October 31, 2023-Disney Season Pass Era Ends and Happy Halloween!

(click for today's pictures)

First, let's talk about the one who truly is living their best life at Disney-Bentley. I am the one who mainly walks her at home, and Robby and I really do most of the taking her outside work. However, when we are here she is receiving attention constantly.

Robby and I take her on at least 2 walks a day while Campbell and Reagan do the same thing. Plus she usually goes to the dog park at least twice a day. Today, she had been so many times that she just laid down. Reagan said that someone suggested that she take her to the little dog section since they thought she was too scared to play. (She is often scared, but at Disney she is usually just exhausted.) We usually spend a lot more time outside while camping so she doesn't get to sleep as much during the day. And then finally, everyone loves taking her with them in the golf cart when we are looping around the other loops. (For example, tonight Graham had to pick those of us who were still getting candy up. He brought Bentley not even thinking about already having to squeeze 6 people on the golf cart and plus the dog.)

Today, of course, was also a big day for her. Not only did she wear her Halloween pajamas as we Trick or Treated, but at least 20 tables had dog treats as well. By the end of the evening, when the kids would go up to a table, she would sit down waiting on her treat. She does sleep so, so well on trips-Graham even tried to give her a new Halloween toy this evening, but she was so tired that she wouldn't even play with it.

This morning I woke up, and Robby was gone. I did notice that his box of fuses was out so that made me wonder what exactly had broken on the camper. I guess I wasn't too worried since I laid back down and picked up my phone-that is when I saw that he had answered someone's request for a specific fuse and was delivering it to them. He was doing his good deed since the folks in that Facebook group helped give him thoughts and recommendations when we needed it for our camper repair.

We didn't have too much time to be lazy this morning because our Tron group was called fairly early. We went over to Magic Kingdom and did that first thing. Then we debated riding Buzz, but Campbell decided the line was too long so instead we went on the Poeplemover while Robby stood in a line and bought Reagan a doughnut.

After the Peoplemover, we walked over to get some Dole Whip which was our first this trip. Then we rode Pirates one last time before leaving the park. I could have stayed all day long just walking around. As we were leaving, I turned around trying to get a last look at the castle and Main Street.

Back at the campsite, we unfortunately went to work. I told Robby that I would put up 5 things every so often. We didn't kill ourselves but it did take a bit to put everything away. Of course preparing to leave tonight was nothing in comparison than the earlier plan when we were going to have to get the camper towed and move to a house for at least two nights.

Robby bought everyone some fries to munch on this afternoon. Since we had to leave the golf cart overnight we tried not to use it too incredibly much today. Though getting a pokemon card was a necessity. Keaton did win a fall blanket today at one campsite, and Robby and Graham weren't quick enough to be able to get a bbq sandwich from one site. 

Supper tonight was at 5, and we bought pizza from Trail's End. It was fine, but it could have been cooked probably about 10 more minutes. We think that this was probably their busiest night of the year so our pizzas were rushed. The official Trick Or Treating began at 6 though my candy bucket had stayed out for a few days. I did switch to my Halloween size bucket which had to be refilled at least twice this evening. 

At 6, we all left the camper to walk a few loops. Everyone, even the big kids, had a bag with them. We walked our loop (100) and the one right next to ours (200). Then we crossed the street for loop 400. By now the kids bags were getting heavy, but they pressed on because we were nearing the full size candy bar spot on loop 300, but before we went there we walked loop 500. After these 5 loops, Anderson called it quits and headed back to the camper.

Then we walked a good ways to loop 1400 which is actually two loops. We cut off the last little bit of one of those, and took a short cut (or maybe it was a long cut) to a loop on the other side of the road (600). It ended at 700 so we had to do that one as well. During these last three loops Whitman was done. He didn't care anything about any more candy which was understandable since 8 loops is quite a ways.

We walked back to our camper and dropped off Bentley, Whitman, and Graham. We also grabbed us some water and sat down for a bit. Graham then drove us to the cloverleaf of loops (1600-1900) and dropped us off. And this was something to see. They had put cones in these loops where the golf carts had to drive through each loop. Also people were directing traffic. Some areas on these loops were golf carts as far as you could see. It was absolutely insane. It didn't take us long to realize that not bringing the golf cart on these loops was a great idea. It would take those people at least an hour to drive through all 4 loops. 

Of course seeing all of the people was a highlight, but quite a bit of their candy bowls had already been emptied, so the girls didn't get as much candy on these loops. However, the mariachi band (real live people) was something to see as well as the replica of the Haunted Mansion complete with people dressed up like the characters in the ride. 

We were getting tired by this time, but we had to press on. It was a haul to get to our next stop which was loop something or another (1100). This loop would be a great loop if you really wanted to feel like you were camping in the woods. (Our loop makes you feel like you are camping in the middle of Disney World-horse drawn carriages walk by, a segway tour goes behind you, the horns from the boats toot, children on the playground play, the Hoop De Doo Revue actors scream, and the Electric Water Parade blares every night)

Finally, we ended our night with loops 1200 and 1300-and we were dragging by this time! Graham met us back at the pool to pick us up and take us back to the camper. There were 4 loops that we did not do plus all of the cabin loops Keaton was the one the most interested in the candy-and she did well. She sorted her candy a bit ago. Her chocolate bag weighs at least 20 pounds and so does her non chocolate bag. I will have to have her weigh it when we get home.

When we did get back to the camper, Anderson had already taken his shower, and Reagan ran to take hers. Everyone else helped us put up the last few things and take down our Halloween decorations. Before 10 we were pulling out of the campsite. The boys dropped off the golf cart while I drove the car to the hook up spot. Then we pulled out of the campground and started our evening drive. 

We didn't have to leave tonight, but it will make today so much easier. We weren't sure just how crazy things were going to be tonight so leaving was a last minute call. There were some loops that were still so busy that we would not have been able to get the camper out. Our loop still had a few trick or treaters and one golf cart, but it was starting to slow down.

We are starting to have everyone brush their teeth, and after this gas stop it will be bedtime for all except Robby and I-we still have about an hour to drive.

Dennie Disney Trips

Our Disney days are now over for a season, so I am reposting our Disney trip list.

Robby and I are the ones that probably use and read the blog more than anyone else.  We often reference it daily to look something up about what we have done, something the kids have said or even where we have been.  I recently discovered that even though I keep up with the kids state counts and our visits to National Parks, I do not have a list of our Disney trips, so here you go:

Disney World-22

Disney World-19

Disney World-15

Disney World-15

Disney World-14

Disney World-14

Disney World-13

Disney World-12

And now for the dates of our previous trips:
  • Disney World-Robby and the Dennie family (1982)
  • Disney World-Robby with a church group in high school (1990)
  • Disney World-Robby and his family at Christmas time (it rained their entire trip.) (1997)
  • Disney World-Our honeymoon (2000)
  • Disney World-With Jenna and the Dennies (2004)
  • Disney World-Reagan and Anderson with the Dennie family (2007)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson and Graham with the Brocks (2009)
  • Disneyland-Reagan, Anderson and Graham with the Dennies (2009)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham and 2 month old Campbell (2010)
  • Disneyland-Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Campbell (2011)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Campbell with the Brocks and Grannymom (2011)
  • Disneyland-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell and Keaton with the Dennies (2012)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell and Keaton with the Dennie family (2012)
  • Disneyland-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Brocks (2013)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Dennies (2013)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Brocks (2015)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Crafts and Heltz (11/2019)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman (12/2019)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman for the month with trips for the week with the Crafts and then the Brocks and Dennies (2/2020)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman with the Hobbs (11/2022)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman (12/2022)
  • Disney World-Robby and Tara (2/2023)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton and Whitman (5/2023)
  • Disney World-Keaton and Whitman (others at Beach Camp) (7/2023)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton, and Whitman (8/2023)
  • Disney World-Reagan, Anderson, Graham, Campbell, Keaton, and Whitman (10.2023)

October 30, 2023-Disney Season Pass Era Ends

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Robby was awake early this morning and went to take a shower and start on the laundry. Once it was finished, I folded it while everyone else finished getting ready for the day. Robby had snagged Guardian's tickets so Epcot was were we headed this morning.

Campbell and Graham stopped off at Joffreys on the way in the park so they could get themselves a doughnut. As we were scanning in the park, the Thunderbirds flew over the Epcot ball (along with Magic Kingdom's castle). We did wonder why they flew over for Halloween, but this is veteran's month or something like that.

If you will remember, on the July 4th Robby, Whitman, Keaton, and I stood in front of the castle for what seemed like hours (was probably 10 minutes) in the blazing sun to see just 2 or 3 of those planes flying over. We were absolutely drenched in sweat that day when we made it back to the camper-sweaty enough that even Whitman, Mr. Content, asked to change.

