Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 4 of the Hunchback Crisis

Ow. It hurts to type. It hurts to turn my head. It hurts to say it hurts.

Somehow I did something funny to my right shoulder/neck on Monday. For four days now I've whined, complained, practically worn a heating pad everywhere, and self-medicated with what might be called a more than prudent amount of ibuprofin. Now my stomach hurts.

Am I still whining?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Good Question!

"Are you a good husband to your wife, ma'am?"

I was asked this by a flower vendor yesterday. You see, we gay people don't just "come out" once. Common misconception. We decide every day in ways large and small whether it feels safe to disclose our sexual orientation to people.

As time goes by I feel more and more free to just state the facts. Not care what others might think. And being a gay parent pretty much forces you out of the closet anyway. Susanne and I are "out" to basically everyone we know, but often we can just "see the wheels turning" as people who meet us try and make sense of everything.

So yesterday I was walking home from work and decided to buy my sweetie some flowers. A very nice vendor, originally I'm guessing from central Europe, was chit chatting with me as I looked over all the bouquets. Out of the blue he asked me "who are these for?" I think he wanted to know to help me pick based on what he figured a mom or grandma or whomever might like.

"They are for my partner" I said, then more bravely "for my wife". (I didn't want him to think I was a lawyer and they were for a partner in a law firm after all ;-)

He stopped his chatter, looked me straight in the eye and asked me "Are you a good husband to your wife, ma'am?"

How do you answer that? I could have gotten into the fact that we are each other's wives--no need for the word husband etc.. but that wasn't necessary. His question was very sweet and genuine. So I said, "well, I'm buying her flowers, so I think the answer is yes!" He selected a beautiful bouquet of white and red roses and then added two more as he wrapped them up.

"These are for your wife, ma'am."

Who knows, maybe he has a gay child? Maybe he himself is a closeted gay man? Maybe he just thought it was just another way that we "wacky Americans" are? Maybe none of the above. I don't know. But I know that we both left the conversation happy and smiling. I felt!
(As an additional note I'll add that the picture of flowers in this post was taken by Su in Dublin. Doesn't it make you smile too?) -Monica

Monday, January 28, 2008

Babies ARE Us now

This weekend we had dinner with some great friends who Su has known for years. Most of them worked together for a transitional housing program and it seems whenever we are all together it just seems so comfortable. Tom made his amazing vegetarian coconut based soup and chai and other great dishes. Christy, Rowan, David, Robb and Lara and I just sat around enjoying the food and the two tykes - 8 month old Danny and ADORABLE nearly 10 month old Toby who is Robb and Lara's son.

Robb is like myself an "older" first time parent. I think he's 49 and I'm 47. He's a physics professor at university here and gets to spend lots of time at home--particulary in the summers. I asked him if he was having any unexpected aches and or pains since Toby's arrival, and after we chatted breifly about heads, shoulders, knees and toes (okay, maybe some other body parts) he turned to me with his eyes shining and said "no one ever told me it would be this much fun! Good point I thought. In all actuality though, no one could have ever told me how how much fun this would be.

So, without further ado, I offer our eight month installment of slides of our Danny--the most fun I've ever had! -Monica

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Our boy hits the big 08 (months that is!)

Wow! What's the protocol here?

Most bloggers as you know (since you're reading a blog) have a blogroll somewhere on their site where they put links to blogs they read regularly. In our case, some are friends IRL (which means in real life, tricky huh?) and others are blogs that you've found that you just really like a lot.

Anyway, this week we got a comment from the author of Mom-101! The woman who writes it is hysterically funny and out of the blue she commented on our blog post with our family picture.

I've got to tell you, it is such an honor. And a few months ago another incredibly funny blogger named Swistle (who is also on our blog sidebar) wrote us a comment. These bloggers are the real deal. When they write blog posts they get dozens, sometimes hundreds of comments. We are lucky if we get one or two. I'm just saying that they both seem to really strike a chord with people and I guess I feel so flattered that they noticed in their stats that we'd put a link to their sites. They both have babies who are the same age as Danny which is how I first came across them and if you haven't read them before, I encourage you to do so now.

So here is my dilema. When someone comments, you publish it (if you want to). Often you can't reply to what they've written to protect their real identity. you write a follow up to their comment in your own comment box? This really won't work if they never look at your site again (and why would they?) Or do you go onto their blog and when they write about something that you can connect to do you then post a comment to their blog? Oh, it's all so confusing. I guess everyone just likes to feel connected.

So...if Mom-101 or Swistle or Casey from Dancing on the Edge or Jenn from Arcane Matters, if any of you ever read this post, please know that you make the day go faster for us all by being such fun writers. That's all I'm saying! -Monica

Friday, January 25, 2008

Still shaking my head...

