Friday, November 22, 2013

Quote of the Day

Esme, during our breakfast conversation about how none of us could remember last night's dreams:

"I couldn't even see my dreams last night. It was too dark."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Midwest Memories IV: Ahhhhh, Mackinac Island

Mom and Tom have been talking about taking us to Mackinac Island since Meg was quite small, but this was the summer we finally made it there. And the Lord reserved the most perfect, breathtakingly beautiful day for our visit. Wow. I can still see the glistening, deep blue lake meeting the cloudless, intensely blue sky.

Mackinac (mysteriously pronounced MAK-in-AW) Island is a little speck right in between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. It is notable in part because there are no cars allowed on the island. At all! There are bikes and there are horses, who pull various carts and carriages. (And in the winter, I'm told there are snow mobiles.) There is an historical military fort, and there are stunning old Victorian homes, gorgeously maintained. Oh, and there is fudge. Reeeeeeeal fudge. More about that later.

Dave grew up going fairly often with his family to bike around the island. He has great memories of their times there. A highlight of the day was seeing a bit of the kid in him return as he got to show our little people around. One particular image saved in my mind is of Dave hoisting Esme up onto this boulder near the shoreline and then climbing up himself, long legs and all.

To back up, we drove to the Upper Peninsula (about a three-hour drive from Mom and Tom's home) and took a ferry to the island. I remember trying to rub sunscreen all over every kid within my reach while the boat bounced us over the water. The sun was hot, but there was a strong breeze. Perfect day for a boat ride. Ahhhh.

We got to the island, and I was quite surprised to find that we landed right in the midst of a downtown crawling with tourists and crammed with restaurants, hotels, shops and confectionaries of every kind. Funny: Dave and his folks had talked about the bike riding and the idyllic scenery so much that I had never realized there was a downtown, let alone one that would remind me of a beachside boardwalk. I guess I never stopped to picture a town at all! (Note: the downtown is way cuter than a boardwalk. It's more like Main Street, USA circa 1902, with all the buildings painted in cheerful pastels. But the volume of people and the feel of the place were a bit like a boardwalk. Except with horse piles everywhere.)

Anyway, we went to the green near the fort and ate our picnic lunch. Then we went to get bikes. Mom and Tom had brought theirs along, as well as one carriage/trailer thing. The rest of us needed rentals. We ended up with quite the entourage. Four adult bikes, two with tagalongs and two with trailers.

I started out riding in front of Meg on a tagalong. It was not an auspicious beginning. First I failed to yield to a turning horse cart when I should have. The cart driver was not very impressed with me and let that be known publicly. We started again. Meg was so nervous and shaky behind me that I could barely keep my balance at all. We went wobbling into the street, trying to dodge other riders and carriages and horse piles, Meg loudly moaning, "Mommy, are you sure you know how to ride a bike?" Mature, forbearing adult that I am, I responded by threatening through clenched teeth to pitch her off and leave her behind. Dave rode up next to me and talked us both through the remainder of the crowded part of town. We stopped and regrouped just beyond the tourist district. I asked my daughter's forgiveness for my unkind words and gave her a few riding tips.

We started off again, much more smoothly this time. In just a few moments, we had left the town behind, and the beauty had begun. I can't do it justice, but it was lovely. Rocky beaches, miles and miles of water, never-ending sky. Breeze, sun, motion, bliss. Meg was delighted and repeatedly pronounced Mackinac Island "paradise" and "the most beautiful place in the world, tied with Rose Hill Manor." Matthew rode alone behind Dave like the happiest boy in the world, which he was. Tom heroically hauled Esme and the cooler in his trailer. And Mom, towing Graham, fell further and further behind. When we made our first stop to wade along the shoreline, we found out why. Her rental trailer, which was kept unzipped and open so that Graham could breathe (always a good idea), was acting like a parachute as we rode into the wind the first leg of the ride. She was getting so much drag that she was probably working three times as hard as any of us. After that stop, we shuffled the adults, but Mom had already borne the brunt, as the wind direction was more in our favor for the rest of the trip.

The ride around the island is about 8 miles, if I recall correctly. There was really only one hill. It was a great distance and set-up for a family with little kids. I would go back and do it again right now if I knew the weather would be good there! We took it easy, stopping whenever we felt like exploring something (a bit of shoreline, the school playground) or cooling down with water bottles and wading. I'm not sure exactly how long it took us to complete the circle... maybe three hours? It was such a glorious memory-making day.

