Monday, September 30, 2013

Apple Picking

We went apple picking at Butler's Orchard. Marc was home from work because the Navy Yard was still closed, and Joseph had an early release day. It was a perfectly beautiful fall day, and we had the place to ourselves. We enjoyed picking apples and exploring the market. And we loved playing on the big slides and rope swing. 

September 18, 2013

Bluegrass Concert

Aunt Rachel, Aunt Elizabeth, Mark, Megan, & Baby Gus all joined us for one final day of swimming at Donaldson Run and a bluegrass concert at the adjoining Potomac Overlook Nature Center.

 Abigail enjoyed dancing with all the children as the musicians played.

 Taking care of our little babies. Baby Gus fell asleep on the blanket like a sweet angel. Anna did not fall asleep no matter what I tried. I'm resigned to the fact that it is part of the Moore-Oliphant gene mix. 

Abigail loves making strange faces when we ask her to smile for a photo. She also often gives strangers a scowl if they try to talk to her and she's not in the mood--even though she is generally a happy, delightful child. I'm glad she's developing her sense of independence. 
September 7, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013


Walking to school

Last visits from the ice cream truck

This perfect baby!

Stealing Daddy's phone and hiding in the bathroom

 Shopping at Costco

 Enjoying the cool weather at the park

Unpacking winter clothes

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Much of our garden this year was in the front yard! We're going with the urban farming thing--didn't know we were so trendy? Neither did we! I called it our front yard jungle until my mom said this was all the rage in certain circles.  I'm not sure our neighbors are in those circles!

We've harvested tomatoes and cucumbers, one lone zucchini, lots of  decorative gourds, a couple cantaloupe and watermelons, cabbages, and lettuce.  Our sunflower got really tall and beautiful!  It is pretty amazing considering Marc's technique this year: take all the seeds we had from years past and go outside with two-year-old Abigail and together throw seeds by the handful into the soil he has upturned with a shovel.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Thank you for all of your love and concern; we have gotten calls, texts, emails from friends literally all over the world. Thank you to each if you-- we are still trying to respond to everyone.

Marc was running late to work yesterday and arrived at the security gate just as they were locking down the Navy Yard. Thankfully, he never was on base. He was outside watching as the first responders started arriving en masse. He called to let me know he was fine even before the story broke on the news. We are so grateful that he is safe and grateful that we were spared hours of agonizing unknown (I just read a report of an employee who was found in a locker hiding for 11 hours to stay safe).

Our hearts ache for the victims and their families-- and all those who were terrorized on this tragic day. 

We kept Joseph home from school today, made German pancakes, and read stories. Marc and Joseph took a bike ride down to Four Mile Run to go fishing. We are holding our little family close-- more aware than ever of how fragile it all is.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Childhood summertime

This year we enjoyed the summer pleasures closer to home. Parks and pools and popsicles, parades and playing past bedtime.

Our street is full of children. And in the summer evenings, everyone comes outside and plays. The adults stand around chatting and the children ride bikes and scooters and wagons. They run up and down the sidewalks. The bigger kids play basketball or football in the street.

I have visions of Abigail's blonde hair flying behind her as she is pulled at racing speed down the sidewalk in a wagon by her brother. All the kids cheering them on. Her face displays pure joy and dare-devil laughter!

And once a week, the old timey ice cream truck finds his way into our little tucked-away street.

For our kids, it couldn't get any closer to heaven.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Reading the Days Away

One of my favorite times of the day is during Anna's morning nap. Abigail and I snuggle up on the couch and read.  She is reaching the age where I can start reading her some of my favorite children's  books. Joseph is excited to see some of those treasured books come home again. He has fond memories of those years too.  We're reading Stone Soup and The Little House and Katy and the Big Snow and Caps for Sale and John Updike's A Child's Calendar. When Joseph saw Too Many Pumpkins, he asked me to read it to him at bedtime. I think I'll take it to his school to be a "Mystery Reader," maybe with some pumpkin muffins if I can pull it together. This week Abigail especially loves Eric Carle's classic The Very Hungry Catepillar, which is fun because Joseph never really got into that one. She laughs and laughs every time we read it.

And, above all, Abigail loves Mother Goose...


Anna has just discovered board books, mostly still chewing on them. One day I read her one that has a finger puppet of a ladybug-- she loved it-- squealing in delight at the moving ladybug.

