Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time to re-solve

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you had as wonderful a holiday as we did, and that you are fired up and ready for 2009 to be the best year ever!

I was thinking about New Year's Resolutions last night and got to thinking that the root of the word "resolution" has to have something to do with the word "resolve." Which made me think that all we really do at New Year's is try to solve again or re-solve some problem we've tried to solve before.

Mine is your classic weight gain. Oops. I did it again. Cookies, cheese, bread...all the regular culprits. (See how I blame those foods and not myself for my weight gain?) Anyway, I know that I'm not going to keep any resolution I make forever, so I'm breaking it down into a more manageable scenario.

For the month of January I vow to eat oatmeal, and only oatmeal for breakfast. This is easier than you might think since Danny has oatmeal quite often. What this also means though is that I cannot augment my oatmeal with a delicious Au Bon Pain Walnut Cranberry Muffin every day as I am wont to do. (I do not think Susanne even knows how often I do this so I'm feeling a little busted now.)

Anyway, if I start my day right I am much more likely to think back to those old tips I learned when I lost a bunch of weight on We.ght And just to keep myself honest I'm going to admit my failures on this blog when they occur. So, if all goes according to my plan you will hear no mention of this resolution again until February 1st or so when I announce that not only did I stick to my resolution, but that I lost 40 or 50 lbs. Okay, that's a little dramatic. Let's say 10.

Onward and upward everyone. Time to re-solve whatever it is that gets you every time. Happy New Year!

P.S. For your viewing pleasure Su took a picture of the Daniel Collection. AKA the parking lot. On the very bright side, he loves them all! -Monica (and Su and Danny)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reindeer Games!

Apparently when you play too much "All-Star Baby Wrestling" with your toddler, they turn around and do this.

Look at the bright side Rudolph. At least you're playing reindeer games! Merry Christmas everyone! -Monica, Susanne and Daniel

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Walking in a Winter Whaleyland...

My dad once made the offhand comment that he liked whales. You see, he’d always liked soothing music/nature tapes (aka that weird music dad liked) and I think his comment came from liking those sounds.

This revelation was like a Godsend for all of us, his now adult children. For every special day from then on out dad got whale themed something as gifts. Whale tee-shirts, sculptures, posters, photo frames, whistles—you name it, our dad got it. Until the moratorium came.


Turns out that he liked whales, but he didn’t like them that much.

So what made me think of this?

Danny loves trucks. And I know for a fact that a fair number of the gifts that await him for Christmas are trucks (or their equally fun cousins “trains”). And there is a very good reason for this. When people asked what to get him we said “TRUCKS! TRAINS!” (Well, maybe I did this a little more than Susanne.)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure there will be no moratorium on trucks issued by our boy this year. Actually I know he’ll be delighted and that our living room will look something like a miniature parking lot. At a construction site. “Beep, beep, vroom, vroom!” (not as soothing as whale sounds but wonderful sounds nonetheless.)

If my dad were still alive today I know he'd like the sound of that ;-) Monica

Monday, December 22, 2008

Busted! (See previous post)

Seriously. Not two hour after we wrote about Danny's "tree troubles" look what we found. He's a clever boy. A very clever boy. -Monica and Susanne

P.S. He was actually trying to affix one of his favorite toys to it!

Through the eyes of a child...

So my moms brought this amazingly awesome tree (from the outside!) into the house and filled it up with lights and little tiny toys (that they hung from the branches) and shiny stuff!

But they get sort of unhappy if I touch it.

How does that make any sense? I mean if they brought in a huge hot oven or a big old can overflowing with trash it would be easier to understand their worries right?

I mean the only thing meaner would be to decorate only the top half of the tree so I couldn't reach the cool stuff.

On the bright side, they have no idea how well or quickly I can climb. Merry Christmas everyone. I've got a step ladder to construct out of some pretty boxes under the tree! -Danny

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What? I've been nice and naughty like you asked!

Is it just me?

So the Washington Post is my favorite newspaper. I love reading it from cover to cover when time allows, and so believe me when I tell you I would never criticize The Post.

Except for one little thing.

You see they have a "reader rewards program" where you get points called PostPoints which you can use to buy stuff when you accrue enough. Good marketing idea I think.

But take a look at their logo here. Is it just me, or do the little PostPoints guys look like...well...prophylactics (with legs and sort of creepy faces)?



Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Beef Jerky

President Bush when asked about the incident where an Iraqi journalist whipped his shoes at the him (which by the way is a terrible insult in that culture) the president said:

"I thought it was unusual to have a guy throw his shoe at you. But I'm not insulted. I don't hold it against the government. I don't think the Iraqi press corps as a whole is terrible. And so, the guy wanted to get on TV and he did. I don't know what his beef is. But whatever it is I'm sure somebody will hear it.

Did I hear that correctly? "I don't know what his beef is?"

I find this stunning. Gee, whatever kind of beef could the man have? Hmmm....

Talk about disconnected. -Monica

Deep thought

One of Su’s co-workers has an adorable daughter who is about a year older than Danny. For a while there she was rather dazzled by our boy. Her mom would come to work with tales of how Amelia would ask about Danny or burst out into an excited giggle when she’d see pictures of him. So of course we all joke that Amalia is Danny’s girlfriend. (Or that Danny is Amalia’s boyfriend.)

And our neighbors across the street are the proud parents of two little girls, one of whom is just two months younger than Daniel. It’s also easy to tease about how she and Danny, who are now in the same day care every day are little boyfriend and girlfriend.

So here’s my deep thought. Why on some level would it seem unsettling to say that two little boys who are very sweet together are each other’s “boyfriends”? Or that two little girls are “girlfriends”. (Excluding the argument that sometimes the word “girlfriend” means friend.)

I think the examples above with Danny and these two sweet little girls have echoes of future possibility. As in “wouldn’t it be adorable if when they are teenagers they actually fall in love?” There is no sexualization involved in this “matchmaking”. It’s like they are platonic little fountains of possibility.

But to joke in the same way about toddlers of the same gender would undoubtedly for some be disturbing. It would indeed project sexuality into a platonic image. And that fountain of possibility would be terrifying. None of this ““wouldn’t it be adorable if when they are teenagers they actually fall in love?”