(You've probably guessed by now that I don't have any pictures. Minor tragedy, but in trying last minute to pare down what we were carrying onto the island, I accidentally left my camera in the car, which, of course meant that it stayed on the mainland. I'm sorry.)

Back in town, we rewarded ourselves for the bike ride with ice cream. While we ate it, we had another encounter with a rude horse cart driver. Bad day for those guys, I guess. My kids were quite shocked by how disrespectful the driver was to their grandpa. I was quite impressed that Grandpa held his tongue and mildly moved on with life. I was grateful to have my kids witness that moment of strength and self-control and dignity.

Before we caught the ferry back to the mainland, I had to stop and get some fudge. I hadn't had any real fudge since my last stay in Ocean City, N.J. when I was 18. We got to take the kids into a shop where they were just finishing making a fresh batch. Then: the choices. Aaaargh, so hard. Except for maple. That was a nonnegotiable must, and definitely the best decision I made there. Ohhhhhhhh, fudge. You were real good, real fudge. And I'm so glad I don't have any place to purchase you near my home.

I can't leave out the fact that I ended up in the very front row of the top deck on the ferry homeward. This would have been no problem except that I was with a very tired, hungry and willful Graham. He wanted to get down and roam around the boat, and with that privilege denied, he threw a rip-roaring fit, complete with screaming, flailing, lunging and hitting. This lasted for the entire final 10 minutes of our ride. Did I mention I was in the front row of a very full boat? Did I mention that my husband was on the lower deck with the other kids? The lake was very choppy by this time of day, and the wind was right in our faces, so I was struggling not only to keep my baby from pitching himself overboard and scratching out my eyes, but also to keep my hair out of my mouth and to keep my wind-whipped clothes from creating indecent exposure scenarios. Meanwhile, I was sure I could feel the eyes of every. single. passenger. on me the whole time, Grandpa being the lone exception. (By the way, if you ever ride a ferry--or train, or plane, or bus--with a mother whose toddler is pitching a huge fit in front of everyone, do her a favor: if you have the opportunity, meet her eyes and smile kindly. Do NOT avoid her gaze as if you think her situation might be a contagious plague. Just... show a little compassion. She will remember it thankfully, as I do the two ladies--the ONLY two ladies out of the whole crowd--who smiled graciously at me as I bolted for the boat's exit.)

After surviving the ferry, we went and ate dinner (my fish sandwich was sooo yum) at the very cute Darrow's Family Restaurant. Then we drove home, marveling that our then-three year old didn't fall asleep or even come close for the whole three hours! (7 to 10 pm after a long day!)

OK, OK, last thing, I promise! The trip to Mackinac Island did require us to cross the Mackinac Bridge, which connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan. It was also the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was built. I mention this because I am not a big fan of bridges. My mild gephyrophobia (I just looked it up!), which kicked in after I started having kids, has its roots in the old PBS show Square One (remember?). It used to feature images of poorly engineered bridges (I suppose they were just models, but they looked real) collapsing. Add to that the bridge disaster in Minneapolis a few years ago, and well, let's just say that I never drive over a bridge without praying. Mackinac Bridge is high and long, and the pace across is slow. They're also doing construction on it. I clenched my jaw and talked to the Lord all the way over both ways. My husband laughed at me.

And I would just like to note that, the VERY NEXT DAY, we saw in the news that, due to high winds, a tractor trailer had been knocked over onto its side while crossing the bridge.

See? I told you God chose us the perfect day.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Beach (Amended)

We went to Duck, NC with my family last week and had a most excellent time. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I usually do, but my sister just sent me this shot of Matthew and his cousin Ari modeling two of Nana's voluminous beach hats...


These two little boys were positively inseparable for the whole week. They slept in the same room and spent every waking hour running, splashing, laughing, shooting, chasing, pranking, teasing, building, digging and eating together. Good buddies. Seeing them enjoy each other so much was one of my week's highlights.

Back at home now, we're already knee-deep in school, field trips, work, laundry and all the other homely things. Hopefully I'll be able to post more about our summer (and fall!) soon, but this quickie will have to do for now.

