Friday, May 22, 2015

BFFs (like seriously, forever)

We are so lucky to have neighbors that we adore. Their family has two girls around the same ages as our boys and the kids all go to the same school. Let me explain. These are the best kind of friends--the carpooly, cheese platey, movie nighty, never ending play daty, go on vacation togethery kinds of friends. Which I highly recommend to everyone in the world.

With our oldest and their youngest both turning eight very shortly, I just wanted to post these two pictures showing Danny and Callagh when they were just a few months old and again the other day. There is something about these two that just makes me smile (when it doesn't make me yell.) ;-)

Danny was born in late May and when Callagh was born about 2 months later, I remember we went over to our neighbor's house to wait for the family to come home with their new bundle of joy. Danny was of course only two months old and so the girls' grandmother invited me to lay him down in the new Moses basket they had gotten for the newborn. He promptly "christened it" if you know what I mean. ;-)

After a diaper change and some quick clean up, little Callagh arrived home, and so on the first day of her little life, she and Danny met. And these two second graders haven't stopped playing yet. I think that might make them official BF Forever, at least so far. Here's to the next 8 years and all the many more to follow! Love, Mommy

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring is in the Air!

There is something about springtime. Rebirth, can just feel a change in the air.

For us, life just keeps on rolling along. School, work, friends and activities. This month we took in a Nats game with our friend Elisa and her family who were visiting from California and had visits from the boys' Uncle Paul and their Pop Pop. Our big news is that we are gearing up to go on a trip in June to Germany. We go every two years as Susanne's family is mostly there and it is my fervent wish that each time we travel with the kids, it gets a little bit easier. Their new passports arrived today which made me very happy because it is just one less thing to worry about.

We are of course very interested in tomorrow's (Tuesday's) arguments at the Supreme Court regarding marriage equality. It's amazing that people have been camped out to get a spot in the courtroom since last Friday night. I know that the decision will not be announced until July, but it still feels like tomorrow is going to be a historic day in the fight for equality. Of course there is more than that topic in the news. Yesterday a terrible earthquake and aftershocks devastated Nepal and our thoughts and prayers are with all the people there. And the protests following the killing of unarmed black men by police officers are powerful and I hope causing a shift in race relations in our country.

Figured I'd add a few pictures of our two (and friends). Our Danny will turn 8 next month which is amazing to me. But looking at him at this picture riding his bike, I guess I can almost picture him at 16. Almost. ;-) Until next time! -Monica

Danny followed by his little brother circle our cul-de-sac with great enthusiasm!

What? What?

The boys and their BFFs walking on sunshine all the way up to school .the other day

Benji just monkeying around. He loves those monkey bars at our local park!

We were proud of Danny's first ever science fair. He was thrilled that a judge told him that this make him want to go home and make some paper airplanes!

Yes. We bought him some peanuts and Cracker Jacks!

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!