My 32nd Birthday: 24 Weeks Pregnant with My 4th Son

Today’s Snow Day was pretty awesome, except that there was no snow to play in once the snowing stopped.  It snowed for about 18 hours straight, and yet it was too warm for accumulation past 11am.  This works out nicely though.  Everyone got to stay home, and yet Alan was able to safely run errands.  Plus tomorrow’s road conditions should be perfectly fine.  Happy birthday to me!
  Ya’ll, today was thoroughly exhausting!  It seems like everyday is exhausting lately.  That’s right.   I am beginning to feel PREGNANT!
I am 24 weeks now, and I look huge.  I have pictures, and I hope they do not shock you too much b/c “pregnant April” is back.  I have now gained a full 20 pounds.  I even pulled out some of my bigger pregnancy clothes today and put them in my closet.  I have decided to make peace with the whole being huge thing, vowing constantly that this is the last time!
  So today was my birthday, and it was a good one.  The boys drew me adorable pictures.  Alan bought me gifts, a cake, and flowers.  He gave me two of the Willow Tree figurines that I like so much.  Plus, my new tablet was also a birthday gift.  Thank you to all of you for the well wishes, birthday cards, and gifts!
   I had to retire my second work-out routine of the pregnancy this week.  First, I gave up running at 20 weeks.  Now I’m giving up “Super Fit Mama”.  It gives me this strained muscle in my right upper back every time I do it!  So for now I am sticking with Denise Austin dance DVD, walking, and my Fit Pregnancy workout DVDs.
We spent most of the day rearranging storage and cleaning out closets, in preparation for “the baby.”  Isn’t it funny how much time is spent preparing room for a person that is literally the size of a large pot roast!?  And yet, it is necessary.  They have so much gear in the beginning!  All in the name of parenthood survival, of course!


This is our first almost 2 year old we’ve ever had that knows exactly what to do with a baseball mitt.  This boy is ready to play some ball!
Again, this is the basement playroom, where we allow complete untidy-ness….


my birthday cake….after we’d had a little…  I did love how girly it was!
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  24 weeks, and yes, I get much bigger than this….


Obviously, this was a very posed picture of me with my birthday bouquet.  I included all these pics because A.)  Alan put together three different bouquets to make this uniquely lovely one.  And also B.) Alan kept making fun of my fake “picture smile.”  He had me laughing pretty hard as he tried to get a photograph of my “real smile.”  Ha!  Well, it’s hard!  Do I need to whip out poor Joshua’s version of a fake smile for school pictures last year?  That was pretty hilarious, and yet totally understandable!
Daniel’s version of a photo fake smile is actually pretty awesome!
another box of things we had failed to unpack in three moves….
Here’s the thing about raising boys.  Do you see this lizard?  It’s not real, but it looks SO REAL, and they know it freaks me out.  Therefore, Alan and Caleb both use it to freak me out on a regular basis.  Oh, and when I vacuum I don’t even move the thing b/c I dislike it so much that I refuse to touch the thing.  Even worse, do you know where it came from, suddenly into our lives???  Alan found it in a parking lot, abandoned!  Yuck!





Yeah, all that packing paper was a huge hit with Dan.


Look what else I found!!!  My college ID card.


Over the years photo.  Unintentionally, I have taken an endless amount of pictures of the boys sitting in this recliner together.  I know I probably only have a few more years of them doing this, but you know I will insist they pose like this until they are 18….  ; )  Of course, this was not posed.  This is everyone’s favorite chair b/c leather furniture is COLD (bleh).  They were eating popcorn and watching Toy Story, a timeless classic.


I also found this sampler, stitched by my ‘Maw-Maw’ and reframed it.   I was surprised to see that it was actually just done in 1984, which I thought to be rather recent, but then I realized how “old” my children will think that that is!!!


Daniel, with his favorite hobby:  duplo blocks.  He just got a whole bunch of new ones from our neighbors, when they cleaned out their basement.  He is loving it!
We never actually got to play in the snow b/c we had a wintery mix all day long, and now most of it is melted.  Oh well.  It was nice to have everyone home today.












