Thursday, June 28, 2007

Happy Day!

Ha, ha! Both of my moms are home today! What a great day. And they made a new slide show of pictures of my first month which is on the side bar.

Do you think they'll do this every month? I mean it's going to be really embarrassing when I'm in 7th grade don't you think?

Have a great day everybody. I sure am!!!!! -D

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Eh, eh, eh, eh. EH, EH, EH, EH! Danny has the funniest way of crying. He does these short staccato bursts which sound sort of like “hey” without the “h”.

Each series is about a half step higher than the last one, and his volume generally increases incrementally as well. We can usually tell when he’s going to “serenade” us by watching his little face begin to scrunch up. As I mentioned before he’s pretty mellow except for when he’s hungry or needs a new diaper. Lately we think he’s going through a bit of a growth spurt as he seems to be able to eat a ton and then before too long we hear the little “eh, eh, eh, eh” begin again. Since we are usually pretty quick to attend to his needs this doesn’t go on for too long.

He’s definitely putting on weight which is wonderful and now, to even better serve his every need, Su’s been able to pump her breast milk so I get to feed him too in the evening when I come home from work. It kind of cracks me up because he gets this look of wonder on his face that something SO delicious could be coming from a bottle. And as he stares lovingly into my eyes, I think he suspects that I am sort of a Goddess ;-)

But then we both sort of glance over at Susanne and we both know who the real Goddess is!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Yippie Skippy!

Only 3 minutes, 32 seconds until I get to go home and see Susanne and Danny. Only 3 minutes 21 seconds until I get to go home and see Susanne and Danny (hmmm…I wonder if I can improve my time by copying and pasting?)

Only 3 minutes, 17 seconds until I get to go home and see Susanne and Danny. Only 3 minutes, 15 seconds until I get to go home and see Susanne and Danny. Yup.

Time to gather up my things and skip on home! –Monica

P.S. And yes I know I look ridiculous skipping down the streets of Washington, DC.

Friday, June 22, 2007

It's almost like swimming!

Although he is trying to deny it in this picture, Danny really does like bathtime. Our neighbor Taj give us the cutest little baby bathtub she used with her boys when they were little, and Danny can sort of swing in a hammock, partially immersed in water while we merrily clean him up.

We do the bathtub/baby massage routine every few days. But if you think about it, how dirty can a 3 week old baby get?

And we have a new tradition. My dad used to love an Irish Folk singer named Mary O'Hara and I ended up with his CD of her music after he passed away in 2002. We've been using that music for bathtime and are happy to have started a great (and meaningful) tradition for our little guy. She even sings the Gartan Mother's Lullaby which is one of my all time favorites! As my dad would have said, by the time he's finished with his bath, we have the "cleanest baby in the whole wide world!" ;-)

This weekend we have the best plans of all--no plans! Hope everyone else has a great weekend. I'm looking forward to the best two days ever! -Monica

Thursday, June 21, 2007

For the love of...

So my moms keep going on and on about what a quiet baby I am. You know, how "so far" I only really make a lot of noise when I need a diaper change or when I'm hungry. Okay, I admit it. I'm a pretty mellow guy. "SO FAR!"

But if the truth were to be told, it's not that I'm really so quiet, it's that I'm finding it hard to get a word in edgewise. Have you met my mommy? Now my mama is more like me--sort of on the quiet side, but mommy (the one with the red hair) whewww...can she talk!

What's a guy gotta do to get a little rest around here??? -Love, Danny (my "first" blog post!)

P.S. Oh, what I meant to say is that I adore the sounds of both my moms' voices.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Speaking of Children...

So recently I've been thinking back to a lazy Saturday years ago when my best friend David and I spent the day discussing a wonderful book I’d never heard of before called “The Prophet”. It was written by Kahlil Gibran, a poet, philosopher and artist originally from Lebanon and I loved it.

For some reason today I was compelled to look up again what Gibran wrote through his character the Prophet about his insights on children. I guess really had no recollection at all as to what he would have written, but as I suspected, I was once again delighted. Maybe you will be too?

And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said,
"Speak to us of Children." And he said:

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


What better way to say thank you to a group of co-workers who send a box of gifts than to take a picture of your baby surrounded by them? Then send them all an e-mail with the pic attached? I thought it was clever.

