January 31, 2023

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  • We knew the weather would be icy today so I had already told the kids that we wouldn't start school until 9 this morning. I was planning on snoozing a little bit longer, but my silly phone rang a few minutes after 7.
  • I picked it up to see that it wasn't anyone I knew, but I also said that the caller id said "health care." I figured that it was Graham's orthodonist calling to cancel his appointment for tomorrow. I was awake for a few more minutes until I figured I better call them back.
  • Mercy if they didn't want to move Graham's tomorrow appointment to 8:30 this morning. That was fine, and soon I was apologizing to Graham as I woke him up. This has been Graham's week for sure though-driving permit and getting his braces off. 
  • Robby and Graham did the orthodontist, Sonic and even ran to Kroger for me. As I was gathering my items to make cinnamon rolls today, I had Anderson read the expiration date on my yeast that we just bought for Keaton's pizza dough which actually didn't really rise.
  • Unfortunately, the date on the yeast had already expired, but thankfully Robby was right at the store and bought me some more. Now, we will have to try out her pizza dough recipe again. 
  • We did our school work today. I don't think that the kids felt too sorry for themselves about having to do school while their friends were out-especially since everyone was finished by noon today. 
  • Fairly soon after I finished school, I started on the cinnamon rolls-yep, they took me about 5 hours to make. I'm not sure what exactly took so long, but I was super thankful that Keaton helped me roll them out and cut them. While she worked, I worked on cleaning the kitchen.
  • While the rolls were rising one time, I did play Catan with Keaton, Whitman and Anderson. That is oen of my favorite games, but I really never want to play it becuase it takes so long to play. Today it did take exactly one hour and fifteen minutes (I know since the rolls were rising). Anderson was the big winner, and I really think that I was dead last in the game.
  • When the rolls were finished, we all had a sample. And immediately afterwards, Robby and I started on supper. I made rice and for some reason it never really cooked, but the noodles that we had were pretty good with our chinese food tonight.
  • Once the kitchen was cleaned, I have now settled into my spot on the couch, and Anderson and I am watching the end of the Hogs game. I would like to have some hot chocolate on this cold wintery night, but I think that I am too full from our supper plus there are those delicious cinnamon rolls to eat.

January 30, 2023

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  • Yesterday at some point, Campbell and Keaton discovered that Bentley had an ear infection. We think that it was bothering her last night since she was incredibly restless-couch to bed to rolling on the floor to barking out the window. Usually she sleeps all night long in our bed or on our couch. 
  • By 2 this morning I was pretty fed up with her-ear infection or not. Thankfully, she did calm down becuase I was about to move myself to the couch. 
  • Actually, that is where I am now, and the couch is pretty comfortable. I could camp out here all night long-and maybe I will tonight since it is a snow (or more likely an ice) night. 
  • I am like my Dad -I love a good storm and especially a winter storm, and I spent a good deal of the day watching the weather. Now if my power goes out and I have dirty dishes and dirty laundry, I will be changing my tune for sure. The last time that our power was out for some long, I can remember thinking about the laundry and dishes piling up. I possibly should get up now and start the dishes for this evening and start a load of clothes.
  • We did our school work today-sometimes Mondays go very well, and today was one of those days which was surely nice. After school was over, I had some soup while Graham did a few more practice tests for his permit.
  • Last week, he didn't pass so this week he was stressed about it and I was too. I dropped him off at that office, and Anderson and I went to the DMV to renew his license (you have to do that at 16, 18, and 21-I feel like it is a racket!) 
  • Last time Graham seemed to be done really quickly so I was glad when we didn't hear from him for a bit. (He had the car keys and was going to meet us there.) Then I still didn't hear from him so I took that as a good sign since there is another line you must wait in if you pass. 
  • Anderson and I were waiting in our line when I heard Anderson's phone ding. He eventually checked it, and Graham indeed did pass. We then celebrated a permit and a new license with Sonic before heading home. 
  • We then weren't home too long before we headed to Defy. Reagan was at work, and she had plans to head straight to church to keep kids tonight, but that was cancelled. We all made it home about the same time.
  • Anderson, Keaton, Robby and I did get to Costco, Sams and Walmart quickly this evening. We bought the ice storm staples such as cinnamon roll muffins, cookie dough, fruit snacks and ricotta cheese. 
  • When we came home, we pulled out all of the things-cheese dip, chili, potato soup, and even made english muffin pizzas. Eeryone ate, and now Robby and I are settled on the couch. I guess we were talking too much because Whitman left the room. 
  • So my evening plan now consists of-reading, looking out the window, eating a cinnamon roll muffin, and possibly a movie. I would say hot chocolate as well, but right now I am pretty stuffed so I am not even really sure about the muffin.

January 29, 2023

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  • Reagan and Kennedy came home last night as we were praying and tucking everyone in upstairs. Reagan's first response to us was, "where's the car?" I knew all my people were safe in this house, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what car would be gone and how anyone would have stolen it. Robby knew what she was talking about and reminded her that we dropped it off to be worked on.
  • I'm not exactly sure how or what that means to my children-"working on the car", because when we piled into the van this morning, Campbell asked if we were going to pick up the car on the way to church. Pick up the car that we just dropped off yesterday afternoon? The car that needed a few days and a few dollars worth of work? No, not yet.
  • In her defense, dropping the car off on Sunday morning on our way to church had been in the original plan, but plans change fairly quickly around here. Hopefully the car will come home by the middle of this week. It is already causing some confusion about who is taking which car and when. 
  • We did the church thing, and then headed to Grannymom's house to eat lunch. She had taco salad which is one of my favorite meals for sure. When we did make it home, we all folded the day's laundry before everyone went their own ways for the afternoon.
  • Robby and I had ourselves a nap-I did read a tiny bit, but the last page I read probably took me 20 minutes to read becuase I kept having to reread what I had just read since I couldn't stay awake long enough to understand it.
  • The Rock Creekers left first tonight-Anderson, Graham and Campbell. Robby took them, and soon after Keaton and Reagan left. Reagan was going to the movies with some friends, and they had an extra ticket so Keaton was the lucky one there.
  • Tonight's supper was tatchos like at Disney-tater tots, chili, cheese, cheese dip and possibly fritos-well, we ate fritos with it, but I couldn't remember if that was on the official menu today or not. It was all very good, and we devoured pounds and pounds of tater tots.
  • After the Wilson's left, I did my winter weather dance and sent the kids to bed!

January 28, 2023

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  • Saturday, but that dog still wanted to get out of our room this morning and go and look out of the window. I did go and open the blinds for her to see out-I asked Robby the other day how much would be too much to buy automatic blinds for just that window. He suggested that we just leave it open at night so it will be ready for her in the morning.
  • We didn't hear much from the kids last night-there were just Reagan, Whitman and Keaton here. Now, since the big boys were gone that would have meant that Whitman would be in his room by himself. That didn't fly with him so he was making his pallet by Reagan's bed when we tucked them in last night.
  • This orning we didn't hear much from them at all. We did hear footsteps going to and from the bathroom a few times, but other than that they weren't making much noise at all. Robby and I did a few things around the house before we headed out for a few errands.
  • Our first stop was the gas station for the van and mini van. Then on to Kroger-I am not sure what we bought but we filled up the cart. And finally, we dropped off the mini van for it to get some work on it. 
  • Then it was back home where we put up the groceries and went to work on making our second batch of potato soup this week. Robby suggested that we not double it, but I said that we should since it will be cold and dreary this next week, and we will need comforting food for sure.
  • The girls, Robby and I all like it so I know that it will be gone. I did put all of my potatoes in there so it was actually larger than the pan we were using, so we had to move it to the crock pot, and it still barely fit. 
  • The Rock Creekers got home from their night at church. They all had a good time, and they all did get at least some amount of sleep which was good. Though I think that they were all still pretty tired today.
  • Robby then took Keaton and Whitman to Defy for a little bit. It was pretty crowded there, but they still enjoyed it. I tried to read while they were gone, but ended up falling asleep for a few minutes.
  • Then we all met back up at the boys' basketball game at Immanuel. They ended up losing by 8 points, but they stayed pretty close the whole game until the very end. Anderson scored 4 points-they were a bit bummed that they lost, but overall, everyone played well and that's just life.
  • When we all go home, we ate our soup. Well, Anderson and Graham had ChickFilA which Robby picked up on the way home, and Whitman had a grilled cheese sandwich. 
  • Anderson was watching soccer and practicing his German (new thing the boys are learning) on the couch when Robby and I came in the living room. Later Reagan and Kennedy were all dressed up and headed out to a homecoming dance.
  • That is where they are now while the other folks are starting to take showers, and I'm cuddled up under a blanket about to read a bit of my book.

