Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Question: Who's going to be a happy camper?

Of course Danny will not be nearly as interested in the smores as we'll be. He'll just be happy that campsites generally tend to be breastfeeding friendly! He's gonna love camping I predict.

And I'm guessing he'll be just about as useful at setting up the tent as I am. ;-) -Monica

Monday, July 30, 2007

We're tripping...

Does anyone else out there get stressed trying to plan a trip? Susanne and I love to travel. We get practically doe-eyed just imagining fun trips to distant lands—in fact, one of the very first things we did after Danny was born was to get him a passport. (It arrived in the mail just two weeks after submitting the application by the way which was a real shocker.)

So…what was I talking about? Travel? No that wasn’t it. Ah yes, stress.

You see, when it comes to actually making the reservations and committing to the dates of travel etc…our doe-like eyes become a bit satanic. There are so many things to consider. And now that we’ve got our little guy, we’d really like to get to wherever we are going in the shortest time possible. Easier said than done.

Case in point. This fall we plan to go visit family in Germany. What fun! Except how many airlines in the whole world do you think travel directly from the Capital of the United States of America to Frankfurt, Germany? That would be one. United. So our options are a 17+ hour flight on another airline with at least one stop (mainly in London-I shudder at that scenario) or an 8 hour flight on United. And of course, not all airlines charge full fare for infants, but United does. Full fare! Even if they are lap babies!

Let’s see…if we mortgaged the house, cashed out our retirement plan... Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. But until we come up with a better idea, we’ll be traveling to Berlin. Berlin, Maryland that is. I’ll fill you in on how this saga gets resolved later. -Monica

Friday, July 27, 2007

Congratulations Neighbors!!!!!

Welcome to the world little Calla! We are so excited for our dear neighbors who gave birth yesteday to a gorgeous little girl. Calla weighed in a bit over 9 pounds so it was fun to see her next to 2-month old Danny. They look about the same size, but oh how precious the sights, sounds and touch of a newborn! Susanne and I both marveled at how soft and sweet she was. Awwwww.... (don't worry Danny, you're still precious too ;-)

Calla's older sister Josie who is almost 2 now, was born 3 weeks early, while Calla came a week late. What a difference a month makes. Dad remarked that it took Josie 3 months to weigh what her sister did at birth. Whew!

Josie is going to love having a baby sister--once she gets used to it. Congrats again neighbors. Ya done good!!!!! -Monica and Susanne and Danny

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Vanity of Vanities

So we all have veins, but are we all vein about our veins? Good question. As a redhead with rather fair skin, I’ve managed to stay pretty pasty white throughout the years, and about 10 years ago, I noticed some insidious blue spider-like veins on both my legs. So whenever I’d sit down in shorts, in my “oh so ladylike” crossed-legged position, I was constantly reminded that I have insidious blue spider-like veins.

Ten years ago I decided that this just wouldn’t do, and I met with a dermatologist who specialized in laser and sclera therapies. He zapped those little capillaries with a laser and true to his word, the ones he zapped never came back. But he did mention that new ones might someday make an appearance. Apparently these veins and capillaries aren’t really functional anymore anyway, and by treating them you destroy them and your body gleefully swooshes them away over time.

Fast forward to now. Yes, for a while now I’ve been aware that my new “little buddies” have made themselves at home in pretty much the same places as my spider veins of old. So, cleverly remembering my doctor’s name, I contacted his office and went for a consultation today.

He recommended the sclera therapy (saline injections) this time for a few reasons (more veins than capillaries involved this time around) and I got to watch him put the solution in. This was very different than having a laser trace the vessels to sort of “burn” the underlying tissues. It was AMAZING. The network of dark purple blood vessels magically disappeared before my eyes, as the injected solution traveled much like water spreading through the roots of a tree.

They haven’t disappeared permanently yet though. My body will have to heal and flush out the now destroyed vessels, so in a month or so I should see real improvement. Right now it just looks like a whole network of bruises. But for those magical moments the purple lines were filled with clear solution--it was SO cathartic. It’s not cheap however and most definitely my insurance doesn’t cover it. But Susanne and I decided that if this bit of cosmetic surgery would make me feel better, than once every 10 years of so we can go for it.