We had laughed at Whitman today because he is just pretty content with his ipad. We might offer to take him some where or for him to go and do something, and his usual answer is "I'm good." However, if we mention that there is Pokemon cards or cotton candy, he is out the door in a heart beat.

After Guardians, we rode Soarin. I believe because of the 50th or 100th anniversary (they seem to be celebrating both-I don't really know how though), they are playing the Soarin' over California movie which is the original one. It did bring back some memories and was fun to watch a different one.

Then we walked through the new Moana attraction. They spent a lot of years and a lot of money on it-I was not impressed. It could have been neat if it was kind of empty where you could get to everything or it could be neat if you have little bitties and need a spot for them to get a little wet and relax, but yep, we were underwhelmed. Robby had talked about buying an ornament because it was our first time to see it, but nah, it wasn't ornament worthy.

Next up, Anderson and Reagan walked with us to the American pavilion so Anderson could get his bbq lunch. On the way Reagan bought a teriyaki bun from the Japan pavilion while Robby picked up a few different things for us to try while Anderson ate.

And while he was eating, the others went to our other eating spot-Connections and bought their lunches. I had then told them to go to the ball ride because Whitman wanted to do that. The ball is called Spaceship earth and used to be Whit's favorite, but somehow he made it clear to them that he wanted to do Mission Space instead. I am glad they figured all of that out for him.

When we met back up with them, we headed out of the park because we had to hurry back to the campground to get our spot for the parade. When we left this morning, the street that the parade happened on already had chairs on it. Keaton and Anderson struggled finding us a spot for this afternoon.

While we waited for the parade to start, Keaton saw that the book lady was out so we rushed over there. Whitman grabbed a Hot to Draw Pokemon book and Keaton grabbed a Kingdom Keepers book. Then it was time for the parade. 

The parade began with horses walking down the road, and then the golf carts came. The golf carts were super impressive. I think that Robby snapped some pictures-but one was even the Haunted Mansion stretching room. One was a Fort Wilderness wooden train-you name it, and we saw a golf cart decorated like it. These people are super creative, and some even threw out dog treats and candy this time.

After the golf cart parade, we did some looping and then came back to make chicken sandwiches for supper. Once we had eaten, we made everyone walk down to the beach bash where we could vote on the carved pumpkins and vote for the golf cart winner. We then joined about 200 other people on the beach and watched the fireworks. This was my first time to see adults who were genuinely loving the firework show-dancing and the raising of hands (which who knew that wasn't just a church thing). Anyway, the kids suggested that the people might have been a bit inebriated, and really, they were possibly were!

When we left the fire works show, the big boys went to play pickleball while Robby, Reagan, Keaton, and I drove around some loops collecting candy. Reagan went tonight because she wanted some candy, and candy she got. All of the boys don't really care too much about the candy, and Campbell is the same. Reagan does have her favorite candys so she had Keaton name everything that was in each candy bowl and then get the one that she wanted.

We were out searching for candy until after 10 tonight. When we came back, Anderson was already in the shower, and Campbell was on the phone with her friends. We worked on getting the beds ready, and now I have my shower to take and my book to read! 

October 29, 2023-Disney Season Pass Era Ends

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Since this is our 7th trip to Disney this calendar year, we do it a little bit differently than most Disney goers. Now, people at the campground probably do Disney like we do, and probably 50 percent of them do not even go to the parks at all. We may not be traditional in how we have done Disney this trip, but we are having a great time.

Robby and I slept later today, but the kids had to wake up earlier than usual. We had lunch at the Sci Fi Diner in Hollywood Studios. Some of the kids had a tiny snack, but most of us skipped breakfast since we hadn't really been up that long.

On our drive there, we were amazed at how many cars are parked in the overflow lot at the campground. And it isn't just the overflow lot that is full. The overflow overflow lot is full as well so people are parking on the sides of the roads. It took a while but we eventually figured it out-many of these campsites are so decorated that they do not have room for a car at their site. For example, we do have an average length site but we struggle parking our car and golf cart in the front of the camper. Imagine if we had 30 inflatables, or if we had over 100 real pumpkins, or if we had 6 tents containing scenes from The Haunted Mansion ride-there would be no place to park our car. 

At Hollywood, all we did was eat. Graham mentioned going to see the Indiana Jones show, but he was overruled by all of the others. I am not sure if he really wanted to go or if he was just trying to get a rise out of everyone. 

The Sci Fi was something to see, as many of our Disney restaurants have been. However, we don't have to really go back. You eat in cars that are facing a giant movie screen like you are at a drive in movie theater. All of the kids filled up one car, and Robby and I were in a seat nearby them. 

Our food was good-I had chicken salad on a croissant. I would have enjoyed it more if the croissant had been warm or soft. Reagan had a salad, Keaton and Campbell had chicken fingers while all of the boys ate hamburgers.

After our meal, we debated riding something, but everyone was content to move on to the next item on the list. We went to our outlet store at a nearby mall. We used to always find things there, but the last few visits we haven't had any luck. I was hoping to find ears to give to some people we know coming to Disney soon.

We looked for a parking spot for nearly 25 minutes until Robby finally found one. He was just about ready to let us out of the car and him just circle. Graham and Whitman opted to stay in the car, and when Reagan saw the line to get into the store, she turned around and went back to the car.

The line was probably about 50 people long, and it did take us about 25 minutes before we were let in the store. I was really hoping there would be something that we wanted to buy-I had seen cute things in the past and kind of wanted a memento to take home to remind us of this year. But we were out of luck and left with nothing.

It was not all lost since there was a McDonalds right down the road, and we celebrated our unsuccessful shopping trip with some ice cream. Then we came back to the campsite to do what we have been doing best on this trip: nothing!

Whitman is all about some Pokemon cards so anytime we see someone posting that they are giving those out, he is ready to go. Keaton's priority is candy collecting so she has looped on foot, on her ripstick, on the golf cart, and on her bike for most of the day adding to her candy bags. Campbell has spent a good deal of the day on the phone with her friends. Reagan did a bit of school work today so hopefully none will have to be done tomorrow. Graham and Anderson watched all kinds of sports on the tv, played basketball and pickleball, and did quite a bit of golf cart driving.

Plus we did carve our pumpkins today. Anderson wanted no part in it-when he was little every year I would take a photo of him completely disgusted by the pumpkin innards. He wouldn't even pose for one this year. Keaton and Reagan were the main pumpkin carvers though Graham and Campbell went to town cleaning out the pumpkins. Keaton did let Whitman carve a little bit. Next year we may have to buy some more pumpkins, but the hardest part about carving is cleaning out the inside. Maybe Babs' trick with the hand held mixer helps clean out the pumpkin.

Tonight we had leftovers for supper-Reagan had her leftover salad, Keaton and Campbell had orange chicken, Whitman had a poptart, Anderson had breakfast burritos, Graham had chicken tacos, and Robby and I had chips and salsa. 

The evening was spent just hanging out around the campground, and it was a perfect evening. Tomorrow we need to be a little more productive since we have a few things to do on our schedule!

October 28, 2023-Disney Season Pass Era Ends

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Let's begin the blog again with our camper daily update: Robby was up at 6 and left soon after. He drove 90 or so minutes to pick up the part early this morning. He wasn't sure if they opened at 7 or 8 so he split the difference and was there around 7:30. 

It didn't take him long to turn right around and head back. Of course as soon as he was near, he called the repair man. As I was trying to sleep last night, I kept wondering what exactly would happen if they guy didn't come back in the morning or if he just dropped dead. The tires were off, and not just the tires but a lot of other things were off, plus the camper was all jacked up. I wasn't too worried since Robby had watched a youtube video so he could have figured it out and at least got us able to roll up on the tow truck. 

Thankfully though the repair guy did show up and went to work. The man worked four and a half hours today-most of his time was spent on the passenger side. He even wanted Robby to see how quick the other side would be to fix so I do believe that Robby stood and watched him fix that side. Of course he cautioned Robby that he could find the same problem over there, but that was not the case.

I was able to distract Robby a little bit today. We went on a few golf cart rides while the man was working along with a couple of very long walks. The camper wasn't finished until around 4:30. The repair guy even took it for a test drive around the Fort for a bit.

The working kids were interested to know how much it cost to have it fixed. Robby assumed that the repair costs about as much as a kidney-at least he hopes so since he has a spare. Kidding! Kind of. We know that we paid less than we would have at the dealership, plus I can't imagine how Robby would have been able to handle it not knowing exactly what was going on since at a dealership they would have just called when it was all ready.

