Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Meg's Adventure

Well, I just got back from taking Meg to Papa Don and JanJan's house in Louisville, KY for her very first stay away from home. We left yesterday morning, traveled all day, and arrived last night at dinner time. This morning I made the trip back by myself. (And I only cried a little over leaving my first baby behind.) I'm glad to be home and safe, but it's strangely quiet here without our Meg. Dave said that this morning he found Matthew sitting forlornly in the hallway, unable to figure out what to do without his big sister. We're thrilled that she gets this very fun chance to have special time with the grandparents, but we're sure already missing her...
Meg on Carousel '14

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Matthew's Soccer Camp

Mathew just wrapped up a few weeks of soccer camp with none other than Uncle Kris as his coach. On their final day (which, as you'll notice, was "Mismatch Day"), I got some pictures of the boys in action.

Skill drills...






Matthew and Jack!

This was a final game of Mud Monster, or something like that.

Frozen and waiting for help...




Bringing it in one last time.

"1, 2, 3...


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Reading at Nana's House

One of my favorite sights!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Belt Test

Meg and Matthew have been studying taekwondo at Han Mi Martial Arts. (I highly recommend them if you're local and interested.) I can't remember if I've mentioned that here on the blog before. Anyway, Matthew's been at it for almost a year, and Meg started in January.

Last Saturday they had their most recent belt test. It was a rough morning for Esme, Graham and me, and I wasn't able to get any pictures during the test itself. But here are a few shots from after the test was over, as Matthew and Meg (who both passed their tests!) graduated to their new belt levels.

Here are Matthew and his fellow mid-ranks waiting to receive their new belts...
P1230759 Meg and the low-ranks look on.

Matthew is a green belt!

Master Thompson always makes this moment very special for the kids, joking with them and taking time to encourage them about their tests.

Now it's time for Meg and her comrades to remove their old belts...

and go up to receive their new ones.

Meg's turn!

A brand new yellow with green stripe!

Yay for Meg and Matthew! Now onward and upward!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

On Language

I love the way my kids use and abuse the English language. Their misunderstandings and malapropisms are so revealing of the way their minds work.

For example, for the longest time, Graham insisted on having "canoe water" every time he wanted to drink. We understood this meant that he wanted fresh, cold water, and not what had been sitting in his blue, aluminum water bottle for the last hour or more. Somewhere in his little brain he must have had the "new" sound filed away, but the similar word canoe, reinforced by our daily reading of one of his favorite Things That Go books, was more familiar. The book spread that features the canoe is even titled "On the Water," so the semantic link was firmly established. Canoe water. Makes perfect sense!

Another really funny one happened one morning as we drove around town doing errands. "Mommy," Esme suddenly piped, "I hope we don't get one of dem tomato storms Daddy was talking about last night."

I was baffled. "What did you say?" I probably had her repeat her statement three or four times just to make sure I'd understood. Then I remembered. The night before at dinner, the weather had been threatening, and I think Dave had gotten a notification that there were tornado warnings somewhere in our area. We spent a few minutes talking about tornados and why they're so dangerous and what we would do if one touched down nearby. And all the while, our Esme thought we were discussing a storm of tomatoes. It's a vivid picture, isn't it?

Sometimes we have a kid who intentionally misunderstands someone's words. This is usually Matthew, and it's often for the sake of humor. Meg and I recently discovered the outstanding children's author Meindert deJong and devoured a couple of his books. (If you're a lit lover and you've never read The Wheel on the School, you really must do so.) "I just finished The House of Sixty Fathers," Meg told me one afternoon. "What did you say?" squawked Matthew. "The Horse of Stinky Feathers?"

(When Dave heard this story, he had both Meg and Matthew illustrate their own Horse of Stinky Feathers. I wish I still had their sketches and could show them to you here. They were quite amusing.)

Graham also has a trick of creating new words by blending old ones. "Dootagain" is fairly obvious; it's what he says when he wants us to repeat something fun or funny. And his special name for his sleeping buddy--a certain stuffed Big Red Dog--is "Cliffruff." This, of course, is Clifford combined with ruff, the sound that a dog makes. We had always called him Clifford, but Graham just started saying Cliffruff one day, and it stuck.

