Saturday, February 26, 2011

Matthew Tells It Like It Is

We had a sick day here today. Meg seems to have a little cold as of this morning; Esme is recovering from a cold and dealing with a stomach bug; I had a mild stomach bug which is still making me drag a bit, and I have a yucky head cold... and probably terrible sinus breath. (You'll need that information in a moment.)

Matthew, some how, managed to stay healthy (today, at least). He also managed to be adorable--not that he has to try very hard--and I had several conversations with him that I wanted to record. You can't say he's not candid!


1:35 pm
(As I'm kissing him at naptime)
Matthew: Please don't kiss me any more, Mama.
Me: Oh, ok, no more kisses?
Matthew: Yeah. Because first you were soft but you smell bad.
Me: Oh, I feel soft but I smell bad, huh?
Matthew: Yeah.
Me: Sorry about that, buddy.

Immediately after this conversation I detoured to the bathroom and brushed my teeth.

6:00 pm
(In the bath tub, speaking sharply)
Matthew: NOOO! Don't go pee-pee in the bathtub!
Me: Yeah, don't go pee-pee in the bathtub.
Matthew: Yeah, I know, I'm telling dat to my [male organ]. 'Cause my [male organ] wants to go pee-pee wight now but I'm telling it not to.

6:20 pm
(As I stare at his cute little face peering out of a towel after bath time)
Matthew: You have beautiful ips! Dey're vewy pink!

He's the only person in the world who would have told me that my chapped and neglected lips were beautiful today. Boy, do I love that kid.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Helloooooo, Beautiful!

I don't know what the weather was like where you are, but around here, 2.14.11 was a perfect Valentine of a day, from God to everybody. The sky was breathtakingly blue, the temperature hovered around 57*, and the wind blew fresh and cleansing rather than bitter. It was a glorious first taste of spring.

The Wilcox Family delightedly took to the great outdoors, for the first time in many a family day. They set off, scooters and stroller primed for the first of many corporate walks.

The baby of the family hardly knew what to make of such light and warmth. Where was her puffy, green, marshmallow coat? Gone? Replaced by a mere jacket (which pink floral wreaked fashion havoc with her chartreuse hoodie)?

Finding their usual wooded path still snowed over, the family detoured their route, continuing their walk up a steep hill and past rows of town homes. The older children abandoned their scooters to scavenge for "feather plants." With these plumes in hand, they paraded exuberantly along the sunny sidewalk.

The man of the house, leading from the start, cut a fine figure as he perambulated the baby.
(And he also made a rockin' Valentine.)

(The end.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday Night at Our Place...

...means three freshly bathed, sweet, soft little people with smiles that light up the whole house.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Meg's Sketch of the Day


Slightly blurry--sorry--but so adorable.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Quote: The Praying Life

I'm doing quite a bit of reading lately--such good stuff. It makes me want to share some of the rich tidbits I encounter along the way. Here's one from Paul E. Miller's The Praying Life.

Just before this excerpt, Miller writes about how busy Jesus' life was, how his family even attempted "to stage an intervention because he is so busy." (Mark 3:20-21)
But he loves people and has the power to help, so he has one interruption after another. If Jesus lived today, his cell phone would be ringing constantly. The quest for a contemplative life can actually be self-absorbed. If we love people and have the power to help, then we are going to be busy. Learning to pray doesn't offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart. In the midst of outer busyness we can develop an inner quiet. Because we are less hectic on the inside, we have a greater capacity to love... and thus to be busy, which in turn drives us even more into a life of prayer.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Happy Little Milestones

I have nothing earth-shattering to share tonight, but there are a few small things to celebrate...

1. Matthew is potty-training! For real! We first bought him some unders back in the early fall and made an attempt at the transition from diapers to potty. After two days of 100% wet chairs, wet carpets, and wet Woody & Buzz briefs, I was convinced: the kid wasn't ready. We made one more stab a month or so later, at Matthew's initiation, when he received a set of Transformers unders for Christmas. Still no dice. He just wasn't getting the fact that he had to do something different! But at the beginning of last week, he again asked if he could wear his underwear, and after a big pep talk, I agreed. Low and behold... he's ready! I don't know what changed, but we've had a very high success rate for the last seven days. Today he even used some public toilets on our family day outing! Go, Matthew!

2. We finished Genesis! I'm not sure exactly when we started reading through the first book of the Bible during our morning "table time," but we finally finished! We did skip just a few sections: Lot and His Daughters (save that one till they're a bit older), Judah and Tamar (ditto), The Defiling of Dinah (double ditto), and a couple of geneologies. (Oh, and the part where Rebecca and Jacob conspire to deceive Isaac and steal Esau's blessing--but I won't take the time to explain that one here.) This is the second book of the Bible we've completed together. Psalms was the first. (We've also been reading through Proverbs the whole time, but at only three verses a day, that's taking quite a long time.) Meg and Matthew have grown so much in the last few months. They are now much more able to listen quietly and carefully while I'm reading. I'm very proud of them, and grateful to God for His work in their little hearts! And now we're ankle-deep in Exodus...

