April 30, 2022

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  • I am so tired that I should just apologize in advance for not making complete sentences in this blog-which will be short. I drove the first but this morning, and after waking up the boys 3 different times, the fourth time that I woke them up, I was not the sweetest.
  • That did get them stirring which was good since we just had 5 minutes before it was time to go. Reagan and Anderson had to ref the first games so they came with me and Campbell helped on the first concession stand round so she also came with me.
  • That left Whitman and Bentley for Robby to bring a little bit later in the day. Campbell and Keatn's game was second today-they beat the team that beat them before so that was good. Campbell even had a great score today. Keaton and she hustle so much during soccer-they always impress me.
  • The next game was Whitman's. His little team won by about 7-Whitman did get kicked really well plus he twisted his ankle so he ended up sitting out 2 periods. I think that he could have played the second on that he set out, but there was no reason to push him at all.
  • After their games, we just had to stay through one more game. The concession stand was slow, so Robby watched some soccer, and I tried to count some of the money. After the game, Robby took Whitman to go and get his haircut. Campbell went with them, and they did a grocery store run.
  • I worked on some things in the kitchen for most of the afternoon. Then Campbell helped me more when she returned home. We eventually made the boys go outside and help Robby finish up in the yard while the girls helped clean the house. I had made a mess of the kitchen-powdered sugar everywhere so that is mainly what I focused on.
  • Soon everything was cleaned and ready to go for tomorrow so Robby and I ran to pick up supper. I am now going to take a quick nap before bedtime!

April 29, 2022-Middle of the Week Camping

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I guess I was pretty tired last night. When I woke up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, Bentley was up near the top of our bed. I noticed that there was a light underneath her. I just assumed that it was from the light on the other side of me that is made by the thing that I plug all of my cords into. 

I thought about that for another minute, and then realized that the light couldn't really go under me. This was the middle of the night so I was thinking a bit slowly. Eventually, I realized that it was my phone shining brightly under Bentley. I guess I had gone to sleep with it in my hand and it had fallen. Thankfully, I hadn't been calling China all night laying on top of it.

Breakfast this morning was clean out the fridge-there was leftover stuff to make breakfast burritos. Anderson had missed them the other day when we had them, and thought that they were really good. Robby had mixed everything up today, and Graham even thought that they were better today than the other day.

Also we made the last of the box of pancake mix. I guess I am going to have to start carrying two boxes of pancake mix with us if we are going to eat pancakes more than once. Today though we had plenty with what was left of our box. So after having one more big breakfast, it was time to start packing up.

The kids tried to stay in the hammocks as long as they could today. I finally had to kick them out so I could start folding them up. I tried to remind them that that we do indeed have a few trees at home that hammocks could work on. 

Keaton and Anderson decided to go and ride the trail again today. We told Whitman that he could go with them or help us clean-that was enough motivation for everyone to head off on their bikes for a good while. Reagan had already left to go home for a few minutes before going to work this afternoon.

Soon we had the place packed up for sure. I left in the van with the dog and most of the kids. We were able to start the laundry and empty the car before Robby arrived with the camper. The kids knew that we had to work today-people were spraying weeds, sweeping cobwebs from the windows, scrubbing benches and even breaking windows.

Well, that part was just Robby. He was weedeating while I was cleaning the camper. And it just takes one tiny pebble to shatter a window. Hopefully, it will be an easy and inexpensive fix-at least it will be a story.

I helped him clean up for a little bit-glass everywhere. Then I ran to pick up some tables and chairs around town. Campbell went with me and was such great help. Basically she helped me all day long. When we came home, she helped me unload and label all of the chairs and tables. Then tonight she helped me bake for a very long time. I made sure that she knew that I couldn't have done it all without her.

We had supper at Nonna and Pops' house. Well, all of us did but Keaton. She spent the night at a friends house and even got to go to Raymar and fly a kite. I know that she really enjoyed that. Pops had cooked hamburgers, and they had all of the fixings to go with it plus some delicious brownies.

We stayed over there for a bit but then headed home. Anderson ended up driving home tonight-he has his license but I don't think that he has driven since he received it though. He did just fine driving home. Once at home, there was about 5 loads of laundry it seemed.

The kids helped me with some of them while Campbell and I baked. I worked until it was bedtime-well, I did have to run out to the camper twice tonight at bedtime. Once to put things away and once to get Anderson's clothes which we had left in there. Then it was finally bedtime for the Dennie crew-tomorrow is a soccer morning so it will be early.

April 28, 2022-Middle of the Week Camping

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Last night we were all in the camper except Reagan and Anderson who drove back to the house after church. They spent the night there-even brought in the trash cans, did a load of laundry and ran the dishwasher. All of that plus getting to school on time this morning. I personally think that they were doing their absolute best so they can stay alone more often.

They both had one class at Wildwood, and then Reagan had a good break so she went home. She returned for her last class that lasted about 10 minutes, but that was fine because she had to pick up Anderson and bring him home. 

Then the both stayed at home until she had her dgroup. It is fairly close to the house so after that, she swung by and picked up Anderson and now they both arrived back here a little bit before 8 and in time for supper.

The rest of us started our day with breakfast burritos (warmed tortillas filled with sausage, eggs, hashbrowns and cheese) and eggs in the hole (a piece of bread grilled in butter and filled with an egg). That was all delicious for sure. 

Then after our clean up, we headed to Pinnacle Mountain State Park and their visitor center. The Arkansas State Parks have a passport book that you can stamp at each park-and we had not officially visited this park. So today was the day.

We also took ourselves another hike-2.5 miles today. It began on the Rocky Valley Trail-and indeed it was rocky. Not boulders to climb on, but the trail was just rocks and rocks and more rocks. It was a sprained ankle just waiting to happen.

When we made it to the half way point, Shannon had to take the loop back to go to work while the rest of us pressed on up the East Quarry Summit. More rocks and more straight up the hill. This time we weren't on the edge of the mountain until we made it to the overlook, so Whitman didn't have to panic. 

The trail was nice though-well, really it was much nicer going down the hills than up the hills. And even though we walked less today, it was a much tougher trail than yesterday including the super scary climb up the side of a cliff.

When we made it back to the campsite, we celebrated our two days of hikes with popsicles. Then of course we made the traditional camping lunch of pizzas in the air fryer. Ha! After trying to made pizzas on the blackstone, we have discovered that they are just the best made in an air fryer. Most people had theirs on pita bread while I had mine on a tortilla. 

Oh, and while Robby was making all of the pizzas-the air fryer does take a while, I laid in a hammock and had myself a little nap. I had already made everyone's pizzas so he was just taking them in and out of the air fryer trying to not let them burn.

We just sat for a good bit this afternoon. Then we went to the playground-Campbell, Graham and Keaton rode their bikes there while Whitman walked. Whitman found some friends to play tag with  and made Keaton and Graham play with them as well. 

We stayed there for a bit before heading back to the camper. We eventually had to start on supper-and what a supper it was. Robby and I used to know how to make grilled chicken-but we don't any more (don't judge us!) Tony showed Robby how, and it was absolutely delicious. So we had the chicken in street tacos which was a winner of a dinner.

Then for dessert-he grilled up some naan bread soaked in butter and then bathed in a cinnamon and sugar mixture. Of course that was great. Robby made about a zillion of those, and every single one of them were devoured.

It was nearly 10 when we finally got everything cleaned up tonight. There was baggo that was played this evening-Keaton is really pretty good at that. She even brought her projector for Christmas and watched some of a movie on the side of the camper this evening. It was a super great evening and the weather was absolutely perfect. 

Right now it is about 11:30. Robby is working, I am just now finishing the blog and am going to take a shower before going to sleep. Tomorrow is packing up and coming home for us! 

April 27, 2022-Middle of the Week Camping

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Oh, my camper sleeping is certainly just wonderful. We were all up a good while before going to bed. Bentley whined by the door long enough that Robby took her out, but we think that she just wanted to play with Annie. I guess when she realized that Annie was in her camper, then Bentley settled and curled up on our bed.

Robby did some work, and I was pretty awake so most of the kids stayed up past midnight, and we stayed up until 1. That is probably the reason we were still sleeping soundly early this morning. I had a friend text me from Bible study-she sent me a picture of the empty pew and I sent her a picture of my feet still in the bed. 

We soon all started stirring. Today's breakfast was pancakes-a super crowd pleaser. It has taken some time, but we have not gotten the amount of batter to make correct-the largest size suggest on the box plus the smallest size. Today we had plain pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes and a few brave souls tried fresh blueberry pancakes (Reagan, Keaton and me).

Soon the bikes were down and after a little bit of work on Anderson's bike everyone was riding around the campsite. I even made a loop on a bike with Whitman-he never really likes to ride his bike, so I had him go with me. He did fine, but I sure don't want for him to forget that since we worked so hard on learning that skill.

Reagan soon left-she headed home for a few minutes before heading to work today. They did buy her lunch at work which she was pretty pleased with. I do think that she is kind of enjoying working right now-and I think that she is kind of enjoying spending some money too! (She is frugal like me, but did manage to spend a few dollars on a magazine the other day.)

Soon the rest of us were all loading up to drive to Rattlesnake Ridge. This had been on my list for quite a while now. So there are like 5 different trails out there-we did one that we thought was two miles, but ended up being 4-Cliffbreak.