PS: My sister just sent me the companion photo to the one posted above:


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Midwest Memories III: Big Boy

Two Michigan visits ago (four years ago, if you're counting), I posted about our visit to the Big Boy restaurant of Cadillac, MI. And I posted this picture, of my two little people and the iconic Big Boy himself:

I confess I get a little gooey looking at this. Yook at my wittle, teeny Meg and Maffew, only fwee and one years old! And Esme was just a pre-born babe!

This is the 2013 version:

There was nothing particularly memorable about this Big Boy meal, except that it was sandwiched between an extensive tour of a HUGE dairy operation and a trip to the Cadillac toy store.

The dairy farm is owned by friends of Dave's folks, and they were gracious enough to spend a whole morning driving us around their place and showing us everything from baby calves to milking parlors to feed storage. The highlight for Meg and me was watching a calf being born and observing the first moments of his life (unfortunately, the only time he'll ever spend with his poor mama cow). It was remarkable. All my respect to the mama cows of the world, who have to give birth to creatures with hooves.

The toy store visit was Grandpa and Grandma's treat. They allowed Meg, Matthew and Esme to choose their own (early) birthday presents. This was a first for our kids, and quite a memorable occasion, as you can imagine.

And yes, the Big Boy picture is the only shot I have to show from the whole day--almost from our whole time with Mom and Tom! And the only reason I got that one is that Meg said, "Let's get a picture with the Big Boy!"

PS: Did anyone else notice that the Big Boy had a serious paint job between the two pictures? Major improvement on the ol' eye-brows, I must say.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

WORD of the Day

O my strength, I will watch for you,
for you, O God, are my fortress.
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.
Psalm 59:9-10

A couple of notes:
1) Started my day on an emotional low; began reading this psalm, saw all the complaints about enemies making unwarranted attacks, and almost talked myself out of hoping to get anything from it. BUT. The Holy Spirit tugged and reminded me to expect joy from God's Word. So I started over. And there was this beautiful nugget.
2) Love how David addresses God as "my strength." I have needed strength today.
3) Love the purposeful determination of "I will watch for you." As I have purposed to watch for God my strength today, He has indeed met me with his steadfast love.
4) Enemies: Thank God, I don't have any blood-thirsty men hounding me in the streets and plotting to take my life. But I have physical weakness, fatigue, laziness, anger, discouragement, haste, thoughtlessness, pride, selfishness, plain old lack of wisdom--all enemies of my soul that would rob me of joy, peace and usefulness to my Lord today. How sweet the assurance: "God will let me look in triumph" on all of them. Today my victory may be impartial or altogether unseen, but ultimate victory is secure in my Jesus and will be mine when I see Him at last.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Midwest Memories II: "Sailing" at the Ponds

The second leg of our midwest trip was to central Michigan, where we stayed with Dave's wonderful Mom and Tom, or Grandma Dawn and Grandpa Tom to the kids. Their beautiful (if buggy) little slice of paradise, a.k.a. "The Ponds," was just as grand as ever a spot for relaxation and exploration. The fountain bubbled, the frogs sang all day, the baby deer came right up to the house, the hummingbirds buzzed through magnificent gardens, displaying their gorgeous ruby-colored throats. Lucky for us, we had a week to spend there soaking it all in!

It just so happened that Grandpa Tom had a brand new basketball hoop that he wanted to set up while we were there. The basketball hoop just happened to come in a very large cardboard box. It just so happened that we had someone with us who really loves very large cardboard boxes and never lacks for creative ideas about how to use them. And it happens that Grandpa loves to power creative ideas. Thus:






Matthew's Cardboard Sailboat + Grandpa's Tractor Mower = Sailing at the Ponds

What a great memory!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Midwest Memories I

Every other year we take a road trip northward and westward to visit Dave's mom's side of the family. So in mid-July we packed up the minivan and cruised up I-70 toward the PA Turnpike. The next day we arrived in West Chicago, the home of Dave's dear Aunt Linda.

We spent barely two days there, but boy, were they packed full of fun: time with Dave's cousins and their families, meeting new baby Cody (my kids' youngest second cousin), swimming at the most amazing community pool/waterpark I've ever seen (it had three water slides, a water playground, and a massive sand-play area the size of my home's main level--oh, and a place to do normal swimming). We ate good food, we played at a great playground, we kept the kids up super late (especially factoring in the one-hour time difference).

