December 30, 2023

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  • I guess this was the last day of truly doing nothing which is incredibly sad. I did lay out all of my school things this morning in my room trying to prepare myself mentally Robby and I did stay in bed until almost noon today.
  • We did the dishes and laundry, and then Robby and I left the house. First we had lunch at Fazoli's-like an old couple, we split the lunch special and even had a coupon. Now when our food came out, they didn't have any bread sticks, but you better believe that we stayed until they finally brought some out.
  • Then we ran to Costco and Kroger to pick up a few things. Once at home, Keaton's friend came over to spend the night. They have played inside and outside and even convinced me to take them to Dollar General so they could buy a snack.
  • Her friend is super high maintenance though-she wanted ramen for dinner. (I'm kidding-she's the easiest child ever.) We have seen the big 3 kids today but mainly when they come down looking for something to eat. 
  • Supper tonight was "on your own," but just about everyone had something different-pizza, chicken sandwich, sweet potato fries, taquito, chickpea masala, and ramen. I did work on my New Year's resolutions some-we are going to try to do better making meals around here though that we have been saying that for the last 18 years.
  • Robby is watching football right now, and I am finishing my last book of the year.

December 29, 2023

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  • This time between Christmas and New Year's is really just the best time of the year...except that today is the last real day! Like I should probably start reminding the kids that 2:30 will not be an acceptable bedtime come next Monday night nor will 2:30 be an acceptable time to wake up next Tuesday morning. I guess I will let them have a few more days of fun though-especially since Robby and I have been staying up late and and getting up late as well.
  • Today's activity was going to Academy with Graham and Whitman. They both had a gift card from there to spend. Graham didn't find anything, but Whitman did-he found inflatable bowling pins that are about 3 feet high each. I love cleaning out and getting rid of things, but Whitman pretty much brought home the largest thing in the store except for a pool table.
  • Then we ran to Walmart and Sams as well. We managed to find 2 rolls of wrapping paper at that Walmart along with a measuring cup and two boxes of snickerdoodle cookie mix. At Sams we only bought a snack at the snack bar and a few other things off of the list. 
  • Oh, and we did go to the library before all of our errands. Their website has been down for the last few days so that truly stressed me out. However, today when I arrived, they had my 20 books that were on hold so I was incredibly happy. I keep trying to figure out a way for me to work at the library without me actually having to work at the library.
  • We were home a bit, and then Campbell, Keaton, Robby, and I went to Tacos for Life. Robby had a coupon and a gift card so we even brought food home for the others. We did get a pimento cheese and chicken taco. It was a huge disappointment-I liked ChickFilAs pimento cheese chicken sandwich, but this was just a hunk of cold pimento cheese on a chicken. Robby and I did some Tacos For Life group taste testing things once-I don't know what the people that taste tested that taco were thinking.
  • Now we are all back home and I am going to try to read quite a bit of my book-however, I don't want to start a new one right now because will it go on my list of read in 2023 or 2024?

December 28, 2023

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  • Pretty much everyone left the house for something fun today-well, except for Whitman. The morning started out with Campbell making chocolate chip scones. They were pretty good, and I had planned on eating another one this afternoon when I came home, but they were all gone-so I guess that everyone thought that they were good.
  • The big boys left a little bit before we did to go and play basketball again. There were a lot of buddies playing today so I think that they had a good time. 
  • Robby and I left with Campbell and Keaton. We dropped Campbell off so she could go and do some driving with Grannymom. Grannymom actually reported that Campbell did really well. I know that they practiced at the church house some. 
  • Campbell made it home in time to catch a ride to the ice skating rink with Kennedy and Reagan. Keaton was just finishing up a run to Walmart, Bath and Body, Costco, and Kroger with us so we dropped her off to skate with the girls. They went to ChickFilA on the way home.
  • Robby and I ran to Target after dropping Keaton off-we were able to find a little bit of wrapping paper at Kroger, but I haven't seen any at any other place in town. Some years, I don't buy any when I see it on sale since I have plenty, but of course the year that I am about to run out-I can't find any.
  • We picked up the boys Sonic on the way home. Then Robby made his chocolate oatmeal cookies-and this time he had success. We used a new recipe, and it worked perfectly which was nice-and super tasty.
  • The girls came in and are all upstairs. Whitman has just had his shower, and the boys are on their xboxes so now I am not exactly what we will do for the rest of the evening-ice cream, hot chocolate, a hallmark movie-who knows!

December 27, 2023

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  • This has been the most relaxing day of our Christmas break so far or maybe you could say the laziest day. Before I left the bed this morning, I finished my book.
  • Then Robby and I started on chores and finishing putting up Christmas. We just had the trees left so Robby took them apart, but then we had to wait on the boys to wake up. It was nearly noon when they started stirring-and that was because I had opened their door and turned on the hallway light. 
  • After Anderson finished his breakfast-or maybe he went straight to lunch, all three boys helped with the trees. Whitman learned how to do the tape dispenser and was able to push a tree box to the steps. 
  • Soon after that Anderson and Graham left the house to go and play basketball. They were the only ones who left today-actually after putting up the Christmas tree, I rarely left the couch today. When the boys came home, I did get up to heat up all of the leftovers so hopefully we could make a little dent in the fridge.
  • I think that we were able to get rid of a few things, but the real cleaning out was happening in the girls' room. Reagan and Keaton went to town cleaning and throwing things away. I am all about some purging! I had hoped that this would encourage others, but no it didn't!
  • Right now, Whitman has joined us on the couch and has asked if we can watch a tv show so that is the plan after the ballgame that is on finishes. 

December 26, 2023

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  • We had not plans for this day after Christmas, but we certainly did fill up the day. I was the first one awake and started checking things off of my list. After accomplishing a few things, I opened my new ziplock bag holder from Jason. I had to rearrange a drawer, but I love how easy it is to get to my bags now.
  • Late this morning, Robby and I finished the tv series he started last night. We watched the final two episodes while sitting on the couch. When those were finished, I kind of started taking down the Christmas. I worked off and on for the rest of the day, but everything is put away except for the trees. I'll have the big kids help tomorrow with that, and it will not take too long at all.
  • Reagan spent a good amount of her Christmas money last night, so she and Keaton went to Target with us to pick up one of her orders. We did that, and then we walked around the store for a little bit. We didn't find anything there, but we did find a few things at Walmart including an ornament holder for me. We didn't find any wrapping paper which I will need for next year.
  • After Walmart, we ran by the library, and then we ate supper at Chipotle., Robby and I should have split our meal, but we didn't so we both brought home over half of our food. Graham went to town on Robbys though when we came home. The other boys had Costco pizza that we picked up when we were looking around there.
  • Campbell went to her friend's house this afternoon, so when we came home, Robby went to pick her up. While he was gone, I finished what I did of the Christmas today. And now, I am just about to take a super short nap! I can barely keep my eyes open. 

