Friday, January 31, 2014

January Fun

Joseph's creation, which needed to be documented before it was demolished before bedtime.

Abigail and Joseph enjoy a movie on snow day

Anna loves the play kitchen

Abigail loves the little people and Rapunzel! This girl's imagination is simply amazing!

Joseph makes sure to borrow my camera to document lego creations. He has started making his own creations rather than just following the instructions.

We have loved our fireplace! The only thing we'll miss about winter!

It has been a cold winter!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fantastic Forts

In addition to snow fun, we've had a lot of cozy indoor fun on our many snow days. Joseph loves making forts with multiple chambers. The kids all love to get in together, or in their separate chambers. As fun as it is, this activity usually ends with disappointment when someone "ruins" the fort by messing up the blankets!

The car seat box from Anna's Christmas present has been a source of great fun. Joseph made it into a castle for Abigail, and all the kids have fun with it. You can't go wrong with a cardboard box!

January 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Anna's First Steps!

Anna's first steps were from my chair to her high chair while the whole family was sitting at the dinner table on Sunday night. I was telling Anna if she wanted to eat she had to go to her chair, and she walked the few steps to get there!

It really is so exciting to see a baby learn to walk! It takes a few more weeks after the initial first steps. But everyone enjoys watching her. One Saturday morning, Grandma Donna was over and we were sitting in the front room. I was sitting facing Marc, Joseph, Grandma, Abigail and Anna. Anna took a couple steps--and it was amazing how everyone's faces lit up in pure joy! From the 65 year old Grandma to the 3 year old sister. It was very sweet. There are some parts of humanity that really are universally joyful. Babies bring out some of the best of those moments.

January 26, 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Visitors and other fun

 Marc had a colleague, Paul Minett from New Zealand, come to town for a transportation conference. Paul stayed with us for over a week. The kids really enjoyed him, as did I. He is a peaceful soul who is truly kind.  He is also a diabetic vegan so I got creative with my cooking. I found some terrific recipes on the Skimpy Pantry blog that once introduced while Paul was here, have become part of our repetoire. As everyone does, Paul got a real kick out of Abigail. He said, "She's a real go-getter!"  Indeed. When Paul gave us flowers, Abigail went around telling everyone, "Paul gave me flowers" as if he were her shining prince or something. Hilarious. At the end of his visit, they chatted pretty easily. Abigail suggested if he "tried really hard," he might be able to grow hair on his (balding) head. January 9-22, 2014

I took the kids to the National Air and Space Museum on a rainy January Saturday. Joseph participated in the paper airplane making/flying contest. He even won the first contest!This grainy picture (with monster white eyes) is all I snapped of the kids (and Anna wasn't even in it!) January 11, 2014

Cousin Lucy was in town for a weekend and spent a Saturday afternoon with us. Abigail, Lucy, and Anna all had a great time. By the time Uncle John arrived, Abigail and Lucy were running laps through the house in 3-year-old bliss. January 25, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Day

We headed out to Baltimore on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday. It was a fun day. We first drove around the zoo and parts of Baltimore we'd never before seen. There is a neat urban park which reminded me of a smaller Forest Park, but it quickly deteriorated into some pretty sketchy surrounding neighborhoods. 

Then we headed over to the American Visionary Art Museum, which Marc and I promised we would try "next time" when we had our fun Baltimore get-away last summer.  To our happy surprise, they were celebrating Dr. King's birthday with free admission, birthday cake and the replaying of the "I Have a Dream Speech" footage. We enjoyed the eclectic art (Pez collection anyone?) both inside and outside.


 We also visited the freezing cold docks and then the kids rolled down Federal Hill, with its amazing views of the Inner Harbor. The Moore-Oliphant team has a great time together!

January 20, 2014

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Our 3-year-old Abigail

She is delighted throughout the day by any number of surprises. She opens her eyes wide and sucks in her breath to make a surprised noise and smile when we tell her almost anything. She brings as much energy to being upset when it is time for such feelings, with her blazing brown eyes and flip of her white blonde hair. Righteous indignation, Marc calls it. She gets that from me. She spits when she gets angry, and its effective. She might be little, but she is mighty. She sleeps the least of any of the children--she runs on nothing and we can't seem to get her to sit still long enough to fall asleep. At bedtime she will sing and dance and make believe in her bed for hours (after multiple trips to the bathroom, drinks, etc.). One night she sneaked out of her room and was found in the bathroom lining up Joseph's civil war figures along the tub, proud as she could be of her set up.
Abigail wears this dress every single day on top of her clothes.