It was never straight up the hill, but it was a gradual continuous climb. I think that a lot of the trail was for mountain bikers, and even though the parking lot was full, we saw not a soul on the entire 3.2 miles that we walked.

It was absolutely beautiful-there were bridges all through the first part of the trail. They were so neat. Then the very last 100 feet or so we straight up some boulders on the edge of the cliff. Anderson went first-he is not too thrilled with heights so if we kept going we need it was safe. 

Whitman somehow got in between Robby and me. He was with Keaton and Campbell, but bless he almost had a panic attack and was crying when I reached the top. He was so frightened. I have never known that heights scared him, but they did today. 

It was rather challenging-like the first few feet of the up part involved trying to figure out how to get Annie and Bentley to climb straight up some rocks. Once at the top, it was beautiful. I would really like to do that hike in the fall for sure. 

Going down the steep little bit, I did stay right be Whitman. There were a few spots that there was a cliff on one side of you and a steep 50 or so foot drop off on the other. We kept our hand on the cliff and talked the way down. We were the last ones in the group, but did eventually catch up to everyone else as they were getting down the last big rock.

This is where Robby and Tony just had to grab the dogs and pass them to each other. After we made it down from there, the return trip was super easy. The steep section was not even .1 mile of the trail. I did decide that I would like to return and do all of the trails at Rattlesnake Ridge.

The trail took us almost an hour and a half but that was with some sitting and enjoying the view at the top of the ridge. When we made it back to the campsite, Tony heated up some sandwiches on the Blackstone for our quick lunch. 

I didn't really have too much time after that because we were soon heading to church. The traffic was pretty thick on the way to church, but we made it in plenty of time. Keaton and Whitman had opted to stay at the camper, so since I didn't have then with me, I stayed in the car until it was almost time to start church tonight. 

Reagan met us at church, and I caught up on her day. Then after church it was back to the camper. Tony was again our chef for the day and made fried rice for our supper. It was very good and warm-it is still a little bit chilly outside so something warm was delicious.

Dessert was apple dump cake which was almost yummy and warm. We were a bit tired tonight so it was a struggle to stay out until 10, but we made it. Then it was inside to make beds. I am now heading to the shower before crawling in the bed!

April 26, 2022-Middle of the Week Camping

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  • I was about to start my blog talking about how today was Saturday. We did play soccer, and we are camping so yes, it definitely feels like a Saturday to me. 
  • It didn't start off like a Saturday though. There was laundry, dishes and dog duty before the kids woke up this morning. When I did get them downstairs, we read pretty quickly. I believe that I was finishing up in time to shoo Reagan and Anderson out the door. They seem to dally in the mornings when they really need to leave about 5 minutes earlier than they do.
  • I guess we are just doing school for 2 days this week. I had intended to bring out summer school out to the campsite this week, but opted not to. I think that we might even just do a tiny few things next week along with the summer school stuff. Next week is the last week of school after all.
  • Campbell and Keaton did help me with unloading all of the groceries that Robby picked up. There were groceries for this week and for Sunday-so things were sorted into three different piles-camper, party and pantry and then put away.
  • After the groceries, there was still a bit of school to finish. I probably should have hurried my chores a little bit so I could walk on the treadmill-but I sure didn't. I'm trying to eat a little bit better right now-at least a few calories less-but that sure is hard!
  • Robby and I took the camper to Maumelle Park and set everything up this afternoon. Well, we really didn't set anything up-we just plugged things in and then pretty much turned around and left.
  • Tonight was soccer night-2 games, 4 games reffed-it was a lot of fun and a perfect evening for soccer because it was pretty warm at Raymar and not windy at all. 
  • Keaton and Campbell tied their game tonight-Campbell did score one goal. Hughey and Reagan were the refs-Reagan really enjoys reffing. I think that is one of her favorite things to do right now.
  • Then Whitman's little team played. They did loose by 1 point. Whitman was the goalie and did get scored on, but I wasn't really watching so I don't know if it would have been avoidable. Actually, Graham did say that he got too far up. Either way, it was probably good for his winning team to lose a game-it's just good for you to not always win games. 
  • After the games, Robby headed to pick up supper-they sold out of ChickFilA before we bought ours. So he stopped at ChickfilA and Taco Bell. Then we all met back up at home where the kids showered before we left for the campground.
  • The Wilsons were already here and all set up. We soon pulled the ice cream out and had ourselves an almost midnight snack. We stayed outside for a good bit, but eventually we had to go in because it was just cold outside!

April 25, 2022

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  • This morning the kids weren't too happy about getting up. It seemed to take forever to get everyone downstairs for us to begin reading. I think that Reagan was the last to come downstairs, but then Whitman was the last to come to my bedroom-he was making his breakfast.
  • It took him so long working on his breakfast that I would have assumed he was making himself an omelet, instead of the milk and pop tart that he came into the kitchen with. He doesn't do many things quickly-except read. He is a pretty quick reader for sure.
  • After I did the reading this morning, the kids started work on their school work. The non highschoolers only have to do 2 days of school this week. They might have to do their summer school work, but I haven't really decided that yet.
  • Anderson has a little bit of work to do this week, if he doesn't get it accomplished tomorrow. But other than that, the kids should have a fairly light load over the next few days. I am usually not this anxious to finish school, but I surely am this year.
  • After school work, I shooed everyone outside to help Robby who had just drove up with a few bags of mulch. Really, it was more than a few. The boys went right to work hauling and pouring the bags. Campbell and Keaton were great help in spreading everything out. We didn't think that we would be able to get mulch this week, but I am glad that we made time for it.
  • This afternoon I worked in the garage some and even walked on the treadmill for a little bit, but all too soon it was time for us to head to Raymar. The kids didn't have soccer games  to play in tonight, but there was the concession stand and reffing for Reagan, Anderson and Graham. They all reffed 2 games so they were a tired bunch when we came home.
  • The one bit of excitement was Bentley-Whitman was walking her, and she did get off of her leash. Then she proceeded to run around one of the fields and lay on it during the soccer game. I am sure that it was quite a site. Maybe we need to work on recall a good bit more with her. She had so much fun during her little escapade that she needed a bath when she did get home.
  • Most everyone needed a bath when they did get home tonight. Robby and I worked on loading the camper along with making a grocery list. By then it was bedtime for the kids, except for Reagan who wanted my help with an essay. She finished it, and we proofed it before heading to bed.
  • Robby is still working making a grocery story order so hopefully, we will only have to go to the grocery store 4 more times this week!

April 24, 2022

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  • I didn't have to empty the dishwasher this morning before church since we were barely at home for any meals. However, I had lots and lots of laundry that needed to be folded before church, and that sure didn't happen. Robby was able to fold a few towels, but there was still a pile of laundry when we came home from church.
  • After church we went to Grannymom's house for lunch. She had a Dennie family favorite-orange chicken and fried rice. Well, I think that everyone likes it but Whitman. However, you can't please everyone all of the time. We can't figure out why he doesn't like the chicken though-he won't even eat it with the sauce off of it, but he will eat a chicken nugget, and I'm not sure what is different.
  • We then ran to Sams to look at a few things-a new freezer being one of those things. We didn't get it and need to do a bit more research, but if I get a new freezer maybe I will be more organized in my food.
  • I'm still trying to be organized-this afternoon I even worked on tomorrow's organizing list-a closet upstairs. I have two attics that need desperate attention along with my whole kitchen and the entire school room and really, I could go on and on. But I do feel like I am getting there-one little section at a time.
  • Robby worked in the yard today. He burned the other burn pile and spent a good deal of time on that side of the house. It needs some more attention, but he has it looking really good right now. I think that he is enjoying cutting a bit less yard here since the neighbors are keeping the back up.
  • I did have a short nap this afternoon-well, it probably wasn't that short since I didn't even hear Whitman make his afternoon popcorn. When I did wake up, it was time for me to get to work-weekly schedule, a bit of VBS work, concession stand scheduling, grocery list and getting the weekly chore list ready. I seemed to have spent a good deal of time just writing.
  • The kids headed off to their things-Reagan didn't have her life group tonight so she just took Anderson to his group and then went to Target along with Keaton. Graham's life group was cancelled as well, so he went to Rock Creek with Campbell. 
  • Then we all met up at the Wilosn's house for supper. Shannon had chicken which we need to learn to cook. We stayed-even watched some blackstone cooking videos before heading home. Once at home, though, it was time to get ready for Monday morning.

April 23, 2022

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  • I try not to wake up before 7 ever which if you are a faithful or even casual blog reader you will know. But today was soccer Saturday, and I was out the door this morning before 7:10 with 4 of the kiddos. 
  • Anderson needed to be there early, but first we had to pick up a few hundred dollars of ChickFilA to sell at the concession stand. I am always amazed that they sell so much food, plus I'm always a bit amazed at how expensive that ChickFilA really is.
  • Campbell was my main concession stand girl early this morning. Keaton didn't want to miss out so she went to help. Reagan and Graham both reffed 3 games today so they started at 8:30. Overall today, the kids reffed 8 different games (Anderson reffed 2 as well), played in 2 games and worked the concession stand for 4 hours. 
  • It was a fairly busy soccer day. And a pretty sunny day. I sprayed the back of the boys' necks-though I didn't get their legs or faces or anyone else's faces. However, all of my children should be old enough to realize that they are getting burned and their mother has sun screen in the wagon. Right? Is that still my responsibility? Probably so!
  • And yes, my face isn't burned. I did get a bit pink, but my arms sure are. I pulled up my sleeves so my shoulders would get a bit of sun....and man, they did!
  • Once at home this afternoon, Robby worked in the yard. I tried to stay busy-schedule, vbs, helping Robby-but eventually had to take me a little catnap.
  • We ended up eating supper in North Little Rock at Raising Canes. We wen that direction to eat at Fazolis, but it was super crazy and would have taken forever to eat there. So Raising Canes was the second option. The Fergusons met us there so that was fun.
  • Then we dropped off the kids and gave them some instructions-take dog out, put laundry in dryer, make sure Whitman takes a shower, make sure Whitman doesn't stay in the shower for longer than 20 minutes. Robby and I then picked up the Wilsons to go and eat dessert at Chilis.
  • It took a bit for us to get our huge skillet cookies-when we did get the dessert, it was worth the wait. We gobbled that thing up pretty quickly! When we made it home, it was pretty much bedtime for the kids. I think that Keaton and Reagan had already been napping this evening so it is already quite upstairs.

