Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Talkin' 'Bout

Today Meg was officially dismissed from the Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Speech Program. Her teacher, Sandra, came today, and we did Meg's six-month review. Meg has attained or surpassed all of the goals we set six months ago. Dave and I are so pleased with where she is and how far she's come. So we decided to "end service"--the truly excellent service that we have received from this government-sponsored program.

It's a little sad, because Meg has loved her time with Sandra. This morning she kept asking, just to make sure: "Sa-sa coming? Sa-sa coming?" Well, Sa-sa's not coming any more, Little Love. You're such a good talker now that you don't need her anymore. Sometimes growth is bittersweet, isn't it?

Fortunately, our girl is still just a two-year old. She's made tons of progress, but she's not so grown-up that she's no longer cute when she talks. In fact, she keeps Dave and me constantly amused by her ongoing advances and discoveries. So I am trying to capture some of the unique and/or funny and/or revealing things she says before they disappear into yesterday.

There are a couple of phrases in Meg's vocabulary that have mystified Dave and me for some time. For example, to Meg, lions are always "wy-cubs". Not just lions, but lion cubs. It doesn't matter if Mommy and Daddy tell her that it's a grown-up lion. It doesn't matter if it has a mane. It's always a wy-cub. Another puzzle is the way she says "snap". If she wants her onesie fastened or her coat buttoned, she always says, "See-saps." See-saps?

This week I finally discovered that those expressions both come from the same source. We have this little board book called Polly Pelican.
Polly Pelican
As you can see, the book has a hinged, plastic piece at the top--the top half of Polly's beak. On every page of the book, the phrase "snip-snap" is supposed to cue the reader to "snap" Polly's beak along with the story. It's really pretty cute.

The other day, as I listened to Meg "read" the book to herself, I noticed that every time she snapped Polly's beak, she said, "See-saps." Ah, snip-snap! Now I get it! We've been reading this book since she was tiny, right? So her first association with the word "snap" was that it came paired with "snip", and thus they are still paired in her mind. It all makes sense now.

Likewise, in the course of Polly Pelican, the title character saves two lion cubs from a fire. So it must have been that this book, her first exposure to lions of any sort, cemented the pairing of the words "lion" and "cub". Hence, all lions are wy-cubs. It's funny to think of the verbal connections forged in babies' minds before they can even talk. Makes me want to be very careful about what I say.

Yesterday Meg uttered what I believe to be her longest sentence to date. "Daddy uh Mama uh Dees uh me ahhhhhhhhhh cah." In translation: "Daddy and Mama and Matthew and me are all in the car." Which happened to be true.

This morning, Dave posed one of his favorite questions to our girl: "Meg, who loves you?" Usually Meg's answer is either Dave, me, both of us, or maybe Nana or Cubby. But today there was a new twist. "Meg who loves you?"

"Me uh Daddy uh Mama uh Dees."

Yup, that's just about right, girlie. Especially that first person you mentioned.

This last one is my favorite. This afternoon I was putting Matthew down for a nap. Meg was in his room with me, and when I lay her brother down in his crib, she came over to us. As she put her hand through the crib bars and stroked the baby's head, she said softly, "Ah do, Mah. Keessees." ("I love you, Matthew. Kisses.")

Now that, my precious daughter, is something worth saying.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Laughing Together

Last night Dave and I experienced what was, to date, one of the sweetest moments in our lives as parents. We were sitting at the dinner table. Meg had finished eating her pasta entree and was working on her cucumber pieces. She was also attempting to use a grown-up fork (well, a dessert fork, at least) for the very first time.

Dave had been coaching her throughout the meal. "Careful, girlie, don't stab yourself... Try holding the fork here, in the middle of the handle... You can use your fork to spear the food instead of just scooping it up like you would with a spoon, like this..." and so on. Overall, Meg was doing pretty well--fingers were still in active use, but the fork was seeing some action too.

