Sunday, June 29, 2008

Father's Day/Dave's Birthday

It seems that Dave is destined to enjoy combined Father's Day and birthday celebrations for the foreseeable future. Since his birthday usually falls on the same day as Father's Day, or on a day adjacent to Father's Day, putting a lot of effort into doing two distinct celebrations doesn't make much sense to either of us. Maybe when the kids are older and can help me with brainstorming and preparations...

Father's Day was a low-key affair at my mom and dad's house, with a meal or two, plus honoring of and cards/presents for the respective fathers (Cubby, Dad and Dave). Lena also had a dance recital that afternoon, after which we dressed Meg up in her tutu and took pictures and video.

Unfortunately, I didn't remember to take any other pictures that day. Silliness.

The next day was Dave's day off, and we had planned to go out to Red Robin and use Dave's free "birthday burger" coupon that we got via email. So after Meg's afternoon nap, we packed the diaper bag with the 62 items that are required for going anywhere with children. Then we waited for Matthew to wake up. Unusually for him, he just kept sleeping and sleeping. And sleeping. On any other day, this would have delighted me. But on this particular day it caused some minor stress as I mentally readjusted plans for the day's real main event, The Surprise Party.

But after a flurry of last-minute calls (literally made as we were walking out the door--I snuck them in while Dave loaded kids into the car in a torrential downpour), we made it to the restaurant and enjoyed a yummy dinner. The plan was for our party guests to arrive at our place while we were out. I hid my house key for them so they could let themselves in, and when we got back, I thought, Dave would unlock the door and there everyone would be, wishing him happy birthday--surprise!!!

Except that there was one teensy, little flaw in my plan. See, I had pictured Dave using his house key to unlock the door when we arrived home. What I forgot was that Dave always uses my set of keys when we go out in the van together... and leaves his sitting on his bedside table. So when we pulled up to the house, and Dave went to unlock the door with my keys, he found... no house key. There we stood, on our front stoop, locked out, discussing what could have happened to that key, while I prayed and hoped that our friends, waiting just on the other side of the door, would figure out what happened and let us in already!

Finally, my mom, who was sneaking furtive glances out our kitchen window, guessed our predicament and came to the rescue. Dave had his back to the door and was in the middle of a sentence about having seen Meg playing with my keys earlier that day when Mom swung the door open. "Happy Birthday!" yelled the gang. Dave stopped talking, turned to face our guests, and shot me a look which spoke louder than words: "OK, you got me." (Two weeks later, I still grin whenever I picture that look.)

It was a very brief, very simple, very small party, and a rather nice one, in my opinion. We ate ice cream cake, chatted, and took a few minutes to honor my husband, and that's about it! Here are a few pictures that my dad captured during our time together...

Dave with Erik and Karis Sheffer (Jerusha and Jotham were there too, but we failed to get them on camera)
D Party 1

Brandon and Annie Averill, looking just adorable (Sorry for the word choice, Brandon, but it's true!)
D Party 4

Annie again, plus Kris and Jess Marcantonio
D Party 5

Jack Marcantonio (Is he a cute kid, or what? Not that I'm biased or anything.)
D Party 3

You-know-who, staying up late to enjoy the company
D Party 2

The man himself (oh, and yours truly), telling stories about copious Mountain Dew consumption in his college days
D Party 6

Dave and Meggy with the "birthday melon" that Jessica created
D Party 7

Somehow, we also failed to get shots of my dad, mom and Cubby, who made up the rest of the party. But I'm so grateful to all of the friends and family who joined us and helped to make my David's day a special one.

I wanted to note here, before I forget, a few of the kind words that our friends shared with Dave. To kick things off, I mentioned two things about my husband for which I am so thankful: 1) his growth in the area of hospitality and his ongoing excitement about making our home a place of fellowship and laughter; 2) the way he intentionally seeks to imitate God our Father in his own fathering. Several times in recent months, as we have discussed issues related to our kids and parenting, Dave has stopped to say, "OK, let's think about how God relates to us and figure out how that informs how we should relate to our kids." This God-centered thinking provokes and serves me to no end, as I tend to be more shortsighted and worldly in my thoughts about parenting.

Other people mentioned things like: Dave's pursuit of consistent times in God's Word, his faithfulness to confess sin, his initiation of meaningful fellowship, his quiet, diligent servanthood at church, his maturity and humility in relating with others at work, and a specific practice of applying the gospel to his every day life. You are a man worthy of honor, my Darling! I am so grateful to be your wife and--God willing--the one who gets to spend another year by your side!

In Louisville

I've been slow in fulfilling my promise to catch up on blogging, but I have a good reason for it, honest! We spent this past week preparing for our trip to Kentucky, where we are visiting Dave's dad, stepmom and grandmother. Yea! Our first vacation of the summer. (We're planning at least one more, and hopefully two.)

