November 30, 2021-Christmas in Michigan

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Silly Bentley woke up at 5 this morning as well, but she didn't need to go to the bathroom so she just climbed up in the bed with us and went on back to sleep. We have to assume that a train came rolling through at about that time each of the last two mornings. The real test will be in the morning.

We didn't really hurry this morning, but we did move fairly quickly once the cinnamon roll were made. And really, just a note to self-baking for over 45 minutes in a camper only makes a camper hot even in the winter. We survived since we were just able to open the door and cool things off rather quickly.

The weather today was pleasant. Even though it is noticeably cooler tonight in Indianapolis, the sun was out, and we were comfortable throughout the day. I am not too sure how long we drove today. Around noon, we stopped in Casey, Illinois. 

Casey is a small town with lots of big things in it-largest bird cage, golf club, pencil, wind chimes, mailbox, and a ton of other things. We parked in the Baptist church parking lot-we felt so at home there that the kids pulled out the football and jump ropes while Robby did some work.

Then we walked up and down the streets of Casey for a little bit. I walked in a few stores looking for something fun, but I never found anything. I was tempted by a coffee shop that advertised their hot chocolate. 

Instead, we walked back to the camper, and I started fixing lunch for everyone. I was going to list what all we ate, but I sure can't remember it. I do remember that I split my croissant into two-had one side with peanut butter and nutella and the other side with cheese-then I put both sides in the panini maker.

After we ate, we were soon back on the road. We stopped for gas, and then had one more stop for Robby to send a couple of emails. We were trying to hurry since we had somewhere to go tonight, but the traffic was a certain mess.

We eventually made it to our campground tonight. It is an interesting place. There are lots and lots of full timers-fighting the cold weather wouldn't be where we would choose to be full time. After unhooking the car and plugging up really quickly, we were off.

We went to the Indiana Historical Society for their Festival of Trees. The building that it was in was absolutely beautiful. It was so, so pretty-grand windows, grand staircases. There were around 75 trees decorated through the museum each one with a different theme. Different businesses and organizations decorated each tree. 

We were able to vote on our favorite tree (some of our favorites were a ChickFilA tree, a postcard tree, a shoe tree, an orange tree.) Also there were 10 pickles hidden throughout on different trees along with a little puppet to find. It was a neat little stop. 

After we finished looking at the trees, we dove around downtown for a little bit. Then it was back to the camper. Campbell took Bentley on a walk while I started on our supper. Tonight's supper was bbq along with beans and mac and cheese. 

After Robby and I took Bentley on one last walk of the evening (hopefully), Reagan helped me make s'mores for everyone. Most folks had showers tonight, and afterwards we started a movie. Robby and I had some pecan pie while we ate. And shortly afterwards, it was time for bed for my tired folks.

November 29, 2021-Christmas in Michigan

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Bentley woke us up at 5 this morning. Robby said that she really did have to potty because she pulled him to the grass as soon as they got outside. We knew that she really had to go because she was trying her best to get out of the camper and off of my bed. After she pottied, everyone went back to sleep for a good long while. 

It was a very restful night even though we can hear trains going by near us. Right now this campground is less than 1/4 full. They must just be using two or three rows since we are all piled in here together. Now, it seems like there are a whole bunch of different people here now than there were last night. Currently, we have huge class As on all sides of us. It makes our camper look little for sure!

Once we did get up and start stirring, quite a few kiddos took Bentley to the "playground." I use the quotation marks because it isn't really a playground-it is just 2 swings and a slide. Then when they returned we all headed to the car. Robby had Bentley in the camper-but she knew we were leaving. She walked out the camper door twice and tried to head to the car. Once she had her treat though, she didn't mind being left for a bit though.

Our first stop this morning was the St. Louis Science Center. This had been on my list for a little bit, and today we were able to mark it off. Now, Whitman loved the place. He was in heaven and could have stayed there all day long. We knew he would enjoy it-and we even looked at buying a membership (it is free, but does have some perks. The real perk would have been free admission to one of the science museums at home. However, that seems to be not a thing right now.)

We walked through every room and exhibit that we could go through. The most interesting thing to me was the different types of soil from each state. The soil from Arkansas was called Stuttgart soil and was from there. There were lots of hands on things to do which everyone really seemed to enjoy. 

When we finished the museum, we headed to Fitz for some lunch. The portions were huge and a bit pricey, but it was really good. We walked a block or two on our way back to the car-the weather is pleasant today. It is probably a bit colder than yesterday, but the sun is out so that does make a big difference. 

On our drive back to the campsite, we drove right past an ikea. We didn't stop then because we needed to get back to Bentley. However, we did put it on our day's plan. Back at the camper, we gathered pajamas and any other dirty clothes and did a quick load of laundry. The other day laundry costs us 2.50-today, it was 6. Oh well. You only live once and sure don't want to live in stinky clothes.

We did the laundry and watched a movie. Then it was time to take a few shoppers to IKEA. You know we couldn't miss a new Ikea. Reagan, Graham, Campbell and Keaton went with us to the store. It was just about 15 minutes away. 

And what do people who are traveling for another few days with limited space buy at Ikea? Well, they buy lint brushes (lots), potty brushes (8-for the camper-use for a trip and then throw away), dish brushes (50 cents so I can't not buy 2 each time), plastic bowls (I only have 2 in the house), and 2 shelves (for over Whitman's bed-and not too small-5 foot each.) Whoops! I was trying to not buy any big things!

We hurried on through the store-we never seem to be able to take our time. We then headed back to the camper. We ate our suppers-lunch leftovers for Reagan, chicken spaghetti for Keaton and Campbell, grilled cheeses for Anderson and Whitman, also a grilled swiss cheese for Graham, a roll up for Robby, and Thanksgiving sausage cornbread for me. 

We then headed off to Ted Drewes for some ice cream. No St. Louis stop is complete without Ted Drewes custard. It was incredibly fun tonight since half of the parking lot was turned into a tree lot. I have never been to a Christmas tree lot before. 

They also had a gift shop that we had not seen before so of course I found a stick for the camper. Then it was custard time-m and m, oreo, oreo marshmallow, turtle, and chocolate and peanut butter were all of our choices. As we were standing there eating our custard, a man who was walking by asked his wife if she wanted to drive by candy cane lane on the way home.

Well, Robby and I looked at each other-we wanted to go...and go we did. Robby did some research and Candy Cane Lane was a street right behind Ted Drewes. The whole street was all lit up and were raising money for charity. Then just a few blocks over was Angel Avenue another Christmas decorated street. We had Christmas music playing, and it all was pretty perfect.

When we came back to the camper, the beds were already ready so it didn't take long for folks to get into bed. Currently, we are half way through our movie and are about to stop it for me to take my shower. Then it will be bedtime. Tomorrow is a travel day-a short one, but who knows where we will end up and what we will see.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2021: 26 Days Until Christmas

This is our 10th annual Christmas ornament countdown. I would be that most people do not put their Christmas ornaments on spreadsheets so they can easily see which state they have come from and exactly how many they have. However, I do-we have a total of 319 ornaments from all 50 states plus ornaments from 12 different countries/territories. There are a lot of memories hanging up on my trees.

Even though I do have quite a few ornaments, by the end of this year I will have done a blog post about each and every one of my ornaments. There is a possibility that I might collect a few more before the end of this year, however; those will make it to next year's blog. Who knows what all I might showcase next year-though I do already have an idea. I actually have half as many ornaments to talk about this year as I do other years since most things have already been showcased. That means that the Christmas ornament countdown will skip a day between posts.

I certainly hope that you enjoy my Christmas ornament countdown this year. We will start with an ornament from a bucket list trip. The Albuquerque balloon festival had been on our minds for a quite a few years. Since that camper had never been to New Mexico, and since we were able to snag a site to camp there, we jumped on it.

The Balloon Festival was so neat. We were able to see the balloons launch 2 different mornings and see the evening glow twice as well. It made it so much neater as well that all of the grandparents were there with us. The folks there were so good to the kids-they were able to pull the burners, fold the balloons, and even hold them. It was such a neat experience. We won't return for a few years, but we will definitely return. Here is the post from our first day there.

November 28, 2021-Christmas in Michigan

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So let's talk Bentley first. Great dog, love her, perfect dog-oh my word she sheds like you wouldn't believe. Now at home I brush her every morning, and I can see the hair coming off. I also notice hair on one side of my comforter at home, but other than that I don't feel like we are living in a sea of dog home.