I feel like there is one more Graham-made compound word that I've been meaning to include in this post, and I cannot for the life of me think what it is... gah! Maybe I'll come back and add it when I remember it. In the meantime, we'll keep having fun with language here at the Wilcox home.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I just came across this picture from almost three years ago. Look at my sweeties! So little and squishy! Look at Matthew's chubby little paw!

I sincerely try to cherish them, but littleness is going by too, too fast...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014



Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Cousins at Nana's

Ari, Aylenne and Judah are in town, staying with Nana and Grandpop while Asher, Jacque and Baby Charlie are travel for a friend's wedding. The other afternoon we tried taking everyone to the pool, but rumbling of thunder shut down the pool and chased us away prematurely. So we went back to Nana's and spent a few minutes in the back yard, playing on the playground, picking blueberries, and checking out the garden.



At the blueberry bush:





Matthew picking mint leaves:

And my two favorite pictures of everyone together:


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Happy Fourth

I think everyone at the Nalle family's Fourth of July celebration agreed that this was the most glorious day we've ever had for our annual shindig. The weather... oh, the weather! The bright sunshine, the low humidity, the light, steady breeze--how unlike the sultry, damp-under-your-shirt, distant-thunder-rumbling, air-conditioning-craving days Virginia usually serves up this time of year.

I didn't get many pictures, but we took these few on Dave's phone...

Graham spent most of the early afternoon on Gran's old Farmall mower, until he had to take a nap.
photo 1

While he slept, the traditional water fight ramped up. There was a dearth of functional water guns this year, so many of our soldiers made do with red plastic party cups.
photo 2

This was primitive, but still effective at close range, as Ari (in green) demonstrates here in a surprise attack on Uncle Dave.
photo 3

Vengeance is nigh, Ari! Run!
photo 1 (1)

Aaron and Meg man the refueling station.
photo 2 (1)

Not pictured are Uncle Rob, Ben and Spencer, who also joined the fray, often wielding the lethal five-gallon bucket as weapon of choice. The resulting splashes were, as always, downright spectacular.

After the battle...
photo 2 (3)

photo 1 (2)

Meanwhile, Graham took a solid nap, woke, ate his dessert, and promptly returned to his former occupation of mower-climbing. A boy and his tractor are not soon parted!
photo 2 (2)

photo 3 (2)

photo 4 (1)

And now, for my own future enjoyment, some of the day's unphotographed memories in words...

-long tables laid out in an L-shape in the dancing, dappled shade of the maple tree
-kids eating lunch on blankets under the canopy with Dad, Mom and me
-the kids crowding to watch as the neighbors vainly tried to pull a tree stump
-Wallace to the rescue, the knight on his shining blue tractor
-Meg taking a whole Uncle Rob bucketful of icy water and emerging with a silver peal of laughter
-long, lazy afternoon of quiet conversations indoors and out
-Mason with "Jesus hair" (his mother's choice of phrase)
-holding 3-month old Charlie, the softest, most velvet-skinned baby ever made
-enjoying ice cream, pie and Carmelitas together
-Meg watching the four big boys play chess
-Aaron, Meg, Ari and Matthew playing the same same Sorry! game I used when I went to Gran's house as a child
-the whole family gathering on the patio to hear Rob, Ben and Elijah sing their Boy Scouts parody of "If I Had a Million Dollars" (Elijah just became an Eagle Scout last week)
-Matthew and Ari kicking the soccer ball, running and laughing and running some more
-little kids gathered around the dining room table for a supper of leftovers
-walking Gran's lot at dusk with Jacque and Lena
-Matthew racing across the yard to me in his blue shirt, luminous somehow, light-footed, legs flashing
-Esme playing outside in her princess nightgown
-our first ever family fireworks that actually went up into the sky--a delight to most of us, terror to a few
-those fireworks that spun like dervishes, glowing hot with changing colors, then suddenly shot up in the air in a shower of sparks
-Aunt Julia to Graham: "Did you like my fireworks?" Graham: (long pause) "We go in da car now?"
-sparklers and patriotic songs in the driveway in the deep dark
-bright stars over Palmyra as we rolled into the night and homeward