Monday, July 30, 2007

Someone's in The Kitchen...

Last Friday's activity time found Meg making her first venture into the world of cooking. Well, not really cooking, in the most literal sense, since there was no heat applied to anything, but at least into the world of working with food. We got out some dry beans, some flour, a couple of mixing bowls, a wooden spoon and some measuring cups, and, well... you can just see for yourself.

Stirring the beans:
First Cooking 1

Now getting into the flour... Mommy didn't spread quite enough newspaper for this.
First Cooking 2

Hmm... what does flour taste like, anyway?
First Cooking 3

Now it's getting good. Mixing the flour and beans together:
First Cooking 4

The finished product--a culinary wonder:
First Cooking 6

Sweet floury hand print on my cabinets:
First Cooking

Who wouldn't want to kiss this cook?
First Cooking 5

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Today at our church hundreds of people gathered to celebrate the life and mourn the loss of Micah Davis.  Micah, who died on Wednesday, was only three years old.  He had a rare form of brain cancer, and though God extended his life far beyond the predictions of the doctors, He did not choose to eradicate the cancer and give Micah a "normal" life.  Instead, He chose to take this precious little boy Home--to Heaven, where no sickness or confusion or pain will ever again touch him.

We have prayed fervently for the Davis family for many months.  They have been an amazing example of steadfast trust in God through the entirety of Micah's illness.  We respect and admire them so much, even as we weep with them now.  Please pray that God will continue to sustain and comfort Luke and Kriscinda, Micah's parents, as well as the rest of their dear family.

I cannot imagine the grief and anguish of losing a child.  Then again, I also cannot imagine the joy and peace and the wonders that now surround Micah, as he rests in the loving arms of Jesus Christ and gazes on His beautiful face.  Glory be to the One who has made a way for us to enter eternity.  We can't wait to join you there, Micah.

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cutest Little Momma On the Block

Meg's loving Daddy bought her a gift last night. It's a doll stroller.

You see, Meg has a little problem with the Idol of Stroller. Whenever we are out and about and she sees a stroller sitting untended, she races to grab the handles and start pushing it. Sometimes the stroller has a real, live baby in it, and you get the feeling maybe that baby's mom doesn't want her child kidnapped by a one-year old. Sometimes, it's simply not wise for Meg to push the stroller in question, like when it's sitting on the sidewalk in front of someone's townhouse and we have no idea to whom it belongs. But telling our daughter that she may not touch a stroller that she has set her heart on pushing... well, let's just say it usually results in an opportunity to practice loving discipline. :)

Anyway, Dave had the idea to get her a little stroller of her own. This morning we went for a walk to break it in--just me, my baby, and my baby's baby. (Sorry about the doll nudity in the following pics.)

Here she comes...
Doll Stroller 1

Life is good.
Doll Stroller 2

Doin' the mommy thing:
Doll Stroller 3

And there she goes.
Doll Stroller 4

Wednesday, July 25, 2007



As of yesterday, Meg is on a new, more structured schedule that includes a daily "activity time". Today's activity: watercolor painting. The result of our 15-minute session is above. Obviously, we have a prodigious artistic talent on our hands. Donations to Meg's Art School Fund can be sent to our address, c/o Cara Wilcox.

In all seriousness, my lesson of the day is that "activities" are really good for mommies as well as for little ones. As I held my squirmy girl and tried to keep her from completely overturning the jar of water that we used to clean our brush between colors, I felt a slight tug at my heart. It was the temptation to be frustrated, to want Meg to stop sticking her whole arm into the water jar and pay attention to the paints, to tell her to stop wrinkling the paper, to want her not to muddy the colors by poking her brush into more than one of them at a time.

But at the same time, I felt the sweeter, stronger tug of the Holy Spirit as He seemed to whisper: "Cara, enjoy this. Watch your daughter's wonder and joy as she makes her own discoveries. Watch her play and learn; watch her be a child." In that moment, God's grace helped me to step out of my stodgy, grownup expectations and step into Meg's shoes for a moment. Suddenly, I was as delighted as she was--even if all we had was the pleasure of swishing an arm in a jar full of colored water.