So there was this piece of cucumber in the middle of Meg's blue plastic plate. She went to stab it with her fork. The fork tines pierced it, but as she brought it toward her mouth, it wobbled and then fell of the fork. Splat, back on the plate. She hadn't really pushed the fork deeply into the food. We chuckled and tried to explain what had gone wrong. She tried again. Stab. Wobble. Splat. The same thing happened again. And then again.

Finally, brilliant and helpful parents that we are, we tried to help her load the fork. It was harder than it looked. Peeled cucumbers are slippery, and maneuvering the fork that was still gripped tightly in Meg's grimy little hand was awkward. When we thought we had the cucumber secured on the fork properly, Meg once again lifted it to her mouth. Wobble. Wobble. Wobble... splat! Dave and I both burst out laughing and, amazingly, Meg did too.

It was the first time that we have ever laughed together--not us laughing at her and her giggling because she made Mommy and Daddy laugh; not her laughing at something silly we did for her amusement. All three of us laughed spontaneously, at the same time, just because each found the situation funny. Dave and I looked at each other in the midst of our laughter, and I could see him enjoying the significance of it just as I was. It was a marvelous moment, simple and profound. There is something very right about parents and their children laughing together, enjoying one another. Isn't that part of what God created families to do?

In our culture, the prevailing attitude seems to be: cherish your kids while they're small but dread their growing up. (Or just don't cherish kids at all.) I have, however, heard some godly parents say the opposite, to the effect that it only gets better as your kids get older. Now as a mom who adores little ones for their very littleness, that can be pretty hard to believe. But last night gave me a taste--a small but appealing taste--of how true it can be. By God's grace, Dave and I look forward to sharing more and more laughter with our children as they grow.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Update on Gran

Thanks so much for your prayers for my grandmother. Gran came home from the hospital yesterday without having had further surgery. My dad talked to Grandpop last night and reported that he "sounded like a very happy man" to have his wife home--and that's saying something for my rather stoic Grandpop! We are so grateful to God!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Talkin' 'Bout

Both of my kiddos are sick with yucky colds today. Poor sweet babies. Thank God for Puffs With Lotion (my husband's preferred brand) and bulb syringes. (Speaking of which, am I the only mom who has about 30 of those things? I've never bought a single one, and yet they keep accumulating in the kids' medicine cabinet. Most of them are the traditional blue with the long, narrow tip, but another is a great example of poor product design. It doesn't have a long, narrow tip--it has a... a gaping cavity. A kid would have to have nostrils the size of man-hole covers for this thing to work.)


I wanted to post about some of the things that Meggy says these days. She does talk quite a bit and is starting to have some trademark phrases. We like how she always says, "Okay?" after she falls down. This is not, as you might guess, to ask herself whether or not she is okay. It is to prompt Mommy and Daddy to ask if she is okay. Which she always is, if she's asking the question. But still, parents have the duty to inquire, as Meg is quick to remind us.

We love her current name for Matthew, which is "Diss" (This). Dave thinks it comes from the two of us always asking, " Meg, who's this?" as we point at her little brother. Well, now we know who "This" is. This is This.

One of her signature expressions is in this post's title: "talkin' 'bout". When Matthew first began to coo, Dave and I would look at Meg and say, "Matthew's talking, Meg!" Pretty soon Meg started to say it all by herself whenever Matthew made a sound: "Talkin'!" Then a few weeks ago, when Meg and Matthew were both hanging out with their Daddy, Meg made her usual observation about her brother: "Talkin'!".

And Dave replied, "Yes, Meg, he's talking! What's he talking about?" Well, Meg didn't have an answer for the question, but ever since then, if Matthew coos, she always says, "Talkin' 'bout?".

Our favorite invented expression of Meg's is "kissygawa". Kissygawa is a sort of game she plays, usually at the dinner table. "Kissygawa," she will say quickly, looking at Dave; then she whips her head around to look at me. "Kissygawa," she repeats. Then she whips her head back to Dave and blows him a quick kiss; then she whips her head back to me and blows me a kiss. The whole thing takes two seconds, if that. "Kissygawa! Kissygawa! (Kiss, kiss.)" (She says "kissygawa" so fast that you wouldn't be able to understand her if you weren't steeped in Megisms.)

