Monday, January 31, 2011

Benji's Big Reveal

Things are looking up for Benji. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he has just turned the corner on all that ailed him the past week or so.

On the bright side, he was well enough Saturday afternoon to take him to his very first haircut. Now without further ado, our little lamb. Our delightfully shorn little lamb!

Before and After

I know right? Cute no matter what! -M

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Guess whose get up and go just got up and went?

Our little Benjamin has had a bit of a rough week. Vomiting, fever, really uncomfortable constipation* and today, the runniest nose ever.  

He's actually felt okay sometimes, but this series of pics from this morning pretty much tells the story. Here's to hoping that whatever is ailing him is on its way out now. -M

*Rice cereal, while good for keeping food down, is not his friend.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Making it look easy...

Welcome back reader or two. Thanks for hanging in there.

We were at a gathering of my favorite group of Peace Corps friends the other night when I had a revelation. You see, out of our group of a dozen or so, several had their children long before we did and so their "babies" are now in high school and college. The "kids" are very sweet and actually don't mind hanging out with us old folks once in a while because they get to see each other, and as they were all very well raised, they are just very sweet.

So my revelation as Susanne and I juggled (with lots of help of course from the adoring crowd) Danny and Benji and feeding them and keeping an eye on things dawned on me that it was really hard to just relax and have a grown up conversation with anyone for any period of time. My glass of wine spent the better part of the evening perched high on a shelf while I played the role of  "all star baby wrestling referee mom".

Oh, Su and I got to eavesdrop on a conversation or two, and chime in on a little bit more than just "little boy" minutia, but for the most part we were not really able to fully engage.

Most stunning for me was to realize that 10 or 15 years ago when the same crowd got together, I never realized how much work it was for my friends with young kids. Either they make it look easy, or more likely, I had no awareness whatsoever how hard they were working then. After all, I was flitting around, not a care in the world, never realizing that taking care of kids was quite encompassing.

So kudos to Becky and Jeff and Steve and Kurula and Kate and Alvina and Hans. You have raised wonderful kids and I only hope that we can do 1/2 as good a job. And my respect for you all just grew a little greater the other night.  -Monica (and Susanne)

P.S. And thanks to you and your kids for all your help with our two whirling dervishes! AND..Dave and Gustavo, everything was delish!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

Somebody had to be this Monkey's Uncles...

My brothers Neil and Paul enjoyed seeing Danny last month even on the sad occasion of attending our mom's funeral. I'll always smile when I remember how much she loved these silly, silly boys. -M

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Eyes of the Beholder

We've never been thrilled to live within a stones throw from a city warehouse. We shouldn't complain though. It's fairly quiet and doesn't have any noxious smells or anything.

But I'm pretty sure in the minds of our two little boys, having a warehouse with trucks and pallets and forklifts and stuff RIGHT OUT THE WINDOW must be what heaven is like. ;-)

Here is Benjamin a few minutes ago, soaking in the love. -M

P.S. Lest I forget, the choo choo trains run right behind the warehouse so when the trees are bare like now, every 15 minutes or so, he has just another reason to squeal with delight!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Out of the mouths of babes...

The other night at dinner we were chattering away about nothing in particular. Maybe pre-school or getting a pet fish or Benji's most recent habit of showing us "see food" in his mouth every night.

But suddenly out of the blue, our three year old stopped his chattering. He pointed first to Susanne and then to me, and with the most serious face ever said...

"Mama. Mommy. Anything you want, I get it for you."

You can say it. We sure did. "Awwwwwwwwwwwwww".

Monday, January 10, 2011

Smurfect. Just Smurfect!

So I always knew that Susanne had a collection of Smurfs she'd had ever since she was a kid. They were somewhere packed in the basement, and as she recalled, her Opa in Germany used to get her new Smurf characters quite often. She hoped that one day her own children would enjoy them.

Fast forward a bunch of years and her little one year old Benji one day noticed a lone Smurf perched on our kitchen shelf. He was instantly entranced. Enamored. In love.

Yes, this little Smurf could not be ignored. Any time he'd set eyes on it, Benji had to have it! Why here's his a pic of his favorite Smurf.

Well just the other day we had friends over and long story short, while Benji was already asleep, she brought out her collection. Wow. She has dozens and dozens of the little blue guys. Who knew?

I've been a little nervous to let Benji actually see the Smurf collection--afraid his little heart might just burst or something.

But this evening he's a little under the weather and we decided it was time. I brought him down from upstairs to our dining room where Danny was already having fun with all those Smurfs.

You should have seen Benji's eyes! He was so excited. And as a matter of fact, while I type this, he's still downstairs with Susanne playing with his new friends. I think it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship!

