Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy 5th Birthday to Our Handsome Young Son

Our birthday tradition is to open presents in the morning upon awakening. Here Benji gets his first present, a treasured (and powerful) Pokemon card from Danny. It was a little dogeared, but very sweet and Benji loved it!

My dad always used to call my brothers his "handsome young sons", and I find myself saying the same kind of thing sometimes - "Benjamin my son, my handsome young son." Of course nowadays you're not really supposed to give praise based on beauty, rather on capabilities or character. I do agree that as a culture we tend to praise boys and girls differently, often commenting on how "pretty" and "adorable" girls are while using words like "tough" or "active" for boys, so I do try to be aware of the kind of language I use, but for today, in honor of my dad and my newly minted 5 year old, I think I'll just stick with "Benjamin my son, my handsome young son!"

For those who still visit this blog, you may recall that last month was a pretty tough one for Benji. He was sick from Nov. 12th - 26th which is a really long time. He's been a lot better since then (not including yesterday's nausea and fever) so we are just about back to normal.

He turned 5 just yesterday so last weekend we threw a Teenage Mutant Teenage Turtle Movie Matinee party at our house. We borrowed a projector and played the movie across a whole wall in the basement and it was great fun!

Then yesterday he got open his presents from us, his favorite being a DS that his Nana got for him. It's the same kind Danny got a few years ago and he is delighted.

When I pulled out the Happy Birthday banner that I'd gotten at Value Village (a local thrift store) I was pretty surprised to see that it was actually a Happy Boss's Day banner. Decided to leave it up as Benji can be quite bossy sometimes. ;-)  Here are a few pics from the past few days. Time now to get ready for Christmas! Have a great day everyone!

My "Happy Birthday" oops banner.

Oh yeah! A Nintendo DS!

Parallel play with their Nintendo DS players. It's nice when they can get along. ;-)
And what's not to like about a clock that doesn't need batteries--just fruits or vegetables for power!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

When a "rough day" turns into a rough two weeks...

Being sick for going on two weeks landed Benji in hot water. Actually water with dextrose and saline. He had some tests to rule out some really scary possibilities which is a huge relief. Getting IV fluids for a few hours really helped him feel a lot better--at least for now. Hoping that the worst is now past and he's on the road to wellness. -Monica

UPDATE: I am such an optimist. This illness will go down in history in our family. We traveled to SC to the boys' grandmother's house and he got even sicker. Benji ended up in the ER there because of bad stomach pain to go along with his long term illness. Turns out he also has an ear infection. Thanksgiving Day itself resulted in yet another call to the advice nurse. Glad that November has now come and gone. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

"I'm having a rough day" (which resulted in a rough night)

Actually sleeping at home while the sun is still up? Definitely sick.
So last night before going to bed Benji seemed particularly sluggish and in fact begged off eating supper and went to the couch while the rest of us ate. I was pretty shocked when he fell asleep, but that was my first clue that he was indeed, in his own words "having a rough day".

We carried him up and after using the bathroom he quietly crawled into bed. Clue number two.

My prediction that he might really be sick came true at about 1:00 am when he at least had time to yell out "I think I'm going to gawk!" (A favorite word for barf around here.) And gawk he did, poor, poor guy. But at least he make it to the toilet to do so.

I made a little makeshift bed for him on our floor and laid down with him. He was very good about using the bowl when he needed to but it was pretty hard for me to get much rest after this trying to be alert to the coughing that would precede the next round.

And of course all this commotion woke up Danny so that was also a bit complicated trying to get him to settle back down to sleep in his own bed.

We kept Benji home from school today and the good news was that the "gawking" stopped in the morning (I am pretty sure that's the end of it but who knows?). The bad news was though that then he started having some trouble on his other end. I will spare you the details, but let's just say, there is a load of clothes in the washer right now with super hot water and super strong disinfectants.

We figure it's just a stomach bug and will pass, but it's so odd seeing Benji with so little energy. This is the kid who has not napped at home here since 2012 or something like that. All day today he was pretty lethargic, but wouldn't dream of napping until about 10 minutes ago. He was talking to me about something and I looked over and he was out for the count.

Hopefully he will be feeling much better after having some supper in a few hours and a full night's sleep. Finger's crossed! -Monica

P.S. Laying bets on who will be next. I'm betting his brother. Oh joy.