Our beloved children's librarian suggested Joseph make her a list of books he would recommend to other kids. He decided he wanted to do a recommended list of authors since he reads all the books he can find when he discovers an author he likes. Two favorite authors right now are Roald Dahl (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, BFG, James and the Giant Peach, etc.) and Beverly Cleary (Ramona, Ramona Forever, Henry and Ramona, etc.). He also has long loved the Geronimo Stilton books, the ABC Mystery series (a book for each letter of alphabet), and recently the Capital Mystery series (each book set in a different site in Washington, D.C.). He's also enjoyed some my favorites including the Boxcar Children books. Right now, he and I are reading aloud the Little House on the Prairie series together at bedtime.  I love to see Joseph enjoy a good book. One time he was reading in the back of the car (he keeps at least one book in the car to read as we drive around town) and asked what the word "smirk" meant. I explained it and then continued on our way.  A few minutes later I looked in the rear view mirror and saw him practicing smirking. I love him. As the school year started this year, he had his first "library day" and tried to check out a book he was interested in. The librarian made him read aloud from the book since she didn't think he could read it. Apparently he passed her test so she let him check it out. At dinner Joseph commented, "I'm glad the public library doesn't judge what books you choose."

Marc is also reading his way through all kinds of books. I'm always fascinated by the variety of books Marc reads. Here is a list of what Marc has been reading this summer, mostly non-fiction, but a couple novels and shorty story anthologies thrown in for good measure:
The Alamo
Smoky Mountain Travel Guide
Short Stories
Shorty History of Progress (human anthropology)
Success for Dummies
The Richest Man in Babylon
Simple Ideas for Entrepreneurs
Price of Privilege (parenting book)
Steal Like an Artist
The Artist's Way*
Lighten Up
You Can Buy Happiness and It's Cheap
Baltimore Guide
Escape from Camp 14* (about North Korea)
Empire of the Son (novel)
Remarkable Trees of Virginia
Solve your Child's Sleep Problems
River Town:  Two Years on the Yangtze*
Walkable City
Ghost Stories
Start Your Own e-business
Art that Pays: Artist's Guide to Making a Living
Complete Guide to Working for Yourself
Weekend Homesteader
Basic Grammar
Idiot's Guide to Grammar
Travel Guide to Nova Scotia
I've starred ones that Marc has particularly mentioned (or I've heard him recommend to others).  When I met Marc, he kept maps to study beside his bed. I loved that. Now he's got a stack of books by his bed and others scattered around the house. Love my Renaissance Man. If you need a book recommendation, ask this guy!

I believe I'm the least read in the family these days. The last book for pleasure I read was Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, which I read on the plane home from my Italy trip in May!  I absolutely loved the book (I keep wanting to write a post about it, but alas). Most of my reading is frankly rather boring academic journal articles and book chapters that I am "supposed" to read for my dissertation literature review. So I'm especially loving my chance to read beautiful picture books to Abigail and treasuring visiting Laura Ingalls Wilder's world with Joseph.

Monday, September 09, 2013

10 months

Anna is marking 10 months today, but the poor thing is sick. All weekend she was a little under the weather and I kept thinking she might have a fever, off and on. Then last night at about 10 pm, she was burning up with 103 temperature. We took her to the doctor this morning, but it is just a cold of sorts--poor thing, nothing to be done but giver her Tylenol for the next few days and hope it doesn't turn into an ear infection.
10 months, sick but still smiling (with the aid of lots of pain/fever reliever)

This month, Anna has been so fun! She is army crawling all over the place, she climbed up the first couple stairs (yikes!) so the pack 'n play has turned into a de facto baby gate since it is wide enough to block the whole stair landing. She is babbling all the time and waving. I'm convinced she is saying "hi" when she waves. At Aunt Elizabeth's (awesome) birthday party, Anna crawled over to the karaoke stage where there were some mirrors. All of a sudden we hear this piercing squeal; it was Anna discovering herself in the mirror--she was truly delighted!  Anna also kisses! She not only opens her mouth and slobbers on you for a kiss, she also will imitate our exaggerated kisses and suck in the sides of her mouth and pucker up. Oh, she is cute. And still has beautiful blue eyes.

Anna and Abigail are the best of friends, which warms my heart. This morning sweet Anna was so sick. I was holding her in the rocking chair; she was alternately nursing and just laying on me lethargically. Abigail was playing on the couch--hiding under the quilt we have on the back of the couch. I was playing along, "Where is Abigail?" etc.  Anna started looking all over for Abigail. And when Abigail finally popped out, Anna lit up and started laughing. It was so cute. Even in her sickness, she perks up when she plays with her best big sister.