Snuggling and reading on the couch

This girl loves chocolate! She told me even her eyes are brown because of her love of chocolate.

Wearing her blanket as a cape and eating a favorite: scrambled eggs and ketchup (some days she only eats the ketchup)

Abigail wears these "ear muffs" Joseph got at the Monster Truck Rally with Aunt Rachel. Abigail wears them while she dances to the "Joseph and the Amazing Dreamcoat" cd at full blast!

Love this girl's outfits

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wintery 2014

January 2014 has been a cold, snowy month. Joseph has been in heaven--cancelled school, delayed school, and even Marc home from work.

Our neighbors' sump pump malfunctions constantly and pumps water all over our driveway. It turns into a sheet of solid ice in these frigid temperatures. The kids enjoy "ice skating."

Joseph and his snow buddy, Drew, let Abigail help them build their snow fort on the side of the house.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Anna at 14 months

She does not like sitting in her high chair and will arch and scream when we try to put her in. She has quit eating many foods that she once loved (sweet potatoes, beans of all sorts, craisins). Sometimes she'll eat scrambled eggs, but often spits out after one bite. She spits out rice, spaghetti, bread, almost anything we try to get her to try. She is surviving on soy sausage patties and clementines. Bananas are good for her palate every other day, apparently. Anna wakes up almost every hour during the night. I've tried Advil, Orajel, sleeping on the floor in her room... It is quite exhausting. I'm really ready to turn the corner on sleep. If she's like Joseph we've only got four more months. If she's like Abigail we've got a full year ahead of this! I am the one to get up with Anna in the night, but Marc often gets her up in the morning when she wakes up bright and early at 5:30. They go down for some breakfast as I try to steal more sleep.

It is really fun though because we're entering the communication phase. She can say no and yes in the correct context. Last Sunday I made a pan of brownies that was sitting on the stove top. I was trying to feed Anna some lunch. I offered her different items. She kept saying no. Finally, I said, "What do you want?" She held out her hand and grunted, leading me into the kitchen where she pointed directly at the brownies. I cut her one and she happily got into her high chair and ate it. That is communication!  She doesn't have all the words, but I think she really knows what is going on.

She is still nursing, and will insist on it lots of places like church or playgroup. We haven't graduated to just at night and in the morning yet. But when I nurse her and those sweet blue eyes look up at me and those soft chubby cheeks beg to be stroked, all the frustrations melt away and I just fall in love with her all again. An evolutionary argument for breastfeeding, I imagine.

She also loves her family. She and Abigail are besties, even though she does not say Abigail's name yet. She puts up with Abigail directing all the play, but is learning to push back a little and insist she gets to hold one of the toy pots on her own. She likes to play with the match box cars and trains, she likes the play kitchen and utensils, she loves to pull books out of the shelf and look through them. She will bring Brown Bear over to me, but doesn't really want to sit through the whole thing. In fact, sometimes she will sit with Abigail and me when we're reading, but she wants to grab the pages and often makes reading time much harder.

She loves to laugh with the kids and be near them, whatever they are doing. One night they had gone up stairs to start the bedtime routine. Anna heard them up there and raced toward the stairs and squealed the whole way up--she was anxious to get upstairs for the sibling party time! That is one true benefit of being #3, you always have fun siblings to keep things fun.

 She adores Joseph and will start chanting his name the minute we see his school in the afternoon.I recently put up a new family picture on the mantel as well as individual portraits of each child. Anna loves to announce that she sees Daddy and squeal in delight at his picture. She joins in the other children in sheer delight when Marc returns home.

She is still crawling, but not walking. She is standing on her own a lot more now--and loves to clap and cheer for herself along with the rest of us. It really is so exciting watching a child make this transition.

Anna discovered she can climb up the tunnel at the park and was very excited. I think she really will love the independence of walking, and running and climbing... and all that follows. She also still loves to swing. I was pushing both she and Abigail side by side in the swings one day and they both just laughed and laughed. It was a fun memory.

Even though she is entering the baby mullet phase, we still think Anna is the cutest sight around!

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Marc's 34th Birthday!

Happy Birthday Marc!

I channeled Sister Murphy, aka the Sugary Shrink, and made her chocolate cake with toasted pecan and coconut filling and chocolate buttercream frosting. It was a lot of work and I lost steam by the time I got to the decorating part. It took most of the day, destroyed the kitchen, and made it so we had to downgrade dinner.  But, I think everyone thought it was worth it!