One cute snippet from this part of the trip: Esme was completely nonplussed by the title of "Aunt" for Linda. No matter how many times we told her, "Esme, this is Aunt Linda," she slipped right back into calling her "Grandma." Hey, if it looks like a grandma, acts like a grandma, loves like a grandma... what can you expect?

I only brought the camera out one time in this busy blur, but the shot I got was a keeper! (Just never mind that Dave's head looks like it's sprouting lush foliage, ok?)

This is Linda with our crew--can you tell how much our family loves this lady? She is a most gracious hostess and a joyful soul. We're so thankful to have had time with her (and Lisa, Santi, David, Andrew, Dave, Ronae and Cody!) again this year.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Health Updates

That was quite a little cliffhanger I created earlier this summer with Meg and her endoscopy, hm? (Posts here and here.) I do apologize to anyone who's been anxiously waiting for news of Meg's diagnosis and hasn't heard from us personally.

Meg does indeed have celiac disease, so this summer we've been taking steps to move from a mostly-wheat-free diet to a strict gluten-free diet. In fact, yesterday we met with a nutritionist who helped to answer some of our questions and navigate us through some of the tricky waters of cross-contamination sources. This is very important in a household like ours, where not everyone eats gluten free. For example, I can't toast the kids' GF bread in the same toaster slots where I toast Dave and Graham's wheat bread. I can't make GF and normal sandwiches on the same cutting board. I can't use the same containers of butter, peanut butter, jelly, etc. for Meg that I use for everyone else--there may be little gluten-containing crumbs in there that could spread to Meg's food. Every time I ask Meg to hand Graham an animal cracker, she needs to wash her hands afterwards.

This kind of thing sounds crazy if you're unfamiliar with celiac, I know. But for Meg, even ingesting the dust from a product made with gluten causes her body to go on the war path. Fortunately, her case is not yet so advanced that we've seen major reactions from that kind of "minor" cross-contamination scenario. But to keep her disease from progressing, that's how serious we need to be.

Of course, we would love it if Meg didn't have celiac disease--it's a lifelong limitation for her; it's inconvenient for those around her, etc. But I am so very grateful that she has this clear diagnosis at age seven. Many people with celiac go well into their adult years with vague or mysterious symptoms that go untreated and undiagnosed until they are very ill. For us, it's been a few stomach aches, and... bingo, here's what it is. And it's completely treatable with diet! No expensive meds, no hospitalizations... as health issues go, this one could be an awful lot worse.

*     *     *

On a largely unrelated note, I managed to overdose on caffeine last night. Talk about a stupid mistake! I'm not a habitual coffee/tea/soda drinker, but I have learned that caffeine is the one thing that helps with my bad monthly headaches. So yesterday when the headache started and I couldn't find my bottle of Midol (which contains caffeine), I brewed a pot of coffee and downed a great big mug. Then, maybe an hour later, I did find my Midol, and without thinking too much about it, tossed back a couple of those. This was all early evening time as I was prepping dinner, so my stomach was basically empty.

Well, by the time I got dinner on the table, I was shaking all over and feeling terribly weak. As soon as I had eaten a little bit, I lay down and stayed horizontal for the rest of the night. And it was a doozy of a night--I trembled, I was nauseous, I threw up, I had rapid breathing, my heart was pounding, my TMJ flared up. In short, I was a mess. Finally, around 4:00 this morning, my body had metabolized/purged enough that I was able to sleep.

Moral of the story:  Don't be an idiot. A headache (even one that lasts for three days, as some of mine do), is better than an overdose. Medicate wisely.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

We're Back... in More Ways Than One

First of all... I know. Unplanned blogging break. Summer hit. It brought camps, travels, trips to the swimming pool, time with family, a frenzy of new school-year planning. It was choppy, busy, and fun. I took almost no pictures of any of it, unfortunately, so this may be all the summer recap you get.

But about that new school year.

Today was our first day of school. I took some quick snaps of the kids this morning, which didn't turn out so well, but... better than nothing?

Here's one excited little girl, totally psyched about her "new school book."

Cuter-than-cute boy who will be so relieved to be back into a real routine:
photo 1

And the happiest back-to-school girlie ever. This child was born for school.
photo 4

Our first day went well overall, though it was not without challenges (read: meltdowns). I'm so grateful to get to school my kids here at home, grateful we get to be together, grateful I get to steward their little minds and spirits in such a hands-on way. They are abundantly worth all of the effort it demands!

