campbell made supper for everyone-chicken nuggets. We watched some you tube videos and then I promptly fell asleep right before it was bedtime for the crew.

June 21, 2021

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  • This seemed like our first real summer day-I guess it is officially the first day of summer. The weather didn't feel summery at all, but what all happening at this house did feel like summer. What all was happening? Nothing-and it was wonderful. Well, it was wonderful to me, but the kids were a bit bored.
  • They were so bored that by 11, we were playing a game in the living room. I guess I might have been a bit bored as well since I did manage to do most of my chores plus I took Bentley on two different walks today. 
  • Now right now, I can think of about 15 things that I should do before bed, but really what kind of fun is that? I am slowly working on getting everyone's school ready for next year along with straightening my school room closet. Some summers I have to take everything out of it. Thankfully, it isn't that bad this year, and I should finish it up by the end of the week.
  • We didn't really plan on going to the pool today. At 2 when it still hadn't rained yet, I decided that we would load up and go. I hadn't told anyone when I walked by a window, and it looked like it was about to pour.
  • However. it didn't rain at our house at all today. We plan on making it to the pool tomorrow though. It did rain on Robby and I as we were out tonight-it poured on us. And that rain made us chilly the entire time we were out eating supper. 
  • We did also stop at Walmart and pick up a new bike for Keaton. Everyone else got new bikes last year, but she just got a hand me down. Now she is official and has a new one. She was worried that Robby won't be able to get it on the back of the camper-I might be a bit worried too!
  • The evening was kind of quiet which was nice. I think that I might could take a little nap before it is bedtime-that is how quiet it is in this house!

July 20, 2021-Happy Father's Day

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  • Last night when the kids went to bed, Keaton asked me if they should make Robby breakfast in bed. I said that they didn't have to do that. However, shortly after my alarm went off this morning, in walked Campbell and all of her brothers and sisters.
  • That girl had gotten up early, made pancakes, sliced strawberries and mixed orange juice for everyone, along with waking everyone up for them to come downstairs to give Robby his breakfast and cards. That whole task just overwhelms me-waking everyone up was definitely probably the most difficult part of her job.
  • Robby was definitely impressed with his breakfast in bed along with his cards. It didn't take too long for us all to start getting ready this morning. Before I knew it, it was almost time for us to be loading up for church.
  • And that is when I realized that I had only briefly seen Reagan when she was in our room giving Robby his breakfast. I rushed upstairs to find that indeed she had fallen back asleep. Bless it. She took it fairly well that she only had about 5 minutes before we left, and she was in the car when everyone else loaded up.
  • Our Sunday school class was way down today. I think that all of our kiddos were on vacation this week. After our class was empty, we gathered the kids and headed to Grannymom's house for lunch.
  • She had a 4th of July meal prepared for us-hamburgers and Oreo delight. It was all delicious. Afterwards, we gave Grandpa his Father's day present. Just like with Robby this morning, we did forget to take a picture of him and all of the kids.
  • Then it was home for a Father's Day nap....for me. Robby didn't take a nap since he did some oil changing work. He stayed busy until it was time for us to leave for Pops' house. We ran to see him and delivery his Father's Day present before we headed to the pool.
  • It was just us and one other set of friends at the pool tonight. But we stayed until they closed. At home, we did have a bit of downtime before it was finally bedtime.

July 19, 2021

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  • This morning we weren't able to sleep in much because the little 4 had swim team practice. My alarm went off with only about 30 minutes until everyone needed to wake up, get ready and leave. Robby encouraged me to just go ahead and hit snooze one more time. That left us just a little bit of time, but we were able to get everyone out the door and to practice on time.
  • While they were gone, I worked on laundry and even made some banana bread. Actually, this turned out to be a banana cake. I am trying to find the perfect banana bread recipe-does anyone have one for me to try? We have one that we like, but it isn't made in a loaf pan. And I need one in a loaf pan so we can slice it to toast on the Blackstone when camping.
  • The others returned home, and Robby and I started on a little repair project. We did pretty good actually! I'm not really sure what we did the rest of the morning and afternoon, but soon we were loading up and heading to the pool.
  • We stayed there for about 3 hours-we have been to the pool 6 days this week which is Dennie personal record. Whitman and Campbell could stay at the pool all day long. Really, I think that Reagan and Keaton could also stay forever too. Now, Graham and Anderson could easily take a pass on the pool most days and did today even.
  • When we did come home from the pool, Robby and I were home for a bit before we left again. He picked up some oil to change the oil on the camper. Then we used a gift card at David's Burgers for our supper and picked up Subway for the kids. 
  • Back at home, I folded more laundry-always laundry. I think it is summer and the frequent pool visits, but laundry, laundry. laundry is about to make my crazy! I did sneak in some tv time before we sent everyone to bed.

July 18, 2021

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  • I had been looking forward to this morning all week long-we would be able to sleep in a little bit. Sometimes things just don't work out like you plan at all! Bentley was up and ready to go at 7:30 this morning. Last week she was happily sleeping until 9, but I guess after a week of having to wake up early for VBS her sleep schedule has changed.
  • Campbell's friend came over to spend the night. Those girls have been busy all day long-actually, I just remembered that they started making shirts this morning, and I said that I would finish them but haven't even thought about it yet.
  • The girls even pulled out Bentley's pool that we received (for free) in the mail. We thought she might enjoy it-she did not. She isn't a water dog at least right now, and that is fine with me because I sure am not a water girl either. She would only get in when we put her in, and she would unhappily put one paw in to try to get a toy that we were keeping from her.
  • Robby was off work today so he stayed busy around the house smoking meat and even left for a bit to run some errands.
  • I did some speed painting in the boys' room today to finish up their trim work. I didn't paint behind the beds-I know I am a super slacker. You would think that two whites are not that different, but if we ever move furniture at all, then I will have to pull out the paint brush for sure.
  • Reagan, Anderson and Graham had a kickball event at Raymar this afternoon. So they returned hot and sweaty and with 2 friends. This house has been basically like a revolving door of children this week. We have had 4 different people spend the night on 4 different nights along with having extras over here tonight. Bless Whitman, tonight at bedtime he was asking where everyone was sleeping. I told him, and then he said, "what about those other people?" He can't even keep up with all of the people that are here. I feel the same way and it is all just a bit stretching!
  • I am a person that loves a routine, a schedule and a plan. Summer is not like that, and I am quickly learning that being a mom to older kids is not like that either. 
  • We did load up all of the kids-9 tonight-and head to the pool for a little bit. Robby went to get pizza while the kids swam. We stayed until it was almost closing time. I think that everyone had fun, and when we headed out, I am sure that the pool was empty...since we left with 10 kids. 

