Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Awwww. That's my baby girl's dedication day! This is a picture that my dad (I think) took in November of 2006. Meg was not quite a year old. You can see Dave and Meg and me off to the lower left. (Dave is in yellow; I'm in pink.) Dave is watching Meg's face as she sees herself on the big screen.
Now I need to say a word about the picture within the picture; the close-up of Meg on the screen. It's funny--by the time we dedicated Matthew, the church had changed the policy on submitting your baby's picture. When Meg was dedicated, they just wanted a picture of your child; now they want a picture of your child smiling. While I understand the intent behind this request, I'm kind of glad that Meg squeaked in before they changed the rule. Dave and I both thought that the picture we submitted represented Meg's personality well. She wasn't really a smile-for-the-camera kind of baby; nor is she that kind of three-year old! She's sort of... intense. Don't get me wrong--she's often intensely happy! But whatever she is, whatever she does, she's all in it. I think that's why that picture seemed appropriate to Dave and me. Look at the intensity of that gaze! That's our Meggy, to a "t".
And that is the end of this post, and, for my part, of this game. I'm not going to tag anyone else--not because I'm a spoilsport (though I sometimes am), but because it seems like everyone I know has already been tagged! (Although if you're reading this and you haven't been tagged, and you're secretly dying to play along, consider yourself it!)
Monday, December 22, 2008
So, let's see, Meg now weighs 33.5 pounds (75%) and measures 39 inches (85%). Last year this time she was 29.5 pounds and 34.5 inches. That means she packed on a grand total of four pounds this year, and grew 4.5 inches.
Matthew, at 22 pounds and 13 ounces, 32 inches, is at 25% for weight and 75% for height. He gained 2 pounds, 5 ounces in the last three months, and he grew 2 inches.
And those are the latest stats on the Wilcox babies!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We have a little girl who is three years old! That's right, my baby girl is three, as of December 4th, 2008. I can't believe it.
We had a special birthday celebration three Thursdays ago, which began with present opening right after breakfast.
Daddy went off for a short workday while Mommy made a scrumptious (if I do say so myself) carrot cake and the kids did their normal morning routine. Then we prepared for a visit to Nana and Grandpop's house. Once there, we had some lunch, took brief naps, and blew out three candles on a joint birthday cake. (You remember that Meg was born on my mom's birthday?)
Then we got in the car--we four Wilcoxes, plus Nana and Grandpop, and drove downtown. We ate an early dinner at one of our favorite Tex-Mex restaurants. Then we drove even further downtown to see the lighting of the National Christmas Tree.
Dave and I had been so excited about this little adventure we'd planned, and Meg was eager too. In some ways, it ended up not being what we hoped, but we did still have a lot of fun together. Unlike some other years, the President himself was attending the lighting ceremony, so the grounds of the Ellipse were completely locked down. Seriously, we parked about five blocks away from the grounds, and when we had walked about two blocks, we started noticing that there were armed cops posted on the sidewalk, singly or in pairs... about every six feet. I am not even exaggerating. And when we got to the actual grounds, there were cops on horseback. Lots of cops on horseback. And a great big, looooong snow fence that stretched the entire perimeter of the grounds and kept us--and all of the others without tickets--from getting anywhere near the tree.
So we waited on the sidewalk and squinted our eyes to make out the great Tree in the distance. And we tried to corral our kids and keep them from running into the street or disappearing into the crowd. Finally we saw the lights switch on--the lighting of the tree. The people around us gasped appreciatively and burst into applause (which was really rather gracious of them, given our distance from the tree). The crowd on the sidewalk began to disperse, but we lingered on, waiting for our chance to get closer. Before long, we watched the entire presidential entourage leave the grounds. Very impressive, to say the least. It began with a whole parade of cop cars, lights flashing, followed by the two identical black stretch limos, followed by SUV after SUV, van after van of heavily armed security guys. You could see their guns sticking out of the open backs of the SUV's and poking out of the vans' roof hatches. I had never seen the whole procession before. It was kind of fun to watch. Woe, woe to anyone who tries to mess with the President!
