Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nicknames (by Meg)

Hi, everybody. Meg here.
Faces 1
Today I want to tell you something about my family. God has blessed us so much and made us so happy together. Sometimes it almost seems like we have extra love floating around the house! That means that we can use lots of different ways to show our affection for each other--giving hugs and kisses and playing and laughing and dancing together and lots of other fun things.
Faces 6
One of the ways that my Daddy and Mama show me their love me is by giving me nicknames. You might think that one nickname, "Meg," would be enough, but my parents call me by a whole bunch of other names too. Some of them make sense, and lots of them are silly. But all of them are because they love me.
Faces 3
Here are some samples. You'll see that many of them are variations on a theme.

Punkin (as in, pumpkin)
Sweet Muffin
Big Girl
Little Girl
Little One
Little Love
Faces 8
Some of the best and most creative names I have are not from my parents at all. My Aunt Dacia calls me "Magpie," which is very cute, and to Mommy's friend Aunt Elsbeth I am "Nutmeg."
Faces 2
My only question is: with all of these names, do you think I will ever know who I am supposed to be?
Faces 4

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Catching Up

It looks like I have some unexpected blogging time this morning. Meg and I were just stepping out the door to leave for church when the winter storm began in earnest here in Damascus. With ice pellets. Our steps and parking lot were already growing slick after just a few moments of precipitation. I watched it come down for a few seconds, stuck my foot out on the concrete to see how much I'd slide, and decided not to chance it. Now, a half-an-hour later, it's just snowing. Oh, I don't know whether I made the right choice... I certainly wish we could have been at church this morning... but I did have strict instructions from my husband not to take any risks. So maybe this is the right thing after all.

Dave was at a conference in Texas this week, Wednesday through Friday. He went with a group of our pastors and fellow church members to learn from the church that sponsored the event. I haven't gotten to hear Dave's full report yet, but it sounds like it was a worthwhile trip.

Meg and I went to stay with Mom and Lena, since Dad was also away at the conference. We had some good girl time, talking, watching a chick flick, sipping tea, talking. It's been such a long while since I had an unrushed conversation with my mom--this week was a tremendous blessing! Thanks for hearing my heart, Mommy! I love you!

We did have one minor incident while we were there--at least, I hope it was minor. I was carrying Meg down the stairs after her morning nap on Thursday when I suddenly slipped, fell down three of four stairs and landed hard on my lower back. Praise the Lord, Meg was completely unhurt--but scared. I was in quite a bit of pain for those first few moments, but since then it seems to be gradually fading. It is still uncomfortable to bend and to lift heavy things. (Fortunately, mommies don't have to do either of those much! :) I would appreciate your prayers that this would not have any lasting effect on my body.

We also had one exciting moment: Meg said "Mama" on demand for the first time! For the past two months or so, when we have asked her to say "mama" or "dada," she has looked at us and then, in barely a whisper, mouthed something that sounds like "pa-pa-pa, pa-pa." So we know she's been trying, or at least that something in her little brain has been clicking and connecting. But on Friday, while she was playing in Mom's kitchen, I turned to her and said, "Meg, can you say 'Mama'?" And she locked her eyes on mine and said, in a whisper, "Pa-pa-pa." And then immediately, and in a normal voice, she said, "Mama." Well, Mom and I rejoiced and clapped our hands and told Meg how wonderful her new accomplishment was. She liked that a whoooooole lot. After that, when we asked her to repeat "Mama," she most often would just whisper, "Pa-pa-pa," and then grin and clap her hands as if to say, "Can't we just get to the celebration part again?" Ah, well... at least there is evidence that she can be taught!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

More On Avocados

Meg had avocado for breakfast this morning. I guess she also had an itchy face, because when I left her chair and went out to the kitchen to get some cereal, I returned to find her looking like this:
Meg Avacado Face

Friends From Far Away

Mark, Kathy, Micah
This weekend we enjoyed a visit from our friends Mark, Kathy and Micah. Dave and Mark grew up together in Michigan, and Mark had a significant influence on Dave's faith at several points in his youth. Mark and Kathy now live and work overseas, and this was their first long trip back to the States in several years. It was also my first chance to meet them. We had a great time learning about Mark and Kathy's experiences in their adopted country, and of course we spent a lot of time talking about faith, marriage and parenting.
Dave and Micah
Dave and I made a fast friend in two-year-old Micah, who carries with him a well-loved and deeply worn pot-holder in place of a blanket or stuffed animal. (This is not a cultural thing that he picked up from the kids in his native land or anything like that. It's just Micah! You never can tell what a child will latch on to!) Meg and Micah also played together quite a bit, although the fact that Meg is teething didn't improve her social skills much. She does love having older kids around--they are so active and exciting to watch! But she didn't want Micah to touch her very often, and Micah wanted to touch her lots and lots!

This morning we saw Mark, Kathy and Micah off, with many prayers for their safety and God's rich blessing on their lives and work. We are so grateful for these friends and the faith that binds us together, even from opposite sides of the world.
All Together Now

Friday, February 16, 2007

Valentines Day: Plan C

My husband had a sweet, romantic evening planned for Valentines Day. We were going to drop Meg off at my mom's house in the late afternoon and then head off for a whole series of activities. Dave planned so carefully--it was going to be a very memorable date.

However, on the heels of Tuesday's snow came a whole night of ice. When we woke up on Valentines morning, school was cancelled and the neighbors were all home from work. The smart ones were already out shoveling, taking advantage of the brief sunshiney hours that preceded another night of hard freeze. (The not-so-smart ones? Well, yesterday I saw one of them using a pick-axe to try to get through the mini-glacier behind his car.)