July 17, 2021

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  • This was the last day of Camp Geyer (VBS), and surprisingly getting everyone up and going was not too much of a problem. Kennedy and Reagan were the last ones to wake up since I am sure that they had also been up the latest last night.
  • My group went very well, and soon I was gathering the kids to head outside for the family picnic. We had heard that lunch was going to be sandwiches. I wasn't too excited about a turkey sandwich and was hoping for a ham and cheese croissant instead. However, we were all super shocked to see ChickFilA sandwiches as our lunch.
  • There was also a snow cone truck along with three different water inflatables. Needless to say, I didn't seem my kids too often. Reagan was helping work the bouncys. Graham and Anderson were hanging with their friends, and Campbell, Keaton and Whitman were having a great time on the bouncys.
  • Whitman was ready to take off to go jump, but I did make him get his sandwich first. I told him that he could eat it later, but I was afraid that if he didn't get his sandwich then they might just run out. I don't think that they ever did run out since Anderson even ended up with an extra one. 
  • We stayed until they were shutting down the inflatables which left me just about 10 minutes at home. However, I was able to sit down and have myself a 3 minutes nap. Of course that 3 minute nap didn't do much so I did take a coke and candy bar to keep me awake enough to drive to Benton.
  • Keaton and I spent some time folding clothes at the pregnancy center before we headed home for a little bit. At home, Robby was making supper for tonight-chicken and beef roll ups.
  • We then loaded up for the pool. This is our 4th visit to the pool this week-our numbers are adding up. My pool numbers sure look good this week, but my nothing else numbers. No treadmill, no cleaning anything, no getting things ready for school, nothing has been done around here except for VBS and swim. I guess the kids are happy though!
  • We spent the evening at the pool-these are the best nights where it is comfortable to just sit and visit without it being hot or buggy. The kids had lots of fun and pretty much were in the water all evening long.
  • It was late when we get home so my crew was up until almost 11. The boys have a friend over spending the night, but he is already asleep! 

June 16, 2021

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  • Day 398 of VBS or at least it seems like it. This was a super early morning because the swimmers (Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman) had their first swim team practice. We have missed the other two so this one we didn't really want to skip.
  • They were out of the house by 7:40 leaving me and Anderson the only ones awake here. I did some laundry, did the dishes and then played on my phone a little bit too long because when I went to double check that Reagan was awake (she was not), she only had about 15 minutes until we left.
  • After swim, Robby took the others to Grannymom's house to change clothes, and then they came to the church house. Campbell was in my cooking group today so that was fun to see a familiar face. Well, there are many familiar faces but we had almost 50 in our group today.
  • When VBS was over, we headed to Nonna and Pops' house for lunch. They had quite a few choices for us, and we pretty much gobbled them down. We stayed there until Reagan, Graham and Campbell almost fell asleep. Then we went home.
  • At home, as soon as Bentley calmed down, I also fell asleep. I was super tired today. I had my little nap and was soon braiding Keaton's hair for the pool. When Robby finished mowing the yard, he took the little 3 to the pool. They could have stayed there all night long but did come home after 2 hours.
  • Meanwhile, I took Reagan to a party and picked up a few folks on the way. Then it was back home to do some cleaning. I did vacuum the entire downstairs-Bentley was rather curious about what I was doing. She didn't want to be near the vacuum, but her head was always sneaking out trying to see what I was doing. 
  • Before too long it was time to pick up Reagan. I ended up with another one too so Reagan and Kennedy are now sneaking around in the garage looking for something in the fridge out there. (Cameras are such a fun invention!) Everyone else is sound asleep-I think that they are all as tired as me, but just won't admit it!

June 15, 2021

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  • What a day! What a long day! Summary: VBS, pool, swim meet, Wilsons, bed. 
  • Long version: Bentley was awake to go potty way too early. It is a good thing that she is cute and soft, or we wouldn't be happy about her being up early. Actually, I was happy because when I looked at the clock, I still had about 2 more hours to sleep.
  • Today was color day at VBS. I looked for Whitman an orange shirt, but the only one I found he wasn't too keen on. So I pulled out his VBS shirt (which I paid for), but that didn't float his boat either. However, I paid for that shirt so he wore it. He didn't care after he put it on though so all was well.
  • I know that the kids had a good day today. They were disappointed that we had to leave right at noon. They all wanted to stay a bit longer. On our way out, Whitman's science track teacher told me how smart he was-she complimented my homeschool skills, but I had to fess up that he learns most things from you tube.
  • Robby had a yummy lunch made for everyone. We all ate, and then I headed out the door. I had my yearly mammogram today (already received my all good results as well). When I walked in the waiting room, there was a sea of people waiting. I worried that I would never be able to meet the kids at the pool. However, within just a few minutes they called me back.
  • I then met Robby at the pool. All of our crew was there for a few minutes at the same time today-about 27 kids were in our group today. It was crazy, but the kids love it. I tried to leave a few minutes before I did, but Reagan asked to stay. (Reagan doesn't get a lot of activity-so after 2 days of VBS and 2 days at the pool, she was sound asleep tonight when Robby left to go to the Wilson's house).
  • We ended up staying 3 hours-Campbell and Graham stayed another hour with Sara. When they came home, I grabbed new towels and left with Campbell, Graham, Keaton and Whitman for the first swim meet of the season. Now, there have only been 2 practices so far and my kids have missed both!
  • First off there is Whitman. He abhors any and all competition, racing and speed. I talked to him this morning about me just wanting him to swim across the pool one time today-that's all just one time. Turns out he did swim across the pool one time for me today earlier in the day while we were swimming. He thought that checked the box and didn't realize that I was talking about during the swim meet.
  • Now, Whitman only swam the freestyle tonight since he can't really do the back stroke. He did it! And really he swam his hardest-he didn't win! He was about 2 body lengths behind the others, and zig zagged down the lane. But he did it, and he wasn't sour doing it. Now, later in the evening when they passed out awards, he was a bit sour that he didn't get one. But my Whitman recovered nicely and was soon just fine. He'll probably never win a swimming award, but swim team was so good for him last year and I know it will be for him again this year.
  • When he did finish his race, he got out of the pool. I was telling him how good he did and how proud I was when he stopped me to ask, "I just have to do it once, and I'm done?" I said that was right, and he promptly replied, "ok, good" and went off to play in the fountains.
  • Next up was Keaton. She is just pretty fast. First in backstroke and freestyle for her age group. Campbell was 3rd in backstroke for her age group. I think her group is 11 and 12 year old girls, and some of those girls are much taller than her. Both girls did really well tonight.
  • Now Graham sure didn't want to go to the swim meet tonight, but when he heard they were passing out the ribbons he wanted to stay. He knew that good things were in store for him since there really aren't that many boys swimming that are his age. He won first in freestyle (and he was at least a foot taller than the other boys) and second in backstroke. And bless it, Graham so asked me to take a video of him swimming-I thought I did! Let's just leave it at that.
  • After we finished, we ran home so they could change their clothes. Then we met up with Robby and Anderson at the Wilson's house. Reagan was just waking up over here. We had hot dogs and Dairy Queen cake for supper which was all delicious. 
  • We stayed over there until it was nearly 10, and then came home to get things ready for tomorrow-swim team early in the morning followed by VBS for everyone. Then lunch at Nonnas and maybe a relaxing afternoon. 

