Monday, October 29, 2007

And Speaking of Mischief...

First Smile I detect an impish twinkle in those little eyes? This is Matthew's first captured smile, and the expression you see here is quite typical of his happy times. Often when he is nursing he looks up and smiles at me like this, as if to say, "Isn't it fun being us, Mommy?" I'm just sure he would wink if he could. Oh, what a sweetie!

Matthew continues to be "Good Baby" around here... eats well, sleeps well, looks handsome. He likes his bath and being held and talked to. He doesn't like being set down (even for a moment) when he thinks he is about to be fed, and he doesn't like to be cold (e.g., after a bath when we are diapering and dressing him).

Matthew, or "Du-ko," as Meg sometimes calls him (no, I have no idea) is now a couple of days past six weeks old. His baby acne has cleared up, at least temporarily, but he may have a touch of eczema in its place. Or maybe that's just another manifestation of the acne. At any rate, he has made the transition from one to two quite a breeze, and we are loving every moment of our family time together. Praise God for sweet little babies--and for the not so sweet ones too! What grace, joy and wonder they bring into our lives. May our family, our church and our nation always welcome and cherish them with gratefulness to The One Who Thought Them Up!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meg Gets Hold of One of Mommy's Lipsticks


No big story here, and no real damage done anywhere in the house, or even to clothes. Just a very minor incident in the life of an active, inquisitive, observant and, yes, mischievous two-year old. I include "observant" on the list because she often watches me intently while I put on my make-up, and I'm thinking that she she thought this lipstick was an eye pencil or something. Just a guess, based on its location on her face. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Visitors From Up North

This morning we bid adieu to Mom and Tom, Dave's Michigan folks, who were here with us for a long weekend. We always love spending time with these two dear people--and it only happens about twice a year, so we have to make the most of it!

Mom&Tom 2

In addition to meeting Matthew (their fourth grandchild) for the first time and getting caught up on all of Meg's capabilities and capers, they shared a very special (extended) family day with us yesterday. Originally we had planned to go to the National Zoo, but the forecast called for rain. Instead, we decided to head for the American Museum of Natural History, which is a lot like a zoo in some ways, only the animals are dead.

I haven't spent much time there since I was small, so it was really wonderful to get to enjoy it with Meg and see it through her eyes as if for the first time. When you enter the main hall, called "The Rotunda," the first thing you behold is a positively gigantic preserved elephant on a high platform. It's a pretty awesome sight even to an adult; to a child it must be absolutely astonishing. We wheeled Meg in her stroller into this great hall and turned her toward the elephant. I saw her little eyes widen as they traveled up, up, up to take in the fullness of this massive animal. "Meg," I said, crouching down by her side, "what is that?" "Eh-wuh," she replied in a hushed tone. Then, using her arm as a trunk: "Errrrrrrrrrr."

We proceeded into the mammal halls, where the feats of scientific taxidermy are second only to the feats of God's creation. If you haven't been there, you've really got to go. They have this scene of two female lions attacking a buffalo--one lion is on the buffalo's back and the other is trying to get out from under it as it begins to fall. All three of these huge, powerful animals are frozen in midair. It's an action photograph brought to life--it's amazing. They have a giraffe bending down to drink water, front legs spread wide apart. They have a leopard lying complacently on a tree branch with its recent prey--a dead antelope--slung over the bough in front of it, while a hyena lurks below, waiting for scraps to fall from the treetop feast. (Leopards really do drag their food up into trees to protect it from other predators! Who knew?)

We're talking about real animals here, people! They were once alive and filled with guts, and now they're hanging out in a museum for all to see and learn about! It's really cool! (Sorry if you're a big PETA type--well, never mind. You're not reading this any more anyway--you're leaning over the toilet bowl by now.)

Meg was in awe. She just wandered around dazedly for the first ten minutes or so, repeating the sign for "more" and emphasizing her request vocally. "Mo-mo? Mo-mo?"

"Look, Meg--there's a lion, and there's a monkey, and there's a bunny."
"Hop-hop. Mo-mo?"
"There's a hippo, and there's a bushbaby."
"There's an anteater, and there's a... hm, what is that?"

Okay, well, you get the idea. Mom and Tom trooped all over with us taking pictures and smiling at Meg. Matthew slept and ate, as usual. In short, we had a great day at the museum, and I'm really excited that we went. (What can I say--I had a baby five weeks ago and haven't been out much!)

Here are a couple of pictures of Mom and Tom lovin' on lil' Matthew...
Mom&Tom 1

Mom&Tom 3

Thanks for coming to stay with us, Mom and Tom! We love you!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Visitors from Down South

JoshDacia&Kids 2

Earlier this week we had the pleasure of a visit from Dave's sister Dacia and her fiancé, Josh, who live in Charleston, SC. We haven't seen Dacia since Meg was six weeks old, and we have only met Josh on one previous occasion, so it was great to have some time with them. They graciously did "kid stuff" with us for Meg's sake--a trip to Froggy Land, dinner at Red Robin, where Meg was absolutely in heaven with her big blue balloon.

