December 30, 2022

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  • Another quiet day around here. I think that the most productive thing that I have done today is go through the cup cabinet and clean out the glove and hat drawer.
  • I found a new site on Facebook where people are giving stuff away left and right. So I have now given two different things away (some old pictures frames and extra gloves and hats from today). However, I haven't had anyone pick up what they said they were going to pick up just yet so maybe shoving my stuff in the attic donate box is a better idea.
  • The first outing today was with Campbell, Keaton, Anderson and Graham. I do love my boys, but they are not great shoppers. In the back of my mind, I knew that they would do better without the girls and I was right.
  • Our first stop was Walmart, and they had lots of Christmas clearance left. I was still looking throughout myself while the boys were sword fighting with wrapping paper rolls. They aren't toddlers anymore-they are high schoolers swinging wrapping paper at each other.
  • We survived that store and then went to Academy. They both had a gift card there, but they "looked" for things for about 3 minutes before they were finished with that store. Keaton was a fast shopper though and did find her some pajama pants before the boys finished their shopping.
  • After this, we picked up a spelling book for Whitman on the way home. Then I did some reading, but eventually everyone made their way down to the living room to play 20 Questions. We played last night and probably even played the day before. And like most of the time that we have played that game, Anderson won.
  • Soon it was time for supper, we went to pick up a few things-Kroger for buns for tomorrow's supper, Panda Express for Keaton and my suppers, Dickeys for tomorrow night's supper, Paxtons for Robby, Anderson and Whitman's suppers, and ChickFilA for Graham, Campbell and Reagan's suppers. This isn't cheap and takes a bit of time, but it sure does make everyone happy.
  • A football game is on and the kids have been coming down to watch and then migrating back upstairs. Tomorrow is the last day of this break and I might just cry!

December 29, 2022

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  • Well, we have done prettty much nothing today-and it has been wonderful. Let's see, I did wake up and go pick up Whitman. He had spent the night at Grannymom's house. He was just waking up when I arrived.
  • He has been a bit stuffy and felt kind of crummy yesterday. However, I think that he might be on the mend today. I have been shoving food at him all day (do you feed a cold and starve a fever or starve a cold and feed a fever?) Either way, he hasn't been hungry. I have also been shoving medicine donw him.
  • The first batch of medicine didn't agree with his stomach. That was my fault though since he didn't have anything on his stomach. So I made him some cinnamon toast, and as soon as he was finished we tried the medicine again successfully.
  • For the next few hours after Whitman was home. the others kept comng downstiars asking when he returned. They had all slept super late-I think that they were pretty tired from our big day yesterday. 
  • Reagan retrned this afternoon some time. She picked up the car at Grannymom's house and made it home just before the rain started. She had fun at her friend's house and then went straight upstairs. I am pretty sure that she spent the rest of the day in her bed catching up on lost sleep.
  • Campbell and Keaton are the most restless on day's like today when we don't have much to do. They haved stayed busy though-Keaton hung up some pictures around her desk and Campbell has worked on some of her Legos.
  • Tonight people just snacked for supper. I haven't gotten myself any supper yet but plan on having a big bowl of ice cream later!

December 28, 2022-Quick Trip to the Liberty Bowl

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Most of the Dennies slept well last night though we had 3 that did not. Whitman's ear was bothering him last night, Campbell was stuffy and couldn't sleep well, and Robby's hotel bed was way too soft, and he woke up with a sore back. The rest of us did sleep incredibly well though!

Though I am a bit concerned about how I will sleep in the future. Robby laid on a mattress at IKEA and decided that he really liked it. I liked the the mattress was reasonably priced. However, the laying on the mattress felt like you were laying on a piece of plywood. Seriously, when they advertised it as "firm," they were not kidding at all.

The travelers woke up to dounuts which Robby had picked up. Then we headed to Walmart. Everyone enjoys looking at the Christmas clearance. We found it and bought quite a few things. We were impressed with what all they had left. 

Then we split up for Keaton to look for some lotion. While we were walkng to the lotion, we found the rest of the clearance. There was at least 6 aisles left of Christmas decorations. I had never seem so much leftover clearance from Christmas. I did love it, but we didn't really buy that much-tissue paper, wrapping paper, plates, blankets (Keaton and Campbell), shampoo (Keaton) and some candy. 

After Walmart, we went to Ikea-not we usually have to run through the end of Ikea but today we had quite a bit of time. Unfortunately, I couldn't really find anything that I needed. Now, we had some extra time there so while I was walking around and did find something that I want to buy later for the girls' room (we didn't have room in the car on this trip.)

Back at home, Reagan and Whitman slept in today. Then he spent the evening and night with Grannymom. Reagan went ice skating with her friends, went out to eat and then spent the night at a friend's house. So they both had a big day as well.

After leaving Ikea, we met Les who had tickets for us. Thne it was on to the Liberty Bowl. Robby and I have been to a few bowl games-and I am pretty sure that we have never won any bowl game that we have been to. We thought that today was going to be our day, and then we thought that today was again not going to be our day. Thankfully, it was our day, and Robby and I are no longer bad luck for the Hogs at bowl games.

We had good seats-on the Kansas side of the field. That was fine though since we were near a few other Hog fans. Most of them had been celebrating so much before the game that they were no longer sure what team they were cheering for though. 

The weather was decent during the game. I did vow that I will not be at any outdoor sporting events when the temperature is 45 degrees or less. It stayed around 50 and was just fine. Though even with my 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts, sweatshirt, jacket, hat and gloves-I did get a little bit cold during the 3 overtimes.

Since we did have lunch at Freddys before the game, we didn't really want to go eat another hamburger on the way home. Since we were headed home about an hour and a half later (due to the overtime), we didn't have many choices.

Robby did think about pizza, and he had us some pizza ready to go for us on our way home. We were already well on our way by then and had stopped to potty, so that broke up the ride very well. Everyone ate and then Robby listened to some podcasts as we drove back over the river towards home. 

December 27, 2022-Quick Trip to the Liberty Bowl

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This morning Anderson and Graham headed off with Pops to help rake a lady's yard. The boys didn't seem to mind too much espeically since they were getting paid and especially since the yard wasn't incredibly large. 

As soon as they left, Keaton and Campbell were standing beside me ready to go themselves. I did a few more things in the house, and then we headed to spend some of their gift cards. Our first stop was Lululemon. Now, we didn't have any gift cards from there, but the girls do love to dream. (We, however, prefer not to pay a hundred bucks for a pair of leggings.)

After that store, we went to Bath and Body. Keaton and Campbell both had gift cards from there. Keaton bought 3 mini things and spent all of her gift card while Campbell bought 3 full size things that were on sale and spent most of her gift card.

Then we headed to the library. The library that was closest is not our normal library so it was certainly a treat for us all. I should have gotten me a book just to have in case I finish my current books, but I didn't. Campbell and Keaton did find some books though. They have been really wanting to go to a different library to look around so I guess soon I will need to take them downtown.

Thne it was on to Target. Keaton had a gift card so she bought a few things, and Campbell had some Chrsitmas cash so she also spent a bit. Afterwards, we picked up some toilet paper and headed back to the house.

By the time that we got in the house, Robby found out hat we had some tickets to the Liberty Bowl. There were 6 tickets which worked out well since we have only 6 people that care about the game. Whitman only likes sporting events where there is free food, and Reagan has plans tomorrow with her friends. 

So before too long, the boys came home and Robby and I left to fill up the cars with gas. I did run into Kroger and found some teacher gifts for next Christmas (candles-they will keep), and then we walked through Costco and didn't find a thing.

We came home, left quite a few instructions and then headed out. It didn't take us much time at all to make it to Memphis. We did have to stop once for the bathroom, but other than that it was smooth sailing. We had to take a detour but were able to get to Interstate BBQ for supper.

It was pretty empty-as in they had to unlock the door for us. We realized later it was because of the water problem that the city is currently having. The bbq was okay. Keaton said that she still likes Robby's bbq better while Robby said that nothing can really beat HBs. It was decent though and killed hunger.

During supper, I talked to Reagan and Whitman. They had eaten supper-Ramen for Whitman. I don't ever remember him eating ramen before. She made it for him, so I guess you eat what is made. (Actually, the boy can now make a few things by himself. He's growing up.) He told me that he liked ramen so maybe he will learn to cook that.

Our next stop was a Krispy Kreme that was closed. It was fine though beucase our hotel was nearby. The hotel seems newish, and it is completely full so I am glad that we were able to snag some rooms here. The kids are downstairs and Robby and I are upstairs. 

Keaton and Campbell were anxious to get their showers-they like hotel living. I am cuddled up under the covers and about to take my shower as well. Tomorrow might just be an Ikea day-oh, and the football game too.