Anna has a wonderful smile and laugh. She loves to see Abigail anytime she wakes up from a nap. They both look for each other--and burst into bright smiles when their eyes meet. Abigail always accompanies me to go get Anna, often "going to give her a smile" in her crib before I arrive. Anna and Joseph are good friends too. Joseph has started reading to Anna, introducing Good Night Moon to the next child. We all think Anna might be calling Joseph's name, though it sounds a lot like Dddd, maybe it is Jjjjj. At any rate, she makes a certain sound whenever she sees Joseph.

Anna still does not sit up on her own. She does not like to sit up. If we sit her down like that, she immediately throws herself back and flips over so she can start crawling and around. The doctor suggested I hold her less so she could learn to sit better, but she does not want to sit (and that face, who wants to put her down?). One of Anna's favorite spots is the piano bench. Our bench has a wooden ledge that connects the two ends. Anna loves to climb over the little ledge--and chew on the piano pedals. She and Abigail play really well together in the little toy kitchen area. Anna likes to chew on the wooden blocks we have, and Abigail just incorporates Anna into her imaginative play. Anna is a good sport about being prodded with a spatula or stepped over by Abigail. I think it helps that Abigail is not much heavier than Anna. 

Anna sits in her high chair and feeds herself bits almost everything we eat now, then we fill her up with some purees that Marc is quite adept at whipping up. Even Abigail wants some of the beautiful orange carrot or peach purees that Marc does.

Anna is a sweet, cuddly baby. Often we go pick up Joseph from school, she does not want to sit in the double stroller. Instead, she wants to be carried in the Bjorn while I push Abigail in the single stroller. I don't mind--she is closer to my face so I can give kisses to her head and feel her soft skin and see her lean her head back to grin--a one-tooth-grin--up at me. 

A few more photos from this month:

Anna and 4 month old Walker Kigin
At the Penrose fountain

Playing with the instruments at "Nanny Hour" at the library (us and the nannies--a good time was had by all)

Friday, September 06, 2013


I won't lie. Three children has been exponentially harder than two, for us (I know it is different for everyone--for me, #1 was crazy overwhelming, #2 was actually enjoyable, #3 was chaos unleashed).  Maybe it is because the girls are so much  closer in age than Abigail and Joseph,  maybe it is just hitting the point where we have more children than adults, maybe it is trying to juggle elementary school and toddler and infant schedules and needs, maybe it is the dreaded bedtime hour(s) during which we have what Marc calls "the family chorus" in which all three children have been known to be crying at once, or  maybe it is when they consecutively wake in the night (almost as if they conspired to do it that way)...who knows!  At any rate, I now understand why when Anna was born many of the congratulatory messages we received also included comments about being "outnumbered," going to "zone defense," and just "taking it one day at a time."

I love this picture because it captures sweet Marc trying to catch a moment's rest--just lie down where you are, put your head in the baby's bumbo seat and try to get five minutes of sleep when you can!

But it is all worth it when during those (sometimes rare) moments we see them love each other and know that we're giving these children a precious gift--siblings with whom they will share this life journey!

Monday, September 02, 2013

Wedding Get-Away

Aunt Rachel and Aunt Elizabeth stayed with our children while Marc and I went to the Delaware beach wedding of my dear friend Sarah. We owe those aunties big time!

The wedding was absolutely beautiful--perfect setting, gorgeous weather, truly inspiring ceremony, fantastic food, interesting people, fun dancing....What a fun night! And she had the most darling little nephew who joined in the bride and groom's dance!

Sarah and Bobby are a dynamite couple and I'm just so, so happy they found each other.  Sarah looked stunning and truly happy.  I remember one night after class a couple years ago when she told me about her first date with Bobby.  They've been perfect since the start!

One of my favorite parts of the wedding was that at one point in the ceremony, the officiator told us to reaffirm our love to those we loved in the congregation. Everyone in the audience went around hugging family members and sharing love. Truly beautiful. Sarah later told me that is part of the Episcopal tradition. I loved it. I'm thinking of a renewal of vows, Episcopal style, next summer for our 10 years!

The next day Marc and I leisurely wandered home, taking the scenic route through the Eastern Shore.

The kids had a total blast with Aunt Rachel and Aunt Elizabeth! Thank you!! And, Aunt Rachel showed them the movie "Tangled" so we came home to a new daughter named Rapunzel!

September 1, 2013