We left in the middle of the night on Thursday and drove through well into Friday. It was an experiment, our first time trying a big road trip, and we didn't know how the kids would do or if they would sleep at night. The answer? Meg didn't... she was too excited about going to grandma and grandpa's house. She talked and giggled and wiggled for the first four hours straight, almost without pause. In fact, during the entirety of our 12-hour ride, she slept for 30 minutes. Matthew did somewhat better, sleeping an hour on, an hour off through the night and then taking some abbreviated naps through the morning. But by God's grace, they were both fairly happy through the whole trip, sleep-deprivation and all. So it was pretty bearable.

And now we're here and enjoying our family, as well as some pretty gorgeous weather. Plus, I was finally able to finish my post on Father's Day and Dave's birthday! It's longer than I intended... maybe should have been two posts instead of one. But... oh, well! Here it comes...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nine Months Old (by Matthew)

MIW 9Mos 6

One year ago, my mommy was entering the home stretch of her second pregnancy... and it was starting to show. Several people, when looking at her tummy, said, "My, you're big!" and Mommy winced to think what they might say in another three months, when it was actually time for me to come out! And if she was so big, how big was I gonna be, since I was the one making that tummy protrude?

But at nine months old, I'm really not such a big fella after all: 18 lbs and 3 oz. is barely enough to qualify me for the 25th percentile on the weight charts. And at 28 and 1/4", or about the 75th percentile, it's hard to say whether I'll end up being really tall, dark and handsome or just plain tall, dark and handsome. Either way, the doc says I'm good and healthy, growing at a nice rate and looking good in all of the spots that docs have to look at. Not to mention that...

I'm standing! After conquering crawling, I couldn't just rest on my laurels--no! Onward and upward! With emphasis on the up! Shortly after I turned eight months I started pulling up on the furniture, on beds, on tallish toys, or whatever else is handy. I've discovered that standing is good for lots of things. It allows me to look out windows...
MIW 9Mos 7 with dishwashers...
MIW 9Mos 5
... and irritate my sister when she's sitting on the couch to try and avoid me rifling the pages of her books. I love standing! (No attempts at cruising yet... for now I'm just enjoying the view from up here.)

Also big news: I got teeth! Just two so far: bottom and center. Two brand new, shiny, pearly, sharp little biters that I use to gnaw on fingers and anything else that comes near my mouth. And that's really all there is to say about teeth.

What else is going on? Well, Dad and Mom have decided that I am either deep in the throes of separation anxiety or I am a major momma's boy. It's hard to tell which one it is yet. Suffice it to say that I am at my best when with my mommy. If she's out of sight (and reach, and smell), I am likely to be looking for her. And if she doesn't appear soon... well, then you are likely to hear about it. Daddy is slowly becoming an acceptable substitute--but we're not at 100% yet. It's still mostly about Mom.

Oh, and I still have the most ludicrously pathetic cry you've ever heard proceeding from nine-month old lips. When people hear it, they usually make a face that seems to indicate pity... and then they crack up laughing. I don't know why everyone finds my anguish amusing. There's nothing funny about being in the depths of despair.

Fortunately, I'm not in those depths too often. Most of the time, really, I'm a pretty cheerful guy. And if I have a gut-wrenching cry, I've got a great laugh to make up for it. I love giggling with and at my sister, climbing on my family members, being tickled, playing "woosh" or "horsey-ride" with Daddy, banging on our baby music table, and eating any kind of paper I can get my hands on. So just keep on letting me do these things, folks, and then it will all be good!

Speaking of all good, here are some pictures of my ninth month... crawling in the grass,
MIW 9Mos 4

...smiling at Dabb's playground,
MIW 9Mos 3

...swingin' at some other playground,
MIW 9Mos 2

... and sportin' my hat. (Daddy had to hold my arms down for this picture because I kept tearing the thing off.)
MIW 9Mos 1

This last one is super embarrassing, but Mommy says I have to put it in because it's "cute".
MIW 9Mos 8
Just please don't ask me why I'm clutching my diaper, OK? Everyone has their unguarded moments.

What a Week!

Last weekend, Matthew passed the 9-month mark and had his check-up with our pediatrician. On Sunday, we celebrated Father's Day at my mom and dad's house. Monday we enjoyed Dave's birthday and surprise party and also, due to a broken Montgomery County water main and possible water supply contamination, began boiling our drinking water. Tuesday we boiled water and had care group; Wednesday was spent in boiling water and packing. Thursday we could finally stop boiling our water, plus we traveled over the river to participate in a dear friend's wedding. Thursday night: rehearsal and dinner. Friday, all day: wedding.

