July 30, 2021

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  • I woke up a bit earlier than usual despite Bentley sleeping later than usual. This was because I knew that I had a short morning here at the house, and I wanted to accomplish the three necessary morning tasks-laundry, dishes and walk the dog (I am trying to figure out how I can start doing the dishes at night consistently.)
  • After finishing all of that, I loaded up with Reagan, Anderson and Graham to go to the Goodwill Outlet store. This is unlike regular Goodwill stores and really it was unlike anything that I had ever seen before. 
  • It was just a warehouse full of bins that we dug through looking for treasures. Some, well most, of the contents of the bins should be in a dump which was nearby. However, occasionally you would find something worthwhile. Reagan did find 2 shirts, and then we bought 2 books and a little toy.
  • On the way, Reagan told the boys that we would be there for a long time. I set in ready to pass the time and look through the bins, but before 15 minutes was up Reagan was finished. I guess she decided that we really aren't that poor. And it was probably good that we were leaving because when I watched Reagan pick stuff up-she did it with a scowl on her face and pinching it between two fingers.
  • I sure did hand sanitize my hands and even my arms when we left. It was definitely a place that we do not have to return to-I prefer the highway 10 Goodwill. Of course since we had left the house, Reagan and Graham felt that they needed a treat. I am becoming a softy like Robby and ended up stopping at Starbucks and Sonic on the way home for them.
  • At home, I pretty much dropped them off and then headed to meet Robby, Campbell and Keaton at the pool. When I got there Robby left to do some work. We stayed until about 1:30 where we rushed home for the girls to shower.
  • Then we loaded up and headed to Nonna and Pops' house Tonight was the night for Campbell and her sous chef Keaton to cook over there. They cooked for a bit, but even had time to run and get snow cones.
  • I didn't hear too many reports about the meal-the lava cakes weren't done all the way and the mashed potatoes were still runny. However, I do think that the meal was still a success. They were back home before we made it home from our evening out with the Wilsons. Brett and the boys hung out here while we were gone. 
  • Tonight our cheesecake place was having their grand opening so we stopped there first to buy cheesecake. Then we went to eat Mexican before coming back to our house to eat the cheesecake and watch some of the Olympics. 

July 29, 2021-Happy 13th Birthday Graham!

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  • We started this morning waiting for the birthday boy to wake up! Robby told him that we would go out and get doughnuts, but he needed to be up by 9:30-I am sure that Graham had to set an alarm! 
  • It didn't really matter what time he woke up, we were still getting doughnuts. Campbell was the only one who wanted to go with us this morning on that trek. Well, we had another mission too since we had to pick up the white van from the shop and drop off the mini van at the shop. 
  • Then it was home for birthday doughnuts. I just can't believe that Graham is 13. That means for a few months we have a 13, 14 and 15 year old. We asked him what he would like to do today, and he said nothing. So that is what he got-pretty much he did nothing all day long!
  • I missed my morning walk with Bentley since it was too warm by the time we finished with the doughnuts. Reagan did take her on a walk this afternoon-well, I am not sure how far they had been because when I drove by (from where ever I had been) she asked for a ride back to the house.
  • Around 1, I did load up with all of the girls and Whitman and go to the pool. Reagan drove us there and back-she did great. Not a perfect parking job, but an adequate one. She just isn't too confident, but that will come with time.
  • I left the pool with Eden instead of Keaton and later switched Eden and Campbell for Keaton and Lily to spend the night over here. They didn't have too long to play since it was soon to go out for Graham's birthday.
  • He picked Subway for our supper. The boy loves meatball subs...and they were out! Yep, that is how his birthday year has gone so far (poop in the pool and no meatballs). It is a good thing that Graham is resilient and likes steak sandwiches just as much.
  • We ended the evening with ice cream and watching a silly movie. Currently, the boys are all upstairs on their ipads We have a free trial to Apple Arcade and they are getting their money worth. Keaton and Lily are upstairs in the bonus room, while Reagan is hiding out quietly in her room. Robby just suggested that I finish blogging while he works on picking up the house-he is in his office going through papers so I might just keep on blogging until he gets to the rest of the house. 

July 28, 2021-Happy Birthday (party) Graham!

