Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Just a sec!

When Susanne went into labor with Benjamin eight days before her due date, I remember feeling an initial sense of control and calm. It was about 5:30 in the morning on December 17th, and I wasn’t too surprised to see her up already and walking around. The last few weeks of pregnancy make it pretty hard for any pregnant woman to sleep comfortably, so seeing her up was no big deal.

Until she mentioned that, although she wasn’t sure, she thought she might be feeling contractions. This was unusual. She never had much in the way of Braxton-Hicks contractions with any of her two pregnancies so this really made me sit up and pay attention.

And I knew exactly what to do. As the birth partner, the best help I could offer now was to time and record every contraction. I remembered perfectly that I’d need to note the time one began, the duration, and the number of minutes before the next one started. And I was ready. Sort of.

You see with Danny’s birth in 2007 I did this just fine using a watch I’d purchased in 2001 to run my one and only marathon. It was one of those high tech gizmos with all kinds of functions including a stopwatch function. In fact I own two of those watches since during my training for the marathon I’d lost one and replaced it, then eventually found the first one. So timing contractions with Danny back then was a breeze.

Fast forward to two weeks ago when I realized I need to get hopping and start timing. “Hmmmm…” I wondered out loud. “Honey, do you know where either of those two watches are?”

I had no idea you see. Su, in between rather painful if short contractions (at least early on), gave me a few good ideas and I spent a good 15 minutes looking everywhere—to no avail.

This was ridiculous. Surely we had another watch with a second hand right? But we didn’t. You see, we don’t wear watches. We actually use our electronic devices to see what time it is, and they don’t have second hands. Neither does any clock in our house, and you can be sure that Su was not going to labor in the kitchen so I could use the the microwave timer.

While I continued my frantic searching we came up with two solutions. Su remembered that her ipod had a stopwatch app. Which actually sort of worked except that by the time you tapped the right things to start it again, several seconds had already elapsed and we realized that this was not the best solution.

Then I found this annoying stopwatch that I’d gotten as a freebee at a conference. I’m surprised we still had it, as my recollection, it beeped at all hours of the day and night and drove us both mad. But my super efficient wife did her magic and made the annoying stopwatch actually work properly so I could proceed in my duties. Benjamin was born later that day so these contractions were indeed the real thing.

The moral of this story is that all of you out there who are partners of expectant women should take this as a cautionary tale. Make sure you’ve got a timing device. Seriously. Oh, and those two awesome watches I mentioned I owned? Still haven’t found them. And now that I think of it, if they were new in 2001 and I know I used one of them in 2007, how sure am I really that either still has any battery life now that it's almost 2010?

Baby Benjamin, I hope you can forgive me. It won’t be the last time I’ll beg for you indulgence. Love, Mommy

P.S. Couldn't resist. Pictured below, the boys.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh the layers we'll wear!

I was just thinking...

Daniel was born in late May 2007 and the day he came home from the hospital it was 102 degrees outside. Hot, hot, hot.

 Benjamin was born in late December 2009 and the day he came home from the hospital is was in the low 20s. Cold, cold, cold.

Which has caused me to realized that summer babies don't require much more to wear than a diaper, a onsie and a recieving blanket. And they actually find the chill of regular diaper changes refreshingly cool (cold mommy hands and all).

But winter babies have got it rougher. You've got your diaper and your onsie of course. Then you've got your warm sleeper or outfit (for night and day). And when it's time to go night night, a warm and cozy sleep sack gets added. And maybe even another receiving blanket. So diaper changes are not only unrefreshingly cold for our December boy, they take a lot of time!

Benji is handling it quite well though I'd say. I'm the one regularly cursing the little snaps that are maddeningly arragned just to drive me mad--especially in the low light of night time.

Wonder what other observations will come to light as the days pass? Only time will tell. Have a great day everybody! -Monica

Monday, December 28, 2009

Time flies when you are having fun...

Hi everybody. Sorry for the delay in getting up some more pictures of our lovely lad. We've decided that since we did a one week slide show of Danny, and then a monthly one until he was a year old, it only seems fair to do the same for his brother Benji.

So, we hope you'll enjoy "Benji's First Week". They are posted in Shutterfly and you don't need to log into anything to see them. Just follow the prompts from "view album".

Benjamin is doing great. He's steadily gaining back the weight that most babies lose in the first few days of life. His temperament is very sweet so far although when he does get cranky it's usually in the evenings. Nothing that a quick dose of the elixir of the Gods won't help (yes, that is breast milk.)

We are all doing fine as a matter of fact and enjoyed taking Benji to Christmas Eve service. I won't say he upstaged any other baby that night, but he was very much the focus of much "oohing" and "ahhing" from the wonderful friends we've made at Luther Place.

Alrighty then. To end this post, I'd like to challenge those of you who don't think Benji looks like Danny to pick which boy is which. The correct answer can be found in the slide show. Have a tremendous day everybody! -Monica

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Back home with our two boys

Well here is the obligatory first picture of Benjamin with his big brother Daniel. As you can see, they are quite sweet together, and in fact, I also want to share this picture which we took a few minutes after arriving home with the baby. When Danny saw Benji asleep on the couch he decided that he needed a nap too and climbed on up to lay down with his brother. Beyond cute right?


Everything is going great. We did manage to have Benji in the midst of one of the biggest blizzards we’ve seen in DC in a long time, and were basically trapped at the hospital which went into a big lockdown at 2 pm on Saturday. This means that the thousands of workers there could not leave and had to bunk down and take over shifts for those who could not get in. Patients were also basically prohibited from being discharged as the city had declared a state of emergency. The roads were horrible. In a way it was kind of a cool, “we are all in this together” sort of mentality and it was fun hearing everyone tell their story of how many hours they’d been there. One nurse joked that it was sort of like a slumber party, except with no music, and bland food.

We actually arrived there on Thursday not even knowing a storm was heading our way. By Saturday though, there were 18” of snow on the ground and it was still falling.

We were not concerned about being trapped there for two reasons. The first being that Benji was born via an unplanned C-Section so Su needed a few days to recover. And secondly, becaue Danny was in good hands with his Nana who got here from South Carolina before the first snow fell. Good timing Benjamin! I was actually able to get home every night except one to put Danny to bed which I think helped, and he did a great job on the night that I was unable to get home because of the storm (thanks Nana!)

Back to Benji. I think it is safe to say that his birth was rather stressful. He was stuck very much like his brother Daniel had been, and after hours of pushing, it was decided that for the safety of the baby it would be best to do the C-Section. It was not the birth we imagined, but it was the birth we got, and I know that we are both just so grateful that he’s okay and that Susanne is okay too.

The baby also had jaundice which is pretty common but it also means that he had to be nursed every two hours to keep up his hydration. He was also put under big lights in the nursery for about 20 hours. The lights work to break down bilirubin in the blood. We knew the procedure since we'd gone through the same thing with Danny, but you do forget how tiring it can be. Since you time the feedings to be two hours apart from the start of one feeding to the start of the next, you don’t get much rest.  I can’t complain though. I’m not the one who had major surgery and then has to do this over and over again on little rest. I’ve been there every minute, but Su’s job is much harder, bless her heart. She is amazing.