We started meandering toward the nearest guard station to wait for the grounds to open. On the way we encountered Despereaux, that is, a guy costumed as the star of the new animated movie of the same name. With his famously huge ears, the man-sized mouse had a wingspan of... probably eight feet. So, yeah, those were some big ears. (Mom and Dad took a picture of us with the mouse and his ears, but I don't have it. You'll have to streeeeeetch your imagination!)
At long last, we made it through the snow fence and into the Ellipse. There was just one problem. By the time we were in picture-taking range of the tree, the kids had had it. We tend to be pretty regular about their evening routine and bedtime; they really haven't experienced many nighttime outings in their short lives. Combine this factor with the shortened naps (no afternoon nap at all for Matthew) and the general excitement of the day, and they were shot at 6:30.
On the way home we sang Christmas carols and fed the kids crackers until Matthew decided he was really finished and started to scream out his exhaustion. Eventually Nana (seated behind him) managed to soothe him to sleep by stroking his hair. We dropped Mom and Dad off at their house and drove home. The kids went right to bed, and we were not long in following.
But really, despite the hiccups in our little plan, we had a great time. I'm glad we went to see the tree... we hope to do it again, although we might skip the night of the ceremony and just go when it's already been lit. That way, we might also get to see the yule log, which was not to be fired up until several nights after the tree lighting. (What exactly is a yule log, anyway? Am I the only one who is new to this concept?)
Our little girl will probably not remember the details of this special day, but we trust she will always know the love that motivated us to plan it. Dearest Meg, we love you as wide as our hearts can reach... and wider still, as God graciously uses life with you to stretch us.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Meg paused, put on her concentration face, and carefully enunciated, "Caesar... Caesar Disgustus."
Dave got the giggles so bad that he couldn't read the story without shaking. As his voice quavered with laughter, Meg calmly reprimanded him. "No, Daddy, listen quietly." For some reason, that didn't seem to help Dave settle down.
Oh, Meggie... how much joy your bring your Daddy and Mama!
Friday, December 12, 2008
No, keep your bottom up!
Yucky poopy so stinky...
I love you so much, Mommy.
And after I finished laughing and gave her a kiss, I thought, "Gee, those three lines pretty much sum up my day-to-day existence. You've got rebellion in the first line, messes in the second and, in the third, unexpected moments of utter sweetness covering it all. What is it they say about 'out of the mouths of babes...?' "
Sigh. I love my job.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Mom, Dad, Uncle Ed, and Aunt Heidi (the latter two being our kind hosts)
My favorite shot. Ed got his guitar out and let Ari take a few strums. STRUM, STRUM, STRUM! Ari really likes guitars.
Bootifulest ladies, my mom and sissies
Our dear Uncle Don, everyone's favorite Character. He'd be your favorite too if you knew him!
And a final shot of Ari, with characteristically full mouth. (I daresay one could title this photo "The Spirit of Thanksgiving".)
I'm afraid that the Wilcox family is developing a bad habit. We seem to be getting into the rut of being sick whenever there is a family gathering to be enjoyed. You may recall our beach vacation, which started with Matthew getting a four-day fever and ended with all of us having a stomach bug. And then we decided that, in addition to a green vegetable, we should all bring head colds to the Nalle clan's Thanksgiving party. Yes, all four of us. Charming contribution, don't you agree?
And what a head cold! Meg and David seem mostly recovered now, praise the Lord, but Matthew and I are still in the throes of it. My voice is about an octave lower than usual. And I'm not sure that I have ever used so many tissues in a 72-hour time frame. The bottom edges of my nose are chapped and red from too much wiping. Actually, the whole organ is beginning to look rather Rudolph-ish. How festive!
But Matthew, getting to the point of this post, has had the worst cold of all, poor little bug. His nose is looking a little raw too, and he has that horrible baby cough that ends each time in a pathetic, pained cry. But it sure doesn't stop him from looking cute. Or sounding cute.
He's beginning to talk, you see. Most of his words would still be unrecognizable to anyone other than Dave and me. But even a very small vocabulary makes communication so much easier! Here's what our boy is saying so far:
Yeah: "Yahh." As in, "Matthew, do you want a snack?" "Yahh."