(Speaking of Froggy Land, by the way, does anyone else find that your kids get sick whenever you take them there? Last time we went was several months ago, and Meg came down with hand-foot-and-mouth disease immediately afterward. Then this Monday we tried again. Tuesday morning she woke up with a cold.) (FYI to non-Marylanders: Froggy Land is the indoor playground at our local mall. Little ones love playing there on the giant rubber frogs and dragonflies... but the fun seems to come at the price of my daughter's health!)

The next visit will be with Grandma Dawn and Grandpa Tom from Michigan. They will arrive tomorrow and be herethrough next Wednesday. We are so looking forward to having them! And, if the weather cooperates, we are hoping to make our first family trek to the National Zoo while they are here! More on that to come...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

One Month Old (by Matthew)

1Month Matthew

Since I had my big one-month birthday on Sunday the 14th, Mommy decided it was high time that I made my first official correspondence. So here I am, blogging.

Life out here in the big world seems pretty good so far. Right now I am majoring in Eating and Sleeping, with a concentration in Going Through Diapers Really Fast. Mommy says that since I came along, the rate of baby wipe consumption in our home is just plain alarming. But she also says that I don't make nearly as much laundry as my big sister did at my age. At least what I do in my diaper mostly stays in the diaper!

At night, I currently sleep for 4-5 hours at a time, which means Mama really only has one middle-of-the-night feeding to do. She seems pretty happy with that for now. Sometimes Daddy comes in to feed me with a bottle instead, and I do pretty well with that. I have pretty bad baby acne these days, but everyone still says I am a handsome little fella. Fortunately, I have no idea what that means and am in no danger of getting a swelled head.

The picture above was taken on my one-month birthday. I just had a visit from my Aunt Dacia and Uncle Josh, so we have to post pictures from that sometime soon. And Mommy says to tell you that she has lots of other pictures (including some done by a real photographer) and posts to do... some day... when I'm not nursing 24/7... but don't hold your breath. :)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Miss Mischief

Messy Meg 2

So yesterday morning I am nursing Matthew. My mom is at our house for a few hours, generously giving her time away and scouring my bathroom. Meg is running back and forth from the master bedroom, where Mom is, to Matthew's room, where I am. She's having a blast alternating between Nana and Mama and playing peekaboo with both. After one appearance in Matthew's room, Meg grabs the door and pulls it shut, leaving me closed inside. I think about getting up to open the door, since she can only close, not open, but decide against it when I hear her footsteps pounding back toward Nana. I figure that she will be just fine playing near Mom--and for a while, she is.

Minutes go by--not very many, but enough. Suddenly, the door to Matthew's room opens, and in walks my mother, carrying Meg. Meg, as you may have guessed from the picture above, has some mysterious black stuff all over her. She is also eating one of my mom's lipsticks. At first Mom and I think that the black stuff must be mascara. But after some investigation, it turns out to be... charcoal. Charcoal? Yes.

It seems that Meg has gone downstairs, unzipped my mom's purse (which Mom had carefully zipped and removed to a location where she thought it would be safe), and pulled out her pill case. You know those plastic things that have a little box for every day of the week? Well, Meg has discovered my mom's and helped herself to one item from "Friday". It's a capsule filled with charcoal, which my mom takes as a digestive aid. Fortunately, it's completely harmless, even if Meg managed to swallow any--and she probably didn't, since there appears to be at least one capsule's worth smeared on her face, hands and clothes. Amazingly, she didn't get charcoal on anything but herself--or lipstick. That's mercy number one. I guess mercy number two is that she only managed to get one pill before we found her. And the lipstick turns out to be a rather old and crusty one that my mom rarely uses any more. Mercy number three.

Mercy number four--by far the greatest--was that God allowed Meg get hold of a pill case belonging to my mother!! Anyone else's medicinal stock would surely yield something to harm my little daughter. But the only things my health-foody Mom ever takes are herbal and other natural remedies for tummy problems. Praise the Lord! That's one disaster averted, one little girl miraculously unharmed, and one mommy... hopefully the wiser for it.

Messy Meg

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Visit to The Pumpkin Festival

This Monday we headed out to Butler's Orchard for their Pumpkin Festival. By the time Meg woke up from her nap and Matthew finished eating, we only had an hour at the farm before it closed, so we weren't quite sure it would be worth the admission. (Although our kids, being under two, were both free.) But it was great! We got to squeeze in plenty of fun, and Meg enjoyed herself thoroughly. I suspect that going on Columbus Day was much nicer than braving the crowds on a weekend. There were no lines for anything. What a great memory!