I understand that there is institutional homophobia somehow mixed into all of this. Because as a gay person even though I like to think I’m as enlightened as they come, I can’t see myself teasing Danny about having a “boyfriend”.

It’s tough to be gay in this world. Kudos to everyone who has had to the courage to “come out of the closet” with all of these deeply ingrained attitudes to deal with.

Deep thought indeed. -Monica

Monday, December 15, 2008

Loser Takes All!

When it’s time for Danny to “hit the hay” so to speak, Susanne and I pretty much take turns doing it (although she insists that only I have the magic touch so I should do it all the time). Nice try honey ;-)

Anyway, he tends to go down very easily—a nice big drink of water, brush, brush, brush his teeth, a few minute of rocking and he’s down for the count.

But there are some nights when I will admit that we are both so incredibly lazy that we resort to a little game. As Danny happily plays with his books or toys we agree that whoever he touches next has to put him to bed.

It's pretty funny actually. We both keep encouraging him to go “give mama a hug” or we ask “where’s mommy Danny?” He is pretty oblivious to our game and just ambles about babbling and playing. He’ll often walk around coming with inches of one of us, but doesn’t quite make contact. It’s oddly funny to be rooting against a hug from your sweet little guy, but yup, I admit that we sometimes do this (can you every forgive us Daniel?)

The last time we played, our little game ended when I made the mistake of saying “night night Danny?” and he grabbed a sippy cup from the coffee table to bring to me before collapsing in my arms. So I guess I lost. But not really.


Friday, December 12, 2008

A case study in Catastrophic Thinking...

Can I share a little pet peeve? Well, I'm going to anyway.

I hate it when business voice mail messages start out by saying "Please note that our menu options have recently changed".

Gee, Monica, why would that bother you?

What a great question internets.

You see their menu options have not recently changed. They are the same as they were 6 months ago, one year ago, three years ago. They just keep that same message there so you will sit up and pay attention I guess. Or maybe no one knows how to go in and update it to get rid of that part of the message. But still I worry that maybe they really have gone and changed their options again and this causes me angst.

You see, I really do know that the path that I should take for some numbers I call once in a while without having to listen to the whole spiel. For instance for billing at that medical practice I should press, 2# then 5# then 4#. But no. They always warn me that their "options have changed." And on some stupid level I believe them.

So what's the worst that could happen? I guess if I pressed 2# then 5# then 4# I might not get billing. I might get a surgeon's cell phone while he or she were in the midst of surgery and then they'd take the call, because who else would be calling them on this number but someone important? Then they might be upset that it was only me mistakenly reaching them while trying to reach billing and THEN THEY MIGHT ACCIDENTLY LEAVE THEIR CELL PHONE INSIDE OF THAT POOR PATIENT. Because they'd be so flustered and all.

So do you see my dilemma?

To cope with this I actually convince myself that at virtually every office across the globe, someone somewhere really is changing their menu options. So I'd better listen to the whole thing. Just in case.

I know I've not explained myself well yet again. Oh well. Is it Friday yet? -Monica

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Lesson Learned

While I was out of town for work recently I met a really nice guy I'll call Brice who is from Canada. As we chatted at meals etc...he shared with me that he and his long time partner were in the process of adopting an infant. I was so excited for him and while they are anxiously awaiting that call, the are definitely doing everything they can to prepare for this very lucky little boy or girl.

Well, I shared our blog link with Brice and he wrote back that he enjoyed reading it--he sees it as a real honest look at parenting. This made me feel happy, and also inspired me to try and post every once in a while on "The Things Nobody Tells You". TTNTY. Otherwise known as "Who Knew!"

So...for my inaugural post on TTNTY, here goes...

When you remove a, can I say this...soiled diaper (and I mean #2 soiled diaper) from a child, do not, I repeat, DO NOT place the diaper temporarily on the radiator and then forget about it. Especially not in the winter, or for you up there in Canada, not at any time of the year.

The horrific stench that wafts through the warm air is directly proportional to the quantity and dare I say quality of the contents of the diaper.

There you have it. Another "Thing They Don't Tell You". Stay tuned for next week's installment that will most likely be titled "Catfood". Have a great day! -Monica

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Babble, babble

No, this isn't a post about our babbler in chief, otherwise known as Daniel. It's about a fun little free website that I use often called Babel Fish. Maybe you've heard of it? You can paste a sentence or block of language and then choose which language you'd like it to translate to.
Since we sometimes get e-mails from Su's family in Germany and my German is not so good, it's helpful to me. For the most part it's pretty good, but it definitely has some idiosyncracies.

But my favorite part of this whole exercise is reading the first line of the translation. You see, Su's aunts and cousins usually start their e-mails by writing "Liebe Susanne, Liebe Monica" which pretty much means "Dear Susanne and Monica".

But Babel Fish always translates it to say "If Susanne loves, Monica loves."

It's very cute, and always makes me smile.

But hey, is this what they mean by "conditional love"? ;-) Just kidding.

Oh and if they write "Liebe Susanne, Liebe Monica, Liebe Danny", it comes out "If Susanne loves, dear Monica loves Danny." I love this Babel Fish! -Monica

Monday, December 08, 2008


Yes, the word it Atacomb. It rhymes with catacombs.

As we sat in the living room last night, eighteen month old Danny pulled his little kids chair into the center of the room and proceeded to tell us the most amazing story.

We didn't understand a word of it, but the most important part was the word "atacomb". He'd finish each part of his story with it, shouting with gusto and then look at us expectantly.

So I started repeating it back to him with equal vim and he just cracked up. Over and over he’d yell “atacomb” and I’d yell it right back, each time to delightful squeals.

Then much like C*lbert on the C*lbert Report I started shaking my fist in the air while quietly cursing “ataCOOOMB”. Wouldn’t you know it. Danny started shaking his fist right back at me shouting even louder. All three of us were almost falling off of our chairs laughing.

But what does it mean.? What does little Danny think we have so willingly agreed to? I have a feeling we should be very afraid. –Monica

P.S. Apparently this word has sticking power. I said it again at breakfast this morning and he just lit up!

Friday, December 05, 2008


Two reasons to be happy today.

