Thursday, March 26, 2015

March just marched on by!

We've had a busy month here for sure. We finally had a new kitchen floor and back door installed, and then decided to add some new counter tops and a back splash while we were at it. We are really happy about everything (including a new breakfast counter where we can put stools) but having construction like this done just seems to throw everything off kilter.

Picking tiles and the backs splash turned out to be very stressful experiences for both me and Susanne and I'm glad we should not have to do that again for the next 50 year. Or at least that is my hope!

Our refrigerator was in the dining room and we had no access to our stove or dishwasher for a few weeks. It was definitely cathartic to get thing all put back in their places again! But again, we are so pleased with all the changes!

Just a glimpse of the overall wonderful changes to our kitchen.
This month we also took a wonderful weekend trip with our best friends to New Germany State Park in Maryland. The cabins we rented were remodeled and had wood burning fireplaces and it was, as always a ton of fun.The kids even performed an Easter skit they made up that, as always, cracked us all up.

Josie, Callagh, Danny and Benji enjoy lunch with Nana Jo and Papa!
Soccer has started up again, Danny's rehearsing for his school musical, Cub Scout rocks on, Benji has learned how to ride his bike, and it seems like there is never a dull moment here.

Sometimes I do wish for a dull moment. ;-)

Anyway, have a great day everyone! -Monica

Friday, February 20, 2015

Best time to go to the dentist? 2:30 (Tooth Hurty)

Well this didn't really require a trip to the dentist, but last week one of Danny's loose top front teeth finally came out. It had been loose forever so we were very excited.

We were all on the couch watching America's Funniest Home Videos (which we normally do on Sunday nights), and he was, of course, jumping around. He smacked his mouth on the back of my wrist and jumped right up yelling "my tooth!" Sure enough it was gone. A mad scramble ensued to find the missing tooth on the couch and he was so happy, mostly because it didn't really hurt nor bleed very much.

Now if we can just get that other front tooth out. It's been loose for a REALLY long time! -Monica

P.S. Our tooth fairy brings silver half dollars. Fun to look at and put in piggy banks.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Be Still My Heart

Last night Susanne had an odd sound in her voice when she asked me to come downstairs for a call. Our good friend Becky was calling to say that our amazing friend David had suffered a heart attack.

It has been an emotional 24 hours. Dave and I met on our first day of Peace Corps a long time ago and have a special bond. He is a single gay dad with two beautiful children--twins just 2 years old.

He is now conscious and speaking,  and we are all praying for his complete recovery.

I would say "be still my heart" but as David,  an amazing teacher would say, "rephrase!"

Here is a pic of him with his kids celebrating their first birthday.  And here is a link to a short and very fun slide show from his big Five Oh this summer.

Prayers for his full recovery! -Monica

UPDATE: 1/23/15 - He is improving and hopefully will move out of the ICU tomorrow! Words cannot express how happy I am!!!!!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Happy 2015! Oh Yeah!

Danny enjoying some New Year's Disco Madness!
I can hardly believe that it is 2015. We are chugging along here. Benji is finally (cross all fingers and toes) healthy again. He did end up with an infection in a tooth that then needed to be pulled on the last day of the year--just icing on the cake in terms of his overall health the past two months. So far in 2015, he's healthy as can be though, and let's just hope it stays that way!

We had a fun evening on New Year's with our friends Rachel and Jeff and even pulled out our cool "disco ball" bulb that spins and makes funky colors everywhere and danced to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. We did the same thing with them last year and I like to think that we have a new tradition! Both families have two little boys and they definitely enjoyed playing together. In case you didn't know, other kid's toys are basically SHINY NEW TOYS, so again, it was fun.

Taking a little break with Mommy.
We had a good Christmas too. This pic was taken at the Willard Hotel at the very start of the holiday season when we spent the day after Thanksgiving with one of my former students, Amelia, and her family when they came to DC. First we went to see A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theater which was great fun and then strolled around town before dinner. We landed here at The Willard Hotel and then later went to dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill. A wonderful way to start the Christmas season!

At the Willard Hotel. One of us is not happy. ;-)
One of Susanne's gifts this year was tickets for all of us, including her mom, to go and see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Kennedy Center. It was a wonderful performance. We all know the songs as we've watched the DVD many times and, well, it was a pleasure to see. We've got to do stuff like that more often.

Susanne on the right with her mom and the boys right before we saw the show.

And for the final event of our holiday season, we hosted our favorite "Peace Corps buddies" for our annual White Elephant Party. Look what Benji got. Rut Roh!

Life sized Candy Cane. Stop the madness!
That's it for now. Happy New Year everyone. Onward and upward!!! -Monica

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!!!!