Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

You know it was a happy spring break when it takes you 3 weeks (ish) and 4 separate blog posts to finish writing about it.  This was that sort of year, and if you missed the first few parts, you can catch up here:

Part I– The Shirt War

Part II– The Funny Stuff

Part III– Legoland Discovery Center


Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

We now live in Georgia, so we decided it was time to re-visit Callaway Gardens. It has been 15 years since we were there before. 15 years ago to the day we re-visited, almost. Alan proposed to me on March 25, 2002, on the lake beach there. We returned on March 26, 2017. Pretty cool, huh?

Us, 2002, Callaway Butterfly Gardens. He proposed on the beach there.

We enjoyed re-enacting it for the boys. Caleb took pictures for you, but I didn’t like how I looked,so those will be on the blog never…

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Daniel, taking off for that beach.

The boys were all supremely disappointed that they didn’t have their swimsuits with them, but it was a touch chilly for swimming still, and we wanted to scope out the whole place that day. We can go back to swim anytime.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Ever since we left California, and my beloved Point Lobos, I have had no place here to go and just revel in the beauty of nature. Actually, my back yard is pretty awesome because I do see red cardinals and an occasional snake (*shudder*), and I find little brown balls that lead me to believe that deer are occasionally jumping our fence, but Callaway goes beyond that.

Here at Callaway, our little family was all at peace and excitement, as we hiked the trails, visited the butterflies, and even got to see a captive falcon with a wingspan as big as me!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Caleb will tell you. Everyone in our family knows it. It is not possible to take Caleb anywhere that there is water of any kind and bring him home dry. He will always be beckoned in so far that he will always leave soggy. We love that about him.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

This was a half-mile trail, but in the southern heat, it feels like more. Thankfully, some of it is shaded. I loved it. Absolutely loved it. It felt like home to me.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Me, feeling like I’d found my new Pt. Lobos.

There is something about being outdoors that is nourishing not only to your body but to the depths of your soul.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Friends, come visit us. We will take you on this trail.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

There is something splendid about a boardwalk over water, and yes, there were turtles and fish to gaze at.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I was also reminded why, by the time I was a teenager, I thought I didn’t love being outside. When you grow up in the South, MOSQUITOS reign! Yeah, wear bug repellent if you do anything like what we were doing here. And sweat, of course, sweat. Mosquitos and sweat. Still worth it though.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

I don’t think a person can look at a bed of tulips without feeling a little better.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

A small dogwood tree! How I’ve missed dogwoods!!

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

outside the butterfly center

Normally, tons of azaleas would have been in bloom, but a week prior a cold front had come through and killed all the azaleas at my house that were blooming or budding, so there were none. I also read that azaleas bloomed early at Callaway this year. That would have been such a beautiful sight to behold, but alas, we missed it. A week later the late azaleas did finally show off in our area, so that was some comfort.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The 4 of us squeezed onto a swing. They have a dozen of these swings outside the butterfly center. Now you know I love me a good swing.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

inside the butterfly center

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The butterflies were of course all over, and we were all excited to be a part of it…..except John David. JD sort of whimpered the whole time and got all sorts of freaked out if a butterfly flew anywhere near him, and so our time in the Butterfly Center was cut short.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

After a butterfly actually landed on my hand for a few minutes, the boys took to trying extra hard to get one to land on them.

But alas, it never happened. Sorry boys.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

JD, in panic mode…Butterflies are apparently terrifying.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

watching an educational film on butterflies

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

The boys all took turns carrying each other on their backs, and how sweet are these 2?

Daniel kept picking John David up and carrying him, and JD only weighs 10 pounds less than Dan, so we started referring to Daniel as the ant man.

Exploring Callaway Gardens: Where Daddy Proposed

My camera phone died before I got to photograph the giant bridge with the water, over by the Discovery Center, which is one of the most beautiful parts. Next time! Because you know there will be a next time!!


“A cheerful heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”  Psalm 17:22


“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”        Psalm 19:1

And now it’s back to work. I hope you all manage to squeeze in a little sunshine time today.

********Don’t forget to enter the Bottle Flip Game giveaway! It ends Tuesday night at 11:59pm!!**********

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“I’m from fudge and eyeglasses.”


Yes, that is DaddyO in a Sheldon t-shirt. Gotta love it!

This past weekend the boys and I headed to a family reunion in Georgia. We rode along with Alan’s parents. It was Nonna, Dan, JD, and me in one car and DaddyO, Joshua, and Caleb in DaddyO’s truck. It was a 5 hour trip. THANKFULLY, it went surprisingly well. No problems at all. Wahoo!!!!

We used to all get together the day after Christmas, but since Christmas has become so hectic for everyone, this side of the family moved the gathering to summer time. This was the second year that we all gathered at Magnolia Springs State Park. I believe it was also the second year that it rained most of the time. No biggie. We still had a great time.