December 26, 2022-Dennie Family Circle

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  • Again I was the first one awake this morning. I did start on the laundry first-I hadn't folded any clothes yesterday so I had a little bit to do. Soon I turned on the music and started opening the kids' doors to start waking everyone up.
  • Actually, Campbell and Keaton were awake before me-at least they were out of bed before me. They had migrated to the bonus room so they could get ready for the day over there. They had laid out their clothes and make up things the night before so everything would be ready for them.
  • I had two main goals today-put away two Christmas presents and deal with the new towels. So before we left to go to Grannymom's house today I had washed all of the towels in the house that we were being used (two loads) and brought all of the other towels in the house downstairs to our bedroom.
  • This task took longer than I thought it would. Tonight I did go through the towels dividing them up between what I thought were good towels and what were not. As much as I like to throw things away, it is still kind of hard to throw things away. I still may keep a few more than I had planned, but at least I will get rid of some.
  • Around 11, we headed to Grannymom and Grandpa's house for the Dennie family circle. We were all able to get together to celebrate Christmas. There were tons of snacky food which is my absolute favorite. 
  • The first activity was the game-there were 3 groups, and we each had a 100 piece puzzle to work. My group was the first one finished. Two reasons-I do believe that pretty much everyone on our team was good a puzzles. Some people can just see how to work puzzles better than others-I definitely can. And secondly, I do think that we had the easiest puzzle so that helped quite a bit.
  •  Aftewards, we opened presents-the kids all received some cash, a gift card and then a few other things-Reagan's favorite is a new to her camera, Anderson will be excited about his advent funko pops to open next year, Graham had new socks which he desperately needed, Campbell got a new soccer ball, Keaton received her much anticipated backpack, and Whitman got an m and m dispenser which he had wanted when we were in Florida (I didn't but it on the first trip and had to go back to Florida to get it.)
  • Grannymom had lunch as well so after presents were cleaned up we ate and visited. On the way home, we dropped Reagan off at the mall, and she hung out with her friend and her parents all afternoon and most of the evening.
  • The rest of us came home and unpacked. Then I had a nap before reading some. Right now I am going to heat up some spiced tea and watch a Christmas movie!

December 25, 2022-Merry Christmas!

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  • We had told the kids that we would open presents sometime between 8 and 8:30 this morning. My alarm went off before 8, and I could eventually hear people awake, but they weren't acting too crazy. I remember the mornings of Christmases long ago when the people were up early!
  • When I did go upstairs this morning to give everyone a head's up (I have a few people that like to make sure they are ready), Campbell was quick to tell me that some of her friends had already posted what they had received at like 6 in the morning. She seemed a bit shocked by this fact-she was still laying comfortably in her bed. 
  • It was closer to 8:30 when the kids did come down the stairs. This year seemedlike we did have less things to open, but then again I am not sure.
  • Of course the stockings were packed full and overflowing into the Sonic boxes. Some kids even had things that didn't fit into their boxes. Buying for their stockings are my absolute favorite things while I feel completely incompetent on their other gifts.
  • Here is a run down of what the kids received: Reagan-cash wrapped in a ramen noodle package, some cosmetics with a certificate to a behind the scenes tour at Disney and a Harry Styles magazine. Anderson also received cash along with a behind the scened tour at Disney, Funko pops and an xboxgame, Graham had some cash as well plus a Dallas Cowboys shirt and tickets to a game along with a basketball, Campbell had gone shopping with me so she had a box of clothes, shoes and ?. Keaton recevied cooking camp, some baking supplies, shoes and a resin kit. Whitman also will get to go to cooking camp, and opened some baking supplies, a Funko pop, game and a CrunchLabs box.
  • I had quite a few things under the tree-jellies, leggings, socks, candles, a calendar while Robby had a coat and towels that he had bought for himself. He never let me know what he wanted so he will just have to buy his gifts later! 
  • Now Bentley had a ton of gifts as well-a blanket, a football, balls, treats-you name it, she got it. And everyone had lots of candy in their stockings and from their siblings. I would have to say that it was a very Merry Christmas around here.
  • Jason was the first to arrive for breakfast, but all of the grandparents were here soon afterwards. We had the house mostly straight, and breakfast was already ready. I had made an egg casserole in the crock pot last night. It was good, and we enjoyed it, but we won't add it to our collection of keepable recipes. 
  • And of course in Dennie family tradition-we had monkey bread. That is one of the things that the kids look forward to on Christmas morning. The kids showed everyone their presents before we ate.
  • After everyone finished breakfast and then left, I played a few games-Whitman's Cover Your Assetts game and Keaton's Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza game. Then it was time to head to Dana's house for our Christmas lunch.
  • She had chilis which were delicious plus some dips which always make me happy. We stayed a while visiting. Keaton brought her new game which they played. We took a few pictures before we left, and then headed home to take down the Christmas tree.
  • Yep, we haven't taken the tree down in a few Christmas days, but today we did. It didn't take long at all. We did make the kids work, but in about an hour they were finished, and we were just cleaning up. It truly feels so nice having all of that gone-of course my house feels incredibly empty which I love.
  • I finished my book tonight, and then heated up our supper. We had all kinds of soups tonight-tomato basil, baked potato, and chicken tortilla. (They were from Costco so don't be impressed. I did make cornbread though). 
  • After we all ate, we played Anderson's 20 Questions game. Reagan was the big winner tonight becuase she was able to guess someone on the very first clue. While we were playing the game, Bentely was upstairs having a feast of beef jerky. (I think that the bad was already empty.) I guess she was having her Christmas snack.
  • Right now, Robby and I are sitting on the couch, and I guess I am going to watch a Christmas movie or start a new book or maybe drink some hot chocolate or cider. So many options on this Christmas evening.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: Merry Christmas!

One last ormanent to talk about this year. This is probably one of my very favorites even though I have struggled with getting it to stay on the Christmas tree since it is so heavy and not meant to be a Christmas ornament. 

I have bought pictures frames from Disney before that were plasticy and perfect for the tree. However, this time we could not find anything similar. So we had to bite the bullet and buy this heavy frame. It has been worth the cost and worth the trouble because every time that I see it, I smile.

We have been blessed to have spent quitea a bit of time at Disney this year and the years before. My kids feel like they know the way around there, and some day I hope that they will be able to take their kids. Here is the a link to the list of times that we have been to the Disney Parks. Maybe at some point we can add a few international Disney parks to the list. 

I certainly hope that you have enjoyed reading the past month about our Christmas ornaments. We love the memories that the remind of us of when we hang them each year. Actually, I only hang about 1/4 of the ornaments since we have so many. Reagan asked me this year what I was going to do with all of them. Imagine her face when I said, "give them to you."

We want to with you and your family a very Merry Christmas! Hope you have a splendid day filled with family and friends.

December 24, 2022-Christmas Eve!

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  • When our garage door went up in the middle of the night (some would even say morning), Reagan was the only one awake. She was a bit concerend when she saw on her phone and that garage did go up, but she wasn't worried enough that she woke one of us up. 
  • Needless to say, she was probably the latest sleeper since she was up at the crack of dawn. (Robby worked some on the door so we should be good now-hopefully). No one was really up early. I had read 100 pages of my book before I decided I shoul get up and be productive. 
  • And really, I didn't see anyone else until I text around noon asking what Sonic drinks the kids wanted. Each year their stockings overflow into Sonic drink containers, and so far I only had 4. Thankfully, Sonic is just right down the road.
  • Keaton took the ordes for me while Campbell quickly got ready so she could go with me. We ran up there and home in no time.
  • Before I had given Bentley a bath this morning, I had taken a shower myself, but this afternoon I got chilly so I had myself another shower. This time though I had to set my timer since I only had 10 minutes before we had to leave for the Christmas Eve service.
  • The service was pretty packed. It is always nice to see the church house full. I quickly get a bit teary eyed tonight when I realized that this was Keaton's last year to go down to the front with all of the other kdis. Next year she will be in the youth group and to big for that.
  • This year though during the kids thing, I did snow. That was pretty cool, and I can say that was the first time that I have ever seen snow in the sanctuary.
  • After the Silent Night and candles filling the room, we headed to Nonna and Pops' house for supper. They had quite the spread. Supper was delicious, and Nonna had made plenty of desserts along with a few pies. 
  • We did take the customary pictures in front of Nonna's tree before we had our supper-Graham was so anxious to take the pictures so he could change into his comfy clothes. By the time that we did open the presents most all of the kids were in their pajamas or comfy clothes.
  • I will say that everyone racked up on presents this year. Robby got more headlamps (he loves his first set) along with a car jumper thing. I had work gloves, clothes and tennis shoes. Reagan's favorite present would probably be her jeans. I think that Anderson really liked his 20 Questions game becuase we played it after we opened presents. Graham liked his xbox game the most probably. Cambpell opened a neat jacket that she is anxious to wear. Keaton's favorite was her packing cubes, and Whitman's favorite gift is a trip to Dave and Busters soon.
  • Once presents were opened and cleaned up, we did play the 20 questions game. Anderson was the big winner. After tracking Santa we headed home-the map said he was in Memphis. Though if he truly was in Memphis, we have missed him by now,
  • At home, we threw our reindeer food onto the roof. We didn't do a great job at this because it is still cold out there. Then it was inside to read our last 2 Jesse trees-I thougth we would never get caught up with those, but we surprisingly did. And finally, we had our customary pictures in front of our Christmas tree.
  • Whitman has put on his new pajamas, laid out his new blanket and played with his new game. Reagan has plugged up her air freshener while Graham and Anderson have already put their xbox gift cards on their xbox accounts.
  • Now, we just have to wait awhile before going to bed-I have to pull out all of the presents plus put some breakfast in the crockpot!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 1 Day until Christmas

This was a fun stop-though I do have mixed feelings about it since we did briefly lose Whitman. We went out one door, and he another one-and then we never really counted kids. He did just as he should and waited on us. 

