Category Archives: family

Announcing Baby 2 5 wm

Our Easter Pregnancy Announcement

Two years ago next month, just a couple of weeks after our miscarriage, our fertility specialist told us that Mr. E.​ and I had a 5% chance of pregnancy *with* fertility treatment. After four years of trying, hoping, and praying for a baby; more than a year of testing, and ten months of treatments and procedures, we were devastated. We felt defeated and deflated. What little hope we had left was delicate and fragile.

But our God is not a god of chances. He is not a god of statistics.

We serve a God who’s plans far exceed even the best of what modern medicine has to offer.We serve a God who isn’t bound by closed doors, barren wombs, or closed up tombs. We serve a God who isn’t limited by our incomplete knowledge, who’s faithfulness to us is not dependent on our faithfulness to Him, and who’s time table is impeccably perfect.

This weekend we celebrated His life that conquered death. Wee celebrated our lives – made new and holy because of His perfect sacrifice. And we also celebrate a brand new life I carry in my once barren womb – another miracle baby that God has graciously given when we least expected it!

Our Easter Pregnancy Announcement

Announcing Baby 2 1 WM

We announced our pregnancy this weekend with these sweet photos that my mom took last week. We returned to the church garden where I took my bridal portraits ten years ago, and my maternity photos one year ago. How incredibly special it is to get to venture back with my growing little family.

Announcing Baby 2 3 WM

My husband had the idea to ask Ezra if he wanted a brother or sister by choosing between a pink and blue peep. Sweet little love went straight for the pink peep! Is there a little lady in our future? We hope to find out some time in late June!

Announcing Baby 2 4 wm

I am eight weeks pregnant and due in mid-November. My guess date is actually Mr. E.’s birthday! Wouldn’t that be quite a birthday present for him?  Ezra and the new baby will be almost nineteen months apart.

Announcing Baby 2 5 wm

We are so excited to welcome a new “peep” into our family in November. This weekend my mom remembered with me the years that I wondered if I’d ever be able to have children. And now, against all odds, and in God’s impeccably perfect timing, another little one is joining our family. Praise Him!

pregnancy after infertility

Pregnancy after Infertility

“Pregnancy agrees with you, you’re absolutely glowing!” a sweet lady at my church smiled up at me and reached to put her arms around my ever growing middle in an enthusiastic, albeit awkward embrace.

Little ol’ church ladies know just what to say to make you feel amazing, don’t they?

I smiled back at her, and because we’ve known each other a good long time, I responded, “I think that glow is actually sweat beads from trying not to throw up in the car on the way here.” She gave me that knowing look and just patted my back. “Well you look beautiful, sweetie,” she said, with a twinkle, and all the honesty of a civil-war era president.

I needed to hear those sweet words, because the truth was I didn’t feel beautiful. My body was undergoing physical changes at an impressive rate. Changes which, by the way, were not limited to curvier curves and pat-inducing baby bumps. I had acne that  put sixteen year old Amanda’s acne to shame, and I hadn’t seen that many skin tags on one person since my Grandma passed away when I was eighteen.

My pregnancy was hard. And not just the “all things worth having are worth working for” kind of hard. It was more of a “maybe God didn’t let me get pregnant for so long for a reason” kind of hard.

It’s painful to type that. For most of my pregnancy I felt so much guilt about not enjoying the very earliest days of my long-awaited motherhood. After our long and tumultuous journey to conceiving, I felt obligated and so desired to soak up every blissful moment of being with child. But those blissful moments were elusive, and often I had to consciously choose joy and excitement.

ARD Pregnancy Pic 3

Can you even imagine that? Four years of trying to conceive, thousands of dollars spent on fertility treatments, the stress and extreme discomfort of needles and procedures and recurring tests, and then the heartbreak of shattered dreams when we miscarried. Pregnancy after infertility is supposed to be this overwhelmingly exciting and joyous time! Even now it seems impossible to me that I had to strive so intentionally to choose joy and excitement over my pregnancy with Ezra.

Oh, there were definitely times of joyous excitement. When we found out with our family that the babe I carried was a little boy – my heart overflowed with anticipation and gladness. When we were showered with love and prayers and precious baby things to get us started as new parents, I was overcome with gratitude for the generosity bestowed to us. When my husband read story books to my belly and we could feel Ezra responding to his daddy’s voice my heart very nearly burst with excitement for the new little person joining our family. Watching my bear tummy move in waves as he moved and thump, thump, thump when he had the hiccups brought inexpressible joy.

Those moments are the ones that got me through my pregnancy. They seemed few and far between, but that kind of inexpressible joy has a way of overshadowing days and weeks of being miserable.

