Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ah yes...Christmas!

This Christmas has been great fun. We have two happy and contented boys (except when they are not ;-) and plenty of great food and gifts to go around. As I write this at about noon, Danny is having a fantastic a time doing "Mind Blowing Science" experiments with his Nana. Benji meanwhile is all about his pillow pet and his new Thomas the Tank Engine sleeping mat.

Thank you so much to all of our family and friends who sent gifts, but as you can see from one of the photos, next year you might be able to get by with sending only the bubble wrap. Popping those little bubbles provided at least a half an hour of great fun this morning!

Merry Christmas everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Through the Eyes of a Child...

This morning I had a really touching moment that I'm still thinking about.  I was driving the boys to Jenni's and we were quietly listening to Christmas music on the radio. I was suddenly transported back to a year ago when my cell rang when I was at a Post Office with Benji. My sister Alice told me to hold on--I'd like this.  Mom had been unable to speak at all in the preceding days when I was back home in Minnesota—after two hip breaks in one year, things had turned dire.  And here she was, with Alice holding her cellphone to her ear speaking to me as I held tiny Benji, telling me she loved me.  I was overwhelmed with joy in that moment.

So on the drive this morning I was thinking of that call and got lost in a reverie, remembering long ago Christmases with mom and just could not stop the tears from silently rolling down my face.  I didn't look back at the boys at first as I didn't want them to see me cry. But two year old Benji was watching me. When I caught his eye in the rear view mirror after a while, he pointed to his eyes and put his head down. A few moments later, without a sound he looked up and his eyes were brimming with tears.   

I was at once so moved by his amazing empathy but alarmed that he was so sad. Then Danny looked at Benji and asked me why Benji was crying. Then Benji burst out in tears. I told him that I thought Benji had seen me crying and that made him cry too. "Yeah" Benji wailed.

We talked about how sad I was that Grandma had died. I was trying to regain my composure when Danny gently told me that "Mommy at the end of your years you get to go to heaven to be with God". This choked me (and thus Benji) up even more. These boys. They soothe my soul.

When we got to Jenni's, she quickly got them excited about making ornaments and I was glad to see them happy again.

My brothers and sisters and I and all of our extended family are going to have these moments of intense sadness in the days to come.  Mom died on Christmas Day last year and there is something very powerful about that. I will forever be grateful that she was alive and doing well when our children were born. I will be forever sad that she is no longer with us. But to paraphrase a wise 4 year old, at the end of my years, I’ll see her again.  -Monica

Mom, my brother Paul, Danny, me and Benji two months before mom passed away.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Fitzgerald Children

Just in case you didn't know, our family has recently expanded!

Ok, actually, these are just the boys with their best friends and neighbors - Josie and Callagh. But we love them like family!

The picture was taken at Bread for the City's Holiday Photo Shoot. We particularly love this photo because it so fabulously captures each child's personality and the way they respond to directions!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Benji!

Benji seems to have had a great 2nd birthday:

After our traditional birthday breakfast at home, we headed to Union Station for the Holiday Train Show where we met friends and neighbors to see the trains and have some cupcakes!  Thanks for a great party everyone.

Some memorable moments:

Being told that the Main Hall at Union Station and thus the train exhibit - setting for the party - was closed. :(

Discovering that the area was open afterall. :)

Benji's answer to "how old are you?": EIGHT!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Handwritten Note--its power even in this internet age...

When my dad lay dying in May of 2002 I remember having to get a little notebook to write stuff down in so I could keep everything straight. I titled it "my brain" because I remember feeling so overwhelmed that I simply could not think of what had to be taken care of. In so many respects, that time was a blur. I remember that the Lilly of the Valley's were blooming next to the house on the day of his funeral and that somehow I thought he would have like that.

My mom got so many flowers when he died that we couldn't help but joke that the dining room smelled like a flower shop or a funeral home. Call it gallows humor if you will. That's what I remember.

