Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Congratulations, Marc!

Marc graduated with his Master of Urban and Regional Planning degreee from Virginia Tech this month. It is hard to describe in one little blog post all the sacrifice, hard work, and dedication he has poured into this degree. We are so, so proud of him.

I can't seem to make the link work where Marc is spotlighted--so I'll just copy in the text below. As you can see, he really was the shining star in his department.

From the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development December 2008 Newsletter:
Marc Oliphant will be leaving us at the end of the term after completing his master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning at Virginia Tech.
For any potential employers, he comes with our strongest recommendation! Known around the office as “the closer,” Marc was instrumental in a number of projects, most recently taking a lead role in analysis of the potential for the Landcare concept in agricultural and land management in the New River Valley Watershed. In that case Marc was a primary author on the project report and organized and facilitated a series of stakeholder meetings in communities around the region.

A native of Arlington, VA, Marc is married and has a 2 year old son. He enjoys many outdoor activities, including backpacking, sailing, cycling, and playing tourist.

December 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fun in Arlington

December 7, 2008

Can any fellow bloggers give me tips on what I need to do to be able to move my pictures so they don't always post in a straight line?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A visit to Arlington

Marc had an interview about 70 miles outside of D.C. in Front Royal so we made it into a weekend trip to visit the Oliphants. Grandma and Aunt Rachel took Joseph to a parade in Alexandria and on a metro ride. Marc and I wandered around looking at housing in the District. Lincoln and Donna ordered out a Chinese feast, where Joseph had his first sweet and sour shrimp. Part way through the meal, Joseph delightedly announced "Hey, everybody, look what is inside here: shrimp!" We enjoyed getting to visit with Missy, and Rachel shared her social life with us.

Cousin Missy gave Joseph his first Christmas present this year! He LOVES it! He plays with the jeep, wants to have the jeep in his bed at night. Thank you, Missy!

Aunt Rachel had a Christmas tree decorating party and invited us. It was a lot of fun. I'm afraid Marc and I visited with people more than we helped trim the tree. But Joseph certainly enjoyed hanging ornaments.

Grandma gave Mr. Bear two new eyes!

December 6-7, 2008

Decorating for Christmas

Joseph decided to wear the stockings

We're in the midst of graduating and packing and moving, so we're not doing a Christmas tree this year. Marc created this Christmas tree of lights and Joseph loves to turn them on.

November 20, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thanksgiving is an interesting holiday for our family. Marc is allergic to poultry and neither of us follow football. We have done all kinds of things on Thanksgiving since we've been married including several road trips--the first year we went camping in the freezing cold and ate hot dogs at about 9 pm. We've had some great adventures! This year, after much deliberation, we decided to stay home. Marc has had such a busy semester that it feels like we have hardly been together as a little family. Plus, Marc defends his major paper on Monday and needed to catch up on some work this week.

While we did miss being with family, it turned out to be a very nice Thanksgiving.
When we woke up on Thanksgiving morning and told Joseph "Happy Thanksgiving" he said, "I want to be Spiderman for Thanksgiving." We explained that we don't dress up on Thanksgiving, but instead we say what we're thankful for. And we asked him what he was thankful for. He said, "I'm thankful for Halloween candy. And cousins. And Uncle Dan. And Meridith." I guess he really liked Halloween this year at my brother's house. Later in the day when we were talking more about Thanksgiving he asked when we were going to Grandma Donna's. I think when I helped him put up Thanksgiving decorations earlier in the month I thought we were going to Arlington for Thanksgiving. There is one thing I'm learning with Joseph: he doesn't forget anything!

Thanksgiving morning we went on a bike ride on the Huckleberry Trail, around campus, and down Mainstreet. Everything was so quiet and it was a beautiful, clear day. We really love our family bike rides, and we haven't taken any since this semester began. Even though it was really pretty outside, it was cold so we bundled Joseph up. This might be his last bike ride with his baby bike seat and helmet. We were amazed that his helmet didn't fit when we tried to put it on him. I guess his head has grown a lot these past couple months. At one point on the ride, I looked over at Joseph and saw that the ear warmer had come down over his eyes. He looked hilarious--poor guy was trying to look out from underneath it.

