Monday, January 31, 2011

I Heart NPR

I really love NPR. That's National Public Radio for those who aren't fans. When I was spotlighted in my Relief Society ward in Provo I said that I was a NPR junkie.  The Relief Society President asked "What is NPR?"  That might be the first time I realized that anyone could not love NPR.

I consider NPR to be one of the lifelines that saved me during my early motherhood years.  I owe my sanity to Diane Rehm.   (Side note: Joseph knows all of the  NPR personalities--he is adorable when he lists them:  Robert Siegel, Renee Montagne, Kojo Nnambi, etc.)

Anyhow, there were a couple of fascinating shows that I listened to in the past few days that I thought I'd share.  I'm not saying I agree with everything said, but I found them to be very interesting--enthralling really.

In case you're interested: 

Peggy Orenstein the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter was on The Diane Rehm show.  Listen here

Stephanie Coontz, the author of A Strange Stirring was on Fresh Air. Listen here

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Harper's Ferry

We took my parents and Hannah to Harper's Ferry on Saturday afternoon. Everyone was pretty tired from our early morning White House tour so everyone in the back row of the van fell asleep. 

In Harper's Ferry, we visited the Appalachian Trail Conservancy office, toured the national historic sites, and visited the John Brown museum.  During some of the outdoor exploring parts of the day, Mom, Hannah, Abigail, and I went to a warm coffee shop for hot chocolate.  It is always fun having Mom here because she encourages me to just enjoy my baby. She tells me to keep my baby inside warm and just enjoy the day, and not try to be the superhero out in the freezing cold. And she keeps me company so I don't have to sit alone with the baby all the time.

Harper's Ferry really is a picturesque town.
January 8, 2011

Front Royal

After church on the Sunday of Martin Luther King Day weekend, we went out to Marc's parents' cabin for a little get-away. We decided to have  a technology-free night so we left the computers at home. We played "Shoots and Ladders," "Go Fish!" and  "UNO."  We enjoyed being out in the countryside and stopped by Shenandoah National Park on Monday where we only stayed an hour because we wanted to beat an ice storm home. 

January 16-17, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

State of the Household

With all the talk of President Obama's State of the Union address, I decided to give an update on the state of things in our little house.   

First, I hate winter. Dry skin, static electricity in my hair, gray skies. I can't stand being cooped up inside without park days or sunshine.  It is so cold that I hate going anywhere, but it is also cold inside my drafty 1940s era duplex.   But as I write, a big snow storm is raging outside and I'm reminded of things I do love about winter: snow days, hot chocolate, snuggling, baking... 
Yesterday Joseph said, "Isn't it funny? In the summer I want it to be winter, and in the winter I want it to be summer."  I'm not sure I ever wish for winter, but I think I get his point. 

I've started back to school.  I'm taking an extra class this semester on top of my full time load (crazy, I know).  Joseph loves having Grandma come over while I'm in class. Joseph usually wakes up in the morning before I do. He comes into my room and gets in bed with me and asks me what we're going to do that day. Yesterday he came in and with a huge smile said he knew what day of the week it was, "Grandma Donna is coming today, and I'm going to preschool!!" 

 Abigail hates tummy time. I was thrilled to get this picture because it is one of the rare times she isn't crying while on her tummy.
 Joseph loves building with legos! He still plays with his beloved cars and trucks,but it has been amazing to see him fall in love with legos (and he's pretty good at it, too!)
 Just the day to day around our house. I love giving Abigail baths.

Abigail still wakes multiple times a night. I don't really mind.  Joseph didn't sleep through the night until he was 18 months so if she follows after her big brother, we've got a while to go. She is at that wonderful age where she recognizes me and gives me a huge smile when she sees me. Joseph also gets a huge kick out of having her turn toward him when he says her name.  She really does adore her big brother already.  She has also reached the age (or maybe it is just my kids that do this) where she doesn't want to be put down--held all day, and where she won't fall asleep on her own and doesn't want to take naps.  I used to swaddle her and put her in the bed when she was tired and, ta da! she was sleep.  But no longer.  And yet, she's just so wonderful!  The other night I got emotional about her growing up so quickly. After one of the night feedings, I just kept her by me in the bed so I could watch her sleep in the quiet for a while before I took her back to the crib. I wanted to freeze time. 

Now, don't think I have forgotten Marc. He's part of the household, too.  But I'm reserving a whole post for him... Stay tuned.

January 2011

Monday, January 24, 2011


Marc has nicknamed Abigail "Hapigail" because she is such a happy, content little baby. She loves to laugh and squeal. I am forever trying to capture it on camera, but it seems she often stops and becomes fascinated with the camera once I pull it out.  Here a few videos where we capture a bit of her laugh (it's so much better in real life)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Marc

 My parents and Hannah came to town for Abigail's blessing and also were here to celebrate Marc's birthday with us.