January 27, 2023

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  • I moved through my list pretty quickly today-well, the things that I wanted to do. I never did get around to cleaning the house for 60 minutes. I did 20 of that 60, but that was as far as I got. 
  • I will say that those 20 minutes I spent sweeping the kitchen floor which is something that rarely happens anymore. We usually just vacuum the floor which does work well, but it must not work nearly as good as the broom since I swept up a ton of stuff.  I guess that I should probably sweep more.
  • I did decide that maybe I should spend 20 minutes a day just cleaning-nothing else, just cleaning. I straighten things constantly during the day, and I've assigned most of the cleaning tasks to the kids (now I'm no fool but only a few chores are done well and only by certain people)
  • For example, most people do the absolute minimum in their chores. One child today vacuumed the living room in 2.4 seconds. Seriously, he had just turned the vauum on when I heard him turn it off. Our living room is not huge, but it isn't that small. 
  • One child is gone quite a bit with work so she just tries to avoid her chores-I won't mention who exactly that is though. And another one is so forgetful and oblivious to everything that he also forgets his chores-just take a guess on who that is.
  • Anyway, back to our day. The kids mostly all slept until 11ish. That is when I did start waking the girls up so Campbell, Keaton and Whitman could do a little bit of school work.They just had to read with me for a little bit which wasn't too horrible-though the way that they complained you would have thought that it was.
  • I did a little bit of reading this afternoon before I walked on the treadmill. I was actually doing everything I could to avoid that, but my movie was decent so the time passed quickly. Then we all heaed to Defy (Cambpell did skip out on us, and Reagan was at work.)
  • The kids jumped for almost an hour and a half before we all left to pick up pizza. Once at home, everyone ate, and Cambpell, Graham and Anderson started packing.
  • Tonight is Life Group Weekend at Rock Creek so they headed there at 8 while the rest of us settled in on the couches. Last night I mentioned that I was going to take two naps before bed-and I think that I did. Tonight, I won't have time for 2 naps, but I do think I might take one before bedtime.

January 26, 2023

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  • Since I have been discussing days of the week, Thursday is definitely my favorite. Robby was at his Dgroup early this morning. I woke up to let Bentley out of the bedroom, but then I couldn't figure out where he was.
  • I waited on him to come back from the bathroom, where I figured that he was for the longest time. Eventually I realized where he actually was, and then I decided to just stay in bed until he came home-it wasn't that hard since he had already opened the garage door when I decided this.
  • Now I did have to hurry to get my dishes, laundry and dog brushed before it was time to start on school work with the kids. Some folks had quite a bit of work to do today, and others didn't have as much-there are always some Dennie kids who leave more for the end of the week.
  • Reagan had school this afternoon for a little bit. When she finished, she met Robby, Keaton and Campbell and I at the gas station. Then the girls and I climbed in with Reagan and we headed shopping.
  • Our first stop was Goodwill-I'm good there about 15 minutes, and then I am ready to leave. Campbell and Keaton could stay for an hour and 15 minutes. Reagan shops at about my speed and was ready to go pretty soon after I was. 
  • They all ended up gettng something. Then we went to Plato's Closet which I enjoyed more. I even tried on one thing, but it was too short. Things are so much more organized and well, nice there. 
  • By the time that we made it home, I was a bit tired! I did take Bentley on a walk because last night she was a bit of a toot around the house. She destroyed one sock and tried to eat another, and she also possibly pooped in the house-if it was indeed her.
  • I think that my walk did actually work because right now, she is laying on the couch sound asleep. For supper some of us had pancakes while Anderson and Graham found themselves a Grubhub coupon and bought supper. They both ended up with huge boxes of chinese food so they were suped pleased with their supper.
  • Currently, Reagan is making her supper-a bagel and egg. While Robby and I are watching tv-it is still early in the evening so maybe I have time for a nap...or two!

January 25, 2023

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  • I think that Wednesdays are the hardest day of the week. Maybe I shoud have changed my answer earlier in the week from Mondays being the day that I wanted to skip to Wednesdays the being the days that I want to skip.
  • Even though we don't go to CBS anymore on Wednesdays, but Wednesdays are still hard...maybe becuase we end the day with chruch. The kids love Wednesday night church, but it just makes for a long day for sure.
  • Back to the mrning though, we did our school work before lunch time. I was finishing up working with Whitman before it turned one. I would have had to work on the ACT with Anderson but he chose to do the science portion today to practice. Now, he does the best in this section so maybe that is why he chose that or maybe he decided to do that portion today because he knew I wasn't going to even try to help him figure out the correct answers.
  • This afternoon we picked up the van which was having its oil change. We were so pleased about the price of fixing the suburban, that Robby felt like he had been kicked in the gut when they told him the price of fixing the noise we hear in the van. We weren't worried about the noise, but it has to fixed sooner rather than later.
  • After picking up the cars, we went to Defy for a little bit of time. Then it was home for a few minutes before we headed to church this evening. Reagan made it back from work in time to ride with us, and Anderson had to get there early for a meeting about soccer. 
  • Once church was over, we hurried home so we could eat our leftover soup-well, some of us. We finished it off and were left scraping the bowl. It was delicious, and I bet that will be our new go to soup recipe. However, really any soup would be great in weather like this.

January 24, 2023

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  • I've been a bit disappointed today-it has looked like snow all day long. The weather has been overcast and rainy throughout the day. If it was just a few degrees cooler, we would be the ones having tons of snow, but not today at least.
  • Now, I do love the rain-it kind of gives me a spring in my step-except when my kiddos are out driving in it. 
  • We did our school work this morning-even though I didn't get out of bed until it was almost time to start school. Still, I even managed to get in another work together time with Cambpell, Keaton and Whitman since we are trying to finish one book before my trip, another book by the end of February, and one more before the end of April (that one isn't going to happen!)
  • Anderson is still praticing his ACT. He has a ways to go, but he did better today on the subtest that he took than last time. It's still even a little bit early for him to take it, but it will be good practice for him for sure. 
  • After finishing with everyone, I did walk on the treadmill for a little bit. Not enough to really matter in the health/weight category, but enough for me to finish my hallmark movie so that is something at least.
  • As soon as I was finished with that Cambpell and I boiled some potatoes before we all heade to Defy. Graham and Anderson didn't have school today because the church had something this week, but Reagan's math class still met. She hadn't been home too long when we left.
  • Then by the time that we came home, she was leaving to go to a focus group and earn 50 dollars. While she was gone, we finished making the potato soup for supper. We doubled it, and it made a ton. Thankfully, it was super delicious.
  • Reagan came home just as I was leaving out with the boys for their basketball practice. Of course Campbell and Keaton came with me since I was running some errands. We fought the rain which slowed us some, but we pulled into the practice just as the boys were finishing. 
  • I am now back on the couch finishing the blog and going to start looking for crafts for vacation Bible school. 

