Portraits of my son

Portraits of my son

One of Tom’s Christmas presents to me this year was a photography class. And, before I go any further, talk about a slam-dunk Christmas from Tom. I got him a jacket he didn’t want and underwear. I want to take a moment to publicly apologize. After we, um, lost our DSLR this fall, we upgraded to a

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Doing our part to perpetuate stereotypes

The other day we went to Target and left with ANOTHER new toy car for David, and ANOTHER doll for Mary Virginia. If you know anything about gender stereotyping and how toys perpetuate gender roles, then my shopping trip is grooming David to be an engineer at Ford Motor Company and Mary Virginia to flunk third grade math. If

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Semantics

Semantics

  Last night we went to a Thanksgiving celebration with friends, and we were driving home a bit later than we should have; not respecting bedtime quite as closely as we promised we would. When we stay out too late, Mary Virginia is not a happy traveller. While she cries the entire way home, the rest of us

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Scenes of fall

My mom mentioned the other day that the leaves were beautiful at home — one of the prettiest falls she can remember. It occurred to me that now that I live in Richmond, a relatively flat city, I miss out on the fall colors in the mountains. When I was growing up I took the

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A morning in the salt mines

Mary Virginia is just at the very beginnings of being interested in coloring. She’ll hold a marker, draw a few lines on the paper, and a few moments later try to climb on the table. The only reason I’ve even started “coloring” with her is because she wants to do whatever her brother is doing, so

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Semantics

Semantics

Even though I work really hard to limit his screen time, David is a full-on TV-loving kid. He’ll watch anything, anytime, anywhere and if the TV is off, he asks me non-stop if we can turn it on. He tries different techniques all the time: “I have a good idea, Mommy! Let’s watch TV!” Or my

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Pumpkin patch

If you follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, I’m amandaleighvt), you know that my family’s version of a trip to the pumpkin patch was a trip to Kroger to buy pumpkins. There are pumpkins on my porch; everyone’s happy. No thanks to me, they did get to visit a real pumpkin patch, too. A

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Semantics

David was sitting on my lap reading books, and he started to flop around and get rough like toddlers do, so I asked him to stop… Me: David, please don’t jump on Mommy. David: Why? Me: Because that hurts Mommy. I’m not wild like you, I’m old. He stops and moves on to something else…a few

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Also three years old

David is three, which means this blog is three, too. Just a few days after he was born, in the late morning while he was snoozing beside me in bed I wrote the first post. That’s not entirely true. Tom started it months earlier. He created the URL and wrote the first eight posts chronicling our Fifty

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Naptime hostage

David has taken almost zero naps since he turned three. We still go through the motions, though, every day. After lunch we read a book, turn off the light, close the blackout shades, and I cover him with his blankets just the way he likes it — white blanket first, then green blanket. I give him

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A sophisticated palate

A sophisticated palate

Can you tell what Mary Virginia is chewing on? It’s an onion. A raw onion. It’s the raw onion I stashed under her crib to try to heal her ear infection. She found it and walked around the house gnawing on it. Mary Virginia loves raw onions. Every time I slice an onion, she cries

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When the sun came out

When the sun came out

I already mentioned that our vacation was mostly rainy and overcast. In fact, it was SO rainy and overcast, that I can only remember putting sunscreen on my fair-haired, fair-skinned babies a grand total of one time. I know, I know, you can still get burned when it’s cloudy. But when it’s cloudy, raining, and you’re huddled

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The three-year-old class

This silly boy started school last week. My goodness he’s grown so much since last year. He wouldn’t stand still for photos, but I like this next one anyway because you can see his shoes. Just before we walked out the door, David ran to his room and grabbed these shoes. He hasn’t worn them

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Catching up

Last weekend was both my birthday and Labor Day weekend. Wait. No, that’s wrong. It was two weekends ago. Slow down, September. Traditionally, Labor Day marks the end of the summer; pools close, we put away our white pants, and I can commence rolling my eyes at people who actually look forward to fall. But summer can’t

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My water dog

Tom’s parents have a lake house on the same street as the lake house my parents have owned since the 70s. Tom and I were actually dating when his parents bought the property, and when they did we just decided to get married because otherwise it’d be too awkward. When I was a kid, my dad would throw

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Kickoff

We’re celebrating this weekend. The sort of celebrating that calls for standing in the front yard wearing a pajama shirt waving a flag. All before 8 a.m. Today is my 32nd birthday and tomorrow the Hokies kickoff their football season. Here’s to the start of a great year. A year in which maybe we’ll get around to

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Snugglebuddies

Every now and then, especially when there’s a dog-, um, cat-pile on my couch, I like to remind myself why Brigham is in our family. When Tom and I first got married, our first home was near a lot of restaurants, so we had a few unwelcome cockroaches. We heard that cats could help with cockroaches,

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Adversaries

My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and it’s awesome because I get to see my kids exploring the woods I used to explore, swimming in the pool I used to swim in, and sledding down the same hills I used to sled down. And they do things that we never

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Semantics

First, some context. David likes to ask me what people say, what inanimate objects say, or what people are going to say. Then he makes me do a full mock conversation about, for example, what the car in front of us is saying. It’s saying, “You can follow me!” It’s  a cute routine, and it can

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Adding to our arsenal

The other night I snuck into Mary Virginia’s room and put a half an onion under her crib. I didn’t tell Tom because I knew he’d think I was crazy. And, ok, I thought it was a little crazy, too. It’s just that she’s been fussy and pulling on her ears and, by now, all

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Setting him up for perennial heartbreak

Fanatics, the leading online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise, invited me to be part of their Future Fanatics campaign to show how the super-fans of tomorrow are getting their start. Fanatics.com has everything from MLB hats to football jerseys from your favorite college team. Or if you still need a World Cup jersey, they’ve got those, too.