1. Danny's thumb appears to be healing and he's been sucking on it less.

2. I'm not a nag. Turns out I'm a cajoler! Don't you love paradigm shifting?

intransitive verb 1 : to find fault incessantly : complain 2 : to be a persistent source of annoyance or distraction

transitive verb 1 a: to persuade with flattery or gentle urging especially in the face of reluctance : coax b: to obtain from someone by gentle persuasion.

Happy Friday everybody! -M

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Something no baby book talks about

I admit it. When Su and I started talking about becoming moms I approached it like a school project. Get focused on your topic, organize your research and learn as much as humanly possible. We read books, attended child birth classes, read blogs (which I still love to do) and I also tried to soak up as much as I could from friends who were already parents.

It’s all helped me. I think I’m a pretty good and responsible parent and partner and I think I’ve got a handle on just about everything. Except that one thing that the parenting books don’t talk about.

The pain you feel when your child hurts. How could words really describe that anyway? How could watching other parents deal really teach this?

Have you ever heard the phrase “sticks out like a sore thumb”? Sounds pretty benign right? Well it’s not. Danny has always been a thumb sucker. Certainly not all the time, but when he’s sleepy he’ll pop that left thumb in his mouth, rub a soft blanket with his right hand and drift off.

But in the last week or two he’s been sucking it pretty constantly. From everything we’ve read it could be the stress of a new day care setting (the first place didn’t work out and we are now at a better place.) It could be more teething. We are not sure. But we know for a fact that his thumb is raw and red. Skin is actually peeling off of it and it is swollen and painful.

We’ve been using Lanolin (which is what breastfeeding moms use when they have irritation) and at his 18 month check up today I’ll talk to the doctor for more ideas. But here’s the thing.

He sucks his thumb for comfort. I read that for many children the sucking releases endorphins and is very pleasurable. That’s why they do it. It’s a very strong habit. So when he’s awake we try to keep the ointment on it and play games that require him to use his hands so he won’t be tempted to suck, but when it’s time to sleep, he “assumes the position”. And after about 3 seconds of sucking he cries and pulls his thumb out. But then it goes back in. And the pattern repeats itself. It’s awful. We’ve tried to give him a pacifier, encouraged him to suck other fingers, tried to cover his hand, all to no avail. If I try and prevent him from putting his thumb in his mouth he fights it, which in no way contributes to him finally falling asleep. And he’s just too young to make the solid connection between THUMB IN MOUTH = PAIN IN HAND.

So I hold him as he cries and pray that he’ll stop or that the pain will be less the next time he tries to put his thumb in his mouth. And it’s maddening to me that something as seemingly minor as a sore thumb can cause him such pain. I know that many children suffer so much more pain with illnesses and injuries, but that knowledge does not diminish the powerlessness I feel as I try to comfort my sweet boy.

And of course during the night if the thumb goes back in his mouth the cycle starts again.

I know that his thumb will heal. I know lots of things. But I never knew this feeling before. It’s not one I recommend to anyone. -Monica

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

No, you use your spoon mom!

Well at least Danny doesn't seem to mind my nagging. Nor apparently pay the slightest attention to it! -M

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I finally figured something out...

Whoa. It just came to me. I was at my desk going through my e-mail in box and it dawned on me that what I do can be captured in one word.

I nag.

That's what I do. I do it nicely and all of course.

"Could you please..."

"Would it be possible to..."

"If it would be no imposition I'd really appreciate it if..."

Wow. I professionally bug people to get me what they already promised they'd send. And even though I have a specific occupation, I think I could nag in any number of professions.

I once read that if you want to hire people to be your front facing customer service types, you should "hire for the smile and train for everything else". Makes sense to me.

Hmmm..."Hire for the nag and train for everything else." I've got to think about how I feel about this journey of self discovery I'm on. -Monica

For your viewing pleasure. A picture of what else? A nag.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Where did the saying "under the weather" come from?

I mean, aren't we always technically under the weather? Think about it.

Hope you all had a great weekend. Thanksgiving was great fun visiting Danny's grandma, but now we are back and I think I've got the vapors or something. My throat is almost All American--Red, White and, well, at least it's not Blue too. Then I'd be really worried.

As it is, I'm just tired and blah. On the plus side I did stay home from work and with a visit to the docs learned that it's not strep. On the minus side, there is now no known bacteria I can blame for this so I'll stick to the saline solution, tylenol, salt water gargling and Sudafed regime.

Danny and Su are fine though which is good news. Oh no. Looks like I'm too weary to finish this blog pos.............

Monday, November 24, 2008

Time flew!

Wow. This last week was just a blur. I took my trip to Orlando and then on Saturday we bundled our little man up for the Help the Homeless walk-a-thon. The temperature unfortunately was around 30 degrees and very windy. Brrrrr.... And to think, just one week earlier when we went to the same place on the Mall for the "No on Prop 8 rally" it was around 70 degrees. Crazy weather eh?

On a much brighter note, our friend Tom who was in that terrible bike accident November 10th has made remarkable progress. He can talk and they even have him out of bed walking around as a part of his physical therapy. This is just amazing. He was very near death when he arrived at the hospital. His parents in Florida got a call from the hospital staff and were told "come right away--as soon as you possibly can". I can't imagine what it must have been like to be on that plane knowing your son is so hurt. I'm just so glad that the good news keeps coming.

Anyway, we went to see Tom yesterday and even though he was sleeping, it was great to see him in regular clothes and just looking like himself again.

And speaking of recoveries, I wrote in July about the accident my former boss George had (who mostly goes by the name Marty.) He'd been trimming a tree branch from their third floor bedroom balcony and it gave out. He hit the driveway below so it's a true miracle he is still alive. Marty just began waking up this month--more than 4 months after his accident. On Friday I brought Danny with me to visit him and when we were going to leave I asked Danny say goodbye. He waved but when I suggested a high five, both Danny and Marty were delighted to slap their hands together. When Danny started giggling Marty smiled too. It was really wonderful to see. Marty has a long way to go to get back his speech and his other motor skills, but it's such a blessing to know that he's no longer in a coma.