ARD Pregnancy Pic 4

And there were many days that I felt so miserable that it seemed very nearly impossible to even anticipate the exhilarating adventure of parenthood that awaited us.

Morning sickness for me was all-day sickness that lasted almost until my third trimester. For months my husband balanced work, housekeeping, cooking, laundry, and caring for me as if he’d prepared his whole life for this pregnancy. He sat beside me, rubbed my back, and held my hair while I threw up, whispered softly in my ear how much he loved me, then cleaned up my disgusting mess as though it were his most sincere honor. God bless that man for serving me so well during my pregnancy. He truly epitomized what it means to be a servant leader.

A few weeks before I entered my third trimester I finally began to experience relief from the nausea and vomiting. I remember the relief I felt when I realized I’d gone almost two days without throwing up. I felt invigorated, as though I could conquer anything! It was refreshing to be able to function somewhat normally. I felt good. I was pregnant, I was happy, and I was ready to resume some semblance of normalcy. I began to embrace pregnancy and I learned I actually appreciated people asking about how I was feeling. I was feeling great!

ARD Pregnancy Pic 5

At twenty-six weeks my hips and pelvis began to prepare for birthing time, spreading quite a bit earlier than normal. This resulted in almost three months of severe pain in my pelvis, hips, and pubic area. My ligaments were so loose that I could literally feel bone scraping on bone when I rolled over in bed. My body ached and it was hard for me

Because of the pelvic and hip pain I never really had a chance to “nest.” I spent the last weeks of my pregnancy in bed, on the couch, or in epsom salt baths seeking relief for my aching joints. Not only was Ezra’s nursery not finished when he was born, but it was barely started! And all that cleaning I was itching to do? It just didn’t happen.

ARD Pregnancy Pic2

After years of anticipation and countless prayers and tears, it was heartbreaking for me not to enjoy my pregnancy. I felt so much guilt.

Guilt over my lack of enthusiasm and excitement.

Guilt over how very little I accomplished around the house, and on my blog.

Guilt over being irritated by well-meaning expressions like “soak up every moment of pregnancy” and “just relax and enjoy your pregnancy!” because I didn’t feel like I really could.

Guilt over wondering how in the world I could actually do this again if God allows me to be pregnant again. Especially since I’ll have a precious child to care for.

Guilt over wanting to be left alone all the time, because I knew so many people were so happy and wanted to rejoice with me.

Mama guilt starts early. And It’s an arrow from the enemy sent to prick your heart just enough to distract you from what’s important.

Mama Guilt is an arrow from the enemy A Royal Daughter

Yes, my pregnancy was hard, it was so hard that I really didn’t enjoy it. And that’s okay. I endured. I held tightly to His promise to be strong when I am weak. But it was worth every unlovely moment and painful part of pregnancy to be able to become Ezra’s mama.

And there is no guilt in that.

Crawling at nine months

Life Lately + Weekend Steals & Deals

Life Lately

His little eyes are filled with curiosity as he scoots across the floor.

What is on top of that table?

What is under that desk?

Why is that dog asleep?

What happens when I pull that cat’s tail?

I know he isn’t capable of making those mental observations, but sometimes it seems like his mind is filled with questions that must be answered right now.

Remember when I told you Ezra had just started army crawling and seemed to have no motivation to start full-on crawling? You know how they say kids will make liar out of you every chance they get?

Crawling at nine months

Our little tootie bug started crawling the very next day! And I don’t think he’s slowed down since! Life is certainly quite a bit busier now that Ezra is on the move. He loves being able to explore our home, especially the kitchen and his room.

When he comes looking for us we hear him before we ever see him because he makes the sweetest little grunting noise through his nose as he crawls. Hearing him move about our house and watching him learn so much about his little world brings indescribable joy to our hearts. I am so, so thankful I get to be his mama.

Baby Kisses

Ezra Clapping

February has been unseasonably warm and remarkably sunny. We’ve enjoyed being able to spend some afternoons outside soaking up the sun. Ezra loves watching the cars drive by, and all the attention he gets from the dogs.

Ezra outside in February

This week Ezra started pulling himself up onto his feet. His favorite place to do it is in his crib, but he’s figuring out how to hold on to furniture and pull up too. He’s not that fond of it yet, and he gets scared when his legs start to wobble. But he’s just about to start cruising the furniture. We’ll have a walker on our hands before we know it.

Ezra in his Crib1

We’re still enjoying eating a Paleo diet. We’re finishing up week six and so far have no plans to give it up. Ezra is eating a Paleo diet as well, and that little guy has a big appetite. Right now his favorite foods are chicken + apple sausage, avocado, pear, and sweet potato.