Phew! Needless to say, I have some catch-up blogging to do! Stay tuned for posts about all of the above...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to My Honey!

More on Father's Day and Dave's birthday to come, but for now... I just wanted to say how much I love my darlin' man! Happy 32 years, Babe! I pray that I get to spend the next 32 and more right by your side!

And thanks for being such a great guest-of-honor at your little surprise party tonight! You are a gracious man, my Love.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Nighttime Intruder

Tuesday night as we got ready for bed, I told Dave about my scary, creepy, vivid dreams from the previous night. At the end of the second dream description, he jokingly told me to stop talking about it or he would have bad dreams too. As we prayed together before going to sleep, he asked God to give me sweet and dreamless rest. Then we exchanged a kiss, rolled over and... oblivion.

At 3:00 a.m., I got up to use the bathroom. As I prepared to resume sleeping, I heard a slight rustling noise. Hmm, I thought. Sounds like the fan is blowing a plastic bag somewhere in the room. Oddly, the rustling came intermittently rather than constantly, and I sleepily realized that I hadn't set the fan to oscillate. That's weird. But the sound faded away, and I started doing the same...

The rustling again. I looked at the clock. I hadn't been sleeping for long, if at all. There must be a grocery bag in line with the fan's breeze... I wonder if I should get up and move it? Nah... it's not that bad. But the sound kept coming, quietly, randomly recurring as I drifted through various stages of not-quite-asleep.

When almost an hour had gone by since my initial wake-up, I turned onto my side and stared at the wall over my husband's head. Suddenly, the rustling was distinctly closer. What on earth could that be? I wondered, as my heart began to pound. I know we've had both mice (in the basement) and squirrels (in the attic) before, but never anything running around our room in the middle of the night! I scarcely had time to finish the thought before a shriek left my mouth. I gasped, then shrieked again. Dave jolted awake and leaned toward me. "Cara!" he said, touching my face. The thought flashed through my head: He thinks I'm dreaming. And I shrieked again.

"I'm awake!" I squealed to my husband. There's something falling on our bed!" I had seen them three times-- shadowy forms falling from the same spot on our ceiling, right onto our comforter. Dave lay still for a moment, probably gathering his poor, shocked wits, and then with a swift motion threw the comforter onto the floor. He got up and turned the light on, found his glasses, and jerked at the comforter to see what would spring out at us. Nothing.

I explained what I had seen. Dave had the heard the rustling as he came to, so he didn't think I was totally insane. Cautiously, we poked around the room, looking into shopping bags, behind dressers and under the bed. As I mentally replayed what I had seen, I realized that they were probably an it, and that whatever-it-was had probably been flying rather than falling. It was something with sort of a swooping flight pattern: probably a very large moth or a bat. But we couldn't find either one.

We gave up and got back in bed. It was no real surprise that neither of us could sleep. Personally, I was wide awake, my pulse quickened and my mind playing tricks. For the first time, I understood what people mean when they say, "my skin was crawling." Still, the room was quiet except for the sounds we made rolling over in bed. At one point I thought I heard a crinkling from the far end of them room, but then... silence again. After almost an hour, I heard Dave start to breath evenly. At least someone's getting some rest, I thought. Then the rustling started again. And it was getting close, fast. Dave started awake. "Did you hear that?"

"Yes," I said, "it's back."

At this point we gave up the notion of sleep altogether. My husband and protector valiantly volunteered to take on the search-and-destroy mission and sent me downstairs to try and rest on the couch. As I gathered my king-sized pillows (without which I sleep nowhere) and prepared to leave the room, Dave crouched down to look under the bed again. "Wait a minute," he said.

"What?" I replied, freezing in my tracks.

He stood up, glancing quickly around the room, then grabbed one of the nearest objects: my hairbrush. Crouching back down, he tossed the brush under the bed so that it slid across the floor. Immediately a series of frantic, high-pitched squeaks erupted. "It is a bat," Dave said grimly.

Well, I exited the room quickly and went downstairs to wait out the chase. Dave grabbed our kitchen broom and headed back to the bedroom. He opened our front window (which, fortunately enough in this case, has no screen to worry with), nudged the bat out of its hiding place, and watched it swoop madly around the room. Hoping to urge it gently toward to window, he took aim and tried to assist the flying rodent toward the exit. KA-THWOP! The thing soared across the room, hit the wall and slid to the floor. (My hubby doesn't know his own strength sometimes.)

After emitting some outraged/exhausted/terrified/mortally wounded (or all of the above?) squeaks, the bat reluctantly latched onto the broom with which Dave was lightly prodding it. Dave stuck the end of the broom out of the window, hoping our intruder would take off, but it hung on stubbornly, upside down, in the stereotypical bat-in-a-cave position. When Dave tapped the broom firmly against the window sill, the creature finally gave up. Dave said he thought it just let go and fell straight down into our yard. "I hope I didn't kill it," he said later. And apparently he didn't, because when we went outside first thing in the morning, there was no bat in sight.