We are still doing the feedings every few hours but everything is just easier now that we are home.

Anyway, just wanted to post a bit more about the birth of our beautiful little boy. Happy Holidays everyone. We are happy as can be that Benjamin came in time for us all to celebrate baby's first Christmas this year! Yes! -M

Friday, December 18, 2009

Welcome sweet boy--we've been waiting for you!

Weighing in at 8 lbs. 1 oz., the incredibly adorable Benjamin! He was born yesterday afternoon, and we are so incredibly happy!  Anybody else out there think he looks an awful lot like big brother Danny did as a newborn?

Su and baby are doing fine. She can tell the birth story later. Happy day everybody!!!! -Monica & Susanne & sons

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

Keeping busy. In the best possible ways...

This weekend our favorite group of Peace Corps buddies threw a "White Elephant/Baby Shower" party and it was a blast. The final present selected for the White Elephant portion of the event was a dollar store gum ball machine with big box of gumballs. As you can see, there was no question but that this gift would leave in the hands of little Danny.

He hasn't managed to open the box of gumballs yet thank goodness. But he's got the "machine" all taken apart and loves it even though the little door mechanism where the candy comes out out snaps his finger like a turtle.

This morning his first words upon waking were "gumballs mom!" He is a single minded little guy like that. We're not actually going to let him have gumballs we've decided. Maybe some more healthful snack can come out instead. We'll see.

And here he practices being angelic for our church Advent Play yesterday.The two year olds were the hit of the show in my somewhat biased estimation!

Hope you all had a great weekend too. -Monica

P.S. In case you're wondering, no sign of the baby coming anytime soon.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Last night at 10:46 pm


“Good, that was excellent. Just relax now.”

“Ready? Here we go again…”

“Three, two, one…okay—stop, stop.”

“Last time now honey. You can do it!”

And with those words, Susanne and I finished filling in the blind cc section of an empty draft e-mail that is now ready to send once the baby comes. Su was holding down the Ctrl key and selecting the names, and we agreed to stop and add groups after about every twenty names so she didn’t accidently let go of the Ctrl key and lose everything we’d been selecting. It’s a lot of pressure to keep holding down that key without slipping up. So it was good to relax in between sets to get ready for that next group of names.

You didn’t think we’d had the baby already did you. ;-)


Thursday, December 10, 2009

May I have this dance?

Those of you who follow this blog have surely figured out already that I am crazy about our boy. Seriously, our Danny makes me laugh, makes me beam with pride, and makes me feel all mushy and dreamy inside like 95% of the time (well except for those times that he’s testing my patience of course.)

Yes, he is a gift beyond compare to both me and Susanne.

And as I think about this, I think about something our friend Erin mentioned when her second child was born earlier this year. She said that she never realized how hard it would be to no longer just be a mom to her older toddler daughter. That relationship had to change once little brother came upon the scene. Erin, if you read this feel free to correct my memory of this, but I think you communicated something about how in a way the family had to grieve the loss of the life you’d had with just mom, dad and little AG. Of course now months later, AG probably can’t remember what life was like without her wonderful little brother, but I think that you were on to something with your use of the word grief to express how it felt in transition.

Danny has had our undivided attention for his whole life. Well. Maybe not undivided, but he has only known a world in which we are not too distracted by anyone or anything else. This of course will change soon.

He’ll be a great big brother and we’ll work on strategies to make sure he still gets lots of attention and love but this life that we have known together is going to shift gears.

Yesterday he was home sick after running a fever in the night. I happened to be rereading our copy of the “Happiest Baby on the Block” and was reminded that the same techniques that make babies feel content work for big people too. That’s why swinging in a hammock or listening to the ocean feel so soothing. Danny was starting to get cranky but but really needed to take a nap, so on a whim, I up and did something I haven’t done in a very long time. I hoisted him up onto my left shoulder and holding him tight, started swaying back and forth just like I'd done so many times when he was a baby. We do plenty of rocking in the rocking chair now as he’s grown, but I can’t remember the last time we danced like this.

Our big 27 pound "big boy" melted into my arms and was fast asleep in minutes.

And even though he seemed to get heavier with every passing minute, I couldn’t stop myself from dancing with him just a little while longer. -Monica

P.S. A pic of my very first dance with our number one son on the day he was born in 2007.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Not even remotely capable it seems...

So Danny loves remotes. Oh the joy of pushing buttons! But unfortunately, when he does, I am often reduced to a blubbering mass of total confusion. Let's see? Something about something needing to be on Channel 3, but make sure that the VCR/DVD player is on (or off?) and that the Line 1 or Cable button is properly pressed on the grey one. Or is it the black one? No, no! This TV has a "universal" remote except that it's not very universal.Or is that the one upstairs? Argh!!!

 Okay. I think I got it.

I don't got it.

And this ladies and gentlemen is why I knew Susanne was the one for me. 

Thank you honey for once again making everything right with the world. And Daniel? If you're going to insist on tracking those remotes down no matter how carefully I think I've hidden them from you, it's time for you to sit down with mama and learn the secret of "fixin' the problem". Clearly I'm a lost cause, but I have a lot of hope for you son. Love, Mommy

P.S. Sounds like my great niece ittle Johanna will need to stay in the hospital a bit longer. Maybe home Thursday? Let's hope so.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Feel better baby

This is my neice's two year old daughter in a photo taken by her mom today where she is resting at a hospital in the Twin Cities. She woke up yesterday with half of her face completely swollen and had emergency surgery last night for an infected cyst in her neck. She'll be back for more tests next week.

Rest well sweetheart. Hopefully whatever the problem is will get figured out and addressed right away.

Her grandmother (my sister) did say that the only even remotely humerous thing to come out of this is when they gave the baby some morphine because of the intense pain she was in, she started sucking her favorite thumb and with a dreamy smile announced that her "thummy was nummy!" (She also then began laughing which sounded sort of like a snorting  pig, but she probably won't want to remember that part of the story when she is older.)

The docs think they know what the problem is and how to treat it. Please keep Johanna and her family in your prayers. I hear she is doing better today, but she is one very sick little girl.

Cousin Danny sends hugs and kisses baby. Aunties too. Love, Monica

My pre New Year's Day resolution

I've always thought it interesting how New Year's Day resolutions have such a special place of honor in our lives. Interesting because most January 1st resolutions have to do with getting healthier or losing weight, when ironically most of us have just spent the last month eating and drinking way too much rich stuff. Ah...the holidays!

So. In order to make January a little less stressful for myself (especially with the wee one soon due to make an appearance) I've decided to adopt one simple resolution today, December 8, 2009.