Though our street was plowed pretty early in the day, my parents' street in Gaithersburg remained untouched. When Mom told us that there were four-wheel drives getting stuck in front of her house, we decided that it might not be a good idea to try getting there in a Honda Civic. All of the sudden, it seemed we had no babysitting. And we thought it might be pretty hard to have a long, romantic evening with a one year old in tow.

For a while we held out hope that Mom's street might be plowed, in which case we could just take Meg over a little later than we had planned, cut out an element or two from our date, and call it a very satisfactory Plan B. But no plow came to Mom and Dad's. So we devised a Plan C.

Someone in the family (whose name begins with "c") had a craving for a sub and a bowl of chili from Potbelly's Sandwich Works. So we bundled into our warmest coats, clicked Meg into her car seat, and made it a family night. We grabbed a booth and had a blast watching Meg interact with the other customers as we fed her bites of ham and cheese (from Daddy's samich) and individual kidney beans (from Momma's soup). It wasn't what you might call romantic, but it sure was yummy food and good company. And hey, I'll take that on any day of the year. Besides, who could ask for two better Valentines than my Love and my Little Love?

(We didn't take the camera to the restaurant, but Dave did get a few shots on his phone. Not very good quality, but at least it gives this post some color.)

Valentines at Potbelly's

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wintry Weather

Today we are enjoying our third or fourth snow of the season and what I hope may turn out to be the first "real snow" all year. (By that I mean snow that's deep enough to play in and that doesn't melt away in 24 hours.) This morning it looked promising enough that I decided to take Meg out for her first snow adventure!

Here she is, getting ready to head out. (Those hand-me-down snow pants that someone gave us finally come in handy! Yea!)
Getting Ready

I spent a few minutes holding her, letting her take a look around. "What's all this white stuff, Mama?"
What's This White Stuff, Mama?

Then she got down. It took her about 4 seconds to trip and get a closer acquaintance with the snow. Here she is, freshly baptized in it.
After the First Fall

"I'm not sure what's going on here, but I think it's sort of fun!"
This Is Kind of Fun!

Digging a little hole...
Digging a Little Hole

Taking a little walk... (Love the clump of snow attached to her bottom.)
Taking a Walk

After another tumble or two and the loss of a mitten, Meg made a startling discovery. "Wait, this stuff is cold!"
Wait, This Stuff Is Really Cold!

Starting to lose it...
Starting to Lose It

Leaning on the front steps. "Mom, I think I'm ready to go in now."
Mom, Can We Go Inside Now?

Our little sweet-faced girl.
Little Sweet Face

Saturday, February 10, 2007

You Know How Some People Have Belly-Button Fuzz...?

Well, I often have belly-button drool. (Hm, sounds like a personal problem, you're thinking.)

Meg loves tummies. Dave and I often lay down on the floor to play various games with our little girl, and one of her favorite things to do is grab the hems of our shirts and push them out of the way so she can examine our tummies. The next step is trying to blow raspberries. Sometimes she's successful in making a nice, loud one and sometimes not. If she succeeds, this usually leads to repeated attempts, interspersed with lots of eye-contact with Mommy or Daddy and giggles at how much fun this is.

The one down side to all this amusement is that it usually results in a very wet belly for the grown-up involved. The other day, after a particularly satisfying raspberry session, my belly-button indentation was literally full of baby drool. It was... an interesting sensation.

I suppose that, at some point in the future, we'll have to put a stop to this kind of game--people other than Meg's adoring parents might not appreciate the impromptu baths. But for now, we're enjoying the curiosity, the smiles, and yes--the slobber--of our little one.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Two Videos

Okay, so upon further review, we decided to chop the aforementioned video into two videos and thus spare you the boring part in the middle where Meg is just dawdling around the kitchen. Here's the one where she's playing with her Dada. (Note: it ends very abruptly.)

And here's the kissing video. It's a little weird--I keep casting these furtive-looking glances at the camera, but I was trying to make sure that Meg and I were both in the shot. At least I captured the kiss!

Maybe watching videos of other people's kids is a boring, bordering-on-torturous exercise. If that's the case for you--sorry! But I was recently reading reflections by a mom whose kids are now all out of the baby stage. One thing she mentioned was wishing that she had spent more time playing with her little ones and taking pictures and video of them and less time on other stuff. So these little clips are one attempt to learn from others and not let these precious baby days pass me by uncherished!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Kisses and High Fives

Unfortunately, I have no recent pictures to share. But I did dredge up this shot from just over one year ago; it's one of my favorites of all time. Look how cute!
Teeny Baby Smile

It's amazing how much changes in a year--and yet, she's definitely the same little cutie!

We do have a video which I hope to upload soon--it showcases two of Meg's latest tricks. Daddy recently taught her to give him a high-five when she does something well, like rolling a ball to him. It's so funny! She gets so excited and claps her little hands together, and then Dave says, "Give me a high five!" and she sticks her hand up in the air and lets Dave tap it with his.

Her other big skill is offering "kisses". (Open-mouthed, slobber deliveries is really a more apt description, but we love them anyway.) She's actually been kissing us for a long time at our request--of course, being the mushy, affectionate type that I am, I had to teach my baby to give kisses at a young age! But now she often does it without us asking. You might just pick her up to take her for a diaper change, and all of the sudden she's stretching her head toward you with her little open mouth and the "Kiss me, please" look in her eyes. Talk about a heart-melter! Of course, we have no idea if this is stemming from genuine affection for her parents or some sense that it's just what's expected of her. But either one is okay with us--we'll take all the baby kisses we can get!

The kiss Meg gives me in the video is not a voluntary one, actually--and it is extremely slobbery! But it will still give you an idea of how much fun we have with our sweet 14-month old! Check back soon to see her in action...