I don’t think I’m too vein really (you should see my wardrobe and my messy hair most days.) But in this case I think that I liked that I could do something about an issue that bothered me. I can’t make my darn knees stop their creaking when I bend them, but I can make those spider veins go away. I can’t control that I’m always going to be a lot older than my wife, but I can make those spider veins go away. I can’t always control that once in a while people might assume that I’m Danny’s grandmother, but I can make those spider veins go away.

Anyway, I wrote this blog entry just to prove I can write without mentioning Danny. Oh, I did already? Whoops. Well, now that I’ve already done so, you should have seen how cute it was this morning when Harley the 15 pound cat put his head under Danny’s tiny outstretched hand and proceeded to move his head up and down in such a way as to make himself be petted. And I thought I had control issues. Priceless! -Monica

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's a zoo out there!

It IS a zoo out there. But if you're our little guy you'd never know it. When cousin Janna was in town recently, we all took the metro to the National Zoo (5 min walk to train plus 20 minute ride), saw all of the animals (about 1.5 - 2 hours of roaming) then made our way back home on the train again. Danny slept the ENTIRE time.

Here he is on the Metro. Oh well, looking at the bright side, at least he can look at the pictures on the brochure later right? I'm just sorry he didn't get to see the stork that looked just like the one that visited us a few short weeks ago ;-) -Monica

Monday, July 23, 2007

They are SO CUTE!

Danny and Mama are thrilled by the National's 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday. (Aren't they adorable?) By the way, Danny's "thrilled look" is a bit tempered by the fact that when thousands of people all cheer at once, it's a BIT loud.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day for a ball game and Danny really seemed to have fun (at least he didn't cry or anything.) And the National's did not disappoint. In fact, then won again on Sunday which was also very sweet.

At our Saturday game, an adorable 5 year old sitting in front of us was mesmerized by Danny and couldn't stop saying "HE'S SO CUTE!" She had fun asking us lots of questions as the game wore on.

At one point she she asked me "are you his mom?" I figured she'd asked me since I'd bottle fed him some expressed milk right after we arrived. Susanne answered "we are both his moms."

She thought about it for a second and then asked, "so you both raise him?"

I thought that was a pretty good use of the verb "to raise" for a 5 years old.

"Yup, we both raise him."


Her parents were of course listening to the whole conversation and smiled as she babbled away. Score one for teaching tolerance!

Our next game will be in two weeks and we can't wait. Have a great day everybody!

P.S. You know you've lived in DC too long when someone asks you what the CR on the players' hats stands for, and when you explain "Colorado Rockies" they say "oh" and confide that they thought it might be for Continuing Resolution. (True story.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

Baseball Fever!

If you were a two month old going to your first major league game this weekend would you be afraid of the National's mascot Screech? Or would you be more afraid of how the Nationals might play? Hmmm...that's a tough one. We'll let you know what Danny thought about the game next time we post! Have a great weekend y'all! -Monica, Susanne and Daniel

Thursday, July 19, 2007

What time is it?

So last night we were all pretty sleepy and Susanne made a rather interesting observation. Danny can make us yawn, but we can’t make him yawn.

Now we all know that yawns are “contagious”, but at what age does that begin to happen? Whenever he stretches out and gives us a big yawn we are both unable to stop ourselves from yawning too. For fun we kept looking at him and yawning to see if we could get him to do so, and nothing. Of course then neither Su nor I could stop yawning—what a vicious cycle we started.

And Danny’s thoughts on this? It’s hard to tell, but I’m guessing he thought his moms were crazy. Is it me or are my eyelids feeling droopy? ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ -Monica

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Baby love...

Our friend Lucy came to visit last week and snapped some photos of Danny including this one of us just hanging out. (Thanks Lucy!) Sometimes I just can't believe how lucky and blessed Susanne and I are have to have such a wonderful little boy.