Now by my blog, it seems like the camper problems have dominated our trip. However, that really isn't the case. We had intended to go to Epcot today, but really everyone is just so content to hang out at the campground so that is what we did.

Anderson had a little bit of school to do today and Reagan pulled out her computer to do some school as well. The repairman had brought 2 of his kids, and she did play with one for a while before she had to do some "school." 

At some point Keaton and Graham went and had themselves a hot dog and popcorn at one site. Robby missed the dole whip from across the street, and I missed the ice cream from down the loop. A few of the kids did snag some Pokemon cards, but the real haul today was in the trick or treating.

I am not sure if the people here are aware that it is still two days before Halloween. The campground has a trick or treating time on the schedule for Halloween night. I still have give out probably 6 pounds of candy today, and Keaton had probably collected 10 pounds of candy today. This trick or treating happened in full force tonight, but by 9 candy buckets were set out all up and down our loop.

All of the kids have gotten some things, but Keaton has made collecting candy a priority. Big candy bars, buckets of cotton candy, small Lego sets, bubbles, pencils, bags of popcorn, and oh so much candy. Graham and Anderson had delighted in shuttling her all of this campground to different loops. When one gets tired, the other will take her.  Keaton and Campbell had a few things for the scavenger hunt today as well, but I think the only thing that have have found was just now. Like it is 11:30, and Keaton grabs a light and shoes and runs out of the camper to grab something that was hidden behind us. 

Bentley also had a big day today as well. She participated in her first dog parade. Keaton was the first of about 40 people to walk through the campfire area with their pet. Keaton was wearing a Jack o Lantern shirt while Bentley had on a matching Mickey Mouse pumpkin costume. They were adorable, but some of these people just wow! I am not sure if I could get the family to dress up as the ghosts from haunted mansion or the people from Guardians of the Galaxy. Bentley had the time of her life though, and she is now so exhausted that she can hardly hold her head up.

The evening ended with orange chicken. Then Robby and I did some walking through some loops while the kids played pickleball. They were going to go down there, but the golf card needed to be charged-it has covered a lot of miles today. We all stood around for a while trying to decide if they were going to walk or ride bikes until Robby remembered that we do have a car. So he drove them down to the tennis courts.

After our walk, we drove the golf cart down there and ended up playing a little bit our selves. It is now midnight, and Campbell is on the phone with her buddies outside, Anderson just returned from his shower, and I am about to take my shower. 

October 27, 2023-Disney Season Pass Era Ends

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Let's see, I guess I will just document all of our repair work first on the blog. The repairman arrived around 3:47 this afternoon-I know it was that time since there happens to be one camera pointed in his direction. 

By the time that Robby and I made it home from Magic Kingdom, he had both tires off and had found the problem. Unfortunately, the problem was more than he thought that it was initially. When he took the wheels off to do the wheel seals, he discovered that the wheel bearing/bearings? had failed and pretty much broken to pieces. He said that this could have even caused a fire. 

He was able to do some work today, but for the big fix he needs a part (a wheel assembly) in Melbourne, Florida. Now of course he can drive the 90 minutes to go and get it which wouldn't be cheap, or Robby can. So who do you think is leaving around 6 in the morning? Just to be able to get a part on a Saturday is something that we are thankful for.

So tomorrow afternoon, he will be back here hopefully and will be able to repair the wheel bearings along with the brake calipers, wheel seals, brakes and rotors. Then he will double check the other side and do the brakes and rotors over there. 

Paying someone by the hour is not very good for Robby. I will need to keep him better distracted tomorrow. The man would work awhile, and then someone would come and ask him a question or ask for his card. By the time that he pulled out today, he had already fixed something on someone else's camper, and they were paying him. The hope is that all will be fixed tomorrow-we are still crossing our fingers for that.

When the man was leaving today, he apologized to me that his quote was under. Actually, Robby has never gotten a firm quote from him. The repair guy said that he likes to over quote, and then people are happy when they have to pay less. Unfortunately, we are not in the pay less category at all: we are probably in the pay double category (but don't tell Robby!)

Now we shall begin at this morning-Robby and I woke up right around 7:30 this morning even after staying up until 2. We were wide awake-he started on the laundry and took a shower while I sat outside and read some. 

Keaton had asked me to wake her up this morning, and I tried a few times with out any success. Eventually, she did get up, and we dropped off the car at the over flow lot so the repair guy could have room for his truck. We also signed up Bentley for the pet parade and tried to find a hat and a specific puzzle at the gift shop. Robby decided that he wanted a hat, but we couldn't find one. And I had been eyeing a puzzle on the last few trips, but of course it is already gone. 

We then came back to the campsite and went to work. I sliced some meat and cheese for our lunch while Robby unhooked everything. The plan was for the repairman to be finished today, and he would need to drive the camper around so we had everything ready just in case.

Around 1, we all scurried in to the gates at Magic Kingdom. Graham was able to get us in the virtual queue for Tron. Before that though, we went to Tom Sawyer Island and had our lunch While we were there, the kids explored some, and I may or may not have closed my eyes some while rocking in a rocking chair.

Then we walked over to ride Tron. Yesterday, there was no line at all, but today it was quite a bit longer. We didn't have to wait outside so it was still a win. When the ride was over, Graham and Keaton headed back to the camper first. The others rode the People Mover one last time.

Today we bought Campbell and Whitman a shirt. Whitman never asks for anything so he really never gets anything new-especially clothes so I think that he enjoyed getting to pick out a new shirt. When Robby was paying, everyone who was with us headed on back to the camper as well. 

Robby and I took the long way home on the boat. It did take quite a while for it t come, but it was a relaxing journey. When we came back, there was some time for golf cart looping and candy grabbing. Seriously, Keaton already has a completely full gallon size zip lock back full of candy. I have even put out candy in front of our site (mainly since I need to get rid of all of the candy that we bought).

Anderson and I worked on some of his math. It is a little bit difficult having to teach yourself since he has been missing class. We were so close to finishing that lesson and right now he only has one more to do, but I assume some more will drop soon.

Bentley went to the dog park a few times today. The kids here just stay busy-going to the dog park, riding bikes, getting candy, refilling our drink cups, looping in the golf cart, taking walks, and even some homework was done.

At 7:20 we all loaded up to eat at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We ordered 2 bread services-imagine about 6 different pita breads along with 8 or so different dipping sauces for each order. This alone was enough to provide some fun for all of us-the kids all tried the different pita breads and some of the sauces. Then we had butter chicken, some beef and some pork plus their was chickpea masala which I really did like along with some lentil dish and a bowl of beans. We had a ton of new foods plus many of us left full so it was a win.

Once we made it back to the camper, some folks had a shower, but most everyone walked around a bit collecting some more candy. Reagan drove Campbell and Keaton around some on the golf cart, and when she finished I did some driving too. Now everyone is snug in their beds, and I think this is the earliest people have been in their beds this trip.

October 26, 2023-Disney Season Pass Era Ends

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Well, today was a much better day than yesterday. I woke up to Robby already gone this morning. He went to fetch our golf cart, but the man was late. This was a good thing because Robby was able to get a good plan-he scheduled a tow through our camper insurance (like AAA but not) for Tuesday. He scheduled an appointment to get the camper worked on at the closest Ford dealership in Winter Haven, an hour south. And he found a house and rented it for 2 nights for us (much cheaper than 2 hotel rooms and he was having some difficulty finding a dog friendly hotel that he approved of. We were going to have to pass Bentley off as a 30 pound dog.)

Anyway, all of this acceptable, and he felt some better by the time that he returned with the golf cart. When he did return, I was already outside with Bentley reading my book. Anderson was the only other one who had stirred. 

While we were setting there, Robby decided that he would just call one man whose name had been recommended. Most of the mobile repair guys who work on campers just do simpler things-like all of the minor repairs that Robby has had to learn how to do. The person that recommended the guy told what the man had done for him, and it was some similar things to what we needed. Anyway, Robby decided that he would just call and talk to the man and even pay him to come out and look so he just left a message.

The kids all started stirring this morning-I guess the term morning is used loosely when I mean "10:30" for when they started stirring. We did some looping plus the kids ran over to get drinks. I already feel like we are running out of time here-Keaton and I had to make a list of things to do tomorrow. (Our list was fairly short: look in one of the gift shops here and register Bentley for the pet parade.)

Yes, a pet parade. We aren't sure what they involved, but why not? That is kind of how this campground is-why not? Why not fill your site with so many inflatables that your camper can not even be seen? Why not hand out candy all day every day for the entire week before Halloween? Why not have a vending machine full of stuffed animals for the kids? Why not set up a display of skeletons playing instruments? Why not pass out hot dogs and popcorn to anybody that drives by? Why not decorate your golf cart with more Halloween decorations than most people have in their house? Why not have a pet parade and a golf cart parade? I just wish that I could describe the campground adequately but words fail.

