“I want to officially change my name to Chaos.”


🙂 I’m so thankful for this life. This is an abundant life. If you ever have to make the decision: 2 kids or 3…3 kids or 4…. I have to tell you GO FOR IT. This has been the hardest, most rewarding, most fun year of my life.  Okay. Yes. I sort of remember. The first 9 months were actually so overwhelming I was borderline depressed the whole time. The arrival of spring was such a turning point for me!  I am loving this ‘big family’ thing so much more, now that I’m not stuck indoors!

While we are somewhere in the middle of this move, somewhere between the old house in the east and the new house in the west, Caleb will turn SEVEN. We’ve already celebrated with Caleb, but I still feel the need to pause and take a minute to talk about the sweet and imaginative little fellow that is our darling Caleb.

Of all my children, Caleb had the shakiest entry into this world. At 9lb 9 oz, the doctor decided to go ahead and induce labor 10 days before my due date. We were worried I wouldn’t be able to push him out, and I almost didn’t. For more on that story click here: Caleb’s birth story.

Caleb is more than just a sweet heart. He has this can-do attitude that I have always just adored. Through each deployment, I always knew that if I found a bug, I could count on Caleb. If I needed the kids to open their own snacks, Caleb could open everyone’s for me. Caleb could drive a power wheel better than some people can drive a car. He just does things.

Now, if he thinks he can’t do a thing, he throws up his hands in despair and doesn’t even make an attempt. In recent years, I have found it important to only let Caleb see a part of the picture at a time. As long as he isn’t over-tired, you can depend on Caleb.

One of my favorite Caleb memories was when Joshua was 4, and Caleb was 3. We were headed home from Pre-school, and I had stopped at a fast food restaurant. Joshua was just throwing a fit because he could not get this toy to pop open. It looked like it should be a two-piece toy. Caleb calmly said, “Here, Joshua, let me see,” and Joshua handed it over. Caleb carefully examined it for a few minutes and tried several things. Finding it to truly be a one-piece toy, Caleb handed it back to Joshua and said very sweetly, “I’m sorry, sweetheart. It just does not open.”

Do you remember when Caleb used to refer to Joshua as ‘sweetheart’? Oh, I loved it. He’d say in his prayers, “Thank you for Mommy, Daddy, and thank you for sweetheart.” BAAAAAHAHAHAAH  Oh, they were the most PRECIOUS little boys!

Well, fast forward a few years. The new thing for Caleb is, of course, Skylanders. I’m not just referring to the game of Skylanders, I’m talking about the little statues.

I am a little embarrassed to admit that between the two of them, Caleb and Joshua have at least 25 Skylanders. Caleb just got 5 or 6 new ones for his birthday, and he is ALL about it. He has this small rubbermaid bin that he keeps all of them in, and at least two Skylanders go everywhere he goes.

I had to draw the line at taking them to school the other day. (You are welcome, Caleb’s teacher.) Unfortunately, I never have been able to catch all the little Lego men, to keep those from going to school with him. The boys in his class totally have a Black Market trading ring going with the little Lego men and Soar cards (which the kids collect for good behavior). Word on the street is that some of these little boys trade each other cards for Lego men.

Now you know Joshua has been into Skylanders for a while now. They just handle it differently. When Joshua has a new obsession, he spends lots of time researching everything he can find on the topic. He has read everything he can get his hands on about his interest. Then he draws it about a billion times. He can tell you the exact date of when this year’s new Skylander game will be released. Actually, so can I. October 5th. I see it written on little scraps of paper all over the house. Thank you, Joshua.

Caleb doesn’t do the research. He has Joshua for that. Instead, Caleb has to play it out. Always has. When it was Toy Story, we had every single toy the stores have made from that movie, and Woody went on vacation with us for 5 years. When it was superheroes, Caleb lived in costume. When it was trains, he had the best train birthday cake ever, two years in a row. To this day, he can build a train track faster than I can.




Joshua used to have way more Skylanders than Caleb, but things are evening out since Caleb’s birthday. Caleb used to have to ask Joshua to play with any of his Skylanders. Nowadays, Caleb carries them all around in a bin, and if Joshua has a friend over, and they are trying to actually play the Skylander video game, they have to beg Caleb for the little statues, which you have to have to play the game.