Alrighty. Lots to do before we go over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house. Somehow I always imagined that as more picturesque than traveling south on I-95. But hey. There are rivers and woods. And best of all, a turkey dinner that is pretty darn awesome. See you soon Grandma! Or as Danny would say "adllrhhhoi ddsorhh ggooosssoeoio!"


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our Truth is Marching On

We headed down to the Mall in Washington, DC this weekend and joined an estimated 5000 people in DC speaking out in support of gay marriage. There were rallies like this in all 50 states on Saturday so tens of thousands of voices were raised simultaneously which was really cool. In this pic Danny and I and the crowd listened to one of the organizers explaining how our walk would take us to the front of the White House. It was the largest gay rights protest in history we were told.

It was awesome to be a part of such a groundswell of voices--it seemed as though the stream of people marching and chanting went on for miles. Too bad the local press chose to hardly say ar word about the rally and a local news channel put the number of participants at about 500 which was way, way off the mark.

My favorite sign? "No more Mr. Nice Gay". Susanne made our little sign for Danny's stroller. Pretty cool huh? -Monica

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Peace and Healing

I first met our friend Tom in 2003. I remember he was saying something about how his shoulder hurt as we drank cokes in a little "comedor" in Guatemala. Su had met Tom earlier when they worked in a community service program, and she had a great idea to go see him where he was serving as Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala. I thought this was a fabulous idea since coincidentally I'd also been a volunteer there.

Anyway, we’d met up with him after he’d taken a youth group on an outing. He’d planned to bring the group up a mountain to a beautiful volcano, and just couldn’t leave Anibal behind. Anibal you see was paralyzed from the waist down and used a rickety old wheelchair to get around.

So they hired a helper and donkey or horse to get Anibal up the mountain and what a sight it was! Magical. Something that I’m sure that Anibal even years later still remembers with joy.

Tom never regretted taking him. Even when they learned at the at the top that it would be too dangerous for the animals to carry the heavy teenager back down and that they’d all have to carry him down in a hammock. By the way, did I mention that Chiquimula is in the desert? Can you spell H-O-T?

For hours and hours they all carried that boy down the mountain. And although the kids all pretty much took turns I think Tom was on duty the whole way down. That's just the way he "rolls" so to speak. And all Tom mentioned was a sore shoulder? I could tell then that Tom was a special guy. Tom later finished his service and has been working and studying since his return. We see him pretty often—he’s in DC too and our circle of friends stays close.

Sadly the waiting room in the Intensive Care Unit at Washington Hospital Center has been a makeshift home to many of these friends the past few days. Tom’s parents, his girlfriend Kristina and friends too numerous to count. You see Tom was hit by a car while riding his bike on Monday. Without his helmet he would certainly have died. Tom always wears his helmet so he’s still with us.

When we saw him yesterday the good news was that he was moving purposefully. The terribly sad news is that he’s in agony when he comes out of his medically induced periods of rest. They are trying to control for swelling on the brain so they need to sedate him but they regularly let the medication wear off to see what he’s feeling. To see him silently scream and try to rip out his tubes was heart breaking. The bones in his face are broken and all of us are heartbroken too to see him suffer so.

I like to think that God has been carrying him these past 48 hours and will continue to do so.

So if you’re the praying kind please take a moment to say a prayer for a good guy named Tom who has a long road to recovery ahead of him. Prayers for peace and healing. We love you Tom. Stay strong dear friend .-Monica (and Susanne)

Monday, November 10, 2008

For the good of science...

So even though my hair is getting grayer and my knees are getting snap, crackle and poppier, I would like to give praise to that one part of my anatomy that defies age.

My pesky little chin hairs.

These little critters didn't always live on my chin. But one day I noticed that the curse of my my ancestors had finally come to pass, and so now I've got about 7 little chin hairs that truly defy science.

They are stronger than bars of steel and grow faster than the most invasive type of bamboo.

And they are so, what's the word??? stealthy. No matter how cleanly I pluck them out, they silently push forth onward and outward toward the light.

Damn them all.

When I got my first grey hair when I was 33 years old I remember welcoming it. Lotta good that did me.

So bring it on chin hairs. I'm not scared of you. Apparenly I'm just a little self-conscious about you. (On the bright side they are reddish in color so I tend to notice them before others do.)

And I'm totally considering donating you to science. Anything this strong and resilient has got to be repurposed. Maybe if I let them grow long enough they can braid them together to make a slingshot that will launch things to the moon. For the good of science you know. -Monica

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Shower the People you Love...

Danny has always been fascinated by the water sprinkling out of the shower head. So we got a cute little dolphin thing that attaches to the regular shower head with tube to bring the water stream much lower.

This way he gets a "shower", some running water out of the spout and a tub of water to splash around in. As you can see, he approves. Mightily!


P.S. He also likes to point to the dolphin every time he sees it to say "shhhhhhhh".

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sounds about right...

Turns out I make the same sounds my son does now. I never meant for this to happen, but there you have it.

Just a second ago for instance, I found I couldn't quite reach my bottle of water, and as I stretched I found myself sort of quietly grunting "uh, uh, uh, uh".

Now, I know you have no idea what that sounds like but just imagine it's a really adorable sound. Really.

And sure he's starting to talk a little bit, but he also communicates by adding new sounds to his "vocab" like, "na, na, na, na, na" when he wants something.

Or doesn't want something come to think of it.

Anyway, I also now make sounds by singing or humming or whistling Danny's children's music all day long. Just ask my wife ;-) -Monica

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I'm going to Disneyworld!

Coincidence? I don't know. After such an amazing and exciting election last night, today I learn from my boss that they need me to go to Orlando for a few days later this month.

Unfortunately it's not going to work for the whole family to come along which would have been fun, but my point is, what are the odds that I, who travels about once a year lately, would get news THIS MORNING that, well, I'm going to Disneyworld! I feel like I just won the Olympics or the Super Bowl or something.

I'm feeling very good feng shui people. Very good!!! -Monica

P.S. Ummm...I'm not really going to go to Disneyworld while in Orlando--I'll be there for work, but still!

By day he's mild mannered Danny...

But by night (at least on Halloween night) he becomes PUMPKIN BOY. (Second year in a row I might add.) We think by next year we will no longer have any say in the costume choosing department.

