Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas Part 2 (by Meg)

Our second Christmas celebration was just lovely. The day after Christmas, we all spent the night at Grandpop and Nana's house. It was packed! Daddy and Mommy and me were in the master bedroom, Margie and Cubby in the guest bedroom, Uncle Asher and Aunt Jacqua in Aunt Lena's room, and Aunt Lena, Nana and Grandpop downstairs in the den! Thank you, family, for all squeezing in so we could have special time together!

The next morning, we ate a beautiful breakfast that Nana made. Then we gathered around the Christmas tree for more reading and presents.
(I was asleep for part of this, so I'll just tell you what Mommy says happened and you'll have to take her word for it.) Grandpop read us the story of the wise men who came to lay gifts before the baby Jesus. Then we went around the room and took turns opening our gifts. Here's Grandpop with a really big one!
Margie and Cubby loved their soft new blanket.
Grandpop with a gift from my family, a book that Mommy really loves:
Hm, what might be in this one?
Uncle Asher and Aunt Jacqua gave me a great gift: handmade wooden maracas painted like lady bugs! I loved shaking them and trying (of course) to fit them in my mouth!
Grandpop, Uncle Asher and Aunt Jacqua watching me open stuff. (My new cousin Baby Spruilly is in the picture too, only you can't really see him because he's inside Aunt Jacqua still.)
Cubby, Margie and Aunt Lena, each enjoying our time together:
And me and my daddy, so grateful and happy that we get to celebrate Jesus' birthday with our loving family around us:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Part 1 (by Meg)

Hi, this is Meg writing. Yesterday was Christmas! It seemed a lot like my first one, even though I was alive for last year's Christmas too, technically. But I was only three weeks old, so I didn't enjoy it that much. This year, on the other hand... well, let me just show you instead of telling you!

First, Daddy and Mommy and I celebrated at our house. After we read the Christmas story and prayed together, we unwrapped our stocking presents. Here's me and Mommy opening one of mine:

We had some yummy Christmas breakfast after that, and then we got into the big gifts! Here I am with my biggest one of all, from Grandpa Tom and Grandma Dawn--my very first doll house!

Here's Daddy opening his new popcorn maker that he says is just like the one he loved having when he was little.

Mommy with a beautiful Peruvian shawl from Grandma and Grandpa:

Me playing peekaboo with Mommy's shawl:

Me getting blinded by the camera flash:

After I had my nap we headed down for Christmas at Gran and Great-Grandpop's house. (That's my mommy's daddy's parents.) I wore my pretty new dress that came from another little girl who got too big for it. Isn't it lovely?

Here I am trying on Mom's new scarf from Aunt Sam:

This was a particularly tasty present!

And this was my super-cool present from Great-Grandpop and Gran--my very first bike! (Well, bike-sort-of-thing, anyway.)

Now we're off to have another Christmas celebration at Grandpop and Nana's house in Gaithersburg! I'm so grateful that my family gets to celebrate Jesus' birthday over more than one day. It's far too wonderful an occasion to be limited to just 24 hours!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Good Gifts

This year our dear pastors gave us an unusual Christmas present: the opportunity to be part of a new care group. How it all came about is a bit of a long story. Let's see if I can condense.

For the past two-and-a-half years, we Wilcoxes have had the privilege to be part of the same care group of young married couples. There are 11 different couples who have been part of this group for at least part of this time. All of these friends are extremely dear to us, and we have learned so much from watching their lives. Together we experienced home purchases and moves, job transitions, the grief of losing elderly family members and the joy of welcoming new ones. In fact, in the last 2.5 years, members of this group celebrated the conception and/or birth of 17 children! (That includes 6 who are still in the womb, 2 of whom will be born into the Frederick church.) Through all of this we have prayed and cared for one another.

(For clarity's sake, I'll be referring to the group I have just described to you with a capital "G" from here on.)

Just three months ago, our Group found itself leaderless after sending out our former leaders and one other couple to help start the new Sovereign Grace church in Frederick, MD. So Dave and Heather Castro left a group they had led for two years to come and lead our Group. But this month, after a very short stint with our Group, the Castros joyfully agreed to make another transition and go serve a different leaderless group. Dave and Jenn Dabbondanza, a wonderfully mature couple who have been in our Group the whole time, will be taking charge of our Group. (Still tracking with me?) Meanwhile, the Wilcox family is going to the new group with the Castros. Given our love for the families in the old Group, this was not an easy decision! But as we prayed and asked for counsel from friends and family, it seemed that God was directing us to take a step of faith.

Dave and Heather Castro are extremely godly people whom we have known since we were all single. (They are pictured above with their two daughters, Mckenna, 3, and Selah Grace, 6 months.) The Castros and Wilcoxes will be joined by four other couples, all relatively newly married and none (as far as we know) with children. Though we are sad to leave our old Group, we look forward to learning more from the Castros and the other new couples and embarking on a grand adventure with them. Stay tuned for more care group news in the future... I suppose the new group will kick off officially in the new year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I love having our home all decked out for Christmas. We actually got everything up early (for us) this year and have been enjoying our decorations all month long. This is our Christmas tree.
Chester the Tree

His name is Chester. The tradition of naming Christmas trees goes back to my days in the Abbey, where I lived before Dave and I got married. I believe that our Abbey Christmas trees were named Timothy and Bartholomew, respectively, the two years that I was there. (One year we had a Thanksgiving turkey named Archibald. My husband has always thought that was taking it a little too far.)