But in that blur, one memory stands out. I'd worked several years for an outstanding man who was a Senior Executive in the government. His name was Marty and I remember seeing an envelope on my desk the day I came back to work after my sad journey to Minnesota. This dear man had written me the most beautiful note. He wrote of parents and children and love and blessings and peace. When I saw him shortly thereafter he gave me the biggest hug. I will never forget the power of that note. Maybe because I didn't expect it. Or maybe because it spoke to me in such a personal and eloquent way. He brought me such peace and joy. And I'll never forget it.

Fast forward 8 years to last year at Christmastime, and then it was my beautiful mom who lay dying. I remember some of that same disorientation I felt with my dad's death. She died on Christmas Day, and as we've headed in Christmas 2011, I've been feeling strong moments of sadness about mom. Sad that I can't talk to her, sad that she is missing seeing my boys grow up. Feelings that Christmas will never be the same. Feelings that I can't even describe.

But then the other day our dear neighbors, Mary Elizabeth and Joe who are very spiritual and loving stopped by to drop some gifts off for St. Nicolas Day.  When I opened a card they had addressed just to me, I could not speak. Tears rolled down my face. The power of the written word comforted me yet again. After reading it, somehow my anxiety is less and my connection to my mom stronger than ever right now. God bless you dear neighbors. Thank you for helping me enter into this Christmas season with more joy than pain right now. -Monica

It reads: Dear Monica, A candle is offered in memory of your mother at the Franciscan Monastery gardens--its light will shine there from Christmas until New Year's Eve--a reminder that your mother's light will continue to shine in your life--may her memory bring you only peace and joy. Joe and Mary Elizabeth

Saturday, December 03, 2011

I'm just glad they can now "All Star Baby Wrestle" without me...

Here are a few pics of the boys horsing around at Thanksgiving last week. With that holiday behind us, I will admit that I am finding it hard to wrap my head around the fact that the Christmas season is NOW. Today the boys and I are going to put the lights up on the porch. I love that they will be delighted by the whole process so I'll try my very best not to let them know that I really don't much like putting up (nor taking down) lights.

Then we'll be off to do a ton errands and get a visit from a dear old friend this afternoon. Come to think of it she might now appreciate me calling her old, so let's call her a dear friend.

Last weekend while in South Carolina we took Danny to see Arthur Christmas while Benji shopped with his Nana, and it was a really fun movie. Highly recommend. I was kind of shocked though that they charged $9 per adult ticket for an 11 am matinee. Not sure that is such a good business model though. There were a total of 5 people in the theater, 2 of whom were little kids. Maybe if  they charged less more would come? Just my two cents.

Gotta run. I'm hearing crying that indicates that one of my All Star Baby wrestlers has a boo boo. Have a great weekend. -M

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Strike a Pose...

We are having a great time visiting the boys' grandmother in South Carolina for Thanksgiving.

As proud parents, we of course think that Danny and Benji are adorable enough to be catalog models, but, apparently we are not serious about this or else maybe we'd find pants that fit Benji and a shirt that fits Danny right?

Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving and had plenty to give thanks for. As you can see, we sure did. -Monica

Monday, November 21, 2011

DC Department of Doh!

This is a story of a little blue car. His name is Rondo, and when we bought him I wisely got a low interest loan from my Credit Union. After religiously paying off the loan for a few years, I got something called a "lien release letter".

This is a good thing. It means that the bank says that we are "Even Steven" and I can now get the title to little Rondo in my name.

After doing some research I got to this link where I learned that I would have to go in person into the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to one of the Service Locations and give them the letter, some money (which my Credit Union covered after much discussion) and in about a week, they would mail me the new title.

Today I was in the area of the main DMV and brought everything along I needed. The woman at the information desk sighed in a bored voice and said "we can't do that here". Turns out that I'd have to go to a Service Center. Silly me. I tried to explain that the main DMV is listed under Service Locations on the web site regarding titles. I could tell my observation was of no interest to her. "You have to go to a Service Center she said again, waving on the next customer while shoving a brochure in my hand.

Turns out that on the DMV website if you go into each facility listed under Service Locations , you'll see a list of what you can and cannot do at each location--some of which are called Service Centers (which is not what the information about titling says). It's completely illogical in my opinion.