Meg's also begun counting to ten. She doesn't fully understand what numbers and counting are, but she can say all ten numbers in sequence. We were shocked the first time she did it. Dave was changing her diaper before bed one night, and Meg was repeatedly counting to three, which she had started to do just a few days before this. Then one time she got to three and didn't stop! Mommy and Daddy were (and are) duly impressed by this achievement. Although I have to say that recently, she often skips the first five numbers. Six, seven, eight, nine and ten seem to be her favorites. Or to put it as she would: "Seeex, seh-wen, eet, nyyy, ten!"

Most exciting to me is the fact that Meg has memorized her first Bible verse, Colossians 3:20. (It could be argued that her first verse was really Psalms 63:5, "My mouth will praise you with joyful lips." But she has never actually spoken those words; she learned them before she could speak with hand signs that I made up.)

Anyway, Colossians 3:20 says, "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." I started teaching this verse to her several weeks ago, thinking that it would be months before she would be able to repeat the words back to me (since few of them are in her normal vocabulary). But nope! The other day she surprised me by saying the whole thing by herself. "Children..." I said, prompting her. And Meg said, "Chinr, mmbay uh peh-tis ehhhh-eeee, iss pease Luh."

Yeah. Now that's what I'm talkin' about.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dressing Up

For Meg's birthday, we got her a little trunk of dress-up clothes. It consists of five outfits (which are conceptually probably ripped of from Disney): a ball gown, a wedding dress, a gypsy-princess dress, a mermaid costume and a little fairy outfit. I figured when I bought it that this would be a gift Meg would grow into later this year or even next year, as her imagination develops and she starts pretending more.

Well, sometime last week she decided that these costumes are her new favorites. She now wears them all day, every day if she is allowed--including the little pair of "glass slippers" that came with the rest of the stuff.

The first days she got all decked out, she chose the wedding dress. With the royal cape, of course. And the fake pearl necklace that Mommy gave her. (Are girls born with the need to accessorize or is that learned?)
DressUp 1

Here are the slippers, which Meg calls "lala shoes" (umbrella shoes). I think she thinks those shiny little doo-dads on top of the shoes look like umbrellas. Fair enough.
DressUp 2

That thing on her head, which she thinks is a hat, is actually a sort of tube top for the mermaid outfit. (I think I'll just let her believe it's a hat and skip the mermaid thing altogether, even though this is a comparatively modest version.) Actually it makes kind of a cute hat--looks like something a flapper might have worn.
DressUp 3

Here is the gypsy dress, the one toward which she gravitates most often:
DressUp 4

A different manifestation of the gypsy dress, with Matthew's ducky bib (naturally!):
DressUp 6

The princess goes to the ball:
DressUp 5

The princess goes casual:
DressUp 7

Girls are so fun!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Praying for Gran

Hey, friends. This is just a quick request for prayer. My dad's mother, known to us as Gran, has been in the hospital for almost two weeks now after an emergency surgery to remove a kinked section of her lower intestine. This procedure is not altogether uncommon, yet Gran's recovery has not been routine. Her doctors are currently using a new therapy which we hope will help her digestive system get back on track. A second surgery is possible, but could be dangerous given her age and current condition. A more thorough description I will not attempt, since I don't understand all of the medical terminology, but would you please pray for my Gran? (Her name is Sharon.) If you will join us in asking God for a full and speedy recovery without further surgery, you will have our deep gratitude! Please pray for Grandpop (Ned, Gran's husband), as well, as the stress and frequent trips to the hospital are a significant strain, especially given his already poor health. Thank you so much!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Snow, Snow, Snow

Yesterday we had the perfect play snow--four inches of pure, white fun. And Dave got to be home with us to enjoy it! (Unfortunately this was primarily because he's been sick, but we'll take Daddy any day, for any reason.)