I will be a "cat burglar". Let me explain. You see several years ago I took a W*ight Watcher's class. Our instructor was a real character. She had a very high pitched voice and a very stiff affect. I'll never forget her explaining to us that when we go to holiday parties, we all have to be "cat burglars". We need to "case the joint" when we go to a party and understand what every single food choice is there before we even pick up a plate.

Then and only then could we help ourselves to a plate of food. The unspoken being that fruit, vegetables and fish dishes etc...were probably going to be a better choice than the double cheese lasagne with Death by Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake.

I'll never forget her prancing around the room trying to demonstrate how we could sneakily check everything out at an imaginary party. But as rediculous as her little demo came across, it was actually a very valuable lesson.

Case in point. I just came back to my desk after attending my very first Holiday Party at work. I forgot to be a "cat burglar" and ended up eating two big (okay fattening) sandwiches and some cookies before it dawned on me that I didn't even pick up one healthy item.

So. I am committed. I will take a few minutes to inventory every offering before I pick up my plate for the rest of this season. And I will not weigh one pound more on January 1st than I do today.

Wish me luck! Meow!!! -M

Monday, December 07, 2009


Su is not a big fan of the "pregnant belly shots", (or any photos of herself in general) but I finally got one that I think she won't hate!

I maybe got one picture of her when she was pregnant with Danny, and here is one I snapped this weekend "backstage" at the children's Advent Play rehearsal at our church. Hard to believe there are only 18 days remaining until the baby is due. We spent a lot of time this weekend getting things ready though, because big brother here decided to come out about 2 weeks early, so as far as we are concerned, this baby could come at any time now too. Su sorted tons of clothes and washed up the ones we'll need for baby. The car seat and bassinet are all set up, and I made several of our favorite meals that are now in the freezer ready to be heated up in a jiffy.

It's really odd to plan for an event without knowing when it will happen exactly right? Looks like I'm going to have to keep practicing patience. Argh! I'm not very good at that! -Monica

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Actually there really is a stupid question…

Remember that saying “the only stupid question is the one that doesn’t get asked?” Well, as it turns out, that’s a bunch of hogwash. How do I know this? Judge for yourself…

Last night as Su and I snuggled, I was really enjoying feeling the baby wiggle and move. Every time I’d press gently on her belly the baby would respond in kind. It was really sweet.

Then suddenly, my hand was actually airborne for a moment, courtesy of an amazingly hard kick or hipcheck or who knows what.

In shock, I looked at Susanne and asked in the most incredulous tone you can imagine,

“Honey, did you feel that?????”

I rest my case. It was indeed, quite possibly the stupidest question I have ever asked in my life. At least up til now. ;-)


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Danny and his Nana

Danny has fun reading "Potty Time with Elmo" with Su's mom (aka NANA!) over Thansgiving. it just me, or does it look like he is not taking this "learning how to use the potty" thing very seriously? ;-)

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Today the DC City Council took the first of two votes to decide whether to pass legislation to allow for gay marriage in the District of Columbia. I'd written a post in October about my disappointment that the Council Member who represents the ward where we live was in opposition to the bill before it was even presented. I even included a bit of the e-mail exchange I'd had with him back then trying to get him to consider being a co-sponsor of the bill at that time. He did not ultimately sign on as a co-sponsor in October and I felt bad, but since such a majority was in favor of the bill, in a way his vote wasn't important. But to me it was. He knew me and my family and maybe I took it a little personally.

So as I watched the hearing live online this morning, I actually started to cry when he began speaking because he was explaining that after a lot of deliberation, he'd changed his mind! He actually voted "YES" today! I got Su on the phone once I realized that he was providing a rationale for voting "yes" and so we both heard him vote "AYE".

I am so happy! I know that he's going to get a lot of pushback from some of his constituents, but his remarks regarding discrimination were excellent. I'm sure they will be published later but for now all I remember is that he said he could not vote to discriminate against people.

I just wrote him a note to thank him. I had not idea that he was going to vote "yes". What a wonderful thing it was to see and hear! The measure passed today by a vote of 11 "yes" votes to 2 "no" votes. -Monica

P.S. After the final vote around Dec. 15th, the mayor has already said he will sign it and then it will go to congress for a 30 day reveiw before becoming law (if congress doesn't do anything to stop it). Wow!

An Advent Adventure!

Danny was delighted this morning to find colorful bags tied up with pretty ribbons cascading down the staircase. We told him it was the first day of Advent and that every day from December 1st – December 24th he’d get to cut a ribbon and open a new bag!
Needless to say, Advent is now his favorite time of the year.

Susanne did a fabulous job sewing each little bag and coming up with clever little gifts for each. Don’t tell him, but he’s going to be seeing some matchbox cars, chocolate Santas, little story books and other fun presents in the days to come. Some gifts are practical, some are whimsical and some are gosh darn delicious so every day will be an adventure! Fantasic job honey!

I love the “green” aspect of sewing the bags so they can be reused each year. This advent “calendar” idea is one that Susanne’s family did when she was growing up and I love seeing such a wonderful tradition passed on to the next generation.

Without further ado, here’s Danny’s first day of Advent.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Memory of memories

I got to thinking the other day that if blogs that many parents keep stand the test of time, some incidents will surely become a part of our children's memory of childhood.

But the thing is, a lot of our memories of childhood are not really our memories. They are the stories that were told enough times that they became sort of folklore. In our family for instance I once had to go to the doctor to get my stomach x-rayed because my older sister reported that I'd eaten a roofing nail. Apparently when I realized all of the concern this seemed to engender, I happy corroborated the story and the rest is history. There was no nail. But I got a heck of a lot of attention which was pretty precious in a large family.

But I was young. Maybe three or almost three. And although I could swear to you that I remember the event is detail, I really don't remember it at all. I just remember what the others told me.

So, I wonder if there is only so much room for these family stories in our collective memories. Will our babies too think they "remember" these things? But think of the difference in volume. I have probably 3 or 4 stories that have stood the test of time and are "Monica stories" in my family's "folklore". Danny has at least 100 on this blog already.

And what of the fact that often siblings have very different memories life in their households. If a blogger tells a story and no one is there to challenge it or correct it, is it rendered "the truth"? Isn't all truth relative to one's own experience anyway?

Did I mention that I have a reputation in my family as being an "embellisher"? Every story I tell is a bit more grandiose and colorful than what really happened. Or so it is said. Keep that in mind little Daniel, as you one day read this blog. Or worse yet when someone you have a crush on learns all kinds of embarrassing things your mommy wrote about your with a simple search on the WayBackMachine.

That's all I've got to say today. But tomorrow, fortunately, is another day! -Monica

P.S. Not to say that I think blogging is in any way a bad thing. It's really just a diary. A web log to be exact (that's where the word "blog" came from.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

To all the "funny e-mail" forwarders out there...

It's called a "blind cc". That way when you forward what you think is a hilarious e-mail, no one has to wade through a long list of your friends, your friend's friends and your friend's friend's friends e-mail addresses.

You know. To read your "funny" e-mail.