My transaction involved entering information into a system, accepting payment and issuing me a new title later.  Why this cannot be technologically accommodated at the main DMV is beyond me. It's not like I expected them to whip up a title for me. I know that it's a process that takes time and new titles are mailed. But seriously? It feels more like 1984 than 2011 (and not in a good way).

So some fine day I'll go to a service center that the web site says can handle this transaction. I wonder what the problems I'll encounter there the day I go? I can only imagine.

Good thing we are not thinking of selling little Rondo. But I'd sure like to get his "birth certificate" with me listed as his owner. Is that too much to ask? -M

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Someone takes getting his hair cut VERY seriously.

But Benjamin recovered nicely as you can see.

Bring it on Old Man Autumn!

Last weekend the boys enjoyed a little fun in the leaves when their Nana Ulli came for a visit. Looks like more fun on tap for today with all the wind we've had in the DC area this week. Probably twice as many leaves down as last week. They are going to be SO EXCITED! -M

Friday, November 11, 2011


Every year on Veteran's Day I think of my dad.  He pretty badly wanted out of a difficult life at home and managed to enlist at 16. Still not sure how he got away with that. He had terrible vision in one eye--Amblyopia I think it was called. It meant that the eye had a visual disorder but looked normal. When it came time to take the eye test he cleverly passed it. When they told him to cover one eye and read the chart he covered his right eye with his right hand. He did great. Then they told him to do the same with the other eye. He just used his left hand this time and covered up that same right eye. Again he did great. He must have really wanted into the service.

This all happened in the 1950s and before too long, before he met my mom, he was shipped overseas to Korea. As war was never declared against Korea--it was actually a police action, but if you asked my dad, he'd tell you it was a war.

I only ever remember catching bits and pieces about his experience there. I know he was a telegraph guy. Knew Morse Code perfectly and for the most part worked on intercepting messages. I recall that he sometimes had bad dreams and I don't know if it was true or I imagined that his angst came from having been in a truck when the driver was shot. If the driver had slammed right they all would have plunged off a cliff. But he slammed left and the rest survived. He was in the front cab as I recall the story going and it was pretty traumatic for him. Again, since he hardly ever talked about the "non-war war" I sometimes wonder if I imagined all this.

I do know for a fact that in the 1990s after the Korean War Memorial was built in Washington my dad came to visit and we went for a walk there. (I'm glad they don't call it the Korean Police Action Memorial) For those of you who don't know this memorial it's just a few steps from the Vietnam Memorial by the Lincoln Monument.  He thought the artists did a great job of creating it. It's right near DCA National and very often you hear aircraft overhead. Spot on. Kind of startled him I'm pretty sure. He said that it was funny that most people think Korea was hot (maybe they confuse it with Vietnam, which by the way was also a police action as war was never declared) but he said it was SO cold all the time. That was his memory.

Dad figured he'd just stay in the military for his whole career but after he got married and us kids started coming along, I guess a better paying job was needed. He did stay in the reserves and every summer for two weeks he'd go train as well as several weekends a year. I was a kid in the 1960s and I think I remember mom worrying that dad might have to go to Vietnam but I'm grateful that that never happened. I'm sure he was too.

So on this 11th day of the 11th month of actually the 11th year of this century I salute my dad and all who have served. Like it says at the Korean War Memorial "Freedom Isn't Free". -Monica

 My dad Joe a few years before he enlisted in the Army

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Mommy, Benji's playing with his oatmeal...

Mommy on her way into the dining room: "Danny, remember how we've talked about tattling? You only need to tell if someone is in danger or breaking someth..."

"Oh for the love of God Benjamin! Really? Really?"

I'm not sure if there was danger or anything being broken, but I'm kinda glad Danny alerted me to this. You know, before it got out of hand. -Monica

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hanging out with Great Grandpa in Germany

It's hard to believe that it was just a few short weeks ago that we were in Germany. October is definitely a good time to head to that part of the world I must say. We enjoyed really pleasant weather and of course since it was October, we had a beer or two in honor of Octoberfest!

