Thursday, July 31, 2008

This Kid Means Business

Matthew took his first step today. I looked up, and he had his back to me, and he was just... standing there, all by himself, like a normal human being. For quite a few seconds. And I could tell, even from looking at his back, that something was about to happen. And then he took a step.

And then he toppled straight forward, caught himself with his hands as he hit the window sill, bonked his head on the glass pane, and tumbled onto the floor. Unhurt. He's a tough guy. And it's a good thing too, because when you're trying to bust through the major milestones at this pace, you're bound to encounter some setbacks!

We sure missed you again today, my David! I know it's not that big a deal, but I do wish you could have seen Matthew make that first attempt at walking... he is really putting the pieces together in his mind.

I (tried but) didn't get any good pictures of our sweeties today, but here's one from last week or so just to remind you what they look like. :)
Cups 1
Aren't they the cutest ever?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Do You Miss Us, Daddy?


'Cuz we sure missed you today!

Tonight at bedtime, Meg asked again to pray for "Daddy and his teams". So you were much in our minds and on our hearts. We love you and are very thankful for the way you're serving. But, of course, we also can't wait to have you back to ourselves!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cute Bug... Upright On His Own!

MIW Stands 1

Matthew--or "Bug", as we often call him (it's short for Buggy-Oh, which was a Meg creation)--is working very hard today to stand up all by himself. He starts out squatting, or with all fours on the ground and his little bottom in the air. Then he p-u-u-u-ushes up to a standing position, ever so carefully. And when he arrives, he either wobbles and falls back down or find his balance and enjoys a fleeting taste of vertical victory!

Finding this process very cute (and impressive, of course), I, the mommy, had to follow Matthew around with the camera for a few minutes to try and capture the "first stand". The shot was slow in coming... but all that came in the meantime was too cute not to share!

MIW Stands 2

MIW Stands 3

MIW Stands 4

MIW Stands 5

MIW Stands 6

MIW Stands 7

MIW Stands 8

MIW Stands 9

And here, at last, in a completely anticlimactic shot, is Matthew standing up!
MIW Stands 10

Monday, July 28, 2008

Prayers for Dave

Hi, friends! Would you please pray for my husband this week? Covenant Life Church has the privilege of hosting the WorshipGod Conference from Wednesday through Saturday, and Dave's technical teams will be right in the thick of it, serving their hearts out. The conference schedule will be complex for them, as they juggle simultaneous seminar locations and multiple turnovers in the auditorium each day. The days will be full, long and fairly grueling. And in addition to leading the audio, video and lighting production teams, Dave will participate in teaching four seminars. So it'll be a packed week!

If you think of it, please ask God to sustain Dave, his assistant Ben, and all of their volunteers with His amazing grace. Pray that they'll get enough sleep. Pray that they will have wisdom and energy to execute their jobs well. Pray that God will meet them and teach them and reward them as they serve behind the scenes. And most of all, pray that God will allow His Word to go forth clearly at the conference, that churches all over this country (and beyond!) will be equipped to worship God more and more!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bedtime Prayer Story

I had to jot down this little story before I forget it...

Yesterday, after a play date in Gaithersburg, the kids and I stopped by the church to see Dave. He was in the auditorium setting up for an event coming later that evening, and the band members were starting to filter in for rehearsal. After we spent a few minutes with Daddy, catching up on the day's news, Meg asked to go up to the stage to "see the music". So Dave took her hand and led her onstage.

Dave Campbell, a longtime Covenant Life member, was just setting up his electric guitar. For many years, "Mr. C." has been using his musical gifts to train the youth of our church in leading worship. My Dave took our little ones over to greet Mr. C., and he knelt down to speak with Meg. He held his guitar so that she could see it and asked if she liked to sing. Then he started gently into "The Gospel Song", which is our favorite lullaby.

Holy God in love became
Perfect Man to bear my blame
On the cross He took my sin
By His death I live again
(Drew Jones)

Meg buried her face in Dave's armpit after the first two lines, so Mr. C. wisely stopped singing. A few minutes later, Dave brought the kids back to me, we kissed him goodbye, and I forgot all about this incident.

