Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

We rang in 2010 with a basement dance party interrupted only by a late night trip to Denny's.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Holidays in Missouri

Our trip to Missouri was wonderful....
We arrived in the afternoon on Christmas day just in time for dinner and the second round of presents. We watched old movies, ate good food, went shopping, played with cousins, worked on projects (more homemade applesauce), played in the snow, took Joseph to see his first movie in the theater, and more. It was fun to see so many of my siblings and their families, but missed David & Ayanna and little Shaia, Jacob & Nanitzi, and Andrew who returns from his mission on January 22.

There was enough snow and iciness that church was cancelled on Sunday. We had a great time at home singing Christmas songs and visting. Joseph helped Grandma make banana pudding.

There was just enough snow for a few runs down with the sled.

My dad and the guys split firewood for several hours in the freezing cold. Now, Dad's wood-burning stove is set for the winter.

Marc also helped change the lightbulbs in the vaulted ceilings.
We want them to need us for something in Missouri!

We made our annual trip to Jehling's Hardware store where they have the best Christmas train display.

Joseph is all decked out in the construction gear from his cousins. Thanks Ben, Lexy, Ally and Gracey!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Winter Wonderland Weekend

The snow made for a wonderful extended weekend. The federal government even closed on Monday because of the snow so Marc had an extra day home. We love being snowed in! We listened to Christmas music, watched movies, ate great food, took naps, and just enjoyed being together both outside and in.

Can you see the snow piled up on the window behind us?

Marc's parents and sisters brought dinner over on Sunday and we all enjoyed eating together. And, Joseph got to show his aunts the super neat snow fort he and his dad built.

December 19-20, 2009


After the snow actually stopped falling, Sunday morning the clean up began. Our neighbor has a snowblower, and Marc went up and down the street helping people. Joseph and I went with him--I chatted with the neighbors while Marc did all the manual labor. He says we make a great team; I think I get the pretty good end of the deal.

Here is Marc blowing the snow on the sidewalk down the street from our house.

Can you see the car that is covered? Just its windshield wipers are sticking up!

Joseph in his pajamas pointing to our backyard full of snow.
December 20, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blizzard 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Successful First Semester

I completed my first semester as a PhD student. Now that it is over, I can reflect on how much I loved it.(I'm not sure I could do that mid-semester). My classes for Fall 2009 were Philosophical Issues and History of Social Work, Multivariate Statistics, Classical Theories, and Scholarly Writing. Among my classmates are amazing social workers: one has had a private therapy practice for over 20 years--just talking to her in casual converation soothes your soul; another is the mental health policy director for the state of Maryland--it is wonderful to find someone who enjoys talking politics and policy for fun; another conducts therapy in American Sign Language; another works for the US Health Service and has published with the Surgeon General. We have vegetarians, lesbians, men and women, single and married, new parents (three babies were born to classmates or their wives last semester), a Jew, a Mormon, Catholics, a Freudian analyst, and this is only what I've learned about my cohort during the first semester! It has been an expanding and engaging experience. The professors have given the most personalized attention I could have ever hoped for. I've stretched y mind and my juggling abilities--only with the constant help of my husband and my in-laws. Anytime Joseph hears the word "Catholic" he announces that his mom goes to Catholic University, and he is quite happy with the days he gets to spend with Grandma, Grandpa, and Dad. He still wants me to sing to him at night and is often thrilled when it is a day we get to "be together all day." All in all, this semester's experiment was a success.

I do love that I get to pass this wonderful architecture whenever I come to campus. To me, it is inspiring and lifts my gaze higher. I've enjoyed attending a Catholic institution. I often see priests, monks, and nuns around campus. I attended the opening Mass of the semester. The University shut down for the Patronal Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8. I've rarely been somewhere that takes its religious affiliation as seriously as BYU. From my experience, CUA is just as Catholic as BYU was Mormon.

This was my view from the social work doctoral student lounge. I spent many hours sitting in front of the computer--too often staring out at this view hoping for some inspiration on a paper.

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas

A child's wonder.
On the first Saturday in December, Joseph and I were at the public library when it started snowing! We ran outside and caught snowflakes on our tongues. We went and bought our Christmas tree (I was pretty proud of myself for driving in the snow) and came home and decorated it while the first snowfall of the season fell outside. What a perfect day.

Joseph and Marc scraped up enough snow for a snowman of sorts. The next day, it was still standing--and Joseph enjoyed whacking it with the ice scraper after church.

I have what I want for Christmas: the cutest, sweetest little boy I could ever hope for!

Joseph was a big helper in our Christmas baking. I have a special kitchen tool that I use for making cookies and such. Joseph calls it a pitchfork and likes to use it. When Marc got home from work, Joseph enjoyed forbidding Daddy from eating the cookies because "we're taking them to people." Marc responded, "Did you eat any?" Joseph admitted he'd eaten one.

Aunt Elizabeth came home from BYU and we celebrated by going to the Oliphants for pizza and "White Christmas" by the fire.

December 2009

United States Botanic Garden Christmas

If you ever come to Washington, D.C. for Christmas, make sure to go to the holiday display at the United States Botanic Garden . Joseph and I took a field trip here the first Wednesday in December.

We walked to the metro station and then walked from the metro to the Botanic Garden. We passed the Capitol and the associated buildings. When I pointed out Grandpa Lincoln's former office (I think I actually had the wrong building), Joseph got so excited. He said "Grandpa used to be a guard?"

Pictures really can't capture the magic of the display--a fairy world made of plant-based natural materials. My favorite was a mouse-sized kitchen with acorn caps for bowls. A child's dreamworld--brought to life!

December 2, 2009

Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave

We missed Thanksgiving with Marc's family. On Sunday night we stopped by Missy's to see Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave who were in town from North Carolina. This picture is the best we could do with a rather uncooperative Joseph.
November 29, 2009


On Thanksgiving night after our wonderful day at Plimoth Plantation, we took a night stroll through downtown Boston--to Fanueil Hall and down to the waterfront.

John and I talk as we walk along the shops of Faneuil Hall.

Joseph discovered independence even in the stroller by using the back wheels to propel himself forward.

Friday we took a self-guided tour through the state house.

Joseph gave his first press conference.

Boston didn't win over our hearts like many other cities we've visited. I would attribute that to the cold rain, the 8 hour drive that turned into a 12 hour drive on the way there, and most of all the complicated driving within the city--we never even made it to see the MIT campus because of the maze of one-way roads that kept putting us back across the Charles River. I think we need to give Boston another chance--in the summer and without a car.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Plimoth Plantation: Mayflower

The Mayflower II (a full scale replica of the original Mayflower)

Finally I found a staff member who was not in character and would answer all of my questions. I'm afraid Marc captured this picture of me grilling the poor guy.

Joseph taking a "nap" in the bunk of the Mayflower.

Cape Cod Bay

Thanksgiving Day
November 26, 2009