But don't stop sending them. Much like I have a hard time admitting that that from time to time I actually read the National Enq*irer, I also must admit I enjoy your "funnies".

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! -Monica

P.S. The Reader's Digest dramatic rescue stories always make me cry too. How do they do that? 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Rubik’s Cube Theory

So perhaps those of you who already have more than one child can help me out with a theory that I'm incubating. (Pun intended).

My thought is that having one child keeps you busy but at least there are several options that are available for different scenarios if there are two parents in the mix. You kind of negotiate things like “you take Danny food shopping and I’ll take care of this other task”. Or “how about if I blah, blah blah…and you blah, blah, blah.” You know, simple things like that.

But with more than one child to coordinate, I have a sense that things can get exponentially more complicated.

It’s sort of like a Rubik’s cube to my way of thinking. You can try all different kinds of ideas, but if you really want to solve the Rubik’s cube you’ve really got to think!

This thought came to me last week when Su and I took Danny to Home Depot to get some wood and stuff to make his loft bed. We needed a truck, but since we hadn’t arranged for anyone to watch Danny (it was a Federal Holiday) we also needed to take him. Our friend with the truck was happy to lend it, but she needed to pick someone up at the airport. So of course we said she could use our car. Then we realized we’d need to figure something else out since there was no way to get a car seat in the truck.

Luck had it that we were able to borrow yet another friend’s car and off we went—me and Danny following Su who was in the pickup on this great adventure!

We bought tons (I want to say literally) of lumber and plywood. We were in a bit of a hurry to get the borrowed car back home when, just as we were ready to head to the check out area, Danny required a diaper change. (Let’s just say it was a stinker).

Not wanting Susanne to be doing any unnecessary lifting etc…my plan had been to push all the heavy stuff to the checkout area, leave him with her to pay while I went to get the truck, then I’d load up the truck and finally walk back our borrowed car with Danny to head back home again in tandem.

But now he was in serious need of a diaper change. I felt stumped. The bathroom was seemingly a mile away and it made no sense for Susanne to deal with Mr. Squirmy Wormy “I HATE getting my diaper changed on those little fold down tables”, so we decided I would take him to the bathroom.

In the meanwhile, (again, we were in a bit of a hurry) Susanne pushed the heavy cart up to the front, paid, and then went out to get the truck (did I mention it was pouring rain outside?) She’s very quick to point out that she is not an invalid. Which I agree is true, but I also really don’t think she needs to be lifting (or even pushing) anything heavy when she's 8 months pregnant when I can do it for her (which she also agrees with to a certain extent, and just a certain extent.)

Long story short, I realized in this moment of “what do we do now?” that with two babies life is going to be more complicated than it is now. I know Danny is almost 2 ½  and can help more and more, but I have a feeling that there will be a lot more discussions and options on the table about who needs to do what and when (and how and where.)

There. Those are my rambling thoughts for the day. Parents of more than one? (or anyone for that matter?) Any insights? -Monica

Monday, November 23, 2009

I got nothing...

Been trying to think of what to blog about, but I've run out of time. Must go home. Yeah!

Tune in tomorrow. Who knows what could happen between now and then! -Monica

Friday, November 20, 2009

The dawning of awareness...

The little guy loves to sing and play music. He takes our Swiffer moppy thing and holds it like a guitar, then pretends he's singing into a microphone (he gets that from me because I sing in front of a microphone with our group at church every Sunday.)

He likes me to either accompany him with either our drum, my real guitar or like today on his little toy keyboard, which has always been fun.

Until today. You see, as I tapped out the "ABC" song, followed by "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and then "Baa Baa Blacksheep" it all became clear.

THEY ARE THE SAME EXACT SONG. Sure the rhythm is different for each but they are the exact same tune. Go ahead, give them a hum.See what I'm saying?

What next? The sun doesn't actually come up each morning like Danny commands it to? Wait? Didn't Galileo have a theory on the earth revolving around the sun? So rising and setting are just sort of figments of our imagination? Oh, this just gets worse and worse.

So many deep thoughts. So little time. Have a great weekend everybody ;-)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Say what?

Su and I like to think we do a pretty good job of translating Danny's burgeoning English, but this week we both had moments where we had to pause.

The first was when he was running excitedly around while contruction of his new bed was going on yelling "kicking butt! kicking butt!" Huh?

But apparently he was yelling "fixing bed! fixing bed!" Ohhhh....  (Good use of the gerund though buddy!)

Then last night when we were driving downtown to get Su, I suddenly stopped my singing mid-note after hearing what I swear sounded like "shut up! shut up!". I will admit I felt a little shattered. We always used to tell our mom not to sing when we were kids and I guess I was now getting my just desserts.

To be sure though I asked "what did you say?"

"Sun up! Sun up!" Awesome. He was just mad that the sun had gone down for the night!

And now, back to my favorite song. -Monica

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Big Boy Bed!

This weekend marked a new stage in Danny's life. Life in a "big boy bed". He not only moved into it, but actually helped make it. Sort of. That task actually fell to Susanne and her dad. I am relieved, I must admit, that Danny seems very interested in all this planning and measuring and building. I'd really like him to be as handy as Su and her parents, and it appears he is! He even had his own little tool kit with him at all times to help and thought it was really fun to take down the crib.

The bed is actually a small loft that was designed so that we can easily take it apart and move it from the little room Danny is in now to the larger room he will share with his new sibling starting next summer. It's got about 36" of space underneath to play (which he is loving) and guard rails that conform to all the safety standards.

Su had scoped out how much it would cost to buy such a bed online, and they were amazingly expensive. So she found some basic plans which she altered to fit our needs and diagrammed everything. Then we bought and lugged home all the 2"x"4s and 4"x4"s and plywood we'd need in our neighbor's truck. Then Danny's PopPop came up for the weekend and the sawing and the drilling and the bolt ratcheting etc...began in earnest.

I was in charge of keeping everyone fed and watered and also getting Danny out of the house for some long stretches so they could work without distraction.

And how has Danny adjusted to his new "big boy bed"? He is so proud! We've had to adjust some of our night time routine but he's been cool with it. And he's slept through the night without waking up once most nights since it went up. First thing in the morning he says "Danny has big bed!" Seriously, this new twin mattress has got to be a lot more comfortable than the very firm infant mattress he's been on since he went into the crib. No wonder he's sleeping so well.

We still have to affix some handles to help him climb up better. The steps are a bit too wide for him to grab on well enough to lift himself, but other than that it's awesome. I will admit that I have been nervous that he might fall out, but Danny was never one to even climb out of his crib. He could have for months now, but just didn't want to. He prefers to call for one of us to come get him. Let's keep thinking that way little guy okay? Once the new handles are in place he'll be able to get in and out on his own which makes me feel better too. His cousins in Germany had similar beds at the same age so I feel less and less anxious about him falling every day. And now, with no further ado, here are a few pics.

P.S. Great building job family!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Drawing near...