Januay 23, 2023

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  • This afternoon Whitman asked me which day of the week that I wish that we could get rid of. Well, obviously I did pick Monday even though this day has gone fairly well. Actually, it has gone fairly well until the last 5 minutes.
  • In the last 5 minutes, Campbell and Reagan came down the stairs fussing about Campbell not cleaning her side of the room well enough. And right now Cambpell and Keaton were just fussing in the kitchen, but I did put a stop to that. 
  • I told Robby that some day they would all be the best of friends. He asked me when that would happen, and I told him the truth-after we are dead.
  • We did our school work this morning-worked with the big kids, individual work, and worked with the littles. Then I finished with working with Whitman before I took Reagan to work.
  • When I came home from that, I took Bentley on a super short walk before I took her to the vet fro one of her shots. Campbell and Keaton went with me.
  • And once we returned from that, Robby and I took Campbell, Keaton and Whitman to Defy for a little bit. While we were there, Robby got the call from the mechanic that the suburban was ready, so he picked it up and dropped off the minivan for an oil change. (We were super pleased since the price it cost was about 1/3 of what we thought.)
  • On the way home, it was time to pick up Reagan. I heated up our chicken enchiladas for supper-they again were not a hit. Some how my recipe gets soggy when frozen. Keaton, Graham, Whitman, and I ate them just fine, but the others pretty much revolted. Now, Anderson put one on his plate, moved it around, but never ate anything or complained. There was plenty of other food so no Dennies went hungry during our supper tonight, and Keaton is making cookies right now so all should be well.
  • After supper, I played a short game with Keaton and Whitman. The girls are now quiet again, and the only sounds are the boys yelling at their xboxs-at least they aren't yelling at each other.

January 22, 2023

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  • I had a recipe that I wanted to try last night for supper, but our plans changed so I made it this morning to take to Nonna's for Sunday lunch. It was just rice, but it did involve an onion and garlic.
  • I knew this might be a bit smelly, so I cook the onion before I had my shower, and I avoided putting on my sweater for church until it was time to leave since I kept returning to the pan to stir the rice.
  • I knew it was smelly (we don't cook a lot of onions around here), but when the kids kept coming down the stairs gagging and asking what in the world I was doing, I really knew it was bad. Anyway, the house still smells like onion and during church today, I could smell it in my hair. Hopefully, people just though I was an Italian chef and not reeking from body odor.
  • Sunday school was eventful for our little class. We had one child who didn't want to sit in his chair. Second graders here-so we are way too old for that behavior. We survived, and I'm not sure if he made it in his chair or not, but the time in class is short.
  • After Sunday school, we headed to Nonna's house for lunch. She had Mexican and all of the fixings along with my rice. I think that people liked it-Robby did have some left on his plate which I mentioned to him, and then he dutifully ate. So I'm not too sure if rice making is something I should pursue.
  • When we ame home, we had our naps. At one point, Anderson text me and Reagan did as well asking when they needed to leave. I didn't see this, so Graham came to ask. We told him. Then Reagan came to ask, and we told her. Then Campbell, who wasn't even leaving at the same time as them asked, so we told her. And finally, when I saw Anderson walking down the hall, I just told him when they needed to leave before he could ask. Robby wondered if they were trying to prank us our something. 
  • Campbell left with Brett for Rock Creek, and not too much after that Reagan, Anderson and Graham left for their life group. Since the suburban is gone, that left the minivan. Reagan didn't want to drive it so that left Anderson. This was his first time to drive "alone," and they made it there just fine!
  • Soon we headed to the Wilson's house for our Sunday nght supper. After we started eating the kids all began to eventually show up-some ate a second supper of chili and others didn't and focused on dessert. 
  • Reagan took a few folks home earlier, but then when Robby and I decided to go home, the big boys were playing one of their xbox games and weren't just ready to leave yet. We eventually made it home, and soon after it was bedtime for the crew. I am sure that there will be a little bit of ipad time before bed, but it is bedtime for the Robby and me.

January 22, 2023

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  • Robby and I didn't really get going this morning until nearly 11. When Robby did get out of the bed, he went right to work on his closet. We have been in a hanger crisis for a few days now. I have been having to just throw our hang up clothes over the rod since we are out of hangers. 
  • After about 15 minutes, Robby had created a surplus of hangars and about 2 trash bags full of clothes. One was taken along with another bag to Goodwill today while the other was given to a friend to use at her work.
  • I was also able to clean up two child sized suitcases and a picnic basket today so that was a good thing as well. Later in the day, I also went and picked up a graphing calculator for free that I found on the computer. It is the exact same calculator that Robby just bought for Reagan this year for 80 dollars, so it was worth my trip to Cantrell.
  • The kids were scarce this morning. The boys did show their faces during the basketball game. They watched some of it upstairs and some of it downstairs. They both had a paragraph that was due for me that they also had to work on today, but that didn't take too much time.
  • Robby took Keaton, Campbell and Whitman to Defy today for a little bit. Then he dropped Keaton off at Rylee's for her birthday. And as soon sa they came home, we all left again for the big boys' basketball game.
  • They did win this game and Graham scored 4 points in this game. He hadn't scored yet. Andersond idn't score, but he did do a lot of pushing during this game-I didn't like that, but he said that he wasn't going to let anyone get in the lane. I dont't think that was a good excuse.
  • After the game, we picked up supper on the way home. Once we had all eaten, the kids started cycling through the showers. Robby and I ran to the Wilson's house for a little bit and watched the ballgame over there. Afterwards, we came home and started putting these people to bed (Who am I kidding? We told them they had until 11:15 before bedtime, but we have prayed, collected laundry, brushed teeth and started the dishes so it is nighttime.)

January 20, 2023

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  • Even though this was Friday and not an official school day, I sure did stay busy. I worked on all of my normal chores including pulling out school for the next week. Now this is one of my most dreaded and most loved chores. 
  • I hate doing it because it just takes a little bit of time. This year, I have run out of some of my copies so I have to print things out which takes time and gets a bit crazy. Plus, it is just a lot of work. However, I love this task because I can see our progress in the school work. And it is my favorite when we finish a subject for the year. 
  • The second half of the school year is always lighter-people (mostly Campbell on down since the bigger kids have more that never really seems to end) start finishing spelling, handwriting and their reading pages. Of coruse, when they finish these things it just means that I increase the amount of other things that they are doing so they will finish them quicker or I add new things. 
  • At noon, I did leave wtih Graham for him to take his permit test. Unfortunately, he didn't pass. He did get to question 22 so he was close, however, his studying time probably should have been quite a bit more. No worries though, our next appointment is scheduled for the 30th to try again.
  • Then I loaded up with Whitman, Keaton and Campbell to pick up a few friends to take them to Defy to jump. Robby met us with the big boys, and everyone jumped for quite a long time. When we finished, Robby and I changed cars and I headed to pick up Sonic for all the people.
  • On my way to drop off the girls, Reagan called saying that something was wrong with her car. I stayed on the phone long enough to make sure that she was safe (she was still at work) and then told her to call her daddy. 
  • We hope that the something wrong with the car was just the starter. Robby was able to get it towed tonight and dropped off at our mechanic man. Now, I know that we have discussed this before, but that car is nearing 385,000 miles, and I have been praying that it will make it to 400,000. So hopefully the fix will be cheap.
  • After watching the tow truck man, Robby and I met the Wilsons at McClards and had ourselves a tamale spread. Then we walked around Kroger before going back home to eat our Blue Bell.
  • Right now, the kids are going strong upstairs-they are actually incredibly loud. It sounds like the girls are rearranging furniture and the boys must be chatting with the whole neighborhood on their game. Hopefully things will calm down in a few minutes.