But back to the fun part of the visit, we had Bentley with us on this outing. You would not believe the amount of people that asked us if she was related to Duke the Bush's Bean dog. She does look very similar. Before we did leave, we found that we do enjoy pecan pie with beans in it. Here is the post from that day.

December 23, 2022

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  • This house was silent for a long while this morning. I think that maybe it was too cold outside for anyone to get out of their beds. It was warm and cozy, however, in our bedroom until we opened our bedroom door. Then it got pretty chilly in our room, and we vowed to stay under the covers as long as we could.
  • I finally had to get out of bed-I had already started a new book this morning and even had my breakfast in bed. After a few chores, I took Graham to buy a few gifts for his brothers and sisters. Then we went to Nonna's house to drop off some cookies. He text and made sure to ask Nonna for a quesadilla when we arrived.
  • When we came home, I went to work on wrapping a few more things. Later Keaton and Reagan helped finish up the last little bit of wrapping for this house. So I think that we are done with gifts around here-at least I hope that we are.
  • At one point, I did have a short afternoon nap before we headed out to Sams for a little bit. First, we stopped at Grannmom and Grandpa's house to drop off their cookies. I thought for sure we would find something to buy at Sams, but we didn't.
  • So after our non-shoppping, we stopped at On the Border. Keaton was the only one with us, and she enjoys our On the Border suppers. Robby and I split something, and Keaton had her regular as well. 
  • Back at home I made supper for the others. While we were eating, we did oru Christmas things-Jesse tree, pulling Santa and guessing Christmas ornaments. 
  • I am watching a Christmas movie right now and am wondering if I can stay awake to watch another one. Robby has been sitting watching my movie for about 2 minutes and is already asleep. It is pretty comfy on this couch-I might take myself a nap too (if my movie doesn't get any better.)

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 2 Days Until Christmas

We have been to Hershey, Pennsylvania a few times. This was the first time that we camped there, and the first time that we were able to go to the theme park. It was a super neat campground which we enjoyed. The theme park wasn't magical like Disney, but it was pretty fun-especially since we bought the meal plan. The kids went from roller coster to roller coaster, while Robby and I went from food place to food place trying to maximize our meal plan.

The Hershey store is a huge place containing lots of chocolate things to eat, buy and even a ride. The highlight of this visit was when an associate approached us asking if we wanted to try a new candy bar and rate it. There was only enough room for the kids to do this, but they loved this. It was memorable for sure. This is the link for that's days post.

December 22, 2022

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  • Yesterday was a big day for Campbell, but today was also a big day for her. Campbell and I left around 7:25 this morning. We hurried to the orthodontist office-Campbell kept telling me that we were going to be early, but I reminded her that we had some place to be at 10 and 2 appointments to go so we needed to be early.
  • After almost a year and a half of braces, she had hers taken off today. Of course there was some confusion about all of that since my orthodontist's office didn't communicate with my dentist. However, they had all of that sorted out after awhile and things moved smoothly. 
  • Cambpell's braces came off, her teeth were polished, xrays and pictures were taken, and a retainer was given. It was 9:20 when we finished there, and I zoomed to the dentist office for appointment number two.
  • Campbell went in and they started the process of fixing her tiny tooth. Robby sent the other kids to Traci's house and headed to meet me. By the time that I almost made it to the gingerbread party, Campbell was finished.
  • I did some back tracking and had time to buy Campbell a drink while I waited on Robby to drop her off to me. He headed on to Costco while we arrived just about 35 minutes late to the annual gingerbread party.
  • The party was changed today becuase of the weather so there were about 30 less friends there. However, it was still a housefull. It worked our super well-though when I did drive up Graham was already putting his and Whitman's houses in the car. Those boys didn't take long to make their house at all.
  • Now Keaton and Reagan took a good while longer working on their house. Anderson was also at the table with all of the high school girls so he obviously was in no hurry to finish his house. And yes my pictures that I took of Whitman and Graham are of them holding houses that are not their own. Graham thought this was incredibly dishonest, however, I told him in 2 years we would not know it at all and I needed a picture.
  • After the party, I tried to help clean up and then came home to clean up here. It is more fun cleaning at someone else's house for sure. It didn't take too long to straighten this place up, and then I started reading a little bit. 
  • Of course I eventually did have a nap, but it was hard since Campbell, Keaton and Whitman were running in and out of the house because of the snow that was falling. It didn't snow too much, and the much anticipated cold weather is cold, but the roads weren't too bad tonight when we went to the Wilson's house.
  • We ate supper, played a game and watched a movie so it was a pretty great evening. One we made it home we read a few Jesse trees before putting the kids in bed. To be honest, "putting the kids in bed" these days just consists of us getting their laundry and dishes, saying a prayer and us going to bed ourselves.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 3 Days until Christmas

Disney is always a fun trip, and we were fortunate enough to be able to go twice this year. Our November trip was full of misty, dreary weather with even a hurricane which was certainly an adventure, but our December trip not only had perfect weather, but it was also just perfect.

The Fort Wilderness Campground is an amazing place and especially around Christmas. The sites are decorated (think 100s of blowups in each site), the golf carts are decorated (think bubble machines on top of golf carts), and the people are festive (think giving out nice presents to strangers). 

All year long the campground has a Facebook page where people are hiding things for other guests to find. Keaton and Campbell so enjoyed this and that is where this ornament came from. They found this ornament on one of our first days there which saved me some money so I didn't have to buy another ornament for this trip! 

December 21, 2022-Happy 13th Birthday Campbell!

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  • I was the first one awake this morning, and after laying in bed as long as I could and then doing my morning chores, no one was awake yet. I started thinking about the weather some, so I decided that I needed to get myself out and about to finish my Christmas shopping.
  • So I did some running around-the library, Walmart, Kroger and Target-so now I guess I am going to call my Christmas shopping done. I don't have a thing for Robby and can't find a few things that I always put in the kids stockings, but I think everyone will be pleased still.
  • As soon as I made it home, I did the last bit of school with Whitman, and then we turned around and left again. Well, Reagan was still at Kennedy's house and the big boys were busy playing games with their friends. 
  • We celebrated Campbell's birthday at her favorite restaurant: Taco Bell. Then we went on to Defy for them to jump for a little bit. While they were there, I did some reading in my book which is turning out to be really good.
  • Then back home this afternoon, all of the kids helped decorate sugar cookies. This is a Christmas tradition around here though some of my people enjoy this more than others. Graham said, "how many do we have to do?" Once he had done his 3, he was gone.
  • This evening the grandparents and Jason came over to celebrate Anderson's 16th birthday and Campbell's 13th birthday. We now have 4 teenagers in the house. We had pizza and then ice cream cookie cake for Campbell and peanut butter pie for Anderson.
  • They both had lots of presents to open-mostly funko pops for Anderson and Campbell's favorite will definitely be the curling iron. When everyone left, we straightened for a bit before I settled ino to watch the rest of my movie from last night.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 4 Days until Christmas

I can say that I never knew were Lambeau Field was until this May. Sometimes trips just have some neat moments in them that are unexpected. For example on our way to Door County, Wisconsin we stopped to see the home of the Green Bay Packers. This was a stop that I cared nothing about for sure, but it turned out to be a super neat tour that we all enjoyed. Green Bay is one of Anderson's favorite NFL teams so we knew he would enjoy the tour, but we really had no idea how we would all enjoy it. Of course, any tour depends solely on the tour guide, and we had great ones. It was a super neat stop on last year's May road trip. Here is the post of that day.

