Thursday, January 31, 2013

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Marc was a difficult child. There is not a person who knew him as a child who hasn't informed me of this fact.  I've heard tales of preschool, cub scouts, and, oh, those teenage years. 

My mom validates my struggles with motherhood by telling me I have hard children. She reminds me that my children don't sleep, that they are very independent and strong willed.  Not all children are this way, she says. Since Marc was such a difficult child, in my head, I always chalk it up to Marc being their father and count it as the price I pay for such a great husband.

However, on her most recent visit, my mom challenged that assumption by telling me that Abigail reminds her of me:

I think it is this face that resembles me the most!
January 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our new park

The weather was warm enough for Marc and the kids to venture out to the neighborhood park at our new house.


These two do have some deep conversations

Joseph's first loose tooth
January 21, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013


My parents gave us iPhones. I now see why all the hype!

We don't consider ourselves big technology folks, but these gadgets are amazing. We're hooked! Marc calls me an addict, and I confess I have looked at Craigslist on my phone at 3 am after being up with the baby. I also will let you in on a secret: if you strap the children in their carseats and sit in the driveway, you can check your email or send a quick text without the bookshelf or kitchen cabinets being emptied! However, if I take too long putting the car into drive, Abigail has been known to pipe up, "Are you texting?" "Are you checking your iPhone?"  HA!

The first night we got them, Joseph was trying to get Marc's attention about something, but Marc was figuring out something on his phone. Joseph huffed, "This is always what happens when people get iPhones." I might add, he is mostly just jealous because he wants one himself! He is the one who teaches Marc and me how to use the darn things!  Even Abigail can slide the touch screen like a pro. Where does she learn these things? (Aunt Rachel and Grandma Charlotte get the credit/blame!)

iPhone photo shoot:

December 2012

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Grandma Charlotte Saves January

I called my mom and asked her to come visit. And she did. It wasn't supposed to be a working visit--I just wanted to soak her up a bit.  But mom always gets to work.  She helped me organize the basement and unpack those lingering boxes in the corner of the living room. She helped me rearrange the kitchen, yet again. And having her come motivated me to cook. The kitchen in this house has its share of problems, and I just hadn't been able to conquer them yet. But mom was coming so I rolled up my sleeves and made some of our favorite pumpkin black bean soup and cornbread muffins.  Then, we had the Murphys as dinner guests twice (in honor of mom's visit) so I made a feta and spinach fritata one night and minestrone soup the next. Mom cleaned the dishes and the kitchen each night after dinner, which made my foray back into the kitchen enjoyable.  And actually cooking in the kitchen made the problems seem not so insurmountable.

First stop after picking mom up from the airport:  lunch with Megan and Rachel at El Union Mexican and Salvadoran restaurant.  Mom admired my baby (she really is growing!!) and complimented my new house (and generously said my unpacking and organizing efforts had exceeded what she expected when she arrived). We spent fun times with the Murphys in town from Heidelberg, Germany.  We didn't do anything inauguration related, even though everyone assumed she was coming for that. I'm afraid I've become disenchanted with the shine of D.C. (or maybe just a mother of three young children), but I have zero desire to go to anything crowd related whatsoever.

Abigail read books with Grandma under the blanket for hours on end

Anna was back sleeping in Grandma's arms--just where she likes it

Sister Murphy treated us to a fun day of swimming at the Herndon Rec Center

Sister Murphy and Grandma Charlotte

We enjoyed lunch at Chick-fil-a (not a political statement, just a really kid-and-mom-friendly-restaraunt, which I appreciate) while the kids played in the warm indoor playground. 

On a warm day of her visit, Grandma took Joseph and Abigail to the beloved truck park, a place that is out of reach for me with a newborn and two-year-old combined. We also went to "Taco Tuesday" which is what Abigail calls Cafe Rio because on Tuesdays they have a special on tacos (and we've gone a time or two).  Abigail gets positively giddy when we take her to Cafe Rio for rice and beans.  It is really adorable and worth the trip just to see her excitement.

We ran errands including picking Joseph up from this fun football birthday party

We drank hot spiced cider by the fire and chatted and chatted

It was great having mom here. My new house seems more like my home now that she has infused some of her ever-gentle, ever-patient, goodness into its walls. 