I’ve been studying First Peter, and these couple of verses seem so timely to be praying for the persecuted church:

You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in  praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. I Peter 1:6-7

Life lately has been busy, but the very best kind of busy.

On the blog:

On Monday I shared our Ordinary Kind of Special Valentine’s day recap.

Sharing about Mama Love on Tuesday was such an honor and a joy.

Would you like to join me in praying Scripture over your husband? On Thursday I shared ten Scriptures I’m praying over my husband right now.

Weekend Steals and Deals aroyaldaughter

This post contains affiliate links.  Income earned through this blog allows me to pursue my dreams and enjoy being a stay-at-home wife and mama. You can read my full disclosure and see a listing of affiliate partners here

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We use a lot of Honest Company products in our house: Laundry detergent and dryer sheets, dish soap, dishwashing detergent, and hand soap. We also use their disposable diapers when we’re on the road. Their shampoo and conditioner isn’t our favorite, but we’ve been super happy with all of their products.

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Have a wonderful weekend.


Ten Scripture Verses to Pray Over Your Husband

Have you ever considered the weighty responsibilities our husbands (or future husbands) face as men of God? Not only are they called to be a witness to the world, but they are given the divine challenge to model Christ in their daily living with their wives and children.

Model Christ.

The humble servant who did not cling to His divinity, but sacrificed all to redeem the sins of the world.

And our husbands are directed to model that kind of love to their families.

Ladies, that is no small task. They can do this only through perseverance, submission to Christ, and the working of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

And it is our glorious responsibility and high honor to intercede on behalf of our husbands! Let us bow our knees and approach the throne of grace with boldness and humility, beseeching the Almighty on behalf of our husbands.

My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.” (Isaiah 55:11) 

Ten Scripture Verses to Pray Over Your Husband

10 Scriptures verses to pray over your husband via

Psalm 119:14- 16 

I rejoice in the way revealed by Your decrees as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and think about Your ways. I will delight in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.

Heavenly Father I pray that my husband will rejoice and delight in Your word and law. Please bring to his mind today Your words that he has memorized, and use those words to protect his heart and mind. I ask that his heart and mind will be focused on You.

II Corinthians 9:7

The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Heavenly Father I ask that you will give my husband a generous and giving spirit. Please give us wisdom as we manage our finances so that we will be able to bless others out of the bounty you have provided for us. Thank you that you supply every need in perfect time. 

I Peter 2:2

So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Heavenly Father, I ask that my husband will be holy before you, cleansing himself of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. May your Spirit draw him to you so that he desires, craves your Word. Lord, as he studies your Word I pray that he will grow closer to you and become more like Christ. 

Ephesians 5:25-29

 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word…husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of His body.

Heavenly Father, I pray that you will empower my husband to lead and love me in the same way Christ loves His church. Please give him the heart of a servant-leader, submitting himself to Christ so that he can lead our family in holiness and humility. Thank you for the sweet relationship of marriage, I ask that you will use our marriage as a testimony of your love for your church.

James 3:13-17

Who is wise and has understanding among you? He should show his works by good conduct with wisdom’s gentleness. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t brag and deny the truth…For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.

Heavenly Father, I pray that you will grant my husband wisdom that is pure, gentle, and mercy-filled. Please give him wisdom as he leads our family, that he may demonstrate peace. Please give him wisdom as he performs his job, may he find favor with those whom he works as well as you. Please give him wisdom as he serves our community, so that he will not show favoritism or hypocrisy. I thank you that your word says that you will give wisdom to those who ask. 

Proverbs 20:7

The one who lives with integrity is righteous; his children who come after him will be happy.

Heavenly Father I pray that my husband will walk with integrity. Make him a man of honor and courage who models Christ-like love for his family and others. 

Luke 10:27

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.

Heavenly Father I pray that my husband will love you with all of his heart, all of his soul, and all of his strength. Please show your resplendent love to him, and let him see it. Help us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Colossians 3:12-13

Therefore, God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, put on heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, accepting one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a complaint against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive.

Heavenly Father I pray that my husband will be filled with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Please give him a forgiving heart that seeks to reconcile broken relationships. Thank you for the forgiveness that is available to us through the work of Christ.

Ephesians 6:13

This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.

Heavenly Father I pray that my husband will put on your armor. Please equip him to be able to resist temptation. I pray that he will flee from evil desires and set his eyes on you so that he will be able to stand strong and courageous against the evil one.

Psalm 91:14-16

Because he is lovingly devoted to Me, I will deliver him; I will protect him because he knows My name. When he calls out to Me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble. I will rescue him and give him honor. I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation.