Here our little Danny waves thanks to Meg and Dagne and Lois and Janet and Doris. Thanks everybody! The book "Tuesday" is like nothing I'd ever seen before. It hasn't got one word in it. Apparently you have to use your imagination to describe what is going on. Frogs are flying everywhere! What will they think of next?

So you may be wondering how my first (and now my second) day back to work is going? Okay I guess. Apparently Danny was awake the entire morning on Monday. He wasn't crying or anything. Just cooing and looking around. I deduced that it must bore him to have me home ;-)

Susanne is keeping busy but seemed very happy to see me when I got home last night. Come to think of it, we all seemed very happy to see each other when I got home last night! Only 1.5 more hours and I'll get to do it again! CIAO! -Monica

Monday, June 18, 2007

So Blessed...

This past few weeks we've been so amazed by the generosity of our family and friends in terms of the gifts we've gotten for little Danny. With so many people contributing a thing or two we've pretty much got everything we could possibly need (or gift cards to get what we haven't thought of yet.) We feel very blessed.

This whole lovely experience has got me thinking about the power of collectivism. After I finished my Peace Corps service I studied intercultural relations in graduate school and learned a great deal about how different value systems really shape how we see the world and live together in the world.

Once a U.S, college student told me a story about going on a trip to Ireland where she visited pubs with her new Irish friends. She was very impressed by how whenever one friend would smoke the friend would offer everyone there a cigarette. (This was back before smoking was outlawed in public places in Ireland.) Anyway, she'd happily accepted this gift and yet when she wanted to smoke she'd sort of sneak one out of her own pack without offering. She figured if people wanted to share that was their choice. She remembered thinking she'd go broke and have no cigarettes at all if she shared her meager supply so her behavior was logical to her then.

She soon found out that her new friends were miffed with her and thought she was quite selfish. She didn't understand that in a lot of culture, when people all share what they have then everybody gets something each and every time. But when one person plays by different "rules" it messes everything up. She valued individualism and then valued collectivism. It was an interesting story and lesson she shared.

I do see a beauty is collectivism. Some say the story of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes was really not a miracle of creating something from nothing, rather it was the miracle of inspiring everyone to open their coats which concealed their hidden treasures in order to share with everybody. I like that interpretation.

Perhaps this is why the idea of socialized medicine and universal health care appeal to me so much. We have so much wealth in our nation but so many have no access to any of it.

When I was a kid I rember going to Burger King and being shocked to notice that the same little container of milk like we got every day in our classroom for 2 cents cost 50 cents at Burger King. I was outraged! "Dad, look at this! What a rip off! Why are they charging so much money?" Dad explained to me that the 2 cents we paid at school every day was actually made available through subsidies. Burger King was charging what it really cost them (with I'm sure some profit) but without government subsidies, many children in our public schools could not have afforded their morning milk. This resonated with me.

I also remember my mom telling us that even people who didn't have kids paid for the school buses through their taxes. That was a new idea to me. I thought at the time that you'd only pay for the stuff that would benefit you personally. I think both of my parents helped me learn important lessons and I thank them both for that.

Susanne and I look forward to sharing things like this with our son too. A friend we know who is a Lutheran Pastor once told me that it's far better to see a sermon than to listen to one. Amen to that I say. -Monica

Friday, June 15, 2007

Awww...back to work I go soon...

Danny and Susanne and I have really had fun these past 3 weeks but now it's almost time for me to head back to work. I'm hoping to change my schedule to what we call and Alternate Work Schedule in the federal government so that every other week I'll get to have a day off. Of course this means working 9 hours instead of 8 most of the other days, but we think that having a 3 day weekend together every two weeks will be great.

Since my job in downtown DC is only about a 20 minute ride on the metro from our house (or a 15 minute drive) we have a great idea to have lunch all together downtown once a week. Hey...what about Monday? ;-)

Danny and I read "On the Day You Were Born" together for the first time yesterday. Although he looks completely immersed in my storytelling in this picture, we suspect that he was just trying to figure out a way to get the whole book into his mouth. ;-)

Alrighty then. Time to give my undivided attention to my little guy and my wonderful partner for a few more days. Have a great weekend everybody! -Monica

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Oh the places we'll go!