First we took a gander at some of the "Barnyard Buddies" whose pens were set around the perimeter of the Festival area. Meg liked the pigs--they not only snorted (a sound she imitates excellently), but frequently sneezed, which cracked her up.
Pumpkins 1

This rooster obligingly crowed for us multiple times, giving Meg the opportunity to hear that, yes, roosters actually do go "er-er-er-er-errrrrrr!"
Pumpkins 2

"And that wraps up tonight's report on goats. Back to you, Katie."
Pumpkins 3

Meg's first moon bounce. And she had it all to herself!
Pumpkins 4

Meg playing with her new (and very temporary) pal Bridget:
Pumpkins 5

Daddy and Meg give the big slide a whirl. Getting ready...
Pumpkins 6

Wheee! Or perhaps not. They petered out a little early this time.
Pumpkins 7

Giving it a second shot--here they come!
Pumpkins 8

All right! Much better! (Meg's not smiling in this picture, but she did like the slide.)
Pumpkins 9

And what she liked even more was the fun tractor that she rode on--just her size!
Pumpkins 10

She had to try the tricycle too...
Pumpkins 11

... and the other kind of tricycle.
Pumpkins 12

Here's one of Matthew and me:
Pumpkins 13

The last thing we did was go on a hay ride. It was so fun and took us past some lovely views--it was also very bumpy! Here's a perfectly dreadful picture Dave took of me as I sat across the wagon from him. Don't ask me what I am doing in this shot--I wasn't even trying to make an ugly face!
Pumpkins 14

The hay ride took us out to pumpkin patch, where you had the option of choosing pumpkins to buy if you wanted. Funny story: at the patch, there was a team from Fox 5 News. The reporter lady climbed into the wagon with us while the camera was rolling--and, low and behold, she spotted me with a tiny baby strapped on my chest. She honed in right away.

Reporter Lady: Oh, look at the teeny, weeny baby! First trip to the pumpkin patch? (She sticks the microphone in my face.)

Me: Definitely.

RL: How old is she?

Me: It's a boy, and he's three weeks old.

RL: (Laughing) Oh, right, is that why he's wearing blue? (Looking at the camera) Wow, that's even younger than your brand new baby, Janet Parker. All right, back to you, Kristin and Mike.

So all this time most of us in the wagon are assuming that they are filming this for the 10:00 news or something, and that the reporter's little comments to the anchors and others in the studio are just in case this segment actually makes it into the broadcast. But as the reporter climbed out of the wagon after she was finished with us, she goes, "Thanks a lot, folks. That was live." Everyone in the wagon gasped and then started laughing. Here we all are, sweaty from the 90 degree weather, with dirt on our jeans and hay stuck in our hair, and we find out we've just been on live television. Beautiful. Well, there goes my 15 minutes of fame.

Purty "punkins" waitin' to be picked:
Pumpkins 17

Daddy and Megger on the ride back.
Pumpkins 15

Megs, just about tuckered out. No wonder! What a fun and busy afternoon!
Pumpkins 18

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Dearest Thing

Is there anything sweeter than being the recipient of a baby's first smile?

Yesterday, during my only quiet time alone with Matthew, I was smiling and talking to my little man as we rocked together in the big chair. All of the sudden, for just one fleeting moment, his eyes locked on mine and a real smile danced across his face. Today, at the same time of day, he repeated the performance! What a darling!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Little Cousins

Ari & Matthew

This is a shot of Ari and Matthew hanging out together yesterday. Ari is exactly four months and five days older than our little guy. Aren't they cute? Do you think they look related?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Latest

I think my blog posts are going to be straight to the point for a while...

Took Matthew in for his two-week check-up last Thursday. He managed to reattain his birth weight, plus some--hooray!! The scale put him at a very healthy 8 lbs., 15 oz., landing him in the 75th percentile for two-week old boys. He had also grown a whole inch since he was born--that's 22" total--and was therefore in the 97th percentile for height. I continue to be amazed by and grateful for his physical health and growth! He's such a good eater, nursing quickly and efficiently--so different from his big sister in her early days!

Matthew continues to sleep like a champ. He almost never cries unless he is getting tired or has a gas bubble in his little tummy (or is getting a diaper change). Provided that he is warm, clean, fed and burped, he is just... well, serene is the word that always comes to mind. What a sweet little man. And soooo handsome!

Meg has been battling a cold for almost a week now. It looks like Dave and I have both managed to flirt with it, then ward it off. Matthew too seems to be skirting it, a miracle that I can only attribute to God's mercy and the wonders of breast milk.

My sister Jacque comes up tomorrow, and Matthew will get to meet his cousin Ari for the first time! I'm sure there will be pictures aplenty from that visit. In the meantime, here are some pics from around the home front.

We call this one our baby mugshot. Matthew obligingly "holds" my little placard for me on his two-week birthday:
2 Weeks Old

Me lovin' on my littlest sweetheart:
Mommy & Matthew

The men in my life:
Daddy & Matthew

Matthew chillin' on his daddy's chest:
Matthew Slouchin'

Some shots of Meg on our family walk the other day:
Meg on a Walk 1

Meg on a Walk 2

Meg on a Walk 3

Matthew enjoying his first story time with Daddy, after our kind friends the Buchanans brought us two new Sandra Boynton books on Saturday.
Matthew's First Story 1

Matthew's First Story 2