Oh Toodles!

Thank you Stimey for your comment that I shouldn't leave you hanging with my Toodles story. It's not really much of a story, but when Danny was really little we went to Florida and he fell in love with Micky Mouse. (Not that we paid to go to Disney or anything...we went to the Kennedy Space Center and Sea World I believe). 

But to this day he loves to watch Mickey. And whenever I hear "Oh Toodles", I can picture him giving his first high 5. At the airport in Florida. Where saying hi to Mickey is free! -M

Thursday, January 06, 2011

I'm blogging! I'm blogging!

I've got absolutely nothing to say, but at least I'm blogging again. Ummm...well would you look at the time? 5:29 pm. Time to head home to my funny little family. Toodles!

Which reminds me of a funny thing from Mickey Mouse, but that will be for another day. Bye now. -M

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

From Little Drummer Boy to Little Runner Boy...

Our little sweetheart took his first steps yesterday while at Jenni's. Can't believe it. Benji? Benji? Where are you baby?

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Good grief...

Grief. I don't like it. And there really is not much very good about it at all so I'm not sure why Charlie Brown was so fond of saying it.

I once read that people who are on that path of being with a loved one as they are nearing death needs to take care of themselves as well as a marathoner training to run 26.2. The only difference is that you don't know whether the end will come in hours or days. And in case you have never been on this road before, what happens is that you don't feel much like eating. You don't realize how thirsty you are until you take a drink of water. And sleeping? You can sort of forget about sleeping with any peace in those final moments/days/weeks. Taking care of yourself is just about the last thing on your mind.

When our dad died in 2002 I was in Minnesota. I was there with my siblings and our mom during that vigil for him. This time with mom's death last week, I was not there. I'd visited her in the days prior to her dying but was home in Washington, DC when she breathed her last. One of my brothers tried to comfort me as he drove me to the airport after I'd hugged and kissed her goodbye for what I knew was the last time. "It's easier to be far away" he said. "When you are here every moment that you are not with her you feel awful".

I know what he was saying. And reflecting back on those last few days when the hospice nurses had told us the end could come any time, it was easier for me to go about doing the things already in the works. It was Christmas Eve after all. Took Danny with neighbors to a movie. My hand never left my blackberry waiting for the vibration I'd feel when the call came that she was gone. But the call didn't come then.

Into the night I waited. Slept fitfully, waiting for that call. So sad for all my brothers and sisters who'd been sitting with her for hours on end. So sad to imagine her laboring to breathe. Grateful for the pain management I knew she was receiving.

Mom didn't die that night, nor the next morning. Like my father, my mother had a strong heart. After all the other systems had failed her heart continued to beat. At 7 pm on Christmas night my sister Alice called and said "she's gone". I can still hear her words echoing in my brain. I will be able to tell you til my dying day everything about that moment. It's seared in my memory forever.

Grief takes its time. It tricks you. You start feeling a bit better. You remember all the happy times and how relieved you are that your loved one is now free from pain. Then grief gets you. Good.

Maybe that's where Good Grief comes from -M

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy New Year everyone

Hi there friends and family. I know it's been a while since I've blogged, but with my mom doing so poorly and then passing away on Christmas, it's been a tough time. The wake and the funeral were both very lovely. I like to think that I'm doing pretty well with everything--she is in a better place I know, but at the most random times I think of something and I'm moved to tears. I miss her.

Susanne and the boys traveled to Minnesota too and that was really special. Our dear friend Amy and her family were kind enough to let us stay with them and that was wonderful medicine for the soul. The boys had other kids to play with and I got to see some friends I had not seen in ages too. Danny and Benji also loved playing with their cousins which was really nice.

I think that at the wake the part that kept choking me up was looking at her hands. Those hands that had wiped away so many tears and held me in her arms. I used to have terrible earaches as a kid and mom could always comfort me like no other.  Everyone had such touching and funny stories to tell. She was laid to rest in a grave between her father and her husband (our dad) and somehow that seems so right to me.

So we are now back home and life goes on. We've had unseasonably warm weather in DC so on the night of January 1st I put the boys to bed in their flannel one piece PJs and covered them both with a comforter for Danny and a sleep sack for Benji. At around 10 pm Danny woke up sweating and complaining that he was hot and thirsty. It was 60 degrees out! I had no idea. I kept thinking "honey, I've melted the kids!"

Fortunately they did not really melt but they slept that night just fine with no covers. Of course now two days later it was 28 degrees at night so all is back to normal. I just have to remember what normal is.

Alrighty then. Back to life. Sigh... -M