Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday Trivia

Just some things I've been thinking about and/or meaning to write down...

1. Matthew heaved himself overboard for the first time today--that is, he climbed/fell out of his crib. It was close to the end of his quiet play time, and suddenly in the monitor I heard a very loud thump (louder than toys biting the dust, which they do all the time), followed by a hurt-cry that sounded quite close to the monitor itself. (The monitor lives on the floor, under the crib.) I bolted for Matthew's room, opened the door and... sure enough: child on the floor. Lots of tears. (He wasn't hurt much, because they didn't last long.) Now the question is, what do we do to avoid this becoming routine? I don't really want to buy a crib tent, but the mattress is as low as it will go. Any smart-mommy tips out there?

2. I finished reading A Tale of Two Cities yesterday. Wow. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately, this was my first time really reading it. For some reason, this book was one of those high school English assignments that I skimmed and/or largely ignored, barely scraping through the unit quizzes. That was pretty rare for me in English. The only other book I can remember not reading thoroughly in all four years was Huck Finn. I know--my loss. Anyway, I do really enjoy Charles Dickens, despite the fact that his plots tend to feel contrived. Though I must say, I was very sorry to learn that he left his wife and the mother of his TEN children and took a mistress. I guess that it is always easier to write sentimental celebrations of good character in others than it is to pursue good character for oneself.

3. When Meg is talking about something that will help her to feel better, her phrase is "feel me better." As in, "Oh, yes, Mommy. I like that medicine. That will feel me better!"

4. I finished memorizing 1 Peter 2:23-25 this morning. It reads,

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.

I chose this verse because of a particular struggle I have with my children, which, though weak and ugly, is very real. Here it is: sometimes Meg or Matthew hurts me, physically, and I tend to react in anger. You know how it is with kids--they're just clueless. Matthew loves to grab a handful of the skin on my neck and dig his little fingernails into it. He means it affectionately, playfully, but it's been a repeated temptation for me. Meg, when reading a book in my lap, will sometimes get very excited and whip that hardcover up over her head, where it meets forcibly with my nose. Ouch. This verse from 1 Peter helps me to remember what Christ bore on my behalf--a much deeper pain than anything my kids will ever inflict on me. It reminds me that Jesus did not take matters into His own hands. He didn't retaliate toward those who harmed Him. Instead, he "continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly." I love that. And I love knowing that the fruit of His trusting forbearance was the salvation of my soul! I pray that my (hopefully increasing!) forbearance and gentleness toward my little ones might result in their eyes being lifted to the One who bore their sins in His own body.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How To Go Down a Slide (by Matthew)

Since God sent our camera back to us, Mommy said I could do a post with some of the pictures that were on it. So today I'd like to show you how to go down a slide, in six cute easy steps.

Step 1: Climb to the top of the slide and check to make sure it's all clear.
MIW Slide 1

Step 2: Turn yourself around and prepare for the mount.
MIW Slide 2

Step 3: Carefully lower one foot into the mouth of the slide.
MIW Slide 3

Step 4: Place your other foot in the mouth of the slide. This is the step to watch out for; it can be just a little tricky. If you find, as I sometimes do, that your second foot gets stuck on part of the slide or maybe your own coat as you bring it around, you may need to call in your mommy for assistance. Try whining a little bit, or saying "Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" with a gradually increasing volume level to get her attention.
MIW Slide 4

Step 5: Push yourself down the slide. Don't forget to say, "Wheeeeee!"
MIW Slide 5

Step 6: Wiggle to the end of the slide and dismount carefully.
MIW Slide 6

Repeat on as many different slides as you can find!
MIW Slide 7

And remember--the more you smile, the longer your mommy will let you stay at the playground!
MIW Slide 8

Friday, February 20, 2009

An Answer to Prayer!

Guess what? Remember last week, when I wrote this?

Then I left the camera, in its case, sitting on the floor of the playground... I am truly sorry for being such a nitwit. You can pray that the camera was found by some generous and well-meaning individual whom God will sovereignly guide to our doorstep. That's what I'm going to pray, anyway.

Well, today as I'm about to get lunch on for the kids, I hear a light knock at the door. I look outside and see the minivan belonging to our friend and down-the-street neighbor, Seanna. I answer the door. "Here's a bag of clothes for Matthew," Seanna says, holding up a trash bag full of hand-me-downs. "And I found your camera."

It turns out that Seanna took her kids to the playground right after I took mine last Wednesday. She was the one who picked up our camera! Talk about a "generous and well-meaning individual"! (Believe me, it would be hard to get any more generous and well-meaning that Seanna.) And of all the people who could have visited the playground that day, she is probably the only one who would immediately identify the pictures on it and know that it belonged to us. I'm reeling with the grace of God in this small but (to us) significant matter. How kindly He provides for and watches over us!

