Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Oliphant Family Dinner

Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave were in town so Donna and Lincoln hosted a family gathering. We celebrated Lila's birthday, Mother's Day, Aunt Joyce and Uncle Dave's 60th wedding anniversary... it was a day of celebrations. Lila, Fatima, Donna, and Roxanne

Rachel, Missy, David, and Aunt Joyce

Joseph, mommy, and Uncle Dave.

Joseph looks a little more normal in this one.

Rachel and Missy

May 16, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Embassy Tours 2010

As we've blogged about for a few years now, the EU Embassy tours are one of our favorite Washington, D.C. events. This year, unfortunately, did not live up to our wonderful previous memories. Marc volunteered to help someone in the ward move on Friday night. After showing up on Friday, the move got pushed back until Saturday at 7 am (supposedly for an hour or two just to empty a storage unit). Well, we started at the storage unit, but when there was no one else to pick up the next shift at the house, Marc agreed to go there too. By noon we were finally leaving the house (with the largest available moving truck full, but the house still quite full of stuff).

By the time we got downtown, the lines to all of the embassies were really long, Joseph was exhausted (he fell asleep waiting in line), and we bailed after only three embassies. However, at least we added to our list: Greece, Bulgaria, and Slovenia (which was actually a repeat). I was pretty disappointed because I love this event so much, but at the end of the day I'm glad Marc is kind and helpful and that if we're going to miss something it is because of his goodness.

Youth dancers at the Greek Embassy. (Unfortunately the food was gone by the time we got there).

May 8, 2010

It's a Girl!

Joseph accompanied me for the ultrasound (even though they recommended I not bring a child). He has been so excited for the baby and interested in how it all works that there was no way I was leaving him home. Frankly, I would have him there for the delivery if they would let me. Anyway, he was wonderful during the ultrasound. He stood and sat beside me, rubbed my arm, and commented about how I have an "ocean" inside my belly. He was thrilled to see the images of the baby. When the ultrasound technician announced that we were having a girl, Joseph beamed and said, "That's what I've been praying for." It was possibly one of the sweetest moments I've ever experienced.

Now, the tech later said she was 85% sure it was a girl. If it turns out not to be his much anticipated little sister, this will be his first lesson in the fallibility of technology.

May 17, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Charmed Life

I got a phone call about noon while I was in the grocery store. My sister-in-law Rachel said she had a friend with free tickets to the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center that very night. She asked if Marc and I would like to go and offered to watch Joseph. Absolutely!

Joseph is in heaven when he gets to spend time with Aunt Rachel. This night he waited in the front yard in anticipation of her arrival.

Rachel took our picture before we left for the show, which was superb. Thanks for giving us such a charmed life Rachel! May 13, 2010

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Rest of the Story

Based on some of the questions in the comments of my last post--and a few personal emails I received--I've decided maybe my last post sounded a little bit cryptic and I ought to clarify.

So, what sparked my whole "at peace" feeling on Sunday happened during Sacrament meeting. We have the little scripture story books that the church publishes. Marc was perusing the Book of Mormon Stories that we brought to keep Joseph occupied during church. Joseph was climbing all over the pew not paying a bit of attention to the books we brought for him :) Marc leaned over to me and pointed out a caption under the picture of a brown skinned man in a loin cloth holding a knife and pinning a deer to the ground. A brown skinned boy holding a bow and arrow looked on. The caption read, "Laman and Lemuel's followers called themselves Lamanites. They became dark-skinned people. God cursed them because of their wickedness. 2 Nephi 5:14, 21" (p. 26). Marc is usually pretty unflappable, but I note that he was the one that pointed it out to me. This is where my "at peace" came into play. A couple years ago this experience would have sent me into what I call a "spiral." I would have worried about how to teach this to Joseph when I am completely uncomfortable with it and don't want to teach this to my child. I would have felt guilty for not teaching what was put out in official Church materials. I would literally have lost sleep over this issue. For months, at a minimum. Now, I can just calmly say "I'm not teaching that to my child."

Mothering peace. At least for this week!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day

I grew up wholeheartedly believing the Mormon doctrine that families are eternal, that motherhood is the most noble calling, etc. I spent many years wishing I was a mother. I didn't marry until later than many of my (Mormon) peers. When I did finally marry, we had a baby almost right away. I was anxious about how I was going to have my planned twelve children with such a late start. Then I had my Joseph. Since then I've spent four years feeling a roller coaster of emotions including resentment, shame, guilt--each vying with the all too often incapacitating love for my child.