Aughhhhhhh!!!! Daniel!!!!!!!! Confessions of a Toddler Mom

  Many of you remember the great escapades that were accomplished by Caleb as a 2 and 3 year old…..throwing raw eggs, tiger striping the office, naked trampoline jumping, naked running through the front yard, falling into various types of rodent traps…….hmm on second thought, maybe Daniel isn’t so bad…..

Over the years Caleb has mellowed greatly.  He still likes to study how things work, live in pajamas, be naked, and use markers, but he has a greater understanding now of when certain things are appropriate and when they are not.

Plus, Alan instituted a rule that every time you say the words poo-poo or fart, you have to go wash your hands.  Since our boys think hand washing is an act of horror, we have seen a fantastic improvement in Caleb’s vocabulary.  Way to go, Alan!!!!

……As Caleb has finally mellowed into a darling five-year-old who makes friends everywhere he goes, enter DANIEL.

Man, did Dan give me a run for my money today!  Here is a list of his accomplishments, from just today:

  1. Used child-proof medicine bottles as rattles.  (It was a storage shifting situation.  Please don’t freak out, call CPS, or send me emails…..)  I replaced them with actual rattles.
  1. found a bag of his favorite Halls cough drops, unwrapped a couple and ate them, emptied the rest of the bag into the floor while he worked on unwrapping more…..until I discovered him.  I took him downstairs and gave him some actual food.  He devouredhis yogurt.

  1. emptied an ice cream bucket of Legos into the floor.  Nothing unusual.  He does that every day.  It’s the only way I know how to keep him busy so I can cook dinner!

  1. finger painted with chocolate pudding:  painted his booster seat, his body, his clothes, and his place at the table.  Not much of the pudding was actually consumed.

Would you believe this is an actual recommended activity in this “Busy Toddlers” book that I paid money for!?  I don’t care how ‘enriching’ this experience was.  It was a MESS, and the amount of time it took to clean up was greater than the amount of time it kept him busy.  He did seriously enjoy it, but I hope the chocolate comes out of his clothes!

  1. ripped all the pop-outs out of his newest pop-up book.  Our kids have never been ones to tear books, but apparently that rule doesn’t apply to pop-ups.  Lesson here:  Don’t buy him a pop-up book for his birthday.

  1.  dumped a bowl of dry Apple Jacks between the recliner and the side table

All in one day.  All in one day!

I did notice two accomplishments as well, though.

I was getting ready to leave and discovered that he had put on his own hat and one glove, all by himself, which he seemed to be rather proud of.  Yay, Dan!Also, and this is kind of unbelievable to me, he can already put together little bitty Lego men.  He can put together Duplo and Mega blocks as well.

Oh!  Alan took his pacifiers away three or four days ago, and it wasn’t even an issue.  He gave them up without a fight. He’s officially ready to turn two!

And hopefully, tomorrow will be less eventful!!


The Chimney of Death

Okay, before I tell you about the chimney of death, I must show you Daniel, playing in his very first gigantic rain puddle.  This puddle was more like a small pond.  The older boys were all pretending to fish in it (Joshua and company), but Daniel, being young and unbridled, just splashed right into the center of the thing.  He got a gooood bath when he got home, needless to say.  Thankfully, it wasn’t cold today.


Okay, now about our chimney!  I mentioned on my last post that the basement still smelled really bad, even after having removed the FIVE dead squirrels from above the flu.  Alan decided that must mean that there are still some more squirrel carcasses up there, so he donned his heavy duty work gloves and reached a little further, and more to the right….


two more carcasses and one more newly deceased.


I texted our land lady the story.  She texted back, “omg.  That is so gross.”


How bizarre is this craziness!!??  Did the older dead squirrels live in the chimney during the time we have been living here?  If so, I certainly never heard them.


Also, squirrels are very social animals, I think the chimney of death goes to show they will not leave a fellow squirrel forsaken.  Search and rescue teams will be dispatched.

I just hope that this will put an end to the neighborhood squirrel genocide being committed by our fireplace!!  I actually like squirrels!