December 20, 2022

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  • Last night Bentley ended up on the naughty list at the Dennie household. At some point during the night she woke up and made enough noise that Robby let her out of her kennel. Later as she barked by the door, I scooter her into our bed and did this a few times, before we relented and let her out of our bedroom.
  • Campbell, however, was not on the naughty list. She got to go shopping with me fairly early this morning. She bought her last Christmas present from me which involved shopping at Walmart, Target and Marshalls. I think she did super well on her purchases today. Plus while we were out, I finished up two more people's presents.
  • When we came home, I was there for about 10 minutes before leaving again. I took Whitman and Keaton to Dollar General to buy gifts. Whitman was very excited about buying gifts and had even asked a few times. 
  • He went upstairs to get his money and came down saying he only had 5 dollars. This kind of panicked me-he does get money occasionally so where would it be going. Could someone be taking it? Surely not, so I ventured upstairs. Indeed in his money bucket, he just had change but there was also an envelope. The envelope was full of all of his other money so all was well. He didn't really care about this new windfall, but I was certainly relieved.
  • When we finally did get home from this shopping venture, Robby asked if we had gone to the Dollar General in Conway and not the one a mile from the house. Whitman was incredibly speedy, but Keaton studied each and every thing in the store.
  • Robby took Campbell, Keaton and Whitman to Defy this afternoon while I wrapped presents, made a pie, rearranged a cabinet and baked some sugar cookies. The kids helped me with the sugar cookies when they returned home.
  • Reagan went to Kennedy's house tonight while the rest of us had pancakes, sausage, and egg in the hole for supper tonight. Currently, Robby is walking on the treadmill and I am about to get some hot chocolate to drink while I finish my Christmas movie.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 5 Days until Christmas

This was one of those trips that you just have to make-to Waco to see all of the Chip and Joanna Gaines shops. It was as I expected-beautiful and overpriced. Now, I did come away with an ornament and a tshirt that I am even wearing right now. It has actually been my favorite shirt which I have definitely gotten my use out of. Oh, and the cupcakes-they were certainly wonderful as well. And I think that we even bought cookies. 

I probably would go back becuase it was a really fun trip-not only did the Wilsons come with us making it more fun, but there was a lot of good food-Mexican and bbq that I remember. And I guess that I would even return to the Silos to walk around looking at the pretty things and eating a cupcake. Here is the link to that post.

December 19, 2022

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  • This morning started out with a few chores plus getting everything ready for the girls to make brownie Christmas trees. Keaton had said that she was going to bake the brownies last night, but she never did get around to it. 
  • So before she was awake, I had the brownies made along with the icing dyed and everything else laid out. Campbell and Keaton were the only ones that I had seen this morning when I left even though I didn't leave incredibly early.
  • Reagan had a dentist appointment for a filling so we ran to Grannymom's house first to drop off one gift. Then I ran into Academy to pick up another gift before we hurried off to the dentist. I am not sure what all they did to Reagan's teeth, but we were there for the whole hour. That was good since I was able to do quite a bit of reading.
  • Then we moved on to Kroger to grab a few things. Reagan asked if we needed a buggy, but I told her we would spend less money if we didn't have one-we left with our arms full of things so I am not sure if no buggy was really a good idea or not.
  • We were home for a few minutes when we left again for a Chritmas party at the Ferguson's house. My bigs were definitely the oldest ones there, but they didn't seem to mind too much-especially since they were able to leave. They played the games and ate before heading on their way home.
  • Whitman wanted to go with them, but I told him we would stay about 45 minutes later. We ended up leaving an hour and 45 minutes later. I kept looking outside and Whitman was always busy playing so I let him play. 
  • Keaton was as happy as she could be since her buddies were there. Campbell also was content becuase she was busy taking care of the little bitties. When we did finally make it home, I had the girls work on some wrapping. Then Graham and Anderson had to do some wrapping for their person as well-it is always entertaining watching the boys wrap presents.
  • Afterwards, I cleaned the shower before we did some Jesse tree reading. Now I am curled up watching my first Hallmark movie of the evening.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 6 Days until Christmas

Another Master's ornament! We actually bought an ornament for the tree from the gift store even though we had already decided that we would use our tickets as an ornament. Now, here's the thing about the gift shop-it was insane. They would let about 100 people inside at once, it was so crowded that I felt like I needed to hold on to Robby, and the checkout was quick with nearly 50 checkout lanes happening at once. We had to go in there just to see the organization of the place-Disney should even take note.

We had thought that this once in a lifetime trip deserved two ornaments. However, we didn't know that becuase the day was cut short due to rain, we were given the option to purchase tickets again for this next year. So it looks like we are going to be able to go once again-I'm not sure if we will buy another ornament though-but I'll definitely go back to the gift shop. Here is the link to that post.

December 18, 2022

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  • We made it to church on time with all of our things-let's see, here is a run down: 8 Bibles, 20 gift bags for the kids in my class, 3 jars of spiced tea for the momma's that I forgot to give one to last night, 7 gifts to the girl teachers, 3 boxes of candy for the boys' teachers, 1 blanket for a dirty Santa in Campbell's grade, 2 plates of m and m cookies for Campbell and Graham's classes, plates, napkins, tablecloths, 2 games for my class, and 30 cupcakes. It was indeed a lot!
  • We made it back to the car with a lot less but also it seemed to be pretty much the same amount. It was still a load we were having to take back to the car, but when we did get home, putting everything away didn't take extemely too long.
  • First though was lunch at Grannymom's house. We visited for a while before we left to go and get the boys' haircuts. They all needed hair cuts and had for a long time. Everyone looked nice when they were done. 
  • While they were in the store, the girls and I ran into Target to pick up a few things-except 3 things taht we were looking for they did not have. I don't think I will ever be finished with my Christmas shopping this year. 
  • When we made it home, the boys loaded tables into the car while the girls unloaded church things from the car. Then we all worked on the laundry for a few minutes before Robby and I took a nap.
  • By the time that I woke up, Campbell was already off to Rock Creek. I then took Anderson and Graham to their life group, and Reagan went eat with a group from church. The Wilsons then came over for a few minutes before Shannon and I had to leave to go and pick up the boys.
  • Tomorrow is a busy day-and I promose that I'll take a few more picutres!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022-7 Days until Christmas

Of course we had to buy an ornament from Turkey Hill. Any place that serves unlimited scoops of ice cream we want to remember. I believe that our tickets were about 10 dollars apiece, and I believe that we definitely ate that much ice cream (even counting Reagan and Keaton do not eat mucu ice cream). It was definitely a fun stop on our trip to Michigan. Here is the link to that day's ice cream feast.

December 17, 2022

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  • Another day of Christmas cooking. First Campbell and I were up early (not that early) and headed to the store. Last night I was unable to locate cupcakes so today, we were the first ones at Sams to snatch some cupcakes. We were successful in that mission.
  • Then we went to Walmart where I finished up shopping for two people so another success. Our final stop was at Grannymom's house where we dropped off some Christmas presents.
  • Back at home the baking commenced. By this time Keaton was awake-it took her a few minutes to wake all the way up, but when she did she helped us. First up was making 2 batches of fudge, followed by two batches of m and m bars, and then 2 batches of chocolate covered pretzels.
  • While they were doing this, I was working on making potato soup and homemade hot chocolate. Soon, all of the kids were able to help by cleaning the house very quickly. Seriously, I couldn't have done it all without my kids-they were all such a help today.
  • Robby took Keaton, Campbell and Whitman to Defy while I worked on the kitchen. I had finished the kitchen and had taken Bentley on a walk when they returned. Then they were not home long at all when they left again for the boys' basketball game.
  • The game didn't turn out in the guys favor, but I hope that they still had fun. Robby said that they had good attitudes which is more than he said that he could say for all of the fans. After the game, they celebrated with pizza from Shotgun Dans.
  • I wasn't at the game because I had the homeschool mommas come over for supper. We had potato soup, spinach dip, salad, bread, peanut butter bars and hot chocolate. It was a very good meal-at least I thought so. 
  • The mommas all stayed pretty late so it was after 11 when I had cleaned the ktichen again. Tomorrow we will need to leave a few minutes early-we have so much stuff to take to church. It will seriously take every Dennie to help bring all of the things into the church house. So I better get in to bed so we can get there in plenty of time.

CHristmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 8 Days until Christmas

Seeing the synchonous fireflies in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park has been a dream of mine even before I knew anything about them. Seriously, we had heard about the firefly lottery a few years before, but it had never worked out with camps. We had no idea that we would really just luck out into seeing the most amazing thing. 

There were fireflies everywhere-it was absolutley amazing. Though for the first hour that we were there, we were a bit stressed that it wouldn't just work out, and we would just be hanging out in the middle of the forest with bears. Thankfully, before long there were fireflies everywhere. It was absolutly amazing to see-Robby and I enjoyed it so much that we went back the next night to see it all again. Here is the link to that day.

December 16, 2022

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  • If you were wondering, Bentley did great last night and never made a peep in her kennel. We slept great, but I sure wasn't up with the sun. That was fine though because after working all the day long, most of my list has been accomplished-well, what wasn't done today, I just moved to tomorrow's list.
  • I had to wake up most everyone except for Reagan. She had to be at work at 10 so she had to rise early-for her at least. It was a long day for her. I think that she was busy editing Santa pictures all the day long.
  • The rest of us did school around here. I did figure out that we only have 3 chapters left in sceince so at least the end is in sight there. History-just abour 300 pages left so we are no where near done. 
  • After we worked together, I had Campbell, Keaton and Whitman help me get things ready for Sunday. They can really help me when they are interested in what I am doing.
  • I even had the girls wrap some presents for me this afternoon. Wrapping is one of my least favorite things-and after observing Campbell and Keaton: Campbell isn't too big on wrapping either, but Keaton does enjoy it.
  • Late this afternoon, Campbell and Keaton went with me to meet Robby to get gas before running a few errands. Robby also picked up the grocery order, but after it was made I thought of something else that I needed. Unfortunately, they were out of it at Walmart-urgh! That made me a little bit crazy. Thnakfully, when we got home I found out that I really didn't need that ingredient after all. So right now I only have to go back to the grocery store tomorrow for one item.
  • When we came home, Robby had supper ready for us. It was orange chicken which is a Dennie family favorite. After we ate, everyone talked about ornament, we read two Jesse tree devotionals and pulled Santa. 
  • Currently, I am snuggled under a blanket trying to decide if I want to watch a second move when this is done or read some of my book-or even take a nap!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 9 Days until Christmas

Our first ornament that we collected this year at the Master's golf tournament was our tickets. We thought that we would save our tickets and turn them into a Christmas ornament. This year we had the opportunity to go to Augusta with the Wilsons. It was a really fun trip-despite the rain! Here is the link to the day where we picked up this ornament.