Thank you so much, DaddyO and Fran for sharing the family stories and traditions. Fran, when you went around telling us “We’re going to play a little game, but if you don’t want to participate, you don’t have to, just please don’t laugh…” many were thinking, “What in the world is she talking about?” Ha!!  But this was really fun and interesting.

For those who weren’t there, let me explain. Alan’s Aunt Fran brought a famous poem and read it to us, and then we all made our own version of it and shared it with the group.  Fran made it super easy for us by just copying the poem, only taking out the specifics for us to fill in our own blanks. This is another activity I will have to remember for when the boys get a little bit older! It was a good way to learn a little more about each other.

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.


grandmother time


IMG_4029 There’s only one thing cuter than a baby: 2 babies!!!IMG_4033  or 3!!

How many people can you squeeze into a three bedroom cabin??  We packed in 11. Yep. I counted Amy’s pregnancy. 😉 Now, in our defense, these rooms are huge. Each bedroom has 2 full size beds. It will sleep 12 even!

Of course, that does mean I had to share my room with one little boy and one baby. Little boys aren’t so bad, but JD turned out to be a pretty horrible room mate, which is why I never choose to sleep in the same room with him. This weekend was definitely a form of sleep torture for me.


On Saturday, we met up with the rest of the family. The boys loved this. They quickly formed a spy club. They even separated themselves into two teams. It was adorable.IMG_4038



taking a vote…..the yeses wonIMG_4045

 the A team 🙂


wiffle ball and cornhole




Nice selfie, Jay


Joshua, eagerly waiting for all of the family to arriveIMG_4051

DaddyO gave us all an overview of some of his family ancestry research findings. This was all very interesting. This side of the family hails mostly from Great Britain and boasts Johnny Cash as a relative. They have ancestors that fought bravely for the South in the Civil War. That’s about all I can remember…

You can also see Jay and JD in the background of the above photo. Jay was wonderful about carrying little JD around, which was such a great break for me. Thank you so much, Jay!!



Well, at least one person was ready for this photo! 🙂 IMG_4055

Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the big boys!!

We took all the boys to the playground. As soon as I arrived, little Dan slid down a slide with a giant puddle and soaked his pants. This greatly upset him, so I took him back and changed his clothes. Our cabin was about a mile from the playground, but Dan begged me to go back to the playground once he was changed. Never considering the sky full of giant, gray clouds, I said, “Sure,” piled Dan into the stroller, and set off. About halfway there, the bottom fell out. Yep. You should have seen me, soaking wet, pushing an umbrella stroller, and running in the rain. Oh, and did I mention I had just eaten more than my share of banana bread??  I was one hot, nauseous mess when that was over.

I changed shirts and carried on. Dan, who had simply been riding in the stroller, conked out in bed. Sometimes I wish I were 3.



JD says, “Let’s get this party started!!”


Nonna and Val and the dueling plastic game thingy

Aunt Frannie brought this box full of toys and trinkets and whipped it out Saturday night. It contained things like balloons, balls that will stick to the wall, slingshot monkey, rattly plastic teeth. You wouldn’t believe how well this entertained us all! DaddyO later explained to me that this was an idea she got from their dad. When they were young, their dad received a promotional box of toys for a few years from his job, where he worked as a purchasing agent. (I hope I got all of that right!! Feel free to add details in the comments!) Of course, that was Alan’s grandfather’s second profession, before that he was an Army officer. How history does repeat itself!

Fran, I thought this was an awesome idea, which I will take with me to each duty station, and whip out for our own parties!! We do enjoy entertaining.

I think this photo is so beautiful!!


Do you see the gator? Joshua got out an animal book and did his research yesterday. The bottom teeth on an alligator do not show when their mouth is closed, but on a crocodile they do. Joshua wrote all of this out for us and drew us a diagram–all of his own accord. Nope. I don’t think home-schooling boy #1 will be too hard–as long as we study animals everyday. Ha! No, obviously we can’t do that, but I do plan to have lots of animals books available to him for his silent reading time.



Oh the sweetness!! The babies enjoyed the attention from their beautiful older cousin.


We were sitting on the porch, and Amy said, “April, you are the only woman of child bearing age on this porch that is not pregnant.” Hallelujah! I love babies, but it’s time for a break!! We had three second trimester mommas present this weekend–all due within a month of each other!


The oreo game!! The object is to be the 1st to get the cookie from your forehead to your mouth.


Yes!!!  2nd place!!!

Hey, I get it. This is how I feel when I complete a 5K. Who needs to win?


Beth wins it!


Melody called this photo ‘the remnant’ photo. We took this Sunday morning. It was just all of us out-of-town cabin dwellers. IMG_4058

saying good-byesIMG_4059  IMG_4061

We all thoroughly enjoyed this. We only get to see this side of the family once a year. Wish it could be more often!!

“I am from those moments

snapped before I budded

leaf-fall from the family tree”

–poem excerpt from Where I’m From, a poem by George Ella Lyon

For the complete poem, please visit his website: www.georgeellalyon.com/where.html