In short, I am one grateful nitwit.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

This Is One of Those Times...

...when I miss the camera. OK, I miss the camera a good bit of the time. But this is one of those posts that really needs a picture, and it's not going to get one. Sorry. We'll probably buy a new camera soon.

But on Monday, Matthew chipped one of his upper front teeth. Child only has six teeth at the ripe old age of 17 months, and he manages to damage one of them! (I'm so glad it's just a baby tooth.) Neither Dave nor I saw it happen--we just noticed later that day that his smile looked a little... different. When we looked, we couldn't find blood anywhere, or the little piece of tooth that broke off. Maybe he swallowed it. We'll probably never know for sure.

My sweet little son, it looks like you're going to have to endure a less-than-perfect smile for the next four or five years. Or, if you're like your mom and dad, you'll endure the less-than-perfect smile for the next few years, and then when your grown-up teeth start coming in, your smile will be extremely imperfect, and it will take years of orthodontic work to bring it back to something like its present state. Oh, boy, oh, boy! Something to look forward to.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Valentines Cookies

Anyone who would like to see some recent pictures of our children can head on over to Jessica's blog, where she has some photos of last week's play date posted. Don't miss Meg, Matthew and their "cousins" Jack and Emma enjoying some love-day treaties! (Well, not Emma. She still gets her treats through her mama. But anyway.)

(Thanks for posting those, Jessie! You're the best! FYI: Did you know that the plural form of "Wilcox" is "Wilcoxes"? Just like the plural of "fox" is "foxes". Little known fact. Now you can amaze your friends and family with your grammatical erudition.)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

This is my Valentine.


This is an old picture, and one of my favorites ever. It's rare that I take a photo where you can actually see his wonderful blue-green eyes. But here you can. I like that.

We've made a little Valentines-mobile in our dining room, with red-and-pink construction paper hearts hanging from the chandelier. (It's the best that this ugly, brass-finished lighting fixture has ever looked, believe me.) Each of the hearts is from one family member to another. Dave's for the kids are my favorite.

The first one is red. It reads:

To Matthew, from Daddy. I love...
-your "mm-bah!" kisses
-reading you stories
-when you put your head on my shoulder

One of my favorite things is the way you look when you're sleeping.
I love hearing you say "Dada."
Let's play piggies again soon, OK?
And then I can throw you on the couch and zerbet your belly-button.


The second one, pink, says:

I love your hugs and kisses!
I love praying with you.
Playing "Who's gonna get you" is so much fun!
And thanks for being such a good helper to your mommy!
I love doing puzzles and riding the sit & spin and going to Red Robin and checking on you at night and listening to you talk.
Can I take you on a date soon?
Love, Daddy

Yes, he's a great Daddy. And he's an even better husband, if you can even believe that such a thing could be possible. He's my Valentine. And I love him.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


So we survived the kids' first official stomach flu. (I now see that the one at the beach, with Meg's one vomiting incident, did not count. Mommy and Daddy may have had the flu that time, but the kids largely missed it.) Saturday was the day the rays broke through the clouds, when we made it all the way through without any basins, buckets, or diaper explosions--the first time in eight days. By Sunday there were no symptoms left, except for an extremely emotional (yes, even more than usual) and tired little girl. And you should see both kids eat! They are making up for lost time, and weight.

Man, do I feel like a rookie mom. When I'm an older, wiser, more experienced mother, I'll take these kinds of minor crises more in stride, right? I won't always feel like children throwing up = apocalypse? I won't always be so utterly revolted by poop that no diaper can contain? Or will I just become better at concealing my horror? Hopefully I'll at least have more perspective next time. Yes, eight days of yuckyness goes by slowly. But it's not forever. Not hardly. And I am aware of so many who are experiencing real suffering and sorrow, stuff that I can scarcely even imagine. The glimpses that I get of others' grief and pain makes me even more aware of my own immaturity.

This week has been so beautiful, and we've spent lots of time outside. The kids are crazy with joy to be out in the sunlight and wind and fresh air. I don't blame them--they didn't set foot outside for a whole week, not even to be hustled into the car. Now they are gloriously free--daily opening up the front door and plunging into sudden spring! (Or at least a foretaste of spring.) I love watching them run and squeal and laugh.

Matthew is getting to be such a big boy. This week, he suddenly began to demonstrate his mastery of slides. I'm not sure when he learned to go down a sliding board all by himself, but he's done it about 50 times this week, with vast pride and huge smiles and much praise from Mommy. He can go forward, sitting up, but he prefers going backward on his stomach. It's pretty cute.