I thought I'd post a few pictures of the boys hanging out with their 91 year old grandfather. He's Susanne's Opa on her dad's side, so to the boys he's their Uropa. It was really fun to see both him and the boys so happy together.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

My three favorite characters setting the mood set for a spooky Halloween. Scary!

It Was a "Snowshine Day" to paraphrase the Brady Bunch ;-)

We got our first snow fall of the year yesterday and Danny and Benji were thrilled as you can see. Danny's hat is sort of a combination stegosaurus/porcupine hat that we got for him in Germany, and Benji's was perfect for Halloween weekend. A pumpkin hat we got from our friend Raquel when he was a tiny baby. He fills it quite nicely now and it will be perfect for this winter! Have a great Halloween everyone, and if stay warm!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stopping the Madness!

Growing up in an Irish American family I was very familiar with the word "whinging". It rhymes with "singeing" and what it means is to whine or fret. In a very annoying way.

As an adult I remember reading Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt and being astounded to see him write the word "whinge."  I'd never seen it written before which was sort of a shock.

Fast forward many years and here we are today. And we've got a whinger. His name is Daniel, and we have gotten a tad bit sick of the whining. (Our neighbor is from Ireland so his family uses the word quite a lot to describe their kids' high pitched complaining too.)

Anyway, a few days ago Susanne read some great advice on Baby Center or somewhere that a good way to stop the incessant whinging is to create a jar with say five whinge cards for the day in it, the last one attached to a treat. Every time the kid whinges you take a card out. The last one to come out if the one with the treat attached. However, if the kid can control him or herself enough, they get the treat. Each night you put your five whinge tickets back in and start over (always with a treat attached to one as the reward).

Bottom line--if we have to pull all 5 cards out each day before supper ends because he's been caught whinging 5 times he does not get his gummy bears. If we pull out 4 or fewer, he gets the bears.

We have been using this with pretty good success this past week as Danny is very keen on getting his Gummy Bear treat (we got the kind with Vitamin C so we feel like this is an okay thing.) He did not get his treat the first night we tried it, but has every other night (except one) and we are thrilled that the whinging has dropped off considerably.

Now if only we could figure out how to solve for the problem of Benji becoming apoplectic when Danny gets a treat and he does not.  And also how to help Danny understand that whinging "BUT I'M NOT WHINGING" loses him a card. ;-)

Anyone else used this method, or think you'll try it? We give it a thumbs up! -Monica

Sunday, October 23, 2011

More farm fun

Continuing with my Wizard of Oz theme, I guess I would title this one "He would while away the hours".

The "scarecrows" on this farm we visited were actually pretty scary for most of the littler kids. But Danny thought this one was pretty silly. Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone. -M

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Representing the Lollypop Guild...

The faces Benjamin can make right?

The boys had fun at a farm/pumpkin patch this morning, and as I type they are gleefully stabbing innocent pumpkins on the dining room table with Susanne. Ah yes. Tis that most spookiful time of the year...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Greetings loyal readers

Well I know people continue to visit our blog because our cool widget on the sidebar shows the visitors. If not for that, I would guess we don't have any readers as we get so few comments, but that's okay. With the pathetic amount of writing I've been doing lately I'm surprised anyone still tunes in.

As you can tell, our two precious boys continue to dominate all of our time and energy. They are a handful (what little kids are not?) and even though at times I'd like to pull all of my red hair out, I don't. Mostly because if I did I'd look like a crazy woman!

Susanne and I are a good team when it comes to taking care of the day to day stuff, but at times we definitely have conflict over parenting. These conflicts generally occur in the middle of the night when I am, according to my lovely wife, too quick to jump to the call of a crying child. She believes that doing so only rewards the crying. The worst part about having disagreements in the moment, in the middle of the night, is that you can't talk about it. Especially if one of the crying boys is now sound asleep on the floor of our room. It's also worse when the boys are sick. It seems like torture to me to just let them cry if they are hurting.