But as you can see by this last photo, since his new favorite position is being suspended upside down by his wonderful Mama, we may have to start working on some bat ideas.

Hope you enjoy these pictures Grandma. A little bird told me you'd been checking for them. -Dien Schwiegertochter

As Bob the Builder would say...

Like I've mentioned before, Danny's totally into trucks now. So, I'd like to thank Scoop and Roley and all of the other cartoon trucks in Bob the Builderland who've brought home to Danny at his tender age that "yes, we can!"

Congratulation to our new president-elect and all who helped make what happend last night a reality. The change is already starting. And it feels awesome!!! -Monica

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

What an exciting day!

It's amazing to think that by the time we go to bed tonight we'll know who the next president of the United States will be. Su and Danny and I were up and out of the house before the polling stations opened at 7 am in DC and by the time we got there (at 7:06) the line was all the way down the block! We saw the same thing as we drove downtown at other polling stations. Hundreds and hundreds of people are making their voices heard and I love it!

There is just such a sense of excitement here in DC. I don't feel too nervous, that's not it. I guess am still in shock that our current president won in 2000 much less 2004, so I think that what I feel is less nervousness than outright fear that something could happen to swing the vote back towards another 4 years of Republican leadership in the White House. I can't even think about that possibility!

So, I'm looking forward to this day ending so that we can watch this show unfold. Did I mention that I'm excited!!!! -Monica

P.S. Danny went to his new daycare center yesterday and I got the crossest look ever from our sweet boy when I went to pick him up. How dare we leave him? Of course then he wouldn't let go of me. Same thing this morning when Su dropped him off. His teacher said it usually takes kids about a week to really adjust. I wonder how long it will take us?

Friday, October 31, 2008


We had our office Halloween party yesterday and instead of wearing a costume I just wore an orange sweater and black pants.

One of my co-workers asked me if I were a pumpkin.

A pumpkin? I was aghast. She probably works for Weight Watcher in her spare time. And she is now my new worst friend.


P.S. On a brighter note, Danny WILL be a pumpkin tonight. I'll be sure to post a pic or two later.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Danny's first love letter

Dear Jenni,

Shaa! Shaa! Traa! Traa! Ahaaaahhhhaaaahhhhaaaa!

Ummm…my moms said that today will be my last day for a while that I’ll get to go to your house to play all day with Oscar and Valentine and Nebo and Sophie and Audrey.

Well since I’ve got my own cats at home to play with I don't think I'll miss the animals too much. But you and Oscar? My heart’s only the size of a plum and something’s happening. Oh no! I think it is breaking. ;-(

But I’ll be okay. I hear they’ll be lots of new kids to play with at the day care center and also that the people who work there will take good care of me.

But when I get there I won’t hear Oscar crowing from the other room so I can crow right back at him. I love that! And you know those stories you always read us? Maisey and my favorite silly alphabet book. I don’t think they’ll have them there but maybe.

And when I’m crabby and you scoop me up in your arms and give my one of your wonderful hugs and suddenly I feel all better? I’m gonna miss that so much. I sure hope they have a red wagon like yours so we can go for a walk every day and see those 3 big boys who always argue over whether Oscar or I am the cutest. I like how you always say we are both the cutest!

Well, my moms promised me that we are going to have play dates so I can still see you and Oscar. Promise? And that I get to give kisses to the new baby soon. Promise? (I think soon means December.)

Okay. I’m going to say something now that I’ve only every said to my mommy and my mama and my grandparents. I love you Jenni. And Oscar and his dad and your dogs and cat and your brother too. Thanks for taking such good care of me. Love, Dan

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In the blink of an eye

All you parents of newborns out there look and learn. Behold. July 2007 and then again in September 2008.

Wow, look how everything changes! (Except apparently that green polo shirt that Monica seem to be wearing in both shots.) Note to selves. Must update wardrobes.

Have a great day everybody! -Monica and Susanne

You'll never believe who just e-mailed us honey!

We've been getting tons of e-mails the past few months urging us to vote a certain way. I don't really mind the e-mails, but I do find it odd that many of the e-mails appear to come directly from the actual presidential and vice presidential candidates. It says their name right in the "from" column in our Yahoo mailbox.

Do you really think that they sit down and compose e-mails to us? Me neither.

Oh. I see better now what you mean about a pet peeve Jenni!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Blast you Daylight Savings Time!

It's coming. Sunday. Time to "fall back".

Now normally I don't care too much about these seasonal time changes, but this year I have a problem.

You see, Danny wakes up at 6:15 am. Sometimes at 6:14 am or sometimes at 6:16 am--you get the picture He's our "alarm boy" even though in a perfect world we'd all sleep in a while longer.

Now with some delightfully cooler weather moving in, Danny's started sleeping in his very cool toddler sized sleep sack that we got from our German relatives. It's so warm and comfy! And with the sun rising so late in the morning now, a very amazing thing has happened. Danny slept, snug as a bug in a rug this morning until, can you believe this, 7:05 am.

It was amazing. It was fantastic. It was awe inspiring.

But sorry to say, this will all end Sunday when sunrise will begin to occur not at 7:00 am but at 6:00 am. Did I just sigh? I'm going to try and enjoy these next few days. -Monica

Those people

This morning on NPR I heard a John McCain supporter explain how she’s afraid that the tax plan the Barack Obama has will only give money to those who aren’t working. More specifically, take her hard earned money and give it to those without.

This kind of talk upsets me on many levels. Without going into a full length explanation on my feelings about the root causes of poverty and homelessness, I’d like to add my two cents now about something I don’t think this woman has thought much about. Like could “those people” be her friends, her family or even herself?

A few years ago I read a book called The Two Income Trap by Dr. Elizabeth Warren. It really brought home for me the fact that no matter how secure any of us may feel in our jobs, when that job suddenly disappears, if there is no safety net, a freefall begins. Dr. Warren so clearly painted a picture of how like a set of dominos, everything begins to fail including health and relationships.

She wrote the book to advocate for stronger bankruptcy laws to protect families. That did not happen. She also wrote about the myth of the American Dream—why the prices of homes in neighborhoods with “good” schools were climbing even higher and higher and how families who were so intent on having that better future for their children were willing to take out a mortgage (or mortgages) that were absolutely dependent on both parents working. So again, when one job is suddenly lost, the spiral begins.