Lest anyone think that the only thing we blog about any more is our little 2 week old son, rest assured that is not the case. As a matter of fact, today I will blog about some of the wonderful places that we will one day take Danny.

Hey Danny, your mama took this picture a year ago when we took a trip to Peru. It was taken in a beautiful convent in Arequipa called Santa Catalina. When you get a bit older you can even climb tall mountains and stuff. Yes, I think you'll like Peru!

And when your mama and I went to Europe in 2004 with our moms (AKA your grandmothers) we visited all the family in Germany of course, but also had great fun visiting Ireland. Maybe we'll go there again too. Wait til you see the Cliffs of Mohr! You think it's windy here in DC? Just you wait little guy!

Of course there are tons of places we haven't even been to yet. I guess we'll have to wait until the day comes that you can talk to us and you'll let us know where you want to go. And no Danny, the Good Humor Ice Cream Truck is not a country. ;-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

For Wendy

So yesterday Su and I took the baby to Su's workplace to meet her very excited co-workers. Always funny Wendy was at the front of the line to get to hold him and excitedly blurted out that "your blog is really interesting now that Daniel has come along!"

I proudly agreed that of course it was, and then found myself wondering how boring it really had been before ;-) She was sufficiently mortified by how her comment came out, so today's blog entry is dedicated to Wendy. Here's what it's all about. Adorable baby pictures! Heeeerrrreeeessssss....DANNY!!!!!

P.S. Special bonus pic of Grandpa and grandson sizing each other up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Top 5 things I'm grateful for today...

5. Danny is back to his birth weight and we don't have to wake him up in the night to make sure he's getting enough to stay hydrated. Apparently he is doing just fine in that regard.

4. Susanne has been making a remarkable recovery from her C-section. She's not even taking her pain medication any more can do just about everything (except lift heavy things and drive our clutch.) She's also losing her weight really rapidly as you can see in this photo--in fact she now weighs less than me. Again. (You go honey!)

3. SO FAR...we've not had any long crying jags to deal with. We know that this is a distinct possibility, but these first few weeks of adjustment have been really calm.

2. I'm grateful that the midwives at the DC Birth Center are awesome. Yes--I'll be eternally grateful for that.

1. Drumroll please... I'm beyond grateful for the fact that my beautiful wife Susanne and our son are both amazing, wonderful, lovely and healthy. Yes, I am grateful and blessed. -Monica

Monday, June 11, 2007

What a beautiful day!

It's about 9:00 in the morning here in DC and the weather is gorgeous. After enduring a stifling hot Friday and Saturday, things have cooled off considerably and it's now about 70 degrees and breezy. Ahhh... Danny is downstairs having a bite to eat with mama (ummm...perhaps I shouldn't use the word "bite" to describe the ingestion of nutrition by a 2 week old breast fed baby?)

Susanne and I are really enjoying this time we have home together with Danny. It's fun to sort of amble through our days slowly. Our flow of visitors has continued and this weekend friends Wilfredo and Paul who LOVE babies came and held Danny for about two hours and yesterday Su's best friend Rachel who she met in junior high stopped by after getting over her cold last week. She was lucky to catch him at his most alert and playful. What a baby! I keep thinking of the book Charlotte's Web. Some Baby! Terrific! We continue to be delighted by his funny faces and I've decided that when he looks at us, it's as though he is an "old soul" and has wisdom beyond his years (er...days).

On Sunday we took Danny on a little "Rainbow Tour" down the block and visited some neighbors. One couple who are both octogenarians regaled us with stories of taking care of babies (the husband was one of 16!) and overall it was a very fun outing. Our other neighbors have an almost two year old who is enthralled by Danny and our cat Harley. She just goes from one to the other alternately petting each and smiling!

Today we'll return to Danny's pediatrician's office to have a weigh in, and also follow up on his jaundice. Since he's been eating really well and, shall we say, expelling his body fluids quite regularly, we're pretty optimistic that his bilirubin count will be excellent.

So...until next time, I'm off to enjoy this marvelous day with my two favorite people! -Monica

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Moonlight seranade

Little Danny didn' t even know yet that his uncle Paul is an amazing guitar player. Here Danny is treated to "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" which made him just relax into grandma's arms. Awwwww....