However, in the camper-hair, hair, everywhere. Oh my word. She is being brushed multiple times a day-always outside, but that doesn't seem to matter at all. I guess when you have 8 people and a hair dog living in 300 or so square feet then the dog hair has to go somewhere. And where her hair has gone is everywhere. Like we are going to have to go to Walmart tomorrow and buy more lint rollers. I practically went through one yesterday getting lint off of Robby's dress coat. 

I'm sorry that you all think that we are completely nasty people. If I would have read those two paragraphs above a year ago, I would have unfollowed this blog. Now I have just embraced it-not really, I am going to find the right tools to get rid of some of this hair. I may just shave the dog.

This morning though-our alarms went off at 6:40. We didn't move too fast, but we were out of bed before the second alarms rang. We got ready (doesn't take long), picked up the inside (doesn't take long), and then went outside. Robby unhooked, and I walked Hairy or maybe I should say Sheddy.

Then we pulled out of the rv park and drove just a bit before hooking up. It was pretty chilly-well, the ice scraper that Robby bought just in case came in handy for the car. It had a thin layer of ice on it this morning. Hooking up the car was no problem at all, and soon we were on our way.

We had 5 or so hour drive this morning to get to Marceline, Missouri. Now, the morning moved pretty quickly. Bentley sat in my lap most of the time. She did go and lay with Graham and Anderson for a little bit. They were the first ones awake-of course they wake up since they are in the living room area and definitely noticed us coming in and out of the door. And really, when this thing is started, it sounds like a semi warming up.

Robby had a cinnamon roll for breakfast while I had yogurt and granola. We passed our time by listening to some podcasts about people robbing armored cars, and we also listened to church to even things out. We arrived around 12:40 and found perfect street parking at the boyhood home of Walt Disney.

This place had been on my "Places to Visit" list for a very long time so I was super glad that we could stop here today. It was a neat (and pricey) little museum all about Walt Disney and his 5 years in Marceline. The neatest things I read about was Walt wanting to have a theme park in Marceline. However, he died before Disney World was completed and Roy decided to focus just on that park. Isn't that interesting how things could have been different if there was a Disney something right near home?

After we left the museum, we walked around outside for a bit. They once had the Autotopia cars from Disneyland in this town. They have since been removed due to age, but the track that they were on has been made into a sidewalk-a curvy sidewalk that the kids enjoyed playing tag on. 

Next up was walking around the town-there were some trains (Walt loved trains and Marceline is a train town). Also there was a cute little downtown area that we walked some of-mainly seeing the corner Coca Cola store which Casey's Corner is modeled after in Disney World. 

Then it was back to the car for another good little chunk. We had hoped that we would beat the sun setting. However, we made it to Hannibal, Missouri just as the sun had set. Hannibal is the home town of Samuel Clemens-otherwise known as Mark Twain. Reagan and Anderson just finished reading Huck Finn at Comm Central. Whitman also seemed to know a bit about Tom Sawyer because he was pretty excited about getting to take a picture painting a fence just like Tom did. 

In Hannibal, we took pictures at a Tom and Huck statue. Then we walked by the Mark Twain's house. Becky Hatcher's house was next door. Then we walked on down the Main street. It was a Hallmark-ish town. There were Christmas lights, and it would have been a perfect little town-except that everything was closed...and it was closed.

After the walk, we hurried back to the camper. Then we had just about 90 more minutes to get to our camping spot for the night. We are in the middle of St. Louis. We can see the arch from the campground which is pretty cool-also the you tubers that we watch are traveling Route 66-and on tonight's show they were camping at the same rv park.

It is a rv park run by a casino. We are right across the river from downtown-so I guess that we are really in Illinois tonight. It took us a little bit to level the camper, but then we started working on supper. Tonight's supper were frozen chicken sandwiches-they ended up being pretty good. Though heating up this many sandwiches in the microwave took a bit. It actually took so long that we made fries in the air fryer and then started heating the rest of the sandwiches in the air fryer.

It was a perfect supper. After we cleaned up supper, Robby and I took Bentley on a walk-a short walk because it was cold. She did some of her business before we hurried back in the camper. We then started getting our beds ready for the evening. It doesn't take long at all.

It also doesn't take long at all to heat up the little bathroom in the camper. Robby turned that heater on for me, and soon it was nice and cozy in that bathroom. I had my shower-and thought about staying in there for a good while, but I knew that my nightly movie was waiting.

November 27, 2021-Christmas in Michigan

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After our movie last night, we told everyone that was still awake to go to bed. Anderson, Reagan and Whitman were the only ones still awake. It was well past midnight, but those three were going strong. Now Anderson and Reagan would go to bed when they were tired, but Whitman there is a fear that he could stay up all night long.

Of course we slept wonderfully well. I did wake up at one point and needed to go to the bathroom, but I was afraid I would wake people up so I just went back to sleep. Now, when I finally did wake up when Bentley climbed back into our bed, Robby told me that it was almost 9.

Robby then suggested that we watch a movie since no one else was awake. Bentley promptly fell back asleep in the bed before the movie had begun. We are watching a Hallmark movie series and have about 7 more to go before finishing it up. 

After our movie was over, we started getting people breakfast and even encouraging folks to get ready for a trail walk. The weather was gorgeous today-it was almost 60 degrees and so nice outside. Reagan and Anderson stayed back during our walk, and really they missed lots of beautiful scenery.

Where we are parking is almost like a parking lot-there is a bit more room, but first glance there is not much to it. Now, if you are a mountain biker, then this is indeed the place for you. There are all kind of trails on paths and even through the woods happening right here.

We had planned on walking the same little loop and trail that we had did yesterday. However, we kept walking through this park area and came to all kinds of pretty spots. There was a stream and little waterfall. There were cave areas to explore and even a chair with a wooden back shaped like Arkansas. 

It was so, so neat. There was one picnic table right by the little waterfall/stream area that I really wanted to have a picnic lunch at. Oh, there was even a rainbow swing-a tree that had fallen but not all of the way. It made the shape of a rainbow, and there were two swings on it. It was so, so neat. 

We could have kept walking, but we decided that we better turn back. So we started on the trail that we walked yesterday. It is through the woods, but still just a little bit above the campground so you are still able to see the campers-and don't feel too far away from things. 

Yesterday, there was a stump that Bentley would not go past-she was terrified of it. Robby had to pick her up to get her to go past it, but today she sniffed that thing and walked on like it was not big deal. We walked to where we left the trail. Robby went back to the camper so he could have Reagan and Anderson work on their showers, while the rest of us continued on to the bike track area.

We stayed there for a little bit watching other people and exploring that area. Then we walked back to the camper. We all started getting ourselves ready for the wedding this evening. The wedding wasn't until 4, but by 2 we started the getting ready process. It is a little bit more difficult in the camper-one bathroom and the only other place to change clothes is in my bedroom. So it does take us a bit more time. However, we were ready in time and looked pretty decent.

The wedding was very nice. It was a pretty little venue right near where we are camping-it was another city, but still close by. We were there a tiny bit later than I would have liked, but it worked perfectly because we found us some seats on the last two rows and even had room for Shannon and Layne.

The wedding was short and sweet. We then found seats for dinner. Robby and I sat with some grownups leaving the kids at their own table. I think that they were just fine with this. We were in the back so it was perfect for us.

Supper was salad, rolls, chicken or pork chops, mashed potatoes and green beans. Then there was cake! Whitman really love the dancing along with the glow stick thing that was passed out. He was in his element. Whitman was not ready to leave and could have stayed on the dance floor just a bit longer.

We then headed back to the camper, where we did a load of laundry. Then it was time to make beds and time for us to watch another movie.

November 26, 2021-Christmas in Michigan

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Even though it was a trip day and I usually wake up early on trip days, for some reason I didn't today. Robby was already wide eyes this morning, but I was a bit slower to get out of bed when my alarm clock went off. I still was dressed and ready with the laundry folded and trash cans emptied before any of the kids started stirring.

Actually, I tried to start waking them up before taking Bentley on a little walk. I guess I didn't do a very good job because when I came back from our short walk, everyone was still in their beds asleep. I tried again, and this time I did have more success. 

We had planned on leaving around 10 this morning, and I am pretty sure that we did leave at about that time. I'm not sure, but that is at least my guess. We got on the road-I was about to write that we didn't have a bit of a problem, but that isn't quite right.