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Semantics

Semantics

Last Sunday we had an unusually hard time getting ourselves and the kids ready for church. By the time we were all dressed and had everyone’s bags packed, and were walking out the door, church had already started. We loaded everyone into the car, and as we drove Tom and I discussed the intricacies of

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Adding to our social circle

Even though Mary Virginia is a freshly-minted one year old, I still think of her as an itty bitty baby. But nothing makes my itty bitty baby seem like a monster, more than seeing her next to an actual newborn. Welcome, Baby Rosie. Mary Virginia would love nothing more than to liberate you from that

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Freestanding

Mary Virginia has been doing this for a while now — standing on her own — but capturing it has been maybe my most challenging photography so far. She likes to stand where support (usually my torso) is nearby, and since she’s so close it’s hard to fit her whole body in the frame. Plus,

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22/52

22/52

I’ve been following along with a photo project at Practising Simplicity: A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2014. I take pictures of my kids every week — almost every day — but this is one of the few portraits. This photo captured a unique moment and made me pause. An hour

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Spring

SPRING IS HERE! Let’s all pop a Claritin and go roll around in a bunch of pollen because it’s not going to snow again FOR AT LEAST SIX MONTHS! The transition seasons are wonderful — capricious, but wonderful. And while the chill of fall if foreboding, the warmth of spring is exciting. The only thing

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Little sister contraband

Mary Virginia goes down for her afternoon nap about thirty minutes before David, and she wakes up about thirty minutes before he does. Those two thirty-minute periods are her favorite parts of the day, because while David is sleeping in his room, his toys are all in the living room. Unattended. She always goes straight

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Semantics

Semantics

This happened a few months ago, but it was such a sweet conversation and I don’t want to forget it. One night, David woke up with a high fever. We took his temperature, gave him medicine, and tried to settle him back to sleep. In the morning, David woke up happy and fever-free. I went

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Semantics

Semantics

In our part of town, it looks like someone came through the neighborhood planting Dogwood trees Johnny Appleseed-style. The yards are full of them — white and pink — some houses have two or even three trees. And, wow, they are beautiful. The other day we were on a walk and I was telling David

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Whatever, it’s bath night anyway

I got an email the other day from Babycenter.com that said  kids should play outside everyday to burn off some energy, and because, “Being outdoors also provides sensory stimulation (the sun, the birds, the dirt) that can’t be replicated indoors.” Great idea, Babycenter.com, but where are you when it’s time to clean up this mess?

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Semantics

Last week was a long week. A long week in which I ignored David a lot because I was busy updating my resume to include “has experience administering suppositories”. On Saturday I went to Target to pick up a few things, including a new water cup for David. I looked at the selection and did

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March Madness

Can you feel the chaos? We are in the midst of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. It is madness, yes, but when you live with a teething baby and a toddler who WILL NOT nap, you barely notice. My entire life feels like a sporting event  with upsets and unexpected runs; a tournament with the appellation

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Blue-eyed leprechauns

Not every day is all rainbows and shamrocks around here. But today? (Aside from the snow and sleet outside.) Today that’s all it is. Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Hoping your day is filled with pots of gold and blue-eyed leprechauns, and reminders that we have a God who lavishes blessings on his people. “In him

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The box says it all

These photos are a bit dated. This happened two months ago. (The really funny thing is, it happened 21 months ago, too) We had just come home from a long weekend away and were unpacking the car. There were bags full of toys, clothes, food, and babies everywhere. Apparently, Mary Virginia needed a snack. You know

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Filled with all sorts of dread

Ever since David has had even a little bit of hair he’s twirled it with his finger. He does it when he’s tired, when he’s distracted, when he’s unsure, when he’s dealing with a difficult co-worker. We’ve seen him do it in his sleep. I took this photo over a year ago, before his first

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Winter

Winter

Tom told me that this week was the coldest on record in March. We are so lucky to be alive during this historical moment. Winter is, I hope, having its last gasp; snow, ice, frigid temperatures. I did posts in honor of summer and fall, and  though winter is not my favorite, I’m also a

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Strengthening our immune systems

Albuterol, saline, labeled oral syringes, Azithromycin, Tamiflu, ear-numbing drops, thermometers, acetaminophen dosage chart for quick reference. If I had to choose one photo to sum up fall/winter for our family, this would be it. Usually when one of the kids are teething or has a cough, I keep their medicine on the counter and put

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