Thursday, December 18, 2014

His Last Carol

This evening while in the car, Esme, Graham and I were listening to Christmas tunes on the radio. A modern rendition of an old hymn came on, featuring a singer who was not familiar to me but who seemed like... well, like he might have benefitted from a bit more vocal training before he hit the recording studio. As I noted this, a sweeter voice came from my back seat.

"Mommy," said Esme, her tone thoughtful. "I think the man who's singing dis song is about to be dying, but he's still trying his best."

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Matthew, Giant Robot

Last week we had these boxes laying around the house from some new window blinds that Dave installed. Naturally, Matthew needed to use the boxes in some way before they went the way of the recycle bin. With a little help, he spent some time as a very tall roboty thing...
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In case you didn't notice, that's Meg supporting him from behind there, and providing some perspective on how tall he was when all boxed up.

I think cardboard must dream of being shipped to guys like Matthew, don't you? Who but a little boy is going to put so much of himself (see what I did there?) into an old box?

Friday, December 12, 2014


At our small-group family Christmas party last night, a dark-haired cutie armed with a plastic weapon hollered to my son:

"Matthew, come on! Our next mission is to kill the 'popolypse! No! The zomblies!"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Special Day with Nana

Nana has been trying and trying to get a date on our calendar for a special day with Esme. Finally, yesterday we made it work!

Esme has dreamed for months of getting to make some cut-out cookies that are featured in a tattered, old kids' cookbook we have. And right now, Mama doesn't have a lot of time to undertake a dough-rolling, shape-cutting, baking, cooling, careful-frosting, sprinkle-shaking, all-day kind of project like that. So it was Nana to the rescue! Esme finally got to make her cookies, and she brought them home to the share with the family, to a very warm reception!

Hooray for persevering and loving Nanas who make Christmas cookies, sweet memories, and happy hearts, all in one day!
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Graham's Jammies (and Other Minor Malfunctions)

I can't remember exactly what was going on with Graham's pajamas in this picture, but whatever it was, it kind of reminds me of M.C. Escher's artwork. You know, where you look at it, and then realize you should take a second look, and you keep looking, and you're still not quite sure you've figured it out...


I do know that he put them on that way by himself.

And while we're on nightwear, do you know that Graham's word for blanket is? It's "blantem." As in, "Mommy, I need my blantem." This was a source of great puzzlement to us when he first started saying it. Even now it bemuses me--he has such a strong vocabulary and says many things so clearly, but... blantem.

But my favorite Graham speech-mystery is how he pronounces "taekwondo." It's "kaka-tuno." When he first began saying this, all I could think was that somehow he was trying to say "carpal tunnel." And then I would ask him if he was saying carpal tunnel, and he would get very upset and frustrated with me and say, "NO! Kaka-TUNo!" which really didn't help me at all except to make me laugh, which in turn made him even angrier...

"But that's all settled now. Now we all live in simple peace and harmony." (Name that musical.)

I hope he never grows up.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Dolls and Books Party

For Meg's party we chose the theme of "dolls and books." These are a few of her favorite things...

For our first game, we got out all of Nana's elegant dress-ups, and all of Grandma's beautiful handmade doll clothes, and we had a girls-and-dolls dress-up parade. Here are all of our lovely young ladies in their finery...









Daddy and Matthew served as judges and awarded prizes for the ladies with the most creative ensembles.

Our book-themed game required two teams to take sets of quotes from 10 familiar books and match them up to their titles. The team to match all the quotes first and correctly won. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from this game, but it came off really well, and--bibliophile that I am--it warmed my heart to see everyone busy with such literary scurrying.

I also don't have pictures of the pretty pink rosette cake I made for Meg (it looked a lot like this), or of Meg blowing out the candles. But you can rest assured that Meg did successfully extinguish all nine candles, and that the cake and ice cream were devoured.

All in all, it was a lovely celebration, and we are thankful to all of our sweet guests for helping to make Meg's birthday so special!
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Monday, December 08, 2014

Meg Turns Nine

Meg turned nine last week and saw a wish come true...

Pierced ears!

We had a quiet, family-only celebration on her special day. Here are a few cute moments.

Matthew got Meg a book she had been wanting and chose the sweetest card (which included a bookmark) to go with it. The card's inscription was quite tender (a surprising choice for our funny-card loving guy), but the best part of it was where Matthew wrote "best friends" at the bottom.



Esme and Graham's gift of a "Rarity" Beanie-Baby was a big hit too.



We love this young lady and see so much of God's grace in her life. She continues to be one of the quirkiest, cutest, loudest, fun-lovingest people in our world.

She is a passionate reader, an increasingly fierce taekwondo warrior, a can-do kid who loves a clean room and a crossed-off checklist. She's an affectionate friend. And she's a delight to converse with one-on-one.

She sure did change our lives forever when she made her entrance on December 4, 2005. It astonishes us to think that she has now celebrated her last single-digit birthday.