Friday, June 14, 2013


Thanks so much for praying for us, friends. Meg woke up this morning rawther excited about the morning's agenda, which was quite the change from the last few weeks. I think God answered your prayers!

I also think Meg got kind of charged up when she realized she got to set off with Mommy and Daddy, all by herself, at 6:30 a.m.! After all, she's rarin' to go at dawn every day, but it's pretty rare that anyone is willing to accomodate her. And it's still rarer for her to have both parents' undivided attention--and rarer still for a whole flock of nurses and doctors to be fluttering around her with kind words and encouragement. So, yes, on the whole, Meg enjoyed her medical adventure quite thoroughly and even informed me later today that she wished she could go back to the endoscopy center!

The procedure itself went very smoothly, and the staff at the endoscopy center was great. (Thanks for the prayers on those fronts too!) They took great care of our little girl, and we should know the results of the biopsy in a week or so. We'll letcha know what we learn!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tomorrow: Meg

Tomorrow will be a first for the Wilcox family, the first day that any of the kids will experience full anesthesia.

As many of you know, over a year ago, Meg and Matthew both started to experience regular stomach aches. This led to us experimenting with a wheat-free diet, as there's a history of wheat-sensitivity in the family. The diet change proved helpful, and this, in turn, led our pediatrician to recommend that Meg, Matthew and Esme all be tested for Celiac Disease. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to react badly to all forms of gluten (a protein found in wheat and some other grains). We took them all in for blood tests, and only Meg's came back with indicators that further testing would be required. In fact, the only certain test for Celiac is an endoscopy and biopsy of the small intestine, so that's what Meg has lined up for tomorrow.

It's a short procedure with nothing much in the way of recovery time, so we're expecting to go in first thing tomorrow morning, take care of business, and be home in time for a late lunch. We would be grateful for your prayers for a smooth operation, wisdom for the medical staff, and clear and accurate results. Please pray for Meg too; she's pretty nervous about the whole thing.

Thank you!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Field Day!

Last month I helped to plan our second annual home school field day. (This was for the same group of home schooling families from church with whom we do all of our field trips.) At last year's field day, we rotated the kids through a lot of individual, skill events--long jump, 50-yard dash, shooting baskets, etc.--and only did one or two group events at the end. It went well administratively, but it really didn't bring us together as a group or allow the kids to cheer each other on. So this year we scrapped all of the athletic tests and just did a ton of fun and silly relays. And it was a blast.

Here are some of the kids waiting for the first event to start. (You can see that Matthew looks a little woozy here--all three of my big kids had some emotional moments through the morning, but overall they did very well.)

Here they're all lined up and ready to race.

This is Matthew, doing one of the early relays (they got more involved and challenging as we went on), where the kids had to carry beanbags under their chins.

Our friend Mrs. Amanda Welton, who was in charge of the whole shabang and did a terrific job.

For our sack race we used IKEA bags--not a bad fit for little kids. Meg going...


And coming back.


It was so great to have many of the parents there and involved.


This was the Shoe Box Slide relay; unfortunately, we discovered early on in this event that not all shoe boxes are created equal. Some of them didn't hold up well at all, and that gave the team that ended up with the best boxes an advantage. But when it's all about fun and laughter anyway, you can just keep right on sliding.



And sliding...

And sliding!

Meg didn't have any fun with this one, can you tell?

Our friends the Bangs ran every event with huge grins on their faces; it was too cute.


The piece de resistance was our obstacle course (all credit goes to Mrs. Welton for the planning and gathering all of the materials). Here are a few of our favorite kiddos running the course:








And after everyone had the chance to run the course once, we had to do it again--with water. They did it carrying holey bags of water over their heads...


And they did it with all the dads (and yours truly) shooting water at them with guns and squirters. That one was really fun. But I didn't get any pictures that time, since I was prowling around with my Super Soaker.

The minimum age for participating was four, so Esme was my little helper that day. She ran for jump ropes and swim noodles, helped me fill up buckets, and used my camera to take about 100 pictures of the sky, the grass, and people's elbows. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of her, but a friend snapped this one of my little Seriousness:

After the official events ended, we handed out prizes and ate lunch. One of the prizes was the aforementioned water squirters, so things quickly deteriorated into an all-out water fight (amongst the kids, that is. Some parent had the wisdom to declare adults off-limits after about the first 10 seconds). By the end of the morning, my kids were dripping wet and exhausted, but very satisfied. It was a fantastic time, and I'm so grateful we got to do it again this year.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

John 3 According to Esme

In the car after church today...