My mom and dad gave Dave and Meg sleds for Christmas, so in the early evening, we headed out to test them. Here's Meg taking a run in her little toddler toboggan. Isn't it cute? My mom found it a yard sale!
Snowy 1

Boy, did she like it! (This picture is so small you can hardly see her smile, but trust me--it's there, and it's big!)
Snowy 2

Mommy's turn to pull. (Yes, I run like a girl. Or, if you have a really unusual imagination like one of my friends, you might say that I run like a flamingo.)
Snowy 3

Here's Dave and Meg taking the big sled for a spin.
Snowy 4

And here's the same picture cropped and zoomed so you can see Meg's face as she flies down the hill in her daddy's arms.
Snowy 7

Did I mention that it was the perfect snow for playing? It packed down just beautifully. I took a couple of turns on the sled myself and wooshed down that hill like it was glass. (I realized that this was my first time on a sled in at least eight years! Criminal!) Anyway, since the snow was so great, we decided to build a snow man. Here he is, posing with Dave and Meg:
Snowy 5

And here he is with me and Meg, right before I fell over in the snow. Oomph.
Snowy 6

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Four Month Stats (by Matthew)

Matthew4Mos 11

Phew! We just got back from the doctor's office, and let me tell you something: I do not like shots! Especially when I am hungry and tired. (Mom and Daddy woke me up from a nap to take me to the pediatrician!! The idea!)

And let me tell you something else: I've grown three inches in the last two months! I now measure 26.5 inches long, which puts me around 95%. And I weigh 14 lbs., 11 oz.. (that's up 3 lbs., 3 oz. in two months), which means I'm around 50%. That's a lot of numbers, but the basic translation is: I'm growing really well and the doctor is very pleased with me.

Oh, and in my last post I forgot to tell you that I've started rolling over from my front to my back. Like most babies, I developed this helpful skill during nap and night times so that, after a bunch of trips into my room to roll me back to my tummy, Mommy decided to commit another SIDS taboo: wedging me in between two pillows so I can't roll. But it works! (And there was sleep in the land, and the kingdom was at peace once more.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Four Months Old (by Matthew)

Matthew4Mos 8

Hi, everyone! It's me, Matthew, the four-month old. My daddy and mama say that means that I've been alive for one-third of a year. Pretty impressive, huh?

What's new with me since my last post? Well, we haven't been to the doctor for my four-month appointment yet, so I can't tell you exactly how much I've grown. But I'm definitely getting big--more in the long way than in the chunky way--and strong too. If you hold my hands, I can pull up to a sit using my own tummy-strength. I like to sit or stand up (with a little help in the balance department) and look all around the room I'm in. And I'm able to hold up my head during tummy time too.

Here's some other new stuff about me: I'm getting pretty good at grabbing objects in front of me--toys, fingers, grown-up collars, etc. I usually sleep about nine or ten hours at night before I need to be fed; 12-13 hours total. I'm starting to take longer naps during the day, but I'm not very consistent yet. Unfortunately, I have stopped taking a bottle. This makes my folks' date night a little more interesting, but they haven't given up on getting me to drink from that thing!

On the social front, I really like being around other people. I love watching my big sister do anything. I'm a huge talker and have recently graduated from soft coos and murmurs to louder coos and shrieks. (Don't worry, though; they're happy shrieks.) Mommy and Dad get a huge kick out of my talking, because Meg really didn't make any sounds (except for crying and laughing) until she was over a year old. I also love to laugh, especially at tickles on my tummy or kisses on my chin.

Here are some pictures of me during my fourth month. Meg loves to "hold" me and often asks for the privilege. (Of course, I don't always respond with perfect joy.)
Matthew4Mos 1

Matthew4Mos 3

Daddy snoozing with me on the couch:
Matthew4Mos 4

Hangin' out with my best buddy Jack:
Matthew4Mos 5

Matthew4Mos 7

Me and Cubby:
Matthew4Mos 10

Matthew4Mos 9

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Enough Words Already!

Since I have been extremely long-winded in most of my recent posts, here are some pictures for you to enjoy, sans commentary. These are from our time at the park this week, on one of the lovely, completely unJanuaryish days we've been enjoying.