Friday, December 05, 2014

"Only... You Don't Look Like a Louis!"

If you enjoy animated films and haven't seen "Meet the Robinsons", the 2007 Disney flick from which my title quote comes... just do it. We love that movie.

But like the Robinsons, the Wilcoxes have a name problem. The other day, Dave tweeted that our Christmas tree for this year is named Chester Arthur. This was primarily my decision, and it's in keeping with our tradition of naming all our Christmas trees after dead American presidents.

Ummm... only then today I went back to 2012 (which was the last time I did a Christmas tree post) and found that we already had a Chester Arthur.


Oh. No. This cannot be. We don't do repeats! At least, not until we've run out of names, which shouldn't be for another 30 years or so. I guess Chester Arthur just speaks to me as a Christmas tree name, but... no repeats is no repeats. So, like Bud Robinson, I'm taking a close look at my new
son Christmas tree and saying, "Wait a second... you're not so much a Chester as... a Rutherford! Yes! Why didn't I see it before?!"

So, world, I now present to you (using the same picture my husband used to present The Tree Formerly Known As Chester)...

Rutherford B. Hayes.

Ahhh, yes. That's it. That's better. I knew all along that something was a little off. Yes.

Suuuure I did.

Or maybe I'm getting old.

Or maybe that's just what comes of naming things that are ultimately going to end up on the curb, waiting for the greencycle truck.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Best Advent Quote Since 'Caesar Disgustus'

Only someone who's been tracking with the Wilcoxes for a loooong time will remember this story, but it shines on brightly in Dave's and my memories. Now there's a new candle burning in our Hall of Christmas Funnies.

Matthew, on December 1st: "Aren't we going to set up the Negativity Calendar today?"

(Erm, we think you meant "Nativity Calendar," which actually should have been "Advent Calendar," but... you know, given the atmosphere in our home that day and all of the bickering and arguing [children] and snapping and rebuking [parents], "Negativity Calendar" was probably just right, in an unintentionally ironic kind of way.)

Monday, December 01, 2014

And while we're on Matthew...

...I must share one of the best things anyone has ever said to me.

"Why," Matthew asked one day, squinting at a coloring page that featured Barbie in work-out garb, "are girls so skinny?"

(I might point out that this was the pot calling the kettle black if ever I heard it, but that would be beside the point of my story.)

"Why," continued Matthew, almost to himself, "can't all girls be like Mommy? She's not skinny! And she's not fat. She's just right."

Most days, I confess, I am still far too avid for the world's ideal of "skinny." But the fact that there's a little boy in my house who thinks I am "just right" might be the most powerful inducement I've ever known for giving up my losing comparison game.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Keeping the Tooth Fairy Busy

I would be remiss if I didn't squeeze this post in just before November gives way to December. It's already well overdue, because more than two weeks ago, less than a month after Esme's tooth-loosing debut, our Matthew joined his sisters in the Lost-Teeth Club! That well-worn, little tooth was long-rooted and stubborn, but after days of causing Matthew to wince his way through meals, and following some wrestling matches with Mommy, it finally gave way.
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And now I only have one little baby left with all his baby teeth!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

11 Years

Dave and I marked our anniversary late in October. Last year we started a new tradition of going on an all-day date to celebrate. This year the day we picked was cold and rainy, so we had to stay mostly indoors. But that evening when we popped out of the museum where we had just seen an IMAX movie, it had cleared up considerably. The drizzle had stopped, the orange trees were glowing against the green, green grass, and I was so happy to be spending a whole day with my Love. "Let's stop and take a selfie!" I chirped. So we did.

I am one very blessed bride.

Thank you, Dear Father, for eleven good and joyful years!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Exactly How I Feel About the Beach

"There is so much sadness in the world, so many hearts ache, so many tears fall, it is rather wonderful to be away for a little while in a tearless world, left just as God made it... these elemental things seem to carry one back to the beginnings, the fundamentals, the things that cannot be shaken, ancient verities of God."

-Amy Carmichael, From the Forest, as quoted by Elisabeth Elliot in A Chance to Die

Monday, November 10, 2014

Found on Dave's Phone: Great-Grandpa's Hat

This is Graham wearing Dave's dad's dad's hat.

Grandpa Wilcox wore these caps regularly and had several of them. We inherited this one from Dad when he passed last month. It suits our little guy, don't you think? Must be in the genes...

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Found on Dave's Phone: His and Hers Road Trip Pictures

A couple of days after the service for Dave's dad, we strapped the kids into our jam-packed car and headed toward the beach. Day was barely breaking when we left Louisville, and it was raining. We drove right into the approaching storm and eventually passed through it. On the other side of the deluge, a great bank of cloud was slipping away, and silver beams of sunlight punctured the haze in the distance. I had to take a picture, even knowing that the foreground would be ugly, Jersey-walled highway.

A few minutes later, Dave asked me to take another picture. Our minivan, fondly known as Janie the Silver Apple, was about to reach a noteworthy numerical milestone.