Joseph woke up early and made some birthday signs for Marc and fixed his cereal for him. Joseph is a sweet boy, always wanting to make a birthday extra special for everyone. A colleague at work organized pizza and games during lunch to celebrate Marc.

Joseph insisted we take a picture of the cake sliced, just like Sister Murphy does on her blog
January 7, 2014

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Our Sunbeam

Abigail graduated from nursery class into the children's Primary. She is in the "Sunbeam" class. She has the best teachers in the entire church, I'm sure of it. She was so excited to go!  The morning we arrived at church a little early and walked into the cultural hall where some of the 10-11 year-old boys were helping set up chairs. Joseph had been helping them with the chairs while I hung up the girls' coats. Abigail walked in ahead of me and I heard her say, "Hey guys, I'm going to be in Primary today."  Fair warning world:  here comes Abigail!

She did great on her first day! She got to go up front and help lead "Popcorn Popping" during singing time--and do all the hand motions. I got to teach Sharing Time; it is fun to be in there with her. She has enthusiasm and joins right in everything. Her teacher said it seems like she's been doing this forever.

Joseph is now in Senior Primary! I like being in the Primary with him, too.

Our Sunbeam girl and CTR 7 boy!

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Saturday Family Life

Today we went out to Prince William Forest Park. When we arrived, the kids were all hungry so Joseph and Abigail climbed into the front and ate vegetables and dip with Marc while I climbed in the back and fed sweet potato to Anna. Anna was in her new car seat, reclining like a queen in her throne. She had her black and white stripped footed jammies on and her feet were crossed at her ankles. She was so happy and comfortable. Sweet and snuggly in her carseat. We smiled at each other while she ate and I rubbed her little head and chubby cheeks. If she could have, I believe she would have purred. She was so happy and content. What a cute baby!

Since it was a Saturday morning, Marc took the kids downstairs and let me sleep in. When I did get up, Abigail greeted me with such joy--like a long lost friend! Abigail is so sweet and loving and really into our family. She is full of joy and delight and brings us smiles every single day. She always tells me we have five people, tells us we are happy family. She tells me that "we are all the girls" when I'm carrying both Anna and her. This morning she announced that I was up and hugged me and then we were in the kitchen together and she proclaims, "We're all a family; Daddy, Mommy, Anna, Abigail. We need Joseph" because he was already outside sledding. It snowed a couple inches yesterday and Joseph has been outside sledding as much as possible since. He also has prayed for "lots more snow" every prayer the last two days. He and his friend Drew are snow buddies. Even though they both live on our street, they never play together except during the snow days, during which they spend 6+ hours together a day. Yesterday, he came home with bright red cheeks and bright red ears--and sledding and "snow fort" stories galore.

The week after Christmas

Marc took off a week after Christmas. I've blogged about going to the museum, Ikea, ice skating, metroing. We also took a family bike ride on Four Mile Run trail, and spent lots of time together at home--playing with those Christmas gifts and Marc getting all kinds of things done around the house.

If I can't find Anna, I check in the cardboard castle, and she's often there!

All three love playing in the cardboard castle.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Ice Skating

We wanted to go ice skating at the outdoor rink at the Sculpture Garden. But, we couldn't find a parking spot. Literally. So, I dropped Marc and Joseph off and went home. They had a wonderful time and then caught the metro and came home where the girls and I were happy to see them and hear about their adventures.

Joseph made a ton of progress during the two-hour session, and even got a blister so I think it is officially a true ice skating experience.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year 2014!

New Year's Day morning is possibly my absolute favorite time in Washington, D.C. All is quiet, there is no traffic, parking is abundant, the city hasn't woken from its celebrating and we can have it all to ourselves for a bit.

We took the kids on a metro ride to start out our new year! What fun! We drove down to the National Mall and got a fantastic parking spot and hopped on the metro at the Smithsonian station. We rode the orange line all the way to the end of the line and then turned around and rode it back. This gave us a chance to ride above ground, under ground in the tunnels, and of course in the front car where we could see the driver (she waved at us).

This metro experience was specially crafted for Abigail. Three-years-old is the perfect age for metro delight.

For kids, the metro ride is the event--not just the mode to get to the event. After our ride, we went to the American Indian museum. I think everyone had a fun time, but it didn't compare to the metro ride!

Then, we headed clear out to I-95 to Ikea. The kids played in the kid area, we ate dinner in the cafeteria, and we shopped in what feels like a amusement park of a store.

I had to snap this photo of Anna in the awesome kiddy-seat in the bathroom stall. It is so nice to be able to strap the baby down instead of trying to balance her while unbuttoning one handed. Just saying.