January 19, 2023

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  • I am pretty sure that this was the last day of school, or I at least I hope that it was the last day of school this week. Though I know that it is not-Anderson and Graham have some work left to do, plus I have to work with Anderson and do some science with Keaton, Whitman and Campbell. 
  • However, those few things shouldn't take too long tomorrow-though I know they will take longer than I expect, and I have quite a few non school related things on my list for tomorrow.
  • Now, Graham and Reagan had their classes today. Graham even had to make up a test so he stayed longer than usual. Reagan only has one class today as well so she was home early this afternoon.
  • Whitman's second CrunchLab (his engineering subscription box he received for Christmas) came today, so Anderson helped him with that for a good bit this afternoon. It was a coin spinner which was kind of neat. 
  • Just about as soon as they had finished that, I left for the pregnancy center. Campbell and Keaton had been going with me, but lately they have also been going to Defy in the afternoons so that is more exciting.
  • Everyone but Anderson and Reagan did go to Defy this afternoon with Robby. Anderson later said that he should have gone becuase he did get a little bit bored with them all gone. 
  • Now, the one thing I have noticed about going to Defy so often is that it makes Whitman a little bit more animated that usual. A little bit of animation is good for the kids, but gracious sometimes he just bounces off of the walls.
  • Currently, he has a fort built in the living room-in front of the tv. Robby just told him to go to his cage meaning his fort. The boy left the living room so now Robby and I are just listening to the tv since we can't see it.
  • Keaton made supper tonight-kind of. She had a recipe from her cookbook for pizza dough, and for some reason that dough did not rise. We tried everything that we could, but we had no real luck. She did manage to get one pizza made, and it was ok, but not great. She did make a dessert pizza which was good-the crust wasn't, but the rest of it was. 
  • I supplemented with some pizzas made on tortillas for everyone for supper. We all had our fill and even saved some for Reagan who was at her D-group. Her little group has just about finished their entire book-I'm very proud of all of them. The boys have been in two different groups where the leader has stopped meeting (adults), while Reagan's leader is a girl in med school. 
  • Right now it is fairly quite in the house, though just a few minutes ago most of us were playing a game that involves shouting. Poor Bentley was not a fan at all-I'm not sure if she was play barking at us or just mad at us. Either way, we did tone it down some just for the dog.

January 18, 2023

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  • I seem to be crawing out of bed later and later each morning this week. When I went to the bathroom at 2 last night, all I could think about was getting to take a nap this afternoon. (I never did get that nap though.)
  • I did manage to wake everyone up and get started with school just about 10 minutes later than I should have. Now it did help that today people seemed to wake up easier. I had my laundry still to do during schoo, but I was able to knock it out pretty quickly. 
  • I have learned that during the school day, I am usually busy from 8:30-9:30 when I read with the little 3. Then I am busy from 11-12 when everyone has done what they can do and need my help all at the same time. So really from 9:30 until 11, I am pretty free. I try to convince people to work with me during these times or I stick near Whitman to motivate him.
  • Reagan went to work this afternoon while Anderson and I worked on the ACT. Then I walked on the treadmill some before we did take Whitman and Keaton to Defy. Right now our visits costs us 60 something each-don't worry, I play on getting that number to under 2 dollars a visit. Yes, I have a spreadsheet calculating my visits.
  • As soon as we made it home, it was time to turn around and leave for church. However, we had to wait on Reagan to get home from work. She insisted on brushing her hair and going to the bathroom before we left. I was all for that-we were all outside waiting on her-however, Campbell was not happy about this and tried to convince Reagan to wait until church. As you can see, Campbell is one of the ones trying to get us to church early so she can visit all the more. (I just want to leave in plenty of time to go to the library before we get to church.)
  • This was our first week back at church on Wednesday night since we missed last week. The kids all love Wednesday nights. Robby stayed home tonight because he was swamped with work, but the bonus with that was that he had spaghetti and meatballs ready for us when we did make it home tonight.
  • After eating, the boys migrated to the living room to watch the game. It is now halftime, and everyone has now left the living room except for Whitman, whose back is to the tv, and Robby and me. 
  • Now the decision for me is do I read or take a nap during the second half of the game. Maybe I will have time to do some of both.

January 17, 2023

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  • Please excuse me if my blog is a bit scattered tonight-we just had a surprise birthday party for a dog here, and things are still a bit crazy.
  • The kids said that it was indeed the shortest birthday party they had been to. In fact, just about as soon as we sang Happy Birthday, I was taking down the decorations. How you do have a surprise party for a dog? It is pretty low prep (or it could have been.)
  • Basically, Reagan took her potty while the rest of us turned on music, hung a banner, and lit a candle. Then we hid-yep, we hid and shouted out Happy Birthday to her when Reagan brought her in the house. 
  • Of course this party wasn't exactly low prep since Campbell spent about an hour today working on Bentley's cake. Baking a cake for a dog is not as fun since none of us can sample it. She even had colored icing on the cakes. And no, we certainyl didn't let her eat it all-she is goin o save some for tomorrow. 
  • Please don't tell the dog, but it actually isn't even her birthday. Her birthday was last Tuesday, but she is after all a dog so maybe she doesn't know that we celebrated a week late.
  • This morning started off just fine. My big kids get up quicker when they have to go to school on school days. And I like Tuesdays the best since I work with Campbell, Keaton and Whitman first. Then they started on their school work.
  • Before I knew it, I headed out to pick up the boys from their class. I did have Anderson drive home from church, and he did just fine. He also drove to basketball practice tonight-I am trying to get his practice in right now since Graham is pretty determined to take his permit test this week, and then he will be the one getting all of the practice.
  • My afternoon felt short because at 2, I took Graham to get his eyes checked. He always says that he can't read signs as quick as the rest of us when we are in the car, and since that driving things is happening soon, I thought I should get it checked out.
  • He is near sighted and does have a slight astigmatism, but not really enough to warrant contacts. If he was in school and reading from a board, then he might have to get glasses, but not just yet. He was relieved for sure. I had already promised him that I wouldn't make him wear glasses, but I did tell him that if needed contacts, he would be getting them.
  • Next we were home for a bit before we headed to Defy for a little bit of jumping time. The kids jumped for over an hour before they started coming upstairs where we were sitting. They start migrating upstairs when they get tired and are ready to go.
  • Robby and I took Bentley on a short walk tonight before I had to leave for basketball practice. I dropped off the boys at practice, then dropped off the girls (all of them) at Target, and then I met Robby at Kroger for me to get gas. 
  • Since everyone had left the house, Whitman got to go with Robby to Costco, the gas station, and Kroger. Now, Robby told Whitman that they were just running in to get cheese, but when Robby started putting other things in the shopping cart, Whitman was quick to point out that it was not just cheese.
  • We all made it home, and that is when the party started. Since the party has been over. One child has asked if we had a "grinder." It took me about 5 minutes to figure out that they were talking about a garbage disposal. Another child just learned that you can pull out the racks in the dishwasher. They thought that the dishwasher was full, but when I showed them that you can pull the racks out, there was much more room. I think that maybe I am failing as a mother!-at least in teaching home making skills to my people.

January 16, 2023

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  • I was pretty stressed last night when I went to bed thinking about what all the day held today (just school, really), but thankfully, things went as well as I could ever expect. I woke up in plenty of time to empty the dishwasher, take the dog out, brush her, and fold 3 loads of laundry so I was up fairly early for our school morning.
  • Reagan had already convinced me to not work with them this morning which was good because I was rushing to work with people all day long. We still managed to accomplish everything except all of my reading aloud with Campbell, Keaton and Whitman.
  • Instead of our normal 15-20 things that we read, I picked the one thing that I am trying to finish quickly, and then let them each pick something. Well, don't be surprised, but they picked the things that take the absolute shortest amount of time. That was fine with me since really, I knew that is what they were going to pick when I gave them the choice.
  • After working with them, it was lunch time, but I worked with Anderson some on the ACT before working with Whitman. He did finish his grammar book today so that is one less thing that we have to do together each day. 
  • This afternoon a few of us played Whitman's upside down goggle game. Anderson was the winner, but this game involves you putting on goggles where you can only see upside down. One of the tasks was drawing a tree. I could not do it at all-even though I could see that my pen was going the wrong way down the paper, I could not make my hand go the opposite way. It was a little bit concerning.
  • The rest of the afternoon was filled with more laundry-it really just never ends and some straightening before I joined Robby on the couch. It is a holiday after all! I ended up taking a little bit of a nap before Robby and I walked Bentley for a few miles.
  • Robby, Keaton and I went to On the Border tonight to eat supper. We couldn't get anyone else to go with us-or maybe it was becuase we told them that we would bring home ChickFilA too. Before we did get their suppers, we ran to Sams and Walmart to pick up a few things to help us get through the week. 
  • Once we made it home, the kids ate and I made Whitman his grilled cheese (that was his choice). And now I have settled onto the couch, but I can't decide if I want to watch a movie or read my book. 