June 14, 2021

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  • Honestly from the time we arrived home yesterday until bedtime, I had clothes going in one or both washers and dryers. I was on a roll. I even stayed caught up on folding and had piles of clothes for the kids to put away this morning on the kitchen table and even upstairs in their hallway. 
  • However, there was much drama about people not being able to find things. Graham couldn't find shorts, Anderson couldn't find shirts, Reagan couldn't find under clothes. It was madness. I was no help because I just kept telling people where they could find their clothes and reminding them that if they put them up properly they would be able to find them.
  • After a good 10 minutes of drama, I soon realized that there was a whole laundry basket of clothes left in the camper. I am not sure how we could own anymore things that could be washed, yet we did and they were still dirty.
  • People were then asking me if they could dig out articles of clothing from this pile. Of course this answer was no since those clothes has been smooshed and baking in the heat since this weekend. Thankfully, everyone found something decent to wear, and we were able to leave for Camp Geyer (VBS) on time.
  • Let's also talk about this-I had big, busy plans for this week. It will still be a busy week, but the things that I would like to accomplish may not just happen. I guess I forgot how busy a VBS week is. Then when you throw in pool visits with friends plus a few other things, there is no way that I will get around to painting the trim in the boys' room, cleaning the school room closet, or pulling out school for anyone this week. VBS is hard, it's just Monday, and I need a nap!
  • I will say that even though things started out crazy, my group was great. I helped with cooking-and it was lots of fun. We made home made pop tarts. I honestly can't wait to try them to see if they are any good. Maybe we should make some at home.
  • After church, we came home for lunch and some chores. I am not really sure who got their stuff done, but I was able to read with Whitman. We are reading the second Harry Potter book, and I really want to finish it before school starts up again.
  • We met some friends at the pool today-Anderson and Graham were the only ones that stayed home. Everyone else went and had a great time. Keaton is already getting quite the tan. The kids just have such a good time there with their buddies. 
  • After the pool, we brought one of Keaton's buddies home. They painted, played, jumped and ate spaghetti for supper tonight. The others just vegged out until it was finally time for bed. And since there is no extra time tomorrow, I am going to work on laundry and plan my Sunday school lesson for Sunday....at midnight.

June 13, 2021-Collide Camping Week and Dennie Family Trip

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Even though it was hot yesterday during the day, it was cool last night while we were sleeping. Bentley slept well again last night (I know, I talk about her like a baby-but really, she is the Dennie wildcard right now-none of my other people eat carpet or poop in the house...well, on the floor.)

As soon as Robby and I did wake up we started working. Even though we love our camper and camping, it is a lot of work. Hotel or renting a house is a lot of hard work too, but I do think that this might be a bit easier...or maybe it is more fun. Either way, Robby started on the outside things while I started on the inside things.

Dana came by to say bye and dropped off some leftover doughnuts and popsicles. Both of those helped get my people out of the bed. Pretty much everything in the camper that can be washed has to be taken in washed after a trip this long. So anything that I could do this morning to help our unloading/unpacking.

Before too long, Grannymom and Grandpa came over to say goodbye. Then it didn't take us too much longer, and we were on the road too. The kids were surprised when the looked up and already realized that we were almost home. 

Catherine's Landing was not only close to home, but it was a pretty neat spot to see. Robby and I are big fans of the state parks-especially state parks with trees. Catherine's Landing is certainly missing tree-it is really a glorified trailer park. Ha! We would definitely try to get another site there when we visit again so we would be closer to trees, but that would mean that we be further from the swimming pool. 

Once we were home, we started on unloading. Robby worked outside while I worked inside. The kids bounced from helping me and him. Within 30 minutes, we had finished unloading the car and the camper. The kids help so much during all of this. I mainly work inside just boxing stuff up and telling them where to put things-freezer, dad's office, laundry. 

We had been home for about 30 minutes when the neighbor wrote and asked if the kids wanted to come swimming. Of course, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman were in their bathing suits before I had written back. Graham migrated over there for a little bit too.

The big 3 all had a meeting for their mission trip tonight at church. I drove them there, and Sara brought them home. When they returned home, the boys and Noah joined us in watching the Hogs play their ballgame.

While we were watching the game, I heated up bbq for supper. Unfortunately, the hogs didn't win...and it was probably because I didn't take a nap during the game. That always seemed to give them good luck. After the game, Noah left. Bentley got a bath and Robby and I worked on cleaning the camper.

Probably the highlight for the boys today was hanging up their LED lights that they received for Christmas. They were finally able to hang them since their room is now painted. Whitman was thrilled to see the lights in his room and I think that he was having a dance party at bedtime!

June 12, 2021-Collide Camping Week and Dennie Family Trip

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There should have been no sleeping in this morning, but when you rely on a dog to be your alarm clock you are taking a chance. Bentley has been waking up at 6ish to go potty, but today it was Robby waking me up after 7 with Bentley still snoozing in her kennel.

This little group of Dennies were making breakfast for the big group of Dennies. This took a bit of planning to have everything ready by 8:30-well, even with our planning we still didn't have everything ready by 8:30. 

Robby started first with cooking the 2 pounds of bacon. He then cooked sausage while Campbell made orange juice and Keaton started cracking eggs for the scrambled eggs. Next up was the hashbrowns and scrambled eggs on the griddle while Campbell and Keaton were making a few pancakes. (And yes, we had about 20 pancakes left!). When it was time to eat, I pulled the biscuits out of the oven and they were cooked pretty perfectly. 

Did I mention that it was hot this morning? I am not sure how Robby and Campbell did it-they were both standing over the griddles for the longest time. Oh, yes Virginia brought some banana bread which Robby also heated up on the Blackstone. And this is an aside, but I do think that there is nothing better than banana bread heated on the griddle-well, the butter probably is what makes it so tasty.