Anyway, back to today. We left the camper around 12:15 to go to Magic Kingdom. We discovered this last trip that we enjoy the bus ride more than the boat (shorter, air conditioned) so that is our current preferred method of transportation.

While we were getting on the bus, the repairman called Robby and said he would swing by around 5ish. This was a party day at Magic Kingdom so the crowds were lighter. We all rode Space Mountain followed by watching the Monsters Inc. show. This was a snack day for everyone-Reagan and Anderson couldn't decide and held their snack over for another day, Whitman and Campbell opted for ice cream, Graham had chicken and waffles at our next stop, and Keaton chose fries from back at the campground.

Reagan saw a shirt that she wanted, so while Robby was in the ice cream line we went to look for the shirt. We were able to find it plus we found one for Keaton. Actually, it was cheaper to buy 2 than just one. Campbell also decided that she wanted one as well, so she will get hers tomorrow when I can let Whitman pick out one for himself. 

Next up was a ride on Big Thunder while waiting on our group to be called for Tron. Anderson decided that he wanted to skip Tron and headed back to the campground. Surprisingly, the ride for Tron was without a line so we zoomed through it. We did our shopping next so Graham and Whitman went back to the campground. Our people really like all of the independence that they get here.

I helped Anderson with some math tonight. While we were working, the mechanic man showed up. I stayed inside for a while with Anderson, but when we finished, Robby gave me the thumbs up. I took that as a good sign and did some looping with some of the kids. When I returned, I got the low down:

Robby felt very good about the mechanic man so he has already ordered and paid for the parts. The man is replacing the rear brake rotors and pads, along with the rear wheel seals which had apparently failed on the passenger side. There is a possibility that he might replace the front tires as well. The parts should arrive tomorrow around 1, and the guy will start at 2. We are crossing our fingers that all goes well. (Robby will cancel the tow and repair appointments after tomorrow, and he was able to get some of his money back on the house-I'm sure he feels like he is just throwing money around!

We had the kids favorite supper tonight-chicken tacos. It didn't take too incredibly long to make. This was the first Disney trip in a while that Robby cooked on the blackstone. It usually is way too warm to do that. The weather is definitely warm during the day, but when the sun went down today I had to have long sleeves. Plus the bugs were out during our supper so I had to also put on pants.

Robby then began celebrating early by driving around a few loops on the golf cart. He had not left our loop except to walk to the tennis courts last night. Between the camper stuff and his work, he has been too busy to have fun on the golf cart. 

We drove to the tennis courts for our nightly Pickleball but they were full so we had to kill some time before coming back to play at nearly 10. We all played for quite a bit-Reagan actually ended up playing volleyball with some kids from Memphis and one from here that has to go to school tomorrow.

It was nearly midnight when all of us made it back inside the camper. Bentley, Robby, and Whitman walked back to the camper while most of us had a ride on the golf cart. And let's talk about Bentley for a bit-yesterday, as I was walking Bentley to the tennis courts, she did perfect...until we got to the crosswalk right across from the dog park. There she started to pull across the street and sat herself in the road refusing to come down the sidewalk with me. She did that with me and then later with Campbell before we had even taken her to the dog park on this trip. I guess even the dog knows her way around Disney.

It is now almost 1 and everyone is back from their showers while I still have to mine to take!

October 25, 2023-Disney Season Pass Era Ends

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Well, what can I say about today? We have definitely made some memories. I rolled over a little after 6 to see Robby on his phone already. He had said last night that we would wake up at 6:45, but since we were both already awake we left earlier than planned.

The kids slept for a very, very long time while we were driving. Robby and I even talked about it was all fine if we had to deal with one flat a trip. Maybe we shouldn't have said that. We were so close to Orlando that we could smell it when that blasted tire pressure monitor started screaming at us.

Robby and I probably have PTSD from hearing that thing beep. Yesterday it was politely beeping every so often because it couldn't find the signal, and today it was screeching at us. On our back 4 wheels we had one "old" tire. Now, when I say old-it really isn't old, but it is the last one that has needed changing.

Robby drove a good ways trying to find a place to pull over. He finally did find a spot with quite a bit of extra concrete so we didn't feel like we were on the side of the highway. The boys knew the drill-this tire was a bit harder because Robby did have to get under the camper to take the spare off. However, the blown tire was on the outside so that made things easier.

We did have one problem-they couldn't get the tire off at first so he had to roll forward and back, and thankfully that loosened the tire. Robby had just about finished with the last bolts and lug nuts when two police officers pulled up. Apparently, Robby's watch alerted the police to a crash. These fancy new watches do that now-we have to assume that him drilling and hammering on the tire caused it to do that or maybe the watch heard the curses coming out of his mouth and called the cops. (Not really, he again stayed very calm and patient.)

If this would have been all, it would have been a funny little story. However, while we were stopped, I noticed some dark fluid on the other side of the camper. It looked like it was from us and I did point it out to Robby. He looked around, but we pressed on to the tire place.

The tire store was already waiting on us to get a spare tow dolly tire, and thankfully they had a spare for the camper. However, when we pulled up-the tire area on the passenger side where I had seen the fluid was kind of smoking.

Robby went to work trying to figure things out and calling a mechanic to talk to. We decided to just bite the bullet and drive slowly to the fort. He couldn't tell any driving difference, but the smell, smoke and drip isn't good. 

Best we know it is the rear differential fluid. There is one good thing-about an hour south is a Ford dealership that works on RVs so that is where this thing is going next week. Robby thinks that if we had been at home, he would have had to go to at least Memphis for anyone to work on it. 

We aren't sure of all of the plans, but it will probably have to be towed which will delay our trip and end with a hotel stay for a night or two or who knows. So even though we are in the most magical place on earth, the stress level is a little bit high in site 113.

And speaking of site 113: Robby requests loop 100 each time, and we have gotten it the last few times. We were pretty sure that this time we would not since the crowds are going to be so big here. We don't have the exact site that we wanted, but we are right next to it, and really this is a better one. 

When we pulled in, Robby went to work on hooking up and making phone calls, while the kids and I got the campsite ready. The girls worked on the pumpkin blow up, pumpkin lights, and pin board. The boys helped me with the big things. Within a little bit the campsite was set up-it looks like we are going to have perfect weather for the next week.

We also did get a golf cart today instead of tomorrow so that was a bonus. Robby has to get our official cart tomorrow, but the one today helped make this day more fun. Of course this place is decked out. We will take pictures later, but imagine every inflatable you have ever seen in your life, all blown up at once-that is Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground. They were inflatable pumpkins bigger than my minivan and at least 3 inflatables that I have seen that are twice as tall as my camper. 

So this afternoon consisted of looping, bike riding, drink refilling, trick or treating (yes, there is candy bowls at just about 5 or so sites per loop), and there was even some home work happening. I started on supper-air fryer pizzas. This is another good and easy meal, but just like last night it isn't easy to prepare. Last night things weren't easy because you are just bouncing around like crazy, but today it wasn't easy because it just takes so dang long. Each pizza takes about 7 minutes-so that is 56 minutes of air fryer time. 

After our forever supper, we loaded up and went to Hollywood Studios for the last hour. We snagged a perfect parking spot, and then Robby and Campbell went to Rocking Roller Coaster while the rest of us went to Tower of Terror. Then we all met back up and rode Toy Story Mania.

Then we did what people have been waiting since August to do-play pickleball! We all headed to the tennis courts and stayed there until after 10 playing. Now, this has been a super stressful day, and Robby and I will have to focus pretty hard on enjoying the week and not worrying about the uncertainties of next week, but the kids-they will remember changing lots of flats, but they will really remember playing pickleball tonight even more than anything else we have done today.

I did think that we were done when we came back from pickleball, but I did somehow find myself back out on a golf cart looping around looking at decorations and getting candy. Right now all of the boys are in the camper while the girls are sitting outside talking. Robby and I though are just about to crash!

October 24, 2023-Disney Season Pass Era Ends

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Tuesday mornings around here start early with Graham and Reagan leaving for Bible study around 6:30. I was a better mom this week in that I did text them about 5 minutes before they were supposed to leave to make sure that they were awake. 

The next hour went by pretty quickly since I was able to fall asleep. Some Tuesday mornings my mind starts going, and I can't go back to sleep, but today I did. My alarm then went off to wake Anderson up. He was awake and getting up for his first class.

Soon I was reading with my Campbell, Keaton, and Whitman. I know that one of them listens when I read-Whitman usually asks me multiple questions each day. Some of those don't even relate to anything I have read ("Can you call a person who is divorced a widow?") and some of them are questions I can't even answer ("Why does the core of the earth rotate differently than us?). 