UPDATE: So, how silly of me to think that this was a 24 hour bug. Benji proceeded to gawk in the night on Wed., Sat., Mon. and Tues. And continued with the diarrhea. After speaking with the doc, we did get him in to see her just to rule out other possibilities like a head injury or even a central nervous system prob, but after examining him, her thought is that the poor guy had more than one viral infection at the same time. Danny also got sick one night in the middle of all of this which was actually reassuring to the doc as that pointed to a viral bug. As Benji's nose seemed to run a lot after his episodes, she also thought he might be having some post nasal drip causing him to gag so last night we propped his pillow more than usual and ran a moist air humidifier. He slept beautiful all night. Halleluia! One thing I'll say for Benji though, after that first day of being wiped out, the rest of this illness he has had a lot of energy. Now I'm recovering from all he energy spent with him during his illness. Yawn. But so grateful he is okay!!!!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Don't Give Up on Us Baby...

Seriously. Don't give up on our blog! I fully intend to keep it going. Time just has a way of making mince meat out of my plans. The last time I posted was after our really fun summer reunion which was way back in July. Since then, we enjoyed the last of summer and jumped right into the school year. Danny is in second grade now where reading and math dominate his world right now--in both Spanish and English.

Benji at age 4 is still in Pre-K and doesn't have homework, so we have him work in an age appropriate workbook while Danny gets his nightly work done, both to keep him busy, and so he won't distract his brother.

In the meanwhile, we've been keeping busy with cub scouts and ball games and other random stuff. I'll write more later, but for now, here are a few photos from the last few months. Ciao! -Monica

The joy of victory and the agony of defeat at the PG County fair.
2nd grade, here he comes!
Pre-K again?
The Nationals last home game. A no hit shutout that was amazing to witness!
Equal opportunity sports fans. With friends at a DC United game where they clinched the playoffs.
At Jane's Island on the Maryland's eastern shore we took a canoe to a sandbar.
Guess who?
Danny and his classmate and fellow Cub Scout had a great time camping this weekend!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Reunion Fun in the Sun!

Our trip to the Outer Banks last month to meet up with 30+ relatives was great fun! If a picture paints 1000 words, then here's a little slide show (about 4 minutes long) that should say it all.

Just click on the photo below and then the slide show. Kudos to my amazing wife Susanne who took most of these pictures. Extra bonus--when the music ends there are a few classic family photos too.

We've got a pretty great family if I do say so myself! Enjoy! -Monica

Shaugnessy Strong -  A good assortment of the Mills, Terry and Houlihan descendants

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

In the top row in the center is Mary Shaughnessy (my mom called her Nana Shaky--(rhymes with Rocky). She is surrounded by her 5 daughters. Her oldest was Ella (bottom left), second oldest was Madeline (lupper left). Next was Mary Burnadette (lower right). The two youngest were Sarah (Sally) lower middle, and Jane (Jennie) upper right. So clockwise starting with Nana Shaky (center) are Jennie, Mary B., Sally, Ella and Madeline. 

This weekend the descendants of these lovely women on my mom's side of the family will descend upon the Outer Banks for a reunion. It has been a long time since our family has gotten together and actually the last time an event (in the 1990s) was planned the cousin who was going to host it unexpectedly died a few days before everyone's arrival. So instead of a reunion, they got a funeral.

I fully expect that this year's reunion will be better! More pics to come from the festivities. Have a great day! -Monica

Monday, July 07, 2014

It Really Was a Happy 4th of July!

Hello! We just had a awesome weekend with some fun visitors, a parade, lots of pool time and a visit to watch our Washington Nationals win! And the cherry on top of it all was a chance to see the DC fireworks from the rooftop of my office building downtown.

As beautiful as it was though, it was extremely loud and that really threw Danny for a loop. (The pic below captures his feelings on the whole thing very well.)

He was very brave though, and after we stepped inside for a few minutes after the booming began, he acquiesced to being led outside again to enjoy the amazing view. Benjamin had sympathy pains and cried along with him although I suspect he wasn't much bothered by the noise.

It was like a 3 D movie the way that the fireworks exploded so near to us. You felt like you could almost reach out and touch them! If you click on this picture you can see a fun 30 second long slide show of some of the other highlights of our 4th of July! Bye now.