Meg Swinging



Matthew4Mos 6

Meg Playground

MommyKiddos 1

MommyKiddos 2

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Christmas Past: The Photo Shoot

Okay, I thought I was finished with my Christmas Past series, but last night I remembered that I have one more story to tell. And I really do have to share it, because it involves cute pictures of my kids, and since I am still suffering from guilt that I didn't get pictures of my little girl in her various Christmas dresses (I picked up several at a yard sale), I feel that I must show these shots to compensate.

The story: I wanted to have a special picture of Meg and Matthew to give to our family members at Christmastime. I contemplated taking the kids to a department store and having professional shots taken, but between budget limitations and Matthew's very brief happy-and-awake-between-naps times, I decided against it. Finally, just a few days before Christmas, I set up a little "studio" in our master bedroom, where the light is best. I got out coordinating outfits for the kids. And during one of the rare moments when both kids were awake and had full tummies and clean diapers, I rushed them into the room, threw on their clean clothes, and plopped them down in front of my makeshift backdrop. It was already too late. Before I even turned on the camera, Matthew was screaming his "I-need-to-go-to-bed-right-now" scream. I sighed, vowed to try again that afternoon, and put him in his crib.

The afternoon rolls around. Meg finally wakes up from a long nap. (Normally long naps are fabulous, but that day I wanted pictures more than quiet.) I change her clothes again, do her hair, and again plop the kids down in front of the backdrop. And this time, it is Meg who goes absolutely ballistic. She is sobbing, unresponsive to my inquiries of why. The sun is starting to set; I am losing my light. I try to move ahead, thinking maybe if I just act normal, Meg will too. It works, sort of. She stops sobbing, but when I attempt a pose with the kids seated together, she won't even sit up. Okay... maybe they can both lie down together. At this new angle, without the little remaining light right on their faces, I have to use a flash. Click, click. Meg can't handle the flash in her watery little eyes. She loses it again. And so does Mommy.

I won't describe the next few minutes in great detail, but they were not pretty. Meg, watching me storm around the room, must have thought I was nuts. I wanted these pictures so badly. I had even prayed that God would give me at least one really good shot! And now I would have nothing to give our relatives and they would be disappointed in me and think I was a lousy mom. I knew this was irrational. Through the whole thing, I could see the sin in my heart clearly: I had made an idol out of getting a good picture, I was extremely angry with God for thwarting my plans, I was fearing man and being anxious about not having a gift for my family members. I could see the sin, no problem; I just couldn't stop sinning.

I locked myself in the bathroom and prayed, trying to repent. It wasn't happening. All I could do was rehearse my grievances and fears to the Lord. I was still angry, and I was still trying desperately to think of a way to get that coveted picture. I went back into the bedroom, picked up the phone and called a friend. I explained the situation and confessed what was going on in my heart, through tears. (The mere act of talking out loud about my sin began to soften my heart.) My friend prayed for me. We hung up the phone... and suddenly I was able to let it all go. I put the camera away for good, changed the kids back into their play clothes and went on with the regular activities of the day. We ended up getting prints made of a picture I had already taken--not what I had hoped for, but very cute nonetheless. And the family didn't seem to mind.

In retrospect, I can only guess that God created this whole scenario just for the purpose of letting me see my sin--for the purpose of disciplining me. And although "no discipline is pleasant at the time, but painful," I am very grateful now for my heavenly Father's gift of a fresh example of my own sinfulness. Especially at Christmastime. Because if there was no sin in my heart, I wouldn't need Jesus, and the Christmas story of His incarnation and advent would be just a sentimental fairytale. But there is sin in my heart. And I do need a Savior. And that Savior has and is come--He is Emmanuel, God with us.

Epilogue (and pictures):
After all of our Christmas festivities were over and I uploaded our pictures, I finally got to see exactly what came of our doomed photo shoot. Most of it was as bad as I remembered:
PhotoShoot 7
PhotoShoot 8

But there were a few cute individual shots lurking amongst the junk. Here are my favorites:
PhotoShoot 3

PhotoShoot 4

Friday, January 11, 2008

For Kris

Last week when Jessica and Jack were here, Jack spent some quality time with Meg's "pearl" necklace. He loooooved that thing! Jess and I thought that we should snap a couple of pics so that Jack's daddy could see for himself what his son was up to that day. Because everybody knows that dads love to see their little men wearing costume jewelry. (In Jacker's defense, I think that what he liked about it was how it rattled when he shook it.)