Heavenly Father I pray that my husband will be devoted to you. Please answer him when he calls to you, and rescue him when he faces trials. I ask you that you will protect and preserve his life with your mighty hand, and satisfy him with a long life.

More Scripture verses to pray over your husband:

25 Verses to Pray for Your Husband – Unveiled Wife

31 Days of Praying for Your Husband – Revive Our Hearts

6 Scriptural Prayers for Husbands – Proverbs 31 Ministries

5 Scriptures to Pray Over Your Marriage

28 Days of Praying for Your Husband (with printable prayer cards) – A Royal Daughter

Sweet Ezra boy

so this is love

This post contains affiliate links.  Income earned through this blog allows me to pursue my dreams and enjoy being a stay-at-home wife and mama, and it doesn’t cost you a thing! You can read my full disclosure and see a listing of affiliate partners here.

So this is love.

When I look into those big blue eyes and I see myself and his daddy. I see wonder and curiosity and anticipation of what will happen in the very next moment.

Those Big Blue Eyes

So this is love.

When he reaches for me, lifting those arms to be as close to me as he can, and I realize I want to be as close to him as I can be too.

Sweet Ezra boy

So this is love.

Watching him stand on his own two feet. Shaky little legs gaining strength so that some day soon he will be able to walk. Baby steps leading to grown man strides. And I pray these feet bring the good news of the Gospel of Christ. Beautiful baby feet, I hope they grow up to be beautiful man of God feet.

Baby feet standing
Ezra standing

 So this is love.

When he needs me close, not just in sight. When he needs to feel my warmth and hear my heartbeat. And I cherish these moments, even when they’re inconvenient, because I know they’re fleeting, passing me by and inching towards the day when I will no longer be his first love. And I want to prepare his heart, and mine, for that day.

Wearing a baby in a ring sling

Mama love is different than every other kind of love, isn’t it? It’s both effortless and persevering at the same time. Mama love is fearless, reckless almost; but also tender and purposeful. Mama love worries, trusts, wonders, and hopes all at the same time. Mama love is life-giving and breathtaking. Mama love instinctively protects and holds close, all while learning to let go a little bit at a time. Mama love is everything I expected it to be and more. So much more.


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Ordinary Kind of Special

Ezra’s first Valentine’s Day was an ordinary kind of special day. He spent the morning with his daddy so I could sleep in late. I think the only sleep that truly contends with sleeping late on a Saturday morning is Sunday afternoon napping kind of sleep.

Eleven years ago Mr. E. and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together. It was insanely romantic, with candles and music and flowers and a perfectly planned menu. It was pinterest-worthy long before pinterest was a thing. And there was snow – snow in Texas!

Baby's First Valentines

This year we celebrated our first Valentine’s Day as mama and daddy.

We spent the afternoon outside, enjoying the gloriously warm and sunny weather. Mr. E. worked in our flower gardens while Ezra and I played on a quilt under a tree. Storybook kind of perfect, right?

There was a small bouquet of tulips that graced our table, along with waiting to be paid bills, my sewing machine, and a box of goodies I need to ship to a friend. Not at all pinterest-worthy. But this is real life. This is real love.

Throughout the day Pandora played an eclectic collection of music. Conway Twitty, Veggie Tales, Celtic Thunder, and Josh Groban made for a soundtrack that wasn’t so much romantic as it was vibrant with rich and timeless talent. The soundtrack of our lives, really.

Baby's First Valentines Day

My sweet husband prepared our dinner: ribeye steaks, sautéed zucchini and onions, and a side salad. Mouthwatering? Yes, so much so that I’ll freely admit that I cleaned my plate in a not very ladylike manner.

Our Valentine’s Day was quiet, ordinary, and unassuming. It wasn’t all that different from most days, really. Except that my husband cooked dinner – that was quite different.

But it was glorious and memorable and everything I hoped it would be.

Because it was the three of us this year.

And we’re all pretty crazy in love with each other.

truth for your Sunday | Deuteronomy 6:6

Just for a moment on this Sunday morning

Be quiet

and still

and know -really know, no doubts – that He is God


Remember the Who: Those little eyes watching you

Remember the What: Preparing a family to worship together

Remember the Why: Because God hand-picked you to be their mama

Remember the When: Before He formed them in your womb

We worry about keeping their hands clean and their hair in place, and it’s easy to forget about the state of their heart.

Will you join me today and be mindful of that? Let’s notice their eyes watching every action we take as we get ready to go. Let’s be aware of their ears listening to every word we say as we hurry them along so we won’t be late. Let’s remember their tender hearts that are still learning about holiness and justice and grace, and let’s demonstrate that for them today.

Deuteronomy 6 6