April 22, 2022

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  • My list didn't get exactly finished today, but I think that I did make a dent in it at least. I would like to list what all I didn't finish on my list, but that would involve me getting up so I will not do that. 
  • I was the first one awake around here and went right to work on the laundry, but mercy, we didn't start the dishes last night which makes me crazy. The dishes just take so long to do so when they aren't done in the middle of the night, it creates a backlog for the rest of the day.
  • I did some school work with Reagan and Anderson. Plus there was Bible study to do with the little 3. 
  • Really though, it is a miracle that things ever happen around here-more accurately, I should say that it is a miracle that I can even think around here. Today I walked into the kitchen with Campbell and Anderson taping a spoon filled with peanut butter to a remote control car. Bentley didn't like the rc car until she saw that peanut butter flying across the room. Then there was squealing, barking and laughing all over the downstairs.
  • Also, just a few minutes ago both big boys were going absolutely nuts upstairs screaming and hollering while playing an xbox game with friends. While this is happening, Reagan is playing the piano in the living room-everything is just so loud around here. 
  • And this is completely unrelated, but if we get hard wood floors which I really want, this place will even be louder. I may need to get some noise cancelling headphones just for the house. 
  • Reagan went to work at 1 today while the rest of us went to work in the yard. The boys were wishing that they had a job so they could get out of yard work. However, we certainly needed them. 
  • We burned leaves today-which I am not a fan of. However, it did make things much quicker. We worked on two areas that have been high on our list to clean out. 
  • Robby treated the kids to a slushy after working outside. I had finished up about 4 bottles of water, so I sure didn't want a slushy and all that water made me just have to lie down in the floor for a few minutes. Afterwards, I did feel much better.
  • Campbell had something at Rock Creek tonight-they had a movie night which she enjoyed. Robby had a work event which had decent food. The rest of us just sat around and did nothing-well, we did eat supper and Reagan worked on an essay. 
  • But other than that, this has been a pretty uneventful Friday night.

April 21, 2022

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  • I slept in as long as I could this morning-long enough that Reagan's alarm went off, and she started getting ready. And by me sleeping in as long as I could still meant that she had over an hour before it was time for her to leave the house. So I am really not too sure why she was getting up so early.
  • Anderson sure didn't need all of that time to get himself ready. I just have a few days left of school, so I am really trying to finish a lot of our together reading books-which I continue to get from the library. I just can't stop checking out books-I really have a problem.
  • After our school day, which didn't last too long, the kids started on their own things. Keaton and Campbell spent the afternoon trying to stay busy so they weren't bored while waiting for soccer tonight.
  • Campbell was even trying to stay so busy that she helped me with organizing an attic. She helped me a lot and even though we didn't throw much away, we are now able to easily walk into the attic and get what we need. I am slowly getting there.
  • I did do some work on vbs today-I didn't know I had any work to do, but I found out today that I do have a good bit to do. However, I went to town and have most of my workers and have planned my crafts! We were explaining to one of the kids tonight about doing today what you can do today and not saving it for the next day.
  • Anderson and Reagan came home from school this afternoon-they have just 4 more days left of school, and I don't think they could be more excited about it. And me too. I am ready to have a bit of time off...and I know after two weeks off I will be ready to get back into a schedule. 
  • Tonight we headed to Raymar early. Reagan had to work with the picture taking so we left a bit early. The others enjoyed the extra time there. Whitman loves playing on the playground before his practice. He loves it so much that he asked if we were staying for some reason after his practice for him to play longer.
  • Once at home, we pulled out the leftovers and ate before shipping people off to the showers. Robby and I did run over to the Wilson's house for a little bit-they made brownies. When we did get home, we sent everyone to bed-but this is ipad night so I am sure that not many folks are going to bed anytime soon.
  • Robby and I are currently watching a 100 places to go in the US video so I apologize if my blog is scattered and not grammatically correct. I am trying to make a list of the places that we need to go next!

April 20, 2022

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  • Graham and Whitman slept in their fort in the bonus room last night. We offered for Anderson to sleep in our room if he was afraid, but he scoffed at that idea. Graham and Whitman were just barely awake when I did go to wake them up, so maybe I should have them sleep in the bonus room every night.
  • I think that we just have two more days of CBS left. As this year has progressed we seem to be getting to CBS later and later each time. It is still before we really start, but Keaton is not a fan of our tardiness. I think that today we did make it right on time so that was good-the rainy Wednesdays that we have been having sure don't help any.
  • During CBS I believe that the other three were here at home working-at least I hope that they were working. They sometimes send me pictures of what they are working on, but that seems to be happening less and less!
  • After CBS we came home, and I started on school work. Reagan left around 1 this afternoon for work. I helped Whitman finish his days worth of work and managed to pick out pictures at the same time.
  • Now, I did have good intentions of getting on the treadmill, however, that just didn't happen. There is always tomorrow though. I had myself a perfectly wonderful nap-though I was chilly during most of it. I have been cold for the last two days.
  • Soon it was time for us to head to church. Reagan made it home in time for us all to ride together. Church seems to be a bit crazy on Wednesday nights-just so many kids which is good, but it makes me tired (even after my afternoon nap.)
  • On the way home, we added to extra to drop off at their house so we had to squeeze into the car. We even picked up some pizza which was certainly yummy.
  • Right now someone is taking a shower upstairs, the boys are playing xbox with friends (I can hear them yelling), Whitman is probably still eating his pizza while watching his ipad in the kitchen, and I'm about to read a cookbook.

April 19, 2022

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  • This morning I think that Reagan and Anderson left in plenty of time. But she had only been gone for about 2 minutes when she text me saying that it would be awhile. It took a while for me to figure out what the picture was. I finally did figure out that at the end of the road, someone was putting a car on a trailer blocking the street. 
  • Anderson assumed that they were repossessing the car since they didn't have the keys. Whatever they were doing, it took so long that Reagan missed a good deal of her class this morning (Anderson just had study hall.) 
  • The rest of us went to work here. I will finish reading our history book to everyone, but I don't think that I will finish science. This is the first year that I haven't finished science, so I am a bit bummed about that. But really, does it matter at all that we don't read the last two chapters about worms and spiders-I think not. I have at least one library book that I will not finish along with one devotional book, but everything else I should finish which makes me happy. 
  • Around 11 I had to go to church for a meeting at the kids school. I thought about not telling them why I was there and making sure they saw me so they might think they were in trouble. However, I was there about classes for next year so my meeting didn't take long. I did have to find Reagan since I needed her signatures on a few pieces of paper.
  • Back at home, I cleaned out the vacuum cleaner closet. I am really working hard at cleaning out something every single day right now. I did get rid of a few things, but not too much. There is a list of things that I really should work on, but right now I am trying to do the small projects first.
  • Reagan and Anderson did eventually show back up from school. I worked a bit with Reagan before getting on the treadmill. Then she left again for work tonight. I haven't heard yet how it was but she did meet Robby afterwards to get gas. They ended up getting starbucks as well so I am sure that was a treat for her and Campbell and Keaton who rode along with Robby.
  • I went to supper with my CBS class. It was a fun treat. We ate at Zazas, and I thought that my salad was salty. I know that is weird, but yep, it was salty. Maybe my tastebuds are super off. On the way home though, Candice and I went out of our way to go to Crumbl. I only bought 4 cookies (chocolate chip, snicker doodle, caramel and red velvet), and we thought that they were all really good. 
  • Right now it is just about time to start putting these people in beds-well, tonight I think that Graham, Keaton and Whitman are sleeping in the bonus room. They made a huge fort that I partially had to take down when I walked on the treadmill today. I am not sure that it was wise to let them sleep in there tonight, but oh well, you are only a kid once.