But at bedtime, Meg let me know that she had not forgotten. Each night after we pray for Meg, we ask her who she would like to pray for. Usually it's Brandon and Annie, or Kris, Jess and Jack-Jack. But last night, when I said, "Meg, who would you like to pray for tonight?" she answered, "Tall man... church... sing holy God in love became?" I paused to translate in my mind, then asked her, "You want to pray for Mr. Campbell, who sang to you at church today?" She smiled happily and nodded, hiding her face in my armpit. So we prayed for Mr. C. last night, asking God to bless him, his family, and his ministry to our church.

This is the first time Meg has ever asked to pray for a virtual stranger. I'm amazed that she remembered her interaction with Mr. Campbell and seemed blessed by it. And I'm grateful for Mr. C, who continues to impact kids such that they want to worship God, whether it be with electric guitars... or bedtime prayers.

Meg's Latest Masterpiece

Make that misadventure.
Couch 1

This would be our couch. And those pink marks? Those would be chalk scribbles.

Now usually, we like to use chalk on normal, sort of boring places. Our chalkboard, for instance. Or the sidewalk, if we feel particularly creative. But on this particular morning, that just wasn't exciting enough for Meg. She thought, apparently, that our whole living room needed a makeover. So she did this.
Couch 2

The unusual (and audacious) thing about this little feat is that I was actually in the room when she did it. I just had my back turned. I was vacuuming, actually--vacuuming pink chalk dust off of the chalkboard tray. How's that for irony?
Couch 3

Fortunately, as you can probably tell, the couch is slipcovered. I was rather upset with our daughter for redecorating our home without my permission but, hey, it was an easy fix, right? Just strip off the cover and throw it in the washing machine.

Well, then there were the arms of our wooden church pew, also covered in pink... but that washed off easily.

Oh, and then there was also my beloved off-white upholstered chair from my Margie and Cubby's house. And the other off-white chair too, the lazy-boy wannabe that Dave is so fond of? Those, I'm afraid, are not going to escape their pink stripes quite so easily. I never would have guessed chalk would be so tricky to get out of fabric.

And the most amazing thing is that, sometimes, kids don't even know when they've been naughty.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Nursing Matthew

Light gray and dim
Chair soft and deep
And baby boy, small, warm and so near
I drink your profile in for the thousandth time
Watch those deep eyes wander
Listen to your breathing swallowing sounds
See the curve of your nose,
The soft round of those cheeks
Smooth your hair
Oh, tender!
I sigh and close my eyes, head back.

You stop sucking, look up at me with a twinkle--I know before
I look down
That expression.
You smile
My heart swells. Sweet, short mommy baby love.
You go back to nursing,
And which of us is more content?
You wriggle into that perfect position,
Upper foot tucked into the crook of my arm.
Deep breath. Eyes droop. Sigh. Sleep is coming.
I think:
You used to be just this long and now you fill the chair!
How did you grow so much so fast?

Maybe it happened here
In this chair
While I sat marveling
And you sucked
And snuggled close
In the gray dim light of this nursery room.

A word picture written 7.24.08, in bittersweet anticipation of weaning Matthew this fall.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ten Months Old (by Matthew)

MIW 10Mos 9

Less than two months until my first birthday...

In my tenth month, I really started showing my personality more--specifically, my silly side. (I guess maybe I'm like my dad and my grandpop--you have to stick with me for a while before you get to see My Inner Goofball.) One of my favorite ways to show off is by dancing. Just put on some music with a catchy beat and watch me start to bop. It doesn't matter where I am--my own kitchen or the grocery store are equally suited for a little groove session. I also unleashed my silly smile this month. Here are some pictures of it... (you can also get a sneak peek at the teeth I've been laboring over this month).
MIW 10Mos 7
MIW 10Mos 8
As you can see, this unique expression involves three primary characteristics: head thrown back, ear-to-ear grin, eyes squinted shut. Try it for yourself sometime soon! It's a real charmer.