Friday, June 08, 2007

Family Fun

Little Danny is doing great and is currently being adored by grandma (Monica's side this time) and uncle Paul. They traveled in from MN yesterday for a brief stay. Grandpa (Su's side) will be in town today too. Yes, the adoration doesn't seem to end which is very nice.

Danny continues to delight us. Seems that from around 9 am - 11 am he's most awake and cracks us up with his explorations of the world around him (at least with his eyes). Yesterday we took him to a baby massage class which was very fun. Since Su is breastfeeding him we thought it might be fun for me to have my own special ritual with him and he seemed to love it. We focused on legs, feet and mostly tummies yesterday. The funniest part though was when the instructor had the parents all just undo the sides of their babies' diapers to do a gentle massage of their bums at the end and I got to thinking that the "oil" on my hand seemed really warm and runny. Oopps. It was also not oil if you get my drift ;-)

You've gotta love babies. We sure do! Su and I are SO blessed!!! -Monica

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

CJ makes a break for freedom...

So yesterday while I was hanging out on the couch with our little guy reading the paper I heard a "sort of loud" sound coming from the next room. I figured one of our cats had done something and as it turns out I was right. Seems the little birds on the first floor deck right outside the window were taunting CJ. We'd noticed the screen there was starting to tear just a little bit and would need repair at some point, but I never imagined our cat would burst though. I imagine she looked like a high school football player bursting on to the field running through a big banner.

As Danny and I pondered what the loud noise might have been I was soon distracted by his loveliness and it took another 5 minutes or so to wander into the next room with the baby. EGADS! I quickly called Su to hold the baby, corralled our big boy cat Harley to make sure he didn't also try to run out and soon got out the door onto the deck. CJ with her 5 minute long opportunity at freedom was just hanging out. I think she seemed glad to see me.

Whew... I told Danny he could expect plenty of antics from those two. Our little guy is now 9 days old and we've settled into a nice routine. Yesterday he even had his first trip to Target as we returned some duplicate gifts we'd gotten. He seemed awfully darn content. We even have a few photos to share now of Danny's First Week. Enjoy! The other thing we did in his first week was to take 5 seconds of video of him on the couch next to one of Su's old stuffed animals--a cute little bear. We'll repeat the 5 second clip every month (on the same tape obviously) and in about a year it will be fun to watch our "Watch Danny Grow" video. He is definitely dwarfed now by the bear. I wonder at what age he'll pass it up?

Anyway, I'm enjoying the 3 weeks that I've taken off work very much. Especially since Su is breastfeeding and gave birth to him, she has a bond with him that is unique and special (and a joy to watch). So I think this intensive amount of time he's been getting to know me in these first few weeks is important too. He definitely responds to my voice, ESPECIALLY my silly songs ;-) Have I mentioned how much we love our little boy? Have a great day everyone. -Monica

Monday, June 04, 2007

Our Little Blue Light Special

Little Danny seems to be quite a draw. Su’s mom is in town until tomorrow and then later in the week my mom and brother plan to fly in for a short visit. Oh… and you may be wondering how our cats are handling his arrival? CJ the little girl cat couldn’t be more aloof. She hasn’t gone anywhere near him. And Harley came over for a little sniff the first day we came home, but when Danny yawned Harley jumped back and raced out of the room. Now he likes to sit wherever Su is feeding Danny and sort of keep guard I guess. It’s all very cute!

Our Danny ended up having what a lot of babies have—jaundice. The word comes from the French word for yellow I believe, and basically it refers to the yellow color of the skin and the whites of the eyes caused by bilirubin in the blood.

Although it’s fairly common, it can be a concern if the bilirubin level gets too high so in addition to very regular feeding to increase hydration and help pass it from the body, often babies are treated with phototherapy - treatment with a special light (usually blue) that helps rid the body of the bilirubin by altering it or making it easier for the liver to get rid of it. We first noticed when Danny was 2 days old that he seemed to be getting a bit yellow and blood tests confirmed it. So…here is our little guy in his space-aged “bili bed” which the hospital had us use for the first 24 hours or so of treatment. (Cute pic huh? Think maybe he'll become an astronaut one day? His grandma thinks so ;-)

He later ended up in the nursery under even stronger lights except for when we had him out for his feedings. He handled being under the big lights without too much fuss and on Friday he got the green light to come home—yeah! Today we visited his pediatrician for the first time and according to her he’s looking great. He gained some weight which is great too! I’m in our living room on my laptop with Daniel right next to me swaddled tight and making faces like he’s blowing bubbles. Happy Day! -Monica

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Crowding one week old already!