With the baby due on Christmas Day, it seems like Christmas is far away, and yet almost here at the same time. In 6 weeks Susanne will hit that milestone of 40 weeks, but actually a baby is considered full term at 37 weeks. And 37 weeks is only 3 weeks away. Wow. Danny made his grand entrance into the world at 38 weeks so the baby coming a bit early would not be that surprising.

Are we ready? I many ways I think so. Baby clothes? Check. Stroller/Carseat? Check? Sleeping and changing area? Check. Tons of infant friendly items? Again check.

But are you ever really ready? How can you feel like you already know someone, this tiny bundle of joy, completely and perfectly, and yet also feel like a complete stranger is coming into your lives and will forever change life as you know it?

How can you wish every minute that the baby would just get here already, and in the next moment be thinking that it's incredibly important to savor this time in our lives where Su and Danny and I have a rhythm and pace that is good and comfortable?

We know that everything will change, and that we'll have a new "normal", but it will take some getting used to.

The best part is that we know that the change that is coming is distinctive. It's the difference between knowing that there is a bill in the mail for you for a million dollars, versus knowing there is a check in the mail for you for a million dollars!

My last thought on this is that for me, the baby coming at Christmas time has been very cool because there are so many indications that sort of prepare you for that special day (at least those of us who are Christians.). We are entering into a time of waiting for Jesus's birth--advent. It's all very symbolic and awe-inspiring. And so our waiting is sort of in parallel in my mind.

You know,  I've seen the TV commercials hawking Christmas already and they have not touched my heart. Store decorations too. They are artificial to me. But this morning, bringing Danny to Jenni's, I saw a house with a Christmas wreath on the door. Not a big garish display of reindeer or a Santa Snowglobe or anything. Just a simple wreath--and in that moment I truly felt in my heart that the season of Christmas is drawing nearer. For real.

And that made me smile and feel an excitement I've not yet felt. Our baby's time to come and be with us is truly drawing near now. And as hard as change can be, this change is the most welcome change I could ever imagine. Our own little lamb from God!  How blessed we are. How awesome. -Monica

Friday, November 13, 2009

Of all things seen and unseen

If you see me walking around today, I'll most likely be shaking my head in disbelief over the latest in the saga of the District of Columbia's City Council's attempt to pass legislation to allow for same sex marriage.

You see yesterday, the Catholic Church announced that if the law passes they will end its contracts with the DC government. You know, those contracts that help them feed the poor. This article  and this article in today's Washington Post give great overviews of what's going on.

So let's see if we can sum this up? The Church would not have to let gay people get married in their churches. They would not have to let gay couples rent their properties for ceremonies or parties. But as the article cited above says " they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians" 

Yes, you read that right. And so "Church officials say Catholic Charities would have to suspend its social services work for the city, rather than provide employee benefits to same-sex married couples or allow them to adopt".

Funny how the Church did not give this same ultimatum when Connecticut approved gay marriage. Hmmm...could it be that DC is so small compared to other such places, the Church saw it as a good place to make a point? Then they should make their point everywhere. But they won't. That would not be good for the bottom line.

And in all honesty whatever your opinion on whether gay people should have to opportunity in this society to marry and adopt children, I hope that you can agree that there is something inherently wrong, dare I say unchristian, about using the poor as pawns in a something that is no game.

The DC City Council to their credit does not appear interested in negotiating with such strong arm tactics. They will find the money (roughly 20M per year) elsewhere to continue these social services in some way shape or form. But who suffers in this kind of transition? I think you know.

You know the Church over time has completely changed its views on usury and slavery. So maybe all we need is more time for it to change its views on this. But that won't happen soon I'm afraid.

You know, I thought I was as disappointed as I could ever be with the Church when I left it 5 years ago.  But I was wrong.  -Monica

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I had a little e-mail conversation the other day with one of my favorite bloggers. Xbox4NappyRash, an Irish guy who lives in the Netherlands, shared a tremendous amount of information (in a most entertaining way) about his and his wife’s two year journey of trying to conceive (also known as TTC).

They finally saw their dream come true last spring when they found out they were pregnant (due a month after Su), and as I’ve read his blog in recent months, I’ve noticed two things.

1. He is the happiest guy in the world; and
2. For some reason, his commenters seem a bit less plentiful and a bit less humored.

For instance he wrote about his wife going to a prenatal fitness and well being class a while back and he got lots of comments from people aghast that he wasn’t at the class too. He clarified that he’d be going to some meetings later but again, these were not the kind of comments Xbox used to get. This is just one of a few examples I’ve noticed of a little more judgment and a little less cheering.

So it got me thinking that the difference is that he was one of the few men in the blogosphere who blogged honestly and painfully about the ups and downs of TTC and while he did so he was a hero! His identity was that of the super guy who “communicated” and “shared his feelings”. Now he was some sort of Neanderthal who was probably going to camp out in the hospital waiting room passing out cigars and never once change a diaper.

As he blogged during the two years of trying, he basically also continually failed at attaining all that he and his wife wanted. A baby. They were so “unrequited” for so long. And on some level that made it fun to go back for more.

After all, isn’t it human nature to keep watching unrequited love? Remember the show Moonlighting? Or today we have shows like Bones and NCSI. If Dr. Brennan and Agent Booth got together would Bones still hold its same appeal? What about Tony and Zeva? (Do I watch too much TV?)

My point is, when Xbox and his wife got pregnant they kind of took on a new identity in the blogosphere. Instead of TTC they are Expecting.

His blog posts are still so clever but infused with great happiness where as before they ranged from hope to bitterness and angst to despair (and back again). So this shift to happy Xbox has been an adjustment for many. And probably for some, too painful to read as they still struggle to get pregnant. Or maybe for some the suspense is gone now so it's time to move on? I don't know. But I do know that I still love to keep up.

For his part, he’s shared that “you can't control other people, you can influence what they get to read about you, but that’s not the whole truth, never is.” He also said that he’s no angel, but no devil either.

I think he’s gonna be a really great dad. -Monica

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Scared straight

Remember that TV show where they took troubled kids into jails and scared the heck out of them in hopes that they'd stay away from a life of crime? It was called "Scared Straight".

This weekend a longtime friend who was in Americorps with Susanne came for a visit. She's at one of those watershed kinds of moments in her life where she's ready for a change (job, probably location etc...) and drove up to spend a weekend with us to talk through some of her options.

Her name is Constance (not really) and she's got a very serene life. Two cats, lots of peace and quiet but a job that doesn't really work for her. After approximately 12 hours with us, including Danny and a couple other toddlers on the block she suddenly realized that some things about her life were actually pretty good. And peaceful.

Constance, we totally get you. Little kids are demanding. And awesome. And exhausting. And amazing. And, well, you get the drift.

We are so glad you came to visit. Sometimes stepping away from life for a few days helps you realize what you've got .

Excuse me. I've got to go and extract Danny's blanket from the refrigerator. Love, Monica (and Su)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

My imaginary want ad...