Graham and Reagan arrived home from their Bible study and were there a bit before heading to class. At their school today, it was picture day-and Anderson my rule follower did as he was asked and had his picture made. I was sent an email proof so sorry there is no picture for the blog-actually, I just figured out how to get you one. I did tell Reagan that if she had taken her pictures today, we could have counted those as her senior pictures.

Reagan graciously agreed to skip her last 2 classes today. Her teacher was absent in her last class so that helped her make her decision. This mean that we could get on the road at 12:30ish instead of what would be nearly 3. 

The schoolers at home had a full load today. I debated making today the easy day or making the Thursday when we come home the easy day. I settled on the Thursday so I could get things settled as they work. However, having today the regular day meant that I was having to scurry around the house every break I had to mark things off of the list.

I like to leave the house decent when we do leave. The kids scoff at this especially since I made all of their beds and vacuumed the upstairs today. It all just looks so much nicer-maybe I can urge them to try to keep it like that. The boys room is not small, but it does have a lot of things in it-if they kept things neat their room would always look bigger.

The schooler came home and grabbed a bite to eat, and then we hit the road. In Arkansas there was a grass fire on the side of the road which was our first slow down. Other people didn't really slow down at first, but eventually we did all crawl toward the smoke. When we drove through it for the first few seconds we could not see a thing. It was a bit unnerving. 

We stopped for the first time after Memphis to get gas. I then heated up our supper-tortellini. We had two kinds which I had meticulously separated. However, when it was time to serve it up, I couldn't tell the difference between the chicken and cheese flavors. Some people ask for chicken and I gave them a scoop from one side of the pan. Then the next time someone asked for chicken I had become convinced that it was on the other side of the pan. I did get no complaints so maybe no one could really taste the difference.

Our next stop was unscheduled. Robby had been having trouble with his tire monitoring system so it was resetting when we heard a bang. Now, this camper is like a box so anytime the kids drop something on the floor it sounds like someone has fallen through. Robby said he saw the dog jumping on the couch, and I saw the kids up front looking around on the floor to see what the noise was.

It didn't take Robby long to figure out that it was a tire since he could feel the pull. Anderson was coming up front since he could feel it in the back as well. Robby pulled over while I jumped out to check which tire it was. Thankfully, it was the tow dolly tire. This is the easiest tire to change and was on the passenger side and not the driver's side. However, since it was the tow dolly tire, he couldn't drive really-we were right near an exit, but it was too far.

Before Robby could get out of the car, the kids were gathering flashlights and lights while I was passing out the jack and other tools that I knew to get. Anderson and Graham got more tools and the tires. We aren't sure what happened, but the tire was pretty much gone. It also took out the fender of the tow dolly so that was another thing that they had to take off. 

Keaton was quick to tell Robby that she had set the timer. It did take a little less than 30 minutes, and we were back safely on the road. We can't complain about that at all. We were all rewarded with a Buccees in about 20 miles after our stop.

While Robby was filling up with gas, Keaton and Campbell were doing push ups, Anderson and Graham were playing basketball, and Reagan and Whitman were in the camper talking. It was a good reminder about why we change tires and keep traveling.

After Buccees there were no more stops-we are about 10 minutes from our stopping point tonight. Robby had gotten confused about where we stayed before and is changing out spot due to recommendations he read online. Reagan and Graham had already had their nap today since they woke up so early, but I think that Reagan is already back asleep. No one else seems to be tired at all-Keaton and Campbell are definitely going strong right behind me!

October 23, 2023

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  • Bentley was not settled last night-she was awake quite a few times and paces until one of us will get up and let her out of our room. I had tried this morning to keep her awake so she would sleep tonight, but I guess I will have to do that now for the rest of the evening since I opted just to let her sleep so she wouldn't bother me. Who knew a dog would be so much trouble-oh, I did!
  • Today was a busy day-Mondays always seem to be a bit busy. Plus I was trying to get a few things done around the house. I have neglected the cleaning of this place for a bit so I tried to catch up today. 
  • Reagan had spent the night house sitting last night so she swung by to pick Graham up for work. While they were there, Anderson had to go to Raymar for one last bit of work so while he was there, he dropped me off at Reagan's house sitting house so I could let the dog out one more time while she was at work.
  • Everyone packed today-well, I did pack Whitman earlier last week and Reagan just breezed in from Bible study so I am hoping that she is packing now. Robby did pick up some bbq for supper tonight, and after we ate, I divided up some tasks so the kids could help me with the last few things.
  • Whitman is showering so tomorrow will be a slower school day around here, a busy comm central day, and a busy travel day as well!

October 22, 2023

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  • When I got up this morning, I started on peeling potatoes for tonight's soup. Then I moved on to the dishes, waking up the kids, and a bit of the laundry before I hurried off to take my shower. By the time I finished my shower and got ready, I just had 13 minutes to dry my hair before we needed to leave.
  • I put Whitman to work helping me get the Sunday school room ready. We had almost 20 first graders today, and I think that I might just be losing my patience with children or maybe just with all people in general. During opening time, the kids were put into groups to play Bingo-by the end there were tears about not winning a prize and not even getting to put a piece on the card. So my Sunday school lesson began with "we don't come to church for prizes, we come to church to learn about Jesus." And then we moved on to the weekly "we are first graders now and don't fuss and cry at church."
  • I then scurried from Sunday school to worship care. Thankfully, there were not a ton of kids in our little room plus they were all very easy going. Originally, I was going to have to take Campbell to a birthday party on my way to Grannymom's house for lunch, but Campbell was able to get a ride so that was one less trip for me.
  • We ate and visited for a little bit, but then left since the afternoon was filled with sporting things. The boys ran home and changed before going to play basketball with some friends. I left with Reagan to go to her soccer game (Campbell was skipping because of her birthday party/pumpkin patch that she was at.)
  • Reagan's team tied: 4-4. We then rushed home so she could go to the U at Rock Creek with the boys. I then left to take Keaton to her life group. Well, it wasn't her life group-she crashed anther life group tonight since hers was cancelled. Then I picked up Campbell and hurried home to help Robby with supper.
  • The Wilsons then came over for suppre as the Rock Creek kids came home. Then we made Anderson leave to go and pick up Keaton, and Reagan left to go to her house sitting job for the night. We had potato soup and cornbread for supper along with some brownies. 
  • It is now time for bed for this crew-and I am pretty exhausted myself!

October 21, 2023

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  • Robby and I were both awake early this morning, but we tried not to get out of bed as long as we could. When we did start moving, he went outside to start working on making sure all of the tires were good. I started on my laundry and dishes.
  • Then I did sit down to read my book for a little bit. I pretty much read a bit, napped a bit, and then worked a bit most of the day long. I probably did more reading than really anything else though so it was a perfect day.
  • Reagan came home sometime around 11, I think. By that time we were watching the Hogs play their football game. During half time I unloaded about 4 laundry baskets of things to take to the camper. Then when the game was over, Reagan and I worked on her essay a bit more. She has one due while we are gone, and I am working hard to move her along so that is one less thing go think about while traveling.
  • We were going to go to the grocery store this afternoon, but instead Robby was able to have a grocery ordered delivered, but we still had to get out for our free daily tacos plus Keaton had a free item from Bath and Body. Plus we returned some library books as well.
  • We were then home long enough for me to take another nap before we left to go and celebrate Pops' 77th birthday. They had two different kinds of cake plus brownies. We ate our fill of sweets for sure.
  • When we made it home, Anderson was home from his weekend trip. He had fun in Mountain View and ate some good food. He was enjoying vegging out in the bonus room and catching up on his show, but he did stop to tell me all of the details.
  • Tonight the kids have been cycling through the showers, and I am trying to mentally prepare myself of the next few days.  