I find the attitude of the woman interviewed on NPR to be so selfish. And I do associate it with fundamental Christianity which is sort of mind blowing. Did some of these people miss the whole part about how Jesus loves us all and wants us to help one another? Why does the thought of paying higher taxes or even paying taxes at all to help the greater good seem so nauseating to some? I want our taxes to provide for our son, and your son too. There but for the grace of God go US people.

P.S. Oh, and by the way, Obama’s tax plan will not raise taxes on any one making $250,000 or less. I have to believe that this is pretty much all the people I know—working or not working.

Monday, October 27, 2008

America's Funniest Home Laugh Track

So last night we watched America's Funniest Home Videos while Danny was playing before it was time for him to head up to bed. At one point he climbed up into a big chair and started watching the show with us. He just seemed so happy and comfy in "his" chair. Suddenly he was laughing and laughing! The video clips were all about animals--mainly cats--and he was cracking up.

I think it was the first time that I've looked at him and really thought of him as a, how can I say this right?, as a regular person. I can't explain it. Like even though he's too little to talk yet, you almost thought he was going to launch into some funny joke about something Harley and CJ had done recently.

I couldn't help but notice that his favorite clips involved cats jumping up on people and scaring the heck out of them. Interesting how that seems so funny when it happens to others, but is not so funny when it happens to him! -Monica

Friday, October 24, 2008

Just say no. Yes?

Okay. So let’s review

When a person can’t see FAR away, they are called NEARsighted.

And when a story is TRUE, it’s called NON-fiction.

And finally, when you vote NO on Proposition 8, you are saying YES to gay marriage.

I know it can be confusing, but there it is.

If you support NO on Prop 8 in California, please let any and all of your friends and relatives there know why and encourage them to vote NO.

And if you’ve been meaning to make a secure online donation, now is the time.

Now on a personal note. Our wedding in 2005 was an amazing day—a rite of passage and a rite of love. But we are not eligible for so many rights and benefits conferred on our straight married friends. We look forward to the day that will change. And what is happening in California right now is critical to us seeing the light of that day across this country.

In the words of Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapatero, spoken in June of 2005 when gay marriage became legal in Spain:

“Today, Spanish society responds to a group of people that for years have been humiliated, whose rights have been ignored, whose dignity has been offended, and whose identity and freedom has been denied. Today, Spanish society grants them the respect they deserve, recognizes their rights, restores their dignity, affirms their identity, and restores their freedom.

It is true that they are only a minority, but their triumph is everyone’s triumph. It is also a triumph of those who oppose this law, even as they attempt to ignore it, because it is the triumph of freedom. This victory makes all of us a better society.

Honorable members, there is no damage to marriage or to the family in allowing two people of the same sex to get married. Rather, these citizens now have the ability to organize their lives according to marital and familial norms and demands. There is no threat to the institution of marriage, but precisely the opposite: this law recognizes and values marriage.

Aware that some people and institutions profoundly disagree with this legal change, I wish to say that like other reforms to the marriage code that preceded this one, this law will not generate bad results, that its only consequence will be to avoid senseless suffering of human beings. A society that avoids senseless suffering of its citizens is a better society.”

To this, Susanne and I say, ¡Sí! ¡Sí! ¡Señor!

But what we want to leave you with is this... ¡No! ¡No! On Proposition 8!

-Monica and Susanne

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I am SO gruntled!

I know. I should know better than to doubt Alex Trebek. Last night on Jeopardy one of the answers that needed a question involved the word "gruntled." Gruntled?

I assured Susanne that I was CERTAIN that for the very first time in Alex Trebek's life--in his endearing yet smug way, he'd gotten something wrong.

And guess what? He was not wrong.

I guess that's my humble way of saying that he was right. Darn it! So I guess I should change the title of my post to "I'm SO disgruntled" right? -Monica

P.S. An example from Merriam Webster: Gruntle - to put in a good humor. "...were gruntled with a good meal and good conversation."

Monday, October 20, 2008

What me? Worry?

When now 16 month old Danny was born, Susanne was able to stay home with him for about the first 7 months and I, of course, did not have a care in the world about his safety and well being.

After 7 months though we knew we’d have to come up with some other option, as Su headed back to work and we totally hit the jackpot when it worked out for Danny to be cared for by our dear friend Jenni. Jenni and her husband Nelson took the same birthing class as we did, and had their first child a few weeks after Danny came along. I cannot possibly express how comforting it has been to know that Danny is with Jenni during the day. She’s awesome with him—nurturing, caring, capable and oh so loving. He has thrived with Jenni and his little playmate Oscar.

So now comes the tricky part. Jenni and Nelson will have their second child in early December. We are delighted for them but of course this means transition. We’ll be starting Danny in a day care center near Su’s job at the beginning of November so Jenni can head into that final month of pregnancy without the added responsibility of an extra toddler every day. We like to think that he’ll eventually go back there but who knows what the future holds? Will it really be manageable to take him back once the reality of life with a newborn in the picture comes to pass? I guess only time will tell.

And how do I feel about all this? Anxious and nervous.

We have visited the place he’ll go and it seems just fine. We actually learned about it from a woman who has her child there, and she and her partner seem very pleased by the care their little one has received. So why do I worry?

At Jenni’s Danny’s been able to stay in his own rhythm. When he’s tired he naps. When he’s playful he plays. He’s got a routine. Everything is comforting and familiar to him.

Now that will change. At the day care center, the children his age take naps on cots in the early afternoon. No morning nap. I don’t know why this saddens me to think that he might be pushed to stay involved in activities if he is really tired. Hopefully he will think everything is great fun and acclimate to his new schedule quickly. But I don’t know.

But I know that for me a huge part of all this is the perfect trust that we have in Jenni. Without a doubt she loves Danny and cares for him from a very loving place. How can the caregivers at this center in any way emulate that? It’s not possible. There he’ll be just another child I think. I just want to sit outside the windows of the place for the first week and watch everything. How he’s treated. How he responds. How he’s really cared for. But that’s not really realistic.