We were on 430 when we ran over something. Robby was looking down at the time so we weren't sure if it was something from the camper that fell off or something in the road. Either way, we stopped, and Robby walked around to check things out. Everything looked fine so we pressed on.

The traffic was pretty bad. There was lot of stopping and going. We take a bit longer to stop so I am the self designated co-pilot. Robby at least act thankful for my extra pair of eyes-I know that he is though I do apologize every time I say, "do you see those brakelights up there? sorry."

People are in such a hurry though. Really, if you do see brake lights, you should slow down and not wait until you are on the other car's tail to brake. Gracious me. Despite all of the slow downs, we were still moving fairly quickly until we were about 10 miles from the tunnel.

Then the traffic slowed to a crawl. At least we were slightly moving the whole time and never completely stopped. At one point Bentley and I did get out for her to potty. We walked along the camper as we slowly rolled along. 

Soon after we found out that there was a 10 car pile up in the tunnel, we started watching people turn around. We were a bit concerned that we were eventually going to come a complete and very long stop, however, we never did. We really had no specific time to be anywhere today plus we had a bathroom and all the food we would need.

Just as suddenly as the traffic slowed, it began again. We stopped at a Sams to get gas which was easy. Remember, getting gas is a bit difficult, but today it was fine. Afterwards, it didn't take very long at all for us to find our campsite-Blowing Springs in Bella Vista. 

It is a bit more than a parking lot, but we are right by all kinds of bike trails. Now, we don't have our bikes, but we still found a neat little trail that we walked with Bentley and Keaton. We plan to explore that trail a little bit more tomorrow. 

The game was on during this time. So we finished watching the last half while the chicken spaghetti warmed up in the oven. By the time that the game was wrapping up, I was pouring drinks, scooping up hot chicken spaghetti and cutting bread. Our supper was pretty good if I do say so myself.

When we finished eating, we put Bentley in her kennel and headed out. Our first stop was the Bentonville Square. It was completely decorated for Christmas-it was cold yet it was beautiful outside. There were people everywhere and so festive.

Whitman saw a man making balloon animals. I was quick to tell him no, but Robby is a softee. So Keaton and Whitman went with Robby to get a balloon animal. While they were doing that, Anderson, Graham and I walked through the Walmart museum once again. We have been there a few times, but they wanted to go through it again-maybe because they were interested in it or maybe because it was just plain cold outside.

We met Robby and the others at the end of the museum. The end of the museum was also the end of the line for ice cream. So since we were there-those of us who wanted ice cream had a little treat. Keaton and Robby were the only no ice cream-ers. We found a booth to eat at inside so we weren't freezing as we ate.

It was a chilly walk back to the car though. I did run into an adorable bookstore with Reagan and Whitman. This made Reagan decide that she wanted to read a book, and really probably made me want to work at the library.

The next stop was Target followed by Walmart. We picked up a few essential things-ear buds for Reagan and Anderson, bbq sauce for a soon supper, a dog brush for the camper (man, this dog sheds). And we picked up a few non-essential things as well-mouth wash for the dog (that sounds interesting doesn't it?), candy (for Robby when driving-to keep him awake-well, that sounds essential), drink mixes and even more bbq sauce.

When we came back to the camper, we walked Bentley a little bit more. Then everyone settled in for the evening. A pretty perfect day! 

November 25, 2021: Happy Thanksgiving

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  • Even after staying up late last night, I woke up at a decent time this morning since there were quite a few Thanksgiving things to do around here. Because of the yucky, rainy weather, Bentley didn't get her morning walk. Though after all of the food that she has eaten today, I better make certain that she gets a good walk tomorrow.
  • Campbell made her sausage cornbread-it is one of my favorites for any holiday. Graham made his favorite-corn casserole. All of the kids soon were helping prepare the traditional cracker, meat, cheese and fruit turkeys.
  • Now, just a few years ago everyone seemed to really enjoy this. This year, however, Anderson and Graham were ready to be done. This upset Whitman who recruited Campbell to help him. By the time that they were done, they had fixed Anderson and Graham's hastily decorated turkey. 
  • Nonna and Pops arrived first followed by Jason, and then Grannymom and Grandpa. Dana, Lilly and Cash were next. It was certainly good to have everyone back together again. (Pops was in the hospital last year, Nonna had the covid, and Jason was quarantined.)
  • We had so, so much food-too many to list or to even remember. But I do remember that it was all delicious-it was so good that we actually ate on it all day long. After we ate, we browsed through the newspaper ads. I sure didn't see anything that I needed, but I have already bought a few things.
  • Most everyone stayed for a good while. Then we divided up the food, and all of our folks headed home. It didn't take us long to clean up the kitchen-Nonna, Pops and Grannymom had done quite a bit of that during the day. 
  • Robby did some quick packing of his things. Then the Fergusons came over for a little bit. They had some pie; we had some other food so we just had a second Thanksgiving meal. They stayed for a little bit while we watched the Cowboys lose their game.
  • Once they left, Robby and I took one last load of stuff to the camper. Then we settled into our chairs to watch a Christmas movie. That is what we are doing right now. The kids are all oddly quiet-so we are taking advantage of the quietness before quite a bit of together time. 

November 24, 2021

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  • There was probably a lot of things on my list that I didn't accomplish today, but it was certainly a good day. Bentley and I took our walk this morning. For the longest time, she was skittish on our walks, and I would have to drag her a good deal of the way because she was too scared to go down the street. She has gotten over that and happily walks down the road now.
  • All too soon it was time for us to start on our school work. I had quite a few Christmas library books that I needed to read before we return from the trip. So that was all we did first. Then we worked on our fun little math thing we are doing right now. 
  • We worked on things until after noon. Then Campbell, Graham, Keaton and I loaded up to headed to the library. I really feel like it is Christmas morning every time I get books. Then it was ChickFilA time for those three with me.
  • I told them that they would have to go in and order and pay with their own money. They were talking about Graham buying everyone's and then figuring out what was owed. I highly encouraged them to not do this because it was all too confusing. They were just worried about saving time and didn't seem to agree with me that we had all the time that we needed.
  • Anyway, Graham paid-and they calculated, debated, figured, added and worked on how much was owed for at least an hour after we were home. It just about made my lose my ever loving mind. They finally settled it thank goodness.
  • I did sit down with Robby to watch a short little tv show. And since I was sitting down, I thought that I might just should take a nap.  After my short little nap, I did jump right up and fill the camper with all of our clothes. The kids had brought their clothing to the mudroom so I just had to load it up.
  • The next item on the list was supper. We all ate and worked on cleaning out the fridge. Then I pulled out a few things for tomorrow's festivities. And I also had the kids do one chore each before they started taking their showers.
  • The evening was filled, with not a ballgame, but quite a few Hallmark movies.

November 23, 2021

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  • Well, this was just our second day of our light school work and bless it if we didn't get it done today. Maybe I do need the structure and routine of a regular school day. No, Kennedy had spent the night so I decided that I didn't want to torture her.
  • The kids slept until I started waking them up around 10. Well, Whitman was awake. He even talked about going on a walk with me this morning, but he decided not to. I thought for sure that he would want to join Bentley and me on our walk, but nope his ipad won out.
  • After our walk, I started cleaning up the school room-it wasn't so much the school room as going through everyone's desks and straightening them. The school room looks so much better, but I would have really preferred to have the kids do them and throw quite a few things away.
  • I did run to a shoe store for Reagan to try on a pair of shoes. I needed to know her shoe size in certain brand of shoes. She followed me with Kennedy in the car and then went to Target and the Promenade to walk around for a little bit. It is kind of nice her being able to drive around. And I am starting to worry less and track her even less.
  • The afternoon was spent working on loading food into the camper. Then I worked on the house for a little bit. It is halfway cleaned which I think is enough for sure. 
  • The McGuires came over for supper tonight. Robby made burgers for supper along with cheese dip, corn and beans. It was all really good-and we even ended up with leftovers. We certainly don't need any leftovers in the fridge.
  • We finished watching the Hogs play their game-I am trying to write the blog right now during the game. Graham is jumping up and down. Robby is hollering, Anderson is nervously bouncing a ball, the dog is barking and Reagan is asking questions about when the 3rd half starts. I am not sure about what I have written at all-it is too noisy in here to think. This is clear though-it has been a good day filled with friends and family and it isn't even the holidays yet.

