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

Oliphants for Obama

Barack Obama came to Roanoke, VA for a political rally last week. Marc called from work and enoouraged me to go. I am so glad he encourages me to do things I care about, but give up too easily (I had let the rain, parking worries, nap time, etc keep me from going). I'm so glad we did it. Joseph got to do the "wave" for the first time; he danced to the music; he loved shouting "GO BARACK OBAMA" at the top of his lungs, and he still chants "Yes We Can!" from time to time. And of course, he loved the cookies I packed to keep him happy during the even--and he even shared with the little girl in front of him.

Many of my friends and family are much more conservative than I am and wonder why I'm an Obama supporter. Here are a few (but not all) of my reasons:

1) Iraq. I oppose the war and think that he is most likely to bring home the troops. I believe that people make better choices and create better communities when they have ownership of their communities. I think that Iraqis need Americans out of the way so they can take ownership and responsibility for building their own nation, suffering their own consequences, and learning from their own mistakes to build a country that they are willing to defend and suport.

2) Foreign policy in general. In my opinion, McCain believes in war and the use of military force more readily than I do. I really like Obama's focus on diplomacy, his willingness to reach out and bring people to a table to talk (probably skills and philosophy developed during his days as a community organizer). In my opinion, that is how to bring peace. Relationships matter. Tough talk and making enemies is the route we have taken for too long, and I don't think it works. I really do think that we need to change the way America is viewed in the world.

3) Healthcare. I think that we have a two-tiered system in the US. Those who can afford healthcare and those who cannot. I believe that access to healthcare is a basic need--just like food, shelter and education. And I believe it is important enough for the government to provide access to everyone.

Also, when comparing the two major candidates, I really favor Obama's demeanor and his tone. Here is one of my favorite quotes from his acceptance speech in Denver:

"We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. Passions fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. This too is part of America’s promise - the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort."

I couldn't agree more.

October 17, 2008

Thursday, October 16, 2008

More fun with Grandma Donna

On Sunday after church we took a drive along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. There was an outdoor concert and dancing at Mabry Mill. We stopped for a picnic and were surprised at how busy it was.

On Monday morning before she left, Grandma went with us to meet some of our "senior citizen" friends at the nursing home. She and Joseph posed for a picture before we went in. Joseph is wearing the beautiful handmade Peruvian sweater that Grandma and Grandpa gave to Joseph.

October 11-13, 2008

Grandma Visits

Marc's mom came to visit last weekend. It was perfect weather and we had a great time getting out in the Virginia autumn. We went to an apple picking orchard, where we were successful in reaching about ten apples. They didn't have enough "apple pickers" which are like long reaching grabbers (or something) so we just tried to jump up to reach the apples which were high in the branches. Joseph didn't mind--we got to see tractors, silos, barns and other farm equipment. Donna and I didn't mind either since we were out in the beautiful weather and scenery. Poor Marc was busy studying. Later he joined us for a beautiful drive along the New River.

October 11, 2008


We took advantage of Conference Weekend to go for a hike on the Appalachian Trail. With Marc's busy school schedule this semester, we didn't get to go camping. But instead we hiked up the AT and had a campfire with hotdogs and s'mores. Then we went home and slept in our warm comfortable beds. I think this is the way to go!

It was a beautiful fall day! Here is the road that leads to the trail.

Joseph walked for a good portion of the hike (the downhill portion). Marc-the-strong carried him during the uphill parts. Joseph has a Hokie bird sticker on his cheek if you're wondering what is covering his face!

Joseph helped build the fire and find sticks.

Joseph is always happy and enthusiastic for life. He loved discovering walnuts, deer and apples on this hike.

Joseph loved the hotdogs. We don't usually have them at home so he made up for it at the campfire. He ate three, yes, three!

October 5, 2008


Marc got back his first test from his finance class today and got a 97%!!! He said to me, "Well, I think I will at pass at least one class this semester."

Frankly, I'm expecting a lot more from him than passing one class. I'm expecting a big graduation party come December. And it looks like he's off to a good start.

Good job, Marc!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Hokie Homecoming

Joseph and I celebrated Virginia Tech's homecoming with the parade, Alumni Open House and wandering around the fan-packed campus. We won't make it to the game, but that has never been the point of homecoming for me anyway. I'm not even sure who they are playing!

October 4, 2008


Joseph loves to tow. He loves tow trucks, he turns almost any truck or car into a towing machine. He even tows his big wheel tricycle with his Radio Flyer tricycle. Joseph also loves to line up his cars in a "happy family" as he calls it. Here is a picture where he combined lining them all up with towing them.

Pandapas Pond

There is a spot in the Jefferson National Forest that we like called Pandapas Pond. Joseph can run on the path around the pond. There are often baby ducks following their mother. Usually there are several people walking their dogs who will come meet Joseph. And, of course, we bring snacks. Pretzels make any trip fun in Joseph's mind.

Ready for Halloween?

Joseph is ready for Halloween. He takes after his dad, I guess. This week was October 1 so we pulled out the Halloween decorations. Joseph eagerly awaited Marc coming home from work and getting dinner over with so we could decorate. It was fun trying to explain what a skeleton is. As soon as all the decorations were up, Joseph said, "Ok. Let's go to Grandma Charlotte's." I am taking Joseph to Missouri over Halloween, and he knows about this plan. I guess since we were putting up Halloween decorations, he understandably assumed this was Halloween. When we told him we were not going to Grandma's tonight, his little face crumbled in disappointment and tears. As Marc says, disappointed tears are so much cuter than angry tears.

We called Grandma and talked about coming to visit in a few weeks.