In the past few weeks, my church has been slowly and cautiously resuming in-person worship services. In an effort to love and protect attendees, and out of deference to authorities, there is a litany of strange, “never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine this” precautions. Once everything started shutting down, church was the
I am always hesitant to write about current events. I go for it every now and then, but I do so tentatively, knowing that I (usually) don’t have any expertise to offer. Also because it’s easier for me to just sit inside the four walls of my quarantine and write about my vegetable garden and
One of the things I love about having a blog for this long is that on any holiday or season, I can easily look back and see how my family has grown and changed through the years. Easter egg dyeing is a great example. This is a tradition that dramatically changes as your kids get
I barely took any pictures this week. This is getting old. At the same time, I can tell we’re settling in. This week was supposed to be our spring break. We didn’t have any huge plans, just some loose talks about a day trip that never even had time to take shape before the quarantine
I’m not sure whether this week was harder or easier than the last. I can say that this week I was diligent about my news intake, and I highly recommend that to anyone who is feeling anxiety around the pandemic. It’s absolutely crucial to stay informed, but there’s a point when too much is too
We celebrated two friends’ birthdays this week. They were both distant celebrations — gifts left in the driveway, and a drive-by “party.” My kids liked loved being a part of these celebrations, but they made the wheels start turning. “I’m glad my birthday is in the summer…” I heard someone say from the backseat on
Remember a week ago, when our kids were in school and we were carrying on with reckless behavior, like chatting over coffee or holding the door for strangers. Everything has changed, and in the past week the nation has quietly walked inside and closed their doors. (And then there are people who aren’t staying home.
A few weeks ago my family headed into worship at church. We found a row, empty except for a middle-aged couple at the end. We filed in and in short order, one-by-one, my children lost their minds. The couple was polite and friendly. We shared “kids will be kids” smiles as I corrected and redirected
Yesterday Anna, my 22-month old, was throwing a tantrum. She threw herself onto the floor, curled her body over her knees with her forehead pressed to the carpet, and wailed. “Look!” Mary exclaimed. “Anna is doing a lockdown drill!” David and Mary laughed and laughed at the absurdity of a lockdown drill! At home! Ha!
Often when I’m getting ready, Mary will wander into the bathroom to be with me. She asks if she can be fancy, too, so I lift her onto the vanity and hand her a makeup brush or lip gloss wand. She gazes into the mirror quietly, studying her reflection. The corners of her mouth lift
Lent starts in just a few days, and I still haven’t figured out exactly how I’m going to personally observe the season. As a mom with a lot of little kids, I don’t like to put major restrictions on vices. I give myself a lot of grace when it comes to things like hiding in
I was grumpy all day Christmas Eve. The kids were acting like children, how dare they. They were overly excited and a little tired and do you know what excited, tired children do? They take the cushions off the couch even though their mother told them not to. They ping pong between being silly and
When I first heard the Bible’s story of Anna the prophetess, I was moved to tears. A life of faithfulness, devoted to worship, proclaiming the name of Jesus. I imagine reading the verses to my daughter one day, telling her, “This is the story of Anna, whose life of faith pointed to the faithful One.
One side effect of having two kids in school is that we look forward to the weekend more than ever. “Is today the weekend?” Mary asked me one Tuesday morning. By Friday we are all tired and ready for a break from the bus stop, packed lunches, and wrestling all that hair into a school-appropriate
For so long kindergarten seems like a far-off, abstract thing that other peoples’ kids do. But then it comes so fast, the school bus drives around the corner and the doors open and there’s no time. They start walking away and I panic. What do I tell them? What do I say? What do they
This is part three of Baby Anna’s birth story. If you missed parts one and two, you can find them here: Part One Part Two – – – When I gave birth to David, my water had broken a few hours earlier, and we walked into L&D full of nervous energy and an occasional contraction.
I sat down to write this, fully planning to end at the part where I’m screaming and Tom is asking if he can just go wait outside. But then I started writing and accidentally kept writing and now this is going to be a three-part story. But I promise I won’t drag this out until
First, I need to warn you that this is very long. I’m sorry. Turns out I’m the emotional, creative type that processes with long-winded blog posts. Second, I need to warn you that at the end of this post does not end with a baby. It’s because I could not possibly fit any more words
There is a pile of baby clothes on a desk in my bedroom, and I’ve started knitting a pink baby blanket. Other than that, we haven’t done anything to prepare for our fourth baby. But, whether we’re ready or not (we’re not), a baby is coming in November. Recently I commented on a friend’s Instagram
Nearly a year ago, after our vacation to Lake Anna, I mentioned that our trip started with a 9-1-1 call, and that I’d tell the story later. My plan was that I’d make a few appointments with specialists, and after a few weeks I’d have the space and information I needed to feel comfortable telling
Recently I noticed that my motivation for creative activities with my kids has really plummeted. To my credit, I think it’s in part because my kids are much more likely to entertain themselves than they were two years ago. When I had a 3- and 1-year old, they were aimless unless I gave them direction —
One day last week, Tom came home and as he was telling me about his day, he mentioned he’d gone on a prayer walk during lunch. Then he added the disclaimer, “That’s not something you can do, I know.” This year during Lent Tom is taking part in several specific habits and spiritual disciplines. As Lent approached
Here’s a story. Camellias aren’t super common where I grew up, so when I moved to Richmond I became sort of entranced by them. A bush with flowers that look like roses!? That blooms in the winter!? When Tom and I were buying a house for the first time, I put heavy preference on houses
Before David was born I had a unique job working with immigrants and refugees every day. My job had a lot of facets, but I had the great joy and privilege to really get to know families. I attended quinceaneras, baby showers, and citizenship celebrations. We prayed together, cried together, we complained about the weather.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” – Micah 6:8 On Tuesday, Tom came home a little early and we piled all three kids in our double stroller and ran to the