October 20, 2023

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  • We started our morning off with a good lesson on "bureaucracy" for Reagan and Graham. Robby used that word the other day while discussing the mounds of paperwork that Reagan was having to fill out. I was sitting by Reagan and saw her google what that meant-today, we had the real life experience of it.
  • Our first stop was at the Department of Human Services so Reagan could get her fingerprints done. She is adding a job on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons tutoring, and there has been quite a bit of things to do before she can start.
  • I was sweating it because I was getting worried that we were going to be late to our next appointment which was Graham's driving test. We went in the office and then Graham sat in the car waiting for his turn. Reagan and I sat on the curb watching all of the excitement-well, half of the time we had to look away because we couldn't stand to watch all of the drivers try to back out.
  • Graham did well and passed-thanks to a lot of prayers being sent up. So we went back into the DMV one more time before heading to the Revenue office.
  • When we arrived there, we took a number (a lesson of the day for the kids). It didn't take long for me to realize that they were 40 numbers from ours, but at least it moved quickly. When it was finally our turn, Graham got his license, and Reagan had to renew her license. (It is a racket-teenagers have to renew at 16, 18, and 21).
  • Once all of those things were accomplished, we celebrated with picking up ChickFilA for their lunch. They weren't home long before they had to leave for work. 
  • I have briefly text Anderson off and on today. They went through Blanchard Springs Cavern today and walked around the town of Mountain Home. Also they had Mexican for supper, and that is the extent of the information that I have gleaned from him today.
  • When Graham did finish with work today, he asked if I could take him to play basketball so that is where we headed next. I wasn't sure how long he would be there, so I took some things for me to do. I read, a worked on school for next semester, and I called Reagan and we worked on a few things of hers. Then I went back to reading for just a few minutes until Graham finished.
  • Campbell made reeces peanut butter cups today, and Keaton made tortillini for her supper. Even though they had been gone all day long, we couldn't get them to go with Robby and me tonight. We ran to Costco, Kroger and got those free Taco Bell tacos for the day.
  • Reagan has now left to do some dog sitting while I am trying to decide exactly what I want for dessert tonight!

October 19, 2023

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  •  When I went upstairs this morning to wake up Anderson, his alarm clock was already ringing-except he wasn't getting up to turn it off nor was anyone else stirring in their room. He eventually did wake up and was about to head out when Robby wrote saying that he was almost home.
  • Robby had been at Dgroup this morning in the minivan and had lost track of time. Anderson had some extra time built in so he was fine and not late to his class. After that, I started working with the others, and soon Reagan and Graham left for their classes.
  • Sometime this morning Robby discovered that the generator wasn't working in the camper. That added a lot of uncertainty to the day and to the trip which I am already packing for. Robby figured it all out around lunch time, and he was so relieved. Even with him getting it fixed (the house battery or batteries were bad) it still took a few years off of his life.
  • We have run all over creation today it seems. Since Anderson had a test this afternoon, Robby had to pick up Graham. Then I took Graham to play basketball in Bryant. Campbell, Keaton, and Whitman went with me as well so we stopped at Defy on the way home along with Taco Bell for our free tacos.
  • At about that time, Robby dropped Anderson off. He went on a weekend trip with his friend to Mountain View. Then Robby picked up Graham and supper on the way home. We had our supper, and Robby finished reinstalling the new camper batteries.
  • I played a few rounds of pickleball before I went to meet Robby at Kroger to fill up the cars with gas. We ran into the store to get a few things so we can get by through the weekend. The snacks have now been pulled out, and I am going to try to start reading my book. I started to read while at Defy, but I was so distracted that I couldn't!

October 18, 2023

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  • I was pretty awake last night so it was fairly late before I went to sleep, but thankfully, today was not an early morning for us. Anderson and Graham were easier to wake up than everyone else this morning. Campbell and Keaton did come downstairs with me only going up there once, but it took two trips to get Whitman out of bed.
  • Campbell and Keaton made muffins after we read together. I think that everyone had one. Usually when Whitman eats breakfast, he is more awake while we are reading together so I was worried that if he didn't have breakfast then he would go back to sleep, but he did stay awake today-I guess he was just day dreaming about those muffins.
  • Graham and Reagan go to work at noon on Wednesdays so they can come home before Reagan has to go back for her Dgroup. When they left I was still working on school with Whitman, but after that I didn't have too much more to do today.
  • Well, I guess that isn't true-I was busy the whole day long-mostly pulling out the kids school for next week and the next plus gathering a few things to take on the trip for them to do. It can get a little bit complicated for sure. 
  • Soon we were headed to church tonight. Campbell, Keaton, and Graham all left early with Reagan so that just left Whitman, Anderson, and me going in the second car. I had gone to the library yesterday so I didn't have to go again this afternoon.
  • After church, some of the kids had pizza while I devoured some cheese dip. The big boys did some weight lifting in the garage-that has become their hang out area! I'm trying to now decide if I lay my head down for a quick nap or if I read some of my book.

October 17, 2023

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  •  This Tuesday morning, I wasn't the greatest mom since I didn't wake up to make sure that Reagan and Graham were awake for their Bible study. I did set my alarm to go off right when they were supposed to leave, so when my alarm did go off, I heard Robby tell me that they had just left. He wasn't up being a great dad either-we were able to tell that they left because the garage door had just gone up and gone down which we had seen on our phones.
  • They went to Bible study, and very soon afterwards, I was waking up Anderson so he could go to his class. I think that he left a little bit early-I just asked him and he said that he realized that he left early when he arrived in his class and the lights were still off.
  • Reagan and Graham came home as I was reading to the others. They were here for a bit but then left again before we finished reading. After reading, the little three were able to knock out a lot of school work since it was fairly quiet. Whitman and I still ended up doing spelling after lunch, but that makes him happy so it isn't worth the fight.
  • After spelling with Whitman and bit of math with Anderson, Graham and I were off for some driving practice. I have scheduled the driving portion of his driving test for Friday. I had worried that I might have scheduled it a bit prematurely, but after today's driving I felt a bit better. He drove me to the library and then made the driving test loop twice.
  • Reagan was home when we came home. She received her acceptance box for Ouachita, but she wouldn't let me take her picture this afternoon. Maybe she will tonight, but she has suggested that I take it on Friday when she looks nice since she also had to go to the DMV to get her driver's license renewed.
  • At home tonight, Robby made mozzarella sticks along with fries and chicken. We all ate but supper broke up kind of quickly because the kids were anxious to get to the pickleball court-aka the driveway.
  • I was just telling Robby that this is why I like winter nights-we have eaten supper together, played pickleball, and are now sitting on the couch, and it is only 8. How wonderful is that. I am actually trying not to start planning science for the next year, but it is super difficult for me!

October 16, 2023

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  • After taking a break from school on Thursday, and since I was camping all weekend long, today was like coming back from a vacation-that's not a good thing on a Monday morning when we have to do school. 
  • However, we all survived. School just takes a bit longer these days, and I end up doing it at different times. Whitman also felt a bit frustrated today-I guess he had too much fun this weekend doing nothing at all which made doing a pile of school a bit more difficult. 
  • Whitman just takes forever with math even though what he is doing right now, he knows how to do it well. Campbell might just be my new math genius since she is quick to pick up on things. Keaton continues to do her work in the evening while Reagan does hers even later than Keaton-well after we have all gone to bed. And Anderson and Graham, well, they are on the minimal school plan-just do as much as you can get by with.
  • Graham and Reagan left a bit before 1 to go to work and that is when I started spelling with Whitman and math with Anderson. After that though, I was able to do a few things on my list. Somehow though I didn't get a whole lot accomplished, but I was able to do a few fun things from my list-like planning some of next year's school.
  • Soon it was time for Anderson to go to Raymar to get ready for the last football game. We decided that we would all just go with him since there wasn't too much of a reason to take 2 cars. We did leave Whitman at home for an hour until Graham came home from work. Reagan came home too, but she immediately left for soccer practice which Campbell skipped to go to the game tonight.
  • Tonight was the last football game, and since it was just two games happening at once it was fairly slow in the concession stand. Anderson stayed a bit late to help clean up, and then it was time for us to head him. We stopped at ChickFilA for supper for most of the kids-Whitman opted for a pizza from home while Robby and I ate leftover cheese dip.
  • Now most people are quite upstairs and Whitman is already thinking about his evening snack!

October 15, 2023-Long Weekend at Maumelle Park

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Whitman and I left the campground this morning a bit earlier than we would normally leave on a Sunday morning, and the kids at home left the house a bit later than we would normally leave on a Sunday morning. I had further to drive which is why I left earlier, and they didn't have to be there early for me so they left to just arrive on time.

Robby left the campground fairly soon after Whitman and I left this morning. He stopped at the grocery store since we were pretty out of milk at home and have been off and on for a while. Then he did some speed unpacking of the camper. It was a little bit easier to do it today since there were far less people and far less sand.

Keaton had spent the night at the Crafts house and joined us at church. Campbell did worship care and then joined Reagan and Keaton after church at their service project. The girls all made jump ropes out of tshirts to put in the Operation Christmas Child boxes this afternoon.

The boys, Robby, and I all met up at Nonna and Pops' house for our Sunday lunch. They had bbq and all the things plus some delicious desserts. I think that Whitman missed his brothers because he was ready to play with them this afternoon. They played outside and Nonna's house, and then Whitman and Anderson sat beside each other for a long time on the couch playing their devices.