After eating, folks kind of scattered. We soon put on our closed toe shoes and headed to check out the zipline-leaving the outside and inside a mess. We had dishes galore to wash still and just left them setting out.

We did find out that there were spots for the zipline at 11:30 so we cooled off at Grannymom's cabin for a few minutes. My people, Grannymom and Jenna all did the zipline course. Robby and I have done a few ziplines and were impressed with this one. 

There were 10 runs and they were all pretty long-some were really long and pretty. Of course any ziplines that we do make us really want to take everyone to Soarin Colorado in Durango. Some day we do plan on getting the kids there. 

The zipline course was beautiful, fun and hot. Gracious! I know that our helmets and harnesses were just dripping with sweat when we turned them back in. Now Whitman didn't do the zipline this fall when we went to Mountain Home. However, that kid was not afraid at all. He was the first one on pretty much every run. 

Now Anderson is the only one of mine who doesn't really like heights, but he didn't have a problem at all doing it. He didn't lean back like Graham did or the girls, but he did enjoy himself. Grannymom was a bit hesitant to go on the course with us, but I do think that she enjoyed every minute of it.

When we finished, we headed back to Grannymom's cabin to eat our lunch. Sometimes there is nothing better than sandwiches. We gobbled up our food and enjoyed the air conditioner. Then my crew headed back to the camper.

Dana had rented a boat so Keaton, Campbell and Graham went with her on their second boatting run of the day. While they were doing that Anderson joined me and Whitman at the pool. Anderson and Grannymom then met Reagan and joined the boatters. Graham came back about the same time that I returned with Whitman. And when Campbell and Keaton were finished, they went to the pool with Anderson and Whitman again.

There were lots of showers during this time making it pretty difficult to keep up with all of the people. Thankfully they all returned home before it was supper time. Les and Robby ran to McClards to pick up bbq and tamales for our supper. 

Many of the kids said that they preferred Robby's bbq over McClards-that is a big compliment. However, McClards tamale spread just can't be beat. It was certainly my highlight of the meal. We ate outside and it was certainly pleasant. 

Josh sang some songs on the guitar while some folks played baggo outside. It was really a pretty perfect end to our family trip. 

June 11, 2021-Collide Camping Week and Dennie Family Trip

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Bentley stirred first this morning-well, I had to go to the bathroom an hour before she woke up. Of course that meant sneaking over Robby while trying not to wake the dog. It probably would be polite for me to try not to wake Robby up, but there is no way I can get out of this 4 foot high bed without a bit of a commotion plus having to crawl over him before getting down. It is surprising that I don't wake the dog or the kids. And I have been drinking water like crazy today so I am sure that I will have at least one bathroom trip tonight.

This morning we had the traditional camp breakfast of donuts. Ha! Robby had seen a Shipleys nearby yesterday when we were running errands so that was this morning's breakfast. Campbell, Keaton and Whitman all went with him to pick them up. While they were gone, I straightened the inside of this thing-there is always blankets and pillows and beds to unmake in the mornings. Graham also got the outside ready for the day which was a lot of work.

They arrived with the doughnuts, and we ate outside. It was a pretty pleasant part of the day. Thankfully there was decent cloud cover most of the day long, but it was still hot and sticky. Maybe not as hot and sticky as it was yesterday, or we are getting used to the warm weather. Today Reagan asked if it was always this hot this time of the year. I mentioned that this was in fact June so yes, it probably is always this hot.

Fairly early this morning we walked back down to the water. Again we shoved Bentley in and again she quickly swam back to us. Probably instead of saying that she can swim, we should say that Bentley can swim 1 foot-that is about as far out as they could get her without getting soaked themselves. 

The kids rode their bikes some this morning and are still enjoying their electric scooters and hover board. We did spent a lot of the morning tracking Grannymom and Grandpa. They came to our campsite when they arrived. After a bit of visiting, we pulled out our lunch.

The air conditioner in the camper has struggled to keep up today. It has been so hot plus trying to heat a tin box setting in the direct sun is probably difficult. Currently though it is chilly in this place-it finally has cooled off tremendously (like maybe I will turn the heater on in the bathroom when I take my shower.)

Pretty much all of us ended up at the pool this afternoon. I even got it-the pool is pretty much like bath water so I was even able to get in. Whitman was just as happy as he could be playing in the splash pad area. That boy loved that splash pad area and could stay there all day long.

As we were swimming Dana and her crew arrived, and shortly after the Mississippi Dennies arrived. Robby had the baseball game on so that held most folks attention as we prepared supper. It was around 7 when we ate tonight-that was our intended time since 7 is when it really is finally comfortable outside. 

We had taco salad for supper along with camp fire cheese dip. It was all delicious and fairly easy to prepare. There were some baggo competitions as waited for it to cool off so we could make s'mores. By the time that we finished our s'mores, it was nearly 10 and folks started heading back to their cabins. The kids helped us clean things up and get stuff ready for tomorrow's meal. 

June 10, 2021-Collide Camping Week

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Our goal was to let the kids sleep as long as they could this morning especially the camp kids. I think that we succeeded. Bentley did have to go potty at 7, but then she went back to sleep until 9. Around 9, Keaton was the only one who was stirring, so we whispered to her that we were going on a walk and headed off with Bentley.

We walked the loop once before coming back to see if anyone else wanted to join us. Keaton was still the only one awake, but she still was just laying in her bed. Robby and I then walked down to the next loop and walked it. 

Back at the camper, we just stayed outside until folks started to join us. Whitman did come out the door and say, "I thought that we were in a new spot." We really aren't too sure what he was thinking unless he thought that they went to a new spot after swimming yesterday, but since we ate outside last night at the same spot surely that isn't what he was thinking.

Today was the first day that it was just plain hot. And it wasn't just hot, it was sticky hot. When Robby and I did get back from our walk, we were pretty drenched in sweat. That really just continued for the rest of the day. 

We were in no hurry this morning since check out wasn't until 3 and check in wasn't until 1. The only reason that we left when we did was because of the weather-it was showing that some rain was coming. Now, we did have a few sprinkles on the 40 minute drive over, but that was fine.

When it was time to hook everything back up, Anderson drove the car around the loop and get it behind the camper. Then they hooked up the trailer before we drove to the main park road to hook up the car. We just did that in the middle of the road-there wasn't any traffic. It was warm doing that-once we timed ourselves hooking the car up, and it takes less than 10 minutes, but again we were still hot when we climbed back in the frigid camper-thank goodness for air conditioner.

Before long we were at Catherine's Landing. It is a neat park-completely different than the first part of our week. Degray is more rustic and natural while this place is a bit slick. We don't have much shade here so it was warm as we unloaded. There was still a small chance of rain so we didn't set too much up initially. 