Here in the Wilcox household, we believe in naming our Christmas trees after American presidents. Our first Christmas tree was named Truman. This one is the namesake of Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States. Here is a close-up of Chester.
Chester's Close-Up

And here are some of my favorite ornaments. A regal camel that my dad gave me when I was six:
Silk Camel

A stately ballerina from my Uncle Mike:
Ballerina Ornament

And another camel, this one of the funny-looking, clothes pin variety, along with a mini-stocking from my sweet great-grandmother:
Clothespin Camel

Meg has done very well so far with not going after our Christmas decorations, though she definitely has moments when she's tempted. Sometimes she stands and stares at the three nutcrackers on the window sill, and you can almost see her thinking, "Okay, to obey, or not to obey?" Here's a shot of their majesties:
Their Majesties

Our stockings, hung between living and dining rooms:
Stars and Stockings

And last, but not least, a snowman (with legs!) named Jolly:
Jolly the Snowman

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Birthday Party Pictures At Last!

Here are some of the moments we captured during Meg's first birthday party! Many thanks to Dad (a.k.a. Grandpop) for bringing the fancy-schmancy camera and getting some good ones!

When we brought the cake out, Meg stared at it for a few minutes. Then she did what all of us secretly long to do when we see a brightly colored cake with thick, rich frosting: she plunged her hands into it.

"Hmmm... what is this stuff?"

"I better give it a taste test."

"Blech! Too sweet!"

"Maybe just one more test..."

"Nope, I definitely don't like this stuff."

Messy hands!
Messy Hands Girl

Nana gives Meg a drink from a big-girl cup.
A Big Girl Cup

Margaret Helms, Meg's great-grandmother:
Margaret Helms, Great-Grandmother

The two Margarets:
The Two Margarets

Opening presents with Daddy:
Opening Presents 2

And with Mommy:
Opening Presents 7

Three generations:
Opening Presents 3

Happy Birthday, Baby!
Opening Presents 6

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Proud Mommy Moment

So I know I'm overdue to post birthday pictures and such, but that takes a lot of time, and this post will only take a minute. So I'm doing this one now.

I love seeing how my little girl's mind works. Just a moment ago we were in the living room, playing in the space we've reserved for Meg's toys. Suddenly, she stopped playing and crawled away from me, intently staring down the hallway toward the kitchen as if looking or listening for something. I realized then that the music playing from our computer (which is located in the kitchen) had just changed.

The new song was an instrumental piece that we used at the start of the little video I created to commemorate Meg's first year. And of course, Meg listened to this song many times as I worked on perfecting the video. Every now and again as I worked, I would show her the portion I had completed. And when we played the finished product at her birthday celebration, she was riveted (even though I don't think she knew the pictures were all of her).

So back to the living room: as Meg stared toward the kitchen , I thought, "Does she recognize this music?" Sure enough, seconds later she took off, crawling as fast as those short, chunky legs could carry her. She made right for the computer and looked up at the screen to find out if her video was playing. Of course, it wasn't, and she quickly got distracted by an errant Cheerio on the linoleum, but still... you could tell what had happened in her mind!

It's amazing to me to think that, while we were focused on something totally different in a totally separate room, she heard and recognized that song and knew enough to associate it with a video that she hadn't seen for more than a week! A lot has changed since the days when she didn't even recognize food until it was stuck in her mouth!
What'cha doing, Mommy?

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Being a Grownup Is Not a Feeling, or "I'm the Mommy Now"

Today in the Wilcox household we are experiencing a first. Daddy and Baby are both sick at the same time. Meg has been battling some stomach/fever/cold thing on and off for at least two days now, and Dave spent most of last night hanging over the toilet bowl. My poor sweeties!

Sometime in the fog of last night, as I lay awake listening to my husband wretch and heave for about the tenth time, I had the vague thought: "We need Mom. If Mom could come and take care of us, everyone would feel much better." Then immediately I had the much clearer thought, "Wait a second, I am the mom now! I'm the one responsible for taking care of sick people in this family!" I'm the one they're going to look to for the small comforts and services that make all of us "feel better" in the midst of illness. I'm the one who's supposed to know what to do when people are throwing up or waking up feverish or getting runny noses or scraping their knees!

As I progress through my twenties, I regularly wonder why I still don't feel grown up. I mean, I've been married for three years, I've done the career thing, I have a one-year-old child, we own a home that I take care of--it certainly seems like I should feel grown up! As a kid, I guess I thought that being "grown up" was reaching a milestone: moving out of my parents' home, getting married, whatever. But I've passed all those markers now, and the grown up feeling never came. As an adult, I sometimes believe that being "grown up" is some kind of mystical feeling, a sense of having arrived, of being able and equipped. But despite my education (formal and informal) and my experiences and the fact that I have a pretty decent head on my shoulders, the grown up feeling hasn't come.

So here's what I've learned about being grown up: it's not a feeling. It's not a sense, or a milestone, or an experience, or a sensation. Being grown up is gratefully receiving the privilege that comes with age and cheerfully shouldering the responsibility that accompanies the privilege and makes it possible. It's trusting in God's sufficiency when I know I'm not up to the challenge. It's staying the course even when the wind and waves (and sometimes my own heart!) are against me. It's not assuming that someone else will take care of it. It's getting out of bed at 1:45 a.m. to comfort my husband or give my little girl her medicine.

Because I truly am a grownup. Even if I don't feel like one.