Seeking out spontaneous friend who lives far away to text me while I’m in a boring meeting to say “I just flew into DC--wanna get lunch in an hour?” Friend must be one of those people that goes way back, and totally makes my day.

I love it when my daydreams come true!

Thanks for getting in touch with me today Amy! As always it’s wonderful seeing you, and I’m so touched that you found time to see me during your quick work trip out here. I love surprises like this!

Amy and I have been friends for a long time now, and we share something in common. We both have uber accomplished spouses. Her Matt is a brilliant lawyer, marathoner, mechanic, chef etc., etc. My Susanne is fabulous at everything else (and could totally beat Matt in a cooking contest I say!) Or so our ongoing “argument” goes. They are both cute as can be too.

I would like to add, however, that even though Amy talked highly of Matt’s next project plan to build a garage with a hydraulic lift, she had to concede defeat when I told her that Susanne grew 17 million brain cells for the baby yesterday.

What a fun lunch! Thanks again Amy. Catch you in Minnesota next time! –Monica

P.S. Hugs to Matt and the kiddies!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Just Another Sunshine Day...

Fact: When I was away from home for 3 nights last week, two year old Danny slept pretty peacefully each night and Susanne actually had to WAKE HIM UP by 7:30 to make sure he got something to eat before going to Jenni’s.

Fact: When I have been home for the other 877 nights in his life, he has been known to begin his supplications at around 4:00 am. (Oh and by the way, with the baby due next month, I've been getting up nights with Danny as necessary. Happy, happy, joy, joy!)

“Mommy! Mama! Mommy! Mama!”

“Num Num! Num Num! (Yes, this means Yum Yum or "I'm hungry people!)

“Sun up! Sun up!”

“Choo Choo Mouse! Choo Choo Mouse! (This is a Mickey Mouse cartoon).

“Boo Boo. Danny Boo Boo.” (He does not really have a boo boo. He is crying wolf.)


Best case scenario? He stops his litany after 3 or 4 words and drifts back to sleep. And sometimes I can soothe him with a quiet word and a well placed blanket or even rock him back to sleep in less than a minute. But sometimes, (and this is especially true with this week’s daylight savings time change) there is no stopping the escalation.

Like this morning. He really didn’t eat much for supper last night so his cries for food were actually believable. So I decided to take him downstairs and give him a banana and some milk. This has been known to be the magic elixir. But this morning he was not willing to simply relax into my arms to go back to bed. But up we went anyway.

So began the 20 minutes of full on crying and fighting with the door in his bedroom as I refused to let him out. I sat on the floor with his favorite blanket and eventually he came over to me and collapsed into my arms and finally let me lay him down. He was up again an hour later at 5:30 really ready to start his day. Yawn.

So where was I going with this? Oh right. He slept so great when I was not home. What does it all mean? Is it me? Oh, and by the way, I think he’s starting to believe that he can command the sun to come up. So far it has every morning, much to his delight ;-) -Monica

Monday, November 02, 2009

Bee Happy!

Yup. Just Bee happy. Danny sure was this Halloween! Happy autumn everybody. -Monica (and Su and Danny)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dorothy was right!

There really is no place like home! I've been out of town the last few days at a training, and am so excited to jump in my rental car at 4pm when today's session ends to head back to my family.

Don't get me wrong. I've had a nice time here and have met some great people I'll be working with a lot this year, but going home is the best part of this event for me.

"Susanne! Danny! See you soon. Yeah!!!" Love, Monica

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Just wondering...

So when I end a conversation or phone call I always say "see you soon" while the other person always says at the same time "see you later".

What does it mean? Am I so needy? :-) -M

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Tale of Two Coffees

I never drank a drop of coffee until I was 27 years old. Why knows why?  I certainly grew up in a household of coffee drinkers, and now I adore it, but there was definitely a turning point for me that I will now share in the story of how I came to love coffee for a meme called "Coffee Stories".  This is for Blissfully Caffinated who just had her 3rd child last week. Congratulations!

It was really hot in Guatemala. The kind of hot that made your sweat sweat. Yeah, it was that bad. I’d joined the Peace Corps and was off doing “the toughest job I’d ever love” and since I was a health educator, part of my job was to encourage people to boil their water.

Of course explaining about invisible germs without having benefit of speaking the local language was interesting, but I tried my hardest. You see, in the rural area of this beautiful Central American country, when the rainy season starts, many people get sick. Really sick. Here’s how the disease transmission part  works. Without toilets or latrines, many people just find a good place to “go”, and after taking care of business, cover up their mess leaves or other organic materials. When the rainy season starts it rains every day for six months. The rains flush everything downwards so the streams and rivers flow with all the additional rain. And the additional “you know what.”

Long story short, I got my share of gastrointestinal illnesses. I tried to be so careful about not drinking water that wasn’t bottled or boiled, but somehow I got pretty sick.

Going up to visit people in the rural villages was always my toughest challenge.  I was constantly faced with the conundrum of accepting offers of hospitality that included things like glasses of lemonade. I was almost certain that the water had not been boiled (even though ironically that was one of my reasons for being there with our local nurses—to encourage boiling water.)

Importantly, it was considered rude to reject an offer of hospitality, but I was so sick of getting sick. Then one day I spied something boiling on the wood stove at the house I was visiting. “That’s coffee” I was told. "That’s boiled” is what I was thinking.

Well it wasn’t exactly coffee. It was corn coffee which is apparently composed of a few coffee beans and corn all ground up and then boiled. It tasted awful but I graciously accepted it and stayed healthy.

After drinking this "coffee" for several months, one day I went to breakfast with friends at a nice hotel in Guatemala City. That morning, on a whim, I ordered coffee with my food.

I COULD NOT BELIEVE how delicious it was! Black Gold, Texas Tea, hey, this stuff was more valuable than a whole gusher of oil in my opinion.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the story of how I came to love coffee. As a matter of fact, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll head out to buy myself a steaming cup now. Ciao! -Monica

Thursday, October 22, 2009


So for a leadership development program I'm in, I have to do what is called a 360-degree assessment. That means I have to rate myself in an online database and and I have to ask my boss and other colleagues to also log in and rate me.

The ratings are all anonymous but when I go to my leadership training I'll get to see the combined ratings and do all this comparing and contrasting of how I perceive myself as compared to how others percieve me. I've done similar assessments in the past and it's pretty interesting, except that this time there is a very interesting twist.

You see, it looks like the organization that assigns the passwords and log ins accidently gave the same exact information to me and some stranger. 

How do I know this? Well, I've started getting e-mails from the company running the 360 degree assessment saying "so and so" has completed the rating you asked them to do. But unfortunately half of the names I'm getting back are people I don't know. It looks like some woman named "Tammy" and I were assigned the exact same log in and password. And our raters are logging into the same place to answer 85 questions about me. And her. And it's all getting combined.

Of course, I've contacted the company and the organization running my training to let them know that this problem is occuring. And I'm guessing "Tammy" is doing the same since she is more than likely getting the same e-mails telling her that some strangers have just completed her assessment.

