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!)
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...
Here's what our living room looked like after Meg "helped" Daddy open his presents:
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.
4. My sister Jacque was in town with her son Ari that week, so we got to hang out with them a bit.
Dave loved holding Ari--I think it helps him realize that we're soon going to have a tiny baby boy of our own!
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:
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.
Meg waiting for another bite of Daddy's flurry:
Dad, who always finishes his ice cream long before anyone else, got to hold the baby.
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 babystrology.com 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!
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:
Our sweetie girl:
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...