Esme: See my picture? I cuhwerd gween stars, and a bwue moon, and a bwue sky.

Me: I do see that. Very nice. What is that picture of? What did you guys learn about in class today?

Matthew: Jesus and Nicodemus.

Me: Jesus and Nicodemus? What did Jesus talk to Nicodemus about?

Esme: Bein' born again.

Me: Being born again?? How can you be born again?! Does that mean you have to go back into your mommy's tummy?

Matthew and Esme: Nooooo!!!

Me: You don't have to go back into your mommy's tummy to be born again?

Esme: No, you have to go back into da manger.

Friday, May 31, 2013

And... Graham Wearing Mascara


It's a good look for him, don't you think?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sticky Smiles


Matthew found this food craft in a Turtle magazine and asked if we could do it. I was already in the kitchen, trying to figure out what to make for Sunday lunch. (We usually have PB&J on gluten free bread or rice cakes, but I was out of both.) So I said, "Sure!" And we did. It was a little tough for the kids to spread the peanut butter on the apple slices, but once we got that done, I heard no further complaints.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

And you thought Spider-MAN was amazing...

How about the fantastic, the stupendous, tap-dancing Spider-Girl???


(Esme's taken to wearing the good ol' Spider-Man costume. Much to Matthew's delight.)

The [Fluorescent] Glow

Last night we had one of those quietly breathtaking sunsets. I had the perfect view from our second story kitchen window and decided to take a few quick snapshots as I worked through the dishes.


Of course, consumate photographer that I am, I didn't notice that our elegant kitchen light was reflected in the window through which I was looking.

Oh, well. I might miss the photo op, but I can't bungle the glory of the real thing.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Nailed" It

You'll roll your eyes at my title, but... watch this video. And laugh. Because it's so true. And sooo funny.

Nalle Fam Spring Celebration Weekend

Here's another catch-up post from last month.

Jacque and Asher came up to Mom and Dad's for a long weekend early in April, and we had lots of great time together. On Friday, of course, we had to dye eggs for our Spring Celebration egg hunt...


Here's the Ari-boy, who might be taller than Meg, and who lost his fourth tooth the moment we walked in the door that day.

And here's the cutest five-and-a-half year old I know:


Jacqua and her brown-eyed tintype, Aylenne:


Beautiful girlies!


Eggs finished, we went outside and enjoyed Nana's front yard.


Don't they look quite like cousins?



Does she have a great smile, or what?

The next morning, we went to the National Arboretum and had a picnic brunch. Something about a picnic at breakfast time (as opposed to the typical lunch) struck me as insanely romantic. (Romantic as in Romanticism, not romantic like smoochin-your-fella-in-candle-light romantic.) We found a spot in this gigantic green meadow and spread our blankets. Spectacular clouds billowed their way across the wide open sky and bathed us alternately in sun and shade. We ate fruit and baked eggs and muffins, and the kids ran around and explored a nearby garden. It was... you know, mildly pleasurable.

Okay, okay, it was to die for.

I didn't get many pictures, but this was our view of the National Capitol Columns. Kind of dramatic, no? See where I was with the Romance thing?

This is my babe and our littlest love...

...and this is a blurry close-up of the littlest love.

After our idyllic meal we took a short walk, and then our party broke up. Dad, Dave and Asher took Ari and Matthew off to see a Nats/Braves game (the Braves are Asher's fave, and the Nats are, obviously, our home team). Mom, Jacque, Lena and I took the little girls and the babies home for naps, playtime, and girl talk. Later that day we had our egg hunt (during which time I was busy giving clues and took no pictures). And the next morning my kids decided they were so exhausted from so much cousin fun that they would all have to have colds, and we missed church, which broke Aylenne's heart because she expected Esme to be in her class and instead she was all alone in a sea of strange three-year-old faces, and I felt terrible, and this is now the world's longest sentence, so I'll stop.

But other than that, it was a lovely, lovely weekend with definitely cherish-able memories. And this is my way of cherishing them. Thanks, Don Nalle famerlees! Love you all so much!