We pulled out our leftover pizza for lunch which was thankfully finished. Our fridge isn't huge-we always do fine packing in it, but when you start adding in leftovers then things get a bit crazy. Now, it probably doesn't help that I am a "food overpacker." I just can't help it-I don't want anyone to go hungry. I could feed my people for the next 2 weeks-we probably wouldn't be that happy, but we would not be hungry.

After everything was set up, Robby and I headed out with Keaton and Bentley on a walk. We walked a ways-we pretty much did the outside loop of this whole place. We inspected the pool, the cottages, the zipline, the wooded sites, the water sites and the dog parks. There was one place we didn't get to-a pavilion with rocking chairs.

We didn't go there because it was just too dang hot. It was a bit shady when we left but that didn't last long at all. It was just hot! I know that the dog must have been hot too. I stopped a few times at empty sites to turn the water on for her. Now when we did make it to the boat ramp we stopped there too.

We think that the water here is the Ouachita River, but we aren't too sure about that. What we are sure about is that the water was ice cold. Robby, Keaton and Bentley walked down the boat ramp. Bentley didn't want anything to do with it-and once they pulled her into the icy cold water, she sure didn't want any part of it. 

It took a bit to get her down far enough that she could swim-she didn't want to go and Robby and Keaton were getting frostbite from the water. She was able to swim a few strokes-she probably would have figured out how to do anything to get out of that water. We will try again probably tomorrow though. Now that cold water must have made her feel good though.

Probably what did make her feel good was the bath that she took next. Robby, Campbell and Keaton went to the dog wash place to wash Bentley. I stayed in the lawnchair under the canopy and snoozed. While they were gone, it sprinkled a little bit but that didn't stop my nap. They returned all too soon with a good smelling dog.

There was more setting up of camp, but afterwards Robby, Campbell, Keaton, Whitman and I headed to the pool. By this time I had cooled off and didn't feel the need to get in the water, but I sure could have. The water was perfectly warm. It was especially warm compared to the river water or the splash pad water. Whitman had so much fun at the splash pad that I know that he will be ready to go back there tomorrow.

Robby left first so he could shower and start on supper. Then Campbell left-we are set up right near the pool was I was able to watch her walk home. Then Keaton and Whitman finished and headed back for their showers. 

It had perfectly cooled off tonight when we finally ate our supper around 8. Robby can grill up some quesadillas in no time at all. They were delicious, and I think that most everyone really enjoys them. After we ate, some rode bikes, some played hide n seek with walkie talkies, but everyone stayed outside for a bit since the weather was so nice.

It took us a while to clean up outside-who knows if it is going to rain tonight. So we have everything in a pile on the picnic table with a tarp over that and the tent lowered all the way above that. The bikes and clothes rack are under the other lowered tent. I'm sure that we don't have to go to all of that trouble, but that is us. 

Once we came back in the camper, we had to clean things up in here. Eight people is a lot of people in a tiny space-ha! I am always picking up after people at home, but it just seems worse in the camper. Sometimes I think that no one knows where the trash can is! Ha! Thankfully in the camper it doesn't take long at all to clean this place up.

Soon the crew were all in bed and I was working on the blog! Tomorrow will be another busy (and hot) day so we will try to sleep in as long as possible!

June 9, 2021-Collide Camping Week

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What a busy day this has been! But it has certainly been worth it because we are all back together again. The campers are home! 

Our morning started at 7 when I had to get off our bed to go to the bathroom. I think that I have mentioned this before but if not here goes-the head of our bed is against the side of the camper which means that my side of the bed is up against the back wall.

There is a small space, almost too small to walk easily, but we have filled that space with a tv, a fan, and when not in use a dog kennel. At the foot of the bed, specifically right in front of my spot, is Bentley's kennel when it is being used. So the only way to get out of bed is to crawl over Robby. 

This morning when I woke up. I looked at the clock and it said 7. Usually by that time, Bentley has pottied and has moved from the kennel to our bed. I felt around for her and didn't feel her, so I debated getting up knowing that I would wake her up. But eventually, I couldn't wait and as soon as my foot his the floor, I could hear her tail wagging.

Robby did take her out and then we were able to sleep until 9. Actually, I didn't sleep, but I did rest and play on my phone. You know those days when you have so many things to do that you just keep going over them in your head-that was this morning.

We moved pretty quickly this morning. Most things were picked up-inside and outside. Inside because adding 3 more people in an already small space makes you aware of what can be picked up, and outside because we sure weren't going to let things get wet again.

A little after 10, I headed back towards home. The kids were supposed to arrive back at church around noon (at least I thought so), but by the time I was almost home their arrival time had been pushed back until 1:30. 

That was fine because at home I went to town on my list. I washed the laundry that I brought with me. Then I printed my full page list and when down it. By the time I went to pick up the kids my list was finished....except for their laundry.

Graham was the first Dennie that I saw. He looked tired and was hoarse. Soon Anderson and Reagan's buses pulled up. Anderson was not as hoarse as Graham, but he also looked hot. And Reagan, well, she just looked weary. Ha!

They had such a good time, and I heard all about it on the way home. They were quick to ask for ChickFilA for lunch. And I was quick to say yes especially since we had already decided that I would take them there. I even sprung for milkshakes-I thought that would soften the blow to them that as soon as their laundry was finished, they were heading out camping and to meet up with the rest of the family.

They didn't really seem to mind too much-they were just confused about where we were going, why we were going and when we were going. I am not sure that they understand even now. They unpacked their bags and had showers as soon as we made it home. Anderson said that it was the best shower he had ever had.

It only took 3 loads of laundry so by the time that the third load was in the dryers (I split it up to help with drying time), I had 2 kiddos asleep. Graham and Reagan were sound asleep with Bentley sleeping with Graham. When I woke Graham up, he asked me what day it was. I thought it was Thursday so I told him. He asked "really?" and I said that it was. Then I quickly remembered that it was still Wednesday. You know you are sleeping hard though when you wake up and ask what day it is.

We were able to pull out about 6, even though I had hoped to get away at 5:45. It worked well though because there was little traffic-just some slow downs during the construction. I picked up pizza in Caddo Valley and soon we joined the others.

Now Robby's day-when I left, it was starting to mist outside. He was getting a concerned that their planned day at the lake was going to be a wash out. So their first activity was making cookies. After their cookies were made, the sun started to come out. Soon they headed down to the swim area.

Of course I had to car, so that left him with no wheels-actually he was left with a big set of wheels-the camper. It is too far to walk to the swim area and really too far to ride bikes while carrying stuff. So yesterday we scoped out a route and parking. 