It didn't strike me at the time, but when I looked back a month later and saw the juxtaposition of the two pictures, it seemed funny. My picture. Dave's picture. Classic, in so many ways.

Friday, November 07, 2014

A Meg Quote

Given my theater love and background, I'm a pretty animated reader. I do voices, accents, lots of expression, and generally get pretty into it when I'm reading to my kids. My mom was always a lively reader too. I guess what you grow up with becomes your standard... Meg drove this home to me recently when I asked her if she enjoyed listening to the audio recording of our history text, which I purchased this year to spice up our school routine. The reader is a well-respected story teller with many, many recordings to his name. Meg's response?

"I think he is a pretty good reader... for a man."

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Found on Dave's Phone: Bedtime

Dave's phone is our only camera right now, so when I borrowed it to take a picture the other day, I looked through his archives and found several more shots that are worth sharing... here's the first.


Wednesday, November 05, 2014



Spidey, a ninja, Elsa, and a pilgrim!

Back to Work

So here's the thing about me and blogging: it's something I enjoy, and it's something I value for my family's sake, but perhaps more than either of these things, it's a creative outlet. This means that when I have another creative outlet, blogging slips down the priority list a little bit. I still try to keep up with it, for the sake of preserving memories and keeping folks updated, but when I have some other project the blog doesn't call me quite as loudly and persistently.

I tell you this because I know the frequency of posts here has fallen off considerably in the last month. Initially, this was because of Dad's death, which stunned and sapped all of us for a bit. Then, the week after Dad passed, I took on some part-time work for the children's ministry at our church. My job is to plan the weekly small group activities for the 1st-5th grade class--discussion questions, games, crafts, that kind of thing. I'm only working a few hours a week, but I spend a good bit of mental energy spinning ideas even when I'm not on the clock. It's been tons of fun so far, and it's a direct investment in the kids at our church, so... win-win.

Wait, did I title this post "Back to Work?" I just realized that might imply that I haven't been working for the last nine years. Come to think of it, "Back to the Work Force" would be a much more accurate representation of the facts. Can I get a witness, fellow stay-at-home moms?

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Hiking Sugarloaf

A couple of weeks ago on our family day, we packed up water and snacks, climbed into the van, and wound our way over country roads decked in autumn glory to Sugarloaf Mountain. Now I've heard cynics call it "Sugarlump," and it's true that the only notably elevated point in our immediate area doesn't exactly rise to the level of "purple mountains majesty." However, as we Wilcoxes learned, it's quite enough mountain for a family with small children who are all hiking on their own two feet!

There's my crew, laboring uphill.


Graham, who was pretty miserable that day, was nonetheless determined to be a "rock climber." He just wasn't quite clear on what that meant.

Now there's a climbable rock.

Did I mention that our Graham was not doing so well that day? Check out his hilariously pained "smiles" in our group shots.



Queen of the Hill!

One tired boy...

We had to give up long before reaching the summit, but we did make it to a sweet overlook where we were rewarded with this view:

Hooray for lovely fall!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Last Beach Pics: Graham and Grandpop

My dad and my youngest, playing a friendly round of... hmm. What's that game called, anyway?

Graham's preparatory stance--check out that crouch!
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"Maybe I'll just pass on the net thingy."
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Showing how it's done...
beach 18

"Uh... well, how about this way?"
beach 19

Hey! At least the ball's finally seeing some air!
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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Ari and Matthew at the Beach

Matthew has spent much of his life being outnumbered by girls, namely Mommy, Meg, Esme, and whatever female friends they happen to have about. I think that's why it slays me every year to see him and his cousin Ari enjoying each other so much at the beach. And I mean, they spend every. single. moment together, awake or asleep. And they rarely even bicker!

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beach 4

beach 9

beach 10

beach 15

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Ohhhhh, you precious boys, you. How I hope that you will always be good friends.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Gap

Esme Missing Tooth

Would ya look at this? Esme, who is just barely five years old, says to me last Friday morning at the table, "Mommy, I can't eat this any more; my toof hurts too much." She's said this at two meals now, so I start paying attention. After a moment of examination, I say, "Esme Rose, you have a loose tooth! A very loose tooth!" I'm rather shocked, since Meg didn't lose any teeth until she turned seven, and Matthew, who is now seven himself, doesn't look likely to lose his first for some time yet.

But apparently Esme is on a different time table! Yesterday she pops up in front of me and says, "Mommy, I weally want you to pull out my toof wight now." So I do, with just a couple of light tugs! Bye-bye, baby tooth!

(I have to note that Matthew handled this extremely well. I know he is disappointed that his little sister beat him to this milestone, especially as his first adult tooth has already grown in behind his baby teeth rather than under them [a lovely little trait I passed down to my offspring]. But he's been a valiant little trooper, and very supportive of Es. Way to go, Bug! God is helping you so much!)