December 25, 2023-Merry Christmas

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  • It is a different kind of Christmas morning when you have to wake everyone up. Graham and Campbell were actually the only ones awake this morning. Graham text me at asked if we were opening presents at 8, but I replied back that it would be 8:15.
  • It was indeed 8:15 by the time Robby and I got ourselves ready, put everything in the oven, and dressed the dog. I then went to get everyone out of bed. They eventually complied and stood on the steps for their Christmas morning picture.
  • I had been a bit worried about my stockings, but no one seemed to notice that some stockings were much less than others. I even redistributed a stocking gift or two last night. We don't do alot of gifts, but it always does look like we have bought out Amazon.
  • Everyone had two gifts from us and then a gift bought from a sibling plus a few kids had bought candy for each other. And then there are their stockings as well which flow out of the stockings and fill a Sonic drink carrier.
  • I believe that everyone was pleased this Christmas-especially Anderson (xbox) and Keaton (phone-which was a complete surprise to her.) Reagan got a computer while Campbell and Graham both opened apple watches. Those 5 also received a gift card to Amazon to complete their electronics. While Whitman opened a game along with a pass to Museum of Discovery. 
  • Opening those gifts plus the gifts from their siblings took a while. Whitman bought Reagan a blanket, Keaton bought Anderson a pizza gift card and all of his favorite sauces, Campbell bought Graham a clock that he had been wanting, Reagan bought Campbell a sweater and poster, Anderson bought Keaton a sweatshirt, and Graham bought Whitman pharo fluid (it's a sciency thing).
  • We were still finishing presents when the grandparents and Jason started arriving for our Christmas breakfast. This morning we had orange juice, a crock pot sausage casserole, monkey bread, fruit, and the cinnamon rolls we have been seeing on the computer. It was all really good.
  • The kids enjoyed showing everyone their presents. Anderson and Whitman are my two that put everything away. Keaton and Reagan have laid their things out while Graham and Campbell are in between the two.
  • When everyone left after breakfast, we picked up some and started on my mac and cheese and Robby's sausage balls for Grannymom's house. We didn't have too long because soon we were loading up for Dennie Family Circle.
  • After everyone arrived, we all ate-Grannymom had the meat and dressing and Dana had made everyone side dish that the grandkids had asked for. There was plenty of food. The game was next, and everyone left the game with a neat little gift. Robby ended up with a metal butterfly, but Reagan was quick to trade with him.
  • Grannymom bought a present for Robby-two shirts along with a fire poker and a tiny snickerdoodle bundt cake. Robby had my name and gave me face cream (I picked it out) and note cards. The kids all had presents from Grannymom, Aunt Dana, and Aunt Shelley. 
  • We stayed for a while and then loaded up to come home. Since we have been home, my present putter uppers have done that. Whitman has played with his hover ball all over the house while wearing his new pajamas. 
  • When I did sit down on the couch tonight, I told Robby that we had time to take down the trees and Christmas things tonight, but he suggested that we just wait until tomorrow.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: Merry Christmas!

For Christmas day, I have saved my favorite new ornament of the year! We bought this ornament in 2022 when we were there in December because we knew that we would be back in 2023 and would need an ornament. I have been partial to Disney ornaments where we can put a picture inside of it so I was delighted to find this one.

We have really had some neat opportunities to travel as many places as we have been. And being able to go to Disney as many times as we have has been an awesome experience. Since 2019, we have made 10 trips to Disney World with one of those being an entire month. This year alone we made 5 of those trips. Whitman has been to Disney the least out of all of the crew, and this last trip put him at 12 different visits. 

We have spent a lot of money and a lot of time getting ready for these trips, but we have received a lot of memories on each and every one of the trips. Thank you for spending time looking at our silly collection of Christmas ornaments, and I hope that your next year is full of many wonderful memories.

December 24, 2023-Christmas Eve!

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  • Christmas Eve morning started off with a slow start since church wasn't until eleven. Robby sat down and watched a bit of tv before we left, and I was able to read a little bit of my book. I have finished all of my Christmas books and am now working on a wintery themed one which makes me want to go to a snowy cabin and read it-except that is where the murder in my book takes place.
  • Campbell had spent the night with her friend so she sat in upstairs in the venue, but everyone else did sit with us downstairs. We are still in Sander's Hall instead of the sanctuary so it all loses a bit of the special feel, but the candle lit Silent Night is always special. And this was the first year that we had no kids that went down to the front during the kids' part of the service. 
  • We took a family picture when we came home from church. It was raining so our choices were in front of the tree which we would completely cover up or standing on the porch-at least it looked wintery outside. 
  • Robby and I did a little bit of cooking as we all scavengered around the kitchen eating leftovers. Then I read a bit more before taking a short nap. I did wake up and saw a football game on tv-it was close and some how I couldn't stop watching it so I never went back to sleep!
  • At 5 this afternoon we headed to Nonna and Pops' house for Christmas Eve. Nonna had the table and everything set beautifully. We ate and snacked, and then it was present opening time. The kids are bigger so there aren't many surprises at all anymore. I have one or two for tomorrow, but that is about it. 
  • Even without the surprises, I think that everyone was very pleased with their gifts. I know I was pleased with my gifts-especially the Christmas puzzle-which somehow made the kids groan when I told them that we were going to work it next year.
  • We came home, and my three reindeer food makers threw their food out for the reindeer. Now, no one believes in Santa or has for a very long time, but they have often heard that if you don't believe then you don't receive so they didn't want to miss out on any gifts.
  • The obligatory kid picture in front of the Christmas tree with Santa's milk and cookies have been taken, food is prepped and in the fridge for tomorrow, and now I have two more presents to wrap. After that, hopefully the dishes will be done and Robby and I will start hauling presents downstairs from the attic-at least we don't have to put things together anymore!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 1 Day until Christmas

This was our second year to have the opportunity to go to the Master's golf tournament in Augusta, and for our ornament all we could afford were our tickets. Not really, well, really! The first year it was about to start to rain, so they shooed us off the course, and we were given the option to buy tickets for next year which we did. 

Of course a road trip with friends is always fun! The concession stand was Robby and my favorite place for sure! We tried to eat one of everything but didn't make it very far. Here is the link to that day's blog.

December 23, 2023

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  • During this last week, I have been sleeping in, but this morning I was awake before the sun started to shine. Don't worry though, I was able to go back to sleep for a little bit though before finally getting out of bed.
  • When I did get up, I did the morning chores, and then Robby and I left for the morning. We ran by Grannymom and Grandpa's house for a little bit. Then we went to Sams where we bought nothing except for a little bit of lunch. Next was Walmart where we fought the crowds and finished some things on our list.
  • And finally, we ran by two different Dollar Generals looking for Robby some candy. When we did make it back home, I started on a bit of Christmas cooking.
  • First I made a new recipe with pretzels then Graham started on some oreo balls. Next Campbell made some spicy crackers. Keaton was going to make some cookies but decided that she might make them tomorrow.
  • And then Anderson made the icing or our sugar cookies, and everyone went to work on decorating them. During this activity, Campbell got an invite to spend the night at someone's house, so as soon as she was finished she headed over there.
  • After Robby dropped her off, he picked up supper. We have eaten out a ridiculous amount this week, but the new year is no spend year so that might slow down! Now football is on the tv, and I am working on curriculum for next year!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 2 Days until Christmas

One of my ornaments already this year was of the Chip and Dale scavenger hunt, and so I talked about the Facebook scavenger hunts that happen all around the Fort Wilderness Campground. Pretty much when we have been at the campground, Keaton has my phone. She was constantly checking to see what was hidden and where. That girl knew every inch of the campground!

This ornament she and Graham found one afternoon. They were pretty excited about their find because they knew that I was going to make it into an ornament for sure!

Let's briefly talk about Halloween at the Fort-it was wild and crazy. There was trick or treating for days before Halloween. Plus golf cart parades, pet parades, Halloween scavenger hunts, pumpkin carving contest and even a beach party. When we were out trick or treating, which we did just about every main loop, we saw a huge reproduction of the Haunted Mansion along with actors and even a mariachi band. 

We sure won't forget this Halloween anytime soon. Here is the post from that day!

December 22, 2023

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  • This was definitely an early morning for all of us who have started on our Christmas break already. We left at 9:30 to pick up suburban from Reagan. She was riding with Kennedy to the Craft's house, but I knew that the big kids would need a getaway car in case they wanted to come home early.
  • We arrived along with about 75 other friends. My kids all ended up in kind of the same area. All of the boys were beside Reagan and Kennedy at a fairly empty table. Campbell was behind them at a table with all of her friends, and Keaton was working in the kitchen with all of her buddies.
  • I am always surprised with the creativity that the kids take on their gingerbread houses. And this year I was super surprised that Graham, Anderson, and Reagan were the last of my three to finish. Anderson worked almost as long as Reagan. The gingerbread house day is so much fun. Traci thanked Reagan for coming, and Reagan replied that she would not miss it!
  • The big kids and Whitman left when they finished their houses. I stayed with Keaton and Campbell and helped a little bit picking up. Then we ran to a friend's house to deliver houses and candy to them since they were sick and had to miss the party. 
  • After that, we met Robby at the gas station to fill up the cars. When we headed home, Robby went to pick up his order from Kroger since they told him it was ready. The pick up line was so long that it was just a circle in the parking lot. When he did get to the front, they told him that his order wasn't ready yet. He then waited for 40 minutes for someone to come back to the car.
  • He eventually cancelled his order, and then he braved the grocery store to grab a few things. Now, we really didn't have to have anything, but he enjoyed the fun of the packed grocery store with everyone line open. 
  • When he did get home, they text to tell him that his order was indeed ready-the order he had already cancelled. While he was gone, Whitman, Anderson, Graham, Keaton and I cut out and baked our sugar cookies. I also browned some hamburger meat. 
  • Robby brought home some Panda Express for supper-an early supper. Then I really just stayed on the couch for the rest of the evening. I didn't get in my Hallmark movie yesterday so hopefully we will tonight.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 3 Days until Christmas

We bought this ornament in Honduras, and this was a cruise port that I was not really crazy about. We definitely had an adventure-that is for sure, and the kids will never forget it. Robby haggled with someone and got us a driver who took us on a tour around the island.

