Wednesday, October 29, 2008

So Today... the first day since April of 2005 that I have not been pregnant, breastfeeding, or both. Weird.

Yes, Matthew is weaned.

And I am...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Matthew's First Haircut

A few weeks ago, we went to get Meg's hair cut for the first time. This week, we were back for Matthew's chance in the chair. We deliberated about his 'do for a couple of months: to cut, or not to cut? Some days, his hair was curly enough to give us hope that he could pull off the baby-surfer look, but many days... well, many days, it just looked like this:
MIW Haircut 5

So here we are, back at Cartoon Cuts. Before shot from the back...
MIW Haircut 1

...and head on.
MIW Haircut 2

In process...
MIW Haircut 3
It was sort of funny; we had stopped at Dairy Queen to buy a cup of ice cream, because we thought Matthew would be so wiggly. (TV usually does not pacify him much, which is fine with us.) But as it turned out, he refused to nap that afternoon and was completely wiped out by the time we reached the hair place in the early evening. Dave described his zombie-like self as "stoned", and that was really pretty accurate. He couldn't have been more docile if we'd given him a tranquilizer.

Voila! Our new little man, looking eerily like pictures of my dad and Uncle Ed circa 1960. Pretty cute, huh?
MIW Haircut 4

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

A Monday Morning At Our House

It's chilly and overcast in Maryland today, and the dim light means I have to use my flash. But don't let the gloomy look of the pictures fool you--it's a cozy, cheerful family day here in the Wilcox home.

Monday AM 2

Monday AM 1

Monday AM 3

Monday AM 4

Monday AM 5

Monday AM 6

Monday AM 7

Monday AM 8

Monday AM 9

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Word Picture: October 25th

All that I really remember is the tears
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.
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
Escaping there.

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

One Sure Thing

I notice that many folks are referring to our current times as "uncertain". I agree that we (Americans in particular, but also many others around the globe) face some unique and challenging circumstances at present. And I deeply sympathize with those who are in need, or just plain worried.

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.

Yes, the times are uncertain. They were uncertain when Martin Luther authored this hymn almost 500 years ago. Times have always been uncertain, ever since a serpent entered a garden and began his work of deceitful destruction.

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

Trying Out the Simile

Today just after lunch, Meg was using her brother's high chair as a piece of playground equipment when I heard her take what may have been her first venture into the realm of figurative speech. She didn't make it very far.

Meg: I'm sliding down like a... a girl sliding down.

Do you think she could have a career in poetry?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Day Pictures

Out in the grassy clearing at the bottom of our street on a recent, golden sort of afternoon... just me, the kids and a camera.

Just Outside 2

Just Outside 3

Just Outside 11

Just Outside 1

Just Outside 10

Those red and gold things in the grass are the goldfish crackers that Matthew dumped out of their bag.
Just Outside 8

And no, I didn't discourage the kids from eating them like that.
Just Outside 9

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...
Just Outside 4

...and a little girl.
Just Outside 12

One day, the little girl happened upon the mushroom. She had never seen one before.
Just Outside 5

Fascinated, she decided to explore further.
Just Outside 6

And that was the end of the mushroom.
Just Outside 7

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

In His Own Little Corner

[OK, folks, name the musical theater allusion in that title line. No, you can't Google it. Come on... what show is that song from? Can you hum the melody? Anybody? (Mom, Lena and Jacque, sorry, but you're exempt from my little guessing game.)]

Getting on with the point of this post, here's one of Matthew's favorite hangouts lately:
Drawer 1

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.
Drawer 2

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.
Drawer 3

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

An Apple Pickin' Family Day

Would you believe that this Monday was the very first time that I have ever been apple picking? But you know what? I'm sort of glad that I got to experience the first of these special outings with my own little family.

Apples08 1

Apples08 2

Apples08 3

Apples08 4

Apples08 5

Apples08 6

Apples08 7

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...

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Conversations With Meg, #3

Last night at dinner, as Meg looked out of our dining room window...

Meg: Look! See the squirrel?
Daddy: Yeah, I see him!
Meg: He got a big, fluffy tail.
Daddy: That's right, he does have a big, fluffy tail. Would you like to have a big fluffy tail?
Meg: No. I'm a girl.
Daddy: Oh, that's right. Girls don't have big, fluffy tails, do they?
Meg: No. They have bottoms.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Meeting Emma

The other day I took the kids to go meet their newest friend: Emma Catherine Marcantonio. She was born in the wee sma's of Tuesday morning--healthy and beautiful, just like her mama. I didn't get to go visit them in the hospital, so I was nearly dying by the time Thursday rolled around. And, ahhhh, I got to hold her little newborn self, which, despite the cliche, is one of the most wonderful experiences in the world. What a tiny, itsy, bitsy, fragile, delicate, perfect thing she seemed as she cuddled my shoulder! And what a full head of shiny, sweet-scented, down-soft black hair she has! (Sorry, Wilcox babies--such glory will never be yours. I was bald until I was about five.)

