Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snow Days

Joseph and Ally
Ben with his new snowboard

Joseph and Marc on the first day of snow (when you can still see the grass through the snow). Joseph is adorable in the snow! He slides down alone, hops up and carries his sled back up again. Such a grown up little man.

Marc built a huge snow fort with Joseph and all the cousins

Marc and the cousins also built a snow ramp for sledding. Even I gave it a try.

January 27-28, 2009

Slumber Party

Yippee! The cousins slept over last weekend. We love being at Grandma and Grandpa's house so we get to be in on all the parties.
Making lemonade and popcorn on Saturday night

Pancakes and PJs on Sunday morning
January 24-25, 2009

Firefighter Joseph

The Fire Department had an open house. What more need I say?

January 24, 2009

Powder Valley Nature Center

We had a beautiful day of almost 60 degree weather so Grandma took us to her favorite Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center. We hiked, explored the turtles, fish, and other exhibits inside. After we left, Marc reported, "That was the best nature center I've ever been to."

Like Father, Like Son: Hikers
The weather was warm, but the stream was still frozen. Joseph unsuccessfully tried to break the ice by throwing the biggest rocks he could heft.

Joseph and Daddy are flying a helicopter on a wolf counting expedition

January 22, 2009

What Have You Been Doing?

Marc has been doing all kinds of jobs around the house--the biggest one is helping my sister Hannah paint her room. Hannah wants to be an interior designer someday. It looks like she's off to a good start. Here is a before and after shot.

Marc also did a car repair for Catherine and John one weekend. The next weekend Catherine helped me put some sleeves on a dress. I am trying to make dinner for everyone each night. It is so fun--and you get lots done without being lonely, bored or paying someone to do something that one of your siblings/in-laws know how to do. I think we should all just have one big compound. What do you say, Mom and Dad?
January 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Social Workers in the News

Whenever people hear that I'm a social worker, they almost always assume I do therapy. While I have done therapy and much of my paid work has been in social service delivery agencies, my graduate education and my real passion lies in the role of social work in changing social structures. I have not perfected an answer that can succinctly explain how much the social work profession encompasses. But, today, when Marc couldn't understand how a Social Work PhD could be an economic adviser, I decided something must be done!

The International Federation of Social Workers tells us "The social work profession promotes social change, problem solving in human relationships and the empowerment and liberation of people to enhance well-being. Utilising theories of human behaviour and social systems, social work intervenes at the points where people interact with their environments. Principles of human rights and social justice are fundamental to social work."

I think of social work as empowering people to overcome barriers to improved social functioning. Whatever those barriers might be--economic, health, mental health, housing, discrimination, abuse, the list goes on. That empowerment can happen on an individual level (think therapy). It also can--and must--happen on a structural level (think federal housing policies).

I've long wanted to do a series of posts about social work. Maybe my version of an online Social Work 101 class. But for today, I'll just copy a December 10, 2008 announcement from the Columbia School of Social Work news page:
(Oh, and if you want more on this guy, check out his wikipedia bio)

"Jared Bernstein, a Columbia University School of Social Work (PhD’94) alumnus, has been appointed by Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden as Chief Economist and Economic Policy Adviser. . .
Dr. Bernstein currently serves as the Director of the Living Standards program at the Economic Policy Institute. From 1995-1996, he served as Deputy Chief Economist for the Department of Labor under Secretary Robert Reich. Dr. Bernstein’s expertise includes income inequality and mobility, trends in employment and earnings, low-wage labor markets and poverty, international comparisons, and the analysis of federal and state economic policies. He is the acclaimed author of Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed? (And Other Unsolved Economic Mysteries) and All Together Now: Common Sense for a Fair Economy, both published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. His work has been published in The New York Times, Washington Post, and the American Prospect. He is also a contributor to the financial news station CNBC."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My happy boy

Making Pancakes
Eating Pancakes

Sorry, when Joseph arrives, your nap is over Aunt Catherine!

Hannah loves Joseph's new scary face that he likes to show us at dinner time

I'm a fan of his classic cheesy smile

Joseph is the happiest kid. He is almost constantly smiling. What a guy!
Lately, Joseph has really enjoyed calling us Marc and Sarah instead of Mommy and Daddy. Another favorite of his (because he gets such a laugh) is to say, "Thanks for making this food, babe" at dinner. He is a good mimic of his dad. I'm glad his dad says such nice things to imitate.

January 2009

P.T. Cruiser

My friend, "Sister Murphy" came to visit on Saturday. Joseph loves Sister Murphy. Last time she brought "that wonderful cake" as Joseph calls it. This time she drove her P.T. Cruiser. We were talking when Joseph got up from his nap. He took a look out the window and exclaimed, "Sister Murphy drives a P.T. Cruiser!" He was in awe. It didn't take long for Sister Murphy to whip our her keys and offer Joseph a chance to take a drive.

Look at the sheer joy on his face. Thanks Sister Murphy, we heart you!

January 17, 2009

It's Official

Marc has accepted a job as a Community Planner with the U.S. Navy in their Naval Facilities Engineering Command. He will work at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

We're excited about moving back to the D.C. area with its energy, diversity and Marc's family nearby. We hope to purchase a place in the District and try our hand at urban living. Marc starts work in March so for our friends and family in the area, we look forward to seeing you before long.

Ice Skating

The St. Peters Rec-Plex had a Winter Fest day with free admission to the whole center, including ice skating. Joseph, Marc and Aunt Hannah had fun skating. Joseph still calls it skiing; nevertheless, he loved it! I loved being cheerleader for them from the sidelines. Without health insurance, we figured I better avoid any falls that would break my ankle.

January 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Marc!