I don’t know how many of you caught this news story from earlier this month. President Bush took a trip to the Mideast and visited the Sea of Galilee. The AP reported the following:

After touring the Mount of Beatitudes, overlooking banana groves, a grinning Bush held hands with two elderly nuns, laughing with them and posing for pictures with their digital camera. A larger group of nuns later gave Bush a crystal statue inscribed with words from the fabled Sermon on the Mount, recounted in Matthew Chapter 5: "Blessed are those who are peacemakers for they will be called children of God."

I was very much struck by this and saddened in all honestly. The opposite of a peacemaker is a warmaker. Funny how my spell check will let me write “peacemaker” but not “warmaker”.

I also found myself wondering how this beatitude would have to be changed to something like “damned are those who are warmakers…you get the picture.

I heard yesterday that Dennis Kucinich had dropped out of the race for president and even though I hadn’t really learned much about his campaign it was mentioned that he had had the idea to make a Department of Peace. I thought that was pretty cool. What did Einstein once say? “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” Profound I say. -Monica

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Quick, is there Paparazzi in the house?

As I mentioned our trip to Minnesota was brief but one visit we did make was to our friend Amy's house. Amy was one of my high school students in the 1980s when I was a teacher and we've always stayed in touch. She invited several of her former classmates over and it was a blast! I loved teaching those kids. I can't believe they are in their 30s now (yes, I know that means I'm in my 40s now!) Later after my fourth year of teaching I joined Peace Corps and they went off to college so it's sort of like we all graduated together or something.

Anyway, at one point Amy says to her husband Matt, "honey, why don't you take a family picture?" I'd of course forgotten that Matt is a professional photographer so he trooped us upstairs into his impromptu studio that he only uses for family and friends and started clicking away. I could almost hear the song "VOGUE!"

Lo and behold, even though tired and sleepy Danny refused to smile once (preferring his "Mr. Crankypants" cool look) and we didn't even comb our hair, nor dress in any special way for the occasion, Matt caught this--our first real picture of the family. Thanks Amy! Thanks Matt!

Cough, cough

Or I guess it would be more appropriate to say "blow, blow" (insert the sound of elephants calling here). You see I got sick with a bad cold last Thursday and Susanne eventually caught it which means that we've both now gone through several trees worth of Kleenex. The sound of noseblowing now scares our little guy. Sorry little buddy. But if you sniff instead of blow when you're that congested you end up with chronic earaches (I speak from experience here.)

We managed to pop home to Minnesota for two days during all of this which was great fun seeing family and a few friends, but let's face it, the temperature was 12 below when we landed. I'll write more about our adventures there later.

Today, we were really touched to see a very sweet post from our friend Jenni who watches Danny several days a week in addition to caring for her own son Oscar. It has a cute picture of her "boys". Seems she thinks Danny is quite a good problem solver at the ripe old age of (almost) 8 months. Anyway, thanks Jenni, that was fun to read! Have a great day everybody. -Monica

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Top 5 things that made me laugh this week...

5. A comic strip where a woman is sitting in her car after a minor accident and the deployed airbag has an ad on it that says “Need a Lawyer? Call 800-555-5555”

4. Watching our son nod his head vigorously at everything and everybody we passed while on a stroller ride yesterday. “Hello, Mr. Garbage Truck!”, “Hello Nice Neighbor Lady!” You get the picture.

3. Hearing Su’s longtime friend Connie tell her over the phone that she reads our blog and that she’s “glad that Monica writes because she’s always been the funny one.” Susanne said “thank you Connie. I think.” (Hi Connie!)

2. While sitting on our couch Danny fell gently forward on to sleepy CJ who didn’t budge. Their faces mere inches apart, Danny opened his mouth, leaned in and and proceeded to try and take a taste of the kitty cat's snout. And CJ was going to let him (until I intervened!) Dear Lord, we know what’s been in CJ's mouth!

Drumroll please...

1. “Oh you hate your job too? There’s a group for that. It’s called Everybody, and they meet at the bar.” (I believe this one can be attributed to Drew Carey.)

Have a good one Everybody! (tee, hee!) -Monica

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

What the what?

So we have these nice knives that we got for our wedding (thank you Erin and Eduardo) that we use a lot. Susanne has asked me, more than once, to NOT put them in the dishwasher. You see it's best to hand wash them immediately, dry them well, and put them away. We last had this discussion more than a week ago and I have been very careful and am almost certain that I have NOT put any of the good knives in the dishwasher.