I hope she's really cool and well liked. Everyone's favorite leader. You know, just in case they never solve this problem. -Monica

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Painting the Town (an awfully small town at that)

Imagine an itsy bitsy baby finger painting on your innards all day. Sound like fun?  Yup, our little fetus is pretty darn active. You know. In that sort of Karate Kid "wax on, wax off" kind of way.

So in addition to the usual kicks and punches, Susanne gets these very funny waving sensations quite frequently. Mabye he or she IS just waving?

"Helloooooooo" to you too baby. We can't wait to meet you! -Mommy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Look Mom! Look!

Danny is really into being a back seat driver lately. Whenever we come up to a stop sign he lets us know that we need to stop. But sign are no big deal--stop lights are his thing. "Green! Go!" he'll cheer us from the back seat every single time we see one.

One thing he doesn't quite get yet is why we don't always go right away when we have a green light . Such as when we are trying to turn left into oncoming traffic.

His solution is to just yell more loudly and clearly, over and over again as we wait our turn.

It really is cute. Although a little rough on the ears. We're sure the baby will love this little game once he or she is safely ensconced in a car seat with Mr. Backseat Driver. Gonna be fun! -M

Friday, October 16, 2009


When you are in your third trimester, traveling with an animated two year old, and a spouse who is well meaning, but at times a bit of a dolt about successfully navigating airport security, there is little that can make you just start cracking up.

But on Monday this is exactly what happened as we passed through security with our typical collection of small carry ons, stroller, diaper bag, jackets, shoes, etc... at the Milwaukee Airport. Susanne busted out laughing!

Here's why...

I found a story about this unique sign in a Milwaukee newspaper and it kind of warmed my heart. Who says our federal government does not have a sense of humor?

Sincerely, Susanne's always well meaning wife!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

That's a head scratcher...

One of my sisters was momentarily stumped as to why Danny was wearing a Walgreen's ball cap when we visited MN this weekend.

Yup. That a great logo the Washington Nationals chose isn't it? But at least we don't have Dubya anymore! -M

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our poor poor boy

Did I mention that Danny got sick yesterday? He'd never been nauseated before, and I think that he was justifiable horrified and shocked by what started to happen after his belly started hurting.

It was just so sad to see him holding his tiny belly in pain crying "boo boo mom" as he'd start coughing and then throwing up again. I tried not to worry too much, but failed miserably. (And yes I called the doctor after he'd been sick 5 times over 5 hours).

Fortunately he's somewhat better today (after spiking a fever last night) but still hasn't eaten much.

We'd like to offer a medal of commendation Jenni who, bless her heart, had to simultaneously console our little guy while keeping her two boys out of the mess. Thanks Jenni. We don't tell you this enough, but you are the best! -Monica

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

True story

I sent my mom a small package in the mail this morning with a not so cryptic note that said:

Dear Mom,
It's official. I'm an idiot. 
But I'm your idiot. 
Love, Monica

The package also contained her entire key ring (including car key) which we used when we visited my side of the family in Minnesota this weekend.

Why so hard on myself you might ask? Well, this is not the first time I've had to mail that silly set of keys back to my mom after flying back to DC.

I keep thinking "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and gosh darn, those keys like me. They really like me." -M

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Who knew? Apparently not me!

This my friends is the Washington Post Food Section. It comes every Wednesday. So, let's do some math here...for about the last 312 Wednesdays since I've known my lovely wife Susanne, I have not noticed that she always reads the Food Section.

I clearly missed all the clues. The Food Network marathons on weekends--you know, the omnipresent Iron Chef, Next Food Network Star and America's Test Kitchen programming. That and all the delicious foods Susanne cooks. Geez, I'm a freaking idiot.

And how you may ask did I finally figure out that Susanne always reads the Food Section? Because yesterday morning when we were running late I took the paper with me to read on the train. And not wanting to be burdened by an extra, you know, 4 ounces of newspaper I got rid of the "dregs". The classifieds, circulars, and, gulp, the Food Section.

So of course when Su and Danny got home she looked through the paper I'd politely returned to the coffee table and I was, shall we say, questioned?  I believe that a synonym for "clueless" was bandied about.

OMG! Do you think there are other things I should know about her but I don't? Has anyone else had a similar revelation? Oh well, signing off now to see if I can find anyone here at work who still might have the Food Section from yesterday. Cuz online is just not the same. Ciao! -Monica

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wedding March (or shall I say Slog?)

Yesterday our City Council introduced legislation to allow for same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia. This will have to pass a 30 day review by Congress (since we have home rule here) so we won’t know if it will become law until December. But we remain hopeful.

The council member in our ward of the city was not a co-sponsor of the legislation. So 10 of the 13 council members, and the mayor, support the Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009, yet our council member does not.

I had actually written him an e-mail last month appealing for his support. You see, the thing is, he knows me and my family because of my involvement with community issues and I honestly think he harbors us no ill will. But I think he is very concerned with how his vote would be accepted (or not accepted to be more precise) by many of his constituents.

Here is a little bit of what I wrote him:

“You know, I really wish that this kind of politics didn’t have to play out state by state (or district as in our case), but it is what it is. When I think of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, I have to wonder what it would have been like if each state had been able to pick and choose how it felt about civil rights. (Very ugly I imagine.)

That landmark piece of legislation in 1964 outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment. It’s hard now to imagine that we even needed legislation to right such a terrible wrong, but we did.

I guess my point is, I believe that politics is a special calling where an elected official, yes of course, listens to the will of his or her people, but is also powerfully challenged to do the right thing. You can bet there were lots of people who were outraged that they’d have to integrate with those they considered inferior, and guess what? They were as wrong as wrong can be. The politicians got it right in my opinion for the good of all.”

He did respond to my e-mail in part by saying

“I have been steadfast in my position on marriage equity and invite you to review my record on the issue and encourage those who have a position on marriage equity to speak up on the issue.”

I got to thinking about his use of the word “equity”. It is not the same as “equality”. It strikes me a bit more like “separate buy equal” which is how many people view domestic partnerships and civil unions compared to marriage. I’d love to see him become a true supporter of marriage equality for all as he continues to lead our ward.

Anyway, I guess I’m glad that I got my two cents in and I guess now I should consider writing to the Archbishop of the Catholic Church here in our area. Here is his latest contribution to the debate:

“Marriage is a path toward holiness,” he wrote in a letter to about 300 Roman Catholic priests. “As members of the church, we are obliged to be all the more attentive to the challenges that weaken marriage.”

Sigh. I wish I knew how we gay people being married weakened straight marriages. Seriously. I never thought we were all that powerful. Oh, and I think that there are many paths toward holiness, and being honest and accepting is one of the best ways I know. -Monica

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

Plenty of vegetables

So seven months pregnant Susanne has been really craving chocolate of late. Her favorite is dark chocolate which, she likes to remind me, is chock full of antioxidents. But even better, last night a friend pointed out that technically chocolate comes from beans and is therefore a vegetable.