While we were on the tour, we realized our guide didn't speak any English which made things a bit more fun. We also stopped at his house to put his leftover up in the fridge along with picking his daughter up from school. And Campbell's least favorite memory would be when we drove slap dab in the middle of the beach!

We bought this ornament when we were at a zoo-I think that calling where we were a zoo is very questionable. We were able to see a sloth up close so that was interesting. 

Here is the blog to that day's post telling all about our tour around the island. We had never been so thankful to see that cruise ship. 

December 21, 2023-Happy 14th Birthday Campbell!

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  • Anderson and Graham were stirring a little bit earlier than usual. Around noon though I did go upstairs to wake up Whitman-he gets a little sour if he sleeps too long because he doesn't like to miss any ipad time. 
  • Then I went to wake up Campbell because this was driving permit day. I tried to discourage her from taking it today and reminded her that people don't want to cry on their birthday. However, she was adamant that she take the test today.
  • We got there on time and joined the line. They told us that their system was down, so they didn't know how long it was going to take for it to come back up again. We opted to stay and wait, and thankfully, by the time I correctly filled out the forms it was back up.
  • Campbell didn't want for me to wait in the car so I stood in the waiting room while waiting on her. She came out with her paper, and we were both super relieved. On the way home, we stopped by Sonic, but we also stopped at the church down the road so she could practice driving.
  • It didn't take too long for me to text Robby and tell him that he was responsible for teaching the last 3. Seriously, she did just fine for never really driving in the car. Maybe soon she can drive on Crystal Valley since it is a little bit slower than Lawson.
  • Once we came home, I read a little bit. Reagan left to do some dog sitting, and after that Robby and I left to pick up Campbell's birthday supper.
  • She chose ChickFilA for her supper. Robby and I did split a peppermint milkshake which is my favorite along with some chicken tortilla soup. We dropped Reagan's food off and then brought everything else home so we could sing to the birthday girl.
  • Now we are all settled in for the evening-maybe after the basketball game, we can watch a Hallmark movie or two!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 4 Days until Christmas

Now, this is a super fun memory! The the Fort Wilderness Campground they have a dinner show called the Hoop Dee Do Revue. The first time we went was in 2013 so officially all of the kids have been to the dinner show. However, Keaton reminded us that she did not remember it at all. I know that Graham remembers it since he was pulled up on the stage at the end of the show, but it is doubtful that Campbell, Keaton and Whitman who was just about 6 months old would remember.

When the big 4 were at camp this summer, the rest of us headed down to Disney. While we were there, we had to do a few fun things, and one of those things was going to see the Hoop Dee Du Revue. We were a bit worried about our seats since we were near the end of the line, but our table was right in the middle of the place. At times the actors were dancing and singing around our little table-it was definitely a highlight.

Here is the link to our 2013 visit there, and the link to our most recent trip there.

December 20, 2023

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  • This was another quiet morning around the house-well, except for Bentley. She has started to ask to be let out of room around 6ish every morning. I guess she knows that it is quiet time, so she doesn't bark-she just stands by the door and stares at us and every few minutes she will walk to my side of the bed and breathe on me or lick my face. I can only take so much of that before I a.) get up and open our bedroom door so she can leave or b.) roll over and act like I am asleep so Robby will get up and open our bedroom door.
  • And in case you were wondering, I was much more careful this morning when I took her outside. I looked at where I was stepping the whole time we were outside. 
  • I left fairly early to go and do some birthday shopping with Grannymom. It didn't take long for me to find some things, and everything that I picked out matched a color scheme-and it was a color scheme that I didn't even know that I liked.
  • Afterwards, I ran into 5 Below because I had a 24 cent gift card that needed to be spent. Yep, I spent money so I could save that 24 cents. At this point in the year, I usually get a little bit panicky about the kids stockings. I am always worried about if I really have enough things in there. This year I feel that way about all of the boys' stockings. The little girls stockings are just ridiculous-especially Campbell and Keatons. They are always with me and always giving me ideas, but the boys are so, so much harder to buy for.
  • I made it home about the time that the big boys were leaving to go and play basketball again today. They were gone for almost 3 hours, so I know that they had a good time. While they were gone, and no one else was awake or downstairs, I went to town wrapping things. I wrapped 7 gifts, and I think that I just have 2 things left to wrap and Campbell has one things left to wrap which is good because our Christmas cooking starts tomorrow.
  • This afternoon I tried to do some school work-yes, I'm planning for the fall, but that is ok. Soon though it was time for us to leave to take Campbell to a Christmas party. After dropping her off, we picked up 2 pizzas and some popcorn chicken for supper.
  • I am now sitting on the couch under a blanket trying to figure out if I can watch a Hallmark movie before having to go and pick up Campbell tonight.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 5 Days until Christmas

I'm not exactly sure why this ornament has a skull on it. Maybe I should do some more research on Cozumel. This was a fun port to me-and I don't say that often. We were indeed just dropped off at a town-there were shops and lots of places to eat. 

We walked around a good bit, but the boys ended up going back to the boat before the girls and me. We were still shopping. While we were checking out, there was a huge wind storm-it was crazy walking back to the boat in the wind. 

Later in the afternoon, Robby and I got off the boat and walked around the town a little bit more. There probably would have been some good food to stop and get there for sure. Maybe the next time we are in Cozumel we can find some salsa or something to eat. 

Here is that day's post.

December 19, 2023

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  • This morning I had a choice-I could laugh or cry: Robby took Bentley outside first this morning, so in the middle of my chores, she started asking to go out again. That was fine, so I put on my warmer clothes and took her out.
  • She likes to do her business in the leaves so as I was standing there waiting on her, my leg started to itch. Instead of bending down, I just took the bottom of my other foot and used it to scratch my leg. I knew something wasn't right when my leg then felt wet and cold. 
  • As I was looking down, I realized that some poor sick dog had been right where I was standing. Then I saw that not only was I standing in it, but I had also rubbed it all over my pants. Thank goodness I was wearing pants. 
  • Robby did think I was a bit crazy as I rushed in the house throwing my clothes and shoes in the washing machine and then jumping into the shower. Guess how many times I have taken Bentley out since then today: none and I don't plan on it!
  • Around noon, the big boys left to go and play basketball in Benton. This is when we just live a bit far away-especially from their buddies. They made a day of it and didn't get back until after 3. I read with the little 3, and then we went to Defy. After Defy we ran to the gas station for drinks followed by letting Whitman do a little Christmas shopping at the Dollar General.
  • I wasn't home for too long when Robby and I left to run a few errands. He had earned some gift cards to Whole Foods so we went there to spend those. Now, I had a list since we were going to the store later, but that store is just not how we shop.
  • In case you were wondering, there is no velveeta or cream style corn at the Whole Foods. Also there are no canned cinnamon rolls or biscuits. Thankfully, our list was long enough that we were able to spend the gift cards. However, it was a little hard paying extra just because of where we were shopping.
  • We then ran to the grocery store to complete the rest of the list. Our list wasn't very long, but it seemed to take us forever to find everything, but I think that we have most things for all of our Christmas cooking-except pretzels and fruit.
  • While we were shopping, I had to call Campbell and ask if she could get the baked potatoes ready. I had intended to be home, but all of our errands took way longer than I had imagined. She didn't mind and even cooked the chicken for me when we did get home-though she just did that to speed things along.
  • We all ate baked potatoes for supper, and now everyone is in their evening spots!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 6 Days until Christmas

Let's talk about something that was really fun at Disney World: Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. We have been a Christmas party before, but this year we were able to go to a Halloween party. Of course there are tons of different characters to see, but that isn't really what excites us.