So last night as I was unloading the machine I spied our little paring knife. Yes, one of the special ones. It had just been washed. Aha!!! I turned to Susanne who was feeding Danny and let her know that I DID NOT under any circumstances put that knife in there, and that the only other possible answer could be that she had done it. Come on now. We really couldn't blame this one on Danny could we?

"Well" she said, "it definitely wasn't me—that would leave you".

So now I figure we are totally in a "she said, she said" kind of thing where we'd never really come to any final resolution.

"How can you be so sure you didn't put it in the dishwasher? It could have been you, you know" I argued.

She turned to me smiling sweetly and said "no, because I haven't put anything in the dishwasher in weeks".

"Huh? What the heckle and jeckle?"

I'm thinking maybe we should now be engaged in a very different argument ;-) -Monica

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Roll call please

Sugar pie, honey pie, sweetie pie, sweetie, chicky monkey, chunky monkey, buddy, sweetheart, bubby (not to be confused with Bubba), punkin’, punky, Punky Brewster, Danny Boy, Buster Brown, amor de mi vida, dueno de mi corozon, mein Schatz, unser suesser Sohn, our boy, baby, my love, dreamy boy, Danno, Danimal, the Danosaur, the Daninator and of course our favorite name that is known only to me and Susanne and our little angel. Gosh, I just made up another nickname! Stop me. Stop me now! -Monica

Photo Courtesy of Jenni--daycare provider extraordinaire!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Maybe I'll forget how forgetful I'm getting...

So if you take your infant away for the weekend to New England (in January) and don't bring any blanket nor winter outerwear nor, gulp, a stroller, are you really not very bright parents?

Yes, we took Danny to Massachusetts, first to to visit my aunt near Boston, and then to beautiful and snowy Northhampton to hang out with our fabulous friend Liz who was a Peace Corps Volunteer with me. It was great fun and Danny turned on his charm with that silly smile of his. I think everyone was quiet smitten.

You know, it seemed so warm when we left DC. We really did mean to take his favorite blanket but it got left behind when we carried the other millions of items out to the car the morning we left. His jacket was a pretty good one, but not really a winter coat. And no stroller? Well, we've got no defense for that one. I guess he seems so grown up now we sort of forgot he can't walk. Good thing he only weighs 15 pounds. And that we could pick up a cheap umbrella stroller at the store.

We're going to Minnesota to visit my family soon. Maybe we should revise our packing list? (Sadly, we really did use a packing list for our Massachusetts trip.) Oh well. Maybe it will be warm in Minnesota? Not likely. -Monica

P.S. No child (particularly not ours) was harmed in the making of this about our trip to the northland ;-)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

From our 2006 trip to Peru

The Santa Catalina Convent in Arequipa

This stone wall on an island near Lake Titicaca has no cement. Awesome!

And of course we went to Machu Picchu. It was gorgeous!

All photo credits go to Susanne (of course!) But I carried all our stuff while she took 'em! ;-) Ciao! -Monica

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Laptops and Routers and Cables, Oh My!

What a great day! You see three days a week Danny hangs out with little friend Oscar under the watchful eye of mom Jenni and every Friday he’s with Su since she is on a 4 day schedule. That left one day a week where we had to problem solve. Viola! We both got permission to telework every Wednesday and this was our first day. Armed with our work laptops we prepared for this big moment first thing this morning. Susanne basically dismanteled our whole upstairs desktop system and moved the router and splitter and cables and what not downstairs so we could both connect our laptops and work from our dining room table.

It was ugly. There were purple and yellow wires and message boxes the kept popping up saying we werent’ properly connected. It would be so much easier if we could go into our Virtual Private Networks wirelessly, but that’s not possible for security purposes. Then there was an online chat with Verizon to solve a problem, password “issues” and peripherals to attach. Believe it or not, Su just realized that Danny now knows that you have to reach for the mouse to do stuff on the computer. Scary huh? (I know, one could do everything with tab keys and shortcuts but basically he sees us using the mouse all the time!) Now he goes for it at every opportunity.

Anyway, So our dining room floor looks something like the picture here. (Okay, it looks nothing like this but there ARE a bunch of wires everywhere!) We’ll come up with a better solution soon, but for now, at least everything works as it should. And as an added bonus, our cats love the new wiring!

It’s a gorgeous day so we have been able to take him outside on his swing which has been fun, and so far it’s been no problem taking periodic breaks to “trade him off”. He’s a pretty content little guy so he’ll jump around in his Exersaucer or play with his toys, and he’s also a good napper so that helps a lot. And let’s face it—it’s fun to put him right here in his high chair next to us and let him eat/play with his Cherrios. M&Ms for babies I say!