Someone asked me recently to come up with some adjectives to describe our little guy, and I think that there might not be enough adjectives in the world to do so. But I'll try ;-) How about sweet, inquisitive, beautiful, funny, delightful, clever, adorable, observant and dear? Hmmm...those are the same words I use to describe his mama. Yes, my dear wife and our son have a lot in common. How completely FABULOUS is that!!!

Having a baby just opens up all your senses I think. I especially love how it feels to hold Danny. I think there is something special about how your own baby just "fits" right. Whether I've hoisted him up on my shoulder (which he loves) or have him on my lap playing together he just feels so perfect there. He sort of melts right in sometimes-how sweet it is.

Oh I was going to follow up a bit on the saga of Harley and his stress over having so many visitors this month. Su ended up taking him to the vet yesterday and he doesn't have an infection which is the good news. We got some recommendations for stuff to get for him at Petco and hopefully this peeing outside the litterbox will completely come to an end. That would be good. That would be REALLY good. Have a great day everybody! -Monica

Monday, July 16, 2007

Harley's Summer Vacation

We’ve had visitors staying with us for something like 15 out of the last 18 days and as fun as it’s been, I think our cat Harley is up to here with it. What gives us that idea? Well, if you were an irate cat, what could you possibly do to express your displeasure? Ah yes…ignore your litter box. What the heck, make the whole house your litter box!

Poor Harley was just getting used to the fact that little Danny is here to stay, when suddenly his days were filled with Dominic, Daniella, grandma, Carrie, Paul, Camille, Isabelle, Christina, Alvina, Liz, Alice and Janna (not all at the same time mind you). Some of these people are even small children who love to shower Harley with affection much to his chagrin. What a stressful couple of weeks it's been for our feline boy.

We have hope now though as the last of our wonderful visitors goes home tomorrow that Harley will get back to being his old self. His wonderfully potty trained cat self. Interestingly he’s decided to make his “deposits” at our front door 3 different times now (you guessed it--all different kinds of deposits). We don’t know if he’s signaling that HE wants to leave, or if he just wants the others to go. He does this at night, so we are treated to an oh so pleasant morning whiff when we come downstairs. PeeeEwwww!

Since he didn’t pull this trick last night, (much to our relief) we are going to hold off one more day on taking him to the vet for a checkup since he seems otherwise healthy. Hopefully we can avoid the vet all together. Poor Harley.

Other than that, the weekend was great. I’ll post tomorrow with a picture or two of Danny’s first trip to the zoo this weekend. Cousin Janna took great care of Danny and she is a real natural around babies. It was very sweet to see. Alrighty then. Until next time. -Monica

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Here comes hurricane Janna!

In my mind, my niece Janna will always be about this old. Wasn't she the cutest little baby ever? (Well, almost the cutest... ahem, you remember Danny right?) Anyway, when she was 11 months old my mom and I accompanied my sister Alice to China when she adopted her. What a wonderful, powerful experience!

I'll never forget how I felt holding this beautiful little girl who had been abandoned and left to live in an orphanage, and silently promising her that her life was going to be one filled with love and light. And thanks to my sister it has been.

Janna is no longer that little toddler. She's practically all grown up now that she's almost 10 years old! Tomorrow she and her mom will fly to DC from the Twin Cities so she can meet her new little cousin Danny and she is very excited I gathered from the phone call I got last night. Janna is an amazing ball of energy and Danny has no idea what's in store for him these next few days ;-)

When Alice brought Janna home we'd never had an adopted baby in our family before. I think on some level we were all curious about the nature/nurture thing and how life would be with this new little one. Let me tell you. That little Janna completely STOLE everybody's heart, particularly my parents' hearts. They were Janna's daycare providers for several years before Janna started school. I think because of this experience, it's been pretty easy for my family to really see Danny as my son--not just as the child Susanne gave birth to. So I feel pretty grateful to my sister and niece for that. Thanks guys!

"Oh Danny"... there will be no sleeping! Didn't I tell you your famous cousin Hurricane Janna is almost here? -Mommy

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thought for the day...

What you resist persists. -Carl Jung

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Deep thoughts at six weeks...

So I have a question. Do I have to raise my hand when I have a question? No? Okay.

So...does this delicious breastmilk I get from mama every day come in different flavors? Chocolate or mango perhaps ?