December 15, 2022

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  • We didn't sleep as good last night as we do when we are in the camper. That dog was the problem. On trips, she sleeps in our bed, and I think that she may have gotten a little bit used to it. Usually we go through this the first night home from a trip so hopefully she will do fine tonight.
  • Robby did let her out after she barked some. Then I could hear her drinking her empty water so I had to refill it in the middle of the night. Plus occasionally she would stand up and bark at the window during the night. We all survived and Robby and I still woke up before our alarms went off this morning. 
  • Hopefully, we will wake up again at a decent time tomorrow-my list is even longer tomorrow than it was today (partly because I didn't finish today's list.) Even though it is almost 12 the kids aren't in bed, I have to have my shower and there is a cookbook that I plan on reading once I do get into the bed tonight so I am not too sure if I will wake up with the sun tomorrow.
  • This morning I tried to mark things off of my list-even called a few places and was unsuccessful at all of them. Get a dumpster from the city-not in the city limits, move an orthodontist appointment-probably not, but ask another day, get a bike tune up-not for a while because prices were super expensive. Thankfully, I didn't have any other phone calls to make.
  • Soon the kids were starting to wake up and start on their school work. This was a fairly light day of school for them so that made everyone happy-even me.
  • Around noon I left pretty much for the day. First, I went to Nonna and Pops' house to pick up some presents and drop some off, and then I stopped at the library. Next up was one more errands before Walmart, and then going to the pregnancy center for a little bit.
  • When I did come home, the kids were all gone-they had gone to Defy with Robby for a little bit. They jumped for a long while, but pretty much as soon as they came in, it was time for Robby and I to leave.
  • Tonight we helped usher at a Natalie Grant concert at Rock Creek. That woman can sing for sure. It was fun evening-we made it home late, but there were freshly baked cookies waiting for us made by Keaton.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 10 Days until Christmas

The town of Marceline, Missouri had been on our list of places to visit for quite a while because Walt Disney lived there for 5 years and even modeled Main Street in Disney after this town. On our way to Michigan last year, we were able to stop there and tour the museum. It was a neat little stop, but the most interesting thing to me was that Walt had wanted to open a theme park in Marceline. What if Disney had been so close to home? 

I was just doing some reading and the flag that we bought was a replica to one donated to the museum by Walt that once flew over the railroad station at Disneyland. It is a fun addition to our Disney tree. Here is the link to that trip. 

December 14, 2022-Disney in December

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Most kids were asleep last night when we stopped, and everyone was asleep this morning at 7 when we took off again. It was really more like 6:30 when Robby did get up and drive us to the gas station. I also think that most everyone slept until we were almost in Arkansas and a few people even had naps during the last little bit of the drive. I think that my kiddos were pretty tired.

As soon as we did make it home, everyone started to work on unloading the camper. Some trips we have to take everything in, and others we don't have to take as much in. This was a "take everything out" kind of trip. We aren't going to use the camper in a bit so that meant that all of the food needed to go in, not just the unopened food. Plus since it is about to be wintery, that means that I need to take out anything that could freeze (but I didn't get around to that part today.)

The kids were good and helped, but soon there were just a few loads for me to deal with. I kind of have a system-I bring a load out, put it away, put away something in the kitchen, put away something in the mudroom (things seem to get piled up in the kitchen and mudroom), do something with the laundry, and then head back out to get another load. Of course this takes me forever to just really accomplish one goal, but when I am done in the camper, then usually the house is decent-ish.

Around 3, I was finished with everything that I could do in the camper and came inside for my shower. I continued to work on the laundry-I have done at least 5 loads since we have been home. At 5ish tonight, we left for Wednesday night church.

This is the last night before Christmas bread, and this is why we came home a half day early. Now, coming home a half day early was really more like having to come home a whole day early. I am glad that the kids love church, but ugh-we also love Disney. 

We really had the best trip. The weather was perfect, and we had so much fun at the park and at the campground. The kids really enjoyed themselves. We would go back tomorrow if that was an option for sure. 

Tonight at church was super hectic for our little group-cookies and ornament making and singing. We barely were able to get it all finished. I guess that is good because it was soon over. We made air fryer pizzas when we came home.

Before everyone did go to bed, we all did 2 of our Jesse tree devotional, pulled 10 Santas and guessed 1 ornament-there is just a lot to do at Christmas time. And in just a little bit, I will have to have some one hide the 3 wisemen.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 11 Days until Christmas

Oh, this is a fun ornament! Obviously, I couldn't hang a huge Ikea bag up on the tree, but instead we found this little coin purse type bag that looks like an Ikea bag. Ikea has been one of my favorite stores for the longest time. 

Since we have been there quite a few times, some of the sections aren't that interesting to me anymore. However, all of the sections at the end I have never been able to spend much time there becuase by the family gets to that part; they are done and ready to leave so we have to hurry through the last little bit. 

It looks like our first trip to Ikea was in 2008. That was so long ago that the picture links don't work correctly anymore, but here is the link for that first Ikea shopping trip.

December 13, 2022-Disney in December and Happy 16th Birthday Anderson!

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This morning was early-Magic Kingdom opened at 7:30. We didn't quite make it there before they opened, but we were on the boat over when it did open. This meant that we were all awake by 6:40, and I can tell it right now. Anderson, Whitman, Keaton and Campbell were already sound asleep before we stopped tonight.

Since this was Anderson's 16th birthday, and since we rode Space Mountain at midnight when he turned 13, we certainly headed straight there. The line was so short that Keaton and Campbell rode it again. While they were doing this, the other kids went to Buzz Lightyear. This is where Anderson also joined the ranks of Graham by getting a perfect score on the ride. He too received a sticker and became a Galactic Ranger. Thankfully for Anderson, the person giving out the sticker did not make him take the pledge to defent to galaxy to infinity and beyond.

We all then did the Buzz ride again, and this time Robby joined the big boys by also becoming a galactic ranger. We then walked across the park to ride Splash Mountain which will be closed and rethemed for a very long time starting in January. Then it was one quick ride on Big Thunder before riding the Jingle Cruise.

We ended our perfect Magic Kingdom morning with Dole Whip. Then we hurried back to the boat. We needed to check out of the campsite by 11. We were as ready as we could be, but we had to work fast. Anderson and Graham helped load the bikes while the others took Bentley to the dog park. 

Then as people came back, we zoomed out of our site just a few minutes late. Anderson and Graham stayed back at the campground in the golf cart while the rest of us went to meet the golf cart man. Robby then had to go back to the campground, in the golf cart man's truck, to pick up the golf cart and the boys. (Yes, this is a hassle, but this also saves us half of what a Disney golf cart would cost so it is worth it.)

From there, we hit the road. We stopped once for gas while I ran into Sams to buy buns. Then there was another stop at Buccees where we bought bbq for supper. This is when we did stick the candles in Anderson's bun and properly sing to him. There was one more or possibly two more gas stops before we made it almost to Tupelo at our stop for the night. 

It is about to start raining pretty good here, but my crew is pretty tired and probably won't notice. Today was a great day to end on-the crowds at Magic Kingdom were great. They were actually so great that I wish that we could have stayed all day long. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022: 12 Days Until Christmas

This ornament about caused me to lose my mind. As I was preparing my ornament countdown, I could see that this ornament from 2021 had not been spotlighted, so I set out to find it. I was pretty sure that it wasn't on any of the trees so I headed to the attic. There I went through all of my ornament boxes without any luck. It is dark up in that attic plus it is a cramped, so I decided that I needed to slow down and go through them all again. I did finally find it-one my second look while looking through the very last box.

On our way to Michigan last year, we stopped in Indianapolis for a Festival of Trees at their Historical Society. It was quite the event and was lots of fun. There were trees decorated all kinds of ways including with postcards and even a ChickFilA tree. 

For registering early for this event, we were given this ornament with a cardinal on it. After a bit of research I now know that a cardinal is a symbol of beauty and warmth for the holiday season. Who knew? I sure didn't. Here is a link to that day's event in Indiana.

December 12, 2022-Disney in December

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Once again Robby and I were awake at 7 trying to get the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Epcot. We were again able to snag it. This meant that we could all be a bit lazy this morning. We still did wake up at a decent time.