April 18, 2022

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  • This Monday morning was a bit hectic-or at least getting all of the kids downstairs to start on school was a bit hectic. It is so surprising that Whitman can sleep through my hollering at everyone, his brothers waking up and going downstairs, dishes rattling and people making all kinds of noise as they head downstairs.
  • I finally did get Whitman downstairs with his breakfast. He can be a little slow doing things (all the time), but especially in the mornings. We did our morning reading, and then people started work on their own school work for the day.
  • Even though the kids don't have as much work right now since much has already been finished, it still takes me a while to work with everyone. Most everything that needed to be done for school was finished today, so that was good at least.
  • Reagan left for work at 1 and then ended up at Raymar helping with taking the team's pictures there. She put in a full days work today. When she came home, she told us all about her day as she gobbled down the supper that we saved for her.
  • I did every chore that I could think of this afternoon before I finally did do my walk on the treadmill. I told Robby and I certainly enjoy the treadmill more when I have a Christmas movie to watch which is what I am watching right now.
  • Bentley had a bath tonight which was much needed. She also had a few walks today. This evening when Robby and I walked her along with Keaton, it was pretty chilly out.
  • The kids and I all played Left, Right, Center this evening. It was an exciting game since Robby put 2 dollars in the pot for the winner. Of course, the child that now makes a paycheck won. I was really hoping that I would win though!
  • Right now I am trying to watch a Hallmark movie, but I don't think that I am going to be able to finish it tonight since I have had so many interruptions! 

April 17, 2022-Happy Easter

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  • I was  making corn casserole this morning before anyone else around here even thought about getting up. It didn't take too long, so I soon hopped in the shower-except the shower light was out. I knew what I was doing in there so I didn't wake Robby up to change it.
  • Though when I did get out, that was the first thing that I warned him of-if he planned on shaving in the shower, then he better get a move on and change the light bulb. 
  • We all did look presentable this morning in our Easter duds. Well, really, the only ones with new Easter duds was Whitman (his weren't new, I just picked them out and told him this was his outfit and not his favorite green shirt) and Campbell (who found her Easter shirt at the goodwill yesterday.)
  • I did realize that I probably need to get a few more things for Keaton's Sunday attired along with anther shirt or two for Anderson. However, I'm thankful that proper Sunday clothes is something I don't have to stress about. 
  • Oh, Easter Sunday. The sanctuary was full which was a delight to see especially since that is rare these days. But my favorite part of the service today was leaning up and looking at my 6 people all with their Bible in their laps. 
  • We did the Sunday school thing-well, Robby did for a bit and then snuck out so he could work on my mac and cheese. This Sunday school and Easter makes things a bit complicated. Though the Easter when we brought two cars to church, and Robby left early and took my car keys with him was super complicated. We double and triple checked that I had my keys before Robby did leave.
  • Easter lunch was perfect-all the grandparents, Dana, Jason, Lilly and Cash. We had tons of food and tons of leftovers. Even after eating leftovers tonight, we still have way too many dessert leftovers.
  • As we were hiding eggs for the kids this afternoon, it started raining pretty good. That is when Robby just took the bucket and started pouring eggs on the ground. So the hiding part didn't take as long as usual-nor did the finding part.
  • Whitman was super focused on finding the golden egg-however, somehow the golden egg wasn't the big money egg. I think Robby must have been distracted when he put money in because Graham walked away with a 20 dollar bill.
  • After the egg hunt, the kids worked on their candy trading. Then they had the idea for an egg toss. I had a few eggs left so they were given the okay. Lilly and Reagan were on a team and were the first ones out. Keaton and Campbell were the next ones out which left Whitman and Graham and Anderson and Cash. 
  • The boys had basically drawn numbers trying not to be with Whitman. Surprisingly though, Whitman and Graham ended up winning. Apparently Whitman can catch or Graham can throw really well. Either way, it was pretty entertaining to watch.
  • The grandmas had already cleaned the dishes before the egg hunt so cleaning up didn't take too long at all after everyone left. Campbell, Graham and Anderson left for Rock Creek around 4:30. Then Robby and I took ourselves a nap-and slept until about 6:30. 
  • Then we pulled out the leftovers for supper. Keaton made pizza rolls to supplement and Brett brought some pizza, so we all had ample. We watched a video which has made Robby ready to start planning on our next trip. Then it was time for the weekend to end.

April 16, 2022

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  • There was no hurry for anyone in this house to get out of bed this morning-especially after I saw that the church Easter egg hung had been cancelled due to weather. I was pretty sure that was going to happen when I started hearing the thunder this morning.
  • I finally did sneak out of the bed trying not to wake up Robby and Bentley so I could start on the dishes and laundry. Keaton and Sophia were already awake and going strong. I told them that we would leave soon for Goodwill.
  • We even got in the car when I checked my text to see Keaton's friend was being picked up earlier than we expected so we changed plans and headed to the Dollar General instead for a treat. That made everyone happy!
  • A bit later in the morning, Keaton, Campbell, Robby and I did go to the Goodwill. Well, Robby stayed in the car and napped. I left with a sweater, Whitman got new pajamas, Keaton found some pants and a shirt, and Campbell just about left with a new wardrobe. They were proud of their purchases and had fun.
  • Afterwards, we ran to get lunch, and then to the Dollar Tree, Sams and Walmart. We were pretty much gone all of the day long, and when Robby and I did make it home, we were tired! I think all of that yard work from yesterday caught up with us.
  • After a few short naps, things started to get busy around here. Campbell made some cookie bars; Keaton made some cookies. I tried to get everything ready for tomorrow, plus I had quite a few helpers work on cleaning this place up. 
  • Then it was egg dying time. You would think that it gets easier-it doesn't! There were two spills during all of that. At least people can clean up their own spills now, and my kitchen smells clean of vinegar! 
  • Even though my dishwasher was already full and running, we pulled out all of the leftovers for supper which created a whole other load of dishes which is now waiting for its turn in the dishwasher. 
  • Reagan did her first big paycheck tonight so that was fun. I am currently trying to finish the blog, but am distracted by watching the church's old Easter Kingdom production. People are coming in the kitchen for a bit of ice cream before bedtimes, but first I better check that everyone has had their showers! 

April 15, 2022

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  • I didn't even set my alarm this morning, but I still woke right up at 8. I know 8 is sleeping in for some, but I think that I used to could just stay in bed a bit longer. No one else was moving around the house.
  • However, I laid there for about 8 minutes, and then I jumped on up and got started with my list. Ugh, I don't like that-but that list had to be done. There was the laundry and dishes.
  • I really didn't get through those before the dog had to go out to do her business. Then there were some shorts to sew up and eggs to dye. 
  • I was pretty much marking things off of my list pretty quickly, until around 10 when Robby decided it was time to work in the yard. This is when I had to wake up the kiddos. Reagan already had to be at work at 9 this morning, but everyone else was still sleeping.
  • I gave them all times to come outside, but I did make Anderson and Campbell's outside time a few minutes later since they both had some school to do. (And both still have school to do tomorrow since the yard did take forever. I did help them finish a few things around 5 this afternoon.)
  • So we all worked in the yard-the kids did work hard for the most part. We have a few that work harder than others. One in particular we have babied to long and needs a few more weeks of yard work to get him up to speed on what to do. (Like I had to show him how to hold a rake today.) You can always get more work out of people if you let them drive the tractor, give them gatorades and ice cream sandwiches for breaks, and promise them slushies for another day.
  • By 3ish or even a bit later, people were finishing up their assigned number of loads (loads of tarps filled with leaves to the woods.) Robby and I cleaned up what we had been working on, and then he started mowing. 
  • Yes, I know it is going to rain on Easter, and we won't probably be outside. But the yard needed some loving, and we have quite a bit left to do soon hopefully. 
  • Robby was zooming along until a belt broke on his mower. This has happened before so we know the drill. The mower is amazingly heavy, and when this belt is broken it take all the people to push/pull it anywhere.
  • Thankfully he was just on the other side of the RV shed, but that did mean we had to go up a little hill. For some reason you would think a mower would just roll-like a car in neutral, but that is not the case. Robby, me, Graham and Anderson-it took us about 10 minutes to get it into the garage. Like our backs will be sore tomorrow, and we were out of breath when we made it-that thing is heavy.
  • Robby had almost finished by then, but still wanted to do some more. Thankfully, the store was still open so he ran to get a belt. 
  • He then worked and worked to get the belt on. Finally we had to put the mower on our rv leveling blocks which meant we had to call the boys again. I just googled how much the mower weighs, and they say 1500 pounds. I believe it. Now, 1500 pounds does not like to roll uphill-that took a bit of work.
  • Now the mower is on blocks (probably not too stable) with Robby under it working with springs that he is having to tighten and I keep hearing his tools fall. So of course I had to stay in the garage to just make sure I didn't have to remove him from under the lawn mower. 
  • It took him about an hour, but he did have some time to finish his bit of mowing before dark Keaton and I ran to get a friend to spend the night. Reagan and Campbell went with us. Reagan even worked at church tonight keeping kids so she was raking in the money today.
  • Robby and I then left to pick up supper-chickfila pick up was easy, pizza not so much. The poor girl apologized and said they didn't make our pizza. She then said it would be 20 minutes and offered us a brownie or coke. Robby wanted the coke because he was thirsty, but I said no, we were getting a brownie. Then a minute later she came back and said we could have a coke too so he did get his drink. 
  • Surprisingly, they did have our pizza out in about 12 minutes-we thought for sure it wasn't going to end well and we would go home hungry. So this made it about 9 when we did get home with everyone's supper. 
  • The Wilsons came over as soon as we finished eating because they needed to borrow our dryer. While they were there, Campbell worked on cleaning her desk and did a really good job-we have been all about cleaning out stuff around here. 
  • Right now it is about 11:30, and I am headed to the shower and then bed. I think that most everyone else is quiet, but I am sure that no one else in this house is asleep. 