I took lots of pictures of the kids today, as they played on the neighborhood playground. I planned to include them in this post, too. Then I left the camera, in its case, sitting on the floor of the playground. Many hours later, I remembered this and frantically went running back to look for it. As you can imagine, it was nowhere in sight. So you may have to endure pictureless posts for a while. Not that most of you come here for the photography, but... you can at least imagine how the long-distance grandparents will feel. I am truly sorry for being such a nitwit. You can pray that the camera was found by some generous and well-meaning individual whom God will sovereignly guide to our doorstep. That's what I'm going to pray, anyway.

I'll let you know what happens.

Monday, February 02, 2009

More Sickness

Sorry for the dearth of posts here--we have been sticking close to home, watching lots of videos, taking lots of naps. Last Friday morning, exactly a week after he started to develop his ear and throat infection, Matthew woke up with a tummy bug. He threw up a few times that morning, and then dealt with the rest via the other end. Poor little guy--one night he must have slept for a long time in a dirty diaper. He never cried or anything, so we didn't know. But the next morning he had a wretched rash all over his little bum. At any rate, last night around dinner time I remarked to Dave that Matthew was finally acting like himself again.

Almost immediately, Meg threw up all over the couch. (Thank You, Lord, for slip covers.) She couldn't keep anything down for the next six or seven hours. Dave and I raced into her room five or six times in the first half of the night to hold the bucket, wipe the mouth, smooth the hair. Poor little thing. It was the first time that she's vomited repeatedly--it must be so bewildering for a kid when that happens. What's happening to me??

We were very grateful that she was able to settle down around 1:00 a.m. She slept soundly through the rest of the night, which meant that we did too. Of course, she did wake up with a yucky diaper this morning, as well as--you guessed it--an absolutely terrible rash. And then she threw up again this afternoon right before her nap. We think that the worst of it may be over now, but only time will tell. If our experience with Matthew holds true, I'll spend the next day or so coaxing her appetite back into existence. And of course, there's still the chance that Dave and/or I will get this yucky thing.

This afternoon I was sitting in the kitchen, eating some lunch. I had just finished mopping up the floor where Meg missed the bucket. I was tired. I was thinking about sickness. Why have the kids been sick so much lately? Is there something I should be doing for them that I'm not? Will Meg throw up again in the middle of her nap? How long will this bug last? And I was fretting about what would happen if David or I got sick. I'm already so behind on laundry and cleaning. How will I ever dig out from this mess if I have to spend the next who-knows-how-long bending over the toilet?

And then God, in his perfect sovereignty, broke into my little fret session with this post on Megan Russell's blog. (By the way, if you are a young wife and/or mom of young ones and you don't already read "russell-life" regularly, I highly recommend that you add it to your list. Megan is a treasure trove of resources, both soul-stirring and practical! You will be encouraged!) The following is a quote from John Macduff's The Faithful Promiser.

“My soul! Be still!
You are in the hands of your Covenant God.
Were all the strange circumstances in your history the result of accident, or chance,
you might well be overwhelmed.
But ‘all things,’ and this thing (be what it may) which may be now disquieting you,
is one of these ‘all things’ that are so working mysteriously for your good.
Trust your God!
He will not deceive you — your interests are with Him in safe custody.
When sight says, ‘All these things are against me,’
let faith rebuke the hasty conclusion,
and say, ‘Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?’
How often does God hedge up your way with thorns, to elicit simple trust!
How seldom can we see all things so working for our good?
But it is better discipline to believe it.
Oh! For faith amid frowning providences, to say,
‘I know that Your judgments are good’
and, relying in the dark to exclaim,
‘Though He slays me, yet will I trust Him!’

Blessed Jesus! To You are committed the reigns of this universal empire.
The same hand that was once nailed to the Cross,
is now wielding the scepter on the throne…
How can I doubt
the wisdom, and the faithfulness, and love,
of the most mysterious earthly dealing,
when I know that the Roll of Providence
is thus in the hands of Him
who has given the mightiest pledge Omnipotence could give
of His tender interest in my soul’s well-being,
by giving Himself for me?”

I read it through once, hungrily, too fast. Then I started again and savored it, trying to digest every word. Boy, was that what I needed to hear! As small, as meager a trial as this bout of family illness has been, today I was right at that point of thinking, "All these things are against me!" But oh, let faith indeed " rebuke the hasty conclusion!" Is a few weeks of sickness enough to erase the cross from my mind? Will I let a stomach flu make me forget that God has given me the "mightiest pledge"--the blood of His very own Son for my sins? "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" Or has the One who saved me erred in allowing me a month of coughing and contagion?

No, there is no error here. This sickness, this thing which is "now disquieting me"... it is "working mysteriously for my good." It is, even though I don't see how. "My interests are with Him in safe custody." Hallelujah. Amen.