Well, I’d better get back to my real work. I must admit that it’s sort of embarrassing to be the Director of a Federal University for Information Technology and yet be so pathetic (or is it apathetic?) about all this technical stuff. Thanks for doing everything Susanne! –Monica

P.S. I guess I didn’t have to write that since she’s sitting right here across from me! I LOVE this!

Monday, January 07, 2008


Fortunately both Danny and Susanne are doing better after a rather dreary weekend that included one stretch where I changed Danny 4 times within an 8 hour period. I'm not just talking diapers either. Let's just say we did several loads of wash using the hottest water possible this weekend.

But now that all is well, I thought I'd write about what I believe to be a fascinating observation. Apparently Danny has ACHOO (autosomal dominant compulsive helio-ophthalmic outbursts of sneezing syndrome). I'd never even heard of it before but according to Scientific American, 18-35% of the population has it. What does it mean? He sneezes at light. Consistently. Without fail. Like when I go to him in the morning once he's started fussing, and turn on the light to change guessed it. Achoo, achoo, achoo!

In part the article cited here says:

“Its genetic nature has been known for at least the last 25 years; it is periodically discussed in the medical literature and lay press. Observations that emerging from dim light into sunlight or turning to face directly into the sun commonly triggers the reflex prompted early inquiries into the trait. The number of induced sneezes--which seems to be genetically mediated and can be predicted within a family--is constant from episode to episode and typically numbers two or three.”

I even start saying "God Bless You" before I turn on the light now (he always sneezes 3 times by the way). I once blogged about how Susanne is a serial sneezer but I never attributed it to light. Maybe it is the light? I always thought it was allergies. And she usually sneezes 3 times (occasionally more.) Danny's sneezing occurs from turning on lights indoors (only from complete darkness to bright light.) We'll have to pay more attention when we take him outdoors to see if the sun triggers it for him too.

What can I say? This would fall on the "nature" side of the "nature vs. nurture" debate. It doesn't seem to hurt him, and it just seems so, so, CUTE when he does it. And I do like to say "God Bless You" as often as I can so it really works out for me! -Monica

Here I thought it was his first little yawn and he was probably sneezing instead!

Friday, January 04, 2008

My poor babies...

I was just going to blog somthing longer but Susanne called and asked me if I could come home a bit early. Danny got sick yesterday and although he seems to be improving from his gastrointestinal troubles, Su is sick now. My poor babies. I'm on my way!!!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

And the winner is....

Danny! With a tie score of 4-4 it appears that our Daniel is adorable no matter how you look at it. (And sis you were right. Su prefers the "slicked down" while I prefer the parted which she thinks makes him look like a 40 year old man.)

Maybe she just doesn't want him to grow up too fast. ;-)

Thanks to everyone who cast a ballot. And now for your last look at the winner!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Voting will close at COB tomorrow (that's "close of business" to us government types) on yesterday's opinion poll as to whether Danny's hair looks cuter with a part or brushed down. It's a close race as of this style has a one vote lead. The suspense is killing me ;-)

Anyway, on to something new. So, for Christmas my mother in law got me this really cool wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer. You hang a sensor outside and the device with the indoor sensor and the monitor for both stays indoors. At a glance you can see what the temps are both indoors and out.

Well, I decided to put the monitor in Danny's room since I'm a little psycho about how cold it gets overnight. (Fortuntely it's not dropped below 64 degrees so I'm not too worried about the temp there now.) But a funny thing happened last night. You see, when the outside temperature drops below 32 degrees the monitor starts flashing a green light to warn that it's below freezing. Yes, my device has a "freeze alert".

Susanne had gone into Danny's room to nurse him around 3 am and was mystified as to where the flashing green light was coming from. We're not sure if it's what woke him up, but there he was in his crib being bathed in intermittent green light. Su thought the light might be coming from outside, (new police green lights?). She really had no idea until she got her hands on the monitor on the shelf. Fortunately she found this to be humorous as opposed to finding that it made her murderous (of me of course.)

The moral of this story? Ummm....that we should move somewhere warmer? Right? Have a great day everyone. And sweet dreams! -Monica

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

You make the "do" call!

Happy New Year again dear readers. Susanne and I would like your help in settling a little difference of opinion we have about our dear boy's hairstyle. One of us thinks it looks most adorable when his hair is brushed forward and the other much prefers a little part on the side. I'm not going to say who exactly prefers which, but we'd love to get your opinion. We'll post the winner shortly.

This is not to say that he's going to start going with one style over another--just to say that I'm right and perhaps Su is a bit mistaken on what is his best look ;-) Hereeeeee's Danny!


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