Look--isn't she sweet?
Brand New Emma 1

My kids were very intrigued by her and, praise the Lord, reasonably gentle. Except that Matthew always wanted to be in the lap of whoever was holding her, so as to get good and close. (Better watch out, Matthew. Your Uncle Kris won't let kind of behavior pass for long.) Meg's assesment, as she stroked Emma's hair for the fourteenth time, was, "Awww... lil' baby Emma. Cute. She's... cute!" Always a smart thing to say to a new mom, Meggie.

Here is our photo commemoration of the Wilcoxes' first encounter with Emma:
Brand New Emma 3

Whoops! My flash wasn't on for that one. Here we go:
Brand New Emma 2
(I have to take this opportunity to make fun of my dear friend Jess. As we prepared to take this picture, she was grumbling about how I was dressed and had my make-up on and she was in her pajamas... blah, blah, blah, blah... you poor, photogenic thing you. Don't we all feel sooooo badly for you, you who just had a baby two days ago and still manage to look stunning in this picture. Wah.)

In all seriousness, we are delighted for our friends and were so very happy to meet their little girl. Kris and Jess, we're praying for you!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Things I Love About My Babies

1. How adorable they look in their fall clothes.

2. That Meg has taken to calling me her "little mamma". As in, "How's my little girl this morning?"
"Oh, I doin' good. How you doin', my lil'... my lil' mamma?"

Green Grass 2

3. That Matthew is the most adorable kiss-blower ever. He balls up his fist, crams it half-way into his mouth, and says, "BAH!" as he thrusts his hand toward you. ("Bah" is his version of "Mwwwah!") He's also a very generous kisser. If anyone kisses anyone else within his earshot, he's all, "Bah! Bah!" immediately. (He is kissing my orange-stockinged foot as I type this, actually.)

4. Matthew's newfound communication skills. He now nods yes, shakes his head no, and rapidly opens and closes his hands for "I want some of that food right there." He points to objects that he wants to know about and says, "Dah!" which we think is a primitive "What's that?". And he brings me books when he wants me to read to him, looking up at me with a little imploring face and nodding his head pleadingly.

Green Grass 1

5. That they looooove books! There are only a few things that would give me more joy than to see my children grow up loving to read.

6. Matthew's walk. He's turning the corner from walking occasionally to walking mostly, and it is just so cute to see the pride and excitement on his face every time he gets his toddle on!

Green Grass 3

7. The way that Matthew and Meg love each other (when they are not arguing over toys). Matthew's wriggly delight when I lift him to kiss Meg before her nap (at Meg's insistence); Meg's wriggly delight when it's time to go get Matthew from his crib after his nap; Matthew's tireless following of his sister all over the house; Meg's gentle stooping to kiss her brother's lips ("I luh you so much, Mat-yew.")--these are some of the dearest moments of my day, when I let myself stop to enjoy them.

8. How much they love their Daddy. They are both so excited to greet Dave when he walks through the door in the evenings! It does my heart good to see them rush up to hug and kiss him... and I know how much it blesses my husband!

9. Their laughter!

Green Grass 4

10. The fact that they drive me to God and to the cross of Christ. The truth is that, though I enjoy many things about being a mom, I am really not up to being a good mom. Really. In myself, I lack the wisdom, diligence, love, faithfulness, humility, gentleness, patience and strength that this job requires. That means that I often sin against my children and against God as I go about the task of mothering. But in His mercy and His might, the Lord is drawing me nearer to Himself, the One who possesses all of the wisdom, love, faithfulness and strength that I lack. And He is teaching me--to repent deeply before Him, to depend more on Him, to think greater thoughts of Him--in order that I might love and serve my children better. It is painful to glimpse the depths of my sin, to recognize my total inadequacy, to realize that I am incapable of changing myself. It is hard to be disciplined by the Lord. But for all of the difficulty, I love it. I love it because I have seen that, as I embrace God's discipline, He will give me more love--first for Him, and then for these precious babies of mine.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Meg's First Haircut

Guess what we did on Monday afternoon?

Our Meggie-girl was overdue for a trim. Those curls were getting looooong. (See this picture, taken in August, for proof.)
Haircut 1
The little ringlets were cute, but low-maintenance they were not, and Meg is definitely in a low-maintenance stage. Brushing out the tangles was often uncomfortable for her. She usually took out any clips or barrettes after a few minutes. And, recently, she rarely wanted to wear pony tails, if she could help it. So I thought, "Great. Well, we'll make it so she won't have to have pony tails." I told the lady at Cartoon Cuts to bob it.

When we started to attempt a shampoo, Meg got teary, so we skipped straight to the barber's chair. There Meg enjoyed a triple-whammy of comforts: getting to sit on Daddy's lap, a lollipop, and watching Dora the Explorer on her own personal TV monitor. As you might guess, she relaxed pretty quickly.
Haircut 2

Get ready to say goodbye to all that length...
Haircut 3

"Ummm... how long is this going to take?"
Haircut 4

My sweet little Goldy's locks... all shorn!
Haircut 5

One side is finished...
Haircut 6

Almost done...
Haircut 7

Look, it's our brand new, grown-up girl!
Haircut 8

(And a shot of my boys at Froggy Land a little later.)
Haircut 9

The verdict on the new 'do is that we love it. Daddy likes the way his cutie-pie looks, Mommy likes the ease of brushing, and Meg likes her new, light, free style. It's just right for a girl who's always on the go.