We enjoyed eating some of the special food from the Halloween party menu. Seeing all of the extra entertainment was really neat-especially the ghost lady in front of the Haunted Mansion. We even stopped to watch the parade-there was some men in the parade that I really liked-they had brooms or something and were hitting the ground. Who knows now though since I didn't write about it in the blog. 

The evening of the party, we also hit the rides pretty hard and did quite a few. However, the highlight was definitely the candy. When you got into the park, they gave you a little candy bag, but we had all brought our own backpacks. Yep, all 8 of us were carrying backpacks, and when we left, they were completely full of candy! It took us probably an hour to get the candy sorted and put away in the camper. (Quite a bit of that candy, I later confiscated and brought back to Disney and used it for our trick or treating candy. Trick or treating that week lasted from Friday night until Tuesday night which was Halloween so I definitely went through a lot of that candy.)

Here is the link to one of our most fun days in the park. 

December 18, 2023

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  • This was kind of a slow morning, but by mid afternoon I was starting to mark off Christmas shopping. I even told Robby that I thought that I was finished. However, don't tell him that I still have a few more things to get, but mostly I am nearly done.
  • The house was super quiet this morning except for Bentley barking at me. After taking her out about 4 different times, I realized that she was telling me that she was hungry. Indeed, her food had run out inside, so I had to have Robby get her some more. 
  • Robby and I ran to Walmart-we had to go to a different one because this one was the only one that had our year's supply of drain stuff that we use as preventative for our original septic tank. While he was in the pick up line, I ran in. I tried to be quick, but I was not at all. I did get quite a few last minute items so I was pleased.
  • Back at home, Whitman wrapped one of his presents, and really it wasn't too much longer before I was leaving again with Campbell and Graham. We ran to Grannymom's house first to drop off a present. 
  • Then it was to Dollar Tree for Graham to buy some candy for his siblings for Christmas. Then the main even was the orthodontist. Campbell is now finished with the orthodontist and doesn't have to go anymore. Graham, since he lost his retainers that time, still has a few more months to catch up.
  • Robby met us after the appointment, and we went to Texas Roadhouse. It was a quick celebration for Campbell's birthday plus a mystery shop. The others had orange chicken when we came home.
  • We also marked quite a few more things off of my list tonight-we did our advent, along with all of our Christmas countdowns, Anderson and Graham did some wrapping, and Reagan worked on a scholarship for me for a bit.
  • Now I am on the couch, but Robby is working on blog problems. I'm stuffed from supper, so I probably will not have my hot chocolate tonight, but the night is still young.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 7 Days until Christmas

The kids have not been to too many countries. For that matter, I have not either. However, our cruise in January was their 4th, 5th, and 6th countries to go to (Mexico, Honduras, and Belize). This wasn't really a good taste of Belize since where we stopped was Norwegians' private island, but it was beautiful.

We expected the water to be beautiful blue, but it wasn't nor were their waves. The island was still so well cared for-it even had a zoo. It was almost like going to a Disney island somewhere (though I have never been to a Disney island!) There was a pool and a splash pad that we hit up too before walking back to the boat. As much as the kids enjoy the water and the beach, the love a cruise ship more so we weren't on the island too long before going back to the boat. 

Here is the link that that day's blog. 

December 17, 2023

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  • Sunday morning here, and today was the day of the big Christmas party. Thankfully, we had plenty of help and knocked it all out. They let us out of our opening early, so we went right to work on making our ornaments. 
  • This took a good sweet minute, but while the kids were waiting they colored. Then everyone decorated cookies and played Bingo. Before I knew it, parents were picking everyone up...and it was nice to have the Sunday School Christmas party over!
  • I had stressed about it for a while, but I had also stressed about cleaning up afterwards, but it all went perfectly well. Robby and Whitman took the wagon of stuff out to the car before church.
  • After big church, we all headed to Grannymom and Grandpa's house for our Sunday lunch. We ate and were able to visit for a little bit. Then we had to hurry home so the boys could go and play basketball.
  • After a bit of playing, the courts became too full so they ended up at a friend's house for a little bit. While they were there, I took Keaton and Campbell to Rock Creek, and Reagan went to her Life Group. 
  • Everyone but Reagan met back up at the Wilson's house tonight for supper. The kids played games-Whitman said that his favorite was the one about Hitler. We came home a little bit before Reagan did and caught up with her. Now I am trying to work some on the blog before taking a warm shower. 

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 8 Days until Christmas

This ornament is not really an ornament at all (really though, how many of mine are actually ornaments?), but this is a Disney passholder magnet. They pass these magnets out to passholders at certain times of the year. They are apparently very coveted and are often traded, but we just think they are kind of cute. (Not don't get me wrong, Robby has sold a few of these on eBay though!)

I actually don't think that we received this ornament on the July trip that I am linking down below. However, the July trip we left a day early so we could make it to Epcot in time to get the magnet on the last day that they were handing them out. We are probably silly, but it fun to be able to look at all of the different passholder magnets that we have collected over the last year.

Here is the link for the first full day at Epcot in late June with just Keaton and Whitman. 

December 16, 2023-Happy Birthday (Party) Anderson and Campbell!

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  • The house was fairly quiet this morning-it is not quiet right now: Keaton, Whitman, and possibly Campbell are playing the Wii, and the house currently is not quiet at all. I didn't wake up the kids until everyone was just about here.
  • Campbell was the first one downstairs because she has been waiting for today for a while. Lately, we usually just have the kids open their grandparent gifts on the Sunday closest to their birthdays when we eat at their houses.
  • However, Campbell realized that this would mean she would have to wait until Christmas for her gifts, and this was not going to work for her at all. She she was determined to have us have a family birthday party right after Anderson's birthday so she could celebrate with him...and get her presents!
  • Robby picked up pizza for our lunch-it was all really delicious. Then we had cupcakes which Campbell made, and key lime pie which is one of Anderson's favorite desserts. Then the kids opened their presents-I do believe that the knew everything that they were going to get, but they were still excited about it all. 
  • Campbell, my child, has displayed all of her things on her desk. Anderson, who is more like his father, has already unboxed his things and put them properly away. 
  • When everyone left, I sat on the couch and read some. Eventually, Robby, Campbell and I went to eat supper this evening at On the Border. It was fairly quiet there, but we always enjoy eating there.  On the way home, we did have to run to ChickFilA since Graham had a free lemonade and Keaton had a free sandwich. They were super excited that we agreed to make that extra stop. 
  • Now it is evening, and the kids are all scarce-Reagan just finished putting away cake balls that she and Keaton made earlier today. Campbell also made cake balls at the same time-they are all taking them to church tomorrow.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023: 9 Days until Christmas

My kids all love cruising, and our cruise this January was much loved. Even though I also love cruising, I am not too big on the ports. However, stopping at Costa Maya was kind of fun though. We were let off the boat right near the town or maybe you would call is a shopping center. 

There was definitely a lot to see in that little area. It was crazy crowded, but we were able to do some shopping, see some interesting things, and stop and have a coke while enjoying the atmosphere. Some ports I would skip, but Costa Maya was one that I would enjoy again. 

Here is the link to that day's excursion. 

December 15, 2023

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  • I guess I am starting on my Christmas break since I even slept in some this morning. We eventually worked together, and then around 11 I left with Campbell and Keaton. 
  • Our first stop this morning was the gas station to meet Robby. Then we drove back towards the church where the girls helped me prepare my Sunday school room for Sunday. It is Christmas party Sunday so there were quite a few things to get ready.
  • Then since we were out at lunch, we ran to Nonna and Pops' house for a few minutes. While we were there we ate lunch, but we couldn't stay long because we had to be some place at 1.
  • Yesterday, we bought quite a few presents, and today we helped wrapped some of those presents. Actually, we didn't wrap many presents that we bought, but we wrapped other presents. We probably helped wrap gifts for about 20 kiddos. We had to find the right clothes, box them up, and then wrap the toys that went with it. It is a daunting task, and I don't envy the ladies having to do it all for sure.
  • We worked until almost 4, and then we ran to the Dollar Tree to do a little bit of Christmas shopping. When I came home, Graham and Reagan had just returned from work. Anderson was outside helping Robby with the leaves. Graham joined him while Reagan got ready to go to the movie with Kennedy.
  • Campbell, Keaton, and I went to work on the leaves as well. It was nearly dark so, and there wasn't much left so we worked pretty quickly to finish Robby's piles. 
  • Once that was done, the kids started on their suppers, and Robby and I headed to Costco for a bit along with Kroger. We picked up a hamburger for Anderson. When we came home, we unloaded everything, and I spent way too long trying to decide what I wanted for supper.
  • Now we are about finished with tonight's murder mystery, and I am waiting on Robby to scoop me some ice cream.