The rest of Danny’s life will be filled with adventures and new schools and new friends. I myself have always loved those kinds of things. I’m the one who ran off and joined the Peace Corps for gosh sakes. Talk about risk and change. And even long before that, I went to a new school every year when I was a kid because the boundaries kept changing for our street. So by the time we hit Jr. High, all the kids who had been at the same school their entire six years were scared and timid. Not me. I already knew everyone. See, I like that kind of stuff. So why am I afraid for Danny to deal with new things?

I wish he were old enough that he could tell us in words about his day, but he’s not quite there yet. So we’ll have to see what we can learn from him without words.

And as I think about my transition concerns I find myself thinking of Jenni’s sweet little boy Oscar. Think about it? His best friend Danny will suddenly not come over any more. So he’ll play, but it won’t be the same. Then in December a new little baby will arrive and his world will turn a bit upside down I’m sure. And you know what? I'm guessing Oscar’s gonna adjust just fine.

Kids. They are more resiliant than I sometimes give them credit for. I'll have to keep that front and center in my mind as Danny starts at this new day care center. -Monica

Sunday, October 19, 2008


One of the most wonderful things about having a toddler is to witness their ability to express joy so purely. In this photo that Su took of Danny last weekend while visiting his grandfather in Richmond, I found myself thinking about a reading from Corinthians, the one that teaches us that faith, hope and love abide, and the greatest of these is love.

For Danny this week, in his pure way, trucks, balloons and moving water abide, and the greatest of these is moving water. It's almost baptismal when you think about it. Love indeed. Happy Sunday everyone. -Monica

Friday, October 17, 2008

Name that Puppet Master!

So seriously people. If John McCain were to win the election, and then somehow become unable to serve, who do you think would really be running the country?



Thursday, October 16, 2008

Are blogs just soap operas on steroids?

One of my favorite people in the world loves All My Children. To this day she tapes it every night so she can watch it when she gets home. This has been going on a long time. Heck, I can remember watching it with her when we were in high school and that was the 70s!

Soaps are fun right? You get to watch snippets of people's lives, experience intense drama, and before you know it there is a whole new episode to watch.

Aren't blogs like that? But instead of being addicted to maybe one or two, you get to be addicted to 15 or 30 or whatever. And better yet, even though I know I'll never meet Susan Lucci in real life, you know what? I know a bunch of my favorite bloggers in real life. I love that.

Not much has changed in the 20+ years of All My Children from what I gather. I wonder if that will be true for all of our blogs?


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Which is it moms? Eat my veggies or no?

Just because it's a cornbox instead of a sandbox doesn't mean you should eat the kernels Daniel. Daniel?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sick but happy, until he's unhappy that is...

Gosh life seems crazy right now. Maybe it just feels that way because we just had a wonderful but very busy long weekend. On Saturday we visited a super fun farm (and petting zoo) with our friends Mikki and Kelly and their daughter Bailey. The kids had so much fun and Danny was in "tractor" heaven. Any truck will do.

Then a little rugby on the green (well our front yard) with our always wonderful neighbor Greg who Danny adores.

Then it was off to Richmond to visit Su's dad and family including Danny's aunt Mindy who is actually only 2 months old. We call her "auntie baby" with good reason. And do you have any idea how many trucks run up and down Interstate 95? The boy did not sleep a wink on the way back to Washington with all those "ucks" to point at.

But as happy as our little guy looks here with his Cherry Blossom rugby ball, he's actually pretty under the weather. A cold that has gone from bad to worse. Su actually just went to pick him up at Jenni's. It's pretty bad when your son's baby talk comes out sounding like Demi Moore with laryngitis. Clearly his throat is hurting him.

So, for now we lay low and give him every home remedy we can think of for sore throats and slimy runny noses. Except no bourbon and honey for you young man. Unless it will help you sleep better. Hope you're feeling better already baby boy. Love, your Moms

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another Oct. 1 baby!

Ollie doesn't know it yet, but he has a little friend born the same day he was way over in Austrailia! Welcome to Madden Grace born to my friend Beth and her husband Eric (aka E&E Downunder). There is way too much cuteness going on all over the world! Congrats Beth and Eric!

I know I already posted about the arrival of Ollie but...

The boy is singing! He looks like he's actually singing! Or squawking or saying "helloooooo"! Welcome to the family little buddy. You fit in just fine little dude!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Welcome Oliver Henry!

My sister's daughter and her husband welcomed the newest member of our family into the world on Oct. 1st. Little Oliver Henry (now affectionately called "Oh Henry!" by some of his uncles) weighed in at close to 9 lbs, and is getting plenty of daddy time this first week or so as him mom recovers from some pretty scary complications. Hope you are feeling much better today honey. Love, Auntie Monica

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Grandma love

So when we went to visit my mom and siblings in MN this past weekend, mom shared that she has this picture of Danny in a frame and she puts it on the table every morning so she can "eat breakfast with him". Is that not adorable?
Also overheard was the fact that it was okay that Danny's runny nose was making a mess everywhere including grandma's bed where he napped. Apparently "grandbaby runny noses are sort of like holy water". Yup. She really loves this little guy. -Monica

Friday, October 03, 2008

You put your left paw in, you put your left paw out...

Danny teaches his Godfather's dog Roscoe some new silly human tricks.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

True Story

So I was chatting this morning with a fun friend I've worked with for years, and even though I probably once knew the answer to this question I asked her,

"so what does your husband do?"

Without missing a beat, she replied,

"He worries."

This struck me as so funny and yet such a great example of how Wall Street and Main Street are pretty interconnected. -Monica

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Like the t-shirt says...teething bites!

But fortunately the whistle and the index finger make it fun for Danny to welcome that pesky molar. Oh, and by the way, no matter where you're coming in from to read our blog, you probably heard Danny blowing that whistle this morning! -Monica

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My three cents…

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and e-mails these past few weeks and months about the election, the economy, the war and other less volatile subjects (like cute kids and puppies.)

Anyway, it seems to me that there are so many people out there who write brilliant things, that there is really nothing I could say would matter. But I want to say something. So here goes.

I don’t hear too many people talking about how our current president has failed us. He has failed us. I could have predicted this 8 years ago. But I didn’t have a blog then.