Here he is, all decked out:

And pretty happy about it too:

Christmas Past: Singing Together

My family sings.

Ever since I can remember, I've had reason to associate members of the Nalle clan with music and singing. Of course, my Uncle Ed and Dad have been professional musicians with Glad for most of their lives. My mom was also living off of her music before she married. Aunt Sam and her husband Bob are professional pianists and teachers. And then there's my Uncle Rob, an architect and builder by trade, but the man has perfect pitch and a beautiful way with a guitar. (I still remember the first time I met my high school choir teacher. "You're Cara Nalle?" she almost screeched, as if I had said my name was Luciano Pavarotti. She had taught Rob some years before and was apparently expecting me to match his gifting. Unfortunately, I was a disappointment to her. Didn't have perfect pitch, took more drama classes than choir and, worst of all, never learned to sight read--much to my shame and chagrin. Oh, well. My sister Jacque more than made up for my inadequacies.)

But that's enough background info. The point of all this is: my family sings. Wonderfully. And before I close out my Christmas Past series, I must share with you about my very favorite Nalle family Christmas tradition.

We sing Christmas carols together. All of us--from great-grandparents to two-year olds. Crammed into Grandpop and Gran's toasty family room, we follow Uncle Ed as he strums his guitar and calls out verses: "He rules the world." "Christ by highest heav'n adored." "And let us now with one accord." "Shepherds why this jubilee."

Sometimes I stare down at my song sheet and just listen to the voices rise and fall together. If I close my eyes, I can distinguish between them, discern who is picking out a harmony and who is helping to carry the melody. And when I open my eyes and look around the room I see the dear faces. Aunt Heidi, eyes closed, face lifted, smiling as she sings. Uncle Don, lips barely moving because he would rather hear the others than himself. Spencer, Mason and Ben, my teenage cousins, gazing seriously at their song sheets but singing clearly. Elijah, the youngest of the cousins, frowning in concentration as he sings from his mom's lap. Mom, radiant, beaming on everyone as she looks around the room. Gran, singing quietly and enjoying the music her family makes. And this year, Meg, at rapt attention, looking wonderingly about the room as all of these people sing the story of Jesus' birth.

This Christmas, after we exhausted our repertoire of Christmas hymns, there was a special treat. After much cajoling, Uncle Rob, Dad and Uncle Ed agreed to sing "In The First Light" for the rest of us. (Rob and Dad had both sung this at their respective churches' Christmas Eve services, and Ed has sung it about a zillion times in concert, so although they hadn't rehearsed together, they still sounded beautiful.) I closed my eyes and listened, trying not to sniffle as the tears rolled down my face.

I love the heritage of music that I have from my family. But even more than that, I love the heritage of faith. I love seeing God's promise in progress: " I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God... showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments." (Deuteronomy 20:5-6) Of course, not everyone in the family has trusted in Jesus Christ--not yet. But I trust that God is still at work, still in the business of promise-keeping. And who knows? Perhaps He is even using our annual singing time to further His work in the hearts of those who have yet to believe.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Chistmas Past: Hats

After our Christmas morning celebration here at the house, we headed down to Palmyra, Virginia for our "big family" celebration. Hosted by Gran and Grandpop almost every year, the extended Nalle family now includes 22 people... and one dog. (That is to say that Alfie is always in attendance at these gatherings, ever since he became my Aunt Sam's "baby" a year or so ago.)