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023-10 Days until Christmas

So this ornament reminds me of two different things that happen at Fort Wilderness Campground at Disney World. First on one of our trips December 2022, they had a Chip and Dale scavenger hunt around the campground. The campground does this often, and there was even a Halloween one that we completed this October. 

On the scavenger hunt, you have to solve word problems and puzzles which then take you to places around the campground to get clues. The clues all unscramble to become the answer. It really can be a little challenging at times; however, every time that we had done it, it has been a lot of fun.

When we completed the scavenger hunt, we earned the buttons that became Christmas ornaments. Also, the campground has at least 2 different Facebook groups who do scavenger hunts in the campground. When we came, we brought a box of things to hide around the campground. Keaton and Campbell really enjoyed this. They not only got into hiding things but would super enjoy finding things. Most of the things that we found, we eventually re-hid for someone else, but they would probably say this was one of their favorite activities.

Here is a link to the day we worked on the Chip N' Dales Holiday Scavenger Hunt 

Here is the link to one of our Fort Wilderness scavenger hunt days.

December 14, 2023

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  • Robby had his Dgroup early this morning, but I had forgotten that. So when my alarm rang this morning, I quietly laid in bed trying not to wake him up-until I rolled over and realized he was already gone.
  • I eventually did get up and start on my chores. Then, we did our little bit of school before Campbell, Keaton, and I left for the day. 
  • We met a lady from church whose company was doing some Christmas shopping for some children. We started at Old Navy and picked 2 outfits and a heavy jacket for each of the kids. The girls and I did 9 different kids while other people were working on other kids.
  • It was a lot of fun spending someone else's money. The check out line got a bit ridiculous behind us since we bought for over 20 kids altogether. After that bit of shopping, we went to Blue House to eat lunch. My food was good, but the chocolate chip biscuit was heavenly. It was so good that I brought Robby home half of one to eat. Plus I have decided that learning to make chocolate chip biscuits is going to be my New Year's Resolution.
  • When we finished lunch, we went to Walmart to buy toys for each of the kids. It was a little bit more challenging to pick out toys, but the girls enjoyed that the most. After finishing up that shopping, we ran to the library on the way home. 
  • Reagan was already gone this afternoon because she had work. The boys-well, they were living it up and enjoying the start of their Christmas break. They all had a little bit of school, but most of the day was spent playing on their xbox. It sounds like every other boy that they usually play with is already finished with school as well.
  • Robby and I made supper this evening, but the kids ate at the table while we huddled on our room listening to another college financial aid thing. After it was over, Robby worked on my computer some before we settled in for another Hallmark movie! (I wasn't in the mood for a Christmas one though so we are watching a mystery movie.)

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023-11 Days until Christmas

Today let's look at another Disney ride. In Magic Kingdom construction began on Tron before Covid. When we were there in 2023 and possibly even in 2019, we were able to see the construction of Tron. However, Covid delayed the whole progress, and it didn't open until this year in April. 

We were super excited to ride Tron after how much everyone had enjoyed Guardians. However, it was kind of a let down. The theming is lacking for sure. The first times we rode the line, we baked in the hot Florida sunshine as we waited in line. 

Then the ride does take off super fast which I don't like at all, but everyone else seems to love. Then the ride does zoom out side which is really neat, but all too soon it is over. It is a neat ride, but the ride should be about 2 minutes longer.

Here is a link to the first time we rode Tron.

December 13, 2023-Happy 17th Birthday Anderson!

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  • Reagan had an early morning appointment-when we were at the dentist this time, they mentioned it was time for those wisdom teeth to come out. Today's appointment was with the teeth taker outer man. 
  • It was a bright and early appointment, and after checking us in, they made us watch a 10 minute video which was probably 30 years old about taking out wisdom teeth. They did thoroughly mention all of the bad things that can happen. It was shocking enough that I wonder if anyone has left after the video before seeing the doctor. 
  • We stayed and didn't leave after the scary video. The plan is for me to schedule that appointment for some time in April-I know that she is excited! (Really, she isn't at all!)
  • We came home, and I soon started reading with the little three. Graham woke up not feeling the best, so he skipped work today. I think he does have a little bit of a cold for sure, but he felt much better by the time for church-maybe because I doped him up quite a bit.
  • Robby ran some errands at lunch and came home with a birthday meal from Whataburger. Of course, I did take the obligatory picture even though Anderson would have preferred me not to.
  • When Reagan came home from work, she was there a minute before leaving for her Dgroup. Campbell and Keaton went early with her, and I brought the boys next.
  • Tonight the preschoolers and children sang some songs-Whitman was in the way back and could barely be seen....except when ever he saw me, he would put on a big grin on his face. We had been working on smiling and looking happy, and he was all grins...whenever he caught me looking.
  • Afterwards, I worked on the craft station and stayed late enough cleaning up that Keaton and Reagan had to come and find me. The other three went on to ChickFilA for a bit more time with their friends.
  • I made an egg in the hole for my supper, and now I am finally on the couch watching a Hallmark movie!

Christmas Ornament Countdown 2023-12 Days Until Christmas

Today we begin our 12th year of counting down to Christmas using our Christmas ornaments. We have slowed down on buying ornaments the last few years so I just have 13 new ones to talk about this year. One interesting fact about this year's ornaments: 8 of the 13 are from the state of Florida. 

I know that most people do not have the Christmas ornaments listed on a spreadsheet, but all 346 of ours are categorized by year and by the state bought in. I do have our ornament divided by national parks, food ornaments, Disney ornaments, and all the rest. I guess someday if I ever have a lot of time, I could decorate one tree dedicated to each state of the union.

I guess that I will begin this countdown with Disney ride ornaments. Last year was our first time to ride Guardians of the Galaxy at Epcot. It was certainly a hit with all of the kids, so we decided that we needed an ornament for the tree.

Even though everyone else enjoyed the ride, I just tolerate it. I would enjoy it if it was just a roller coaster, but there is some controlled spinning which is
just enough for me to not like it. However, I don't want to miss out so I am still on it each time that we were able to ride it. 

Our Disney season pass began the end of last year so this year has definitely been the year of Disney. 2020 was supposed to be for us, but we have definitely done Disney big this year. It was a lot of work-in 365 days Robby drove to Orlando six different times, and the camper definitely knows the way to Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. However, we have made a ton of memories this year at Disney World.