If Sarah P*lin were a man named Steve P*lin and he were a 44 year old with her exact same set of circumstances (including limited executive experience, banned from talking to the media and zero foreign policy experience) I think there would still be calls for him to step down. The person is just a weak candidate period.

Everyone is mad at Wall Street, but I’m pretty ticked at the predatory lenders—hucksters who convinced people it would be perfectly fine to buy that big house. Imagine the billions of dollars of profits that were reaped by those real estate professionals from closing costs alone? Are people just gullible? I think wishful.

Were they stupid to believe they could simply refinance that ARM balloon payment before the fifth year of their mortgage? I think they were dreamers and in retrospect would have been better off going with that offer to buy the Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, the buyers have responsibility for what they did and what they signed. But there were some seriously greedy people behind what we see today.

My final thought? The Republican presidential nominee couldn’t run a laundromat.

Can I say that?

Monday, September 29, 2008


So I called to set up a doctor’s appointment for our little guy. When he’s 18 months old he’ll need another check up and I needed to get on our pediatrician’s calendar.

The receptionist I spoke to couldn’t find his record. I repeated his name and birth date and she was still stumped. So she repeated back to me what I’d told her twice already.

Suddenly I felt so stupid. Of course she couldn’t find him. Remember how when I legally adopted him 10 months ago we changed his last name to mine? Apparently I forgot that and twice called him by Su's last name which he'd had at birth.

Poor little Donny. I hope he’s sweet to me when the rest of the brain cells fade away. -Monica

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh gosh..we're stepping on cracks!

Danny and his buddy Bailey contemplate what this could mean for any one of their moms ;-)

P.S. Do you think they called each other before this play date to see what the other one was going to wear?


Wanna know what can scare the bujezus out of you? When a transformer with three cylinders like the one shown here blows. Like the one 30 feet from our house did last night at around 8:45.

One neighbor later said that it sounded like a bomb had gone off. Su and I were watching TV in the basement and both the sound and the vibration we felt made us both jump up. The power went out in the same instant as the boom and as we raced upstairs I thought I saw lightening lighting up our neighbor's back yard. Turned out that a hot wire had fallen down and set his car on fire. The tires were burning (although we didn't know that until later when we saw the smoke). We of course immediately called 911.

There was no lightening--we still don't know what caused this. We grabbed Danny and went across the street to a neighbor's house (who had kindly shown up at our door with an umbrella telling us to come with her--thanks Taj.) But even after the fire department came the small explosions continued spewing more sparks. They got the car fire out and gave the all clear. As we got to our front porch, it blew again. That was enough for us. We called friends who live about 1/2 mile away and stayed with them last night. They didn't have power either, but the possibility of fire seemed much less there.

This morning I saw the burned wheels on our neighbor's car. There were about 5 wires down in the alley that Pepco is coming to take care of. They couldn't possibly be live still right? I didn't try to touch them to find out.

So how did our young son handle being whisked out of his crib in the dark of night? Very calmly. Susanne was very calm. Me? I was umm...less calm. Two out of three ain't bad right? -Monica

Thursday, September 25, 2008


When a friend e-mailed me yesterday that John McCain was “suspending” his campaign I had a moment of joy where I thought it was like when Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee “suspended” theirs. That was the word they both used—suspended--when they packed up their bags and bowed out. For one sweet magical moment I imagined that Obama would just win by default or something.

But that was wishful thinking. McCain’s not quitting, he just wants a time out. Well guess what Senator McCain? You don’t get time outs when you run for the highest office in the land. It’s not like a football game. But I guess you thought it was, and because of your fear of getting decimated in the debate, you tried to call an audible. It's made you look more "muddled" than "maverick" at least to me.

This all being said, I wouldn’t mind putting him in a time out on the steps of the Capitol right about now. What’s the rule? One minute for each year of age?


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

That kind of mom...

The other day I let Danny eat some of my cake and as he was making a fine mess of himself, a friend said to me "oh, you're a Montessori mom." Since I wasn't quite sure what she meant, I looked it up and learned that:

"Montessori emphasizes learning through all five senses, not just through listening, watching, or reading."
Oh. Then I guess I am a Montessori mom. Last night while Danny was eating supper I gave him a whole juicy plum and he delighted in gnawing it while spinning it around in both hands, and basically ended the meal covered from head to toe with sticky fruit. We both thought it was great fun. (Yes, right into the bathtub he went.)

Susanne? She's not so much a Montessori mom. As I understand it, the whole experiential thing seems a bit, well, messy.

So what's the opposite of a Montessori mom? Inquiring minds want to know. ;-)


Monday, September 22, 2008

Doth sayeth me...

I think many of our dear readers already know this lovely quote on motherhood…

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

So lovely and so true. But, if I may now amend it just a little…

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your wallet go walking around outside of your purse. ~Monica

I thought of this the other day when we had to send a check for $15.00 to our pediatrician’s office so they could fill out a form with Danny’s vaccination records. Had to be signed by the doc too or we’d have done it ourselves.

But at least for now the little guy is still totally worth it ;-)


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Chopped Liver

Our friend Jenni wrote a funny post a week or so ago about how little Oscar now only has eyes for his dad. She titled the post "Daddy Worship", and I think she really hit the nail on the head about how sucky it is to experience, (I'll paraphrase for her here):

"her baby, who once lived for her, breathed for her, was nourished by her, took his very life blood from her, now forsake her for his dad."

Well, as you may recall, Danny's got two moms so we should not have this same situations. Well...
I'm no dad, but let's just say that Danny has been engaging in a similar form or worship called "Mommy love!"

As in me. Monica. Mommy. NOT mama. At first I thought Susanne was imagining things. "He does not favor me, are you kidding?" But you know what? He not only sort of does, he totally does (for now at least.)

Yesterday she left to catch a bus to work while Danny and I were still home and I swear to you if he could have talked he would have said "see ya". Short and snappy like that.

But when I left first this morning you would have thought that the stock market had crashed or something. Crocodile tears of the highest magnitude. Hmmm...maybe my stock market analogy is too close to home.

I'm sure this will pass, but that doesn't make it any more fun for Susanne. Sure, a part of me loves that he wants me all the time. But Bubby, come on now. She's not chopped liver you know. -M

P.S. By the way, I know that my time will come. Kids.