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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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,

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

#rememberwhenc1wasfun

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.

Read More

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

Read More

Bumper crop

See those two tomatoes? You’re looking at our entire tomato harvest. I planted five tomato plants in the spring. Most of them died after squirrels climbed up the stalks and the branches broke under their weight. Vine borers demolished my squash, my basil is dry, and I have no idea what happened to my jalapeno

Read More

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,

Read More

Month fourteen

Last week, on the day Mary Virginia turned 14 months old, we were at the park. Mary Virginia climbed up the steps to a slide, and by the time I noticed, she was on her way down the slide, all by herself. And, ok, maybe I should have been watching her a little more closely,

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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,

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

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.

Read More

Month Thirteen

Month thirteen has been chock-full of milestones.The biggest milestone, the one at the top of the pile, above all the waving and talking and starting to walk, is our very first road trip without Daddy. It was only a three-hour drive, and we brought 18 pounds of animal-shaped carbohydrates to make the trip possible, but

Read More

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

Read More

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

Read More

Frozen yogurt drops

The other day David asked me for a banana, and when I handed it to him he looked at me the way I look at people when they say “literally” when they should have said “figuratively”. Turns out, the banana broke when I put it on the table. We haven’t had that sort of drama

Read More

Five years

Right after Tom and I got married, we went to Costco and stocked up on some things. We bought a big thing of paper towels and a box of Ziploc bags that had several individual boxes of three different sizes of Ziploc bags. Five years, one cat, and two kids later we’ve finally run out

Read More

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.

Read More

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

Read More

Month Twelve

Earlier this month we ordered a new car seat for Mary Virginia and after I placed the order, I half expected a reply email from Amazon saying, “Um, are you sure you need this already? Didn’t you have this baby like yesterday?” No, I didn’t. In fact, that baby is now a year old. This

Read More

A Strawberry Birthday Party

Mary Virginia’s birthday was over a week ago and I’m just now getting around to the details. Things were so busy last week after the cupcake sugar-high David still hasn’t come down from, Father’s Day, and Mary Virginia getting Hand Foot Mouth Disease. You read that right. Just when I thought Rickets was the only childhood

Read More

On Father’s Day

It’s 8:57 p.m. on Saturday night and Tom is trying to rock Mary Virginia to sleep. My best efforts weren’t working, so he’s taking a turn. “I’m done,” I said when I walked out of her room. When I’m tired and I’m frustrated, he takes over, and that’s when I’m most thankful that I’m part

Read More

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

Read More

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,

Read More

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

Read More

Memorial Day weekend

On Memorial Day we decided to take advantage of the three-day weekend and amazing weather and head to Franklin County. Franklin County is a three-hour drive from Richmond, and the whole week leading up to the trip Tom and I discussed strategy for the drive. Do we drive during nap time and hope they sleep?

Read More

When Mommy gets sick

We’ve been sick a lot. We’ve been sick so much that I’m even tired of writing about it. Ear infection, flu, fever, blah, blah, blah. We’ve caught every cold, and virus except for one. We have not gotten the stomach bug. All our friends and family have gotten the stomach bug, and we’ve stood like sentinels in

Read More

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

Read More