It’s hard to imagine one that a week ago today we were just having a regular old Sunday. We read the paper, went to church and for some reason decided that it would be great to go to a “greasy spoon” sort of restaurant to eat. We found a place on U street that totally fit the bill and ate a really great breakfast of eggs, hash browns, toast, bacon etc… Then all we had left for the day was a long-planned baby shower being thrown by our neighbor at 3:00.

Little did we know that Su’s bag of waters had already broken and that Danny would be with us before too long. Fortunately at 38 weeks a baby is considered full term so we were very excited to learn we'd meet our little guy sooner rather than later. Of course we had no idea that we’d have a son. We purposely did not find out the baby’s gender when we had our ultrasounds, but it just seemed that every old wives tale including the “ring on a chain dangled over the mama’s pregnant belly” pointed to us having a girl. So were we surprised? Yes. Were we disappointed? No way. It’s fantastic!

I’m not sure when Su will post the longer saga of Danny’s birth so I’ll let her do the honors, but I will let you all know that our natural birth plan at our local birth center went perfectly until the very last stage of labor. It’s a long story but we were transported to Washington Hospital Center where our baby was delivered via C-section. As Su mentioned earlier, it wasn’t the birth we imagined but the final outcome was more than we could ever have dreamed of! I think we are both still processing everything and have both been moved to tears at different times this week. They are tears of joy and gratefulness. We both feel SO blessed!

Danny has so far proven to be a sweet little guy. Maybe all parents believe that their babies are how shall I say?—perfect?—but really he’s amazing. I guess all newborns are intoxicating. All of our senses are so aware of every part of Danny. I really “get” that gazing at your baby for hours thing now. I love watching him watching us watching him. Sometimes for fun he'll open just one eye which makes us call him our little pirate "aaarrrggg!" He seems to love hearing us chatter and sing to him (when we are not cooing at him like love sick little morning doves!) He even smiles at times which is ADORABLE although I've been told this is just a wee bit of gas. No matter, he's freaking ADORABLE! He seems to disdain getting his diaper changed though. Like he thinks we're going to let that go if he complains enough? Funny little fellow eh?

As I write, Su and Danny are sleeping upstairs. We’ve been up every couple of hours with him and as much as I wish I could help Su with the feeding part, right now that’s not something I can do. (Not that it’s stopped our boy from trying to latch onto lots of parts of me! ;-) There will be plenty of time to help with feeding him expressed milk later. The breast feeding has been going great. The hardest part I think has been for Susanne to get moved into either a good sitting or lying position at times. Having the C-Section was major abdominal surgery and although she is healing well, it still really hurts to move in certain ways. This too will pass of course, but I’m just trying to do everything I can to help her get up or shifted properly. Gosh, one thing about hospital beds—they can really do that work for you!

Alrighty then I hear the family stirring upstairs. Time to go. I'm excellent at changing diapers and swaddling now. I wonder if I can put that on my resume? Have a great day everybody! –Monica

P.S. There really are more photos on the way, including some that feature his lovely dark hair!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

If you're happy and you know it...

Su is going to publish a detailed account of the story of "birthing Danny", but for now we are happy to share a moment that makes us both smile. It's our family finally getting to go home from the hospital yesterday. That feels nice to say, "our family". Danny is the littlest one lest there is any confusion! ;-) -Monica

We're Home!!!

Finally! After a long week we were finally able to bring Danny home from the hospital on Friday afternoon and have now spent about 24 hours getting settled in. As we're sure you've noted from the picture, Danny is absolutely perfect, and we are SOOO happy to have him here with us. As you'll be guessing from the mention of "hospital" and the fact that it has taken us five days to write our next post, Danny's arrival and first few days weren't quite what we imagined they would be. I did start writing up the birth story and will try to post it shortly to fill you in on all of the details. For the moment though, let me just say again how grateful we are for Danny's healthy and happy arrival, for all of the fantastic well-wishes we've gotten from all our family and friends, and in particular how grateful I am for Monica and all of her love and support, her hard work and her great blog posts over the past week and over the past nine months! Thank you, honey! --Susanne