Before we left this morning, I had taken Whitman to the front to find the last scavenger hunt clue. Then we turned in those papers to earn a pin before we went looping around. On most loops there is at least one campsite that has a pin board to trade or a bowl with candy for people to take. One place today even had dog treats which we took Bentley to two different times.

At Epcot, we rode the Guardians ride and even bought a Christmas ornament to remind ourselves of that ride. After the ride, we tried 4 different doughnuts-the croissant doughnut was rated the best by the Dennies with the sprinkle and peppermint coming in second and thired followed by the egg nog as last. 

After this, we walked around the world past all of the countries. Now, it was crazy crowded today at Epcot. It was tough to just walk around. We did reward ourselves with our last two cookies today-another sugar cookie which completed our Epcot Cookie Stroll. Then we even tried a tamale and pernil (beef and plantain dish-it was good.)

From there, we walked on to the car and had some downtime at the campground. I asked the kids today what they would change about this Disney trip, and at least 2 folks said more time at the campground. There was lots of bike riding today along with golf cart driving.

I did let Whitman make a loop on the golf cart-that boy was so scared. At first he was doing the gas, and we barely moved at all. Eventually, he insisted on me doing the gas, but was terrified most of the time. I wish that my other boys had some of the fear that Whitman does. 

We worked on cleaning out the fridge for supper-leftover taco meat for 3 folks, leftover pizza, leftover pasta, and leftover hamburgers are what fed everyone. There are still plenty of leftovers and we didn't even get to two of our suppers (air fryer pizza and breakfast). That is fine though because those meals will keep.

Around 8, we left for Magic Kingdom tonight. We arrived just as the fireworks finished-for ever thousand people leaving the park, there was one entering. We were majorly having to dodge the crowds who were leaving. It was kind of an odd feeling.

Everyone but Reagan and Whitman went to ride the Speedway. The rest of us went to buy an ornament for our February trip. It had 2023 on it, and my pass has a bigger discount right now, so we bought it early. Then we met up with them at the Speedway, and Graham, Campbell, and Keaton rode again. 

Anderson had a snack left so he went with Robby to get a brownie sundae. Graham had money left so when he was finished, he ran to make sure that his order for a brownie sundae got turned in as well. We all met up so they could eat, and while they ate Keaton and Robby stood in line at Starbucks for her snack.

The kids didn't get a snack each day on this trip like they did the last trip. These were all leftover snacks. Now, Graham should have earned a snack today because really he was the hero of the trip. At one point toay, we did a lot of packing up and getting things ready to leave tomorrow. Robby emptied the tanks, and then he usually refills them with fresh water to rinse them out. 

This rinsing them out shows him how dirty they usually are. At home he can sometimes rinse the tanks out over and over again and the water takes forever to get clearer. To rinse the tanks out, he has a thing where he put the water hose into the tank to fill it. He also has a meter on there so he knows when to stop it. He has also done this so many times that he knows how long it will take.

Since he knows how long it will take, he usually sets a timer. Usually! (If the tanks fill up, then water will start coming up the bathroom sink and up the potty. If that continues, then the water would flow over the potty onto the floor. Again, the water would not be clean-which is a nice way to say exactly what the water would be.)

Today, Robby didn't set a timer. We had driven the golf cart to the laundry room and were about to go around some loops after Robby put the laundry in the dryer. I was sitting on the golf cart talking to Keaton when Robby burst out of the laundry room on the phone saying, "I'll be right there." Then he took off running towards the camper.

He did holler back to me that he forgot about the water. I knew what this meant. I slowly headed home on the golf cart trying to figure out which towels I wanted to use to sop up water and then throw away. I was even trying to remind myself where the gloves are along with if I had any extra cleaning spray. 

Thankfully, the water stayed in the potty because of hero Graham. Graham was sitting on the potty when he heard it gurgling. He saw stuff coming out of the sink and saw the potty water begin to rise. He finished and then hopped outside to find Robby who was not there. Thankfully, he thought to call and after Robby's sprint, he was able to turn off of the water before catastrophe struck. Graham saved the day for sure.

Back to Magic Kingdom though. While Robby and Keaton were in line, the rest of us went to Buzz Lightyear. There Graham once again was a hero-a gallactic hero. Anderson showed him where the targets were that he could earn the most points so he was able to score a 999.999-the highest score possible. 

Since he did this, he also earned a sticker at the gift shop. Of course to get his sticker he had to say a pledge. It was fun for us to watch him-reminded me of all of the Jr. Park Ranger things we have done.

After this, Robby and Keaton met us and we rode People Mover and some folks rode the Astro Orbiter. Then we high tailed it across the park to ride Big Thunder. We rode once, and were about to get off at 10:53 when the man asked if we wanted to stay on and ride again. Of course the cart went nuts yelling and cheering so we went again. And I guess since it was 10:59 when we came around again, he let us go again. That was a fun Disney magic moment for sure. 

We then hurried back to the boat so we could get back to the camper. Campbell and Anderson had showers. By the time that he returned from his, it was his birthday and we had his birthday banner hanging up. Tomorrow will be our earliest morning yet so I better end this blog right here.

December 11, 2022-Disney in December

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Let's start on one of the things that I forgot to mention last night. Reagan and Keaton were out driving, and when they came back, Keaton was kind of acting funny. We had asked where they went, and Keaton said, "Reagan can tell you." 

So we asked, and Reagan told us that she picked up some hitchhikers. Yep, thankfully, we are on gated Disney property and she was just driving a golf cart. We did discuss how normally we shouldn't pick up hitchhikers. 

In Reagan's defense, she said that they were old so she was doing a good deed. She told us all about them so I guess they had a pretty good conversation on their 2 minute drive. I am sure that Keaton was weirded out though for sure.

This morning Robby and I woke up right before 7 so we could snag tickets to ride the new Epcot ride. We again used the boys' phones and while trying with 3 phones plus mine watching the government time, we were able to get tickets. (Our second time this trip and we are going to try again in the morning.)

We managed to get an earlier boarding group today, so we left the camper around noon. Now, there wasn't a lot that happened before noon around here. We were moving quite slowly which was perfectly fine. We have hit the parks early and hard for quite a few mornings so it is certainly ok to relax and turn this into a vacation and not a marathon.

That is a luxury that you can do when you do have passes. Otherwise, we would have to be hitting things much harder. I am glad that the kids are so easy going-everyone enjoys the parks, but they also enjoy the campground so whatever we suggest is fine (most of the time.)

At Epcot, we rode Guardians which is Anderson and Graham's new favorite ride at Disney. It is indeed pretty good. Robby had actually been doing some reading-there is a reason that the trash cans don't have lids at the end of the ride. Yep, I can believe that for sure. I probably could actually get sick on that ride, but I try to focus on the laughter and scream of delight during the ride so I don't completely panic.

After the ride, Keaton and Whitman rode the spinny space ride. Then half of us walked and half of us rode the little boat to France. There we bought ourselves 4 bagguets and made some sandwiches. Most people probably don't bring in ham, turkey, 4 different types of cheeses, peanut butter, mustard, ChickFilA sauce and jelly into the park-but we did. The bagguets are good, but by the time I was done, my jaw was sore from all of that chewing.

Next up was the Beauty and the Beast Sing a long-this is a fun one for me. I didn't snooze during it at all, and the kids have been singing the songs for the rest of the day. We did ride Spaceship Earth on the way out today. For some reason, Whitman really enjoys this ride. I don't mind it either-since I went sound to sleep on it. Seriously, I was pretty impressed with myself sleeping through that whole thing.

Then it was back to the campsite. Today was a super dreary day-it was cloudy and chilly (high 60s). We still did some bike riding and cart looping this afternoon. Around 7, we left to go to Hollywood Studios. We so enjoy just popping into the parks-this time we rode Toy Story Mania along with the new Mickey and Minnie's Railway ride.

By this time, it was 9:30, and we quickly made it to Disney Springs. Tonight we had the big birthday supper at House of Blues. Most of the time when Robby and I eat out, we leave saying "well, we don't have to do that again." And that is what we would also say for this place. The only really redeeming part of the meal was the server not charging us for drinks and they had a passholder discount. 

In all honesty, it was decent. The kids enjoyed eating out, but Robby and I decided that we both really prefer snacky food more than we like a big meal. Keaton and Whitman had pizza, Campbell had bbq nachos, Reagan had pasta and so did Robby and I (we split ours), Anderson had a burger and Graham had fried chicken.

It was around 11 when we finished our supper. Our parking spot was wonderful, so we quickly made it back to the car. When we got back to the campsite, Robby started taking the lights and tent down. This made me incredibly sad. We have had a lot of trips lately, but this one has been one of the absolute best. We still have a full day tomorrow, so who knows where all we will end up.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2022-13 Days Until Christmas

This is my 11th year to do a Christmas ornament coundown. This is also the first year that I am haven't started on December the 1st since I do not have enough ornaments. I still think you might enjoy this countdown-or maybe you won't and can scroll on.