My hair grew a lot this month, and it's getting long enough to curl up at the back. People say lots of nice things when they see me: one lady at church said I'm so cute that if she had a baby girl she would plan an arranged marriage. Folks also say that my eyes are incredibly blue, and they wonder aloud if they'll stay that way or fade when I get older. Most of all, people say that I look like my daddy. I don't know. What do you think?
MIW 10Mos 1
MIW 10Mos 2

In other ten-month news, I started doing a little bit of cruising, or walking along the edge of couches and other furniture. I continued to love eating big boy food and got a little bit better at picking things up from my tray and feeding myself. I also dropped one of my feedings, so Mommy and I are down to four rocking-chair sessions per day. I started signing and saying "all done" at the end of my meals, except that it usually comes out, "Ahhhhh buh!" I learned how to wave "bye-bye," and a couple of times I even said "Buh-buh" as I did it. I'm making a decent number of consonant sounds in my babbly moments, including, "ba," da," "ma," and "na".

This was also the month when I settled into a more predictable napping routine and started sleeping all the way through the night! Mommy's very happy about these developments. Currently I sleep at night from about 6:30 or 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 or 7:30 a.m. And I take two naps, maybe about an hour and-a-half each. (At least, that's what I do when my teeth aren't killing me.) As a special bonus, I recently started waking up happy! For the first nine months, I woke up from every sleep with tears and many expressions of misery. But now I often awaken cheerfully--sometimes I am so cheerful and so quiet that Mommy doesn't even realize I'm awake at first! It's only when she comes into my room to check on me, thinking "He's been in there for more than two hours!" that she finds me standing joyfully against the crib rail, smiling pleasantly.

On the not-so-happy side, I don't like going to the church nursery at all and have required my mom's constant presence for the past two Sundays. She's hoping it's just a stage. But if you want to know for sure, you'll have to tune in next month...

Here are a few more pictures... photo credit to Aunt Lena, who took them way back at the beginning of the month.
MIW 10Mos 6

MIW 10Mos 5

MIW 10Mos 4

MIW 10Mos 3

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Big Girl

Time for an update on the little lady of the house. Oh, Meg... where do I even begin?

First of all, let me state that Meg is alllllll girl. She loves dresses and would wear one every day if allowed to do so (and if we had enough to match her moods). There are very few things that delight Meg more than a pretty dress with matching bloomers. Shoes are big as well. And, since its summer, she's also been begging to wear her "babing suit" (her pronunciation of bathing suit) as much as possible.

She's starting to get into dolls too. Currently she has four: DeeDee, Anna, Betsy and PoppyLucy. (I think I'll do a separate post on the dolls some day.) Although she enjoys playing with all of these gals at times, she does not seem to be the type of kid who really latches on to a specific item. She's never had a blanky or lovey or baby or teddy that has to go everywhere with her--she seems to prefer spreading the love more evenly between all of her toys.

Our girl loves reading and usually listens attentively when we read to her. She can often "read" a book to herself after hearing it a few times, reciting from memory lines from the text as she looks at the pictures. Among her newest favorites are The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper (we just received a hand-me-down version of this classic last week), and Cowboy Baby, by Sue Heap (from the library). Recently I've been giving her a daily quiet time in her own room, sitting her on her bed with a stack of books and leaving her. She seems to love this. One day I let her stay there for almost a full hour, and when I returned, she was happily finishing the second-to-last book in her stack, evidently in no hurry to move on to other activities.

The last year or so with Meg has been a big challenge for Dave and me. Like her parents, Meg is a sinner, and helping her to deal with her sin provides us with many opportunities to pray and seek God's wisdom in His Word. It also provides plenty of conviction, as our own sin is often revealed in our interactions with our kids. Sometimes, for me at least, it can seem like God is working solely on me and my sin, while all of my attempts to help my daughter curb her sin go by the wayside.

But yesterday I had an interaction with Meg that gave me real hope--for both of us. It was one of those moments when I responded in anger to something that she did or didn't do. The anger only bubbled to the surface for the briefest of moments before I stuffed it back down again, hoping that Meg wouldn't even notice it. Foolish me. "Mommy not be kind," observed Meg sadly.