January 15, 2023-Western Caribbean Cruise and Countries 4, 5 and 6 for the Kids

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It's not fun being home! Well, it is kind of nice to return from a trip and be back in your own bed (though the camper bed is my favorite bed of all). It was a great trip so I will try to encourage myself tomorrow morning when we begin school again by thinking about all of the fun that we had.

I did wake up one time in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. When I did get up, I looked at the clock and was glad to see that I had 2 more hours to sleep. Of course, I didn't sleep great since I was worried about missing my alarm clock. I shouldn't really have worried since I had alarms ringing at 6:15, 6:20, 6:25 and 6:30. 

I woke right up on the first ring and quickly got myself ready. Then I had to start waking up the girls. They were fairly easy to wake up since everyone wanted to go and get breakfast one more time. I ran to the boys' room to take some overflow things that wouldn't fit in our suitcases, but they had already gone to breakfast so by the time that I made it back to our room, Reagan was even ready to go to breakfast.

We all had our favorites today-mostly chocolate croissants for the girls, biscuits and gravy wtih sausage for Robby, eggs benedict for me, cereal in a box for Whit, and chocolate milk for the boys. While we were eating breakfast, our color was called and we headed to our rooms to get our suitcases.

Robby called us to tell us that they were ready, and he encouraged us to take the stairs-um, I wasn't walking down 9 flights of stairs with my suitcase! Thankfully, our elevator line was just a tiny bit long, and we were soon waiting on the boys.

The line to get off the boat was pretty wild. It was forever long, but it was a shuffle so that was fine. We then walked on to our car, by the time that I made it there Robby had even started it. We were relieved to see the car, see that we had no tickets, see that it had no boot on it, and hear that thing start since it always doesn't cooperate. (Robby though was prepared with every type of jumper packed in the van just in case.)

We soon were on our way back to Arkansas. Now, Graham had drank way too much chocolate milk on his tender tummy from yesterday so that reappeared on our walk back to the van. And he was a little ill once on the way across Lake Pontchartrain, but after that he was asking for Krispy Kreme so who knows. I did ration out his gatorade on the ride home, but that was after he had McDonalds for lunch.

Soon we were pulling in to the hosue, and everyone was racing to my room to see Bentley. She was pretty happy to see us. After everyone finished greeting her, we made them unpack their bags. Now, this was kind of crazy becuase even though we all packed seperate on the way there, coming home things were shoved in every bag.

We were able to unpack much quicker than we do in the camper, but I still had a ton of laundry. I am not even finished yet. Two loads folded, one in the dryer, one in the wash, and 3 for tomorrow. I worked the rest of the afternoon and early evening getthing things ready for this next week.

Campbell, Graham, and Anderson went to Rock Creek, and the Wilsons arrived here just as Robby made it home with pizza and milk. Pizza for supper and milk for tomorrow (though not for Graham). They stayed and visited with us until the ball game was over. Then it was time to start the holiday for some, but the Dennie's are starting their school week tomorrow! (Maybe I will find time for a nap!)

January 14, 2023-Western Caribbean Cruise and Countries 4, 5 and 6 for the Kids

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The last day is always the saddest or maybe it can be considered the busiest. From sun up to sun down, we again stayed busy today. The boat was pretty rocky this morning, but my girls didn't sem to mind at all.

Campbell was the first one awake around 8. She went to breakfast, and then joined me when I went as well. Keaton and Reagan were soon upstairs eating with the rest of us. And by the time that we had finished, the boys had arrived.

After eating, we ventured to the atrium-pretty much there was a Dennie in the atrium wtching the shows that were happening there all the day long. Soon Graham was there saying that he didn't feel well. 

The boat was certainly rocking today. I am not sure why it was so bad today when coming here was smooth sailing. I finally convinced him to go to my room so I could give him some medicine for sea sickness-it is just a oil behind his ear.

I even encouraged him to take a nap in my room. I thought that would surely help him. It didn't and the evidence was left in my room. Thankfully, I was able to clean things up well.

I then sent him out of my room and to his room. He said he was already feeling better, and about 2 hours later, he bee bopped up to us while we were at the buffet with a slice of pizza in his hand. I tried to disuade him from eating, but he was hungry and wanted to eat so we let him-and he was fine. So I'm not sure if that was sea sickness or what.

Reagan has spent quite a bit of time reading on this trip. She has read 400 pages of her 800 page book. I have done a bit of reading as well and finished 3 different books.

Today was filled with shows in the atrium, bingo in the theater, and food in the buffet. Robby and I did go and eat at one of the dinring rooms tonight. When we were finished, we dropped off Keaton and Whitman at the kids' club. 

Whitman convinced Keaton to go with him for the last night. I assured her that it would be less than 2 hours so she was fine with that. I think that she had fun-don't tell her that though. Now, Campbell had a blast at the teen hang out place this weekend. Today they had a scavenger hunt around the ship.

Tonight at 10, Reagan and I convinced Keaton and Whitman to come to the musical Six with us tonight. We went last night and enjoyed it so much. Graham even came back with us again tonight. We tried to convince Campbell but she was having too much fun in the teen club.

I had already told Whitman all about the musical, but maybe I just focused on the history of it. Becuase when it started, 6 scantily clad women belting loud pop music dancing around the stage, he looked at me and asked, "are we in the right place?"

We were, and by the time that it was over Whitmam told me that his favorite thing on the cruise was the 1. buffet and 2 the musical Six. I would say that he enjoyed it. 

Afterwards, he went back to his room, while Reagan, Graham and Keaton went to eat. So when Campbell arrived in the room, she needed a buddy at the restaurant, so I put my shoes back on (at least it was just my shoes this time and not all of my clothes) and went to eat with her.

When we all got back to the room, the girls had already started packing up. That makes me so sad-this trip is over. The next one is in less than a month for Robby and me-so that makes me happy.

January 13, 2023-Western Caribbean Cruise and Countries 4, 5 and 6 for the Kids

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Another fun and super full day. Keaton wanted to wake up for trivia this morning so I woke her up and asked if she did want to go. Of course, we had a time change last night (again) so waking up an hour early and then waking up early for trivia didn't agree with her so she opted to sleep in. 

It was just a few more minutes, it seemed, until when my alarm went off so we could make it to breakfast by 10:30. We found our seats, and soon the boys all showed up to eat as well. 

Of course, the next event on the schedule was open Wii play so that is where the kids went next. Robby and I even played a round of Mario Cart. I think it is so funny that they enjoy this so much-Whitman even said that was one of his favorite parts of the cruise so far-playing the Wii-that we have at home.

After this was over, we mosyied off of the boat to explore Cozymel. Now, let me explain-I am sure that there are lots of interesting and wonderful excursions to do and each and every port. Those interesting and wonderful excursions are a bit expensive for a family of 4 so they each excursion would be close to a grand for our little family to take.

So we opt for excursions of a different sort-excursions to the gift shop! Ha! No, we did splurge for our little adventure yesterday. Since we didn't do this through the boat, it was about 1/3 less but with 1/3 more stress so there is a tradeoff. Despite the excursions, we have enjoyed every minute of this trip.