I heard this from the basement the other day:

Xavier: Caleb, come on! We can’t beat this world without a water element.

Caleb: You can’t have any of the Swap Force. They are going into battle.

(Caleb and Lincoln had every little Skylander arranged into armies, which were too busy with battle to be bothered with the “Portal of Power” –the portal transports the Skylanders into the video game.) Is this confusing? I’m sorry.

Xavier: Please, Caleb!

Caleb: Okay, I guess you can have this one.

A few minutes later, the second grade boys all ran upstairs.

“What are ya’ll doing?” I asked.

“We have to go outside. We can’t play our game because Caleb won’t let us have any of the Skylanders,” Joshua told me, as he followed his friends outside to the trampoline.

When Caleb goes to bed at night, he lines every single one of those little creatures up: across his headboard, across his desk, and if he migrates to my bed in the middle of the night, I will wake up in the morning snuggling one of the things.

Happy Birthday, Caleb! We love you so much!!



Joshua (2) and Caleb (4 months)


10 months

18 months

age 2, chasing pigeons at the Smithsonian


age 3, becoming a big brother


4 years old



5 year old Caleb, welcoming another little brother


6 year old Caleb

and now…..


I just love my Caleb: middle child, Skylander lovin’, imaginative, Elephant & Piggy fan, devoted brother, loyal friend, friendly to everyone, mechanically gifted, self-reliant, home-body, and hilarious little boy!

Caleb is always wanting to change his name to one thing or another.  This week he said, “I want to officially change my name to Chaos.” Chaos is the villain of Skylanders.

***Oh, and one more thing***

John David is so sick right now that his eyes are just little, puffy slits. He is sleeping most of the day as well as most of the night. He gets up just often enough that Alan and I never quite feel rested, even though we are taking turns. For three nights now, we have both spent hours in the recliner with our baby, holding him up while he sleeps. It is the most pitiful thing. I think this is the sickest baby I’ve ever had. His fever peaked the other night at 103. He’s been on antibiotics for two days now, but it hasn’t made much difference. Do you think he could have the flu?

Guess who else is sick? Me. If we do have the same thing, then it isn’t the flu. While I’m pretty miserable at night, I am still functioning. I’ve had the flu before, and it is 1000 times worse, but John David is much, much worse off than I am. If only 11 month olds could take Sudafed! It’s a powerful medicine.

I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t plan to send JD to Alabama because he would not have been able to go anyway.

Meanwhile, how excited am I about the boys’ impending vacation!!?? The three oldest are taking off tomorrow. Many thanks to both of our families for all this babysitting. How would we ever do this without you?

Really, how? I haven’t been able to get too much done this week, but I have BIG plans for this weekend. I’m sure my miserably sick little sidekick won’t slow me down at all……right…..

  • McMom

    I’ve never heard the sweetheart story before, that is so cute. I can’t believe how old he looks in that last picture – he is growing up so much!!! I can’t wait to see him soon (and all of you)! Those Skylanders folks are evil geniuses, with the statues linking to the video game. That is thinking out of the box, for real! I hope you and JD feel better soon. And I hope everyone sleeps well tonight! I wouldn’t give up on the antibiotic yet, maybe it will start helping soon. We are praying for everything to go smoothly for all the aspects of this HUGE move!

  • donna Stephens

    Ditto McMom. Really praying you and John David feel better very soon. Hate it that the little man is so sick. It is really rough when they cannot tell you what hurts.
    We are going to have a fun week with the big boys. Looking so forward to it!

    • I told JD tonight, before I put him to bed, “don’t you worry, JD, there will be prayers said for you tonight because I wrote about you on my blog. ” I fully expect his fever to break tomorrow. Thanks for the prayers!

  • What a beautiful family you have, and I must say from everything i habe read, your children are blessed to have such a wonderful mom. I hope you and your little one are feeling better soon, I know how scary it is when they get those high fevers. I’ll be praying for both of you. 😉

  • Bibby Cunningham

    Can’t wait to see all of you. The boys are growing so fast. I pray that you and John David get a good night of sleep tonight. It will be hard for the older boys to leave a mommy and little baby not feeling up to par. Take care, and love to all.

  • What an adorable chaotic family you have!!

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