Marc turned 29 and we celebrated him:

Breakfast in bath, yes, bath. It was supposed to be breakfast in bed, but after so many early mornings with Joseph, it is hard to sleep in even when you try. So, while we were preparing the surprise to bring to a sleeping Marc, he woke up and decided to take a bath. Hey, breakfast in bath can be good, too. Right? The surprise was actually thwarted by a 2-year-old who snuck out of the kitchen and downstairs and told Daddy what we were doing before it was ready.

Chocolate cake. Homemade chocolate cake that we ate before dinner. Joseph was going to sleep and couldn't miss out on the cake--which is basically the whole point of a birthday in his mind.

Dinner at Red Lobster. Just us. Alone. Wonderful.

Don't you love this picture? Who is more excited about the birthday?
Joseph of course wanted to help blow out the candles, but since he was sick, we decided to spare the cake and have him blow out the candles on this German Christmas Pyramid carousel. (We know it was well after Christmas, but Joseph loved this carousel so much Grandma and Grandpa kept it out and lit it each night during dinner).

January 7, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Like Mother, Like Son

I have a picture of myself at about the same age diving in to a gingerbread house. I will scan it and post it when I am reunited with my photo albums.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Fun in 2009

After living in St. Louis for almost 30 years, our family went for the first time to tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Fascinating! Joseph liked the Clydesdale horses; I definitely liked the bottling facility best. We combined it with a visit to Soulard Market downtown.

We had a campfire in the back yard to cook hotdogs and marshmallows (and ate them inside on the floor on a picnic tablecloth).

We had a homemade pizza night where John strutted his authentic Italian cooking skills.
We played Scotland Yard and watched The Hunt for Red October and Sleepless in Seattle. We went to the St. Louis City branch at church with Catherine and John.

We had dinner with our friends the Murphys before they head to wonderful adventures in Germany. I went to lunch with a good high school friend who was also in town for the holidays. Actually, I went to lunch at noon, and at 4:00 Marc called to see if I was okay. We had a great time talking. Thanks, Jennifer, it was just what I neeeded!

We've had a great time and partied so hard we're sick now!

It is back to regular life in Missouri. Dad is back at work; Hannah started seminary again; Mom never got a break to begin with! Thankfully, my parents are letting us stay here with them while we wait for Marc's job in D.C. to get finalized.

January 1-4, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Moores in Missouri

The main reason we made our spontaneous trip to Missouri on Christmas day was to see all of my siblings during the visit. Sometimes is can be hard to coordinate it so we can fit into everyone's schedule, but it worked this year and was definitely a lot of fun to see everyone. Joseph loved playing with all his cousins.

We got to meet our newest nephew, Carter. He even took a nap in my arms. Ahh, I love other people's babies who I never see at 2 am!

The day after Christmas, we went to "Incredible Pizza" which is basically Chuck-E-Cheese on steroids. My Christmas gift to Marc was to let him stay home and read while I went with Joseph and the rest of the gang.

Joseph and his cousins drew crowds with their dancing skills.

We had a delicious Mexican dinner at Dan and Mer's house (with Jacob and Nanitzi cooking) where Marc made his Guitar Hero vocals debut (he's really quite good).

We had more good food and social justice conversation with Catherine and John when they arrived after visiting near Seattle for Christmas. Catherine is in a Master of Public Health program--and we're ready to open up a consulting firm together.

We got to visit with David and Ayanna when they came in from Kansas City. We heard all about their latest entrepreneurial plans; I always leave our conversations inspired! We also played American Idol on the Wii with them. If anyone hasn't heard Ayanna sing... she has an amazing voice!

After most everyone else left town, we went on some outings. The St. Louis Zoo is an all time favorite. It was one of the best times I've ever visited--the animals were out, the weather was perfect, and Joseph was happy! Unfortunately, Marc was sick and stayed home. We missed him.

On New Year's Eve, Marc and I continued our tradition of going to bed early. We watched an old Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn movie with my mom while my dad took Hannah and Lexy to the big New Year's Eve dance. Then we went to bed while my parents stayed up to ring in the new year. If there is one thing I learned this holiday season, it is this: I can't keep up with my parents!!

December 2008

Christmas Surprise

On Christmas morning, we got up early and hopped in the car and drove to Missouri! It turned out to be a great day to drive--hardly anyone on the road, perfect weather and lots of great Christmas music on the radio. On the downside, there were few stops open and so for the first time in my life I bought a gas station hamburger and used the microwave in the gas station food mart. Marc assures me he has had his fair share of 7-11 hotdogs, but I confess I missed that part of the American experience.

When we arrived at my parents' house, we put Joseph on the doorstep and hid in the bushes. He rang the bell and said "Merry Christmas!" when Grandma opened the door. It was a fun surprise which we can credit to our "fly by the seat of our pants" approach to life. We didn't know we'd be going to Missouri on Christmas, so how could we tell them?

We made it in time for the tail end of the festivities--big kids were downstairs belting out American Idol on the Wii and little cousins were playing with all the fun toys.

There were even toys under the tree for Joseph! Great Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Bob gave Joseph this car set and he got to work playing right away.

December 25, 2008

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Massanutten Christmas

Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave hosted us at Massanutten Ski Resort the week of Christmas. We visited with Marc's parents and sisters, David, Fatima, Roxanne, Lila, and Missy. Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave really know how to throw a party--the food was delicious, gorgeous Christmas decorations, and just a great time. We sat by the fire and watched Christmas movies, ate, visited. Some went shopping and some went skiing. On Christmas Eve we opened gifts after Santa Missy arrived.

Hot chocolate in a new Santa mug from Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave

Joseph and Aunt Elizabeth really bonded this Christmas

Joseph quickly learned the trick of unwrapping presents--and the joys of being the only little child in a group of generous grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Merry Christmas!
December 22-25, 2008