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Super Yummy Summer Dinner

Have you ever had a meal idea that you've kept on file for a long time and just never gotten around to making?  There's one that I've had since before Dave and I got married, and last night I finally broke it out and whipped it up.  It far exceeded my expectations.  It was so tasty, easy and healthy, and it's a great use of all that summer produce on sale at the local grocery store/roadside farm stand... or maybe in your own veggie garden!  Here's the recipe, in case anyone is interested:

Turkey Garden Skillet
Makes 6-8 servings

2 lbs ground turkey (the original recipe calls for beef, which I'm sure would be great too)
3 medium zucchini, julienned
4 medium carrots, julienned
1 can bean sprouts, drained (I omitted these)
1 medium onion, cut in wedges
1 cup julienned green pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 medium tomato, cut in wedges
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cumin (or slightly less, to taste)
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1. In a skillet, cook beef over medium heat; drain.
2. Add the zucchini, carrot, sprouts, onion, green pepper, and garlic.  Cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until veggies are crisp-tender.
3. Add the tomato, salt and cumin.  Cook 2 minutes longer or until tomatoes are heated through.
4. Turn heat down to low, sprinkle cheese over whole dish and let stand to melt.
5. Serve immediately.

(I halved this for our little family of three.  We had some yummy cheddar muffins alongside this dish, and that made for a very satisfying dinner!)

Blogged with Flock

Family Day: Germantown Adventure Playground

Playground 10

Playground 4

Playground 5

Playground 9

Playground 8

Playground 1

Playground 6

Playground 7

Playground 2

Playground 3

Monday, July 23, 2007

All Alone

Wow. My house is... quiet. On a weekday morning! This can only mean one thing: my Meg must be absent.

And she is, because this morning, Dave had to go to work (even though it's his day off) for an hour or two, and he decided to take our girl with him! Dave had to go in to meet some guys who are at the church to do a thorough check of all the sound equipment in the auditorium. There have been some small but consistent issues with the system recently, so Dave decided to hire some folks to come in and work through every cable, every speaker, every line, every connection and find out where the problems lie--and fix 'em! It's supposed to take this whole week! (These guys are from the same company that installed the system when we built the new room in 2002--can you believe we've been enjoying our great big auditorium for five whole years??)

Anyway, today would normally be the morning when Dave keeps Meg at home so I can get out on my own for a while, but since he couldn't be here, and since what he has to do at church is pretty casual, he decided to try taking Meg along. Hence, the rooms of my house lack their normal noise--the constant babbling, laughing, running, whining, clapping, playing, screeching sounds of my very energetic 19-month old.

My husband was so cute about taking her along--I think he was sort of excited. He got her up, dressed her and fed her breakfast himself (while allowing me a little extra sleep), switched her car seat to his car and packed up snacks, a sippy cup and Meg's rubber ball. He's hoping to keep her amused in the auditorium while he chats with the guys for a while and then head out for some Daddy-Megger time on the new playground out back. He is such a wonderful dad.

Speaking of wonderful, let me let you in on a little email exchange between Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox. It took place this past Saturday, when Dave worked (as he often does on Saturdays) from about 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

I wrote:
Hi, Darling.

I know you'll be wiped out when you get home tonight, but I have a request for you. Could you try to save just a little bit of strength for giving your wife a back massage? Somehow I did something to my upper back this morning, and it's been bothering me all day. I think a little bit of rubbing might help it though... if you're up for it.

I love you so. Thank you for all of the ways you serve the Lord--at church, at home, in public and in secret.

And my husband replied:
Hi, sweetheart.

My energy is first for you and then for everyone else. I’ll be ready to give a back massage when I get home!