After Joseph's all-important nap, we went to visit our friends at the Heritage Halls Nursing Home. I had called earlier in the week to get a list of people who wouldn't have family coming to see them that day. Marc and I cut out paper snowflakes (supposedly with Joseph's help) that Joseph gave out as we visited some new friends as well as our old friends. It was really quite fun.

Then we went out to eat. My friend has a tradition in her family that they go out to eat every Thanksgiving. Growing up, her family went to the restaraunt at Sundance Ski Resort and now that she has her own children and lives in California, they took a Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise in the San Francisco Bay. It sounded wonderful. I thought her tradition sounded great and wanted to follow her example. Well, let's just say that Ryan's Steakhouse Buffet doesn't compare to Sundance or San Francisco, but maybe next year I can do a little more research and save up a few more pennies!

On Friday we continued the festivities with a walk down the street to the "Grand Opening" of the First and Main shoppping center. We enjoyed window shopping and even ventured in to a couple shops. We went to eat at a local Mexican restaraunt and then went to the Floyd Country Store Friday Night Jamboree. Joseph loved the music (and the ice cream cone). It was really fun. Joseph knows the instruments quite well. Actually, he's even been able to strum a guitar and banjo at his music class. He was dancing in the aisle during the gospel music performance. But when the flat footing dancing started and I took him up to the crowded dance floor, he actually burst into tears so we took the tired boy home. He cheered up when we changed him into his PJs for the drive home; he talked the whole way (45 minutes) and was able to keep himself awake.

November 27-28, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Not long ago we were reading a book and there was a picture of cupcakes. Joseph pointed out the "pupcakes" to me. I thought the pronunciation was possibly the cutest thing I've ever heard so I decided that he and I should make some pupcakes so I could hear him say it over and over. ADORABLE!!! Usually, I try model correct pronunciation of words for him, but on this one, I just can't resist.

We're already losing our baby in so many ways--he now says spaghetti instead of m'ghetti; he said library instead of wibry for the first time today (I almost cried). But for now, we've got a lot of pupcakes at our house. You're welcome to come over and share!

November 24, 2008

Race Cars

Last year my parents gave Joseph this race track and shake cars for Christmas. He has played with the cars and track off and on over the year, but we have had the track packed away since we moved in June. Marc helped Joseph put the track together last night and Joseph has been in heaven. I think he is really at the age now where he can really enjoy it. It is so fun to hear him giggling to himself after he crashes the cars. And I love hearing him say, "I'm going to go upstairs and race cars." Joseph rarely does anything without me in the same (or at least adjoining) room.

November 24, 2008

First Snow of the Season

Joseph was thrilled with our first snow of the year. We have been reading about seasons so when he saw the snow, he was ready to sled, ski and ice skate. He settled for taking his trucks outside and playing a little later in the day. The picture doesn't really capture it, but he is actually scooping the snow with his little backhoe toy. I wasn't happy about the snow because I get nervous driving (even in a little bit) and I had to teach in Radford first thing in the morning. But, I admit it was exciting to open the blinds and show Joseph the snow. I will thank Marc for taking the pictures, and blame him for letting Joseph out in the cold in only a jacket!

November 18, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Library

We love the Blacksburg Library--story time, books, and of course, toys galore. Whoever thought of putting a train table and set of construction trucks in the library was a genius. I'm so glad my mom and Hannah thought to take pictures at the library. Joseph and I spend hours and hours at the library. It is like our second home!

Downtown Blacksburg

More posing on Main Street

Grandma took us out to lunch a couple times. It was fun to try some restaraunts in Blacksburg that I've been interested in going to, but have a husband who is too busy to get out much. As you can see, Joseph was happy at Backstreets Pizza. I loved their Greek pizza with spinach and feta cheese. Poor Marc studied through it all.

A Beautiful Week in Blacksburg

Joseph and I under a tree on Main Street in Blacksburg

We showed Grandma and Hannah one of our favorite spots: Pandapas Pond

It was gorgeous weather for Pandapas

We even got to introduce them to Virginia Tech fever. There was a football game on Thursday night and we walked up around the campus and stadium frenzy.

