Nothing but skin and bones, this one

This is Thomas’s Halloween costume. I’ve been putting it on him as Halloween approaches for two reasons: 1) Glow-in-the-dark skeleton clothes are completely seasonally appropriate, and this skeleton costume doubles as pajamas! 2)  I’m worried he’ll grow out of it by October 31. After every wash I cross my fingers and hold my breath as I

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Semantics

A few weeks ago I saw one of my neighbors, who doesn’t have kids, walk out her door, get in her car, and drive away. I watched her, completely amazed. Even more amazing, I thought, was the possibility that the idea had struck her just moments before, “Oh, I think I’ll make a quick trip to Starbucks!”

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Strawberry chia seed jam

There was a time in David’s life when he wasn’t a picky eater. He ate every single thing we put in front of him. Green beans! Butternut squash! Catfish! Tofu! I’m ashamed to admit I was smug. I gave myself credit for his palate. I had, after all, done everything right. Then one day David became

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Homemade toddler skeleton costume

Homemade toddler skeleton costume

When I asked David what he wanted to be for Halloween last year, he emphatically said “A STELEKON!” So I started looking around on Pinterest and trying to figure out how I could make on myself. Emphatically. I found a bunch, but this was easily my favorite. Comfy, cute, and cheap to make on your

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4s and 2s

David is going to preschool three days a week this year, and Mary Virginia is going two days. So on Monday, we spent all morning rushing around, fumbling through our new preschool routine, and also explaining to Mary Virginia over and over and over that David was going to school today, but she was going

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Farewell to summer

Over Labor Day weekend we visited my parents for one more summer adventure — one more hotdog on the grill, one more bowl of ice cream on the deck, one more dip in the pool. David has been asking to go swimming and Grammy and Gramps’s pool since the moment he dried off at the end of vacation.

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That peace-keeping middle child

A few weeks after Thomas was born, I got a package in the mail from Alli, a close friend from college. I gasped when I opened it, so David came running to see what was inside. When I held them up, David wrinkled his nose in disgust and disappointment. SHIRTS!? No, David, not just shirts. Shirts with your

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33 never looked so good

Today is my 33rd birthday, and I’m going to spend it doing two of my all-time favorite things: 1) Licking icing off cupcakes 2) Hanging out with my family A few weeks ago Tom and I were taking the kids to the park, and as I was walking out the door he stopped me. Tom: Why are

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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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Grilled mushroom + sausage + arugula pizza

When  I was pregnant I had an aversion to arugula. It wasn’t the taste, it was the texture — the wiry stems. I couldn’t eat sausage either. Once again, the texture. It was a shame, because I had no problem eating 13 Egg McMuffins every day, but couldn’t stomach the thought of this recipe. That

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Crocodile smile

One day Thomas is going to read this blog, and he’s going to notice that there are maybe seven times more photos of the first three months of David’s life, and at least three times more from Mary Virginia’s. And if he’s anything his father, Thomas will have all the relevant information compiled in 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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Vacation mom

When we go on vacation with Tom’s family, there are six kids and six adults. That sounds like a manageable ratio, perfect for man-to-man defense, but it’s not. Somehow toddlers multiply when they’re together. Several times a day one of us would look around and say, “Are there extra kids here? It feels like there are at

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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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Semantics

Aside from her cameo last November, this is Mary Virginia’s first Semantics post. It surprised me because she makes us laugh all day, every day. There’s something about her tone, her enunciation, her confidence with speech — she talks like an adult but sounds like a two-year old, and it’s all hilarious. This is her first post, but

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A bit of housekeeping [or the social media version of a DTR with no tears and only a few dramatic pauses]

In some ways, I’m very, very bad at blogging. I really enjoy the photography and writing aspect of blogging, but there’s all this other stuff that people who are really good at blogging do –that I’m either too lazy to do or just don’t understand. Things like promoting their blog through social media, and optimizing SEO. SEO

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The peak of blackberry season

We planted blackberries four years ago, and every year we watch the plant bloom,  grow berries, and then every year birds, squirrels, chipmunks, or some other form of evil gets to them before we can. This year, just like every year before it, we watched the plant bloom, grow glossy red berries, and then, we watched in amazement as

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Semantics

If David and Mary Virginia are both awake, they are bickering. They fight in the car, during meals, in the stroller. Whenever I’m on the verge of making me LOSE MY EVER-LOVING MIND, I try to remember that they’re kids and this is normal kid stuff. Having siblings is just one way we learn to interact,

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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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Squeaky clean (finally)

The other day Tom took the big kids on a quick errand, and I decided it was high time I got around to giving Thomas his first bath. I’m not going to tell you how old Thomas is in these photos because my mother raised me with higher hygiene standards than that, and she has a reputation

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Purple duck celebration

Mary Virginia turned two last weekend, and we had a little party to celebrate. And by “little” I mean little. Because normally when I say “little” I mean that I restrained the guest list to our 20 closest friends and their 400 children. The theme of this party was “mama just had a baby.” I

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The newest member of the pack

When Thomas was just a few hours old, Tom brought the kids to the hospital to meet him. David was extremely uncomfortable when he came to meet Mary Virginia in the hospital, so this time I planned ahead with lollipops. “Mommy, where’d you get these lollipops?” David asked me, because he thinks that lollipops are contraband

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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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School’s out for summer

Last Friday I fulfilled my duty as a mother and on the last day of preschool I forced David to stand on the porch with his school bag, stare directly into the sun, and let me take photos. Since I happened to be two days past my due date, the night before the last day

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While we wait

We are in the middle of the late-pregnancy waiting game. Maybe tomorrow we’ll wake up, make breakfast, go to the park, have lunch, shirk a few chores, and count the minutes until Daddy gets home. Or maybe tomorrow I will have a baby and our family will be forever changed. Who knows. The weather just turned — it’s

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Month Twenty-three

If you happen to see Mary Virginia anytime soon, make sure to compliment her on her newly erupted lower incisors. She’s been working on them for several agonizing weeks, and now that they’re here, they’re her greatest accomplishment. Or maybe mine. If you’ve ever read any of Mary Virginia’s updates, you can guess what I’m about

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Technically still 38 weeks, but pretty darn close to 39

A little over six years ago I injured my hamstring in a triathlon. I’d iced, stretched, rested, done physical therapy, and still it wasn’t quite right. I kept running, but I could only run conservatively — I couldn’t push myself. Two years later when I got pregnant with David, my hamstring was still bothering me. I ran through

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What little boys are made of

The other day during breakfast, David leaned over and whispered into his sister’s ear. Then he looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I just told Mary Virginia she’s going to die soon.” He informed me like it was something we’d talked about ahead of time, and then he went right back to eating his pancakes. The

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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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Blackberry pie

Blackberry pie

I’ve mentioned before that Tom doesn’t really love dessert. That’s just one way he keeps such a trim frame of mostly sinew and muscle. He does love my homemade blackberry pie, though. I made it for Easter and figured I should share the recipe here since it’s probably the most complicated recipe I use that’s really “mine.” Here’s the

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36 weeks

David looked at me the other day and said, “Mommy, the baby is taking a long time to come out.” Then I had to sit down and rest because I was exhausted by how right he was. When people ask me when I’m due, I always say, “In May” because the ambiguity seems deter unsolicited

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Month Twenty-two

Last week Mary Virginia turned 22 months old. I think it’s been my favorite month yet, and I’m not just saying that because I’ve gotten more sleep in the past month than I have since she was born.  It’s not the only reason, but it’s certainly ONE of the reasons. Before you assume that the earth has fallen

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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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