Last Sunday, just before his first birthday, Thomas was baptized. Baptism is a practice in which the pastors of a church increase the faith of parents by asking them to stand on stage with their young children. (Picture Tom reading this, looking up at me and saying in a stern voice, “Amanda. Do not make
A little over a month ago I got really sick. In this case, “really sick” meant two trips to the doctor, one trip to the ER, three antibiotics, one steroid, four days in bed, two appointments with a specialist, and a partridge in a pear tree. I was sick for more than a week. In that
Last Thursday I dressed my kids in their Easter clothes, took them out in the front yard, and made them take re-do Easter photos. I did this because Easter was rainy, hectic, and we didn’t get photos. I also did this because, apparently, I’m insane. My kids are going to grow up with stories of
As holiday celebrations go, we had a very low-key Easter this year. Easter baskets on table, hard-boiled eggs and jelly beans for breakfast. Simple, and still, we were positively scrambling out the door to get to church on time. At some point in the chaos of getting seven people dressed and out the door my
We got David a bed for Christmas last year and it was a huge flop. For weeks leading up to Christmas I tried to build excitement (A new bed! A BIG BOY bed! Just for you!) but he was still disappointed. “Where are all the other presents?” he asked. When all is said and done,
The other day I was reading with David and I put my arm around him and said, “David, do you know Mommy loves you so much?” He looked up at me and replied, “But, Mommy. Sometimes you say…you say…you say that…” He started to stutter as he searched for the right word. I held my breath; I wasn’t sure
This isn’t the craziest birth story you’ll ever read. It isn’t the most dramatic or fastest or the closest call. But it is my craziest birth story. I’ve already told this story several times, and each time I feel a bit like I’m lying, or at least exaggerating because the timeline just doesn’t feel real. Whenever I tell it, I
It’s hard to know when or where to begin baby Thomas’s birth story. Does it start it when I felt my first, painful contraction? Or a month before that, when I packed my hospital bag and asked several close family and friends to please keep their phones on in the middle of the night just in case.
It’s becoming an Easter tradition for our family to participate in David’s preschool race and Easter egg hunt. Tom ran last year but this year he volunteered to help. Which reminds me, sometime after the half-marathon, Tom and I retired from running and all other forms of exercise. We just decided to surrender; our kids
Pretty dresses, a toddler-sized sport coat, Tom in a tie, and our last Easter as a family of four. As if I needed another excuse to take a family photo. Before we left for church, our kids were more than happy to sit with my parents’ dog for photos. They sat there and smiled perfectly. We had plenty
Every year spring seems a bit like a miracle. Even my yard, which was cold and brown a week ago, is blooming. The past few weeks have felt unrelenting. We have dear friends who are mourning a great loss, those waiting, aching for answered prayer, others who are trusting God for healing and His sovereign care. It feels heavy.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:22-24 We recently switched Internet providers, and during the process of the switch Internet provider #1 cut our service about 24
Yesterday (November 30) was the first day of Advent, which means today (December 1) is the second day of Advent, which means it’s not too late to start an Advent devotional Advent is the season of waiting. And OHMIGOSH we are waiting in this house. We have a little bag of treats we got for
As Thanksgiving approaches, lots of my friends do “thankful” activities with their kids. The idea is simple, ask the kids what they’re thankful for and display their answers — and yours. This is our take on it. I decided to trace our hands and hang them like a garland in our dining room. Initially I
Back in August, I started doing a monthly memory verse with our kids. I downloaded the printables here, and hung them in my dining room. My approach was casual; my kids are young so I didn’t think it made sense to push too much structure. I was just going to say the verse at the beginning
Sometimes I joke that the best way to describe my house is “looks like we just got robbed.” In my living room there are toys everywhere, books strewn off the shelf, a chair over-turned — it’s the normal scene in my house. It’s always been just a joke until last week. I went to pick
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
I could turn thirty all day long and not think twice about it, but nothing made me feel old like realizing I graduated from college ten years ago. I’ve been out of college for a DECADE, for two and a half times longer than I was in college. Ew, gross. Forget I ever said that.
Guest post from Tom: When we were dating I used to write Amanda letters all the time. On our five-year anniversary, I wrote her a letter. She always writes blog posts encourage friends and family and tell them how much she appreciates them, so instead of just writing her a letter, I decided to write
Easter day this year was extra special for our family because Mary Virginia was baptized. For David, any celebration was secondary to the fact that his cousin was at our church. If you’re curious, when David was baptized, I shared this link as a helpful explanation of why we have our children baptized, and here
The good folks at Overcome the Lie asked me to write a post for them, and I was immediately excited because I knew it’d push me to take some time for self-reflection. I started ruminating in a leisurely way, with a cup of coffee and my journal. And then just after the holidays things in
The color for the month of November at David’s school is brown. This shirt isn’t exactly brown, but it’s the best we could do. David loves preschool. Loves. I can’t emphasize that enough. He would go to preschool every day for 18 hours if he could. When he’s running away from me in the morning
We’ve had a long week over here on Grace St. All weeks are long, but this one was extra long. It all started with a runny nose, which turned into a fever, which turned into four skipped naps and multiple night wakings, which turned in to frayed nerves, short patience, and lots of moments when
Before I had kids I was unsure about a lot of things. I didn’t understand breastfeeding or schedules and had no idea how to bathe a newborn, but there was one thing I knew I would be great at: discipline. I had plenty of practice watching other people do it all wrong. I knew exactly
We celebrated July 4th with two of Tom’s best friends. He grew up with these guys, and they’re all married with kids now. Nothing much has changed except they don’t play nearly as much GoldenEye on Nintendo 64 as they did back in middle school. Between the three couples there are seven kids under the