January 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Partying with the Piantanidas

Sometimes I have "midwest girl comes to the big city" moments where I realize I'm not in Kansas (or Missouri) anymore.  My good friend Lisa turned 40 this month and her husband threw her an amazing party at the O Street Mansion in Washington, D.C. Aunt Elizabeth watched our little ones, and we headed downtown for a big city party.

What a special night--to celebrate such a fun and fabulous person! Happy Birthday Lisa and thanks for including us in your celebration!

We got to explore all throughout the incredible mansion-hotel. There were secret passages, doors behind bookcases. You've got to see this place to believe it!
One of our favorite rooms was this log cabin

And who doesn't love a saber tooth table?

This picture was for Joseph

 Marc persuaded me to pose.

The wine cellar that felt like we'd escaped into Harry Potter's world.

January 4, 2013

Friday, January 25, 2013

Two Months

At two months, Anna is a peaceful little soul-- a dream baby, really.  She patiently waits for her turn to be fed, quickly forgives me when it takes too long, and is generous with her smiles. She is a good eater and sleeper and agreeably sleeps in the car, which is a first for one of my babies, but quite important for a third child. She is cooing and really seems like she is talking back when you speak to her. I love it when she flicks her tongue in and out as if she really were trying to say something in response. She has beautiful blue eyes and the longest eyelashes--we get so many compliments on her eyes. She loves to be held and we love to hold her.  My favorite is when she sighs in my arms, as if all were right in the world.

Anna smiles

Anna Oliphant, two months old. Unfortunately all these photos have red-eye instead of Anna's beautiful blues

Polka dot sisters
 We had to reschedule Anna's two-month check up because she was too sick for immunizations last week, so we went in just yesterday (Jan 24) and she weighed 12 pounds, six ounces. She is exactly where she should be--right in the comfortable 50th percentile range for both height and weight. She has adorable chubby baby thighs and the best kissable cheeks. Babylicious--I could just eat her up!
Anna just barely made it past her two-month mark when she spiked a high fever in the middle of the night and we had to rush her to urgent care at 3 am.  They took blood, gave her a catheter, chest x-rays, shots of antibiotics, and more--it was torture for both of us, truthfully. But somehow fighting for my children bonds me to them even more, and I felt that way with Anna during that long, scary night.  And in the end, after a few more days of follow up antibiotic shots, she is all mended.

January 9, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Happy Birthday Marc!

What happens when your birthday falls in the middle of a big move? Pizza!
The next night, Rachel graciously watched the kids in our disaster of a house while Marc and I went out on the town. We went downtown to the National Geographic Society to hear Jared Diamond on "The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?"  Diamond is most well known for his book Guns, Germs, and Steel.  Marc picked this lecture for his birthday celebration, and we had a fantastic time. I was reminded of one of the many reasons I love him. "Nerd love," we call it. Happy Birthday to my younger man. 

Happy Birthday Marc!

What happens when your birthday falls in the middle of a big move? Pizza!
The next night, Rachel graciously watched the kids in our disaster of a house while Marc and I went out on the town. We went downtown to the National Geographic Society to hear Jared Diamond on "The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?"  Diamond is most well known for his book Guns, Germs, and Steel.  Marc picked this lecture for his birthday celebration, and we had a fantastic time. I was reminded of one of the many reasons I love him. "Nerd love," we call it. Happy Birthday to my younger man. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Moving Day

Tonight we said good-bye to our Veitch St. house. We stopped by with the kids after all the moving and cleaning was finished. We let them run from room to room--their footsteps echoing in the empty rooms. This week, as we've been between houses, Abigail has been feverish and sick with a cold, crying "I don't want to go to the new house; I want to go home."  So tonight I wanted them to see the house was cleared of their belongings--fresh and ready for someone else, that our home was somewhere else now.