This year we have set up 6 trees in the house. I don't think that number is quite accurate since the one in the boys room is just 2 feet high, has no ornaments and isn't even plugged in. Campbell and Keaton helped me do most of Christmas this year with Reagan and Whitman helping a little as well. We spread it out over a few days which made things much more pleasant, though when we put things up (I'll try to wait until the 26th, it will not be over a few days, but just a few hours.)

Back to why we are here-the first and tackiest Christmas ornament of the year: a Buccee's stufffed animal beaver. It was at the top of the tree, but has fallen so now I have pushed him inside of the tree a bit more. It is not that I am trying to hide him or anything, but he is definitely a uniqute Christmas ornament. The kids, even Reagan, were pretty adament that we needed to purchase him.

Buccee's is a place that we all enjoy stopping at when we are nearby. My favorite from there is the scones but the apple pie isn't half bad either. The bbq is a standard grab some and have supper as we continue driving meal. It is definitely a destination! I don't really have a link for this ornament since we frequent Buccee's whenever we drive past one-but just imagine all 8 of us with icee drinks in our hands as well as bags of bbq sandwhiches and other gas station delights.

December 10, 2022-Disney in December

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This morning was an early one. We were all headed to the boat by 7:30. Robby on foot, Reagan, Campbell, Whitman and me on the golf cart, and Keaton, Anderson and Graham on their bikes. We don't really have far to go-by the time that the cart was parked, Robby had arrived.

We took the boat over to Magic Kingdom and headed right to the Seven Dwarfs line. When the park did open, the line looked super long, but we really moved right through it. Afterwards, we walked to Pirates and then Splash Mountain and rode it. Then we thought that Big Thunder was going to open so we went there, but it never did.

Instead we went to eat a few snacks-funnel cakes, homemade potato chips, and chicken and waffles. This was all delicious, and we especially enjoyed the chicken and waffles. Though the potato chips were pretty delicious too. 

Next up was some down time at Tom Sawyer's island. The kids all played their version of tag. Robby and I sat and ate some more with the kids stopping to eat some of their packed lunch too during their games. When we finished there, we went in a Christmas shop before taking another castle picture. 

The kids then opted to go back to the camper. That was fine with Robby and I-went to the Carousel of Progress. I'm sorry to say that I slept through the whole thing. After my nap, I mean the ride, I had energy to walk to the ice craem place where we split a brownie sundae.

Robby and I then went back to the campground. This was where things were nice-Anderson was waiting with the golf cart when we arrived, and Keaton was getting us drinks as well. Bentley was already waked and had been to the dog park to play as well. 

This afternoon there was scavenger hunting-the kids found quite a few things. Enough that the decided to stop finding things so they could leave things for others. I gave out my last stocking gifts in stocking as I drove by.

I am not really sure how we spent our afternoon. Oh, we did do some laundry, and I did have a 30 minute nap again. Soon, we were out driving some loops before we made supper. Tonight's supper was quesadillas and street tacos. 

The only problem was right before eating, we were at the dog park. I was talking to some people while Bentley was playing, and I got eat up with mosquito bites. So while Robby was cooking, I had to take a shower to help with all of my bites. Thankfully, that did the trick and all was well after that.

After eating, we drove around some more-I can not say this enough, these people are crazy here. And since this is the weekend, it is much more festive. Ninty percent of campers have at least one blow up. For the msot part, if people have more than 1 blow up, then they have 5-100. And again, I am not exagerating on the 100.

Also, the gofl carts. People have them decorated with blow ups on top. And everyone has Christmas lights. Everything is just extreme here. For example, the golf cart we followed around some tonight, had a foam machine on top so foam was shooting out the back as it drove down the road.

Around 8:30ish we headed back to Magic Kingdom. The boat was crowded because the Hoop Do Doo Revue just let out, but we managed to snag a seat on the second boat. Then the crowds were crazy at Magic, but at least everyone was trying to leave.

Magic was open until 11 tonight. Our first stop was the Speedway followed by Buzz. We did watch a few videos, and I think that most of us earned our highest scores yet. Now, even though a lot of people were leaving, the lines were still a bit longish.

It was nearing 11 so we had some options-Anderson, Campbell, and Keaton went to Big Thunder, Graham, Robby, and Whitman went to Splash, and Reagan and I went to Small World. When those rides were over, the Big Thunder people rode their ride again while the rest of us met at Peter Pan and did that one.

By this time, it was well after 11 so we had to fight the crowds to get back to the camper. When we did get back, the kids were pretty tired so it was lights out pretty soon. I actually have no idea what time it is now since my computer clock says 9:55. I know we are nearing 1 though-maybe.

December 9, 2022-Disney in December

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I don't remember this morning becuase there is no tired like Disney tired! Well, not all of that is a true statement-I do kind of remember this morning, but yes, there is no tired like Disney tired. I did have another nap this afternoon so I am not completely exhausted right now.

This was our earliest morning to leave the camper: 7:15. Robby is usually the one who is awake before me and is usually in the bathroom when my alarm starts ringing. Today, I was the one that had to stir him. The kids had less than the usual 30 minutes today, but we did manage to leave right on time.

Today's park was Hollywood Studios. The ride that we were going for this morning was Tower of Terror. Campbell abhors that ride, so she took my phone and headed off to ride Slinky Dog. She had a long line to wait in which was fine, but we didn't have a line at all to wait in since our ride was shut down.

We went on to Rock N Roller Coaster and rode that ride, and then went to meet Cambpell. We saw the line for Toy Story and jumped in it. Campbell then finished her ride, and then she had to pass all of the people in the line to catch up with us. (If you are keeping count: Anderson was the big winner on that ride today while Reagan was the other day when we rode it.)

After Toy Story, we went back to Tower. Robby and Campbell went to the Frozen show while the rest of us waited in a "105 minute wait" line for Tower of Terror. Thankfully our wait was just at 60 minutes so we soon joined Robby and Campbell.

We had some snacks and some kids had ice cream. We were going to go to a Beauty and the Beast show, but the first one was cancelled so we headed out of the park. We went to have ourselves a feast at Sams. Pizzas, pizza pretzels, pretzels, churros, ice cream and drinks-all of 20 dollars. Of course the 9 dollar sundae Robby had bought earlier in the day looked just about as good as the 1.50 one he bought at Sams. 

After doing a bit of shopping at Sams, we then headed back to the camper. This afternoon people took Bentley to the dog park about 7 different times. We have debated and discussed if this is the best loop or what a better loop might be-but for Bentley, she loves this loop. We are right by the dog park. 

She is loving it! The dog loves playing with the other dogs. She is worn completely out though-right now she can not keep her eyes open. Bentley wasn't the only one playing with other-on the way to the pool, Whitman saw an organized game of dodgeball so he joined them. Keaton and Graham also joined us when they came along on their bikes.

This trip we just rented one golf cart. That has been just fine since the kids are sure getting the use out of their bikes. They are riding everywhere. Now, they love the golf cart but when it isn't there or when they want a bit more independence, then they are off on their bikes. They are using them much more than they did the last time that we were here.

After dodgeball, Whitman went to the pool where I stayed with him until he was finished swimming. Robby joined us and read some of his book. This afternoon there was more stocking filling, pin trading and Christmas light looping happening as well. 

Around 5:30 we left for Animal Kingdom. We hustled there to ride Everest and then some folks rode the river ride. When they finished this, it was 6:50. The park closed at 7 and we had to walk just about forever to make it to Avatar before the park was closed.

We jumped in line at 6:57 with 3 minutes to spare. The line was long, but it was no where near the 130 that the sign said. We were leaving the park after riding the ride by 8:20. Then it was back to the camper for supper-meatballs and mashed potatoes. 

When we cleaned up from this, Graham, Keaton, Whitman, Campbell, Robby and I went to the dock to watch the Electrical Light Parade along with the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom. Then it was back to the camper to take lunch orders and get everyone in bed-tomorrow is one of our last early days.

December 8, 2022-Disney in December

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This was a different day-instead of going to the parks early in the morning and late in the evening, we went in the afternoon. At 7 this morning, Robby grabbed the boys' phones plus ours, and we were able to snag reservations for the new Gaurdians of the Galaxy ride at Epcot. This was the first time that we were able to get the reservation on our first try (can try at 7 or at 2 and spots fill up within a second.)

Anderson's hone was the one that snagged the ride tickets for us. Robby then returned those phones, and we all went back soundly to sleep. It was a wonderful morning. I don't think that folks really stirred around here until about 10. It was wonderful-did I already say that? It was.

Everyone started getting up and having their breakfasts. Soon we were on golf cart rides-we did some looping looking for more stockings to put things in along with the answer the 3 more scavenger hunt clues (we just need 2 now.)

Even though we had just eaten breakfast, we then started on our lunches while looking at the phone watching our boarding group for our ride get closer. We left around 1 (maybe-I don't really remember) and went straight to Gaurdians of the Galaxy. 

That is one of the kids most favorite rides. All of the kids love it-I love it and I hate it. After this, Keaton and Whitman took my phone and heaed off to ride Mission Space. While they were there, the rest of us found a table, and Robby bought 2 more cookies (yes, we are buying 10 different cookies so we can get 2 for free-Dave Ramsey would not be proud.)