I'm not saying that Susanne is wrong in her assessment. I'm just saying that it is exceptionally difficult for me to always know the best thing to do, even when everyone's interests are the same. The boys share a room so when one cries out loudly in the night, I want to do all I can to keep the other boy sleeping. Sometimes this means removing the offender to a different space. It doesn't help that Danny clings to me and hangs on when I try to comfort him.

I know that Susanne has a point, but I also think her threshold for listening to the boys cry and scream in the night is different than mine. So I am always wrong. Or at least that is how it feels. It also doesn't help that usually the boys tend to cry out for me (Mommy) and not her (Mama) which I know hurts her feelings. Sometimes, I feel like there is no right answer to some of this conflict.

So Benji just got the fever that Danny has spent the past few days dealing with. I'm not looking forward to this. -Monica

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More good times in Germany


Lots of fun with cousins everywhere we went as you can see here. The last picture is sort of a funny story. You see we'd gone to meet Su's friend Marcus at the main train station in Koblenz when we turned around to see what Benjamin was up to. Turns out his pants were not up to anything. The waist on these sweatpants had seemed a little stretched out but wearable. As it turns out we were wrong. Thank goodness for the "onsie" shirts. And thank goodness we had a suitcase filled with lots of other pants in the car parked not too far away. Will he ever forgive us when he's old enough to understand this post? ;-) -Monica

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Traveling Abroad--The Good, The Bad and the...Yawn...

As I mentioned in my last post, we went on a visit (for two weeks) to Germany for a family party. Su's aunt and her husband celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and just about every relative in the family made it to the gorgeous town of Buxtehude which is in the north near Hamburg. We also spent time with Su's 91 year old grandfather closer to Frankfurt which was wonderful.

I was so looking forward to this trip, in part because I was so looking forward to a break from my job. Getting all of our packing organized has become a bit more complex with the addition of our two boys, but how much extra stuff do you need for a 4 year old and a one year old munchkin? Turns out quite a lot. Car seats and many diapers, and snacks and toys/books and a DVD player for the rental car (what a blessing that turned out to by though!)  Anyway, we got to the airport with time to spare and began our 7 hour direct flight to Frankfurt in good spirits.

The flight left at 3:45 local time and with the 6 hour time difference, we hoped they'd just sleep some and then sleep some more in the rental car. But alas, one year old Benji was the squirmiest worm ever--he was only happy when he was running laps around our section of the plane (so sorry fellow travelers). He had scant interest in the movies and shows on the little screen in front of him, nor in any snack, book or toy. When dinner came we hoped he'd be happy and eat then sleep, but somehow he managed to crawl under my legs with the dinner on the tray in its locked and downright position, and I could not catch him. Slapstick comedy ensued (not). Anyway, Su finally coaxed him to sleep and there was peace. Sort of.

Danny was super well behaved, but except for a one hour nap from about 4:00-5:00, he did not sleep. So for 23 of 24 hours he was awake. And talkative. And wanting to watch this and then that. And wanting to talk some more. It was a long flight.

When we arrived in Frankfurt at 5 am local time we hung out for about 1.5 hours waiting for Su's mom to come in on another flight. Benjamin ran around in a circle approximately 750 times. He would not be stopped. Danny started crashing. It was all great fun. After a nice breakfast with Su's mom (she stayed with the boys so we could get and load up the rental car) she went to meet her sister to take a train to the festivities, and we were off on the autobahn. You know, that winding German highway with no speed limits in many places?

When the gagging started in the back seat I was not sure who it was at first. It was poor Benji. One clean up stop later we were on the road again. Then he did it again. Another cleaning pit stop and then we wisely put a bib on him too.

You know, this sounds like a real downer of a trip right? But it wasn't! We had so much fun hanging out with cousins and other relatives. The boys were for the most part well behaved. The weather was lovely. But Su and I realized that we are hardly ever with our boys 24/7. And for this two week period we were.  Everything was new and exciting to the boys and they loved, loved, loved, Patrick and Christoph and Toby and Lisa and Jonas and Jannis and Jonna and all their older German relatives too.