Speaking of Aunt Sam, you might not know that my dad's very chic and up-to-date sister has taken up the old-fashioned art of knitting. Every Christmas for the last several years there's been something under the tree that came from Sam's busy needles. This year she made hats for the babies: matching bold colors for Ari and Matthew and something a bit more feminine for Meg. Here's Ari modeling his on Christmas night:

And here are some shots of my two wee ones wearing theirs after we arrived back at home. Ain't they cute?
Hats 1

Big sister takes center stage. (Where does she get that?)
Hats 2

Matthew gives us a little bit of profile:
Hats 3

"Smell this, Buddy!"
Hats 4

"Hey, we look really silly in these things!"
Hats 5

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Farewell, 2007

We interrupt this Christmas Past series to bring you happy New Year wishes from the Wilcox family. We pray that--whatever joys and sorrows this year may bring--you will know the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ more by the end of it.

As the old year waned last night, Dave and I sat on our couch and dug through our sack of 2007 memories. We recollected the ups and downs of the year just completed--it's sweetness, it's bitterness, and those things in between. And so, we now gratefully bring you a list of highlights. Not all of these events were "high" as in happy or exciting. Some were painful, grieving, or challenging. And some, though happy, were not major milestones, but simply fun or funny times that we shared as a family. In other words, what you will find here is a big mish-mash of memories both great and small. And here it is:

The Wilcox Family 2007 Highlights List

-The new Castro care group begins meeting regularly.
-Meg learns to walk.
-Dave and I go to D.C. to see The Light In The Piazza at the Kennedy Center.
-We learn that we are pregnant with our second child!

-Dave's work schedule is insane--probably at its all time high. We spend hours discussing how the push is affecting Dave and our family... and praying for wisdom about our future.

-Dave travels with some of our pastors and church staff to Grapevine, Texas, for the C3 Conference. This marks the start of a process that will affect his work significantly.

Dave and Mariana Spitzberg get married and move in with us--along with Mariana's mama, from Argentina--for a month or so.

-My Margie and Cubby move from Pennsylvania to live with my parents in Gaithersburg. Almost immediately, Margie's health takes a severe turn for the worse. Cubby, my parents and Lena are almost entirely consumed with her care.
-Dave, Meg and I go to D.C. to enjoy the cherry blossoms.
-Jack Marcantonio is born... and his mommy stops working full time, thus allowing us to get together regularly for the first time in about 3 years!
-Grant Layman becomes Dave's new boss at the church and Sundays become an increased priority for the staff as a whole.

-Meg utters her first word: "uh-oh!"
-Sweet Ari James Spruill is born; my sister becomes a mommy, and I am an aunt! We travel to Virginia to meet our newest family member.
-Dave, Meg and I travel to Louisville for the New Attitude conference, time with Dave's folks--and especially Grandma Wilcox. Meg also gets her first taste of the zoo.

-We go strawberry picking as a family.
-We take a West Virginia vacation with the Marcantonios!
-My Margie goes home to be with the Lord.

-We hold Margie's memorial service at church.
-Little Micah Davis leaves this world for a Place where he will know no more pain or sorrow.
-Lena introduces Dave and me to the Muppets' version of "Danny Boy". We laugh so hard that we cry. Then we watch it so often that it becomes less funny to us. We take a break, and it becomes funny again.

-the Vaseline incident
-Dave and I go to Annapolis for our babymoon.
-We go to the Outer Banks for an idyllic week with the Nalle family. Meg's talking really picks up while we are there.

-We buy a minivan!
-Matthew Ian Wilcox is born.

-Various family members visit us in order to meet Matthew.

-We pay a family visit to the Pumpkin Festival.
-Meg takes her first trip to the National Museum of Natural History while Dave's folks are here.
-We start doing monthly dinners with the Marcantonios.
-Dave hires two full-time support staff (Latricia and Ben) in one month!!

-We start hanging out with Brandon and Annie Averill more!
-Dave takes me on a special date night to the used bookstore.
-Dave's Uncle Ron dies and Dave heads to Chicago to attend the funeral and support his aunt and cousins.

-We enjoy our family's first Advent celebration.
-Dave works a ton of hours in preparation for our Christmas Eve production.
-My dear friend Elsbeth announces her engagement!
-My dear friend Christy announces her engagement!
-I spend way too much time baking cookies but am able to prepare platters for two sets of our neighbors. I am fully rewarded when Big Jack (next door) tells me in his own peculiar language, "Thankyouverymuchforthecookies."