I realized today in the Mother's Day sacrament meeting that I've come to peace with those feelings. I've rejected most of the Mormon cultural beliefs (and some of the doctrinal ones, too, but that's another story), and I'm happy with who I am as a mother. I can sit and listen to a Mother's Day talk or lesson and conclude that I respectfully disagree. I'm not going to teach Joseph something I don't believe because I'm "supposed" to. I try to teach him to be a good, giving, accepting, friendly, and just person. I'm probably not ever going to knit or sew. I may never decorate a beautiful home. I almost certainly won't get around to those twelve kids.

I have strengths and weaknesses in my execution of motherhood. I enjoy feeding my child healthy food. I'm proud that Joseph didn't know what a frozen pizza was until he was four years old (my pregnancy, Joseph's cast, and tough semester=Joseph's introduction to frozen pizza). He actually asked Marc to take a picture of it because he was so amazed that the pizza just came out of the box ready to go! On the other hand, a friend was saying something about ironing, and Joseph looked up in all innocence and asked "What is an iron?" And this is not because I iron while he is asleep! That said, I don't really think that cooking and ironing have much to do with motherhood. Those are housekeeping tasks. Instead, to me motherhood is about reading to my child, answering his never ending supply of questions, praising his good qualities and choices, and correcting his hurtful choices. A teenage boy talked about his mom today in church and said that his mother keeps her friends for life. What a wonderful tribute to a mother.

So, you had to wade through all of that rambling to get to a little report of our Mother's Day. Those of you who know me well know it pains me to post these ahead of all the other events that I'm behind on posting. But, hopefully, this will spur me to getting caught up (and blogger.com is cool in that you can rearrange the posts after posting to put them in chronological order--so I will be able to sleep at night!)

On our 2010 Mother's Day, we went to church where Joseph made his Primary singing debut in sacrament meeting. He did a great job--and I was relieved there were no embarrassing moments!

We took a great bike ride through the monuments downtown (I'm so glad for this weather and the return of our bike rides) with Joseph on his Trail-a-bike.

Finally, we had dinner in the backyard with our sweet neighbor, Bob. He said in his church, they give a red carnation to everyone whose mother is still living and a white carnation to everyone whose mother has passed away. I love that sentiment. It helps us reflect on our own mothers instead of our personal mother status (which causes so much angst in the Mormon church).

May 9, 2010

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Minutes after finishing teaching my last class at George Mason this semester, we left for Nofolk, Virginia. Marc presented at the Virginia American Planning Association conference, and we tagged along for the trip. We thought it would be a fun way to celebrate the end of my semester (which we were all looking forward to).

We arrived in Norfolk late Monday night. Tuesday, Marc went to his conference (after snapping a few pictures of the view of the harbor from our hotel balcony), and Joseph and I set out exploring.

Joseph and I rode the passenger ferry to Portsmouth and back.

Joseph learned two new words during this trip: mermaid and mystery. He enjoys using them in casual conversation now.

After Marc finished his conference, we headed home--with a stop at Virginia beach where Joseph braved the water. Welcome summer 2010!

May 3-4, 2010

Can You Guess?

We're having a baby! We're thrilled about welcoming a second child into our family. I'm 18 weeks along, due October 4. Joseph is beyond excited about being a big brother--and is always asking me how the baby is doing--if the baby liked what I just ate, if the baby got enough to eat through the cord, if the baby is sleeping. He likes to snuggle in the bed "with the baby" when he lies next to my tummy. He has informed us that he thinks the baby will like him the best. He also has been really stepping up his helpfulness--now that he is a big brother, you know. He has announced that "Mommy has a baby in her tummy" to his preschool class, primary class, the doctor, the librarian, the neighbors, other parents (that we don't know) at the park, and any random people that we meet.
We've been holding out making big announcements until I was done with school for the semester. Grandma Donna guessed I was pregnant early on because she said I was "green around the gills." Now, life is officially great--the cast is off, the semester is over, the weather is warm, the nausea is gone--and we have another treasure on its way to our family!

May 5, 2010