Then we walked to another spot and did the same thing-more cookies. This time we added some mousse and 2 cakes. Next we took a few pictures with Minnie and Pluto and rode the Figment ride before taking the boat to Morocco.

From there we walked the US Pavilion where we bought two more cookies, some catfish, a bbq sandwich, a hamburger with bbq on it and sushi. This sushi was not from the America area, but Reagan has been really wanting some. It was quite good actually. Though the bbq was delicious and not as scary as the sushi.

After this eating stop (yes, all we have done today, and really all week so far, is eat), we walked through the countries and left Epcot. Our original plan was to go on the Animal Kingdom, but by the time we made it to the car we decided that we would do that tomorrow night.

So tonight, we have walked a few loops with Bentley, watched the horse drawn sleigh rides go by, washed a load of laundry, rode bikes all around the campground, and filled up our drink cup.

The orginal plan was the see the electric light parade. However, this has been a day of changing plans. No one has minded though because Keaton even asked if we were going to have another day like today. Instead of watching the parade, Robby, Graham, Keaton and I rode the boat to Magic Kingdom, and then took the monorail to the Polynesian so we could eat some Dole Whip. From there we rode the boat back to Magic Kingdom and then took the bus back to the campground. 

The laundry is now folded and put away and everyone is in bed. Tomorrow is supposed to be our earliest morning so we all need some rest.

December 7, 2022-Disney in December

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We keep thinking that it is much later in our trip than it really is-this is just our second full day. We stayed in bed until the very last minute today. Robby went out to walk Bentley while I was making the rest of the kids' lunches. The first kiddo climbed out of bed around 7, and we left around 7:30 so we did pretty good on that front.

When people are getting ready there are just 2 areas to do this-by our bed or the bathroom. So in the mornings I am constantly saying "the bathroom is open" or "the back is open" trying to move people along. 

Today's morning park was Animal Kingdom. We decided to rope drop the Dinosaur ride. This is a ride that no one really rope drops, but all of the other big rides there we have done plenty of times. So to the Dinosaur ride we went.

Some rode it twice before we moved on to ride Everest. We all rode that ride twice before we then moved on to the raft ride. Keaton, Anderson and Reagan didn't ride becuase they wanted to be the ones to shoot the water at their brothers and sister. 

It was about 9:30 or maybe 10 when we were walking around Animal Kingdom trying to decide what we wanted to do next. One thing was certain-Whitman wanted an icee. He does get a Disney snack since he didn't get all of his alloted snacks last trip, but Robby offered him a 7-11 slushie later and that made him perfectly happy. 

I wanted to go to the bird show, but it was still an hour away so we went to It's Tough to Be a Bug. After watching that, we mosied on through the gift shop and headed to the car. It is pretty odd to be walking to the car when people are piling into the park. 

Part of me feels bad for leaving early, but then the other part doesn't. We were all pleased with what we had done and 7-11 was calling. Not only did we get slushies on the way home, Robby picked up Panda Express for our lunch. 

We did laugh because Disney prices kind of make you think everything else is cheap. We bought 6 drinks at 7-11 for what one icee at Disney costs. And the 40 dollars spent on lunch that all 8 of us ate with even some leftovers seemed almost free to the one box of fried rice at Disney that would have been 8 dollars. We had originally bought lunch with the plans of eating it along with some bbq from our favorite restaurant at the park. However, our different morning was fun (and really, Panda Express is one of my favorite restaurants.)

After lunch, the kids all took off. I really can't remember where everyone was-I do think that Whitman was the only one in the camper. Robby was outside working so I snuck in and went sound to sleep. I had left my phone with Robby and told him to wake me in 30 minutes, and soon Keaton was waking me up.

I soon headed off with Campbell, Keaton and Whitman in the goft cart looking for clues for a scavenger hunt around the fort. Anderson and Graham kept up with us on their bikes. We also looked for some more stockings to fill, but we didn't see any. There were also some scavenger hunt items found-a dog bone for Bentley and another Christmas ornament. 

Eventually this afternoon, Robby, Keaton and I went to Disney Springs for some quick shopping. All of the kids have a gift card to Disney, and she spent hers today. She didn't spend it at a Disney store, which was fine, but she was super pleased with her purchase. I also did a bit of Christmas shopping for one of the kids. 

Back at the camper, we started on our supper-tonight's supper was grilled sandwiches on chibatta bread. They were super delicious-pretty much everyone had different things on their sandwiches. Robby grilled himself some meat (whatever goes on a Philly cheesesteak) while most folks had cheese with ham or turkey. We had that along with mac and cheese so our smaller supper ended up being quite filling.

Then it was back to the parks. We parked at Hollywood and then rode the skyliner to Epcot. There we went in and walked to Canada where we bought a cookie-2 actually. It was a snickers cookie-it was probably good but it immediately gave me indigestion.

After eating our cookies and eating the little bowl of soupy roast on mashed potatoes that Robby bought (it has a fancier name than that), we walked to the Boardwalk. There we went into the hotel to look at their gingerbread house. The gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian is large enough that it also doubles as a store. This one was a let down-it looked like one that I might could make.

It was still fun exploring though. Then we walked on back to Hollywood which was about a mile. We entered the park, and they all did Rock n Roller coaster. I didn't do it since they were in the single ride line, and I like the ride enough to ride with my family but not enough to ride sitting by strangers.

After this, we high tailed it to the back of the park to ride Slinky Dog before the park closed at 9. We did that and then left the park. Back at the camper, some folks had showers, some folks drove the golf cart to the restaurant to fill our drink cup (even though we have plenty of drinks here-I guess ours are not that much fun.) Right now, everyone is in bed and I am the only one who needs to take a shower. Tomorrow might just be a slower day-slower than even today!

December 6, 2022-Disney in December

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The alarms did ring early for us this morning-6:30. The 6 hours of sleep was much better than the 4 hours of sleep the night before. Tonight will be another 6 hour night, and I didn't get my nap in today either. We are doing pretty fine with just the 6 hours of sleep, but I tell you the kids were sure hard to wake up this morning.

Robby an I were the first ones awake. He got ready and then I did. Next Robby took Bentley on a walk while I started making noise to wake everyone up. I would sing and hum and call people by name and tell how much time we had left and open and shut cabinets and turn lights on. None of that really worked well. 

Finally, Keaton was the first one to wake up. Whitman is the hardest to wake up-and he always is. Well, Anderson isn't too easy either. The problem with waking Whitman in the camper is that I can't reach him. I can talk to him, but I can't get my hand to him to start patting him or even pulling the blankets off of his head (how he sleeps).

We had wanted to leave at 7:30, and we were pulling out at 7:35 so that was definitely a win. Today we went to Magic Kingdom. Our rides were Space Mountain, Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, Pirates, and Big Thunder. 

Plus we went over to Tom Sawyer's Island for a little bit. This is what Whitman really wanted to do on this trip. We first all sat down and ate our lunches over there. Then the kids went off to play a game similar to hide and seek. They did this twice, and then they joined Robby and I as we walked around the island. 

By this time, there were quite a few folks at the park so we headed on our way. I did forget to mention that we did get some Dole whip to enjoy while we were there today. On our way back to the camper, Anderson, Graham, Campbell and Keaton went on the boat back to the campground while Robby, Graham, Reagan and I went to the Wilderness Lodge on their boat.

We did some exploring at the Lodge-and by exploring I mean eating. Graham and Reagan split a mousse while Robby and I ate a massive bear claw. The fire alarms were being tested while we were there so it was interesting for sure-they just kept beeping over and over again.

It didn't take long for us to take the bus back to the campground, and Anderson came to pick us up in the golf cart. The rest of the afternoon was spent driving around, filling stockings (like I'm almost out of what I have brought to put in stockings), refilling our cup full of coke by the pool, bike riding and vegging.

Before supper, we did a load of laundry. Supper consisted of chicken enchiladas, which Reagan and Anderson did not like at all. They aren't fans of mushy things. While we were eating, the girls saw a post on the scavenger hunt page saying that they were giving out a backpack.

We were on it-we drove to the site in the cart. Then they had to sing the 12 Days of Christmas song to earn the backpack. They did this, and soon they were taking turns while carting that bag throughout Epcot. How fun! Later in the evening, Whitman went back, but he just claimed a trading pin and was happy with that gift.

At Epcot, some of the kids rode Test Track in the single ride line. Then we stopped to have a gingerbread cookie which is part of the cookie stroll. (Cookie stroll-buy 5 cookies from around Epcot and get one for free.) Next we rode the Mexico boat ride and Frozen. By this time, it was nearly park closing so we could go to Soaring or just go back to the camper.

The kids didn't care, so we headed back to the camper. Reagan had her shower earlier today, but everyone else took theirs tonight-most in the bathhouse. Then Robby and I had a walk while Keaton and Campbell donned headlamps and did some bike riding. It is 11:15 and I am going to take my shower before falling sound asleep.