The kids are already trying to get us to sign up for another cruise. The big boys for sure would prefer to be on the boat than anywhere else. They all love cruising so much.

Back to Cozymel, we walked around quite a bit of shops. Even found a Christmas present for someone before heading back to the boat. The boys, incluing Robby, did go to the boat before the girls and I did.

We stayed a little bit longer because we were looking for souvenirs. While we were buying our last few things, a wind storm came up. It was crazy-knocking things over in the store and causing a huge commotion.

On our walk back to the boat, the wind was crazy-key cards were flying out of people's hands, my bag flew up and off my back (it was over my shoulder so no worries), and water was harshly spraying on us. It was wild and memorable.

Once back on the boat, we headed to the buffet. We have a few spots to find each other since communication is lacking on the boat-rooms, atrium, buffet-a Dennie will be at one of those places at all times during the sailing.

After our lunch, most of us headed to the atrium. We stayed there for a game show and a circus show. Possibly even more, but I sure can't remember. Then Anderson, Graham, Whitman, Keaton, Robby and I went to the pub to grab our supper. I just had nachos since food-there is so much food. I don't even eat a ton, but my the food.

We then all met back up in the atrium for a game of Deal or No Deal. Robby did buy cards to play this game show. We actually won one scratch off ticket (I don't yet know what that is) and 50 dollars. There were only 2 people that won 50 dollars so we were pretty pleased. After winning 50 dollars, he was still down 10, but we all had a lot of fun.

The next stop was a comedy show. I was a bit stressed about this one becuase the only one that we could get reservations for was PG-13. However, it was completely fine and no cause of my alarm. It was quite entertaining, though I wasn't sitting near Whitman so I will be interested to hear his take on the comedian because he was really looking forward to seeing him.

After the comedian, Robby, Reagan, Graham, and I went to the musical Six. It was great-so good that Reagan and I want to take Campbell and Keaton there tomorrow night when they perform it again. And that brings me to right now.

It is 11:30 right now and people are scattered all over this boat. I have been trying to write the blog super quickly because Whitman is at the kids' club until midnight, and I sure don't want to rack up the dollar a minute extra charge. Keaton with eating a late night snack at the pub with Graham and Reagan. Anderson is the only sane one in his room, and Campbell has just left to go back to the teen club.

January 12, 2023-Western Caribbean Cruise and Countries 4, 5 and 6 for the Kids

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Last night I had finished the blog and was settled into the bed for the evening when the girls came in from the show. And they were hungry. There is only one option for food that late at night-a sit down pub. 

Reagan didn't want to go with Campbell and Keaton so I took one from the team. That meant that I had to get out of bed and put on decent clothes. At first they said that there was a wait, but after just 5 minutes Campbell, Keaton and I were seated at a table.

We all just ordered appetizers-Keaton and I ordered pretzel bites while Campbell ordered chicken wings. It was all very good-we ate and even snuck out our extra pretzel rolls for Reagan.

We were back in the room by midnight so I guess that it was a win. They had fun for sure. After we ate, I stayed up probably way too late finishing my book. I brought two books thinking that I wouldn't even finish one, but I've now finished both.

This morning we all met up again at 10 in the buffet for breakfast. We ate before meeting up one more time in the atrium for the kids to play on the Wii again. They all had a blast doing this-maybe we should see of our Wii still works.

After this, we disembarked in Roatan, Honduras. From the boat, this looked like what I had expected it to look like. We walked through most of the shops before we came across all of the yelling taxi drivers.

This is a bit unnerving-Whitman was quick to grab my hand. Robby, though, went and started talking to a lady about a tour around the island. Before I knew it, he was running back to the room for more cash.

And soon we were climbing in to the back of a van with a driver-who didn't speak English. Yes, our tour guide spoke no English. And our interpreter, sitting in teh front seat, Robby, spoke no Spanish. It was comical-like the man would say somthing, Robby would smile and nod his head, the man would laugh and so would Robby. By the end of the tour, those of us in the back were making fun of them.

Our first stop this morning was the animal sanctuary. I wish I could describe this well, but words fail me. It was kind of like someone's backyard filled with animal cages. The taxi dropped us off and our driver joined the other drivers and found him some lunch. (He didn't finish it-remember this part.)

When we got to the front, they assigned us a guide and a photographer. Then we went from cage to cage seeing the animals. Let's see the first one was a sloth-I am still not sure if it was real or not. We all were able to pet it-I tried to see if it was breathing. The kids said they saw it move and blink it's eyes, but still I am not convinced.

Next up was the monkeys. I walked all around that cage trying to avoid that monkey from getting on me. Ugh, eventually it did jump on me with its nasty slimy paws. 

We were all able to hold a parrot as well and then a 3 week old baby deer. I sure have never held a baby deer. There were other animals-some I don't know and some others like guinea pigs and even a butterfly sanctuary. 

It was all an adventure to say that least. When we walked back to the van, the driver was there, and we headed on. From here, we stopped in front of his gate to his "casa." Now remember, he speaks no English and we speak no Spanish, but we eventually did figure out that he was taking his leftovers from lunch home.

Then it was to the gas station-where the security man had a gun and our driver fussed at the attendants until they filled his tank, but somehow he never paid. I did kind of tense up as we drove off thinking that the security man might use his gun as we sped off. And fun fact: they don't turn off their engines when pumping gas here.

From there, we drove and drove and drove until we stopped at a beach to take a picture. Here we were able to understand the man when he said if we see a police say we are friends. Oh, mercy-this is the part where Campbell started getting a bit nervous.

By the time that we driving along the beach (on the sand), she was about to lose it. That van must have been 4 wheel drive because our white van would have been stuck immediately. He had to even open his door to make sure that he could make it. We went through ditches and even had to drive through the water in places. Soon, we were back on the one lane road flying around the island.

The next stop was a chocolate tour followed by a run in a gift shop. Then we headed up a crazy hill. In this spot, we picked up his daughter and 4 of her friends. I guess they had just gotten off of work, but they continued back down the mountain with us towards the boat.

Let me tell you, I was happy to see that boat. Now I am always up for an adventure, but as Robby said one adventure per trip is definitely enough. We had to be back on the boat at 4:30, so I had designated the time of 3 to start getting concerned. We walked back on that boat at 2:50 so all was well.

We then congregated at the buffet for a late lunch followed by....well, I am not sure what we did next. Pretty much, if we were not at the buffet today, we are in the atrium. They constantly have trivia or some show happening. And if we were not in either of those places, we would be in our rooms.

Reagan, Anderson and Keaton joined Robby and me for dinner tonight in the dining room while Campbell, Keaton and Whitman went to the buffet. I left a bit early, missing dessert, so I could grab Whitman from them to drop him off at the kids' club. 

Graham and Campbell went to the teen club tonight to play dodgeball-that is actually where Campbell still is-at the teen club. While they were there the rest of us watched a show in the atrium.

When it was finished, we picked up Whitman and went to the buffet to get some juice-the ice cream was already put away. Then it was back to our rooms for the night until Campbell headed back out for the teen club. Reagan is working on Keaton's hair, and I am next for the shower.

January 11, 2023-Western Caribbean Cruise and Countries 4, 5 and 6 for the Kids

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Once again it was another great cruise day. And once again we have stayed busy, and I am a little bit tired tonight. Right now, it is 10 and the girls are all out watching the same show that Robby and I watched earlier tonight. I doubt that they will make it through the whole show, but it is quite in my room-almost too quiet.

This morning I once again had my alarm set for two different times since I wasn't sure that my phone would change times correctly. It did not, but today I was able to get an extra hour of sleep after the first alarm went off so that was a good thing.

Actually, I guess that extra hour of sleep caught up with Campbell and Keaton becuase they were up, dressed and back from breakfast before Reagan and I even climbed out of bed.