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  • Since it has been so hot outside, I have been trying to walk Bentley earlier. Today I am not sure if I was later than before of if it was just hotter today. We made our whole little walk until we got to the end of the road-we had about 20 feet left to go in the sun so we turned around so we could stay in the shade. 
  • Then I usually brush her on the table out back when we came back from our walks. However, it is just in the sun and even at 9 it is hot out there. I tried to move to another spot but that made our routine a bit off so she just wanted to bite the brushes instead of letting me brush her.
  • Around 10, I went upstairs to check on the girls-Campbell and her friends had stayed up late last night and woke up a little bit late as well. They made cinnamon rolls for their breakfast/lunch.
  • About that time I left with Anderson for a meeting at church about his Jr. Upward intern position. It looks like he is going to be an intern this year and earn credit for his camps. His meeting was pretty short so on the way home he convinced me that he needed Sonic. That was fine because I needed to run into the library for a few books.
  • I thought that it was just a few books that I was getting at the library. However, since it is time for school, I have been requesting books left and right. I was a bit surprised though when I had so many books that I completely filled my basket and had to struggle to get it to the car.
  • I wasn't home long when it was time to head to the pool. Campbell went with us and we picked up Keaton there. The girls had fun playing-so much fun that we didn't get home until some of Graham's party guests had already arrived.
  • Graham had requested to have just a few friends come over and go to the pool. He had Noah, Chase and Wyatt over. They played basketball at first before we went to the pool for a bit of swimming.
  • Robby ran to get ChickFilA, and the boys ate their food. They didn't put my wrap in the bag so Robby went back to get it. While he was gone, someone pooped in the pool-meaning that they closed the pool. Ugh! At least they were able to swim for a bit.
  • It actually all worked out well, because Robby took the boys to Kroger and they bought ice cream. Then after a bit more playing at home, we had ice cream, sang Happy Birthday and opened presents. I think that he was pretty happy with his birthday party!

July 27, 2021-Happy Half Birthday (Party) Campbell!

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  • We started the morning early today, and we have been moving all day long. I was able to do my dishes and laundry before Robby took the little three to the church house. They had their last Terrific Tuesday.
  • Today it was water day at church so they had a massive slip n slide slide down the hill. There was also some other games-I think hitting a water balloon with a baseball bat was another activity. 
  • On my way to the church house, I picked up Zoey and Eden.  Reagan wanted to go with us to the pool, but we couldn't convince the boys to come. Then I met Robby to pick up our three kiddos from church. Then we also picked up two Crafts, three Stattons, one more Kamp and Laynie to head to the pool to celebrate Campbell's half birthday!
  • She has been planning this party for months, and I think that it just might have met her expectations. Robby bought everyone Sonic drinks before we picked up pizzas for lunch.
  • The pool was pretty perfect today. It was super hot-hot enough that I had to get into the water a few times to cool off. 
  • Robby, the fun dad, ran to get everyone popsicles and ice cream bars for our pool snack today. We had so many left that I offered them to all of the other guests plus the life guards. 
  • As soon as we made it home, the girls all changed into dry clothes. Then it was time to open the presents. Campbell received a wide variety of presents which she was thrilled about. Plus she and Keaton had ordered some things earlier this month, and they just now arrived today so she has plenty of new things.
  • After presents, the girls played a few games. One game that they played was were they all had balloons tied on their legs and had to pop the other peoples balloons. I took Bentley on a walk during all of this because balloons terrify her right now. I returned to two out of breath girls still in the game trying to pop the other's balloon with the other girls all surrounding them cheering.
  • Then there was a scavenger hunt outside that 3 of the girls made up. They did a really good job on the scavenger hunt-I was super impressed. The girls were divided up into two teams and then competed for the best times. 
  • Next up was supper-bbq which was Campbell's choice. We had strawberries and grapes along with our supper. Then there was another heated game-who knows the birthday girl the best. Campbell's brothers and Reagan all competed in this game and won. They were pretty proud themselves especially since we told them that if they won, they would receive candy.
  • We ended the evening with cupcakes for the birthday girl before the guests trickled home. Three girls stayed to spend the night. They were all super easy.
  • Robby did take Reagan and Graham to run a few errands tonight. Well, I guess you could say that Reagan took Robby and Graham-she was the driver tonight since she needs all the practice she can get. 
  • Currently, Whitman is eating candy, the girls are upstairs putting fake nails on, the big boys are on their xboxes, Reagan is upstairs probably advising Campbell and her buddies and Keaton is spending the night with a friend-so it is a pretty quiet evening...finally!

July 26, 2021

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  • I heard a loud clap of thunder early this morning. It didn't stop me from sleeping quite a bit longer. I think that Bentley might have stirred some, but we all slept in a bit this morning.
  • There were dishes and laundry-kind of a theme around here. Then Bentley and I took our walk. In front of our neighbor's house there has been a power line/cable/something hanging down. We are able to walk around it. You really aren't able to drive around it so you have to use our other driveway. 
  • We had been thinking that a delivery truck would tear it down by accident. That hasn't happened yet, and actually we have started getting notes saying that they can't deliver because of it. The power people came and didn't fix it. Hopefully, the cable people who are coming tomorrow can do something with it-or Robby is just going to take his chances that it isn't live and take care of it himself.
  • Robby and I dropped off the white van for some brake work. We didn't really pick a great time to do it since tomorrow we have Campbell's birthday celebration where we will now need two cars to haul everyone around. It will all work out. After dropping off the car, I ran into a few stores to buy some last minute things for tomorrow.
  • Then it was home for a little bit. We took all of the people to the pool this afternoon. I dropped everyone off and then headed with Reagan to get second holes in her ears. She really wanted them, so that is what she got today.
  • We returned to everyone sitting out of the pool due to thunder. Eventually the whistles blew and they were able to swim again. Then not too much longer, thunder happened again. After a few more thunders, we did load up and head home.
  • That was fine since my little 4 knew that they were coming back tonight for more swimming. Tonight they had their swim team party. They passed out the medals and ribbons from Saturday-Graham had 4 ribbons and 2 medals, Campbell and Keaton each had 4 ribbons so they were all pleased. And Whitman enjoyed his cupcake and pizza so it was a good night.
  • Once we made it home, I worked on my library list-school is starting again so my library book count will increase. And there was lots of Olympic watching this evening. 