November 22, 2021

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  • The first day of our break-and it was busy yet wonderful. Maybe we will just start unschooling around here. Oh, no one panic though because we still did a good bit of school. We didn't start any of that work though until 10.
  • Before 10, I managed to do my regular morning things, plus I started on cleaning the kids' bathroom. Trust me, that job could have taken the entire day. I cut some corners, and at least it is now decent. It isn't fit for a queen, but that bathroom had gotten so bad that it wasn't fit for anyone.
  • Today I walked through my bedroom and heart Whitman's ipad. I looked around and that child was happily laying in Bentley's kennel. He does love forts, boxes and any small space so of course it was just a matter of time until he found the dog's kennel. Knowing that Bentley has a pretty cushy pillow in the kennel might make it not as bad that my child spent a good bit of the day in that kennel.
  • Campbell, Keaton and Reagan went to Nonna's house today to help her put her Christmas ornaments on. They weren't gone too long, but they had a lot of fun and even manage to get lunch. It is fairly nice Reagan being able to drive her and her sisters there. 
  • Robby and I ran to Costco where we walked through quite a few of the aisles picking up a few things. Then we went to Kroger and gracious, that store was pretty crazy. They were out of the noodles that I needed-I guess everyone is making mac and cheese for Thanksgiving.
  • I tried to pack a little bit today, but that didn't seem like much fun so I wrapped some presents instead and even worked on my lists-they are more fun to make! 
  • Campbell helped me make a chicken pot pie for our supper. We have leftovers in the fridge, but we had been talking about that chicken pot pie for a good while. It actually turned out pretty well-a little runny. Actually it was runny enough that when Anderson came in the kitchen, he said that we have had problems with all of the pies around here lately (he was referring to tonight's chicken pot pie along with Shannon's pecan pie for yesterday.) Despite all of the pie runniness happening over here, they have all been delicious.
  • We took a break from my movie tonight to eat. Keaton made some pancakes for the non chicken pot pie eaters. I am not sure why her pancakes were green, but they certainly were. I guess Whitman and she meant to do that because they didn't seem to be too concerned.
  • Tonight as we were watching a Hallmark movie, Anderson and Graham came downstairs. They both sat down in the living room and started watching my movie with us. After a few minutes and they didn't leave, I had to ask if a ballgame was coming on tv or something. And yes, a ball game was indeed coming on tv.

November 21, 2021

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  • It seems like on Sunday mornings, I am the only one who wakes up and starts moving. I tried to wake up the kids before getting in the shower, but I really didn't have any luck. However by the time I finished with my shower, people were moving around the house.
  • My countdown clock was a little bit less today since Reagan and I had worship care. I guess I have been doing worship care for about 16 years now. Really, I have had some breaks and now we just do it once or even less a quarter. I really feel like I might end up back in that preschool area sometime.
  • After worship care was Sunday school. When we finally got rid of all of our kiddos, we found our own kiddos and headed to Grannymom's house for Sunday lunch. We weren't able to stay too long because it was soon time to head home because our Friendsgiving with the Wilsons was happening tonight.
  • When we came home, the kids helped me peel potatoes, take the ends off of the green beans and start on the rolls. When the kitchen was a bit cleaned up, Robby made some corn flake cookies. Thankfully, that left me time for my Sunday afternoon nap-there really is nothing better. And this dreary weather today was perfect for napping.
  • After my nap, it was time to start on the next step of the rolls. Anderson, Graham and Campbell headed to church with Brett. Soon the Wilson's were over with their food-we had enough food to eat on all week long.
  • Here is what all we had tonight-dumplings, corn casserole, pecan pie, mashed potatoes, ham, mac and cheese, rolls, green beans, stuffing, gravy, corn flake cookies and ice cream. We had a pretty great a meal tonight. Even though we ate late, we still were able to eat quite a bit of our feast.
  • We cleaned up the kitchen a bit before pulling out the desserts. It was a pretty perfect end to the weekend. There was a bit more work in the kitchen to do tonight. We knocked that out before calling it a night-we watched a few of our youtubers once we did climb into bed.

November 20, 2021

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  • I didn't dally too long in bed this morning because I knew that I had to make sure that Delta (our guest dog) didn't stay in her crate too long. So I took Bentley to potty when she started to make some noise. Then I took Delta. Those two were like little kids this morning because they sure didn't want to be separated. 
  • Once I had finished with my morning chores, I did take those two puppies on a walk. One definitely is a better leash walker than the other one for sure. However, both of them did their business which was quite an adventure holding 2 leashes that were being yanked here and there and one bag of poop while trying to pick up the second bag of poop without getting my hands messy.
  • I actually was going to walk a bit further. However, I couldn't-the reason: the silly poop bags that I grabbed were clear. I just couldn't walk while I could see their poop. If I would have had our black bags, then I could have continued on with my walk.
  • After our little walk, I looked at my list and eventually decided that I should run a few errands today. I was able to finish a few presents for me, and a few for the grandparents today so I was super pleased. Just like I said yesterday, I am doing really well. I know that I will still have a few presents that will hang over my head until the day or two before Christmas though.
  • I was gone about 2 hours, and when I made it home, it was fairly quiet around the house. Reagan soon took Campbell and Keaton to Target. This was Reagan's first unnecessary driving trip. I am glad that she did take her sisters-though I would have love to have been there to see how it all really went. She made it there and back home fine so it was definitely a successful trip.
  • Robby and I watched a Hallmark movie and almost finished it as the Hog game was coming on. The boys came downstairs and watched most of the game with us. I did some work during some of it, and of course I had my customary football game day nap. 
  • At one point during the game, we looked outside and Whitman was walking around the yard with his pajamas and his umbrella. He is quite the child. He was just talking up a storm while outside-Bentley and I went out in the yard a bit and talked with him. I am glad that he has such an imagination. He does sometimes scare me because he is so smart.
  • After the game, Robby made some ooey gooey while the rest of us worked on cleaning up some. Then we headed to Costco-that silly store closes so early though so we had to go to Sams instead. The plan had been to get some rotisserie chicken and pizzas, but Sams food court was closed so we just bought frozen pizzas to heat up.
  • We ate our supper at the Wilson's house. Shannon even had some cookies to supplement our ooey gooey-which definitely needed some supplementing. Sometimes I like ooey gooey and other times not so much.
  • When we came home, it was shower time for all of the Dennies. They all had their showers, and then it was finally bedtime for everyone. 

November 19, 2021

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  • I took full advantage of being able to sleep in for a little bit this morning. I will say though when I did finally start stirring this morning and saw that I had neglected to start the dishwasher I was pretty frustrated with myself. 
  • I am not sure why the dishwasher takes half a day to run, but at least by lunch time I was able to empty the dishwasher and reload it with all of the mornings dishes.
  • We did a little bit of work this morning-school for Whitman and Anderson, and Bible study for Keaton, Campbell and Whitman. 
  • When I did say that I was going to the store, I was surprised that Keaton, Campbell and Anderson wanted to go with me. We ended up making a quick stop at Dollar General, then to get Anderson's hair cut before spending a days salary at Walmart. 
  • I have now finished shopping for 5 gifts plus half of my kids gifts are finished as well. Whoop, whoop, I am well underway Hopefully, I can have a bit more done by Thanksgiving. And unfortunately, if I finish early, I am sure that I will probably find a few more things to buy...that might be the problem with finishing early.
  • When we came home, I had a bit of time before our guest dog came to stay for the night. Delta is getting to stay here tonight since her family is out of town. She has actually been perfect-well, she does get a bit scared every time someone walks down the steps. 
  • Robby and I ran to get propane in the camper in Benton, but they were out so we went to Little Rock for the propane and even filled it up with gas. Bentley went with us and she slept in my lap the entire trip-it is a wonder that she is even sleeping right now. 
  • When we came home, I was able to wrap some presents before we pulled out supper. Tonight was a two movie night plus an ice cream night. The movies just finished so I am going to start straightening the house before putting the children and the dogs in the bed.