In the end, I think I was the only one sad to leave.  But that place holds so many of my precious memories. I believe we've literally carved ourselves into the walls of that home--as anyone who tries to repair those gashes will discover. Four years of its sixty year life have belonged to my family. I moved there with a two-year-old Joseph. I brought home two babies to that house. I  watched my four-year-old scoot along those hardwood floors--pulling a cast behind him as he played matchbox cars, I taught the same little boy to read in that house. My daughter took her first steps in that house; I spent hours chasing her around those rooms trying to get her to take a bite. I watched my children run around the backyard--playing chase, riding Little Tikes cars and shadowing their dad in tending the garden.  My PhD was started in that house--and the accompanying late nights and wrinkles acquired.

I will miss the view from the window in my bedroom, where I've nursed babies and had all the children bounce on my bed around me. I'll miss the view at night when walking a baby who is having a hard time sleeping.  I will miss the close quarters where I knew who was going to the bathroom or rolling over in his bed or her bed at any given moment.  I will miss dinners on the back patio with the neighbor dog delighting my children. I will miss the people on our street--the neighbor who showed Joseph his telescope and brought him a book about space when he showed interest, the Filipino ladies who shared our duplex and worked  in the Irish embassy, often leaving us containers of left-overs after a party they catered at the embassy. And, of course, Bob who stopped by multiple times a day to give us an update from the doctor or a baseball game score. There is the park, the library, and the elementary school that we loved walking to, and of course the 7-Eleven for late night Red Box trips, or I must confess on particularly challenging days, a Diet Coke run when the children were sleeping. 

It has been a good house, but mostly I realize, it has been a good life. I look forward to filling a new house with memories, but maybe not marring the walls so much at this new address.  And don't worry, Bob has already stopped by the new place twice.

January 14, 2013

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Snow, snow, snow

Joseph's last Christmas wish was fulfilled the morning after Christmas: SNOW!  It was just a dusting, but enough to count.  Snow suits, gloves, scarves, and boots were donned. They played in the yard; they sledded down the slush on the driveway; they played at the park. And Marc captured it all with some fantastic photos:

December 26, 2012

Christmas with the Oliphants

The festivities continued at Marc's parents' house:  gifts, dinner, playing, chatting, and movie watching. A fun-filled day with all of Marc's family.

We were all spoiled by tons and tons of generous gifts from Marc's family.  A bicycle helmet for Joseph and the promise of a trip to the Lego store (which turned out to be a fun filled day for Joseph with Grandma and Grandpa to the lego store, book store, library, Front Royal cabin, lunch out....), a darling bath towel monogrammed with her name for Abigail, special fleece blankets for each of the children made by Aunt Rachel, Cougar paw gloves for Joseph from Aunt Elizabeth, and lots and lots more! 

We brought our camera case only to discover the camera was not in it. Thanks to Aunt Gwen for documenting our day (her pictures are always the best anyway!)

Grandma and Grandpa with Anna

Lucy and Abigail making soup in Lucy's new potty

Abigail and Lucy trying out the new bath toys

Beautiful Christmas baby, Anna

Merry Christmas!

December 25, 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas Eve day Marc took the kids to the park in the morning to run off some Christmas excitement while I made cheese enchiladas, then we enjoyed some visits from our wonderful Veitch St. neighbors.  We watched part of the classic "It's a Wonderful Life" and listened to lots of Christmas music in every room of the house. 

In the evening we had our Mexican food feast by candlelight and then read and sang and watched the nativity story video, "Joy to the World" before bedtime.

Christmas morning, Joseph had in mind which present to open first:  Legos from Grandma Charlotte and Grandpa Bill! Joseph didn't even want to open anything else--he was in heaven with this lego set! Even as I write this post, he came up and said, "Do you have a picture with my legos?" 

 My mom read aloud Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House series when I was a girl. Now, she gave us the set so the next generation can read these treasures.

Abigail got right to work cooking with her new apron

Joseph filled our stockings with all kinds of wonderful artwork.  A little house for me, a paper doll for Abigail, a puzzle for Anna, a gold coin for Dad.

Anna was content just to be snuggled while all the festivities carried on

Merry Christmas!

 After opening presents, Joseph went outside to test out his new remote control monster truck and then we skyped my family. They were all together in Missouri this year.

Then, we headed over to Grandma Donna and Grandpa Lincoln's house to join Marc's entire family for Christmas!