They stopped on the way to dump, and then made it to the swim area. This was the day that Campbell and Keaton had been waiting for-the weather was perfect and they had a long time to swim. Robby pulled the rig right up the picnic tables, opened the awning and got out a lawn chair.

They kids played and played. They found rocks, they played in the sand, and they even made friends. When Campbell and Keaton saw a truck pull up with a big mat in it, they said that they sure hoped they would get to play with them.

Sure enough after a while, the kids with the mat asked our kids to play with them. They had the best time on the mat. They jumped, swam and just wore themselves out. After staying for about 3 hours, and getting a bit of a sunburn, they headed back to our spot. Well, before they even came back, all of the kids had showers-Whitman had a shower outside even.

Robby had some work to do because he had to hook the camper back up. Not only did he hook the camper back up, he cleaned this place up. When I arrived with a car full of food, clothes, and kids the camper looked spotless.

We all ate our pizza outside. Robby first said that maybe we could eat inside, but soon you realize that all 8 of us is just a lot of people to eat inside. We can do it, but it takes some thought. It is like one of those logic puzzles-if one person moves here, then another person has to move here which causes another to move somewhere else. 

Most of the evening, I spent putting away the things that I brought. Robby did get his early Father's day gift tonight-a portable baggo board so that was one activity tonight. The other was making Campbell's lava cake that she had picked out to make. They had made the batter before we arrived, and the soon the dutch oven was hot and the cakes were cookies. 

The first batch of lava cakes were pretty good. They were more like pudding or custard and not a lava cake, but it was good so it wasn't a fail. We stayed out until dark, but soon started heading in. Anderson was quick to ask if we could make his bed-so that was done quickly. 

This is probably the earliest that our crew has been in bed on this trip, but I know that the bigs are exhausted. Anderson said that he had about 3 hours of sleep last night, and Reagan got one hour of sleep so of course they are running on fumes. Hopefully everyone can rest well tonight and catch up on some sleep. 

June 8, 2021-Collide Camping Week

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So I've never been in a monsoon-well, after this morning I think that I might have. It started raining sometime during the night, and it rained and rained and rained. Now I am sure that most people would not enjoy the rain, but Robby and I sure did.

The rain was great until it wasn't! Maybe you could say that the rain wasn't great when we were having to shout to hear each other because the rain was so loud. Or maybe you could say that the rain wasn't great when we saw that the tent collapsed outside because of the wet of the water. Or maybe you could say that the rain wasn't great when we had to go outside and take down the tent during the monsoon.

Actually, it was still a lot of fun! I would rather be outside in the rain while camping than inside in the dry at home. We were able to salvage the tent though it is a bit crooked-we will just chalk it up to memories. This morning we were a bit concerned about making it through the day keeping the people entertained.

However, there was no need to worry since it is 10:22 right now and we have just started a movie and just put cookies in the oven. When we finally all started stirring this morning (around 9), we made cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We recently did them on the blackstone which was delicious, but the oven was much more practical during the rainstorm.

Then before too long we loaded up and headed to Malvern. It took forever for us to get there because of the rain. Robby and I were both having to drive as in I helped make sure that he was staying within the lines. 

Our first stop in Malvern was Larry's Pizza. We all enjoy Larry's and don't really eat there very often. It was very good-let's see I ate a honey mustard chicken, baked potato, tomato and some other types of pizza that I thought I would be able to remember! Ha! My favorite is still the dessert pizzas. My Whitman wouldn't even try one of the dessert ones-he was too focused on eating his cheese pizza.

After eating, Robby did give the kids some money for the game room. This was a highlight for them. They were in the game room by themselves-I think that they took advantage of this a little bit and found a way to earn themselves more tickets than they probably skillfully could get. 

They ended up getting over a hundred tickets which they then divided. Now figuring out what to buy with their tickets took them a few minutes. I do believe that the choice for most was a sticky hand! From Larry's we headed to divide and conquer. Robby dropped the kids and I off at Walmart, and he headed with the laundry to a laundromat. The plan had been for me to do the laundry and get a Walmart order tomorrow when I run home to pick up the kids. 

Instead we decided that Robby would do some of the laundry while I did the pick up of the groceries. Of course laundry takes a bit more time than our shopping. We were able to browse the clearance section, look at toys and even look at some clothes while loading our cart with groceries. 

By the time we left Malvern, the sky was lightening up, and it had finally stopped raining. When we returned to the camper, we first let Bentley out to potty. Then we started laying out things that needed to dry. We had things to move around from the camper to the car and things from the car to put in the camper. It took quite a bit of time to get everything organized, but when we did we took off on a bike ride.

Well, the kids went bike riding while Robby, I and the dog just walked. We eventually headed to the playground down by the water. Robby was making plans for his activities tomorrow while I am gone with the car. 

And finally we were able to roast hog dogs over the fire tonight. That was one of the things that Campbell and Keaton wanted to do so we were glad that the weather cleared enough tonight to do it. We had already taken our lights and tent down since more rain is coming tonight so it was pretty dark when our hot dogs were finally warm. 

After eating the girls went to the bathhouse to take a shower while Whitman took his shower in the camper. Robby and I picked up some things inside before we turned on the movie. It took a bit of time to get the movie started, but when we did Keaton started working on her peanut butter cookies.

We finished the movie while eating cookies right before bedtime. It was really a pretty perfect day.

June 7, 2021-Collide Camping Week

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 Oh in the middle of the night we heard the rain pitter pattering on the roof. It was so magical. Campbell, Keaton and Whitman also said that they heard the rain, but they didn't seem to enjoy it like Robby and I did. There was at least one clap of thunder this morning, but Bentley didn't seem to mind. She has heard quite a bit of thunder today and hasn't seem to be bothered by it at all.

Everyone slept until almost 9 this morning. It was so nice. We had planned on making pancakes outside, but the weather prevented that. Instead we just pulled out the skillet in the camper and made our pancakes inside. The smoke alarm only went off once so that was a good thing.

Robby heated up some sausage and the girls pretty much did all of the pancake work so it was a pretty easy breakfast. Robby had to do a bit of work so the girls rode their scooters around the loop some. I walked Bentley for a bit, but soon we were loading up to head to Hot Springs.

The main reason we went was to have an activity on this rainy day and to buy some groceries for the big family trip this weekend. However, when you are in Hot Springs can you really pass up a trip to Fat Bottomed Girls for some cupcakes? Keaton and we decided on cupcakes while Campbell and Whitman opted for ice cream.

After eating,we decided that we better walk across the street to see the National Park. I didn't have my passport books with me so we did just stamp the stamp on a few pieces of paper which I will put in our books later. And of course I asked for Junior Ranger books for the kids to complete later. Keaton and I sat down and did most of hers when we came home.