And most importantly...since I weigh over 8 lbs now, how many quarter pounders am I equal to? Just wondering...
WHOA. STOP THE PRESSES! Susanne just called from her post natal appt. with our midwife and they thought it would be fun to weigh Danny while they were there. NINE POUNDS! He's soon going to be the size of a butterball turkey. NINE POUNDS. No wonder I'm getting triceps of steel! -Mommy Monica

Monday, July 09, 2007

Well our big Peace Corps reunion over this past 4 days was a rousing success. About a dozen or so of us who were volunteers in Guatemala from 1987-1989 all gathered in DC to rehash old stories, eat tons of food and see how much we had all NOT changed a bit. It was GREAT FUN! Our poor spouses however had to hear the same stories over and over and over and over...you get the picture. They did take us for better or for worse in our defense.

Here Danny and Su and I hang out at Uncle David's house, where all the fun began on Wednesday.

Danny was the youngest participant and for that reason we decided to pass on the trip down to the Mall for the 4th of July fireworks (I will always be grateful that we didn't go too.) Apparently although it wasn't blistering hot (like it is today) there was that severe weather warning that cleared the mall in the afternoon, and tons of walking (which was fine for the adults but not so much fun for all the 5 year olds in attendance.)

We hosted friends Carrie and Paul and their two daughters (Camille 5 and Isabelle 1) and our friend Liz. Carrie, Liz and I were all health workers and even though the big parties with the larger group were great fun, it was also wonderful to have quieter and deeper conversations throughout our time together when we were back at our house. Another of our health worker friends, Alvina, came by for a shorter time and it was great to see her. We are very blessed to have such wonderful friends.

As you can see by the pic here, the threat of a tornado didn't phase the group at all. Yup, 20 years later and still crazy. Can't wait for the next gathering. But I think I'll refrain from eating refried beans at every meal if you know what I'm saying ;-) Ciao! -Monica

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Swing time!

With lots of Peace Corps buddies in town for our reunion, Susanne and Danny and I spent some time this morning with 5 year old Camille and her family at our nearby park. Danny's the one inside of the Baby Bjorn. (We think he liked it!)

As I write this, Su and I are home with Danny while rain pours outside. We decided it was going to be a little too hot and crowded for a 5 week old to head down to the Washington Mall where the rest of our motley crew headed a few hours ago. Turns out they've been evacuated along with everyone else because of severe weather threats. It remains to be seen whether the fireworks will go on. But one way or another I'm sure everyone will have fun! Happy 4th of July everybody. -Monica (Su and Danny)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Sing along now everyone...

" One of these things is not like the other--one of these things just doesn't belong--can you guess which thing is not like the other--by the time I finish my song?"

I hope you're all humming away now. Susanne and I were working on an arts and crafts project that will eventually include a picture of our adorable son and this was one idea.

We had a wonderful weekend--the temperatures here in DC have been phenomonally cool. It was downright cold yesterday morning. Have you ever heard of a 55 degree July day in Washington? We love it, and Danny sleeps like a baby in the cools temps. Yes, pun intended ;-)

We had a great time hanging out with our visitors this weekend and yesterday visited 2 week old Oscar. What a beautiful little guy he is. We know Oscar's parents from our Birth Works class and as of yesterday 6 out of the 7 babies due had arrived (congrats to Diana and Richard on their beautiful son born Saturday!) That makes it 5 boys and 1 girl so far. What are the odds of that?

This week promises even more fun. It's been 20 years I joined the Peace Corps (I served 2 years in Guatemala) and really bonded with a bunch of wonderful friends who started their service at the same time. Those of us who live in the area thought the time was ripe to hold a reunion here and we've got tons of people flying in for 4 days of "fiesta!!" Yeah!

This means I have a short work week, lots of time to spend with my wife and son and the chance to catch up with dear friends. Sounds like a winner of a week to me. Hasta la vista y'all! -Monica

P.S. Our little guy was 8 lbs. 2 oz. yesterday which officially makes him bigger than our cat CJ. (But still smaller than our cat Harley's leg. ;-)