December 12, 2023

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  • Keaton begged me to work together this morning at 11 so that left me a ton of time to do everything but school. I was able to do all the things this morning, and then at about 10:45, I could wait no longer and began our reading.
  • If you care, we had 9 books left this morning. We finished three of those, but I did pick up one more at the library so we are back to 7. They are all picture books, but they aren't short picture books-they are long picture books. One has been about salt-did you know that most roads are build where they are now because they were trials by animals who were looking for salt? Or that the most powerful civilizations have always been the ones who control the flow of salt? That was a book that I almost left at for Robby to read as I sometimes do when a book is really interesting to me.
  • Anyway, after lunch we loaded up all of the people but Reagan and went to Defy. So at the beginning of the year the kids loved going. However, it has been 91 times that we have been-yes, I have a spreadsheet, so they are now lacking in their enthusiasm. Whitman still enjoys it though, but today to leave we had to wait on the big boys who were playing dodgeball with each other.
  • I think that just must be a boy thing-today while I was eating lunch and quietly reading in my room, Anderson had Graham in a choke hold on my bed. I eventually did shoo them out of my room so they continued with Graham having Anderson in a choke hold in the hallway right next to me. 
  • Robby and I did leave late this afternoon to get gas in the white van and the mini van. He parked so I could ride with him in the minivan so we could run some errands before we got gas,
  • As we were driving to the library, the battery light came on. Then the car started to sputter a little bit. We passed the mechanic on the way to the library, and Robby debated pulling in there. He didn't! 
  • We were almost to the library-though by this time Robby didn't have much power so it took him a long time before he was brave enough to turn in front of two lanes of traffic. As I got my books, he circled the parking lot. 
  • Then with little power, we puttered back to the mechanics. He was there and quickly did his thing and reassured us that it was the alternator. We had read that it could possibly be the battery or more likely the alternator-and with how our luck is going lately, we knew it was the alternator. 
  • Reagan was at work so no drivers at home could come and pick us up so we called Pops and Nonna. They were there in about 10 minutes and drove us to the white van.
  • We then went on to Kroger and to get gas while laughing about our car problems-we were at least thankful that it wasn't a tire! That would have just put us over the edge!
  • Once we came home, we all had supper while Robby and I watched a video about financial aid. It was pointless since we didn't learn anything. However, Keaton did make some cookies tonight that we snacked on as we watched Amazing Race. I still haven't gotten my Hallmark movie yet-maybe tomorrow.

December 11, 2023

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  • Only doing a little bit of school each day is just a bit strange for me. I don't really have to rush in the mornings, but I still do my chores plus some extras before anyone else wakes up. 
  • We still did our daily reading, and I even broke if to the three that we will probably have to do some next week as well because we will read until we finish all of the books I have (and really, if I start finishing too many, I will put a few extras in the pile.)
  • Reagan and Graham went to work this afternoon, and while they were gone Anderson and I went the dentist for him to have two fillings. Of course he did fine, but he wasn't too crazy about having to go-he did say that the second filling that was filled was not numb. He debated telling the dentist, but decided that if he said anything it would just take longer so he toughed it out.
  • We then dropped off Christmas presents at Grannymom's house on the way home. I am getting a bit closer to finishing all of the gifts-Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday-no gifts, but food and family. Anyway, I have 1 more gift for Grannymom, 3 more for Nonna, 2 for Jason, and then the kids need to finish their shopping for their siblings. 
  • It didn't seem like I was home too long before I was leaving again to take Graham to his Dgroup. I dropped him off and then ran to Kroger. I was able to find a few things, but there were quite a few things that I couldn't find! Anyhow, about 15 minutes before I was expecting to leave the store, Graham text and said that he was finished.
  • I hightailed it out of there and headed to pick him up. We forget that Graham is the only one of his group not driving-that is what happens when you are the baby of the class. He even has until the end of July before he can drive! Robby said that he was the same way and he turned out fine.
  • At home, everyone cleaned out the fridge for supper-one of my favorite meals and their least favorite. I am about to have myself some hot chocolate and then try to convince Robby to watch a Hallmark movie and turn off football.

December 10, 2023

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  • This morning was church, but I wasn't teaching our Sunday school class so I didn't feel as rushed this morning since I didn't have to set up the classroom. Since we are teaching first grade this year, we did come home with quite a few Christmas gifts so that was fun.
  • Next up was big church. We have a few more weeks (they don't know how long) in the fellowship hall. I am not sure if I have gotten shorter lately, but I just struggle to see the front because of people's heads in front of me. 
  • We ate lunch at Nonna and Pops' house. We had a chili which was delicious-I always like chili especially since it is a little bit chilly. They had birthday cupcakes for our two birthday babies-Anderson and Campbell.
  • At home this afternoon, I had my nap, but I also worked on reading my book. I have about 5 Christmas books to read myself before Christmas plus a few more coming from the library so I have to get busy.
  • Keaton was busy in the kitchen today-she finished her cake balls that she made last night plus she made brownies for her life group tonight. Campbell and Keaton went to Life Group down the road this evening while Reagan went to her life group, and the big boys went to Rock Creek. Whitman is the only one without something to do every Sunday night now. I really should have him do something when they are all gone or do something with him-maybe I'll try to figure that out.
  • The Wilsons came over for our Sunday night supper. We had meatball subs which had been on our Sunday night list for a while. The other options seemed too overwhelming for us to try. These were actually pretty good.
  • When the Wilson's left, I started on the blog, and Reagan came home shortly afterwards. Now I have about 50 more pages to read before going to sleep.

December 9, 2023

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  • It was an early morning for most of us this morning. Reagan, Anderson, and Graham had their ACT test this morning. They left the house at 7:30 so I did wake up in time to make sure that everyone was awake and that they had breakfast (burritos) of the wanted them.
  • Reagan probably could have not taken the ACT today since she is already accepted to her school of choice plus the next scholarship tier would be a pretty big jump. Anderson really just needs to go up one point to have the necessary 19, and my sweet Graham-it's a good thing he is cute. Kidding!
  • I tried to go back to sleep after they left but wasn't able to until much later in the morning when I did take a catnap. Robby and I left the house around ten. We went quite a few stores, and I struck out more than not. 
  • The original plan was to pick Reagan up and take her downtown to see the Nutcracker with her people. However, they moved their times back so she was able to run home with the boys before meeting up with everyone. Robby and I then didn't have to go and pick her up so we headed home when we were finished with our shopping.
  • We came home, and the kids gave us a report of the ACT: one finished early on everything, one didn't know how they did, and another said it was easy. Who knows what the results will be, but either way we are done with the ACT for while. 
  • The afternoon drug a little bit-I looked at the clock one time it was just 2. I had read, washed the sheets, had Keaton wrap presents, and all the other things. And then before I knew it again it was much later in the evening.
  • Robby and I ran with Keaton and Campbell to the library on our way to Walmart. He bought food for tomorrow's supper while the girls and I worked on some Christmas gifts. Then we picked up supper from Panda Express.
  • We are now watching a Christmas movie-Keaton is making cake balls, Campbell is painting, Anderson is watching tv, Whitman is on his ipad, Graham is on his xbox, and I am not sure what Reagan is doing!

December 8, 2023

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  • I slept in this morning, but I was still able to mark most things off of my list before any of the kids started stirring. I worked with Graham pretty quickly and then did some reading with the littles. We had a book that we had to finish today so I read quite a bit of that and ignored my pile of other books. 
  • After then quickly working with Anderson, Robby and I ran to get gas in the cars. Then he ran to the bank while I ran in Kroger. And finally, we went in to Costco where I did find two little gifts-I am ever so slowly making my way through buying Christmas gifts. I just have never been a good gift buyer plus the kids have limited ideas this year so I am just struggling.
  • When we came home, I did spelling with Whitman. Then I ate some leftovers for lunch before I started on some Christmas gift wrapping. I have decided that I really dislike wrapping Christmas gifts-I'm no good at it and have always been impressed when others can wrap really well. However, I can stuff gifts in a gift bag pretty well!
  • I am really not sure what all I did this afternoon. I did some scholarship work and tried to figure out Reagan's GPA. To the best of my ability, I believe that she has a 4.2 which isn't too shabby. 
  • I did curl up and take a nice nap this afternoon-I might still be tired from keeping the kids yesterday at Mother's Day Out possibly or maybe it is just the weather.
  • Tonight we went out with the Wilson's to eat and then to a movie. We had started out at Chuys but the line was too long, so we found another Mexican place. It was fine, but once again it wasn't what we had expected so it wasn't quite as delicious as it probably could have been to us. 
  • The movie was good-when I came home I told Whitman about it, and he was pretty interested in it.

December 7, 2023

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  • Today was a little bit different-Anderson left very early to start his finals. He had two this morning and ended up with Bs in both of his classes. He wasn't greatly pleased with this, but I thought it was great.
  • I left next to go and work at church for Mother's Day Out. They had asked if Reagan could do it yesterday, but I said that I could help so I did that this morning. It wasn't bad at all, and surprisingly, those babies slept for over an hour of the day.
  • Reagan left for her final a little bit after I did. Then she came home for a bit before heading to work which was about the time that I made it home. 
  • Meanwhile, Keaton and Campbell went to Nonna's house to help her set out her Snow Village houses. They even did a bit of shopping for a little bit, and Keaton found some gift for her friends.
  • I ran and picked them up when they were finished working. Then it was back home for a little bit before we all left to go to Defy for a little bit this evening. Reagan was on her way home from work so she didn't go, but we don't have many more times to go to Defy until our season pass is up.
  • We picked up some supper on the way home. Everyone ate and then we gathered to do our Christmas things. After we did this, Campbell, Keaton, and Reagan are all painting in the kitchen. Unfortunately, they are not painting my walls which desperately need painting-Reagan is working on her final and the girls are painting a paint by number that they bought today.
  • Robby and I have just settled on the couch-I am busy looking at school things for next fall!