The girls came home while Robby and I were cleaning the camper. We finished that, and then I had a short nap. I wasn't asleep for long because Whitman and I left for his lifegroup. They had pizza at Raymar, played on the playground, and then we all went to different neighborhoods to pass out flyers to advertise for Fall Fest. And then finally they ended the chilly evening with popsicles.

Anderson, Graham, Campbell, and Keaton left next to go to Rock Creek for church. Reagan left soon after to go to her senior lifegroup. It was definitely a day filled with church things for this crew-I don't know what could be better than that.

We then met up with the Rock Creek kids at the Wilson's house for our Sunday night supper. Shannon had leftover chili and baked potatoes, and I think that everyone enjoyed that meal once again. We left around 9, so I worked on my list some until Reagan came home and then I tried to work on finishing the blog a bit before bedtime.

October 14, 2023-Long Weekend at Maumelle Park

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My morning started with my alarm going off so I could meet Anderson, Campbell, and Keaton at Raymar. They had all arrived early so Anderson could set up for this last Saturday game. Since it was so cold, the concession stand stayed incredibly busy selling out of everything that was warm-ChickFilA, coffee and hot chocolate.

Campbell enjoyed Raymar because she can see quite a few people there, but I think that Keaton really enjoys the concession stand. She can keep that place moving-there are a good amount of kids that I have seen work in the concession stand over the last few seasons, and I will say that Keaton has it down and can keep the line moving. Not that I want her to be in food service when she grows up, but she would excel at it.

I left before the games were over, so I wasn't able to tell Anderson bye, but I did hear that they stopped at ChickFilA on the way home. I haven't heard much from Graham today except that I do believe that he made some type of chicken tonight for supper. I also didn't hear much from Reagan except she took Keaton to a birthday party this evening.

I made it home just after the Robby and Whitman were finished looking at the eclipse. We didn't have official glasses so it wasn't that grand. However, it was still fairly interesting and has helped to get us excited about next years larger eclipse.

I joined Robby and Whitman at the Wilson's camper to watch the rest of the ballgame and to eat lunch. It was fairly windy out so I did use my blanket which was nice. We later had a walk along with a nap before supper time. 

Tonight's supper was baked potatoes, chili and hot dogs. It was quite a the spread for sure. We say by the fire enjoying the heat until everyone else had left. Then we went to town cleaning up and putting things away. Whitman and I will go to church in the morning while Robby packs up here and heads home. 

October 13, 2023-Long Weekend at Maumelle Park

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The non campers had a fairly restful morning this morning. Graham and Reagan went to work this afternoon. Graham and Anderson ordered a weight bench so it finally came in this afternoon. Graham had given Anderson the go ahead to put it together, and it took Anderson with a bit of help from Campbell and Keaton most of the afternoon to put it together. 

We spied on them with the garage camera working on the bench. Then when Graham did get home, we saw the kids alternating between lifting weights and playing basketball. Around 5:30, they loaded up and came to see us for supper.

Robby, Whitman, and I did really nothing at all today! When Whitman woke up, I again asked him what he wanted to do today, and he again replied, "nothing." So I guess that he got his wish. We walked Bentley this morning for quite a bit-and I guess that made this dog pretty tired. Well, she started off sleeping all morning long too. When Robby and I got out of bed this morning, she just moved to his spot and went right back to sleep.

We took a nap this afternoon, and then it was time for supper. All of the Rock Creek campers joined together at the Wilson's camper for bbq sandwiches, potatoes salad, beans, slaw, and everything else that you can think of. 

Robby eventually made a fire so Whitman could eat the one camping food that he had requested-S'mores. Some of our big kids made some, and then they headed home. When they left, Whitman went inside, but Robby and I stayed out chatting for a good while before we finally picked up things and headed in for the evening.

October 12, 2023-Long Weekend at Maumelle Park

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First we will begin with those who weren't camping this week. Anderson's first class was cancelled so he went to class at the same time as Reagan and Graham. Anderson and Graham weren't there as long as Reagan, and on their way home, they stopped by Nonna and Pops' house for a little bit. They had quesadillas for lunch and helped Pops move a load of wood. 

Now, I am very glad that they had quesadillas. One busy day Graham came home from school asking if we could go to Nonna's house so she could make him a quesadilla. I told him no and offered to make him a quesadilla myself. He seemed not thrilled about that idea and chose something else for his lunch. 

Reagan came home much later, but ended her night working at church keeping kids. She has found out that she makes more there per hour than anywhere else, so she really tries to help now when she is asked. Keaton spent her day cooking-no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies, chicken nuggets, red lobster biscuits and mashed potatoes. 

And Campbell must have had a good day as well. We had her go and get a box that was delivered outside today. She asked if she could open it, and I told her that it was indeed hers-a computer. Robby has heard her having to wait for mine lately so when a good deal appeared he got her one. She was quick to set it up as soon as she opened the box.

Now for the camper: we slept in a little bit today. While Robby was computering, I was able to read a good bit. Whitman slept for the longest time this morning. When he did wake up, I asked him what he wanted to do today, and he suggested "nothing." So that is pretty much what we did.

Of course we took Bentley on a few walks. We really didn't go far-the weather was so dreary today. I usually love the cloudy weather, but not today. I just wanted the sun to come out. It felt so overcast, that I didn't want to do anything outside so we didn't.

Instead we went to Kroger to buy ingredients to make the no bake oatmeal cookies. We also stopped at Taco Bell to get our free tacos for the day. Then we came home to start baking. We had the same problem that Keaton had tonight-we followed the recipe but I guess we didn't let the mixture boil long enough because the cookies were super gooey. We still ate quite a few, but Robby was frustrated at our lack of cooking skills. (That feeling is nothing new to me!)

Thankfully, we did well on supper though-we made cheese dip which was delicious along with mozzarella sticks and fries. It was a snacky supper, but I think those are the best kinds. We stayed out and visited until after 10. Then it was one more short walk for Bentley before coming in and calling it a night. 

Actually, we didn't call it a night that quickly. Whitman had some ice cream and then some medicine-I think his allergies are bothering him. We washed some dishes, I chatted with some of the kids, and next I will take my shower.

October 11, 2023-Long Weekend at Maumelle Park

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  • This morning when I was getting ready, Robby gave me a panic asking if Anderson was leaving for school. It didn't take me too long to remember that today was Wednesday and no one had to leave the house until noon.
  • We started work this morning while Anderson was taking his math test. For some reason he has a lighter load today and this week. Graham and he ordered some weights last night, so Anderson was anxious for me to take him to North Little Rock this afternoon to pick them up. He never really asks for much or gets too excited about things, but he was pretty pleased about this. 
  • Reagan and Graham went to work while we did the last minute things to the camper. I tried to remember to pack all that I would think that we need, but it is difficult to be too motivated about packing when you are so near the house and so near a Walmart.
  • When Reagan came home, she left right again to go to her Bible study at church. Of course Campbell and Keaton went along with her since they didn't want to miss out on any visiting time. 
  • The boys and I were not too far behind them since we had to stop at the library on the way there. I just love the library, but I sure didn't have many books to pick up today. 
  • Church was tonight-Wednesday nights are the favorite night of the week for the kids. There was a lot of kids there tonight. After church, I worked on my classroom for Sunday morning, and then I found Whitman and said goodbye to the kids.
  • Whitman and I then headed to Maumelle Park to meet up with Robby and the Wilsons for our little weekend of camping. They had already all eaten supper, but they had saved us some-chicken wings, fries, onion rings, and corn plus quite a few desserts-I was starving!
  • After eating and visiting, we walked the dogs for a bit and then called it a night-I have about 100 pages of my book left so I will see if I can read it this evening!

October 10, 2023

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  • Reagan and Graham left super early this morning for their Bible study. Reagan did bring me back half of a slice of banana bread. I had a tiny piece and offered it to Whitman, but before he could get any, I ate it all-I was hungry or it was good.
  • By this time Anderson was already at school, and I was reading with Whitman, Keaton, and Campbell. We finished one library book today, and thankfully I don't have many to pick up tomorrow. 
  • Everyone then started on their school work-and there is just something about Tuesdays. The house is pretty quiet, and things just go smoothly. Now, Whitman still wasn't moving quickly today at all-it was after 1 when I finally made it around to working on his spelling with him. 
  • This afternoon I helped Reagan and Anderson with some school work, but we also took the little 3 to Defy for a little bit. On the way home, we picked up today's Taco Bell.
  • That fed 2 people for supper-and since three cars needed gas we headed to Kroger. Anderson drove and so did Robby and I. We then went to Costco to pick up some water, sweet potato fries for the kids and since we were there we went ahead and got just one pizza for our supper. 
  • Along with the pizza, tonight was an own your own night. I couldn't find anything that I really wanted, so I just ate some pizza and am looking forward to some ice cream later!