 If you've never had Joseph sing Happy Birthday to you, you're  missing out. He really puts his whole soul into it.
Bob joined our party for cake and ice cream.
January 7, 2011

3 months

 At three months old, Abigail is a happy, sweet baby. She loves to chew on her hands. She loves her bouncy seat and the little dangling toys have captured her attention. Joseph is convinced the orange giraffe is her favorite.  She laughs and smiles. She has decided she does not like the carseat for trips around town (such as the preschool drop off/pick up, grocery store trips, ride to the church, or anywhere else with stops and starts).  She does not sleep through the night, but she does delight us with her giggling and noises that sound like "talking."

January 5, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

So in Love

These pictures are from the day after Thanksgiving at Marc's parents' house. Thank you to Abraham for taking these.
We are loving having Abigail in our life! She is a delight. She brings me so much joy. I think I could just stare at her cute little face all day long.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Keeping it Real

I know, dear reader, that you may have missed my more reflective blog posts. There have been a lot of pictures and event reporting posts lately.  I still have a few events to catch up posting and then hopefully I'll write all my deep thoughts, but until then, here is the text of the Christmas letter that I wrote that Marc asked me not to send out this year (he said it was okay to blog about it). He thought it was too depressing for a Christmas card. "Really, love? I thought I made the year sound pretty good considering what reality was!"  I mean, I didn't even include so many things from this year like the time Joseph put his hand through the glass back door or when our transmission went out ($$$), and the car was in the shop when Marc needed to go to the ER so I drove him in a borrowed car!  Oh, and after the letter are some photos that keep it real, too.  These are from a photo shoot at Marc's parents house the day after Thanksgiving.  Thanks to Kim and Abraham for these pictures. Even though they didn't make the cut for a Christmas card, I do believe they might most accurately capture our reality!

The rejected letter:

This year, we’re happy to report we’re still alive and kicking…barely!

In February Joseph broke his leg riding his bicycle while on a weekend trip in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. He celebrated his 4th birthday in a full leg cast. The doctor said “no crutches” because there was such a risk for re-injury. This translates into requiring a highly active little boy to be sedentary for a very long winter. He learned to scoot pulling his leg behind him on flat surfaces, and I buffed up by carrying him up and down the stairs a million times a day, staying with him at preschool to lift as needed, and using the jogging stroller as a wheelchair for church and such. By May, Joseph was fully healed and back on that darn bicycle.

In the late summer, Marc suffered from an illness no one could quite figure out. It culminated in hospitalization for a couple days in September—three weeks before our BABY was expected. We tried to keep our sense of humor by joking that maybe Marc and I could have adjoining rooms at the hospital when I delivered the baby.

Little did we know that I wouldn’t need a delivery room at the hospital because our baby, Abigail Moore Oliphant, was born in the car a few minutes before we arrived at the hospital! Abigail was born on October 5, weighing in at 6 pounds and measuring 19 ¾ inches. Our miracle baby spent a week in the NICU, but is now perfectly healthy. After her dramatic entrance that may have traumatized us for life, Abigail has brought true joy to our house. She is an absolute delight. (I now understand how a mother can enjoy a newborn!)

We’ve been trying to keep our head above water in “regular” life, too. Marc has kept busy pursuing two careers. He is officially working for Navy Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) on transportation issues, but his real passion is his work on slugging—a form of casual carpooling. He was awarded a grant from the Federal Highway Administration to select and lead a group of researchers to study the slugging systems in DC, Houston, and San Francisco—which are the only three cities in the US with such systems.
 I have enjoyed staying home with Joseph during the day and continuing full time coursework in my social work PhD program in the evenings.

As we look back on 2010, we’re grateful we survived! We are looking forward to 2011 and hoping that it brings a little less excitement for our family.

May this New Year bring you peace and joy!

The City Museum

The City Museum in St. Louis is so fun! Really, it is a must-see if you are in St. Louis. And, frankly, it might be worth planning a trip to St. Louis just to go there! It is an old shoe company building and everything in it has been made from recycled objects within St. Louis city. There are tunnels underground and amazing artwork. No matter your age, it is worth a visit!

 Abigail is perfectly content in Grandpa's arms.  Check out the mosaic behind them.

 Inside a whale.

A Pterodactyl

Joseph and I trying out the human hamster wheel (don't worry, Abigail is not in the Bjorn I'm wearing!)

 When not tunneling underground or going down the 10-story slide, I hung out with my angel Abigail.
 Joseph on a train ride.
 There is our friendly, happy guy!
Marc and Joseph had a ball following the tunnels throughout the building.

On the roof of the building there was even more fun to be had.

There was a plane on the roof

Joseph got to play pilot
December 30, 2010

Tuesday, January 04, 2011


These are my current favorite pictures. They capture Joseph's and Abigail's personalities perfectly.
January 1, 2011
December 18, 2010

Sunday, January 02, 2011