December 6, 2023

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  • Since we didn't start school until 9 this morning, I was rolling through my list of things to do. I never mark off everything on my list each day, but some day I do hope to do so. However, it is nice to be able to accomplish most things before 9.
  • Then we started on school-so many books to read and so, so little time. Tomorrow I'll be gone in the morning, and I really wanted to read tonight to everyone, but I just have no motivation to get off of this couch-that might be because of those two Hallmark movies that I did watch last night.
  • Robby actually bought the Hallmark movie app thing right now so I have 2 months to watch as many as I can-and I am up for the challenge. Though I don't think I am up for watching one tonight.
  • Even Whitman finished his school work early-I really could probably give him any amount of school and call it Christmas school, and he would be long as I give him a break before we start to do spelling. That is what truly makes him happy-a break before he has to do spelling. It is truly the little things in life.
  • After school work, I even walked on the treadmill. Well, I actually did that this afternoon. After school, I really sat down and finished my book. Robby was at work in Conway so it was a bit quieter around here-not that he makes that much of a racket, but it did seem quieter. Reagan and Graham were at work as well, but again they don't cause too many problems.
  • When Reagan came home from work, she was home for just a few minutes before she left again to go to church to lead her dgroup. The rest of us left a little bit later because they fed the workers and their families supper tonight.
  • We all ate, and then Robby and I went to our spot to help check people in-and that is where we stayed all night long. It was kind of happening in the hallway tonight so there was lots of people to visit with.
  • Anderson went to ChickFilA for a little bit after church and is almost home, and I am not cuddled up with my blanket trying to decide if I should get up for hot chocolate or if I will just warm up without drinking anything warm.

December 5, 2023

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  • Reagan and Graham left the house at 6:45 for their Bible study this morning. When they came back home, I talked to them briefly, and then they both went upstairs and took a nap. Anderson left for school today-he just went to one class and skipped the other while Reagan just skipped all of hers. (I maybe skipped about 3 classes my entire life, and my kids have skipped more than that in the last two weeks. Actually, it is good for Reagan to relax a little bit, and honestly, it is probably good for Anderson to as well.)
  • I read with Campbell, Keaton, and Whitman this morning. I have 48 books checked out which overwhelms me a bit. There was a time when we had nearly 100 books checked out at all times, but now 50 is a lot. I am trying to finish all of our library books before Christmas, but I have about 10 books on hold for me to read just in case it snows, and I can't get to the library.
  • After school today, I went shopping with Campbell and Keaton. Campbell needs quite a few Christmas presents, but unfortunately, we were only able to find one thing. We did find something for Whitman though too and half of a gift for me. Still I was a bit bummed-I couldn't find what I was looking for and Kroger was out of brown sugar. We did get to very briefly walk around Barnes and Noble. By that stop though (store 6), Campbell was fading so we hurried on our way.
  • Once at home, I organized some gifts and then started on supper. Tonight we had our street tacos and all of the fixings. Plus we did our Advent along with the Christmas ornament and Santa pulling after we ate.
  • Robby and I were going to watch a movie tonight that we thought was out, but it was not so we tried another movie which was also not out, so after a bit of sports we turned a Hallmark movie. Hopefully, we will have time for two!

December 4, 2023

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  • This was the first day of Christmas school around here, and it was no surprise to me that my school work time still lasted until almost noon. I did finish earlier than usual though so I was pleased. Whitman was the one who was the most pleased because he was finished with his school work a lot earlier than usual. 
  • Reagan and Graham went to work this afternoon, and the rest of us went to Defy for a little bit. Well, I did leave Anderson at home-his ankle is improving so I didn't want to risk it, but he really needs to be studying for his finals too.
  • When we came back home, I worked on a few things from my list. Then I really intended to go outside and take Bentley on a walk, but it was so chilly out there that I just curled up on the couch while Keaton made some chocolate chip cookies. 
  • She finished with the cookies, and I put the homemade lasagna in the oven-actually, it wasn't homemade. I told Robby that I would like to make homemade lasagna but it is a bit of work and not really cheap either. There are a lot of things I would like to learn how to make, but I am not sure if you can teach an old dog new tricks!
  • Reagan went to Bible study tonight so she missed our supper, but she was eating out too so she didn't mind. We even did our Christmas things without her-Robby suggested waiting, but the kids didn't want to at all.
  • Now, Robby is watching basketball on tv, but I am not too sure if the boys are because they are fairly quite upstairs. I am currently reading two different books so I plan to read a little bit of each one tonight and possibly get me some hot chocolate or some ice cream-I don't know which!

December 3, 2023

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  • This morning was church morning so as Robby took his shower, I made the first pass trying to wake up the kids. I really didn't do too well since Graham was the only one who left his bed on my round. Since I didn't have any alarm clock problems today, I was able to do the laundry and the dishes before we went to church 
  • We did the church thing this morning and then headed to Grannymom's house for Sunday lunch and to celebrate Dana's birthday. We had taco salad which is one of my favorites plus some s'mores cupcakes. 
  • When we came home, we had a little bit of time before Graham, Campbell, and Keaton went to Rock Creek to help with their children's Christmas event. Anderson took them there and soon Reagan was headed out to babysit with Alyssa. 
  • I worked on cleaning the camper, but then I left with Whitman. We first stopped at Rock Creek to enjoy their Christmas at the Creek. It was pretty impressive, and Whitman had a good time-he was a fan of the pizza and of the karaoke. I was shocked when he said that he wanted to karaoke, and he got himself right up on that stage and sang a song.
  • After we saw all of the sights, we went to Walmart for him to finish his gift for his person. He was so pleased with everything that we bought-sometimes he is just my favorite! We then picked up the helpers from Rock Creek and went to the Wilson's for supper.  
  • The kids stayed for a bit and then headed home. Robby and I stayed until 10, and then I had to come home and help Reagan review her history. Now it is bedtime for the crew!

December 2, 2023-The Cowboys for Christmas!

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Robby and I woke up a bit later than we had planned, but we were still pulling out around 8:30. Robby even had to air up the minivan tire before we left this morning so that slowed him down a bit as well.

We didn't have any traffic going through Dallas, so we were rolling into Buccees fairly early. I whispered to Keaton to ask if she wanted to go in or if she wanted a drink, and she was awake. Whitman was quick to throw his head down off of the top to tell me that he would like a drink. Graham was still half way asleep and did not want a drink.

When we were in Bucess, there was at least two buses full of army men on their way somewhere. Robby had to watch me closely because I just wanted to stand by the register and buy all of them their food. And of course when we went to check out their were no army men nearby to buy anything for. 

Then we just zoomed right on home with our next stop being Kroger in Little Rock. The kids were kind of up and Robby listened to a football game while I reached the end of the internet a few times on my phone. We filled up at Kroger and then drove on home. 

At home we unloaded the camper-so far I have only left one thing in there which I had to go out and get just now. Usually there is always something that we leave inside that we have to go out that night and fetch.

It didn't take too long to unload everything. The kids all grabbed their things and one other load for me. Then Robby and I just took our time unloading everything else. While we unloaded, I caught up with all of the people here.

Reagan not only worked late last night, but she also worked early this morning with Santa as well. And yes, she did take her picture with Santa which delighted me. Anderson caught up on some school work, played xbox all morning and even baked brownies while we were gone. Campbell said that she didn't leave the couch the entire time that we were gone to which Anderson agreed.

After unloading, Robby and I made it to the couch where we stayed until a football game was over. Then we went to pick up pizzas-and yes, we stopped at 3 different pizza places to get our supper. When everyone had eaten we started our Christmas traditions-pulling the Santa bricks, picking a Christmas tree ornament and reading our Advent devotional.