We also toured the bathhouse-I don't think that we had ever toured the bathhouse before. The kids were less than impressed with the bathhouse. I think that the kids uttered words like "spooky," "creepy" and "torture chamber." They were also pretty confused when Robby and I told them that we had taken a bath there. They could not understand why we would do such a thing. I will say that I don't really ever have to return to Hot Springs to take a bath.

After the bathhouse, we headed to Sams to pick up a few things. We were able to find what we wanted without much trouble. We bought some things for this weekend. There were a few more things left on the list, so Robby put in an order for Walmart to deliver when I run home later this week.

Then we headed back to the camper. On the way to the camper, our phones started buzzing about upcoming weather. We hoped that we wouldn't run into any weather, and we didn't. However, our phones still acted like we should take cover. So we grabbed the dog and headed towards the bathhouse. I was in Arkadelphia at school when a tornado destroyed some of the town so I do probably take a few precautions.

There was another lady there and another couple soon joined us. We stood outside and just watched the weather. It wasn't really doing much at all-it rained, and rained enough for Bentley to get wet. She got so wet that we needed to give her a bath when we returned home. 

There wasn't even any wind so we felt pretty safe. Eventually the ranger did drive by telling everyone that we were all clear. It was still a rainy mess so we settled in for the evening. We had planned on roasting hot dogs over the fire-that is one of the meals that the girls wanted to make. Instead we had leftover chicken spaghetti and sandwiches. 

We then watched the Hog game-thankfully Robby didn't have to get on the roof to find a signal tonight. I did take a little bit of a nap during the game before waking up to play Oregon Trail with the kids. Whitman has been wanting to play the game forever so I stuck it in for us to do on this trip. We all lost quickly-dyssentary, broken leg, drowning-Whitman proclaimed that he didn't think that this game was really for kids. 

We watched a few camping videos of camper vans tonight before it was bedtime. Keaton is planning on becoming a flight attendant and living in a van so she is getting some ideas!

June 6, 2021-Collide Camping Week

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I struggled with writing a name for this week's little trip. I settled on Collide camping trip since the big kids are at Collide while the rest of us are camping. And who knows our camping trip may just turn into a whole week.

Robby and I didn't jump up when our alarm rang this morning. I think that we were pretty tired from our painting yesterday. I thought that Robby was awake when I asked him last night if we would hire someone the next time that we needed to paint. I ended up waking him up, and he did mumble something about "probably not."

We had church this morning followed by Sunday school. I think that we had 14 in our class. Folks are slowly starting to bring their kids back to church. My kids have heard me say over and over lately that I want them to be people that bring their children to church-all the time, every time, no excuses. Though 14 in a Sunday school class is nearing being full-now our class is full of sweet little kiddos so it is just fine. But Keaton's class is a bit rowdy and 14 of them would be too many for me.

After church, we rushed home-we were ready to go and Bentley needed to potty. It started pouring right when it was time for us to leave for church. She refused to go potty in that rain, so she was put in her kennel without pottying. She was fine though and cared more about greeting all of us than getting outside.

We ate lunches, folded laundry, and changed clothes before loading up in the camper. The first little bit of our trip, Bentley was pretty antsy. She was walking back and forth through the camper. We eventually decided that she was looking for Reagan, Anderson and Graham.She eventually settled and before any of us knew it, we were pulling into Lake Dregray State Park.

Even though I was so close to all of this during college, I never knew that this place was so large. We wound around and wound around until we eventually made it to our campsite. We tucked back in the woods on a pretty secluded site. And when I say pretty secluded, I mean there is just one other camper in this loop. 

Later Robby wondered if we should have driven around to look for another site, but this one is just pretty perfect. One of the first things that we do when we arrive is to level the camper. The site was pretty unlevel today, but man we got this thing perfectly level. However, Robby said that we are so level that the shower drains a bit slowly.

We walked around the loop, and the girls and I even snagged some firewood from a deserted site. We didn't get anything out since the rain looked like it was coming in fast. We did decide to all load up and go and check in. 

I stamped my State Park booklet, and then we drove around the park. We saw pretty much everything and did stop at the swimming hole just to look at it. After checking the weather and seeing lots of rain over the next few days, we decided to let the kids swim if they wanted to.

Of course they wanted to so we ran back to the camper for them to change. It is funny because those spur of the moment things are not as easy with so many others. We went back to the swimming area, and they swam and swam despite the thunder.

We had thrown in life jackets and were glad that we did. The kids enjoyed swimming, with their life jackets, to the bouys at the edge of the swimming area. They did that twice and were pretty exhausted when they returned. They were able to swim for probably about an hour and a half.

We thought that the thunder was going to interrupt our swimming, but it never did. In front of us where the kids were swimming, the weather looked perfect. Behind us though it looked like the bottom was about to fall out. 

When we did go back to the camper, the kids took showers at the bathhouse. Then after much more checking the weather, we decided that it wasn't going to be too wet. So we pulled out the tent, lights, rug and grill.

The girls helped plan most of our meals for this part of the week. Keaton picked chicken spaghetti and that is what we had tonight. We heated it up on the grill while we also toasted bread. The bread was buttered with butter that the girls had shaken and made tonight. Making butter was one thing that Campbell added to our summer bucket list so that is now marked off the list.

We had a pretty relaxing evening-eating a delicious supper, watching the Hogs, making s'mores and just having a super great time. It was a bit difficult to get the Hogs game on-our internet signal isn't too strong. So the best place for Robby's phone to be so we could see the game was on top of the camper. Robby climbed up there, plugged his phone up and threw down the cord so we could watch the game on the tv. Despite the ending of the game, I told Robby that I could go home tonight and be perfectly happy. He wasn't too sure about that since we have worked pretty hard today setting everything up.

It has been a great day though. And it looks like from the pictures that the big kids are having a really great time at camp.