And so the tale of our Nighttime Intruder draws to a close. Of course, several questions do linger in our minds. And those are: how in the name of drywall did that thing get into our bedroom? Does it have friends and family? Do they know the way into our bedroom too? Do bats carry grudges? Are they vengeful? And does Home Depot sell bat-proofing kits?

If you have answers to any of these questions and wish to set us our minds at ease, please contact us a.s.a.p. In the meantime, my sincere prayer for everyone reading this is that you will never know the anxiety--indeed, the terror--of having a bat visit your boudoir at 3:00 a.m.

Believe me, I'd take bad dreams over that experience any night.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Mondays and the People I Love

A few random notes and pictures from our last few family days. We do a lot of play grounds for our family outings, for mainly practical reasons: 1) It's summertime--time to be outside, 2) there are tons of parks to choose from in close proximity to our home, so we can fit in a trip between naps, 3) playgrounds make Meg happy (and they're growing on Matthew), and 4) they're free.

Two Mondays ago, we tried out the spot I mentioned in passing in a recent post: Ovid Hazen Wells Park. (They named a park in his honor to make up for the crummy name with which his parents burdened him.) We've christened it Dabb's Playground (because our friends of that name live near it). (And because it's better than saying "Ovid Hazen Wells Park" every time.) Here it is. Cool, huh?
PeopleILove 4

It was way fun. My favorite thing about this place is that all of the climbing apparatuses are designed so that parents can climb around with their kids. Here, you don't have to stoop or crouch or squeeze or contort in order to share quality time with your little ones. Ingenious!

Here's David taking Matthew down the slide. Love seeing that little baby boy in those strong Daddy-arms.
PeopleILove 3

Here's Meg headed down the same slide. Why does she appear to be praying as she goes? Your guess is as good as mine.
PeopleILove 6

Last Monday we did a different playground, along with a picnic lunch. (Yum.) Meg and Daddy practiced walking on the "balance beam".
PeopleILove 5

Matthew practiced looking cute, by wearing the Lightning McQueen hat that his head is finally big enough to handle. (Thanks, Nana!)
PeopleILove 1

This Monday we spent somewhat differently: helping a certain dear friend with a TOP SECRET project for her fast-approaching wedding. Nope, I can't tell you what the project was; it's TOP SECRET. But I'll tell you that it was fun.

After we wrapped up with wedding stuff, we went to a playground again, but we only stayed for about 20 minutes, because that was how much time we had before we needed to get home for dinner. Also because it was blazing hot and our little fair-skinned babies were looking flushed in the cheeks and glazed in the eyes.

Here's one last Monday-related item. (At least, I think this happened on a Monday.) This is a video of Meg eating her first corn-on-the-cob.

Hmmm, playgrounds, picnics, and corn-on-the-cob... I think summer is truly here.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Conversations With Meg, #2

Lately, Dave and I have noticed Meg grasping after an understanding of two mysteries. One is pronouns. The other is the whole concept of gender. She seems to be growing in her ability to use both types of words, but there are hiccups along the way. And of course, pronouns and gender are closely related, so the two often collide amusingly, as in this little exchange from last week.

Mommy: Meg, is your teddy bear a girl or a boy?

Meg: She's a boy.

On an unrelated note, I took this picture of Meg during a recent snack time.
Meg Glare
After I snapped that gem, I said, "Meg, can you give Mommy a big smile?"

"No," she replied firmly. "I drinkin' milk."

Ah. Well, that explains it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Recently I've had the privilege of doing some writing for an upcoming dramatic production at church. That project has been eating some of the writing time that I typically devote to blogging, so I am overdue to post something about my sweet kiddos! There is much to tell. Between them, Meg and Matthew surprise, delight, charm, mystify and exasperate us nearly every day. I sometimes think there's no end to the stories I could write about them! But for now, since I need to get going with the day's chores, I'll just share one little anecdote.

Matthew has decided that he doesn't like bibs.
Bib 1
He likes the eating part, but not the protective gear that comes with it. (Typical boy. "Who wants to stay neat?") He now spends large chunks of his mealtimes trying to get his bib off.

Luckily for him, the bib manufacturers are big fans of Velcro. I can understand why. They thought it would make it easy for parents to get the silly things on and off, right? Well, it also makes it pretty easy for infants to get them off. Although there is still some effort involved. Sometimes one has to try more than one tactic to fully extricate oneself.
Bib 2

Ah, at last! I think there's a gleam of triumph in those eyes, don't you?
Bib 3