April 14, 2022

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  • I'm a bit tired after our day today. It has been a bit busy. We began with our morning working together while Reagan and Anderson were getting ready for work. They left for school as everyone else started to work on finishing their school for the week.
  • I thought that I was doing well with working with everyone today. Somehow I still ended up doing some school at 8 tonight-this time with Whitman. 
  • I think Robby was the problem today. He was distracting me by cleaning out our closet. I tried to stick around to keep him motivated. His clothes situation wasn't really out of control-but our hanger situation was.
  • We have been completely out of hangers for weeks, possibly months now. If I got a new shirt, I would have to take something else down from a hanger. Not just our closet, but every closet in our house has been out of hangers. To hang up clean laundry, you would have to wear a shirt hanging from your closet.
  • Now, I know that Walmart has hangers for like 2 dollars, but Robby didn't want me to buy any since he needed to clean out his closet. And clean out, he did. We ended up with 3 bags for goodwill plus 1 bag for the trashcan.
  • Anderson had to paint the fields today at Raymar so I ran to pick him up from school after his class. Usually, he waits on Reagan's last class on Thursdays before they come home. I was half way there, when Reagan said that her teacher wasn't there, and they were coming home. I pulled over and turned around.
  • I hadn't gone very far when she called me back saying nevermind the teacher was pulling into the parking lot. So I turned right around again. By the time that I finally did get Anderson, we had about 10 minutes before it was time to leave again.
  • I dropped Anderson off, and then Campbell, Keaton and I went to the pregnancy center. We were busy the entire time there-diapers, clothes, moving things around so the painters can paint. It was pretty busy.
  • Then it was to Raymar for Campbell and Keaton's soccer practice. We were there for a good while before the practice started. The girls and Anderson enjoyed playing. During their practice-Whitman and Anderson were playing in the goal. Graham kicked the ball, so Anderson used Whitman's head as his shield from the ball.
  • It didn't hurt Whitman too bad. He did come to me, and I pulled him into my lap. That is when Bentley went nuts trying to lick Whtiman's face. I guess Bentley was worried that he was hurt and was trying to make sure he was okay.
  • Also during this time, Reagan called. She was on her way to church to keep kids, but there was a bad wreck which caused her to be 30 minutes late. So I spent a good deal of time tracking her.
  • After the girls' practice, Robby took Graham and Anderson home. Campbell and Keaton stayed to play during Whitman's practice. When his was over, we hurried home to eat-we were all starving. 
  • Now the kids are cycling through the showers while I am cuddled under a blanket! I'm freezing!

April 13, 2022

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  • I had to wash my hair this morning so I did that and quickly became distracted with waking up the kids and my morning chores. I did notice the weather and thought that I better dry my hair before the electricity went out.
  • I did finish with my hair and put the hair dryer away, when the electricity did in fact go out. It was only for a few minutes, but it was enough to make things a bit crazy this morning.
  • I was still able to make my Wednesday bagel for our drive to Bible study. All I could think about was how I want to go back to NYC just to eat a bagel. Robby will take me soon because he wants to got to Philadelphia to eat a cheesesteak.
  • After Bible study, we braved the rain to go and have Campbell's name on her Bible. That is seriously getting my expensive-I had names on Bibles earlier this school year, and I think that the price has doubled.
  • Then a hop into to Target before going home. It was almost 1 when the heaviest of rains came through here which is also when Reagan said that she was leaving. Robby told her to hold up for a minute-it didn't take too long for the rain to slack up so she left for work.
  • The lights did go off for a good bit this afternoon. Whitman even had to do some reading by flashlight which I know he enjoyed.
  • Campbell and Graham had orthodontist appointments this afternoon. Robby took them, and then we met during another crazy rainstorm to fill up the cars with gas. We did stop into Costco for a few minutes before I brought the kids home.
  • Reagan came home from work, and then we all headed to church tonight. Robby was still out grocery shopping. I was thinking that there wouldn't have been many kids tonight because of the weather, but I was wrong, and they were wild.
  • After church, Robby had pizzas for everyone so we all sat in the kitchen and talked about the day before heading to our devices for the rest of the evening.

April 12, 2022

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  • I sure didn't wake up any earlier this morning. In fact today when I did jump out of bed, I told Robby that I had 10 minutes to get the house moving. It probably did take me longer than 10 minutes to get myself ready, empty the dishwasher, wake the kids, fold the laundry, take the dog out, and start on school-but it didn't take me much longer than that. I was moving.
  • Of course while I am reading on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, I am also listening to make sure that Reagan did get out of bed and listening to make sure that they leave at a decent time. Today, I had even finished our reading before they did leave.
  • Tuesdays are a bit easier-again I am not too sure why. It isn't like Reagan and Anderson cause trouble during school time. Before noon, we had finished most things for the day.
  • I even left to go to a homeschool resale store in Maumelle. Driving there wasn't my preferred thing to do, but they had a 40 dollar book that I wasn't able to convince myself to buy....and since I had store credit there, it was worth the trip.
  • Back at home, I worked on reloading the camper after Reagan and Anderson did get home. I had two different things to work on with Reagan today. Anderson spent most of his afternoon putting together more of Whitman's birthday gifts. Some had zillions of pieces and even Anderson couldn't get to work correctly. 
  • I encouraged Anderson to find him a hobby or even a career that involves putting small things together. I am not too sure what exactly that would be-maybe you might have some suggestions.
  • Keaton really wanted to play a game today, so we were able to get a group to play a round of Clue. I actually was the first to guess the right answer (just by luck-well, I copied Graham), but I didn't really make a real guess so Campbell did that and won the game.
  • We had supper tonight-hot dogs. Some of the kids aren't too big of fans, but we had tons of buns that we really need to eat. We even have hamburger buns as well-I am not to sure how we ended up with some much bread around here.
  • I had seen on the internet, that some people put mustard in their mac and cheese. So I tried that tonight...it wasn't a hit. I had just put a tiny bit, but apparently everyone could taste it! So that mac and cheese was a no go.
  • After supper, there was some more school work by Reagan, a game of basketball for some and even a walk for Bentley and Robby.

April 11, 2022

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  • Today really felt like we had not done school in days or even weeks. Everything went fairly smoothly. I did have to hurry around this morning to get myself out of bed and to wake the kids up in time to start on school.
  • We did our work-it seemed like I was moving quickly with working with everyone. However, I was still working with Whitman at 2 and had to do a bit with Reagan when she came home from work at 5. 
  • I was still able to mark most everything off of my list today though I did use the kids help. Keaton and Campbell were very helpful in helping me stuff our Easter eggs for Sunday.
  • Really the day wasn't very exciting-it was just school and chores around here. Anderson did try to help Whitman build one of his birthday presents-poor Anderson worked for the longest time and had no luck. Now, if Anderson couldn't work it, I really don't think that the box should say for ages 8+! Whitman didn't seem to care though.
  • Reagan went to work, and when she returned we started on supper: quesadillas which was our leftover meal from camping. Robby cooked them on the blackstone outside, and as always they were very delicious.
  • After supper, Robby and I decided to run to Target and Kroger. We didn't really think about the weather that was coming until we left the house and could see the lightening. We had to hurry to get home-our sirens were already going off (though any storm in the county (Jacksonville) causes our sirens to go off so we were under no threat then.)
  • The girls already had the weather turned on so I watched it until it was time to put the kids in bed. Thankfully, there wasn't a whole lot of weather for our area. For our nightly dessert, we also had our camping leftover-pound cake and strawberries. Maybe camping is more fun than real life-at least the camping food is!

April 10, 2022-Hot Springs National Park

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This is one Sunday when we didn't take an afternoon nap-we probably didn't need one since we were all sleeping until 10 or possibly later this morning. When you make breakfast when camping and Reagan is even awake, you know that you have slept a long time.

As soon as we did get up, we started migrating outside to work on breakfast. Most of our breakfast was uneventful-bacon, sausage, pancakes. We had biscuits, hashbrowns and eggs, but we opted not to make everything. 

Robby was still cooking as a strong wind came. I jokingly grabbed a hold of the tent since it had already rolled down the hill once this camping trip. Soon after another strong wind came, but this time Anderson, Graham, Robby and I were all holding the tent.

Robby had staked it down good the other day. Stakes, strings and weights. Those tent poles weren't going anywhere-but somehow that tent still collapsed. It was like we were in a mini tornado-there were breakfast dishes and pancakes all over the campsite.

We thought the tent had been salvageable, but after that we knew it wasn't. Actually, it wouldn't even stand after that wind storm-well, it did stand for a good while only with Anderson holding up one pole of it. We took that thing down so it couldn't blow anymore. 

That is two tents in two camping seasons-one destroyed by water and one destroyed by wind. Oh, well. Really, losing a tent should be the least of your worries....we lazily packed everything up today. As the boys and Robby were behind the camper putting the bikes on the rack, I was walking out the camper door.

The wind wasn't blowing but I heard the sound before I saw it-a tree falling. I thought it was just a big branch. I knew it was bad since Keaton said when she heard the sound she looked out the window and saw me with my hands over my mouth. People took off from all places in the campsite running that directions.

Thank God no one was hurt. One camper had a 3 inch branch on it but didn't look too bad. I wasn't able to see the two trucks that the tree hit very well, but one front end was messed up and one back end. It really could have been super bad.

After all of this happened, I was a bit anxious to get out of there. The tree was still living and not dead, so I kept looking around at what tree could fall next. And like I said, it wasn't even windy at the time. It was a bit spooky to see. 