"Not kind?" I replied.

"Mommy not kind when being anger," she clarified. Her discernment and her truthful words pierced my heart and brought me quickly to repentance. But after I asked her forgiveness, I had to rejoice. She knows that being angry is not kind and loving! That is something that we've taught her, something we've talked with her about so many times while it appeared, often, that our instruction was going unheeded. But it wasn't! Sure, it's easier for her, as it is for all of us, to clearly define someone else's sin than it is for her to deal biblically with her own. But at least she's listening! At least something is sinking in. God's grace is at work in her, and knowing that builds my faith for the long road ahead.

Other interactions reveal that our two-year old still has fairly... uh, fluid notions of theology and its implications for her everyday life. In a parenting seminar a couple of years ago, we received a helpful piece of advice from one of our pastors. He encouraged us, when dealing with a disobedient child, to ask her why she disobeyed and teach her to give this answer: "Because I am a sinner who needs a savior." It's a simple way for us to link every discipline situation to the gospel, and to go on to talk about God's wonderful provision of the Savior we so need, Jesus Christ.

So Meg has been well-versed in this idea that she needs a savior. This was clearly demonstrated this morning while I dressed her for church, as she scratched furiously at her chest. "I itchy," she announced. "I itchy cuz I need a savior."

Some recent pictures of this girlie...

Playing with finger puppets from Grandma Dawn and Grandpa Tom (Despite her nonplussed expression in these pictures, she loves these things.)
MegJun08 1
MegJun08 2

This charming fellow is Princey, a stuffed frog from Aunt Dacia. (We're pretty sure he was not intended to serve as a hat but, hey, it works!) (OK, OK, it was my idea... I thought it would be funny to make it look like he was eating her head.)
MegJun08 3

Reading books with Daddy while playing "wrap up tight". ("Wrap up tight" is a favorite activity. Pretty self-explanatory, hopefully.)
MegJun08 6

Self-portrait with Mommy, new sunglasses included
MegJun08 4

Taking a time out from the car on our recent road-trips--she and Daddy patrolled the back parking lot of a Cracker Barrel while I nursed Matthew.
MegJun08 5

Wooden block creations!
MegJun08 8
MegJun08 7

Report from the Front: 3:00 A.M.

Matthew seems to be having trouble with teeth tonight. His four upper middle teeth are coming in all at once--I know that much--and he was an awful grump yesterday afternoon. So based on the fact that he's sleeping very badly tonight (a first for him?), I'm gonna say that those four little buggers are causing him some discomfort.

At 10:30 p.m., when I went to check on him, he stirred immediately (very rare), and when I checked one more time before getting in bed, he was still awake. At that point I decided to give him some Tylenol since, for him, no sleep means something's wrong. He took the medicine, cried desperately when I left his room, and took 30 minutes or so to calm down and go back to sleep.

At 1:30 a.m., I woke up hearing... no... it can't be... he just got back to sleep two hours ago... but he's moaning... and it is... Matthew in the monitor. Unsure of what I could do for him at that point, I prayed that he would go back to sleep and set my alarm for 2:30.

One hour of poor sleep later... I turned the monitor back up and found that my son was screaming. Oh no. I went in, nursed him (hope I don't regret that on subsequent nights) and brought him downstairs, where, naturally...

he promptly turned in to Little Mister Happy Baby!
Matthew Teething

And, as of yet, he's shown no signs of noticing that it's not 3:00 in the afternoon instead of in the morning!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Fourth o' July

Did I ever mention that my family is just the best? On the way home from Kentucky, we went to good ol' Palmyra, Virginia to celebrate Independence Day with the Nalle clan. I believe that the "official" extended family numbers 23 people now, but when you add in the extended-extended family and friends, we maxed out at about 33. Good thing my Grandpop and Gran have a huge back yard.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First: the getting there. The drive from Louisville to Palmyra was supposed to take 7.5 hours. Including stops, it took us five hours longer, for a total of 12.5 hours. It was a long, rough day. No major disasters--just slow going and cranky babies. And toward the end... a cranky and head-achy momma. Dave was the stalwart one. Needless to say, we were all very thankful to arrive safely at the home of my Uncle Rob and Aunt Julia, who always host us so graciously when we're in VA.