November 18, 2021

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  • So, after being out late last night, it was a little bit difficult to wake up. However, we were still all working together a few minutes after our normal time. I didn't get my laundry folded, but other than that it was a fairly normal morning.
  • Well, Reagan and Anderson usually don't work with us on Thursday mornings because they go to Comm Central. However, today was the last day there, and Reagan had only one class in the afternoon. That meant that Anderson could go later so after our work together time, Robby took him there. 
  • Everyone here finished their school work. I am looking forward to our month long break (don't worry, we are still going to do plenty of school. It is, however, going to be a bit different and a little bit less. My kids have worked hard this year so a break is in order, and hopefully this break won't put us behind during the rest of the year.)
  • I couldn't stick around too long today because I had to go to the dentist. This was the best dentist appointment I have had in years. I left feeling good and not defeated. By the end of the day, I had already changed Robby over to my new dentist. 
  • Next up was a big afternoon for Campbell and Keaton. They went to one of Nonna's friend's house to do some baking. The lady makes cookies and sweets for people all year long, but today she spent her time showing my girls how to make things-they came home with bags and boxes of Christmas candy and fudge. The girls had lots of fun and are planning making fudge quite often over the next few weeks.
  • Graham and Keaton had their first basketball practices. Graham will be one of the strongest players on his team which didn't really make him too happy. He doesn't think that they will win many games. Hopefully, he will just have fun. I didn't see, but Keaton's coach said that she is one of the shortest folks on her team. I know that she will make up for that with some spunk though.
  • The Wilsons came over for supper tonight. We worked really hard and heated up a chicken spaghetti from the freezer. We usually don't like our freezer meals, but that one seems to be a good one and always comes in handy. We even watched a cooking show or two before they left.
  • This evening the kids headed to bed and I snuck in a little bit of work in the school room straightening things. 

November 17, 2021

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  • I woke up a bit later than usual on other Bible study mornings. That was fine though because we were still out the door at the same time. My goal on Bible study mornings is to leave with the dishes out of the dishwasher, laundry folded and dog having gone potty. I was able to do two out of three of those things. 
  • After Bible study, the kids and I hurried home. I was able to at least talk to my big kids to make sure that they had all done what they needed to do this morning-or at least finished some of it. Then the rest of the crew was instructed on what they needed to do.
  • Shannon and Tony pulled up at our house around noon, and we headed off to Northwest Arkansas. Robby and Tony had tickets to the basketball game which the score was a little too close for comfort. 
  • Our first stop, other than a gas station, was at Sassies for BBQ. It was fine, but we won't have to return. Then we walked around Walmart for a very long time. I could have stayed longer though, but we had to go and take the boys to their game. 
  • After dropping them off, we stopped at Hobby Lobby, Old Navy, Kohls, and Target. By that time, we had to return to pick up the ball game boys. We did manage to stop and get some hot chocolate for me and coffee for Shannon on our way there.
  • We then zoomed on back to Little Rock and made it home a little bit after 12. We were expecting to be out much later, so we were pleased on our return time. Reagan and Graham were the only ones that were awake when we came home. 
  • We were able to get a quick report on the afternoon from them. They went to church tonight and stayed a bit later because of a meeting. Pizza was made when they made it home from church-here is the interesting thing-the house was perfect when we came in. Kitchen clean, living room picked up-now there were two ornaments that needed some hot glue, but if that is the only damage I'll certainly take it. 

November 16, 2021

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  • Tuesday morning-it was a big day for Reagan and Anderson. Both of them had tests, plus they had a Christmas party this afternoon. They left for school early to drop off something at Nonna and Pops' house. Then they met me this afternoon at the mall before going to buy a smoothie and head back to school. 
  • The rest of us did our school work here and really finished a good bit, before we did load up to meet Reagan and Anderson. The goal was to buy Anderson some new shoes. The secondary goal was to buy Reagan some for Christmas. However, we didn't find them any, but we did find Campbell some that she wanted for Christmas. So it was still a win.
  • When we left there, we came home for a good while. I am not really sure what everyone did this afternoon-well, Graham shot some hoops, Whitman has been just walking around outside in the yard lately-I am sure that he is doing some thinking or singing while wandering around, Keaton made a Days to Christmas countdown, Campbell played with Bentley, Reagan watched some tv and Anderson, who has been spending a lot of time with his legos, played on his xbox some. 
  • So really everyone was pretty busy. We were even busy until it was time to leave again-this time to take Anderson to his basketball practice. We left early so maybe we would be able to find him some shoes. Thankfully we did this time.
  • While he was at practice, all the girls and I ran to the Dollar Tree and did some speed shopping. I have nearly finished all of my stockings. I have a few more things to get for the boys (they are the hardest) and then I am going to call it quits. Well, at some point, I will probably line everything up to make sure that it is even-ish!
  • Anderson enjoyed his practice. I think that it takes a lot of guts to walk onto a court with all strangers-Reagan does it during soccer, and I'm pretty proud of Anderson and Graham doing it too.
  • After his basketball, we headed home. I helped Robby straighten up the camper-we believe that all of the leaks have been solved. Or at least we sure hope so. He filled up the grey tank running water tonight waiting to see a leak, but thankfully one never developed. 

November 15, 2021

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  • It was a bit difficult for me to wake up this morning. I think it might have been because Bentley barked off and on all night long-or at least it seemed like it. I can't understand why she was barking though because we put her comfy pillow in her kennel-maybe she didn't like it.
  • We started on our school work-I am trying to finish a crate of library books sooner rather than later. So that is my main goal during our work together time-library books. Well, finishing history and science is pretty high on the list too.
  • Everyone worked pretty hard on their school today-well, most everyone did. One bozo tried to get by with only doing 3 things. Meanwhile, we have other people who did pretty much all of their school for the week today. Thankfully, most folks were somewhere in the middle.
  • Now that the semester is just about over, Reagan and Anderson are getting pretty good with all of their Comm Central work. Our Monday went fairly smoothly, and I was finished by 2ish.
  • Reagan and I went out for a bit of Christmas shopping this afternoon. I was able to mark a few things off of my list. That was nice but it just made me realize how much more shopping I have to do-I do feel like I am much ahead of previous years so I am feeling good though.
  • When we came home, I started on supper-chicken tacos and chicken tostados. I think that everyone enjoyed our supper. After supper, the kids cleaned up the kitchen. Then it was soon time to for today's Christmas movie. Campbell and Keaton both made cookies that we munched on throughout the movie.

November 14, 2021

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  • Another busy day-so busy of a Sunday that I didn't get my Sunday afternoon nap! Maybe next Sunday or maybe I have grown out of them-I surely hope not!
  • When I woke up this morning, Robby was walking back into the bedroom. I asked if he had just been to the bathroom, but he been to the camper trying to figure things out. Now, I am sure that I talk about him working on the camper a lot. It really is in good shape, but there is always something to be fixed. And really, Robby so loves tinkering on things. The past few days have made him a little crazy though, but things are on the upswing.
  • Church this morning. I still love our first grade Sunday school class. They are so easy and fun. And today at church, my Campbell was the cutest thing-braided hair, holey jeans and a holey sweater-all grown up.
  • After church we went to Nonna and Pops' house for our Sunday lunch. They had lasagna which was delicious. We weren't able to stay too long after eating because we had a host of things to do this afternoon. 
  • The boys helped me put the Christmas boxes away. Campbell made a dessert for Reagan to take to her Lifegroup tonight. Reagan made a dessert for the grandparents. Keaton unpacked her bag, and Robby started to work on the camper leaks.
  • Here is a summary of the leaks: now 4 total. First one under the sink-fixed. Second one low point drains-things bought today to fix them, pretty sure fixed but need to secure tomorrow. Third one-finally found early this morning and fixed by plumber neighbor tonight. Fourth one-somehow messed up during repair or unnoticed will have to fix later but at least he knows it can be fixed fairly easily.
  • I took Anderson to his lifegroup tonight, then dropped off Graham. Then ran home and took Campbell to Rock Creek. Meanwhile, Candice took Reagan to her lifegroup-4 kids, 4 different activities all at pretty much the same time. I certainly won't complain since they were all church activities.
  • Supper tonight was at the Wilson's house. They had hamburgers and hot dogs which were delicious. We stayed for a bit, but I had Bentley on my mind. Tonight was her second and last dose of medicine that we had to syringe into her ear. 
  • If you remember last time we did this, she was a crazy dog. Robby and I were both spent when we finished. Today, we put on her muzzle. She did a little crazy run around the room. Robby picked her up, but by the second try the medicine was in her ear. It went so smoothly! Her ear must have really hurt her last time, but this time I would assume that it doesn't hurt as much.
  • After that, I did some Christmas shopping (online) then it was bedtime for the kids. Now we are watching a youtube video, and I'm making a few lists.