Hmmmm...I'd better digest that one for a while ;-)

P.S. Following this reasoning coffee is also a vegetable right? -M

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Eating my words

Remember a few posts ago where I was saying how excited I was for the baby to get here? Like now? Well, I've decided that December (when he or she is due) is early enough. Why am I eating my words? Ummm...Danny has had a bit of a cold. The ususal symptoms are all there. Slight fever, very runny nose, very hard time getting comfortable sleeping with the congestion. "Nose boo boo" he cries whenever he wakes up.

And Tuesday night he woke up 6 times. Crying. Even though we elevated the mattress where he lays his head, sometimes when he's this congested he only feels better sitting up and being rocked for a while. And with Su busy growing a spleen or something for baby number two, this night duty fell to me.

I am still tired 48 hours later. He's still not 100% but he was only up twice in the night last night.  You know, I  had completely forgotten how tiring it is to be woken up every few hours. And in all honesty people, I do not wear sleep deprivation well.

So. Little baby number two. Take your time sweetheart. We'll be here waiting. In December. Love, Mommy

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Don't blame us

You know how certain right wing zealots are always claiming that the "homosexual agenda" is to convert others to becoming gay too? It's just so ridiculous. Really.

But here's why I bring it up. You see, yesterday afternoon Su and had to go to a medical appt. and before I dropped her back at work we swung into our local McD*nalds to get a bite to eat. Happy Meals actually made the most sense to us since we were going out to dinner later and didn't want to eat too much. At the drive through window I ordered our food and the clerk asked "boy or girl". I guess we haven't ordered many Happy Meals because I didn't even remember that they asked for gender preference. So, since you know, we have a boy at home, we asked for them both to be "boy" Happy Meals.

Look what we got! Now we don't mind Danny playing with whatever he wants to, but pink bracelets and a compact mirror with a princess? It's all got us wondering if perhaps it's McD*onalds that has the "agenda". -M

 P.S. Do you think they could just come up with gender neutral toy choices? I suppose that would be too logical eh?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Danke Cousin Patrick!

Yesterday our mail carrier brought a wonderful surprise for Danny. His 18 year old cousin Patrick in Germany packed up a wonderful train set that he'd loved as a child, and sent it along to his favorite "choo choo" aficionado.

Patrick, you really made his day. Thanks so much. You are a total sweetheart! -Monica and Susanne

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eternity! When will it ever end?

It all started innocently enough. In college one of my work study jobs was that of a “replenisher” for the salad bar in the cafeteria. Lettuce, carrots, shredded cheeses, dressings…whatever we had on the line, my job was there was to make sure we didn’t run out. So I cut things up and brought out new stuff as it was needed. I didn’t think much one way or the other about this job at the time. It seemed pretty mindless and easy, and come to think of it, it was.

After all, I didn’t have to order the food, estimate how much we’d need, or even pay for it. Yup. It was pretty easy.

But as it turns out, the one thing I did not comprehend at that time was that no matter what I studied, or did for an occupation after college, this skill of “replenisher” was the real core competency that I’d need to really internalize.

What am I talking about you ask?
  • Diapers
  • Baby Wipes
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Kitty litter
  • Cat food
  • Toilet paper
  • Diaper bag contents
  • Shampoos and soaps
  • Beverages
  • Groceries
  • Ice cubes
  • Laundry
  • Dishwasher
  • Gasoline
Of course now I do have to think ahead and estimate and pay and stuff too. Sigh. At least in college I was compensated. Of course it was only $2.25 an hour. But hey, that’s more than I make doing all this stuff now! What the what?

P.S. Full disclosure. I do not have to do all of these things myself. My lovely wife also "gets to" share in the fun!

Friday, September 25, 2009


See that little ticker over there on the right? The one that says that there are only 91 days left until baby number two makes an appearance? Feel free to take your cursor and nudge that little baby to the right a bit just a little bit more okay? ;-)  Oh? Am I getting impatient? Perhaps just expectant! We are expecting after all. Have a great weekend everybody! -Monica

Thursday, September 24, 2009


When Danny looked like this...

I could never have imagined that he would one day look like this...

and then like this...

But now I can't imagine a time that I didn't know this adorable face.

Based on this logic, for some reason I think I should be able to imagine perfectly what the baby will look like. And I couldn't be more wrong. I have absolutely no idea. Isn't it wonderful!  -Monica

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, CJ slept last night...

So CJ is an indoor cat. She never makes a run for an open door. Frankly, she never shows all that much interest in the outdoors at all. But last night she was a free range kitty.

From about 6:00 pm to 6:00 am this morning as far as we can figure she was "camping out". You see, when I got home last night I remember playing with her for a bit in the living room. Then when Su and Danny came home, we wandered outside to go explore our neighbors prize pumpkin with the little guy. (I'm pretty sure we closed the screen door at this time.) Then after a few minutes we went in the house, had dinner, read stories and down for "night night"  went Danny. Su and I are not sure when we shut the big door, but neither of us wondered a bit about CJ's whereabouts. There are lots of places she can be at any time so we were not concerned.

But this morning after around 15 minutes of peace and quiet and newspaper Su wondered aloud where she was. It was unlike her to NOT be begging us to play. That's when we started looking in earnest. Danny woke up in the meanwhile and when I came in his room calling "CJ, where are you", Danny started yellling "CJ? CJ?". He even started getting upset (maybe he noticed we were a little worried by now?)

So anyway, I went outside and started calling her name and then we heard it. "Meow, meow". But I still couldn't see her. Not until she crawled out of a little space near the basement window.

"CJ!" We all cheered.

She seemed none the worse for the wear, and we were very grateful that it was a dry and fairly warm night. Our window was open all night too so I think we would have heard her meowing if she were complaining. I think she might have been enjoying this adventure.

I wonder what she was thinking during her time out there? I'm just so glad she didn't get lost or get into any fights with other animals.

And, well, I have to tell you that our angst was also magnified because, even though I haven't yet blogged about it, last month our big boy cat Harley got sick. A bladder problem that turned out to be kidney stones that turned into a difficult decision to spend thousands on surgery (this after having already paid a lot on his emergency care), or putting him "to sleep".

Yes we can second guess our decision a million times, but it was very hard justifying more than $4000 on care that had no guarentee of suceess. We did not want Harley to suffer, but I wish there was a better choice than extemely expensive surgery or euthenasia. So in the end Su and I were with him when they gave him the injections that relaxed him and then stopped his heart. It was terrible.

So for the past month it's been just CJ. You can tell she looked for him, particularly at first. And that sneaky dash out the door last night? Pure Harley. Let's not do that again okay CJ? Whew! Let's hope in the future that CJ stays healthy and happy and IN THE HOUSE. -Monica

P.S. Su named him Harley because he had a very distinctive low humming purr that sounded, well, like a Harley. They were a good team. Bye bye big boy. It's just not the same here without you.