Thursday, September 27, 2007

First Family Day With Four

Some pictures from our brief trip to the park on Monday... first time out of the house all together!

Park 2

Park 1

Park 3

Park 6

Park 8

Park 9

Park 10

Park 4

Park 7

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

One Week Old Today

Matthew 1 Week Old

And for the briefest of updates:

Matthew has given us the sweetest baby-honeymoon we could imagine. We never knew the first week of an infant's life could be like this! (Meg's certainly wasn't.) He is such a good sleeper so far--often putting himself to sleep with no crying at all or just a moment of protest. And we were so grateful to learn--at our one-week weigh-in today--that our little boy is gaining weight at a perfect pace and will now be able to enjoy a little longer stretch of nighttime sleep if he wishes. (And so will we, praise the Lord!) (The weight-gain news is especially exciting and relieving because Meg did not gain as our pediatrician wished, and we had a protracted struggle with trying to figure out why.)

Meg is settling in as well as could be expected, I think. She loves her baby brother and did not seem much surprised by his arrival, even though we don't think she understood ahead of time that he was coming. She loves giving Matthew kisses, getting close-up to look at his wee face and, oh yes, trying to put her fingers in his eyes. She has also hit her brother several times (and suffered the consequences), but this is usually more out of displeasure with Mommy and Daddy than apparent jealousy toward Baby.

Dave is easing back into work a bit this weekend, and I am on my own with the two kiddos for the first time tonight. It is going very well, all things considered! Meg is asleep; Matthew is fed and asleep (for now), and I have time to wash dishes and maybe take a quick nap before the next feeding! So off I go!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Our Boy


Introducing Matthew Ian Wilcox...

Born Friday, September 14th at 2:44 a.m.

8 pounds, 13 ounces | 21 inches long

Healthy and beautiful. God is so good.

Much more to come...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Grace In the Laundry Room

These days, one of my greatest commonplace joys is doing laundry. That might sound a little funny if you're at all like me. I certainly never saw laundry as an extraordinary pleasure in prior years.

But I never had Meg as my laundry helper in prior years either.


When Meg first got big enough to climb up and down stairs, she began to accompany me on my regular trips to the basement laundry room. There she would hinder my efficient laundry processing by standing in my way, pressing buttons that shouldn't have been pressed, trying to eat the detergent, etc. For a while I floundered through this, working around Meg as best I could, trying not to be irritated with my little busybody, but often failing. Once, at least, I became angry and let her know it. Oh, how my wicked heart regretted that outburst when it was over!

At some point, by God's grace, it occurred to me that I could harness Meg's interest in the whole laundry process by teaching her to be a real helper to Mommy. She took to it immediately and now knows just what to do without even being asked. We walk downstairs and into the laundry room; I set the laundry basket on the floor. Meg loads the laundry, one or two pieces at a time, into the washing machine (we have a front-end loader) while I dispense the soap. When all the clothes are in, Meg shuts the door with a big, satisfying bang.

Then comes the really fun part: she gets to push the buttons! I crouch down beside her and remind her of what to push when, talking to her about whether we are using hot or cold water this time, etc. Finally she pushes the "Start" button and holds it until she hears the door lock. Then she steps back and waits--she often nestles up close to me for this part and rests her cheek against mine. I wrap my arm around her and watch her sweet, rapt little face in the reflection of the door. "Here comes the soapy water!" I say, and we see an initial white spray spurt into the machine. "Here comes some more water," I say and, after a moment, the canister begins to fill up and spin. "Spinning," I say, "All done!" "Ahhhh duh," Meg echoes as we prepare to leave. ("No more buttons," I often have to remind her, as she attempts to hit the pretty pink one that reads "Pause/Cancel"--it makes such a nice beeping sound when you touch it!) Then we walk out of the laundry room; I turn off the light and Meg slams the door.

The fascination and joy with which Meg takes part in this little ritual each day makes doing the laundry more than fun for me--it makes it delightful. Yeah, it takes a LOT longer than it would if I did it all by myself. And sometimes I think that's time that would be better spent on other tasks. But, oh, to see Meg feeling needed and useful around our home! And to teach my tiny daughter skills that she will be using for the rest of her life--now, before she learns to associate them with drudgery! It's so worth the extra time.

It robs me of my own sense of drudgery too. In fact, it turns a day-in, day-out chore into a cherished bonding moment for Mama and her little girl. And it makes things as simple as cloth and water and soap powder into something almost... well, magical.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

New Addition

No, it's not our son...

It's a minivan.

New Van

For a long time, we thought we might be able to sneak through at least part of the two-children stage using only our faithful Honda Civics. However, when we tested this theory, my husband discovered that it would only work as long as our son remained in the infant carrier. (For those who wonder why this is so: a rear-facing toddler seat fits fine in the middle back seat of my Civic--and in that one seat only. But alongside another, front-facing toddler seat, it won't work. The seats are too wide and they won't sit flat beside each other--or allow you to close the door. Why don't they make car seats for compact cars? Maybe in Europe they do?) So we knew that, sooner or a very little bit later, we would have to bite the bullet and go for something larger.