Now, back to earlier in the day when a bit less drama was unfolding. Campbell and Bentley were the first ones in the water today. They both really enjoyed it. Probably not as much as Whitman though who wanted to make sure that his clothes were water clothes before he got wet.

I am a different mom now than I was with Reagan and Anderson. I wouldn't have let them get wet in their regular clothes or even just sit in a stream of water all by themselves. I do now-people were riding bikes in the water, wearing real clothes, unattended and really, just having the best time.

Well, Campbell was having the best time until she came hurrying up to us saying something about worms. She had tiny little worms crawling all over her shirt. I grabbed her a towel and made her take her shirt off outside-she couldn't get out of that shirt fast enough. 

Whitman was a bit sour because we were having to leave the campground today. It was really perfect weather, and he could have played in that water all day long today. We did pull out about 2:30 finally-Robby and I were a bit sad because we could have stayed all week (well, after today, I have vowed to never be in my camper during high winds so this wouldn't be the week to camp out.)

I drove most folks home, and Robby just went home with Campbell, Whitman and Bentley. By the time that they made it home, we had emptied out the white van and Reagan and Graham had started on their showers.

When he did arrive, we all went to town emptying the camper. We almost have it down to a science. Anderson wanted a shirt from the dirty clothes so he barely had enough time to get his shirt clean and dry (it was the only thing in the dryer) before he left with Reagan and Kennedy who had just arrive at our house to go to his life group. 

After Reagan took him to his life group, she and Kennedy went to theirs. Wes came by and picked Graham up and took him to his group so that helped. Campbell went to Rock Creek so I took her and Brett brought her home. Gracious, four kids going to learn about God about 4 different places-can't they all do it at one place?

We had our supper at the Wilson's house. All of the kids came back there, except for Reagan who did a little bit of target shopping after her thing. Then it was back home for a few minutes before it was bedtime for this crew.

April 9, 2022-Hot Springs National Park

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Since we knew we had to wake up so early last night, i was even asleep by 11. I am rarely asleep by then. We slept really well last night except for Robby's refrigerator alarm going off sometime in the middle of the night. 

For some reason someone somehow manages to occasionally turn off our fridge so Robby has bought an alarm. No one had turned it off, but it was too cold so the alarm went off. It didn't take us long at all to go on back to sleep. I was awake a few minutes before our alarms did ring.

Anderson, Graham Campbell, Keaton and I went on the first bus to Raymar for our first soccer game. Robby then drove back to the camper (just about 15 minutes more than driving to Raymar from home) and returned with Whitman and Reagan. They gave those two a bit more needed sleep.

Anderson had to be there at 7:15 and went straight to work helping get the fields ready for the soccer games. Campbell, Keaton, Graham and I went straight to work getting the concession stand ready. It took until the first game to get things neat and ready for the day. 

We were at the fields until 2"15 this afternoon. Reagan reffed one game which she absolutely loves and worked in the concession stand one official hour. Graham reffed two games and so did Anderson. I was able to have Graham and Keaton work 2 hours in the concession stand, Campbell logged about 3 in the concession stand.

Whitman really can't hurry very well-during school chores, and even soccer practice. However, he did really well today. Now, he isn't a super star, but he ran after the ball and had the best time ever. It probably helped that his team was winning! He also was the goalie for one period. He stopped the ball once and once he even had to dive to knock the ball away from the goal, Seriously, I've never been so stressed, but he did impress us.

Campbell and Keaton's game was next-right when we were all getting sunburned at 1 this afternoon. They were one fire, but ended up losing by 1 point. Campbell scored and was absolutely all over that field. I know I say it every soccer year, but Campbell hustles like you would not believe. Keaton was smaller than most of the girls on the other team, but she would get in the bunch and kick that ball. They were a lot of fun to watch.

After soccer, we headed back to camp. We did stop at Kreme Kastle on the way-shakes and ice cream for all, and even some fries and mozerella sticks. It was a great stop-and I knew we would stop there, and I was sure glad that we did. We haven't had ice cream on a trip in a while.

Once we made it back to the campsite, we realized that the weather was absolutely perfect. It was so warm this afternoon, but a fire was needed to stay cozy this evening. We unloaded the car and worked on making it organized to help things some when we get home. 

Then there was walks, bike rides, scooter rides, hover board rides and even water play. I think that all of the kids ended up in the water-some more than others. Campbell and Whitman ended up all the way in the water. I think that most everyone else did a bit of wading though. Bentley even did a bit of wading, and she loved every bit of it. She usually doesn't like the water too much so it was good to see her warming up to the cool water.

Reagan, Keaton, Robby and I did drive down to the National Park gift store in town because we needed a sticker for the side of the camper-we do have priorities after all! When we came back, we started on our fire and then began cooking supper.

It didn't take us too long to work on supper-hamburgers and french fries. I think that everyone was pretty hungry this evening because they asked us about when supper was going to be about 47 times. Supper was good-a good hamburger bun is key to a delicious burger. 

After we ate, we tried out my new camp cooker over the fire. It is like a cast iron grilled cheese maker for over the fire. I want to try a grilled cheese or a quesadilla in it, but tonight we tried cinnamon rolls. We burned one, but then made two more that were pretty good. Now, Anderson said that his tasted just like the oven (it did take about 10  minutes to make one cinnamon roll so the oven would have been much more time efficient, but not nearly as much fun.

We stayed outside as long as we could-we were tired. When Robby and I did come in (around 8:45), many of the kids had already come in, had showers and made their beds. My people were exhausted. I don't think that many of us are looking forward to going home tomorrow. 

I had questioned if we should have just come home after the ballgames today and not come back here, but this was such a perfect weather day. Even though we were only here for less than half of the day, the kids had so much fun playing and riding their bikes in the water this evening. The campfire was perfect as we just all relaxed around it. This evening was the highlight of the trip for sure. 

April 8, 2022-Hot Springs National Park

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We all slept very well last night. I even dozed for a bit and then woke up around midnight as everyone else was going to bed. Then this morning, Robby and I woke up, but soon we both went back to sleep for a little bit. We were all in no hurry to get up-not even Bentley.

Now, we have enough breakfast food to have a "fancy breakfast" (Whitman's term for a camping breakfast with all the of fixings-bacons, eggs, pancakes, etc.) However, it's chilly outside and why be miserable when we have plenty of other breakfasty foods inside.

That is what we opted for today-inside breakfast. We have leftover muffins from Costco so they were a big hit as well. Despite the chill, there was still some bike riding, scootering and walking this morning. Grannymom and Grandpa showed up around lunchtime, and we all headed to Oaklawn.

The races have been on my list for quite a while now so I was glad to be able to mark that off of my list. We stayed for the first 6 races. Robby let the girls pick their winners on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th races and the boys were able to for the other races.

Now, we did have some winners-Reagan won 2 dollars, Anderson 8.65, Whitman .40, Campbell 1.20, and Keaton .40. I guess that just really left Graham as not winning anything. Grannymom also funded some bets for the kids with Keaton, Campbell and Anderson winning those. Well, I guess Robby was out some money as well after funding the kids' bets plus his bets as well. 

We came back to the campground; Bentley was super excited to see us. The kids did some more bike riding and scooter riding. I did mean to make Whitman ride his bike some today-I'm not too sure he remembers exactly how to ride his bike. 

We hung out inside until it was time to go and pick up tonight's supper. The choices were going to be quesadillas or hamburgers tonight so we will save that for another night at home. It was just chilly outside but cozy inside.

For our supper, we headed to McClards to buy a tamale spread for Robby and me to share. Then we ran to pick up pizza for everyone else. We sat in the camper and ate our food. By the end of it, there was a wreck on the main road outside of the campsite, so the kids wandered out to give us a report on that. 

Ambulance, fire truck, police cars, traffic blocks, it was a mess, but thankfully they thought everyone was okay. Maybe we are bad luck, because earlier today during the first race two jockeys fell off their horses, and one had to be carted off in an ambulance. I searched most of the day until I could find a report on the injured jockey-they were alert and could move all of their extremities at the hospital so that was good to read.

Anderson and Bentley sat outside a long time tonight. Reagan had been out there with them, but when she came in the camper once she decided it was pleasant inside and cold out there. Robby spent a good deal of the evening organizing a drawer and hanging hooks. I spent some time looking at spelling curriculum. We had the Razorback baseball on for a bit, but eventually it was snack time and bedtime for this crew. Tomorrow is going to come early.

April 7, 2022-Hot Springs National Park

(click for today's pictures)

One night in our bed, and then off again we go. Nothing really makes us happier-though I did have a strong urge to start throwing out everything in our house. My goal is to go through the whole place doing a bit of purging and organizing. 

Anyway, back to this morning. We were up when our alarm clocks went off to start the day. There was school to do at home for most of the Dennie kids while Reagan and Anderson headed off to Comm Central. 

I have a stack off books from the library that I am planning on reading to the kids before we finish school, plus I want to finish our history and science books-that may mean we will have to do some work together during the summer.

By early afternoon, Robby was pulling out with Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman. Bentley was also with them, and she was sitting in my spot. They had to stop and pick up propane and gas before heading to our campground for this weekend.

I was at home for a little bit by myself before Reagan and Anderson showed back up from school. Anderson had one thing to do before eating something. Then I gave them a few more minutes of downtime before we left.

The drive here didn't take too long, but I sure fought the wind the entire drive. Before long though, we were pulling into Gulpha Gorge campground. This is the first time that we have camped in a National Park before so that is kind of neat.