A friend on Facebook called vacationing with kids an "oblication". I like that. It's a lot of work. (There was also the peeing the pants incident on the return flight but who is counting?)

But I'm thrilled that suddenly Danny is interested in speaking German and wants Su to read to him in German. I'm glad that Benji charmed the heck out of everyone and that we'll hopefully see some of our cousins next year when they come to DC to visit us.

And I'm VERY glad to be home. But can't wait to go again in a few years. Yeah, I'm sort of crazy like that. ;-) -Monica

Thursday, October 06, 2011

More to come on our great trip to Germany...

Here Benji and his cousin Jannis said "cheese" in German for the camera!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ask! Tell! This is a great day I say...

Yes Beatle, it's okay now. As of today, the ban on US service members serving openly has been lifted. I am thrilled on so many levels. Even though I have no connection myself to the military (more a Peace Corps type) I was always outraged by the idiocy of making people hide their sexual orientation. So they were held to incredibly high standards of honesty and integrity in their military lives, but basically had to commit lies of commission and ommission to stay in.

In the early 2000's I volunteered for several years help run a big annual fundraising gala for the Service Members Defense Network (SLDN). I met so many great people--many of whom had been forced to leave jobs they loved. Can you imagine how painful that was for them? SLDN was a lifeline for so many over the years. Frightened servicemen and women could call annonymously to get confidential help and advice from lawyers. At the same time the organization worked tirelessly to move legislation to bring the ban to an end.

At one gala dinner I had the honor of hearing Pat Kutteles speak about the horrific murder of her son Barry Winchell because he was "different". The more I learned the sadder and madder I got.

A writer named Randy Shilts wrote a book I read about 10 years ago called "Conduct Unbecoming: Gays and Lesbians in the US Military". It really shocked and saddened me. I'll never forget learning about an Air Force Seargent named Leonard Matlovich. He died in 1983 and on his tombstone which he meant as a memorial to all gay veterans at Congressional Cemetary in DC, he arranged for the following inscription:

"When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men, and a discharge for loving one."

Powerful right? I kinda hope that he and everyone who has been on the fatal receiving end of violence against gays in the military is smiling from heaven today.

So, today is a great day. There is more to do though. Being open is great but partners/spouses of gay service members don't get the same treatment as straight spouses. There will have to be wider scale changes for that to happen, but a day like today gives me hope.

So thank you everyone associated with SLDN, including Dixon and Michelle, Jeff, Lara, Allen...the list goes on. You done good! -Monica

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I really hate pictures of myself, but I'll make an exception...

Yup, that's my left pinky. Nice right? And the best part is that it's been like this since I was about 15 years old when I broke it playing basketball. Never much bothered me til I wacked it on a picnic table this summer. Now it's pretty swollen and irritated. I do remember being able to bend it around in all directions and would joke that I had no bones in that middle joint, but I had no idea that the bones were so out of whack. Apparently the middle joint is hyperextended and the joint at the tip is flexing--both constantly fighting with each other to dominate. This is what happens when you mess with your tendons people.

Anyway, I learned yesterday from a doc that there is a name for this. It's called a Swan Neck deformity (kinda does look like a swan's neck right?) I'll see a hand specialist but I'm not inclined to want to have surgery. Even though it is more painful and annoying than before. I'm afraid to get x-rays of any other parts of my body. What other surprises lurk under the surface? ;-)


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Halloween Shmalloween

Why wait for October 31st to dress up? This weekend our neighbors threw an impromptu costume party for the kids. One Batman (the Dark Knight I think), one Super Girl, two Supermen, and a Pirate strike a pose here. Wonder Woman and Baby Skunk were there too, but obviously too fast to be captured on camera! 

We are so lucky to have such a wonderful bunch of neighbors!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Say it ain't so!

I'm not 100% sure, but I think that Benji actually managed to climb out of his crib last night. Susanne was next to him when he got his leg over and sort of reinserted him back in. He was having a fit because I was reading a story to his brother and not to him and was hell bent on breaking out!