Joseph and Hannah met a Hokie.

November 2-8, 2008

Follow us back to Virginia

When we had to leave Missouri, we just couldn't leave Grandma and Hannah behind ... so they came back with us. It was great to caravan on the drive and even better to have them here with us for a week. We lucked out with wonderful, perfect fall weather and gorgeous color while they were here. I think we gave them Blacksburg at its finest. During that week I was convinced that we might be living in the most beautiful place in the world.

We had a ton of fun. Grandma and Hannah watched Joseph a lot--and took him to the park, the library, bought him goldfish and graham crackers (and filled our fridge with lots of good food). Thank you Mom (and Dad) and Hannah!

Joseph riding in Grandma's car

Joseph loved the park with Grandma and Hannah

Joseph is fishing for dolphins with this stick through the fence.

Joseph loves his firetruck we got from our friends the Knudsons

November 2-8, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


While Halloween is Marc's favorite holiday, I'm pretty neutral about it. Since this semester has been so crazy for Marc, we left him in Virginia to get some work done while we celebrated his favorite holiday with my family. Poor Marc!

My family all seemed intent on making sure that Joseph had a good Halloween despite having me as a mother. They were all concerned that I don't let him stay up late enough, eat enough sugar, etc. And they were sure to let me know how they felt. Fortunately for Joseph, he has terrific grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who all helped make a great Halloween for him. And next year, Marc, we promise we'll celebrate all together.

Grandma's witches brew....

Hannah's pumpkin that she carved with four little nieces and nephews hanging all over her and wanting to "help." Good job, Hannah!

Cousin Lexy as a Princess Ballerina and Aunt Hannah as a Newsie

The trick-or-treating group: Ben the Football Player, Hannah the Newsie, Lexy the Balleria, Grace as Princess Jasmine, Joseph as Spiderman, Ally as Alice in Wonderland

(Not pictured are Uncle Dan and Aunt Meridith who hosted us at their house for trick or treating, Grandma and Grandpa, Uncle John and Aunt Catherine and me)

Joseph in cousin heaven!

October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

We visited Missouri the week of Halloween. Grandma and Grandpa took Joseph and all of his Missouri cousins to the pumpkin patch. Joseph actually enjoyed the sandbox the most. He wouldn't even check out the pumpkins--until he discovered the wagons used to carry the pumpkins.

Cousin Ally and Joseph are good friends

Cousin Gracie swinging. The kids really enjoyed the teeter-totters, swings, sandbox more than anything.

It's not a great picture, but it is the only one with all the kids and Grandma and Grandpa

Mom and I hanging out at the sandbox

The best sandbox ever!

October 25, 2008

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


I've been so excited about the election. This morning, I enthusiastically told Joseph that Barack Obama won and that he would be our new president. Joseph looked at me with great concern and said, "No, we love Heavenly Father." I tried to clarify with Joseph that we're not replacing Heavenly Father (first lessons in separation of church and state). He seemed to get it, I think. He found his little American flag and waved it enthusiastically as we watched the victory speech in Chicago.

If you haven't watched the speech, please do!! I also highly recommend the slide show of photos. We live in a wonderful country and some of these photos of Americans voting are truly touching. See here:

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aunt Rachel Saves the Day

Rachel came for a spontaneous visit on Monday. Joseph was absolutely thrilled. He just soaks her up. Basically, he tells me to go away and hugs on tighter to Rachel if I get anywhere near him. It is actually very cute. I also enjoy having Rachel here. With Marc working hard at school, she and I watched "When Harry Met Sally" and ate potato chips and ice cream. It doesn't get any better than that!

Joseph ended up getting very sick while she was here (he has a sinus infection and is on antibiotic). Rachel was a lifesaver. She sat and read with Joseph for hours, watched Joseph while I taught my class and went visiting teaching, gave us a ride to the mechanic's shop, chased Joseph while I talked to a friend having a birthdy, and even got Joseph to rest and snuggle and watch some movies.

Rachel left today and I'm left wondering, "How did we ever do this with just two parents?"

As Joseph said after Rachel left today, "We love that girl so much." (In Joseph language it sounds like "We love that grill so much.")

October 24, 2008