When I pulled out the Advent devotional, Robby and Graham both said, "Didn't we do that last year?" Those little heathens! Now we are back on the couch watching football!

December 1, 2023-The Cowboys for Christmas!

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We slept in a little bit this morning, and then we headed to downtown Dallas for our lunch. We joined the line at Pecan Lodge BBQ-the line was fairly long, but we didn't wait more than 30 minutes. It was definitely a happening place.

Graham had a sandwich, Robby and I split a sandwich and bbq nachos, and Keaton and Whitman had mac and cheese. Now, it was all very good, but we barely touched the bbq nachos. We didn't think that the chips would keep though they were delicious chips, but we did bring home the bbq that was on top of the nachos. We brought home enough bbq for someone to have at least 2 sandwiches later.

After our bbq, we opted to not go to Ikea and instead went to a huge Christmas decorators warehouse. It was something to see-especially to see everyone buying up all of the Christmas items. Keaton and Whitman decided that they needed to have their photo taken at every photo worthy spot so that kept us busy while walking through the store.

After that, we drove back to the campground. We had some down time, and I even had a nap while Keaton and Whitman went to the jumpy thing for a little bit. Then the boys opted to stay in the camper while we left with Keaton for Target and Walmart. She was really looking for a chocolate advent calendar which we did not find. However, I did find a few things for Christmas stockings. 

On our way home, we stopped at the Krispy Kreme right across from the campground to pick up a few doughnuts. We didn't really intend for them to be supper, but they ended up being our supper which was perfectly find. We we save tonight's meal for tomorrow or another day at home. 

Tonight we munched on the doughnuts while Graham watched basketball. Keaton and I played the other half of the game that we started last night. Now Robby and I are trying to watch our tv show, but so far he hasn't had any luck since he has been working on getting it started since I started typing this blog!

November 30, 2023-The Cowboys for Christmas!

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I woke right up at 6:30 this morning like a kid on Christmas. I was quiet for a while but eventually pulled out my phone. I did actually then stay awake until I could tell that Anderson was on his way to class. He isn't the best waker upper. I thought I about staying awake to make sure that Reagan left the next hour; however, I am glad that I didn't because that girl skipped her classes today. (She had no reason to go since they were just reviewing.)

Robby was soon awake and on his computer working. I guess that I woke up the kids making my bagel. Also Graham and Whitman slept in the top last night-having two boys up there is not ideal. They were smelling up the place for sure. 

We ate and then we eventually loaded up to go to the Gaylord hotel. Robby and I have walked around one of these hotels before but wow, they were all decorated for Christmas. It was something to see. Robby had prebought all of our tickets-except the parking. And yikes! I will not even tell you what we paid for parking-it might make you cry-it did Robby!

Each year they have an ICE exhibit. This year the theme was Dr Seuss. It was incredible-you put on these parkas and then go in a 9 degree area (seriously, it was 9 degrees) and walk around to see the sculptures. People from a village in China come over and do the carving. There were tons of sculptures plus even an ice slide to go down. 

By the queues that were all around we could tell that the lines could get crazy. It was pretty crowded when we were there, but nothing compared to what it is closer to Christmas. We really enjoyed the ICE part. Then we bought an ornament before the kids were able to do some snow tubing. The run wasn't huge, but they still did it a few times. The tube was heavy for Whitman to carry up the stairs, but that was good for him. He was the one who seemed to enjoy it the  most-every time he went down, he was grinning ear to ear. This just makes me want to go to the huge hill in Branson and go snow tubing.

Then there were snowballs that we throw towards targets, and finally a scavenger hunt through the atrium area of the hotel. Our first stop there was some hot chocolate. Doing the scavenger hunt showed us how absolutely massive the hotel really is. It is beautifully decorated for Christmas. I now would like to go back to it during the year to see what it looks like normally. Currently though, you could stay all day and spend thousands of dollars doing Christmas activities all day long or possibly even for a few days.

It was a lot of fun despite the dreary weather outside. It might have rained a little bit this morning, but it has mainly been a very slight drizzle if that all day. It has just been enough to make it messy for Bentley to go out and to make it grey and dreary.

Campbell spent her day busy-she perfectly made the chocolate oatmeal cookies that Robby and I struggle to make right. Those are one of his favorite cookies, but we usually undercook them. Reagan had work this afternoon, but other than that hopefully, she and Anderson did a lot of studying today.

After leaving the Gaylord, we stopped to eat at In and Out. There burgers are one of my favorites. I believe that we agreed that there burgers are better than Whataburger, but their fries are not as good (I haven't had Whataburgers fries). And of course, no milkshakes can be better than ChickFilAs.

We were pretty full on our half hour plus some drive back to the camper. We laid low until it was time for us to drop of Robby and Graham. Graham received tickets to a Cowboys game last Christmas so he has waited for 11 months for this. I drove the stadium and dropped them off.

To get back to the camper, I made a uturn just like I was a New Yorker. We made it back to the camper just as the boys made it to their seats. Their seats were pretty high up but near the front of the section. The game has been pretty good to watch.

We also watched the game on the tv back in the camper. We also ate some supper, played some games and ate dessert. I finished a book-and silly me, I didn't bring enough books and am out. I guess I am going to have to just put a spare book in the camper for emergencies. 

We watched the game until 1 minute left, and then my crew loaded up to pick up Robby and Graham. We zoomed right towards the stadium until we got to a road block so that meant that Robby and Graham had an extra 15 minute walk to get to me, but we were right at the edge of the street when they did walk by us.

Their game was good, and it was a win so they had a super good time. We made it back to the camper a little bit before 11:30 so now everyone is getting ready for bed. 

November 29, 2023-The Cowboys for Christmas!

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I woke up at the normal time this morning and quickly did my chores before waking up all of the boys. I had originally thought that we were going to be leaving at noon when I wrote out my school for this week, so Graham had some school to be done. (I could have changed it, but it didn't take him long) Anderson and I did some math work to prepare for his final next week. And Whitman didn't have to wake up, but whenever his brothers do wake up, he wants to make sure that they wake him up too so that is what I did.

Soon Keaton was awake, and I also woke up Campbell since she needed to start on some of her school work. Reagan was the only one left in her bed, but I went upstairs once to ask her a question and text her another question so she wasn't sleeping too soundly. 

We left a little bit after ten this morning, plus we stopped at Kroger on the way to fill up with gas. Silly Bentley didn't do her normal business this morning so we left later because I was trying to give her plenty of opportunities. At Kroger, I thought that I would get out as well for her, but nothing. It wasn't until tonight that she finally caught up.

Anyway, we just zoomed right on down to Buccees today with no problem at all. Graham slept the entire way. Keaton also slept most of the way. Then we drove right through the middle of Dallas near rush hour, but it wasn't horrible. Robby focused on driving and I focused on praying! 

Our campground is in Arlington and it is kind of right in the middle of things. However, if you follow the gps directions then you would have to make a u turn to get here. Of course that isn't possible in a camper towing a car so they had alternate directions. So that last few miles I held both phones reading directions and looking at the map while Robby fought the crazy traffic. However, we did get here without a problem and had a wonderfully level pull through site. 

As soon as we parked, I saw an inflatable trampoline in the middle of the campground so that is where Whitman and Keaton headed off to. Graham followed a little bit after that. Soon Robby had us all set up, and we took a loop around the place with Bentley. 

Graham was hungry since he slept through lunch, so it didn't take too long for us to get the orange chicken started for supper. After we ate, we ran to Aldis nearby to see what they had. We bought some snacks for tonight, but I do remember being more impressed than I was tonight. It was fine, I we will probably go one or twice when it comes to Little Rock, but probably will really only go if they have a great sale on something.

Reagan went to work this afternoon back at home. Then she ran home for a minute and everyone rode to church together. She had to get there early for Bible study, so Anderson could have come later, but he would have had to drive the white van, so he just rode with her and Campbell. But other than that, I don't think they did a whole lot today.

Once we were back at the camper, we had our desserts and turned on the Hogs game. I am sitting on the bed in the back with my hood on and wrapped up in a blanket so I don't even know who is winning right now-and I don't plan to get up and look anytime soon either!