Most importantly, I must tell you all that I have news about Amy and Greg and their baby, but Alan has informed me that there is reportedly a gag order on any publishing of the event, so email me and I’ll give you the scoop!!!!


Oh, I have a really crazy squirrel story to tell you.

There’s even a picture, but you’ll have to ask Alan for that b/c it’s on his iPad, which I don’t have here with me.  Anyway!

While we thought that we had provided a safe path of escape for our chimney squirrel and had concluded that he was gone, this weekend we began to smell a smell in the basement that made us think otherwise….Ugh!


That’s the worst smell b/c not only does it stink, but the thought of what’s causing it is so repulsive!


Alan, while I was not at home (thank goodness!) decided to simply reach up into the chimney and remove the source of the smell (dead squirrel).  So……..Alan put on a good pair of thick gloves, opened the flu, and reached up in there to retrieve our friend, but as he reached up his hand seemed to feel more than just a dead squirrel……


Instead, Alan discovered one, two, three older dead squirrels, squirrels that the hair had already rotted off of.


Yes, you can take a break to go barf if you’d like……


Alan put the squirrels in the garbage bag and felt back in there until he found our recently deceased squirrel, pulled him out and disposed of him as well.  It was so sad and so disturbing at the same time.


We think we have the chimney fixed so that this will not happen again.  However, the basement STILL stinks.  Can anyone explain that?  I don’t understand!  The basement was odorless until a few days ago, but being pregnant I am particularly sensitive to pungent smells and find myself getting behind on laundry due to my reluctance to go down there.




Now I am off to do some cooking!  We have a yummy dinner planned for this evening, and yet my picky little eaters still think sweet potatoes are yucky…..*eye rolling* tisk tisk.


They say the best way to get a picky eater to eat something is to present it over and over and over again, making it become a familiar food, and that’s the thing about casseroles.  They only get presented a couple times a year, making them look more like Alien food (around here anyway)!


But we just keep trying, in the words of Dori from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!”


You will not believe what we found today.  In our preparation for the baby, we have moved a LOT of furniture around.  Today I had Alan here to help me with the lifting, so we tackled……..THE STORAGE ROOM……..scary stuff.

Alan opened a box labeled “Christmas glass, June 2008, leave packed.”  So Alan couldn’t resist.  He cracked it open, and the entire box was still wrapped in mover’s packing paper.  He was so excited.  The whole box was full of things we have not seen, since our 2008 move!!  That’s FIVE years ago, and the last time we have used/seen any of this stuff was three houses ago….in Anniston.

Look at a little bit of what we found:

The pics in this frame date 2002-2005.  Look at how young Laura Ellen was!  The pic on the bottom left shows me 6 months pregnant with Joshua.

a beautiful portrait of Alan’s Granny.  This used to hang in our guest room in Anniston.

the photo from our rehearsal dinner, signed by our friends


Joshua at 6 weeks!


this little cannon, a decoration from our wedding groom’s table


No, we did not find this in the box, but I would like to say thank you to the sweet family member who called me up and recommended this cereal, in light of my aforementioned pregnancy issues….  ; )

Other things that happened today:

While cooking dinner, I was desperate for a way to entertain the Dan Man.  This worked for all of two minutes….





our little artist


Caleb, playing Legos.  This room is also messy lately, unlike the basement it is ashamedly so….
  Alan made a fire in the basement fireplace for the first time today, we finally put together the globe puzzle Nonna gave us a couple years ago (not a kid activity.  That was mine and Alan’s proudest accomplishment of the day.  It’s a puzzle that’s a sphere, it’s literally a puzzle ball.),  and I officially decided that running is just not fun anymore.  I don’t know what happened, I guess it’s the big belly thing, but it now gives me shin splints and sore ankles to try to run.  I guess walking and workout DVDs will just have to make up my workout regimen for the rest of the pregnancy.
  It looks like Amy and Greg will be having their baby this week!  I’ve got two presents ready to mail, and I can’t wait to find out which one to send!!  Is there anything more exciting than a new baby?  I think not.
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