That: "Dah." Almost indistinguishable from Dada, except that it's usually accompanied by pointing at an unknown or desired object.
Hi: "Ahhhhhh." Accompanied by a floppy wave.
Milk: Can't spell it phonetically, besides, it's evolving. But he usually points to his cup when he says it, so that helps!
Cracker: Hm, not sure I can spell this one either. If you make a "K" sound in the back of your throat and hold it for about three and-a-half seconds, you'll know about what Matthew sounds like when he wants a cracker. Or a rice cake, or anything crunchy that is stored in the cabinet to the left of the microwave.
All done: "Ah duh." Accompanied by the hand sign and usually spoken with a degree of eagerness that borders on impatience. "Yes, Mom, I'm all done already, OK?"
Down: "Dow," usually said in a very low voice.
Diaper: "Dee-dee," pronounced staccato.
Doggie: Pretty much the same as Dad and That. You have to use the context clues.
Amen: This one actually sounds pretty close to the original.
Those last three are usually pronounced with a closed mouth and are therefore completely impossible to spell. But you can tell what he means because of his intonation. It's pretty cute. Sort of like everything else about him. Even that little red nose.
I think we'll keep him.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
But I am beginning to feel the urge again, the need to record some of the words and events that fill our days... because otherwise I just won't remember them! So to start, here are a couple of recent quotes from various family members. For those of you who got a kick out of this post and Meg's "itchy" comment, here's something you'll appreciate. It took place at the breakfast table, as Meg stared at the milk carton.
Meg: A cow!
Dave: That's right, there's a cow on the milk carton. Do you know why?
Dave: Why would a cow be on the milk carton?
Meg: 'Cause he needs a savior. That cow needs a savior!
Ahem. Still working on ironing out the finer points of her theology.
This was another cute exchange that took place in the car, on the way to get Matthew's hair cut:
Meg: We're going to get a hair cut!
Dave: Yep, we're going to get Matthew's hair cut.
Meg: (Suddenly and inexplicably becoming emotional) Nooo, Mat-yew too little to get his hair cut!
Dave: He's too little? Well, what about you? You got your hair cut.
Meg: (On the verge of tears) Nooo, I too big to get my hair cut.
Dave: Oh. (Pause.) Are you too big to get some ice cream?
Meg: (Brightly) No! I just the right size for ice cream!
And, from a conversation that Dave and I had one night when the kids were in bed... We were talking about their differing appetites and how Meg often wants to get down from the table at the same time as Matthew. And then Dave, voicing the thoughts that we usually rephrase when Meg is actually with us, said, "No, Meg, you can't get down, because Matthew's eaten three times his body weight, and you have just pushed your chicken nuggets around in a circle!" It cracked me up.
I hope you all have a very happy Thanksgiving. Don't we have great reason to give thanks to God?!
Monday, November 17, 2008
What I'm Listening To: Baby monitors. Matthew just fell asleep and Meg just woke up. She was singing the Gospel Song to her stuffed elephant a minute ago. There's a squeaky-braked garbage truck outside our house. Other than that, it's quiet. Dave is taking a well-earned afternoon snooze on his day off.
In Our Kitchen: A few dirty dishes that I ought to be washing right now. Grocery bags full of ingredients for the desserts I'm taking to care group tomorrow evening. Various small toys strewn on the floor. And... a sparkling clean refrigerator! (This was my homemaking triumph on Friday afternoon--long overdue, I'm afraid.)
What My Desk Looks Like: A disaster. Catalogues and papers are stacked up on either side of the computer monitor. 'Tis the season for copious mailings, of course, but I really can't blame the stacks on corporate America. This is a pretty common state of affairs in our home. We're not very good at filing--possibly because we keep the filing cabinets in Meg's closet?? We're working on finding a more convenient location, honest!
What I'm Grateful For: My David. He spent the morning taking care of the kids so that I could get a few hours out of the house. He played with Meg and Matthew, took them for a brief walk and playground session, gave them lunch, put them both down for afternoon naps, emptied the dishwasher, and started on the breakfast and lunch dishes. (Did I mention that it's his day off?) And he did it all so that I could go study God's Word, read good books, journal, think, plan, pray, and generally be refreshed at the start of another week. I am so thankful to you for making it possible, my Love!