I must admit I am dreading life when the crib no longer hold him. If I never blog again, it may be because I'm exhausted from chasing him down.

I think I was spoiled by the fact that Danny did not try to break out and transitioned to his "big boy bed" the month before Benji was born. Danny was about 2.5 years old (or 30 months old) at the time. Benji is 21 months old now. Sigh...

On a brighter note, here are a few observations I've made about our boys on Facebook over the past month or so. Enjoy!

August 15
So I've decided our boys eat like birds. The 4 year old like say, a hummingbird, and the 1 year old like um, maybe a pelican.

August 15
So little Danny caught a bit of the news last night hearing Rick Perry thunder that "Washington is broken!". Of course the poor kid asked immediately if our house was broken?, (no) then exactly what in Washington was broken? I will limit my political commentary here by saying "Politicians say the darndest things don't they?"

August 16
I told Danny that today was going to be a great day. He of course asked why, and I told him "because I said so" which made him really happy. Sadly, I think he's only ever heard those words said in a slightly more cranky and exasperated tone ;-)

August 22
So just when did the piƱata become such a ubiquitous part of kids' birthday parties? Every party we've been too this summer (including Danny's I admit) has had one. I guess I sort of love the sharing of cultures part, but the sight of a dozen tiny boys and girls beating the stuffing out of defenseless pink princesses and other cartoon favorites while the adults clap in approval is kind of creepy no? (Danny's was a fish--cuz that's so much better right?)

August 26
I've decided that our Benjamin is an old soul. Wise beyond his year.

September 8
Danny woke up this morning all excited about the fact that winter is on its way (or at least he thinks so). When I asked him what he wanted for breakfast, I burst out laughing when he announced "Snow Flakes". This boy it too funny!

September 8
I find it ironic that the song little Benji asks for constantly is "Da, Da, Da" (think Volkswagen commercial song). It's a fun one, but it always cracks me up that the boy with two moms actually then says "da, da, da" more than "ma, ma, ma" ;-)

September 12
Danny, eying a convertible this weekend with its top down." Look mommy! That car has its head off!" Oops. He did it again ;-)

September 13
Danny wanted one his stuffed Dr. Suess toys while we read a story. Which one is it I asked--Hooey? Yertle?  Nah..."you know mommy, that guy who stole Christmas!" Oh, that guy ;-)

Thursday, September 08, 2011

My Favorite Bird Whisperer...

We had a great time last week visiting Susanne's family, and one of the highlights was a trip to the Richmond Zoo.

At the bird sanctuary, while watching Su and the boys with the birdies, I was reminded of a time about 8 years ago when we had taken a trip to Guatemala.  One morning at breakfast, out of the blue, a gorgeous parrot decided that Su was his best friend.

Nice to see her passing on her gentle way with birds and animals to Benji and Danny. -M

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I swear I just blinked my eye...

 A year ago Danny was just about the littlest guy in the school. An adorable 3 year old. This year he's just about the most adorable guy in the school. This time a big 4 year old. It is an amazing thing to witness this transformation. Of course baby brother Benji who is only 1 totally wants in on this growing thing!

Monday, September 05, 2011

Great day!

So today I celebrate one of those non-milestone birthdays and I couldn't be happier. Last night we hosted a "Mojitofest" for a group of wonderful friends and today Susanne has been great--I most especially appreciate that she took Danny and Benji out for a while this morning to play at a park and buy me balloons (Spiderman and Mickey Mouse go figure :-) The 2 hours of peace and quiet to read the paper was priceless.

Last night as we were going to sleep I spied a perfect half moon, and as it was my last day of being 50, I decided that it was an omen that my life was only half over (or half begun!) and I'd live to be 100. Danny will be 53 then and Benjamin 51. Hard to imagine.

Which reminds me...we just figured out the other day that they will be members of the high school classes of 2025 and 2028 respectively. For some reason that boggles my mind. Have a great day everyone! -M

P.S. Tomorrow is the first day of PK4 for Danny. I wonder if he'll get butterflies in  his stomach like I always used to?