Isn't he amazing? I am such a blessed woman.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Morning Snapshot

Monday is our sleep-in-till-Meg-wakes-us-up day. Around 7:30 a.m. yesterday I stirred groggily, roused by the sounds of my daughter's cheerful crows coming from the monitor. (In my sleepy state, I thought that she said, "Mine! Mine!" Probably not, I decided a few drowsy moments later. She's never said that before.)

I spent another full hour slowly coming to, keeping an ear out for any sign of unhappiness from Meg's corner of the house. Finally, at 8:36, Dave sat up in bed, leaned over me and squinted at the red numbers on my alarm clock. "Does it say 6:30 or 8:30?" he asked. I told him. He lay back down. I rolled over on my side to watch my husband's face as he slept. I put my hand out and laid it lightly on his head. The bedclothes were pulled up under his chin. I looked at them, and in the soft morning light that came filtering through our shaded windows, the ugly steel gray of our hand-me-down bedspread, the stretched out shapelessness of our cotton blanket, and the worn sheets that don't match with anything all seemed--for once--at peace with one another.

I looked back at my husband's face and thought how glad I was to have him beside me. Lines from a love song drifted into my mind:

Wanna wake up every morning to your sweet face...

Baby Boy moved inside me, letting me know that he was up too. I put my hand on my stomach to feel the familiar strangeness of his rolling. Meg's happy voice continued to come through the monitor. "I guess I should go get our little girl," Dave murmured, his eyes still closed.

"No, I'm awake." I said, remembering his long and wearying weekend. "I'll get her." I turned to get out of bed, then changed my mind and leaned back over my husband. "I think we should have pancakes this morning," I whispered.

"Oh, you do?" he replied, sounding vaguely excited even in his snooze-mode.

"Yep." I got up, threw a big, slouchy t-shirt on over my pajamas, and left our bedroom to deliver Meg from her crib.


Now, there are plenty of mornings when waking up is much more painful than pleasant, when I don't have a desire to serve my family, when I'm not grateful for all of God's gracious blessings in my life. There are mornings when I am more aware of all that has to be done and the fact that I feel too tired to do it than I am of the grace that is available to me as I walk forward humbly, one step at a time. There are mornings when Meg's voice coming through the monitor is the last thing I want to hear. There are mornings when I think more about how Dave and I both have morning breath than about how much I love my husband.

But yesterday's particular morning was such a sweet, rare, gift of a moment in time that I had to capture it and share it with you. It's my way of giving glory to the God who thought it up and made it so lovely.

Friday, July 13, 2007

WARNING: Keep away from children.

This is an appropriate title for today's post on two levels.

On the first level, it's time I confessed that I have a problem. It's a problem with grocery bags. I can't seem to remember to recycle them.
Bags 1

I bring them home after each shopping trip, and after each shopping trip, I wad them up and store them in the locked cabinet under the kitchen sink, along with the cleaning fluids and the other stuff I don't want Meg getting into. And then, with the best of intentions to take them with me the next time I go shopping and drop them in the recycling bin, I instead forget them and leave them under the sink, adding to them when I come home with a new load of groceries. Most recently, this went on for several months before I finally realized that I had to do something. The cycle had to be broken!

So yesterday, I opened up the cabinet and pulled out bags. And pulled out bags. And pulled out some more bags. Meg helped by spreading them all over the kitchen floor as I extracted them.
Bags 4

Once they were all out, I let Meg play in them for a moment. I know, I know: every single one of those bags has a warning on it that says it's not a toy. But there were literally hundreds of these things. Meg took one look at all of them and just... dove in. Like it was one of those wading areas filled with balls that they have at Chuck E. Cheese. So I let her enjoy it for a moment.
Bags 3

Then she helped to bring me bags as we bundled them up. We filled up four grocery bags with crumpled up grocery bags--and I mean, we stuffed those four bags full. All four of them are now residing in my car, where I will see them every time I help Meg into or out of her car seat. This will include my next trip to the grocery store, by which time I expect to be so sick of seeing them and having them in my way, that I will hasten to the recycling bin with great joy and gladness.