We weren't in a huge hurry this morning, so we all met up at breakfast a little bit before 10. We ate our favorites, and then we decided to meet at the atrium at 11 to leave.

We all made it by 11, and just as we stood up to leave they started a Wii tournament on the giant screen-so we stayed a little bit longer for the kids to play a little bit.

Then it was off the boat in Harvest Caye, Belize. This is Norwegian's private island. I, personally, have not been to a lot of private islands so I do not have much to compare it to. We have been to Holland America's private island-it was packed with 3 or 4 boats there, but they did feed you out there. 

This island (I guess it was an island, I don't really know) was just our boat and was very nice. It was a bit Disney World-ish. Nice landscaping, themed buildings, lots of workers. The downsides were the not beautiful blue water and lack of waves. That didn't stop my water lovers, Campbell and Whitman, from playing in the water and sand.

Reagan enjoys laying out so she was content as well. Anderson and Graham snagged some ice cream and had a few ping pong tournaments. We also spent some time at the pool and splash pad whcih Keaton enjoyed almost as much as Whitman and Campbell once she finally did get wet.

We were probably on the island for about 2 hours which was plenty for us Dennies. Tomorrow, might be another beach day, but we really aren't too sure what the stop holds since we have done no research at all for this trip.

Back on the boat, some headed for the showers, but most changed and met up in the buffet for lunch since it was 3ish. Afterwards, the ropes course was open so they did that while I sat and read. It was sunny some today-enough for some kids to get a bit pink, but by the end of the day it was raining. While I was sitting reading, it was overcase and cool with the wind blowing (I was covered up with a beach towel).

Before we knew it, we had forgotten about the how to make balloon animals at 5. Thankfully, Reagan said something while looking at the schedule for the day. Keaton went to get seats and Campbell went to pick up Whitman. Soon we all met down there.

I was a little bit late since I was doing laundry. Not really though. The way Robby got these rooms, he also received a free load of laundry. Any undergarment is usually 2.95 to wash, and I just sent off 14 to be laundered. So I showed up a bit late to the balloon animal show since I was having to fill out the itemization sheet for our laundry before I sent it in. 

After this show, Robby and I went to eat in the dining room while the kids went to the buffet. We wanted to go to the dining room tonight since they had chicken cordon bleu. We have fond memeories of that from countless Together We Build banquets growing up. Well, I will say that it wasn't as good as we remember. Ha! I am sure that our taste buds aren't developed enough to enjoy the real thing as well as we liked the processed chicken cordon bleu.

I know I will write more about the food later, but overall, the food has been excellent. The appetizers in the dining rooms I have loved. Every meal I order 2 or have some one order an extra just for me to try. They have had brushetta every night and I could just make a meal off that.

After we ate, we found Whitman and dropped him off at the kids' club. He loves it and wants to go each night which is so strange to us. As we were waiting in line to drop him off, he was standing there dancing while Robby and I were looking at him trying to figure out if he was really our child. 

Robby and I then went to watch a singer in the theater. She did Whitney Houston songs so we knew most of them. Then I picked up Whitman, found the boys and got ice cream before we found the girls in the Atrium watching Deal or No Deal.

We watched that show, and then the girls went off watch their show while the boys and I went to get a drink before bed. So I have now had my hot chocolate and am going to try to upload my pictures after I post the blog.

January 10, 2023-Western Carribean Cruise and Countries 4, 5 and 6 for the Kids

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Our time changed last night-well, at least the ship's time changed, but not my phone. I felt that that woud happen so I set my alarm for an hour earlier than we wanted to get up. I checked all of the times and woke Keaton up to ask if she still wanted to go to trivia. She decided that she was fine with a bit more sleep, so we were all able to sleep for another hour.

We left the room aroun 10:15 for oragami. We were making a crane, and half way through Campbell and Keaton were confused. It took a bit to realize but they thought that we were making a construction crane and not a bird crane. 

We were all able to make one-even Anderson showed up in time to join us. Graham showed up a little bit later, but didn't make one himself. Our next stop was the buffet. 

I guess that I am a creature of a habit, because once again I had my eggs benedict and a chocolate croissant. After breakfast, we went with the big boys to their room to wake up Whitman.

We hung out in their room for a bit while he woke up-I think that I actually had a nap at that point. Then I joined him and Robby as they ate breakfast. Well, by this time, they were putting out lunch and most of the crew had their lunch with us as well.

We arrived in Costa Maya, Mexico a bit before 2. I am not too sure what time we did get off of the boat or how long we stayed off the boat. There were 3 other boats docked today, so things were pretty busy.

Plus, this seemed to be just a huge, walled in shopping area that is right off the dock. Now, it felt Mexicany-ish, but it wasn't exactly what I expected or maybe it was. 

Despite the crowds, we were still able to enjoy some shopping-Campbell bought a cute turtle keychain, Keaton bought a Mexican blanket, and Whitman chose a bright green flute made out of bamboo. Yep, a flute-don't worry that flute is in the boys' room.

We were even able to find a few cokes to drink while we were off the boat. It was fairly warm so there were a few interesting sites. One man, who we had seen before struggling to walk, was laying on the pier as we were walking back to the boat. His friend was standing over him shouting. "Don't drink kids. This is what happens when you drink." True, very true.

Back on the boat, the first activity was a snack. Then water slides for awhile followed by the ropes course. This was also our first time to let Whitman walk to the room by himself. He made it-it is just strange the difference in the kids. Keaton is walking all around this ship by herself while Whitman can barely find his way back to his room. At least he has memorized his phone number.

After the ropes course, we all started to get ready for dinner. We opted to eat tonight to beat the rush and so we would be finished with supper in time to go to karaoke. 

Dinner was good again tonight. Once again our food was quick to arrive-dinner used to seem to take at least 2 hours, but not so far this trip. It has been fairly fast (like an hour or so). 

I don't think that anyone had a favorite meal tongiht-Robby did enjoy whatever he had which had shrimp in it. I had a pasta with pesto which I really liked. Keaton and Reagan had shirmp alfredo. Graham had some type of beef while Anderson had a bbq plate. Whitman had a hamburger tonight-he has also varied what he has ordered nightly. (First night pizza, second night pizza and mac and cheese.)

However, for dessert there was lava cake again! This time 6 of us ordered that sicne it is probably the best dessert on the boat. Graham and Whitman opted for ice cream. 

When supper was over, Robby and I hung out in the atrium while the others went back to the room. I dropped Whitman off at the kids' club which he said was his favorite thing he has done today even over the ropes course and the water slides.

The rest of us went to karaoke-it moved a bit slow, but there were a few entertaining songs and people. I left to go and pick up Whitman and did miss someone getting engaged. 

It is almost 11 now and my girls are getting ready for bed. I have already had my hot chocolate, am about to finish the blog, and still have my shower to take before I cuddle up in the bed with my book.

January 9, 2023-Western Caribbean Cruise and Countries 4, 5 and 6 for the Kids

(click for today's pictures)

I did sleep incredibly well last night, except when I did wake up the sun was shining right in my eyes. The girls had decided that they wanted to leave the tv on last night so they could watch the "bridge cam," but before Keaton went to sleep she asked for me to turn it off. I guess it was too bright for her. So I made sure that I had closed the curtain well so it wouldn't bother anyone, but I guess I did not do a good job.

Once I was awake, I did text Graham to tell him that we were going to the trivia game. Reagan slept in so she missed the trivia, but sleepy eyed Graham and Anderson showed up along with Robby. 

We actually did fairly well at trivia-we answered 9 out of 20 correctly. I think that was pretty good since some of the answers were absolutely impossible to answer correctly. 

After trivia, we went to eat breakfast at the buffet (Reagan ate breakfast much later and "read my book in the corner.") I did find my eggs Benedict today, and ti was as delicious as I had remembered. I think that it is my favorite cruise food though I sure would never try to make it at home.