November 13, 2021

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  • I am sure that Bentley might say this was one of the best days of her life. It was a tiring day for the the rest of us though. 
  • Keaton, Campbell, Reagan, Robby and I loaded up with Bentley right around 9 to meet the Arkansas Golden Retriever club for a walk around Two Rivers park. There were only about 6 dogs there, but we walked about 2.5 miles. They even had doughnuts which made my kiddos happy. Also, the lady gave a box of doughnuts for us to take home for our boys which was incredible sweet.
  • We made two quick stops on the way home, so we were only at home for a little bit before heading out again. I was able to work on some of my Christmas stuff in the kitchen so after a little more work this afternoon, I am done with Christmas decorating-though we still have boxes to put away all over the house.
  • The next adventure was a quick training class for Bentley. Campbell, Graham and Keaton went with us this time. Poor Bentley, she is never going to be the brightest dog around though she did have fun playing today and earning lots of treats.
  • The main event was getting her picture made with Santa. I even delivered a message to Santa from Whitman that he wanted balloons for his Christmas git. Bentley's picture is really cute plus her Christmas pajamas make her really cute.
  • Once at home, Robby worked some on the camper before I left to take Keaton to her friend's house to spend the night. She was so looking forward to it. Reagan and Bentley went with me and sat in the car as I ran in to buy Chinese food for supper. I have been craving Chinese food for forever. We used to get Chinese food and pizza on our way homes some Wednesday nights-and after a long day, it was such a special treat. We have some leftovers, so I can eat some more another day.
  • After eating, there was a bit more camper work followed by watching the Hogs play some football. I had a little bit of a nap during half time-that is always the best time to take a snooze!

November 12, 2021

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  • Fridays remind me of why I work so hard on Wednesdays-this was our first Friday in a long while (lots of camping trips lately) that I have actually had the day off at home. I began the day by sleeping in-Whitman and Robby were the only ones who were awake before I was though.
  • I did my customary dishes and laundry before taking Bentley for a walk. I tried to convince Campbell or Whitman to go with, but I couldn't get any takers. Whitman said that he would have gone but he was in his pajamas. I am not sure that was a valid excuse.
  • After walking the dog, I went to work on a few things until around 11. Then I started on the Christmas things. Campbell was my main helper today with Keaton helping as well. I had to be quiet the first few times in the attic since Graham and Anderson were still sleeping.
  • They weren't sleeping long since I was having to haul boxes out of their attic. I started with the Disney tree. Whitman got all into working on this tree and couldn't wait to set up the monorail.
  • He had to wait a while because the next tree was the kitchen tree. Finally I did start on the living room tree. Whitman did the monorail, and Campbell and Keaton helped me put up the ornaments.
  • Now the living room tree has only travel ornaments, and it has a lot of travel ornaments. Now, I have about 200 more that didn't even fit on that tree. Actually this tree looks a little bit like a tree from a store where they have just piled ornaments on in hopes that customers will take them off to buy. 
  • I actually did get a bit sad working on the ornaments because I told Robby that at some point, we will have to narrow down these ornaments. I don't think we can take 300 Christmas ornaments to the nursing home. He said that we weren't going to narrow them down, but we were only going to keep adding to our collection.
  • Campbell and Keaton went to Defy to jump for a little bit with some of their friends. While they were gone, I worked on the Snow Village for what seemed like forever. We then met the girls at Target so we could got to On the Border for our supper.
  • Meanwhile, Reagan drove to church by herself even stopping at ChickFilA for her supper. She was working at the church house keeping kids tonight and earned some spending money for herself. 
  • After we ate, the girls, Robby and I ran to Costco for a bit. We didn't even find a thing to but which was disappointing. We couldn't stay too long before we had to run and pick up supper for the boys-they were not so patiently waiting for their ChickFilA supper to be delivered. 
  • Once we made it home, I did some vacuuming while the boys ate. Then we sat down for a Christmas movie and hopefully some ice cream later.

November 11, 2021

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  • Oh I have loved Thursdays for so long. Before we had kids, we would always feed a lot of people and watch some tv shows on Thursday nights. And probably because of that Thursdays have always been my favorite. For the last year and half, Thursdays have been our last day of school so that means that my weekend starts on Thursdays as soon as school is finished.
  • Reagan and Anderson went to Comm Central today. They came home a few minutes early. They both had subs in a class. Plus Anderson won the review in his class with another student, and won a 5 dollar gift card. 
  • The rest of us started our day with some reading and then school work. Now, Whitman finished all of his work including working with me and Bible study by 12:45. A Christmas miracle. He says now that his goal is to finish by 2. Most days he does finish everything by 2, but when he does finish really early, he is always so happy.
  • Whitman and Keaton made Keaton's famous pizza crackers for lunch. Graham didn't make anything today, but he has been wanting to make French toast for a while now and said he will tomorrow. We shall see, Reagan is planning on making some things tomorrow as well.
  • I went to the pregnancy center for a few hours this afternoon. I mostly worked on bagging up diapers which is something that I definitely can do. 
  • On my way home, all I thought about was making chicken tacos since that is what Graham has been asking for. That was our plan until I realized that we didn't have any cheese! We had nuggets instead which killed hunger. 
  • The Wilsons asked us to go to Sams with them so we helped them fill a buggy full of things. We found a few things for us as well but not nearly. When we came home, we had ice cream while watching a movie. My goal is two movies tomorrow!    

November 10, 2021

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  • This morning I couldn't figure out why Robby wouldn't turn off his alarm. After a good bit, he rolled over and told me to turn off my alarm. Wednesdays are tough, but we persevered and survived. After I got out of bed, I had my shower and tried to wake up my kiddos. Some where easier than others to wake up. 
  • Bible study was fine today-actually it was cold. I am not sure why it is so cold, but that is the coldest church ever. Well, I will probably change my mind on Sunday and decide that Geyer is the coldest ever.
  • After Bible study, my group had a luncheon at a park. The kids enjoyed playing, and I enjoyed the pumpkin cupcakes that my leader made. Keaton went home with her friend, so that made a bit less school work to do this afternoon.
  • I worked with the big 3-a bit more with Anderson than the other. Then I spent the rest of the afternoon working with Whitman. Campbell had already worked with me twice yesterday so she didn't have to do any work today.
  • Soon we were dropping of Christmas presents at Nonna and Pops' house and heading to church. Now, I did think that we were going to die twice tonight on the way to church (Reagan was driving). The first time we were zooming out on the access road during rush hour traffic (she really did good and chose wisely about when to pull out). The second time we were in the parking lot, and she went right past a car and I thought she was going to knock the mirror off the car (she almost really did that, but at least we wouldn't have died.)
  • We safely made it back home-with her driving. Then we scrounged around for our suppers. As I ate my taco soup, we watched a Christmasy movie. 

November 9, 2021

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  • Tuesdays are always a little bit different with Reagan and Anderson gone. This Tuesday was also different because Whitman finished his work, all of his work-even working with me and Bible study, all before 12:15. This never ever happens!
  • I was a little shocked when I realized that I had finished all the school work by 1. That never ever happens, and it sure won't tomorrow. However, I sure enjoyed by extra time today.
  • I went to work on my list for today. Thankfully, it wasn't very long-I did everything I had planned (well, at least the fun things-there were a few things I left on the list)
  • When Reagan and Anderson came home, Robby and I grilled them about their day. Then Keaton, Campbell, Reagan and I headed out to do some shopping.
  • We found a few things for Nonna's Christmas for us. We found something for Jason to buy. Plus Campbell and Keaton found a few things to buy for their siblings. We came home with almost a trunk full of things-we tried to get it in the house before Robby saw the full trunk.
  • We weren't home very long until Campbell and I started on supper. We had spaghetti which doesn't sound too fancy, but is for us. We even had bread with Tony's special garlic butter. After supper, I cleaned the kitchen.
  • Then Reagan asked to play a game of Rumikub so most of us did that. Then there was ice cream and a Christmas movie! Pretty perfect evening.