Okay, now the second reason why this post is titled "Keep away from children:" currently, I am working to keep Meg away from other children. Yesterday we learned from our pediatrician that she has something called the Coxsackie virus, also known as hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Basically, it's a 7-10 day virus that causes a fever and a rash on the hands, feet and inside the mouth. It's not serious, except for the fact that the lesions inside the mouth are quite painful and can cause the child to want to avoid food and drink. Hence, there can be a risk of dehydration. However, our excellent pediatrician has Meg on a strict regimen of Motrin alternating with Tylenol to keep the pain down. So far, Meg is eating some fruit on occasion, drinking milk and juice sometimes (though sometimes it hurts even to suck on a cold bottle), and, perhaps most importantly, giving us a sufficent number of wet diapers to show that she's not dehydrated yet! We are so thankful to God for these evidences of his grace.

But even while our girl hangs in there physically (and really doesn't act sick most of the time), she remains highly contagious. (Most adults are quite immune to the virus, but not so with other kiddos.) So no church nursery for her this weekend. And if you see us walking down the street while you're out playing with your children, well, we won't be offended if you turn and run the other way!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Vacation With the Marcs

As promised, here is a post recapping our West Virginia vacation with our dear friends Kris, Jess, and Jack Marcantonio. I'll try to be brief (I know, I'm so good at that!) and focus mostly on the pictures.

We left on Monday, June 25--in two separate cars, which was not part of the original plan. In the initial excitement of planning this trip, Jessica and I pictured both families all packed into one minivan, but fortunately, wisdom (and baby gear) prevailed.

Our first stop was Middletown, Maryland, where we spent part of the afternoon at the home of Kris's parents, the Marcantonios Sr. The big attraction there (besides Maryann Marcantonio and her always gracious hospitality) was a beautiful, blue swimming pool. The water was a bit chilly, but most of us braved it anyway. This was only Meg's second pool experience, and the first was almost a year ago.

Here's Meg and Mommy in the water...
Vacation 1

...and out of the water. (Don't I look nice when I'm all wet?)
Vacation 2

And here's Jack and his mommy playing poolside:
Vacation 4

Holy moley, just look at that cute chunker!
Vacation 3

Later that day we made the rest of our short journey to West Virginia. That evening we unpacked quickly, then headed back out for a quick Chick Fil A dinner and some grocery shopping. Kris and Dave kept the kiddos in the restaurant play area while Jess and I did a marathon shopping trip. Seriously. I think we were in that store for over two hours. That's what you get when you have two very different girls picking out food together, without a grocery list, in an unfamiliar store. Fortunately, our husbands and our little ones all handled it heroically.

The rest of the week was wonderfully low-key and unhurried. Honestly, we just really didn't plan much. With two kids on opposite nap schedules, one still nursing frequently, there's just not a lot of free daylight for exploring and adventuring. But the unwinding time was welcome to Dave and me. Besides, there was quite a bit to do at the house: play with Meg and Jack, explore the property, prepare and eat meals together, play games, watch one of the house's five TV's, talk and laugh, read, etc., etc. And both couples took turns babysitting so that we could get out for date nights. Kris and Jess had a fancy dinner in honor of their second anniversary. Dave and I had dinner and went outlet shopping to pick up a few things for Baby Boy! Having a bit of a layette for him makes me feel so much more ready to welcome him!)

We did make it out for two half-day trips. The first was to Antietam, a Civil War battlefield where North and South met to fight the war's bloodiest single day. We did a little car-tour and just barely skimmed the surface of the site's history before the kids started to lose it. We also enjoyed the absolutely beautiful country side. It was a hazy, hot day, so the air quality didn't make for great photography, but these will give you some idea of what we saw:

Vacation 5

Vacation 6

Vacation 7

Dave and Meg after a little bit of leg-stretching:
Vacation 8

A shot taken from the car:
Vacation 10

In the minivan, when we piled in together for a trip or errands, the car seats occupied the middle row while Dave and I took the back seats. This made for a great view for me:
Vacation 9

Our other little adventure was a walk down the C&O Canal--actually, we walked right in between the old canal path and the Potomac River. The path was beautifully shady and green and quiet:
Vacation 12

Our baby girl, loaded into her "all-terrain" stroller, which was perfect for this bumpy ride:
Vacation 11

Our view of the river as we strolled along:
Vacation 13

Meg and Daddy spotted a bunny just off the main trail and went to introduce themselves:
Vacation 18
(After this, when the bunny hopped off and we continued on our previous route, Meg refused to keep walking with us--she wanted to go back to that other trail and find that bunny!)