What's For Dinner: Probably veggie chili. We didn't eat much chili growing up in the Nalle household, so I learned my first recipe from Jen (Wahl) Cahalane back in the Abbey days. It's so simple that I could do it from memory after just a couple of times making it. And it's so yummy that my kids eat it without complaint! I also have a small chicken in the fridge that needs roasting... maybe tomorrow...
What We're Reading: Matthew's great love is an oversized picture book called Bunny Fun, by Sarah Weeks and Sam Williams. He also likes The Belly Button Book, by Sandra Boynton, and Good Night, Baby Donald, by some poor soul who works for Disney. Meg adores Calico's Curious Kittens, by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes and Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by someone I can't think of right now, as well as the Apple Tree Farm stories from Usborne. Dave reads lots of things, but most of them can be found on a screen rather than on paper. (He actually refers to his leather-bound Bible as "the analogue version.") I'm enjoying: The Borrowers series, by Mary Norton (great children's literature--I picked up the whole set [hardcover, never read!] at a yard sale last month), Knowing God, by J.I. Packer, Everyday Talk, by John Younts, and Uprooting Anger, by Robert D. Jones. Aahhhhh, I love books.
Friday, November 07, 2008
This has been a grieving week for many of the members of our church, most especially for our friends and care group leaders, Dave and Heather Castro. On Sunday night, their baby girl Alivia unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord. She was only five weeks old. Please pray for our friends as they mourn, and for Alivia's big sisters, Mckenna (4) and Selah (2).
Saturday, November 01, 2008
Anna is Meg's dearest baby doll. Meg loves taking care of Anna, and we love to watch her do it. Until recently, taking care of Anna primarily involved two activities. The first was taking her clothes off and asking Mommy to put them back on--many times a day. The second was putting Anna down for naps--many times a day. To watch Meg prepare Anna for a nap is to observe our family's evening ritual writ small. First, tuck Anna in under a mountain of blankets and whisper a prayer ("Dear Father, thank you God Anna, amen."). Next, turn on the fan, turn off the lights, and say, "Night-night, seep tight, see you tomahyah!". Finally, exit the room and close the door.
Of course, Anna doesn't always nap in bed. In fact, she usually takes one nap a day in the new bookcase in Daddy and Mommy's room. The bookcase is one of these Ikea jobs: three narrow cabinets, with three shelves each and glass doors, screwed together to make one big bookcase. I'm not sure why, but the very first time Meg saw the bookcase, she ran for Anna. In a moment, she returned, opened the door of the middle cabinet, laid Anna down gently on the middle shelf (which is almost exactly as wide as Anna is long), and closed the door. This ritual has continued, and occasionally results in Mommy being banished from her own room, with admonitions to keep quiet for sleeping Anna's sake.
Recently, taking care of Anna has expanded beyond bedtime routines. New activities include nursing Anna (although how she manages to latch on through Meg's onesie is a plain mystery to me), feeding her "milk" from a vinegar cruet (see above), and cooking meals for her. This last act of service was inspired by a gift Meg received yesterday: a just-her-size apron and chef's hat with pink trim, and coordinating oven mitt, hot pad, and kitchen towel. (Thanks, Shannon! It's a huge hit!) Meg employs these accessories at her play-kitchen with great relish, cooking up heaven-knows-what kind of delicacies for her baby's dining pleasure.
I enjoy watching my daughter engage in pretend play--there is good in that alone! Even more, I am grateful to watch her blossom out in tenderness and nurturing. For now, the object of her affection is only a small, perpetually smiling, plastic doll. But the day will come when there are real people looking to Meg for help--people, perhaps, who need her to meet needs like the ones she imagines Anna has. So maybe the acts that she practices now--even the details of putting a dolly to sleep--are more than just play. Maybe someday these little blossoms of compassion will ripen into real fruit, fruit with names like "patience," "kindness," "faithfulness," and "gentleness".
