Dear Caleb’s Future Wife

Dear Caleb’s Future Wife,

Do you know what Caleb said to us yesterday? I hope you laugh when you read this. So cute:

“One day I’m going to make kids all around the world. I’m going to have 22. I mean 200. 2000!”

This is Caleb, holding up his Alabama poster. Caleb is seven, not even seven and a half.

I want you to know that Caleb already thinks about you, though. Once, we passed a field of yellow tulips, and Caleb said, “One day I’m going to give my wife hundreds of those.”

You’re welcome.

Only I can’t really take credit. Each boy is different, and Caleb is his own little man. This just is who he is. Right now he yells, “Ew!!! Girls!!!  Go away!!!” when girls come near our backyard, but rest assured, this is all for show.

Now as for the 2000 children. I don’t know what to tell you, but I thought you might wish for some warning. Sponsor an orphanage maybe?

Love, Your Crazy Future-Mother-in-Law with a Blog, April

artwork by Caleb



Don’t forget that I’m nominated for Most Influential Blogger, and I’m starting to fall behind. Last I checked I was #8 (wahoo!), but that could change any second.  Thank you!!!!!


Road Trip: JD turns 1!!!!


JD’s first move— He seems to be having a pretty good time.

 Today Alan and I kissed our children good-bye and set back out–alone this time–on our big cross-country road trip. It’s really been fun so far.

 Over the last few days I have gotten to visit both sides of our families, swim in the backyard pool with my two oldest boys, celebrate JD’s first birthday, visit a Pioneer Museum in Alabama, and even revisit the University of Alabama campus, where Alan and I got our undergraduate degrees!


Seriously, one of the ‘funnest’ (totally SHOULD be a word) things I have done this whole summer is swim in the wading pool with Joshua and Caleb. I highly recommend it. If you haven’t swam with your kids this year, you have just got to go do it, even if it’s only a wading pool!!

Photo Highlights:


I love it when they look all sweet and brotherly like this.


This was so fun. Playing ‘sharks and minnows’ is really hard in a pool this small, but we did it anyway. I can’t wait to go swimming with them again!



This is why you don’t let your husband pick out your baby’s birthday cake.

Just for the record, if I had the whole ‘baby parenting’ thing to go back and do over again, this is the ONE big tradition I would IGNORE. Giving a one-year-old nasty sugar-laden RED birthday cake and letting them just go for it….this idea could not have come from any mother ever. Horrible idea. If I were to have any more babies, they would learn the beauty of a nice birthday bag of gummy fruit snacks–delicious and clean.



Yep. He did all the messy-baby-lovers proud. Even after the bath that followed this immediately, I still found some stray red icing–in his ear. Terrible idea. Seriously.


And the road trip resumes! We made it through Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas today. We are now on the western side of the Mississippi River!

More photos to come in the next post. For today, I’m going to focus on the Pioneer Museum that we visited in Alabama. Alan and I love history stuff. I have throughly enjoyed researching my ancestry and reading history books. 1796, a Thomas Jefferson biography, an Andrew Jackson biography, The Mayflower, Rose Kennedy’s autobiography, and Ronald Reagan’s autobiography are a few of my favorites.

Therefore, this side trip was perfect for us.



Do you see the tall loblolly pine tree behind the triangular sign? That is the ‘moon tree’, grown from seeds that traveled to the moon on Apollo 14.


Beautiful. Alabama is beautiful.


This place had a collection of around 20 carriages and buggies. Love!



I have an ancestor listed on this plaque!!  So cool!


 I’ve always loved American history, but I got into the genealogy thing on accident! A few summers ago, the two oldest boys were spending a couple of weeks in Alabama with their grandparents. I was kid-free, so I took a couple of days to just explore D.C. on my own. It was heavenly.  While I was out, I happened upon the 1st Annual Genealogy Conference at the National Archives building. It was free, so I just went right in, attended a couple of classes, and brought home a whole bunch of information. Then I got to work!

 I rarely get to do any research now. Okay. Actually, I never do any research now, but I do miss it. One day!!


This was an especially exciting day because we also got to visit our old stomping ground: The University of Alabama. The thing is, I have a whole lot to share about that too, so it will just have to wait until tomorrow!

Come back and see me tomorrow for some UA pics and stories!!


Denny Chimes

Little Boys

 Daniel LOVES airplanes.

 ….and Daniel LOVES Daddy.  I really enjoy how much Daniel loves Alan.

**Quick Pregnancy Update**

  I went to see the midwife today.  I hadn’t gained any weight since last week, but I had gained a LOT of weight about 3 days before my last week’s appt, so all total I am now 36 pounds up.  Maybe that’s a little above average, but for me it is like a world record.  I’ve usually gained 46-50 by now.
   My vitals were mostly good, except for a high heart rate (128).  J.D.’s heart rate was perfect:  150s.
   My belly measured right on schedule:  36 cm for 36 weeks.  She said, “Wow, I can feel exactly where his legs are.  There’s his head (he’s been head down for a while), in perfect position, and he has a LOT of water to swim around in!  I can jiggle him around in there.”
   So, see, this belly isn’t all April or all baby.
  Wouldn’t it be something to deliver my very first normal sized baby!?  I don’t think I’ve ever measured 36cm at 36 weeks, and that’s a fact.
Now about those little boys:
  Joshua’s class was assigned a “timeline” of their life for homework.
   I saw this as a family project.  I started crunching ideas in my head for what to write and pulling out photo albums for ideas….but not so fast.  I forgot that when it comes to “projects” that require drawing and writing, I was dealing with someone more gifted than I……and that would be Joshua.
   I would have shrank back in fear from any drawing assignment as a child, but this is Joshua’s favorite thing to do, so he cranked this out with great enthusiasm and seriously little help from me.  I did convince him to look at a couple of photo albums, and I did give him the “huge baby” line for that first block.  Oh!  I also got to correct a spelling error or two.
  I thought he did a really good job, but the pictures are blurry, thanks to our old, low quality camera….