A little hole through the trees--Kris led us from here on an off-road visit to the river bank:
Vacation 16

A lovely, serene spot on the water:
Vacation 14

Mommy and Aunt Jessie playing, "One, two, three... wheeeee!" with Megger:
Vacation 19

Our men-folk pushing the strollers:
Vacation 17

My two sweetie-sweeties:
Vacation 15

The last thing we did together before the Wilcoxes headed back to Gaithersburg for church prep was a meal at a local Uno's Chicago Pizzeria--yum! (This was a fittingly subdued finale to our quiet vacation, don't you think?) The only reason I mention this is that our waitress was a girl with whom I went to school all the way from elementary through high school graduation. It was so funny to look up from my menu and see this vaguely familiar face in a completely unexpected setting!

That about wraps up our time with the Marcantonios! Over lunch at Uno's, we started planning next year's trip, so I guess I could end this post by saying, "Vacation countdown, three-hundred and fifty-some days to go..."

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Catching Up

This is my first post in close to a month. It has been a busy time, and I know I can't go over all that's happened in detail. But let's see if I can do a brief recap.

1. The night after I posted my last entry, sometime just after midnight on June 15th, my beloved grandmother Margie died. In one sense her death was not sudden--she had been fighting cancer for six years; her health was clearly in decline; on multiple occasions she had expressed her desire to stop fighting and go home to be with the Lord. But on the other hand, just six days before she passed away, we had placed her in a great nursing home where she was finally to receive the full-time care that we thought might help her to stabilize. The fact that she died instead of experiencing even a slight recovery was pretty stunning to us, since we had hoped her life might be prolonged.

I spent the two weeks after Margie's death working on an epic blog post about Margie's life and impact on me. I still haven't been able to complete it. When I do, I may post it serially rather than in one big chunk, as it is way, way too long for anyone to read it in one sitting. But even if I never post it at all, I have loved writing about this woman who was so special to me, capturing my many memories of her while they are still fresh and poignant, and recording a bit of her legacy for my own children to read some day--especially Meg, who is Margie's namesake.

2. The day after we learned about Margie's death was my dear husband's 31st birthday. We didn't have much of a celebration that day, as I was still in the early shock of grief and Dave had to work. But we did manage to make it out for a special birthday breakfast at The Original Pancake House--yum!

3. The day after Dave's birthday was Father's Day! After he got home from church and Meg woke up from her nap, Dave opened his birthday gifts and his Father's Day gifts. (I had to take a picture of the Father's Day gifts and cards, which, through no forethought or planning of mine, happened to match perfectly!)
Father's Day Gifts

Here's a shot of Meg and Dave showing off the new books that Daddy got for Father's Day. The Dr. Seuss title was Meg's gift. It was one of Daddy's favorites when he was little. The big red one is called The Dangerous Book for Boys, and it was from Mommy and Baby Boy. If you haven't heard about this book, you really should check it out. I can't wait for Dave to get to enjoy it with our son when he is out of the womb and a bit older...
Father's Day

Here's what our living room looked like after Meg "helped" Daddy open his presents:
Father's Day Trash

After presents, we went over to my parents' house to be with my dad and grandfather, and to celebrate Dave's birthday with the fam. Here's a shot of Dave just after he blew out the candles on his cake.
Birthday Cake

4. My sister Jacque was in town with her son Ari that week, so we got to hang out with them a bit.
Jacque and Ari

Dave loved holding Ari--I think it helps him realize that we're soon going to have a tiny baby boy of our own!
Dave and Ari

