My biggest boy turns four

Right around this time of year in my house, it feels like all we do is blow out candles, eat birthday cake and celebrate — which might be the best feeling ever. David turned four on Sunday, something he’s been looking forward since the day he turned three. We started the celebration this weekend with a

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Water dog

Every morning David asks me what we’re going to do. Is it a school day? Or a park day? Is someone coming over? Is today a church day? Then he gets down to it. “Mommy, is today a swimming day?” No, son, it’s not. That’s my usual answer. Except when we were on vacation. On vacation every day was

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And now for some rest and relaxation at the lake

And now for some rest and relaxation at the lake

We went on vacation with Tom’s family a few weeks ago and it was, um, full. Full, which is a euphemism for crazy, exhausting, hectic. Hectic. That actually nails it. Synonyms for hectic include: frantic, frenzied, feverish, manic, busy, active, fast and furious, fast-paced. But instead of hectic, I’ll get back to that euphemism. It was

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Goodbyes

For the past ten years, my sister and her family have lived overseas. It’s taken us every bit of those ten years to get used to the distance. I remember, at one point, thinking it was odd that I wasn’t familiar with my sister’s wardrobe. It’s a minor thing, but part of the transition that

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Namesake

Namesake

It was my idea to name our third baby after his daddy. And, ugh, that sentence is an example of how confusing it can be to have two people in your family with the same name. Saying “…to name Thomas after Tom” sounds convoluted. So far we’re calling the baby “Thomas” or more often “baby Thomas.”

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The arrival – Thomas’s birth story, part 2

The arrival – Thomas’s birth story, part 2

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

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Support staff

Support staff

One thing I didn’t expect about having kids is the arranging required to do absolutely anything outside of the normal schedule. You take this kid, I’ll take this kid, Mimi will pick up that kid, and ugh, I wasn’t even thinking about their carseats. Do we have enough Goldfish and carseats? The arranging is why moms just stop

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April flowers

April flowers

Mary Virginia loves babies. She acts like an over-eager grandmother when she hears about an infant. She gets so excited that she starts talking in falsetto, and has to channel her energy into frantically knitting tiny sweaters and bootees. Then when she’s actually in the room with an infant, she transforms into a middle-school-aged boy with a crush. She

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Easter weekend 2015

Easter weekend 2015

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

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Easter smiles

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

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Good Friday

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.

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Parade of cakes

Parade of cakes

My sister has four kids, and they all have birthdays in the eight-week span between January 10 and March 6. As if that wasn’t enough celebrating, my sister’s, mom’s, and Granny’s birthdays are in there, too. Seven birthdays in eight weeks. That’s why I specifically didn’t make any New Years resolutions about no sweets or eating healthy. My sister and her family is

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A cat scorned

A cat scorned

The past few weeks have been really cold and snowy, so we haven’t been letting Brigham outside like we normally do. He’s spending all his extra time looking for places to hide from the kids, and gazing out the window dreaming about…what do cats dream about? …Autonomy? Whenever I write a post about our cat, I use

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The one and only thing on my baby registry

I’ve never had anything against minivans. Maybe it’s because I drove my mom’s minivan a lot in high school, or maybe because I’ve just always driven cars for their function and economy over coolness. (Except, I did have a 1985 Bronco II when I was in college. Even though the paint was peeling and — with no warning —

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Home for Christmas

Our family had a grand total of three Christmas celebrations this year. This was our first year spending Christmas morning at our house with just our family. We spent the next day with Tom’s family, and then visited my family. Each celebration was full of wonder, wide eyes, shredded wrapping paper, and inevitably ended with David whining, “Mommy, where’s

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And then we went to the aquarium

The only thing we had on the agenda of our family lame-cation was a trip to the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center. We figured we’d need at least one actual activity because toddlers operate in a time warp. That’s where that saying, “the days are long but the years are short” comes from — toddlers mess with the

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The Krieger family lame-cation