So Dave has been checking Craig's List periodically, and about two weeks ago, he found what seemed to be a really good deal on a 2004 Honda Odyssey. We drove to Centreville, VA to check it out and take it for a spin, and ended up offering the seller his asking price just as the second would-be buyer was strolling around the van. Ever since then, my husband has been working extremely hard to nail down a car loan with a helpful but inexperienced bank representative and stay in touch with the seller, who left for a week-long business trip the day after we first saw him.

Anyway, as of last night, it's all settled. We own this puppy for keeps (or at least as long as we make our payments on time!). Both car seats are installed in it. Now all we have to do is take some trips, create some memories, and make it really feel like our family vehicle. Oh, and we have to name it, of course. (I come from a family with a long tradition of naming cars. Yes, I'm serious.)

Thank You, Lord, for your provision for us! We acknowledge that you are the One who has supplied this need for us--and we agree with your Word that we do not deserve even the smallest of your gifts!

Now... does anybody know someone who wants to buy a Civic?

Nope--At Least, Not Yet

So, I'm still having some very light intermittent contractions, but nothing that makes me think this is the real start of something. Whatever last night was (a warm up?), it seems to have subsided.

That's probably a very good thing, because, as far as my husband's schedule goes, last night would have been just about the worst time we could have picked for me to have a baby. Today marks the start of the first big fall weekend at the church--by that I mean one with major meetings in addition to the two on Sunday. The fact that we made it through to this morning with no baby at least means that Dave will have some time in the office today to prepare the paper work his teams need in order to know what they're supposed to do for all these events (even if Dave can't be there to oversee them personally).

And if we can make it through tomorrow as well, then Dave will be able to host his big, annual Technical Teams picnic, where all the volunteers who serve on the church's sound, lighting and video teams bring their families to a park for an afternoon of cooking out, games, prizes and fellowship. Otherwise, I guess someone else will have to play the M.C. (Though I think I speak completely fairly when I say that my husband is irreplaceable at an event like this. No one encourages those servants like Dave can.)

Anyway, we don't know what's happening with my body or this baby or the scheduled events of this weekend, but we do know God, and we trust Him. And--regardless of how inconvenient a time he might choose to arrive--we can't wait to meet our Baby Boy!

Am I In Labor?

I don't know. I could be. Maybe you can help me figure it out. (If you happen to be awake at 3:00 in the morning and also, for some strange reason, reading my blog.) Here are my symptoms:

1. Have had several contractions over the last hour-and-a-half--none particularly strong or long, and certainly not in any regular pattern, but I don't usually have them at night at all.
2. Baby Boy is extremely active. He seemed to wake up right around the time I did (1:30 or so) and feel the need to squirm and stretch and bump in ways that he hasn't moved for weeks now. Some of it feels very strange, given how low he has dropped.
3. As I lay awake waiting to see what would happen with contractions, I had the strong desire to come downstairs and eat a) the last Dannon yogurt in my fridge: peach, with fruit on the bottom and b) a bowl of oatmeal. (Check and check.)
4. Also as I lay awake, had the thought that maybe I should come downstairs and do the two days worth of dirty dishes that have accumulated in my sink (long story). The only reason I include this on my list of "symptoms" is that I have never, ever, in all my 27 years, had the urge or desire to do dishes in the middle of the night. Ever.

For the past several mornings, my husband has greeted me with the observation, "Still pregnant, I see." Or once he phrased it as a question: "Still pregnant, huh?"

If, on returning to my bed in a few moments (just after I take care of these few dishes), I fall back asleep and wake at a normal morning hour to more of my David's astute commentary, I'll be sure to post a "still pregnant" note at that time. And if I don't do that, well... then I guess the answer to my original query could be... just possibly... yes.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Blur and The Blob

This is a little story about Jack...
Jack'n'Meg 1

...and Meg.
Jack'n'Meg 2

Last night, Jack came over to our house for a few hours so that his daddy and momma could get some time out alone. Now, I decided that I would try to get some pictures of Jack and Meg together. So I put them both on the couch and waited for something photogenic to happen.
Jack'n'Meg 4

Unfortunately for my photo shoot, however, Meg was incredibly hyper yesterday evening. There was no way she was sitting down to cuddle up beside Jack and pose. She was off to do her own thing.
Jack'n'Meg 5

Whatever that happened to be at the moment.
Jack'n'Meg 7

But that was just fine with Jack. He was really quite happy to sit there and watch his friend Meg.
Jack'n'Meg 6

So he sat...
Jack'n'Meg 8

and sat.
Jack'n'Meg 10

Because, really, sitting is about all he knows how to do. (And that only when he's propped up.)
Jack'n'Meg 9

And, hey, when you're that good at something, what's the point in branching out any way?
Jack'n'Meg 11

When Jack's mommy came home, I told her about my picture taking, and she suggested that we should call Meg and Jack "The Blur and the Blob." So Jess, this post is for you, my friend.

And this concludes our story about Meg...
Jack'n'Meg 12

...and Jack.
Jack'n'Meg 13