At the end of the week, Asher joined us, and before he and Jacque returned to Virginia, we made a family trek to Jimmie Cone for a sample of soft serve--and a dose of Damascus, MD culture. Here are Cubby and Asher taking in the sights:
Jimmie Cone 1

Lena munching her cone, followed by Mom and Jacque doing the same. I don't know a lot of women who can be photographed while eating and still look beautiful, but somehow, these three manage.
Jimmie Cone 2
Jimmie Cone 3

Meg waiting for another bite of Daddy's flurry:
Jimmie Cone 4

Dad, who always finishes his ice cream long before anyone else, got to hold the baby.
Jimmie Cone 5

5. I had another appointment at the Maternity Center around 26.5 weeks, and all seems to be going well with Baby Boy. His heart beat is strong and regular. And he's definitely a mover! I don't think that Meg was nearly as active as he has been--such wiggles and squiggles and thumps and kicks! And sometimes he does this thing way down deep inside me at the base of my pelvis--sort of feels like he's dancing on my bladder. It's a pretty strange sensation.

(This graphic from is all messed up. For some reason, it keeps switching from 77 days to go to 15 days to go. I have tried to delete it altogether, but somehow it has become permanently embedded. Hopefully it's not propheetic.)

6. Later on in the day of my appointment, we took Meg to the Germantown Splash Playground for the very first time! Unfortunately, we didn't take the camera and don't have any pictures from our time there. But Meg had a blast!

The "splash park," as most people call it, is this great place where many different fountains and water-blowers and pourers are all set around this big concerete deck. It's a really fun place for kids, and a great alternative to a traditional pool for little ones who can't yet swim. They get all the benefits of cooling down, interacting with other kids, splashing water all over creation and generally exhausting themselves--without having to deal with a sitting body of water that is deeper than they are tall!

Anyway, we will definitely be taking Meg back there later this summer (especially since it's free until she turns two!), and we'll be sure to get pictures next time.

7. A few days later, we attended the Covenant Life Church staff picnic. Meg and I had to miss the meal part so that she could take her nap, but we did arrive just in time for the ice cream truck! Dave had a great time being outdoors and playing many games of volleyball, and Meg enjoyed running around the park, finding all sorts of balls to play with, wielding a couple of lacrosse sticks that she found lying around, sucking on a bottle of sunscreen (yes, it was tightly closed), and eating animal crackers from her goody bag. I had a nice time chatting with various staff members/wives, laughing at my daughter, and trying to keep her from wandering into the middle of the aforementioned volleyball games. It was hard, because she really wanted to play in all that sand!

8. On Monday, June 25th, we set off for our vacation with the Marcantonio family. This trip, though very low-key, definitely merits an entry of its own, and so I will return to it later and post pictures at that time.

9. After vacation, we came home for three days before hitting the road again for our Independence Day trip. The weather during these few days was just beautiful--sunny and balmy with lovely breezes and low humidity. This is very rare for the D.C. area in July! Dave, Meg and I took advantage of one sparklingly gorgeous day by heading out to a local park. Here are a couple of our pictures:

Look at that sky!
Park Day 3

Park Day 2

Park Day 1

Park Day 5

Park Day 4

10. Then it was off to the buzzing metropolis of Palmyra, Virginia! My dad's folks, Gran and Grandpop, live there, as well as my Uncle Rob and Aunt Julia and their two boys. We always spend the Fourth of July there. This was a particularly fun year. Dave and Meg and I haven't seen that side of the family since Christmas, so it was great catching up with everyone. Although we did bring the camera on this trip, we failed to actually use it, so I will have to verbally describe some of the memorable moments.