Robby was already set up when we got here. They hadn't been here to long, but had most things out already. We parked and helped get a few more things ready for the weekend. The rug, chairs, tent, lights, tablecloth, trashcan. Camping is not for the lazy for sure-it is a lot of work, but really we love every minute of it.

Robby and I walked around the loop while Campbell and Whitman walked in the water behind our camper. It is a beautiful stream about 1 foot deep. I have actually been here before to play in the water with the kids; however, it is a bit too cold to do that today....

Well, not for Whitman. Campbell and Keaton both did get in the water, but they didn't sit in the water like their brother. He was having the best time. I hung his clothes behind the camper so in case he plans on doing any wading tomorrow then he can put the same clothes back on.

Soon we decided that we should take a little hike. Across the water there was the start of a few different trail. There was one that went to town which I really wanted to take, but we would definitely have run out of daylight and energy on that trail. 

We opted for a .8 mile trail though we didn't really realize that it was straight up the side of a mountain. It wasn't that extreme, but it was a 13 percent grade which was pretty steep compared to the other trails around here. We were sure huffing and puffing going up the hill. 

The best part was when we made it to the top and were able to turn around and head down the trail. That was certainly much, much easier. I told the kids that they could mark 2 miles off on their running/walking chart (everyone but Anderson has a chart for when they walk 100 miles and can earn 20 dollars.)

On our way back, we saw our tent from our campsite-it had blown over. We were able to turn the tent back over, and it is mostly okay, but not 100%. Oh well, that is always Walmart. After fixing the tent, we then started on our supper. 

Tonight for supper we had chili-it was a bit spicy, but still very yummy. (It was warm and the weather was cold. Plus the chili had a few tomato chunks-to me, I loved the extra tomatoes for sure. After eating, we realized that it was cold and since the baseball game was finishing on the tv, we decided to move the party inside.

It takes a bit to get everything ready for the evening especially when there was a small chance of rain to night. Soon though we were all back in the camper-Bentley was sound asleep in no time at all. The rest of us watched as Robby made some popcorn for the kids. I am not a big popcorn fan so I had some of a muffin instead.

Sitting in the camper is one of my favorite things-there are just kids everywhere, and tonight they were all chatty. The evening seemed to fly by and soon it was time to get beds ready for the evening. Now they all have a bit of time before it is finally bedtime.

April 6, 2022-Trip to the Masters

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I woke up this morning to the sound of Robby typing. I thought that it was rain at first. We soon were both ready and headed down to breakfast-except it closed at 9. Oh well, we were able to grab a doughnut which was different than any doughnut we've ever had-it was like a Krispy Kreme doughnut without any of the glaze.

Afterwards, it wasn't too long before the Wilsons let us know that they were ready, and we all headed downstairs. We didn't have crazy far to go today, but we did make a day of it. 

There were a few stops along with the way-gas, bathroom breaks. a walk around an outlet mall even-but eventually we were pulling up at Jacqueline around 3. It was a super short trip, but we all had a lot of fun.

We then went right to work-well, Robby did take some of the kids to get drinks at the gas station. I did some school work with Anderson, and before too long it was time for the big three to leave for church since they had a ref meeting.

Reagan had to leave her little work early to come and pick them up. Not too long after they left, Robby and I left with the little 3 to take them to the church house. He dropped me off at Nonna's house while he ran them to the church house.

We went back home, and I continued to work. I finished most things by the time that the kids all did come back home. We worked on cleaning out the fridge before sending them to their rooms-they all had some packing to do. So far though no one has really brought anything down for me to put in the camper. 

Finishing all of the packing is the next thing that will happen around here, and then getting ready for school tomorrow. And then finally it will be bedtime for the crew.

April 5, 2022-Trip to the Masters

(click for today's pictures)

Let's see where to begin our day. Last night when we went to bed, we were pretty sure that we might not just get to see any little bit of Augusta National at all. However, the rain was steadily being pushed back throughout the night, and by the time we woke up, it didn't look like the rain would start until around 1.

Robby and I slept well last night except it was rather quiet in our room. We are used to a fan and never even thought about a noise machine. It didn't matter though because we must have been tired since even though it was silent in our room, we slept just fine.

We woke up a little bit after 6 and started getting ready. Before 7, we were downstairs, and Robby was talking to the front desk. There was still no solution except his card had been charged for both rooms-1200. Yikes, he is fairly confident they will get it straightened out though it will be probably be a hassle.

The Wilsons were downstairs as well so we headed on towards Augusta National. There was a bit of traffic, but soon we were parking with about 5,000 other cars. It was parking like you were at Disney World-everything was very well organized and efficient.

We said goodbye to our phones (you can't bring them in), grabbed our rain coats (we knew we were going to need them), and followed the masses of people. The walk to get in was probably near a half mile. Then they stopped the people in groups and would only let a group through at a time. There were probably about 3 of those stops before we made it into the gates.

Then we walked and walked some more-we could tell that we were now in the golf course area because the grounds were beautiful, but there was still some walking to do before we made it to the course. We stopped a few times to take pictures of different things and walked around a good bit of the course.

Now, don't tell anyone, but other people seemed to know where we were and what hole we were at-I knew none of those things. I don't even think that I have ever been to a real golf course before so there were lots of new sights for me.

Getting around the course was even interesting-sometimes you had to cross the fairway to get from one place to another. After seeing all of the major stops and people, including Bubba Watson, Zach Johnson, Mike Weir, and some other people that Robby is telling me which I don't know how to spell their names), we sat for a bit near hole 16.

After the golfers teed off, the crowd started shouting "skip." I had no idea what was happening, but they wanted for the players to skip their golf balls on the water and up onto the green. We saw two sets of golfers stop and do this-the crowd was super into it shouting "yes" and "aww" if they didn't make it.

One group's caddys even skipped the balls across the water. Of course this caused the crowd to really get excited. And really, it was probably the most exciting thing of the day for me.

We knew the rain was coming so after seeing this we went to the gift shop. There were probably about 500 people in front of us in the line  (seriously not kidding) along with another 500 people in the building shopping (again, never seen anything like it.) The line to get in was organized like a Disney line.

Once we were let into the store, it was still crazy. Not horrible crazy, but fun crazy. I kept having to repeat to myself that Robby was wearing red. Remember no one has any phones so we had already established a meeting place with the Wilsons, but just keeping up with Robby in the store was a challenge. 

When we did check out, there were at least 40 people checking people out so even though the lines everywhere were long, they all moved fast. We bought our few things-oh, and the prices were expensive, but not crazy. They were what I would expect to pay.

The man in front of us spent 900 dollars on his purchases. Nine hundred! And his bag wasn't even full at all. Just about everyone in the place had a bag of merchandise, and I guarantee you that not many people at all left that store without spending less than 100 dollars.

After we finished our shopping, we met up at our meeting tree. Then we headed to the food concession stand. Again, it was Disney-esque. So many lines, so many people working, so much food ready to go. Robby had a bbq sandwich which he really liked, I had a chicken salad sandwich which was pretty good, and we split a pimento cheese. Now, the food prices for our sandwiches were 1.50 or 3-I guess that is kind of their thing: keeping the food prices low. That made it fun for sure.

We were eating and heard the bull horn followed by the announcement-storms coming, lightening and rain, courses closed, seek shelter. We were expecting this, but it did happen a bit earlier than we thought. It wasn't raining yet, but we guessed it was coming.

We waited for a bit and then joined the masses on the shuffle to the car. We did stop at a practice green to watch the golfers a bit more. Now, by this time there were signs everywhere saying that the course was closed, but the golfers continued to practice. We stayed until one man did come and shut them all down and made them finish.

That is when we decided to move on to the car. By this time, I decided that I might should have gone to the bathroom. However, the only bathroom on the way out was already closed. Speaking of bathrooms-large, clean, workers. The guys went to the bathroom once today and had to find the end of the line where a man was holding a sign-like at an amusement park for a ride. The man moved along and stayed with the crowd of men joining his bathroom line. It was quite the sight-and I don't believe that Shannon had a line at all in the ladies' room. Anyway, we missed the bathroom opportunity, and that wasn't good.

That wasn't good because we waited about an hour in the parking lot trying to inch out along with everyone else. Also, there wasn't much cell service either because all 50,000 of the other people in the parking lot had just picked up their phones too after not having them all morning (and the 50,000 number is legit-they say that they have about 50K on practice days and 40K on game days.)

We did make it to the car just as the rain started to sprinkle. By the time that we made it out of the parking lot, the rain was doing more than sprinkling. It was pretty messy for the rest of the day. We did stop pretty soon after getting on the road for a bathroom stop, but then it was just rain and more rain.

There were quite a few bathroom stops. Robby had to go so badly once that we pulled off just for him. The closest gas station had an outside bathroom with a man changing clothes in it-needless to say it was an awkward situation for Robby. We did eventually find him a bathroom before we drove the 10 more miles to our next stop-Sams.

This was more just to walk around for a little bit since we needed to stretch our legs. Then it was on to Buccees in Leed, Alabama. By this time the rain had mostly cleared, and it was fairly smooth sailing. In Buccees, we didn't really buy any food and just mainly walked around.

In Birmingham, we stopped for pizza at Slice. It was a very good stop-Robby and I had chicken bbq which we both liked. Then it was back in the car towards our hotel in Tupelo.