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
So here we are, back at Cartoon Cuts. Before shot from the back...
...and head on.
Voila! Our new little man, looking eerily like pictures of my dad and Uncle Ed circa 1960. Pretty cute, huh?
I don't know that we'll be able to keep up the whole Cartoon Cuts thing for long. It's only $15, but that will add up fast, especially with a boy. I'm trying to persuade Dave to let me learn to do the kids' trims at home... we'll certainly keep you posted on any future attempts in that direction!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I guess no one who knew me was surprised to see them
Streaming down my cheeks.
Between the tears and the veil I didn't see much
Except for the tall, slender young man at the end of the aisle
He looked so happy.
I've never seen him wear a bigger smile, before or since.
He tried to stand still but
His hands kept wiggling
As if the excess joy was flowing down his arms and
And so we met,
There at the end of the aisle
His smile and my tears
And joined our lives as one
Five years ago.
Five precious, happy years ago today.
Friday, October 24, 2008
But I balk at the notion that these times are more uncertain than any other times. Truly, the "times" (whatever those might be) are never certain. Our circumstances are never sure--that is, we can never be sure that today's status quo will still stand tomorrow. In peaceful, prosperous times we may be lulled into believing that we know what is ahead, but we're only deceiving ourselves. The future is never clear--not if we are talking about politics or economics.
Perhaps that is why I found myself singing a certain hymn today, just a few moments ago, as I shifted laundry from washer to dryer. I had just finished reading a round of articles that focused on the upcoming elections, the wars, the economy, the energy crisis, and the many unanswered questions inherent in any discussion of these issues. Oh, how easy it is to walk away from these discussions discouraged. No one can agree on anything! No one seems to know the answers! I certainly don't know the answers! I don't think I like where we're headed! No one likes where we're headed!
Out of this muddle of dismal thoughts, a melody emerged. The Holy Spirit must have whispered the words in my ear; I know I wasn't looking for truth. But suddenly it was coming out of my mouth:
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
You ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
The Lord of Hosts, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not at him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
And yet... there is a sure footing to be found, even when when the ground of circumstantial peace collapses right beneath us. Where shall we find this only solid ground? (I'm preaching to myself here, people!) My prayer is that we will seek it in God, our always-mighty fortress and deliverer. May you, and I, and the whole uncertain world we live in, learn to hide away in the only one whose kingdom is forever.
Friday, October 17, 2008
Meg: I'm sliding down like a...
...like a girl sliding down.
Do you think she could have a career in poetry?
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Those red and gold things in the grass are the goldfish crackers that Matthew dumped out of their bag.
And no, I didn't discourage the kids from eating them like that.
We'll leave you with this brief but tragic tale. It's called "The Story of a Mushroom".
Once upon a time, there was a mushroom...
...and a little girl.
One day, the little girl happened upon the mushroom. She had never seen one before.
Fascinated, she decided to explore further.
And that was the end of the mushroom.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Getting on with the point of this post, here's one of Matthew's favorite hangouts lately:
I don't know who told him that a kitchen drawer would be a good place to sit. One day I turned around and he was just... there. Looking adorable, as usual. "Hey, Buggy, what are you doing in there?!" Oh, nothing, Mamma. I'm just sitting.
I'm amazed that the thing supports his weight. Our kitchen cabinetry was third-rate to begin with, and 30 or so years of daily use hasn't improved it much. But the drawer holds steady, and it's certainly just the right width for a one-year old boy.
Someday I suppose that he'll want a tree house or some other secret hideaway where no girls are allowed. But for now, his special place is the kitchen drawer--right next to Mommy's post at the sink. And a Mommy is a handy thing to have around when when you get stuck in your drawer and need a little help getting out.
Friday, October 10, 2008
We came home with 23 pounds--mostly Jonagolds, plus a few Golden Delicious (Golden Deliciouses?). They've been scrumptious, and it's awfully nice to know that we're not ingesting all that wax with our fruit.
Now that we've conquered one first--the picking--I have another ahead of me: homemade pies and homemade applesauce! The domestic adventures never cease...