“When I was born I was huge.          When I was one, I started walking.     When I was two I wrestled my brother.”

Ok.  I promise on his timeline they were actually in order….  “When I am 7 I would like to play baseball.    When I am 8 I would like to play tenis”…..oops I just realized that he misspelled tennis, and I didn’t catch it!

“When I was six I was friends with Xavier.”  (He meant to write, “I made friends with Xavier, which I thought was sweet.)     On the baseball picture, that’s Joshua, on the left, swinging over and over again and missing  (bless him), and on the right, that’s the coach with the pitching machine, which is a very accurate picture of what that thing looks like.

“When I was three I went to Disney World.  When I was four I went to preschool.  When I was five, Daniel was born.”

Caleb drew this Angry Bird with musical notes.  He said it was a song that he wrote, which he also sang for us.  Too cute.

Caleb enjoyed the attention he got from his Angry Bird song so much that he proceeded to write even more musical notes (in yellow).


……It’s really hard to keep Daniel out of potato chips.  I had a Pringles coupon this week, and Daniel is so happy.

raising little boys
   I get a little kick out of telling people this is my fourth boy.  People just don’t expect it.  I’m rarely out and about with all of my children, so people usually think I just have Daniel.  (He is very much my faithful sidekick).  I’m still a fairly young looking mother (or at least I like to think so  ; )  ), so it really takes people by surprise when they say, “Is this your first?” and I say, “Oh no, it’s my fourth, my fourth boy, actually.”
    I get asked frequently if I plan to keep trying for that girl.
    No, I really don’t.  Even if I did dare to do this pregnancy ordeal again, I wouldn’t hope for a girl anymore.  I like my little boys.  This is what I do, and I like it.
     I will say that I think boys have more drama than you would think.  It’s probably a different sort of drama, but it does still exist.  They still have struggles with their friends.  They also feel left out in social situations sometimes, just the same as girls do.   In addition, they have these athletic pressures to deal with that I never experienced.
    Their world is a little different, but not so different that I cannot relate.
   Sometimes I like to pause and put myself back in their place:  kindergarten and 1st grade.  That helps me to realize where they are coming from.
    Caleb is finishing kindergarten.  He reminds me a whole, whole lot of myself at that age.  We moved to a new house from our apartment that year.  I was a bit of a bossy, ring leader type in my kindergarten class.  I guess that actually made me a bit more like Joshua…  I just remember making my friend Emily cry on the playground because I told her she couldn’t play with us.
   Then I remember getting spanked in the bathroom for not letting a girl out of her stall, which I thought was just a funny prank.  Miss Meredith was not amused.  Come to think of it, that girl cried too!
   We weren’t grudge holders either, though.  Both of those girls were at my birthday party when I turned six, and Emily and I joined– and won– a coloring contest together at a summer library reading program.
    Caleb is not a “boys only” kind of kid, and I was never “girls only” either.  (It’s a good thing too, what with all these boys I keep having!)
    I told Caleb to pick a few kids, of his choosing, to invite to his party.  It was important to him to invite kindergarteners from his class, so that’s mostly who he invited, but it’s very much a random mix of boys and girls.  I even managed to refrain myself from adding a bunch of my friends’ kids.  I let Caleb totally pick the guest list.  This is hard for me b/c I don’t like making people feel left out…..I’ve changed a little since kindergarten!!  Ha!
   Joshua’s world is pretty much happy, as long as he gets to go to the park and play with his friends.  I think he’s pretty excited about baseball season ending.  It has not been easy for him.
Joshua is DEFINITELY a “boys only” kind of boy–with a couple of exceptions.  I heard Caleb tell Joshua the other day, “We can have Xavier and Zoe over, but DON’T go off and play with Zoe.  You need to stay in the basement and play video games with me and Xavier.”  (This was before we took the Wii away.)
  I think cliques had begun to form by 1st grade.  I wonder if that is something that’s different with boys.  Do boys have cliques!?  I have no idea!  Right now Joshua has lots of friends, and most of them do at least know each other.  They are all involved in so many of the same activities.
   I’m starting to get this desire to homeschool again, but I don’t think it’s quite necessary yet.  This is a great school and all, and really the only thing keeping me from making the plunge is that the boys are so happy at school.  Educationally, though, they definitely learn faster with one-on-one attention.  Sometimes I’m having to teach them things they have learned at school during homework time.  That’s when I think, “What’s the point of sending them to school, if I still end up teaching this to them at the end of the day?”
    But one reason I think of homeschooling is just that I miss being a bigger part of their lives.  I miss them!  Then I wonder if that’s just selfish?  After all, part of growing up is becoming more and more independent.
    Caleb being recommended for summer school is what got me started on thinking about homeschooling again.
   …..but John David may have a thing or two to say about that as well….so for now we will plan to keep attending our nice little neighborhood school, where they have some of the highest test scores in the country, a superb staff and environment…..probably the best public elementary school you could find.

   And yet is there ever an end to parental decisions?

Major Decision Just Made:  I hired someone to clean my house.  She’s coming every Thursday in June, then every other week after that.  We will now be much poorer but SO much cleaner…..  ; )

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