OK, so back to the family gathering on the 4th. I have so many little snapshot-memories to capture... I think I'll do what I call a word picture. It will look sort of like a poem without really being a poem, and hopefully it will give you a feel for what our 4th was like. (If you actually read it all the way through. Which is probably unlikely.)

Load out of the car; Meg already sweaty
Hugs and hellos in the driveway
Ari walking for real now
Jacque so slim
Grandpop leaning on his cane; he's always there to greet his guests. I love that.
Lawn chairs out back, under the big trees
The men clustered together
Cubby: straw hat, dark glasses, immaculate blue, white and khaki
No time to greet him until the dessert's in the fridge...
There's Alfie, Aunt Sam's dog and baby
Women in and out of the kitchen
Storm door bangs
Meg adorable in her pigtails
Uncle Don holding Matthew: "Look what I've got!"
Sneaking Gran's snickerdoodles in the pantry--shhhhh--Mom (the cookie fiend) made us do it.
Meg in and out of the house
Storm door bangs
Plastic cups and sparkling grape juice
Dad feeds Matthew grapes
Cheese platter--Meg helps herself
Mason, on being as tall as me: "It happens."
Storm door bangs
Ari gobbles kidney beans
Sit on the dry grass with Matthew
Talk with Uncle Ed
Cousin Johnny and Co. arrive
John always wears the same patriotic shirt
Little Dawn's legs getting so long; so cute

Figure out nap locations
Set up pack 'n' plays, fans
Storm door bangs
Meg eats with the green bench as her table, so happy with Nana as her attendant

Stretch out in a huge circle
Join hands
Ed prays: thanks for all of the children you've granted us, for the way you transfer the faith through the generations

Put the kids down for naps
Quilts over the windows in Gran's room
Meg is exhausted; Matthew always sleeps.
Back outside.
Storm door bangs

Food--several card tables support a bountiful buffet
Load up a plate: chicken, fruit, coleslaw, beans
Gran's homemade lemonade, the best and sweetest there is.
Sit on a white wood Adirondack chair
Ask Uncle Don about his garden
Dave chats with Uncle Bob
Lena snaps pictures
I talk with Cubby about Marg; watch the tears collect in his eyes

Water fight starts: five boys, one little girl and a dog
(Alfie likes being squirted)
The boys lurk outside the picnic area, lying in wait for one another
Uncle Rob joins in... the bucket... it's over
Everyone soaked
Mason walks by in sneakers: squish, squish, squish

Check on kids
They're taking fabulous naps: thank God!
Back outside; storm door bangs

Gran and Dave start churning ice cream
Ice, salt, more salt
Uncle Don takes over
Dave joins the water fight, late, but not too late to get drenched

Storm clouds rollin' in
Aunt Heidi feels it in her bones: rain's coming
Not-so-distant rumbles from the sky
Pack up, head inside
Storm door: bang, bang, bang, bang, bang
Storm breaks: crashing thunder, rain blowing sideways
It's over in ten minutes

Boys settle down on the floor of the formal living room for Risk: Lord of the Rings version
Uncle Rob cracking jokes, provoking Mason
Asher talks Middle Earth
Dessert appears... mmm... chocolate trifle a hit
Luscious ice cream: melted creamy peach,
Rock-hard strawberry, just like when I was little
Way too much sweet food
Vats of Gran's cookies
Wish I had room to try everything
Guess this is our dinner

Meg plays with Aunt Sam's old dolls
Dressing and undressing
Matthew makes everyone laugh, squawking for mama
Eating baby food; his face a mess
The Leesburg crew says goodbye
We pack up too; we'll have to miss fireworks this year
The kids need an early bedtime tonight.
Meg gets a quick leftovers dinner
Kisses and thank-yous
And back in the van

In addition to my word picture, I have a few real pictures to share. I must warn you in advance that I have no pictures of my own kids from this day. Guess I had other things on my mind when they were around...