After breakfast, everyone but Reagan went to the ropes course. I think that they were on it for a long while today. Anderson isn't a huge fan of heights, but I think that he enjoyed it. I sure wasn't going to get on that again.

Once the ropes were over, we realized one of the things that make us a bit crazy on a cruise-communication. Robby does have internet so he can work, but some of the rest of us just have a limited amount of minutes and are not connected all of the time. So anyway, communication is a bit difficult. I spend a lot of the day saying things like, "I will be right here" or "Meet me in 45 minutes in the room."

Campbell, Keaton and Whitman did some of the water slides today. While they slid, I sat in the very last open deck chair open on the deck. I was in the shade it, and it was perfect. I might could have taken a nap.

They finished just as Reagan showed up. She took my chair to continue her reading while I walked with the others to go and change their clothes. 

Now here is where the day starts to get foggy. There were trips to the buffet for ice cream and even chicken breasts. A chess game with huge pieces was played. We spent time in our rooms and time walking around all of the decks.

Whitman even went to the kids' club for a little bit. I think that he had fun; he at least told me that he did. After Whitman finished the kids' club, Campbell and he went to the ropes course again during the sunset.

It was a pretty perfect afternoon and early evening really. The kids went as they pleased and had lots of fun. I finished my book, but never really did get a nap. I almost did, but then the girls came in and were quite chatty!

This evening we all met up to watch some of a game show before we went to a new dining room this evening. Instead of going to the main dining room, we went to a smaller one, Taste. It had the same menu as the other dinin room, but is smaller.

They told us our wait was an hour, so Robby stayed nearby the dining room with the pager while the rest of us walked a half mile to go and play shuffleboard. It was on the other side of the boat! We had been there about 10 minutes when Robby text saying that our table was ready.

We hurried back upstairs or downstairs-which ever one it was. Tonight most folks ordered herb crusted rotisserie chicken, but the favorite meal of the evening was Reagan's chicken picata. Robby did have a steak madallion that he liked quite a bit as well. I loved my vegetable enchilada, but I don't think that the others would have liked it.

However, the desserts of the evening were a hit-lava cake and creme brulee. So far, we have certainly been impressed with the food on this trip for sure. 

After eating, we walked to the Not so Newlywed Game and caught the last few minutes of it. Afterwards, Anderson and Graham headed upstairs probably to eat some ice cream while Robby and Whitman went to their room. 

The girls and I went to our room, but Keaton and Campbell did leave once to get a snack. They did come back with hot chocolate for me. Right now Keaton is showering and I am next. I had to have a lesson from Reagan because I sure couldn't figure out how to get hot water last night!

January 8, 2023-Western Caribbean Cruise and Countries 4, 5 and 6 for the Kids

(click for today's pictures)

Yesterday, I had read all about our last cruise, and it seemed that each day that we were on the cruise last time, I woke up early. And gracious, we haven't even gotten on the cruise yet, and I was waking up early this morning.

I guess that 7:30 isn't that early for most folks, but since we didn't have to leave the hotel until 11 today, it was early. I played on my phone for a little bit and then got myself ready for the day.

I was even able to read a little bit this morning, but then I did have a panic attack when I realized that I had already read half of my book, and I only brought two. It should be fine because tonight I know that I am way too tired to do much reading.

Again, this hotel living is no longer for me. I really used to think that Robby and I could live in a hotel forever, but not so much anymore. The room was nice and everything was fine, but breakfast. Holiday Inn Express is known for their cinnamon rolls-but our hotel today didn't have any. Then the drink machine was out of order so you know what they had instead? Nothing, nothing to drink. I guess that maybe I am getting old and crumudgenly (sorry, I don't have spellcheck tonight since there is limited internet so if I spelled that wrong, you will just have to sound it out.)

At 11, we pulled out of the hotel in the pouring rain and headed downtown. It was a mess and took way longer than it should have to get to the port. The traffic there was absolutely crazy. 

We started off going to find the parking lot that Robby had paid for. We quickly found it, but there were no signs so he really wasn't sure if that was it or not. So then he decided to drop us off and come back to park.

This is when the roads were crazy, it was gridlock. We only almost had one wreck-now through all of this everyone remained in good spirits so all was well. Well, the traffic was so crazy, and we went to wrong way to drop us off so we ended up back at the parking lot.

We drove around the parking lot that was now filling up. There were only a few spots left and none in the main parking lot that we were just hoping was where Robby paid for. We circled and then found some poeple getting in their car. We pulled up close and turned on the blinker.

And waited and waited! Those boogers were just sitting in the car. I finally had to get my umbrella and ask if they were leaving. She was nice, but then she said, "I didn't know if y'all were waiting on my spot." Well, dumbo-what do you think our blinker was on for. I didn't say that, but I certainly thought it.

After that, they did leave within a few minutes so we grabbed their spot and were pretty relieved that we were at least where we thought we should park. (There are paking garages a plenty right here, however, the van is too tall for them so we had to plan ahead.)

We unloaded our bags and did our best to avoid the rain as we walked about 6 blocks to the terminal. We knew our suitcase tags that said our room number were getting soggy due to the rain, but there was nothing we could do. We then just lucked out and ran into the people loading the luggage. 

Then it was right into the terminal for the longest boarding line we have ever been in. It took us about an hour, but we were moving so it wasn't horrible. Again everyone was in a decent mood throughout all of this. Passport check, security, check in, and then finally onto the boat.

Our first stop was the boys' room.Our rooms are the same, but here is the run down. I think that this is the largest cruise ship room we have been in. A short hallway with a bathroom (double sinks, lots of rooms and really nice shower) and closet. Then a couch which turns into a bed with a bunk bed that comes from the ceiling. And finally two two beds next to the balcony.

The girls then found our room, but no luggage had arrived at either of our rooms yet. Pretty much the rest of the day was spent walking all around the boat exploring, eating at the buffet and hanging out in the rooms. We did all of those things multiple times over and over again.

Campbell, Keaton and Whitman did the ropes course first. Then Graham and I joined them. Let me tell you, I didn't like it. I didn't like it at all. The first 2 things were fine, and then I just wanted to get down. I didn't even do it all, but I felt find about doing this because Graham also didn't do the other half. He just wanted to get down and join Anderson on the basketball court.

More buffet eating, more exploring, more hanging out in the rooms-but some concern was beginning to grow about our luggage. Keaton's arrived and so did all of the boys but Robby's. 

We did leave 2 hours late, so we were hoping that this was the cause, but Robby went to guest services. They had said that all luggage would be delivered by a certain time, it was that time. I found Robby with his bag in a room full of luggage, so I looked for ours-not there.

The lady said that they had already taken it. So we went upstairs to my room-not there-and then to Robby's room-not there. By this time I am getting a bit concerned about having to wear my clothes all week long-this would not make my happy. 

So we went back downstairs, and they decided that it must be in the crew area on Robby's floor. They also had someone look for it-it was found and brought to Robby's room. So we transported it to our room. 

The problem was the tags that had our room numbers did indeed get wet and fall off (just paper). Now Friday night before we left Saturday morning, we went to Walmart with the main purpose of getting luggage tags for all of the bags. That was the best 10 dollars that we spent-our luggage tags is what did get all of the luggage to Robby's room.

Once the bags were in my room, the girsl and I changed for dinner in 10 minutes, and we were out the door. My room enjoys dressing up while the boys' room-not so much. 

We ate at the nice dining room, and maybe because it was almost 9 but we got in and out of there pretty quickly. Before on cruises, I remember having to wait a long while for our food, but this food was quick tonight. Hopefully, it will remain like that for the rest of the week.

After supper, there was most buffet going (just for drinks this time since it was closed), more exploring and more bouncing from room to room (ours and the boys). 

It is almost midnight, and my people are just settling down. I have had my cup of hot chocolate and am going to get in the shower next! I am crowwing my fingers hoping that we have smooth sailing tomorrow.