I haven't really heard too much from the kids today-school work for all, Reagan and Anderson had Comm Central. They managed to grab themselves some Sonic as Reagan took Anderson to Raymar to work for a little bit this afternoon. I know that there has been some playing outside this evening so I am sure that they are all good and worn out tonight.

April 4, 2022-Trip to the Masters

(click for today's pictures)

Robby and I slept very well last night-I did wake up once to go to the bathroom and so did Robby. I think that I might could stay in bed a bit longer, but we were getting hungry. It didn't take us long to get ready and head downstairs for breakfast.

The Wilsons were eating already. I know that it has been a long time since I have rated hotel breakfasts, but let's talk about today's breakfast. Robby always prefers biscuits and sausage along with the gravy and not a bagel and sliced sausage like they had today. Granola always makes me happy. I did eat a plan bagel (they had no other flavors) along with plain cream cheese (no other flavors) which was filling but not exciting.

After breakfast, it didn't take too long before we were on our way. We didn't really have an agenda today-just end up in Augusta. Our first stop this morning was Buccees. Robby and I got our traditional order-a boudin kolache for Robby and a blueberry scone for me. We had just eaten so we didn't eat them and haven't eaten them yet.

Then as we were driving on, we saw a Costco. Of course by that time we needed a bathroom and gas, so we stopped in there. The only purchase there was an umbrella to hopefully to scare tomorrow's rain away. Oh, and we did buy 2 6 packs of muffins-Shannon bought coffee cake muffins while we bought blueberry. Back in the car, we had to sample those so we sliced those babies in half and fourths and tried them.

Kennessaw Mountain National Battlefield was our next stop. We ran into the the visitor's center for a little bit-Shannon was able to get her stamp. Then we drove up to the top of the mountain. It was fairly crowded up there, but we were able to hike up to the tip top of the mountain. It was a straight up hike, and we were pretty out of breath by the time we made it.

The next stop was downtown Atlanta for a walk through the Martin Luther King Memorial. I think that at one time we took a picture with the kids outside of his homeplace. We can't remember why we didn't go in, but we think that maybe the it was after hours.

This time we walked all over that place. We went through the museum. Then went through the church that he preached at, and finally we walked to MLKs birthplace. After that walk, we were back in the car on our way to supper.

At some point during the day we did move to Eastern Standard Time. Tony had found Hattie B's Hot Chicken, and it was a great stop. I had chicken tenders which were good along with mac and cheese and fries. Robby had a chicken sandwich that he really liked. We also had 2 waffles that were warm and sugary and delicious.

After supper, we did stop at another gas station for the restrooms. We had some fun on the drive with some winning scratch off tickets-and some losing scratch off tickets. Also we listened to a podcast about the Osage murders. Robby and I listened to the book last year, and I remembered most of what was going to happen. 

Back at the house, I think that the kids had a good day. Well, the girls had a rough night with Bentley. Bentley was a bit off her schedule last night, but hopefully all of that will be better tonight. There was school work this morning which I think was finished pretty quickly.

I do know that Keaton got hit in the face with a softball. She pitched it to Campbell, and Campbell hit it back. Bless her. Keaton has had this happen to her a few times-the others with a kickball which wasn't nearly as hard as that softball. She's tough though.

Reagan went to work this afternoon so she was gone for a while. Anderson and Whitman built one of Whitman's birthday gifts. Tonight for supper the kids had manicotti, green beans, ravioli and biscuits. I am sure that will be their favorite supper while we are gone.

We arrived in Augusta around 8 tonight and drive right to our hotel. Robby knew that he had a very good rate for the Masters week here, and later he saw that there were no hotels around so he was glad that he quickly snagged the two rooms that we had. We unloaded and walked on in the hotel with us each holding a bag or two.

We quickly noticed the free beer all over the lobby which was an interesting site. I had never seen that before in all of our hotel stays. Before we could even comment on that, the clerk told Robby that they had no rooms. They had no room because there were no clean rooms. He said it again before Robby could even mention that he had a reservation for two rooms-had the reservation almost a year. I was debating how bad it would be to clean a hotel room during parts of the conversation.

The man said he knew that when Robby told him. And continued to tell us that he was sending us down the road. He kept telling us how to go; however, he kept saying Motel 6 in his directions. Now, we don't stay in classy hotels, but they are a bit nicer than Motel 6s. Eventually, we figured out that he wasn't talking about a Motel 6, but a possibly upgrade in the chain.

We made it all the way out of the hotel lobby before we all completely lost it and died laughing. It was just all a bit too crazy.

We drove the half mile and arrived to the second motel. All the while, Shannon and I were trying to figure out if we could sleep in the car and what we would have to move for that to happen. Robby and Tony went in to check in and were in there forever!

Finally, Tony did come out to give an update. They knew we were coming, the lady was kind and quickly charged Robby's credit card for the first room-400 dollars. Robby was quick to catch that, but the poor lady had no idea how to change this, charge us the Robby's rate-of course he had all kinds of emails and numbers to confirm his original rate. 

It took about 30 minutes to get things all settled. As of writing this, they aren't yet. The lady was helpful and understood what needed to be done, but didn't know how to do it. Robby's card has still be charged and they are trying to change it tonight. It will all be settled (or he will dispute the whole charge) so he isn't worried at all.

After finding our rooms, which we were very thankful for, we headed out to find where the golf course is for tomorrow. We did that bit of driving around, and then we brought some snacks up to the room and started to watch the basketball game. 

April 3, 2022-Trip to the Masters

(click for today's pictures)

Robby and I both woke up pretty early this morning-we tend to do that on trip mornings. Before 8, I had done my last chicken duty, showered, emptied the dishwasher and helped Robby put clean sheets on our bed. We were moving.

We had to get to church a little bit earlier than usual, so we made sure that the kids were up. I went upstairs once just as a prewake up-turned off the fans, opened the blinds, and turned the hallway light on. I went up there a bit later and told everyone how many minutes they had until we left.

A bit later Robby made two trips upstairs to make sure that people were stirring. Unfortunately, we must have missed speaking to Anderson. I hollered upstairs to ask the boys if I needed to comb the back of their hair. Graham replied that he was fine, but Anderson was still asleep. That did cause lots of yelling-thankfully, Anderson woke up in a good mood and was ready with time to spare.

We had to be at church early today because today some of the youth were in the choir, and Reagan signed up for this. She also signed up to work nursery at the same time, so Campbell and I took one for the team and filled in for her there. That meant that we missed baby dedication and seeing Reagan in the choir.

After church today, we headed to Nonna and Pops' house for lunch. They had pork loin and a huge pan of augratin potatoes that we finished off. I guess I didn't know how much my kids like those-I probably should make them more often-or really sometime since I haven't probably ever made them.

Nonna even had a little Easter gift for all of the kids and there was a cake and candles for Whitman. Of course Whitman enjoyed hearing the birthday song again-I think that he likes a bit of attention. We didn't tick around too long after lunch.

Once at home, the house was vacuumed, and Bentley's kennel was moved upstairs. Soon the Wilsons arrive, and Robby and I were telling people bye and giving instructions for the next few days. We didn't get too far until we had to turn around-well, just the end of the street when Shannon remembered that she forget her cords.

That didn't take long so we were on the road to the Masters. We had more snacks in the car that we could possibly ever need. We stopped right before Memphis at a gas station for the bathroom. It was no Buccees. That is kind of my bathroom standard right now-hopefully, we will stop at one tomorrow.

We did survive that stop and drove on to Tupelo before we had to stop again. Then there was supper at the little Mexican restaurant that Robby found in Jasper. It took us a bit to find it, but when we did it looked so promising (fun lights, lots of people). 

Unfortunately, things that look promising aren't always. Tony's food came out cold and looking pretty sad. He didn't have any of our sauces are things that make food look appealing. Robby and I were sharing a meal, and ours came out about 10 minutes after theirs. Well, we had to tell the waitress that we still didn't have our food. The manager eventually brought it out-but it was wrong!

Once we finally had the waitresses attention, Robby just gave back our food and said we would just eat the cheese dip. The odd thing-the manager, who the waitress said that she was getting and even checked Robby out, never once apologized, made anything right or even made excuses. It just left a bad taste in our mouth. 

Now, Robby and I did completely fill up on cheese dip, chips and salsa so we left happy-ish. That was really all that we needed to be full. I even brought in a snack to the hotel tonight, but I don't think that we will get to it this evening. 

We just had about 20 more minutes after supper before arriving at our hotel. We have a decent room-I have only been in 2 hotels since 2020 so even though hotel living was once common for us, it is just strange now. 

Now the kids: after we left, the kids had a bit of downtime before they all started to leave. Anderson and Graham went to Rock Creek with Brett. They had a big night there. My boys tried to win a free camp, but came up in 4th place. I am sure that they had fun tonight.

Reagan drove all of the others to church tonight because it was 6th grade Bible night. Campbell received her Bible-and I even manged to get a few pictures from the evening thanks to Jason and another friend. Then it was home for everyone and frozen pizzas for supper.

I did send a message about the time that the kids were supposed to start on the laundry so we will see how well that all worked out. I didn't make a specific extra chore list for the laundry and dishes so who knows! 

Bentley is sleeping in the girls room tonight. We heard that the first part of the evening didn't go too smoothly. I probably didn't explain exactly to them when she does go to bed usually. I think that they did get it figured out and hopefully, they all sleep well tonight.