June 5, 2021

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  • Today was paint day. Well, really paint day should have been in early January, but we continued to put it off until today. This probably wasn't the ideal day to paint, but we got it done-well, we got most of it done.
  • Graham was the first Dennie awake this morning. He had on his pink clothes as soon as he came downstairs. That boy was ready for camp-this is his first youth camp since he missed last years. 
  • Reagan was also awake pretty early this morning. We do know that the other night, she was painting signs at 2:30 so who knows when she was awake last night. Originally today, I had planned on the big kids riding with me when I took the Campbell and Keaton to a birthday party. We opted for me to come back home, but Reagan was so disappointed when I told her. She said, "but I'm ready." She certainly was ready for this week. 
  • Anderson doesn't really show that he is too excited about many things, but I know that he was also anxious to get himself to camp. Though I did feel a little guilty sending Anderson to camp-I made him put his breather in his bag and not follow the rules and turn his medicine in. I'm a rebel like that-I figure he is more likely to use it when he needs it if he doesn't have to track down the nurse to give it to him plus I really trust him not to use it to get high (and I don't really think that you can get high on an inhaler-wait, I just googled it, you can, but my Anderson won't. (at least I hope!)
  • Nonna and Pops came over this morning to see everyone before they headed off for camp. They had just gotten back from their trip and brought us some apple butter.
  • Soon it was time for me to take Campbell and Keaton to a friend's birthday party. It was a swimming party, and they had lots of fun swimming despite the rain. And as I left, I tried one of the cake pops, and it was certainly delicious. 
  • I then ran home for a minute and left again with the campers. They couldn't wait to get out of the car-though it took forever for us to carry all of their things inside the churchhouse. I am not too sure at all how Reagan will manage to get herself to her room since she will have so much stuff.
  • Back at home for a few more minutes (my life the last few days) and I was gone again to pick up Campbell and Keaton from their birthday party.
  • Finally, once I made it home this time, I stayed and we began our painting. The boys room is much smaller than the girls, but we were moving fairly slow today. We did get everything done-Robby did have to take a break to go and pick up supper. 
  • We don't pay the kids for work-but today, I sure did. I had a list of things that I needed for Campbell and Keaton to help with, along with a little bit of painting. They worked hard and definitely earned their money. 
  • We finished with our painting around 9 and finally finished picking up around 10. The girls and Whitman all went to bed a bit sooner than the others. Whitman is happily sleeping under the girls' desk since his room is pretty paint fumed tonight.

June 4, 2021

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  • Some days are just full of nothing but work, and today was one of those days. Let me be clear though, the only ones working were Robby and I. The kids, well they didn't do a bit of anything. It is summer time so I guess they should get a free day or two.
  • While I was reading my emails this morning, I did jump out of bed to find some library books that were almost overdue. I did have one that was due today-I had already searched the house for that library book. 
  • Later in the day, Keaton and I did run to the library to drop off some books. We also went to the stacks to check and see if our overdue book is there. And sure enough it was-we checked that sucker in and I felt 20 dollars richer (the cost to replace a book). I would have to assume that the book just wasn't checked in properly by us or a librarian when we turned it in.
  • It took me a long while today to fry up 10 pounds of hamburger meat. I was only able to do 2 and a half pounds at a time. Plus I turned all of that meat in to taco meat so seasoning it took a little bit longer. It was 11 tonight when i did finish washing up my pans.
  • Three kids packed for camp today. Reagan didn't need or want any help. However the boys had quite a few things that they needed me to find for them and pack neatly in their bags. I was able to find everything that we needed, and thankfully no Walmart trip was required.
  • Three other kids packed for our camping trip. Campbell and Keaton didn't need much help at all. And now Whitman, who made his own cinnamon toast today, probably could have packed by himself-but it sure was easier for me to just do it really quickly myself.
  • Reagan spent the morning painting signs. I wish that I would have taken a picture of her room last night when she went to bed. There were signs everywhere-like no where to walk at all. Graham was pleased with his 4 that he is taking for his group. Keaton helped him paint some words today, and I even got in on the act of outlining one of the signs.
  • Whitman did make cookies today. I was in and out of the room quite often-when I did walk back in one time, Whitman mumbled something about "Dad telling me I couldn't do it"-he said all of this while cracking an egg. I don't think that he had ever cracked an egg before, but in just a few minutes he had cracked 6-with only one on the floor. And by the way, his cookies were delicious.
  • This evening we went to the pool. We packed our bbq sandwiches for supper. The kids enjoyed it, and we did too. We only stayed for 2 hours because when we did arrive at home, there was still things to do-our plan is to paint the boys' room tomorrow, along with dropping off the campers, a birthday party for the girls, and packing for the rest of us to leave the next day.

June 3, 2021

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  • It's sure been a day. It wasn't all bad, but it was a good thing that Robby did rummage through the freezer last night and found us one stowaway carton of Blue Bell because we certainly needed that little it of happy today.
  • The first thing today was another trip to the park with all of my people. We met up with 2 other families plus a new family. There were quite a few folks at the park, plus another whole group of homeschool folks planning for next year.
  • And I did forget to mention, yesterday when we were at the park there was a day care there. When it was time to go, the teachers looked at Keaton and Sophia and said, "It's time to load up." When she told me, I encouraged her to go and get in the line to see if she could get in the van. She declined, but Whitman offered to. I quickly stopped him since he would end up in their day care van.
  • We ran home for about 30 minutes and left again. This time we were heading to the pool. Anderson was the only one who stayed at the house. He had a tie dye party at church this afternoon so Robby took him while we were pooling.
  • The pool was-well, I really don't know how the pool was. I had fun, but I wasn't in the ice cold water. The sun was warm so that was good, but I spent most of my time cuddling with Jennifer's baby so that was perfect.
  • We stayed for exactly two hours before heading home. Campbell did snag a ride home with Sara so she was able to stay at the pool a bit longer. Everyone else got to help me when we did arrive home. 
  • I asked everyone for about 15 minutes of work. I was shouting out chores and we were getting things done. At one point, Graham asked me why we were doing so much. I was quick to explain to him that I am usually the one who is doing all of this stuff by myself.
  • Again, I was home for about 30 minutes before leaving again to take Keaton to her party and pick up Anderson. However, as I was pulling out of the driveway, I got a text that Anderson was finished with his tie dye party. 
  • Thankfully, I hadn't already headed the other way or I would have had to call Robby. He wasn't the last one to be picked up even though we just don't live that close to the church. I picked him up, and then headed to drop of Keaton for her summer starting sleepover.
  • And once again, I was home for about 30 minutes when it was time for Graham's crew to start showing up. I had all of the things for them to tie dye the shirts that they brought. Robby had even bought them poster boards to paint with pink paint since his color next week is pink. 
  • We had bbq for the kids to eat-I had all of the food set out inside, but after seeing who much water and dye were on these kiddos, I quickly told Robby that we were moving the food outside. I think that the kids had a good time, and they were just here for 2 hours so it wasn't too long at all.
  • After they left, the kids helped pick up outside. It wasn't bad at all-it was so decent that Robby and I took a quick walk around the loop with Bentley.
  • I worked inside for a bit before I found Robby in the camper working. I brought more work-the grocery list/menu for the next few days that we had to go over. The kids stayed up a bit later today, so when it was bedtime there were no complaints at all.