Lena and Cubby:
4thJuly 1

Mom and Jacque.
4thJuly 2

I just wish someone in this family was good-looking. :)
4thJuly 4

The Spruills
4thJuly 11

Uncle Ed and Dad talking Kindles and iPhones
4thJuly 10

I wish I had good shots of more family members. My Aunt Julia had some great ones, including some of our children, but I lack the means to post them here. I do have a few of the annual water fight that bear sharing...

Ben, heading to fill up before the carnage began
4thJuly 3

Dawn, usually the only female fighter
4thJuly 7

Elijah, hunting his quarry
4thJuly 6

Oh, mercy, here comes Uncle Rob with his weapon of choice.
4thJuly 5

Rob always wins.
4thJuly 8

Oh, and one final shot: my husband, soaked but satisfied.
4thJuly 9

We are a blessed family. I hope everyone who was there enjoyed the day as much as I did.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Louisville Wrap

I have just a few more things to commemorate about our trip to Kentucky before I move on to more recent events. First of all, we went to a really unique spot downtown; I think it's called Waterfront Park. This place is sort of hard to explain, but try to picture a long, two-tiered, hip-deep fountain with people wading and swimming in it and water cannons going off every now and again. I don't have any decent pictures of it, but it was pretty cool. Our kids were terrified because the water cascading down the fountain is quite loud... but with lots of time and some gentle coaxing, they did warm up enough to at least get their toesies wet. And of course, I, being a water-lover, had a great time! It's also an interesting people-watching spot. I'd recommend stopping by if you're ever in Louisville on a hot summer afternoon.

We got to see Grandma Wilcox twice during our stay; once we went to dinner at her lovely assisted care facility, and another day we stopped in for a late-morning visit. The kids kept it lively and amused themselves (and us) by: flirting with the other residents (Matthew), racing around the room with Grandma's walker like it was some sort of push toy (Meg), trying to push Grandma in her wheelchair (Matthew), and climbing on her bed (both). With these two around to keep us busy, we were short on meaningful conversation, but long on laughter.

Here, by the way, is this year's "Four Generations" picture... the best I could do. Sorry that the resolution is lousy.
Grandma's 08 1

We are happy to report that Grandma is doing very well. She's experienced ups and downs with her health in the last three years, but currently she is strong, attentive and engaged. Plus, she's cracking jokes like... well, like a Wilcox. She is taking an art class and had a fine painting of a race horse (good, solid Louisville subject) to show us. And she taught Meg a little rhyme about a pelican--the subject of another of her paintings, rendered some years ago.

Oh, what a bird is the pelican!
Its beak holds more than its belly can...

Most evenings after the kids were down, Dad, Jan, Dave and I sat on the back patio and played rummy. We kept a running score. And let me just tell you, though I'm not usually a big winner at any kind of game, this time I really outdid myself! After a strong start on the first night, I hit a streak of bad luck (or bad playing?) and continued along so poorly that by the final evening, I was fully 500 points behind the leader. Of course, my husband, Mr. Midas, played brilliantly and was the obvious one to win the whole thig. But then, in a surprise upset on the last evening, Jan swept in and hit 1,000 first! Go, Jan! (She's a triathlete, ya know. That fightin' spirit doesn't get left behind when she gets out of the pool.) Anyway, the games provided great opportunities for us to laugh, converse, make fun of each other, and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Which reminds me--while we were there, Dave installed an outdoor ceiling fan under Dad and Jan's pergola! It was already a nice spot, but the fan is a finishing touch that really makes it. Sitting out there on a warm night, I was quite comfortable in my long-sleeved t-shirt--such was the refreshing breeze created by my husband's industry! (He amazes me, really. Is there anything that he doesn't do well?)