October 9, 2023

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  • Robby and I could not sleep last night-well, he slept for a little bit, but I woke him up when I finished reading. I guess I was too noisy putting up my book light. By this time, Bentley was up as well, so then for a while we couldn't go to sleep because she was up or she couldn't go to sleep because we were up.
  • Either way I did almost finish my book, and I wasn't that tired when we did wake up so maybe staying up half the night actually does work for me. And really, I have been pretty productive today too so today has been a win.
  • We started on school on time this morning. The big boys are such a distraction-they are just having the time of their lives in the school room. It makes me crazy, but they do get their work done. I try to not let Whitman be distracted by them, but it is hard-I guess it is just a boy thing.
  • Soon Graham and Reagan were leaving for work this afternoon. Graham went to help take some pictures today, and he said that made the day go by pretty quickly. Anderson had work this afternoon-school work and then football practice at Raymar. 
  • Robby and I took about 8 boxes and 8 full trash bags of things to the Goodwill today. I felt like I had dropped 10 pounds by getting rid of all that stuff. Then we went to Walmart, Sams, Kroger, Bath and Body, and Taco Bell today. The first three we needed things, then Bath and Body I had a few coupons, and finally Taco Bell-well, we had to get our free tacos for the day.
  • Though no one ate the tacos since we were having chicken tacos for supper tonight. They will be eaten tomorrow for lunch though. We started on supper around 7-Anderson was still at Raymar, and Reagan went with Alyssa to a college fair at UALR. She said that Yale was there, but she didn't talk to them. She did talk to the OBU person and the ASU person.
  • We ate without Anderson and Reagan. Then we left the food out and all went outside for some pickle ball. We played until it was almost 9-Reagan and Anderson both came home while we were out playing.
  • Now, they have both had their suppers, and others are working on ice cream for their snacks. I think that we will watch a show in a little bit or I have a new book that I just started.

October 8, 2023

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  • Sunday morning here, and I was a little confused this morning why I never saw Campbell. I had forgotten that she had spent the night at a friend's house. I had seen all of the boys early this morning.
  • I was in the shower when Whitman walked by to put on his Sunday clothes. So that meant that there was no reason for me to get out of the shower since I couldn't get ready because Whitman was putting on his clothes in my closet (that is where his Sunday clothes live.)
  • I stayed in the shower the longest thinking I would see Whitman walk back past me, but I never did so I finally had to get out-he had left the other way. 
  • We did the church thing this morning. All the kids but Whitman sat in the Venue so it was just us downstairs. After church, we went to Grannymom's house for supper. She had the Dennie favorite of pizza along with two different types of pie.
  • We couldn't stay too long because we had to get home since our groceries were being delivered-we finally were able to get the buns that we needed and forgot to buy yesterday. (We bought 3 packages, the girls took 2 to their lifegroup tonight, and they came home with one.)
  • This afternoon I had myself a super nice nap! I had set my alarm to wake up, but instead I hit snooze and slept until the big boys left for Rock Creek. Then Reagan left for her lifegroup, and by that time I knew that it was time for me to wake up since I had to Campbell and Keaton next to their lifegroup.
  • While they were all doing their churchy things, Robby and I worked on supper-pork tenderloin, green beans, biscuits, and augratin potatoes. We ate our Sunday night supper with the Wilsons and visited until it was time for us to start thinking about our Mondays! 

October 7, 2023

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  • I am becoming more thankful for mornings when we don't have to wake up early, and somehow those are seeming less often. This morning was an early morning-6:45 when I went to wake up Anderson. I could already hear Campbell moving above me upstairs. 
  • Anderson said that he was already awake, but he was still laying in his bed so I stared at him until he sat up. Then I went back to my bed for just a few more minutes. I couldn't go back to sleep though so I caught up on my games from last night!
  • Anderson and Campbell headed to Raymar, and Robby and I were not too far behind them. Since it was cold this morning, the people were buying coffee and hot chocolate like crazy. Once I had the hot chocolate water all warmed and ready to go, it went much smoother but it was pretty crazy for a while. I was busy pouring hot liquids until I ran out of coffee and hot chocolate.
  • When football was over, Robby, Campbell and I went to Kroger. Our main goal was to buy hamburger buns, but when we were we decided to buy them from Sams later in the day. We did stop at Taco Bell-Robby and Campbell have bought a pass at Taco Bell to be able to get a free taco every day for the next month. They haven't missed a day yet.
  • Back at home, I did some reading while the kids played rugby outside. Soon it was time to leave again with Campbell leaving to spend the night at a friend's house. We dropped her off and then picked up Grannymom and Grandpa who had been on a trip.
  • We took them home, and then we went to Walmart where we picked up a few things. Afterwards, we ran into Sams. We weren't going to get much but they were handing out trick or treat bags so we walked around the store and trick or treated. We were going to get those buns there but after grabbing guacamole and cheese dip for Reagan plus our bags of candy, our hands were full.
  • We decided to buy the buns at our next stop-Costco. We even put it on the list, and we did get everything from the list except for those stinking buns! The whole reason we went to any of the stores today! Oh, well there is always tomorrow. 
  • We unloaded and started on supper-pizza pretzels from Sams for some, and Costco pizza for the others. Robby and I had some of the cheese dip. Anderson and I did a bit of school work, and then it was time to watch the Hogs play.
  • That is what we are doing currently, and Keaton is stressed that we will not have enough time to watch Amazing Race. We had all had our evening snacks-most everyone had ice cream, but Keaton made her own muddy crisp (her own version of muddy buddies). 

    October 6, 2023

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    • Since most people didn't have any school to do today, it was a rather quiet morning at least for me. Anderson and Graham both had some things to do-and actually they still have some things to do. 
    • Anderson just has a lot of school this year. And Graham does have quite a bit too, but since he leaves for work before 1 on Monday and Friday and before 12 on Wednesday, he is just having a hard time getting things done. I think that he will eventually get the hang of things, but both of the boys aren't like Reagan-she does quite a bit of her school work at night.
    • We all left the house this afternoon-Graham and Reagan went to work, Robby took Anderson to paint the fields and then to a lady's house to work in her yard with some friends, and I took everyone else to Defy for a little bit.
    • We were home for few minutes when it was time to leave again to pick up Anderson and by this time, Keaton had gotten an invite to spend the night at a friend's house so we were able to make one trip-we left sooner that I had told Keaton that we would, and she had just started to organize her drawers so her room was a complete mess. Campbell helped her put it back in a pile, and she packed in second-I hoped she got everything!
    • For supper tonight I made air fryer pizzas for most everyone. It is one of the favorite meals, but since each pizza takes 5-6 minutes to make, it takes me almost a good hour to make supper. I told Robby that I would have been able to make a whole real meal standing in front of the stove in that amount of time.
    • Robby and I are watching rv vidoes on you tube while people keep walking by with their bowls of ice cream. I guess that is my cue to get some as well!

    October 5, 2023

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    • I was the first one awake this morning, but not by too long since Anderson has to leave first on school days. He was up and ate his breakfast while I worked on my laundry and dishes. Since it was raining, I didn't brush Bentley outside so I used the pet vacuum on her. She doesn't like that at all, but she does tolerate it.
    • After Anderson left, it was time for me to start school with the others. Today we just read through a bunch of our library books plus history. I know that I continually talked last spring about struggling to finish history, but I am already thinking about that this year! Surely, we can make up some pages on that book, but not if I continue to check out library books to read as well.
    • Soon the boys were home, and it was time for lunch around here. They asked me to make eggs for them, but I was still doing something so I had to pass. Unfortunately, I can't remember what I was doing, but they were perfectly able to make their own lunch. Anderson did make himself toast, eggs, and sausage.
    • This afternoon Graham drove Robby, Keaton and I to the church house. Robby had to pick up Grannymom's house, and I wanted to work on my Sunday school room for just a minute. Then we met back up at Grannymom's house so I could pick up Robby. Graham drove me there too-we did almost take out a mail box though but no yelling happened so it was still a successful adventure.
    • We came home about the time that Anderson left for football practice. Campbell left with him because she went with some friends to a football game this evening. I am still not really sure about who played this game-I think one school played each other?
    • We went out to eat with the Wilsons in Conway at Toad Suck Bucks. It was an adventure for sure-I had tamales that were good, but I drank so much water since sometimes that helps with my stomach that I was miserable for the rest of the evening even having to go to the bathroom twice at Sams.
    • We came home in time to leave again to go and pick up Campbell for her friend's house. She had a good time at the game of course-she is a social butterfly! So the evening was fairly short. I did help Reagan with some school work, but currently it is bedtime!