One of the day's events was our annual water fight, which always starts with my four cousins-- Spencer, Mason, Benjamin and Elijah--and some water guns. Eventually though, the arsenal always ends up incorporating plastic cups, drink coolers and, as a final measure, the garden hose. The army itself inevitably expands to include Dave, Uncle Rob, my sister Lena and our little second-cousin (once removed) Dawn, age 5. This year, Meg ended up participating as well. Mostly she just ran around in the midst of it all, squealing with delight over all the running people and flying water. Then her Aunt Lena accidentally squirted her in the face with a big soaker, and she got a cool-down as part of the bargain! I didn't see this happen, but apparently Meg took her big squirt quite stoically, and when I next found her, she was still trotting around happily, albeit with a completely drenched front side. Even baby Ari, barely 2 months old, ended up inadvertently taking part of this tradition. One of my cousins, sneaking up to douse his brother with a bucket full of water, accidentally overshot. What he couldn't see was that just behind his brother was Aunt Heidi, who had Ari in her lap. When the cold water sprayed all over Ari, he let out one awful, gurgling scream, then settled back down quite happily. Of course, that didn't stop my cousin from feeling like an absolute heel for making the baby cry. Fortunately, Jacque did very well for a brand new mommy who has just seen her little treasure shocked out of his senses and soaked through. She even managed a wavering smile for the erring cousin!

After the water fight came the rockets. This year Dave bought and assembled three of these model rockets that he used to enjoy as a kid, bringing them with us to Palmyra to entertain my cousins (and pretty much everyone else). The rockets are something else--you buy these little engines to insert in them, and when you ignite them, they emit a loud hiss and a spray of smoke, shoot off at a great speed, fly several hundred feet up into the air, and finally pop out their little parachutes and drift back to earth. They were a big hit, but we did suffer some casualties along with our fun, mostly because of the breeziness of the day. One rocket flew over above a wooded area, snagged a tree on its way down and got entangled in the branches. The first time this happened, Uncle Rob and Ben and Mason promptly got the extension ladder and fished it out of the tree, but when it happened again on a later launch, it was irretrievable. A second rocket caught a gust of wind at the peak of its flight, soared off into distant space, and was never seen again, despite a long foot-search by Dave and my dad. And the final rocket ended up broken, as things designed to explode are apparently prone to do.

(Are you noticing what a little boy my husband can be when he has the chance? I just love that about him!)

For me, one of the fun parts of holiday gatherings is that, having now been admitted into the grown-up-lady sphere along with the other wives and moms, I usually end up with a food assignment. This year Jacque and I got to bring desserts, which made me very happy. Jacque whipped up a positively scrumptious key lime pie, and I spent all day Tuesday happily creating a batch of cookies, an eclair cake, and a peach cobbler. Unfortunately, spending all day on my feet in the kitchen had one negative side effect. By the time we got to Virginia on Wednesday, my feet were noticeably achy, and after a long afternoon of chasing Meg in the heat, my ankles were puffy and my feet swollen well beyond their normal width. Thursday morning, they still looked fat and felt awful. Fortunately, I managed to spend most of the morning with my feet elevated, and by the time we got home to Maryland that evening, I was all better!

11. Lastly, Dave and I spent this Friday at an eight-hour meeting with some of the church staff, doing some long-term Sunday planning. (I got invited because of my past involvement with Sundays. It was fun to be working alongside my husband and my dad again, if only for a day!) Jenn Dabbondanza graciously kept Meg for us all day long. I was thrilled for Meg to have such a fun place to go (Jenn has three kids for her to play with), but I was also just a little bit nervous--this was the longest I have ever been away from my little girl! However, Meg did great, apparently suffering absolutely no separation anxiety (I wish she would do that at church!!) and having a blast with the Dabb kids. Thanks, Jenn, for being willing to serve us in this way!

Jenn kindly shared with us a couple of pictures she took during the day. Here are Meg and Aubreigh taking a little stroll:
Meg and Dabbs 1

Meg and Dabbs 2

Our sweetie girl:
Meg and Dabbs 4

Phew! So now, if you have actually made it this far, you are pretty caught up with the Wilcox family's summer. We'll be back soon with more on the West Virginia vacation...