July 25, 2021

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  • Despite having two extra kids this morning, we were able to make cinnamon rolls, empty the dishwasher, and take Bentley on a walk all before we left. It probably did help that when I rolled out of bed to turn on the oven, Keaton and Rylee were already awake and just waiting on me to wake up.
  • They were pretty pleased with themselves because their Sunday clothes pretty much matched. Keaton didn't know what Rylee had packed and then ta-da they were almost twinkies. Some friends are so easy to have over and others not so much. This friend of Keaton's is certainly in the easy category.
  • Let's see there was big church and then a shortened Sunday school where we then had to say goodbye to our children's person. I will greatly miss her, and I sure know that my kids will miss her. 
  • After church we headed to Nonna's house for our Sunday lunch. It seems like we have missed a lot of church this summer-the kids get confused on whose house we are supposed to go to on Sunday afternoons-it is a good thing that we have it on our calendar. 
  • They had a yummy lunch of BBQ and the fixings. Then after a bit of visiting, it was time to head home for my Sunday afternoon nap. I did run to Shannon's house for a bit to help Layne with some goodie making for church tonight. I am not sure if I was much help but I did come up with a Christmas tree looking thing for the kids to eat! 
  • I did manage a nap when we came back home for a few minutes. Then the boys headed off to Rock Creek for Christmas in July. They had lots of fun-Graham wore a Christmas sweatshirt tonight, but Anderson decided that he didn't want to sweat to death!
  • We tried to go to the pool tonight, but we had to turn around due to thunder that we kept hearing. It never rained here, but the thunder rumbled for a food while. We then had our supper and some Olympic watching at the Wilson's house tonight. We stayed out until when we came home, I just had time to write the blog before putting the people to bed!

July 24, 2021

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  • This morning started early with the City Swim Meet for Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman. It was warm, but we were able to stay in the shade most of the time. The kids were in the sun, but I think they faired pretty well. 
  • All of my kiddos swam the freestyle with Whitman doing the backstroke, Campbell doing the breast stroke and Graham and Keaton doing the butterfly. Graham, Campbell and Keaton will all end up with ribbons from their races. Whitman did come in 9th in one race and 8th and above received ribbons so that was close. (Though bless-his first race his goggles fell down again and his second race he looked like he was swimming lazily down a stream with no cares or hurries at all. He was living his best life!) 
  • All of the kids were in a relay race or two. I am not really sure the results of those-well, from what I saw winning isn't everything and they had fun! Ha! Overall the kids did enjoy this swim team year. I'm not too sure if they have learned a lot or much at all, but they did get some good exercise and have some fun.
  • The swim meet was supposed to last until noon, but we were out of there by 11 so that was a wonderful surprise. We went to Sam's to pick up some waters but the free food truck was sitting out front so you know we all got out. We had lemonade and ice cream bars before going in.
  • We did our Sams shopping and even stopped for a churro, pretzel and some icees before going outside to pick up some more free food-burgers and cookies for most folks and a chicken wrap for me. We love fun and free treats.
  • Back at home, we did not much of anything. Well, the house is at least straight-well, my areas are straight. The kids' rooms are looking a bit deplorable. After straightening some, I had a little nap-well, actually I had a long nap. Like had to set my alarm so I could wake up-it was wonderful.
  • I did run to church to pick up one of Keaton's friends to spend the night. One of the boys' friends came over as well so we have a house full tonight. The boys migrated to their bedroom and stayed there most of the time except for a bit of basketball playing.
  • The girls did some tie dyeing before we ran to the pool for a few hours. We picked up ChickFilA for supper, and then swam until the closed the pool for the evening. Currently the girls just finished making cotton candy and have settled in to watch an episode of Supernanny. After that is over, I plan to put this house to bed!

July 23, 2021

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

July 22, 2021

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

July 21, 2021

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

July 20, 2021

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

July 19, 2021

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

July 18, 2021-Lake Catherine State Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 17, 2021-Lake Catherine State Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 16, 2021-Lake Catherine State Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 15, 2021

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

July 14, 2021

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

July 13, 2021

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

July 12, 2021

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

July 11, 2021

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