November 8, 2021

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  • Monday mornings are always tough-especially when we have been gone on Friday and during the weekend. Being gone on those days means that Reagan and Anderson have to cram all of their assignments to Mondays.
  • Today things went fairly smoothly. Despite it being time change yesterday, no one woke up any earlier today. I don't know why I expected them to since I didn't. At least I did wake up in a good mood-not everyone else here did.
  • We started on our together work and then started on their individual work next. Keaton was finished with her school work before everyone else got started-she had done quite a bit Sunday night. Whitman was the last one to finish, but we did have some extra time at the dentist this afternoon.
  • Everyone had a dentist appointment today. 6 kids and 3 cavities is considered a win in our book. Graham really doesn't have a cavity, but does have an indention that will have to be filled. They aren't sure where the indention came from. Anderson does have 2 little spots that need to be fixed. 
  • When we left the dentist, of course everyone had to have a treat so we stopped at Wendys for frostys. They frostys were delicious but we had to wait a crazy long time for them.
  • Once at home, I helped Robby with a little project in the camper. I also would sneak in a little bit every once in a while to finish helping Reagan with an essay. Then of course I had to work with Whitman. I still have one more thing to do with him, but oh well there is always tomorrow.
  • We heated up some taco soup for our supper. I worked on finishing my book this evening while Robby caught up on his youtube watching. 
  • Before we knew it, it was bedtime for the crew-the dog however is pretty wound up! So wish us luck on the whole bedtime thing!

November 7, 2021-Fall (Almost Winter) Camping at Degray

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We were too tired last night to watch a movie when we went to bed in the camper like we had the other nights. The night before we weren't able to finish the movie because we were so tired, and we knew that we were even more tired last night-even though we had woke up so late.

So I think that we were asleep by 12:30 last night. I know that all of the kids were. My 4 that had been to Intents were pretty exhausted. Reagan slept for about 13 hours today she said. Bentley was the first one awake today. I guess time changed mess with her a little bit.

She did wake u to potty and then went right back to sleep on our bed. By 9 we were starting to stir. Robby and I got up and took a walk with Shannon, Bentley and Annie. We walked around our loop and then walked around the next loop.

When we came back to our campsite, we started on picking things up. We have learned that if we pick things up slowly and take our time, we don't really feel like we have been packing all day long. And really, on the days that we leave, we do spent most of the day putting things up.

Tony worked on our breakfast while we worked a bit more on our packing. When breakfast was ready, we were all ready to eat. Breakfast was quite the spread-breakfast quesadillas. Hashbrowns, bacon, sausage and eggs! It was absolutely delicious. 

There was more work after our brunch, but soon we were all loaded up. We loaded the car in the street, and then we dumped a bit before getting on the road. The drive home was fairly quite in our camper. We did pick up Keaton on the way home so she could help us unpack.

The kids helped unpack the camper. We are getting really good at it. Robby worked on getting the car off and unloaded, while the kids helped me unload the camper. We did that all so quickly that Robby and I even cleaned the whole thing after unloading.

Anderson, Graham and Campbell went to church tonight with Brett. While they were gone, Robby and I ran to try some of the Ferguson's supper. They had smoked some chicken and cheese, and it was delicious. Then we went to Grannymom's house to pick up the other car.

On the way home, Robby picked up pizza while I headed home. The Wilsons came over to eat supper with us. We started before the kids came home and ate as well. When they left, I folded a mound of clothes and worked on the blog. 

The next step around here is to put these kiddos into bed. I am sure that they are tired, because I sure am. 

November 6, 2021-Fall (Almost Winter) Camping at Degray

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Bentley woke us up at 7 this morning for her to go potty. Then she went on back to sleep and slept soundly until 10. I think that Bentley could have slept even longer, but Robby and I finished watching our movie from last night. And those two little people with us were super sleepy too and didn't stir too quickly either.

We had a quick breakfast-or as Whitman calls it when we are camping: a non fancy breakfast. Robby and I walked the dog for a minute to the Wilson's campsite-they were all working on lunch over there while we had just finished breakfast.

We worked around the camper a little bit this morning. We straightened a few things, and all of us got ourselves ready for the day. And then all too soon, it was time for Keaton and Robby to leave to get the others. 

After Intents was over this morning, Reagan had drove Anderson, Graham, Campbell and Brett to Grannymom's house. They had a quick lunch over there, and then they headed to Malvern were they met Robby and Keaton. 

From what we have heard, everyone had a really good time at Intents. For the most part, I believe that the favorite was for sure the ax throwing. I need to figure out how we can make an ax throwing target in the back yard-that would be fun, and a tad bit dangerous.

Robby put the Intents kids in his car, and Keaton climbed into Grannmyom's car. They dropped her off at a friend's birthday party. I haven't heard from her, but I am sure that she had a blast there. Nonna and Pops picked her up from the party, and it looked like her supper was from ChickFilA tonight.

While the others were all gone, Whitman and I hung out in the camper. We had already gathered kindling for the fire tonight. I thought about us going on a walk, but I have a book that I am finishing so we opted to just stay in. I had even just finished a quick power nap when the others all arrived.

They told us all about their few days away. They all had so much fun, and I am sure glad that they are back with us though we are missing Keaton. Super tonight was at the Wilson's camper. They had taco salad which is always one of my favorite meals. 

Layne had a few friends come so it was a fun party. Actually, the Dennie that enjoyed the party the most tonight was Whitman. I am not sure if it was the group of girls or the audience, but he would walk over to their table and tell joke after joke. It was pretty funny to watch. He eventually saddled up to their table and sat and listened to their conversations.

The game was on during the supper so thankfully it had a good outcome. Later in the evening Shannon ran to Walmart with Campbell and Reagan to pick up some s'mores stuff for some of Layne's friends coming back. We had already had s'mores here and eaten everything up but my chocolate.

We walked the dogs one last time, but around 10:30 Robby, Campbell and I did go inside. The others had all migrated inside-Graham had been asleep for hours. I am sure that my crew will sleep pretty well tonight-or at least I sure hope so.

November 5, 2021-Fall (Almost Winter) Camping at Degray

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Even though it was cold outside, it was certainly cozy in this camper last night. Keaton slept on the top bunk and didn't seem to notice when her sleeping bag fell on the floor. Whitman slept above the cab and didn't seem to notice when his pillow fell on the floor.

I slept in my cozy spot and didn't seem to notice when the sun came up. Well, none of seemed to notice that, We all slept soundly until around 9. It was perfect. Robby took Bentley out first, and Keaton and I walked around with her later in the morning.

We then headed into the camper to make some pancakes and sausage for breakfast. It was a bit chillier this morning, so Robby pulled out the electric griddle, and we cooked inside. Now, cooking inside is a lot easier when there are half as many people. A lot of things are a lot easier with about half as many people.

Speaking about our other half, let's run down their day. I have to guess that things went well last night. We never heard anything really, and it seemed like people started getting up around 9 or so at home. I do know that Anderson did a little bit of his school work. There was also a dishwasher question so that leads me to believe that they did some dishes as well.

At 5 today, Reagan took Campbell down to the road to a birthday party. Then at 7:30 she picked Campbell up along with a friend and headed with her brothers in tow to Rock Creek for their Intents weekend. I have seen on the church's instagram that they have had s'mores, played laser tag, had an escape room, rode horses and petted animals in a petting zoo. That looked like it was all before 10 so who knows what all they are going to get to do tonight.

Back to Degray though and those of us here-after we had our breakfast, we found Shannon and went on a walk. We walked to the lodge which was quite a hike. It was chilly, but decent-I wasn't shivering at least. My 3 shirts, gloves and hat though probably helped with that. 

The lodge, or at least the main part of it, seems kind of nice. The trees are just starting to turn so it really was a nice little walk. When we came back, we found some lunch and sat outside at Shannon's picnic table and ate. 

Our next activity was driving around looking at all of the sites at this park. We picked out all of our favorites for next time. Then Robby drove us to another campground to look at their sites. One campground was closed, but the Caddo Valley Corps of Engineers campground was open. We weren't too impressed with it and are still happy with this state park. Honestly, I think that this park is my favorite.

After our drive around, we took a little break-I read some of my book. Then it was time for us to head off for supper. We ate at Las Agaves in Arkadelphia. It was really pretty good. Keaton did say that it was much better than the last Mexican place that she ate at. 

Then we headed to Walmart for a little bit. You know we have been camping in these deep dark woods for a little over 24 hours so of course we needed a few things-well, we probably didn't need anything, but we sure found a few things. 

We made it back just right before Tony made it back from his work. We took Bentley on a walk, and then hung out at their camper for a little bit before bed. Currently, Keaton and Whitman are in bed and Robby and I are watching a Hallmark movie. 

November 4, 2021-Fall (Almost Winter) Camping at Degray

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This was the first day this week that I forgot to set my alarm, and it was a day that I certainly should have gotten up earlier. However, we did manage to get most everything finished before leaving. This is certainly a different trip than we have taken before. I am a bit sad that all of my big kids aren't with us, but I am super happy for them because they are getting to do something that they have been so looking forward to.