A few weeks ago Tom was looking at his schedule and realized he had a bunch of vacation days he needed to use before the end of the year. Since one of the rules of the Krieger family is that letting vacation time go to waste is a crime, he started trying to figure out

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The Season of Advent

The Season of Advent

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

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A family exercise in gratitude

A family exercise in gratitude

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

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This year on Halloween Day

This is how things looked in my house just before leaving to trick or treat. David was hiding behind the couch, screaming because he did NOT want to be a skeleton, he wanted to be a bat. David KNEW he was going to be a skeleton, David had ASKED, no BEGGED, to be a skeleton. He

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A couch-full

A couch-full

I don’t know why I used to think that, as the kids got older, it’d be easier to take pictures of them. “Older” translates to “more cooperative”…right? That’s the sort of thing a mom of toddlers says. Like, “Oh, I can’t wait till my kids are teenagers and I can stop worrying about them!” Go

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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

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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The 14 of us

The 14 of us

There are almost 700 frame-worthy photos from David and Abby’s wedding, but these posed shots are some of my favorites. Jason, Kristie, Amanda, Tom The Southall grandkids The girls in matching dresses The Southall girls This is a candid picture of my mom and sister between poses. I think I was maybe white-balancing? It doesn’t

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Cloudy skies and sunshine smiles

This is at least the fifth year we’ve spent a week at Smith Mountain Lake with Tom’s family. It’s a summer tradition now — we’ve done this every year since Tom and I got married. Except I can’t really remember the first years, the years before we had kids. Now there isn’t much relaxing, recharging,

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Uncle D and Caweb

During the week we spent at Smith Mountain Lake, David hardly asked to watch TV at all. Because who could stare at a screen when we have non-stop access to Caleb!? These two boys have been friends from the very beginning, and I marvel about how well they played together from the start, even way back when David

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The ring bearer experience

We were honored when my brother and his fiancee asked David to be their ring bearer. He did a great job. He did such a good job that the first line of his resume now reads “proficient and bearing rings and wearing bow ties.” If anyone else out there is looking for a ring bearer, I know

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Rehearsal

Rehearsal

It rained on the day of my brother’s wedding rehearsal. It was wet and gloomy, and we all scorned the clouds and passed around umbrellas. We looked at the sky and made optimistic comments about how we didn’t mind the rain today, as long as it was gone tomorrow. Rain on your wedding day is

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Snugglebuddies

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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Memories

Memories

July was a huge month for my family. My sister was in the country, which doesn’t happen often, and my brother got married. We were making memories on top of memories, and with all the travel and early mornings, I barely got any sleep. That’s why I’ve been blogging so much about my visit with my

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Reacquainted

I’ll be honest. As we were planning our summer visit with family, I was a bit apprehensive about how David would fit in with his cousins. The last time he saw them he was completely fascinated, but he was just 11 months old. He’s older now, and my nieces and nephews are, too. But they

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These cute cousins

This is Gabby. She’s like, the sweetest little thing. Gabby is my niece, and I got to meet her for the first time a few weeks ago. She is cuddly and adorable and crawled right up in my lap to snuggle. Gabby and Mary Virginia have also never met. The last time my sister’s family visited,

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This occasion calls for personalized stationary

My little brother married Abby, his high school-turned-college-turned forever- sweetheart last Saturday. Abby married my brother and took his name, and her new initials are ASS. Pretty early into the relationship, she realized that sticking with him would mean getting stuck with those initials, and she decided my brother was worth it. What a gal.

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Berkley Grace the birthday girl

The other day David woke up and the first thing he said was, “Mommy, is today my birthday?” We talk a lot about birthdays in our house. We already had Mary Virginia’s birthday, then Berkley Grace’s birthday, next is David’s, then Mommy’s, then Uncle Jason, then Mimi, then Caleb…that’s how the birthday conversation goes until

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My amazing wife: 5 years in

My amazing wife: 5 years in

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

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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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Adding to our social circle

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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