3. Lastly, Esme is getting all of her teeth at once! That may not be precisely true, but that is how it seems. She doesn't like to let me look (or poke) into her mouth, so I'm rarely sure exactly what's going on in there. However, I'm quite certain that she's been in the process of cutting at least three molars at once, and I believe there's one more. There's also at least one canine starting to push its way through the gum--seems like maybe two. This does occasionally mean some night-waking and some grouchy days, but I actually prefer the all-at-once approach. Matthew's teething took f-o-r-e-v-e-r, and at age 3 1/2, he's just finished getting his lower two-year molars. Top ones still missing.

But at least he's using the potty!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Jesus' Birthday, Part 4

To close out my series about celebrating Jesus' birthday, I offer this list of a few things that have made our last few Christmases really special. I know that there's nothing super original here, but I always enjoy hearing what others are doing, so maybe you will too!

I love...

-kicking-off our Christmas season with
Operation Christmas Child in mid-November: We've had the joy of purchasing Christmas gifts for children growing up in poverty for three years now. Meg did it with us starting two years ago, shopping for gifts for some far-away girl about her age. This year, Matthew joined the fun, shopping for a little boy he will probably never meet. (And much to my surprise, he did great with it!) This year, I was able to prepare the kids by praying with them for the children who would receive our boxes. We did this every day during the week leading up to our shopping trip. We also read stories from the Samaritan's Purse PrayerPoint magazine about how God has used OCC in years past to draw children to Himself. Then we set out for Target--the whole family. We came home, packed up our boxes, and went together to drop them off at a local church. And we recently got an email update from Samaritan's Purse, informing us that our boxes made their way to children somewhere in Peru. Too cool! I can't recommend this ministry too highly. I just love being a very small part of this.

-celebrating Advent in a Christ-centered way: Anticipation is everything. We try to build our kids excitement for Jesus' birthday by spending every evening in December singing about Him, reading about Him, and looking at picture books and nativity scenes that tell His story. I love how eager they are to put the Baby Jesus figure on our Advent calendar. Every night they're hoping that tonight will be the night for Jesus!

-reading the Christmas story every day: I read about a method of Scripture memorization that basically entails just reading a passage over and over again, multiple times a day, until the reader and the listeners start to know it by heart. So this December, during my morning Bible time with the kids, I read Luke 2 to them every day. I don't think anyone really memorized it, but we sure did get well acquainted with it. And the kids did not get bored with the repetition! In fact, they seemed excited to return to the same chapter each day.

-serving together as a family: "For even the Son of Man came, not to be served, but to serve." (Mark 10:45) What better birthday present can we give to Jesus than seeking to be like him, giving our time and strength for the sake of His Kingdom? For our family, with our very little people, serving together usually looks like releasing Dave to spend the whole month at church. At home, we stay busy and pray for Daddy, and for the people who will attend the services for which he's preparing. I look forward to the day when we can all be more hands-on--singing in choirs or greeting guests or maybe... working behind the scenes with the tech teams??

-giving our kids opportunities to get excited about giving:
We have much room for growth in this area, but one thing we've enjoyed is helping the kids shop for other members of our family. Two years ago, I started taking the kids on a special shopping trip where they get to pick out gifts for Daddy--anything they want (within a certain price range, since they're spending our money, for now). This year, Dave took them on a second trip to buy gifts for Mommy and Esme. Having something to give during gift our exchanges seems to be quite thrilling for our Meg and Matthew and I love the fact that it breaks them out of "What's next for me?" even for a few moments.

-making a wish list: I keep a running wishlist via Amazon--you know, a list of books and movies and various items that I'd like to own but probably won't buy for myself. But this year, for the first time, when people asked me what I would like, I also started mentioning some of the ministries that I love. "Hey, here's my wish list, but it would also really bless me if you considered making a donation to Compassion International, or to so-and-so's adoption fund." And I can't even begin to tell you what a blessing it was to get a gift like that. It truly was better than a whole mountain of stuff.

And here are some links that have inspired and encouraged me with regard to Christmas:

-Megan offers one way to simplify gift-giving

-An idea for a fun family tradition from Stacy

-How Stacy's family does birthday presents for Jesus

-How and why Ann's family does birthday presents for Jesus

-Sharaya's post on We Are Grafted In about stuff, Christmas, and how her family started "Spend Less/Give More" this Christmas

-My Aunt Julia's post that gave us the idea for our birthday presents for Jesus

-Jonalee's post featuring the Advent Conspiracy videos

-Jonalee's thoughts about Christmas future

-Trinity's family's Extreme Home Christmas

I've no doubt that the world wide web is chock full of many other helpful articles and ideas, but those are the ones that I've found so far.

Lastly, if you've not read Noel Piper's book Treasuring God in Our Traditions, I commend it to you! It's a rich source of wisdom on celebrating Jesus' birthday as well as many other occasions!

And that, my friends, is likely to be the last you'll hear from me about Christmas for quite some time.