Here's the run down: Reagan and Anderson went to Comm Central today. I didn't hear a ton on how their days went. Anderson did write to show me his 98% on a test, plus he wrote to tell me to put more poker chips on his Christmas list. I guess that he found some way and some people to pass the time with in study hall today. Maybe he even won some money-I forgot to ask him.

The rest of us started on our school work. I have a pile of books that I want to finish reading to the kids before Christmas-but when I look at the calendar, I realize that Christmas is coming up pretty quickly. We are going to have to get to reading for sure. Plus I just requested a ton of library books as well.

We were able to finish most of our school work-though I did let Whitman skip out on a math page. I am going to get back after it next week-I think that I will have to write his math problems out on a piece of paper so he has more room. 

We were able to pull out a bit after noon leaving Campbell and Graham at home. Soon Reagan and Anderson finished their school day and headed home. They have big plans tomorrow night-I just heard that they were packing their bags right now. 

We hit traffic in Benton which seemed to last a good while. When we made it to Degray, we quickly found out spots. Robby helped Tony back into his spot. Then we took forever to back into our spot. Robby tried to do it with the trailer on, but after several attempts we had to take it off. Our backing up went something like this: me: turn to the passenger side, robby would turn that way, me: no, no, the other way now. Over and over we did this-neither one of us could figure out the right way to turn.

We were just trying to figure it out since we had some extra time. However, it ended up just being easier to take off his trailer and back in. When we did that, we were in our spot in 4 minutes. We leveled and then pulled a few things out.

Keaton was ready to get the bikes off. So when we did that, we took off with her and Whitman riding their bikes down to a trail. We went on the the Towering Pines trail which was .6 miles long. It seemed to b a little longer than that, but we all sure enjoyed it. Now, I wasn't too crazy about it when Robby said that we all had just stepped over a snake.

When we made it back to camp, we hung out inside for a few minutes until Shannon arrived at camp. As soon as we arrived, I started working on our supper-taco soup. It was a super easy to do, and it tasted great tonight for sure. I made some cornbread as well along with some ooey gooey made by Keaton. 

After eating supper with the Wilsons in our camper, we took Bentley on a little stroll. Then we moved the party to the Wilson's camper for dessert and a card game. We played 2 rounds of Uno Flip-I know that Shannon won the first game and maybe I won the second one, but I'm not too sure.

We eventually came back to the camper, turned on the heater and cozied up in bed to watch a Hallmark movie. It was pretty perfect for sure!

November 3, 2021

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  • This morning when we woke up at 7, it was so incredibly dark outside. Robby said that he looked at the clock and thought that it must be wrong, and I did the same thing. When I realized that the clock was correct, I just really wanted to skip out on Bible study and cozy up in the bed for the rest of the day.
  • However, I decided to be a grown up and get up-well, I did get up about an hour later. But the fact is I got up! I had to wake the kids up three different times this morning. When I finally was having success, it was only because I was saying things like "we only have 10 minutes" and "if you want breakfast you better get up now."
  • Bible study was fine-just cold. It wasn't so cold in the building, but it was frigid walking to and from the building. It felt downright arctic. Now just a mile down the road at Walmart, it didn't feel that cold at all.
  • I decided that on a day I really needed to be home getting things packed, that I should take Campbell, Keaton and Whitman to do some Christmas shopping. I had a list that they had made and we went to town. Campbell practically filled the buggy-not really, but she spend about 80 bucks. Keaton only found 20 dollars worth of stuff. And Whitman-he spent a whopping 2.50. 
  • Keaton is very frugal and wants to think through her gifts very much. Campbell usually is not, but today she was constantly worried about her going over and spending too much money. (Funny thing is she has birthday and Christmas from grandparents and us so she really was no where near going over her budget). And Whitman-he doesn't see much that he ever wants.
  • We then came home for school work and packing. Reagan, Anderson and Graham had done quite a bit of school work today. I think that Reagan said she did 16 pages of math-which is all of her work for the week. Anderson did quite a bit of comm central work.
  • Whitman did take a while to finish his school, but he will be happy to find out that he doesn't have too much school tomorrow.
  • Soon it was time to leave for church-we left with a backpack and a bag of Christmas gifts to give to Nonna, a bag of clothes for a little friend, 2 bags of things that were left at the campsite, 3 bags of food to give at the church house-my trunk was full. I was relieved to come home form church tonight and have an emptier car plus an emptier mud room. I love getting everything out of this house. 
  • After church, Robby had tacos for us to make. We all ate and then went to work on the house. Everyone helped clean and we were finished before too long-it always helps to offer ice cream as a reward for a clean house!

November 2, 2021

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  • It was sure was a dreary day-I didn't want to get out of bed. It did help that Bentley had already been out once this morning and was pacing in our bedroom when I did get out of bed. She usually has to do her business in the morning, however, I like to have finished my morning chores before taking her out. Needless to say, I had to hurry this morning getting everything accomplished.
  • The little 4 started on our work together time this morning. Anderson and Reagan headed to school all by themselves today. Reagan did come home and say that she got into trouble at school today. I know that this was going to be an interesting story since she isn't really the type to get into trouble very often.
  • She was told that she couldn't use the microwave-I guess she had walked to the kitchen area and asked a worker there if she could use it. He said sure, but on her way back she was told by the principal that leaving the area was not allowed. I guess she will be taking a microwave to school next Tuesday. 
  • Reagan and Anderson both had science tests today which they thought they did well on. They both made 100s on their English quizzes, so they came in from school feeling pretty good.
  • I did spend a good deal of the afternoon going through 8 bins upstairs. Six bins were girls clothes-Reagan found a few things (mostly things she had already worn and put away but has now changed her mind about), Campbell didn't find anything, and Keaton did get a small bin on new clothes. I even found 2 tops so it was definitely a win for all of us. Plus there was a trash bag full of clothes to give away. 
  • Soon after Reagan and Anderson did come home, I headed off to the mall with Campbell, Keaton and Reagan. Let me tell you, shopping is not my forte at all, but they sure do enjoy it. We walked around the whole mall-it doesn't take too long since there aren't a ton of stores there. We went into about 5 stores, and Reagan did finish a good deal of her Christmas shopping.
  • Once at home, we finished the bins-the last two were halloween costumes. Then it was time to heat up supper-fried ravioli we had so we made some mac and cheese to go with is. We had potato soup as well so we made cornbread to go with that. Cooking is hard work!
  • Right now Keaton is doing some type of candy challenge in the kitchen while Campbell is baking cookies...and I'm about to take a nap. 

November 1, 2021

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  • This school morning went fairly well. Reagan has a test tomorrow plus had to write an English paper today so I am not sure if she did any of my school work. That was fine though. Anderson had the same English paper to write so we worked on those this afternoon.
  • Whitman seemed to be on fire today. All of the gears were turning! When that happens I take advantage of it. He still struggles with some of his math, but today I gave him one regular page and one easier page which seemed to help.
  • Keaton does more school work on Mondays than most kids do all week long. She is rocking it and will soon mark off at least 3 different things for good this year. I will have to find her something to do instead, but I will at least make it super fun since she will have finished all of the hard work.
  • Anderson and Reagan headed off this morning at noon to go and eat lunch with Nonna and Pops. Everyone else had their turn last week so they went this week. The plan had been to go to Lone Star, but since it was closed they ended up at Saltgrass. Anderson had chicken strips while Reagan had steak. They enjoyed their trek out for lunch, and both came home ready to start on their leftover school work,
  • Campbell and Graham left pretty soon after Reagan and Anderson did. First they took Annie on a little walk. Then they went to Grannymom's house to help her with some yard work. They worked a good bit of the afternoon. I think that they were both pretty tired when we did pick them up later in the day.
  • Most of the afternoon I spent putting things back into the camper and cleaning things up. There were some other thins that I did manage to mark of the list. Hopefully tomorrow we can go through some of the girls' bins. I am pretty sure that there will be nothing for Campbell and Reagan, but at least we can hopefully find a few things for Keaton.
  • When we picked up Graham and Campbell, we ran a few errands-Walmart, Sams, ChickFilA, Costco and Kroger. We found something at every store except Walmart! Waters at Sams, food at Chickfila, quite a few clothes at Costco and milk and candy at Kroger. 
  • All of this did take a while, so Keaton was super glad to see the pizza that we brought home for her. After unloading all of the groceries, I found myself playing Rumikub with Keaton, Whitman and Campbell. When that game was over Keaton, Anderson and Reagan played a second round with me.