A few more fun memories from this trip:
-a just-the-girls shopping trip with Jan, Meg and moi
-redefining "YOG" for Dad
-watching Meg careen through Dad and Jan's house with blue wagon in tow
-seeing Matthew warm up to Dad and Jan (they were getting BIG smiles from our mama's boy by the third day or so)
-our little family trip to Graeter's for super-yummy ice cream
-running (literally, at Meg's behest) around Dad and Jan's neighborhood together

Oh, and here's our favorite Meg story from the whole time: It's Thursday morning, the car is packed, and we're almost ready to leave for Virginia. Dave, Meg, Matthew and I are eating breakfast. Dave's Dad is in his room (located right next to the kitchen/dining room) getting ready for work. Through the closed door, we hear him blow his nose... somewhat loudly. Meg's ears perk up and her brow furrows. "What's that?" she whispers intensely. Then--mystery solved. Her face clears and she exclaims with certainty, "Lawn mower!"

Dave just about died laughing.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

All Done, Car Rides!

No more of this for a while, little girl:

Yes, we are finally back at home. It's funny that it feels like "finally"-- after all, we were only gone for nine days. But when three of those days are spent road-tripping with little ones, let me tell you, home seems like an awfully good place to be. Time to dig back in to work, to cooking, to laundry, to routines, to friendships... and to blogging!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Farewell, Louisville

This morning we're saying goodbye to Kentucky and bound for old Virginia. (Sweet, sweet Virginia--my dear home state!) Thanks a million-bazillion to Dad and Jan for your generous hospitality and your time. We enjoyed our stay so much. Love y'all!
Dad&Jan Pic

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Louisville Zoo (Again)

Yesterday we made our second annual (how many years do you have to do something before you consider it "annual"?) trip to the Louisville Zoo. The weather was unbelievable! I kept thinking about how hot it was last year when we went and marveling that it could be so much lovelier, despite the fact that this trip takes place a month later in the summer than last year's!

Another comparison to last year: seeing the zoo with two-year Meg was rather different than seeing it with one-year old Meg. One year old Meg was content to proceed at the pace set by her adult companions, content to be lifted in our arms, to gaze at one group of animals for several minutes at a time, to listen to our observations about the animals' stripes, teeth, neck, swimming ability, etc. But two-year old Meg set her own pace, leading the rest of us through the zoo. Giraffes? OK, seen 'em, let's move on. Lions? Yeah, yeah, yeah, what's next? Elephants? Very nice, let's check that off the list and get on with it, shall we?

In all seriousness, Meg did seem to enjoy the trip, she was just a bit more... um, businesslike than Dave and I expected. But she didn't stay quite that brusque through the entire morning. Eventually she even spoke up with requests that we visit two specific animals: the turtles and the tiger. And I think my favorite line from the day was when, as we left the zebras' coral, Meg bid them farewell with: "Bye-bye, Zeebas. Have good day, sweet boys!"

A few pictures, now, to wrap this up. I didn't really get many shots of the animals this time around, but we'll start with the few I did take.

Warthogs are truly one of God's most amazingly bizarre creations, wouldn't you agree?

Daddy and Meg checking out the rhinos, which this picture miserably misrepresents. They are magnificently huge beasts.

I love the fact that this zoo has an old-fashioned carousel. Romantic that I am, I loooove a good carousel and still find them wonderfully magical, as I did when I was a child. What a treat to take my own children on them now! Here's Meg awaiting our turn.

And my boys, waiting too:

Dave says to Mathew during our spin, "Yeah, this is pretty tame, huh, buddy? Next time I'll take you on Top Thrill Dragster." [That's a Cedar Point coaster, for our fellow coaster fans.]) After I gave my husband my best "don't-you-dare-destroy-the-magic" icy stare, it was gratifying to witness Matthew crying when the carousel ride ended.

Meg astride her noble steed:
I wish I could have captured her expression when the ride began; her eyes lit up and she inhaled slowly, looking all around her... I know I'm a sap, but watching her made my eyes fill up with tears.

And a family shot, taken by a kindly stranger who said just before he clicked, "OK, now try to look like you're having a good time." It seemed odd at the moment, since Dave and I were grinning our faces off. But after seeing the photo, we realize that he must have been addressing our children. :)