Friday, February 25, 2011

Ch, ch, ch, cha...changes!

I know I don't really write much about my work on this blog, and that's kind of on purpose. But I will say I work for a large federal agency, and like I've said for a long time, it's not my "life's work" but as my life's work is my wonderful family, I find it pays the bills quite well and it truth be told, I actually like doing most of the work I do.

But on Monday I will actually start a new job. It's at the same agency but with a completely different organization. I've certainly changed jobs in my life in the past, but I find this transition odder than most, because the reason I'm making the change is because I've grown, how shall I say this? "disenchanted" with some people high above my pay grade in this place. I would never burn any bridges and say bad things about

any colleagues--that wouldn't be prudent (but if you've noticed I've left some space in between this line and the one above it. Feel free to read between those lines ;-)

My biggest angst though comes from the fact that my direct supervisor is awesome. Kind, caring, intelligent--she's an amazing mentor and I respect her with just about every ounce of my being. So it will be hard to no longer work for her. I do take solace in the fact that my new job will have overlap with some work she manages in my current organization so I will work with her again. And there is always coffee to be enjoyed on breaks from time to time.

So, transition time has come. I don't much like change. Who does? But this really is a positive move for me. Onward and upward! -M

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mommy Tales...

I’ve recently decided, as my memory fades in my twilight years (okay, being a little dramatic here), that  I'd capture for your reading pleasure (and our sons’ edification someday) periodic "Mommy Tales".

These tales will span the decades, and story number one goes back to 1987.

The setting was a steamy summer day in Antigua, Guatemala. I was in my first month of training as a Peace Corps Volunteer and had just learned a very interesting fact in my training class. You see in Guatemala (as in many other parts of the world apparently) there is the concept called the “evil eye”.

This is usually some negative spirit from a stranger that can bring danger to little babies in particular.  Often parents have some tricks up their sleeve to guard against the evil eye. In fact I remember my Peace Corps friend Carrie even sharing that her mother (who is of Italian heritage) hung garlic behind her crib for this reason and that her dad had no idea. He just thought baby Carrie stunk for the first few months of her life! Her mom eventually fessed up, but I digress.

Anyway, so back to this steamy day in Guatemala. I’d just learned all about this “evil eye” which in Spanish is called “mal ojo”. Parents there painted a little red circle on their infant’s head to protect them from any evil out there. "How fascinating" I remember thinking.

Well, later that day I got on a crowded bus with some of my Peace Corps buddies, and lo and behold, I spied an adorable infant with a red circle. I was so excited!

So of course I began excitedly pointing at the baby’s head while loudly exclaiming in my terrible Spanish, “Look! Look! Evil Eye! Evil Eye! That little baby right there has the Evil Eye thing!”

You guessed it. Apparently seeing a gringa, redheaded stranger pointing and loudly shouting “mal ojo! mal ojo!” caused a some gasping and panic on the bus. To my credit, I realized immediately that I’d done something wrong, so I shut right up and dropped my head down to look as contrite and sorry as I possibly could.

Then my friends who spoke fluent Spanish smoothed things over by explaining something along the lines that I was just learning and was a little excitable. Thank goodness.

Truth be told though, I’ve never been able to quite shake the feeling though that they may have communicated something more along the lines that I had a super low IQ or something like that.

Ah well. Lesson learned. Think. Think some more. Then speak. Maybe. -M

Mommy with Peace Corps friends Mary Ellen, David, Liz and Jon a long, long time ago while serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Must be a "mergency!"

This weekend we traveled to Boston, and the highlight of our trip was a personal tour of the largest firehouse in the city by none other than a real life fire captain!  I guess it comes in handy being friends with one of Boston's finest (firefighters are finest too right?)

Benji had fun grabbing any ropes he could get his hands on, and Danny just grinned a lot and kept saying "wow!" In particular he loved the two fire poles that the firefighters slide down on from the living quarters above!

A special shout out to my friend Leah and Captain Mark and their son Mike for giving us the tour, but also for taking care of all of our photography needs as well as we forgot our camera (thanks Mike! Great job!)


P.S. Danny was pretty relieved that a real fire alarm didn't go off in the station while we were there. Now that would have been a real 'mergency. A three year old's heart coming to a complete stop and all!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Head scratcher...

So the other night while visiting with neighbors, Danny burst out into that old familiar chant "We will, we will, rock you!"  "We will, we will, rock you!"

As he started to sing I thought to myself "aw, he must have learned that in school. How adorable."

Then my "aw" turned to a bit of shock when I realized what he was actually singing sounded an awful lot like "We will, we will, judge you!" "We will, we will, judge you!"

All four adults in the room looked at each other quizzically and of course we asked him to sing it again. Again, it sure did sound like he was doing his best Myers-Briggs Judging thing.

He insisted he was singing "rock--just like rockstar mom!" But all of our ears beg to differ. 

What next? Sha na na na, sha na na na, hey, hey, hey eat pie!"? -M

Monday, February 14, 2011

To my Valentine

Dear Susanne,

Some days are harder than others. Clothes and dishes to wash, food to prepare, little boys to focus on--and then all of the other many errands to do and decisions to make. And for the most part we do these things on little sleep thanks to our two early risers.

But I just want you to know that underneath all the mundane and all of the weariness, I hold in my heart for you a love that never stops burning. Yes, I'm sure that sometimes it must seem like that fire is just the tiniest ember struggling to keep smoldering. But smolder it does Susanne.

And just when I least expect it, I'll catch your eye from across a room, or collapse next to you on the couch at the end of a long day, and I am transported back  to those early days of our life together. The giddiness and  joy and wonder of you.

I guess I'm saying, even though I don't always show you how much I love you, I need you to know how very much I do.

Love, Monica

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Crying Uncle! (Or is it Laughing Uncle?)

A surprise visit from Uncle Paul sure makes Benji's day as you can see in this pic. Even though Paul lives in Minnesota and we live in DC, the perk of working for a major airline makes it possible for him to come here fairly frequently.

Both Danny and Benji are delighted to have Uncle around--although I will say that I felt a twinge of jealously that Paul seemed to put Danny to bed so easily last night.

But then I thought "hey, I'm not the one putting him to bed! Wahoo!"  Presto, no more jealously!

So thanks for coming Paul. We always love it when you come to see us! -M

Monday, February 07, 2011

File under the category of "Really?"

So I couldn't help but notice that our new box of Q-Tips (I mean cotton swabs that one can compare to Q-Tips), that the instructions on the box come with a big CAUTION!!!!!

Apparently you are not supposed to let the swab enter your ear canal--just gently swab around the outer surface of the ear.


That seems a little nutty to me. I mean, don't jam it down to your ear drum, but for gosh sakes, really?

On the bright side the box does say that you can use them for makeup application and blending, touching up nail polish, cleaning electronics and delicate baby care. Also for arts, crafts and hobbies.

Looks like somebody got sued once and our litigious society stepped in to make sure that no new earwax was ever removed, with permission, by one of their swabs.

Shessshhh! Maybe one day someone will sue for deafness attributed to copious amounts of buildup? Don't laugh! ;-)

Saturday, February 05, 2011


The official first word? Well... he also says ba ba (bottle).

Friday, February 04, 2011

And They Call it, Pop Pop Love...

 P.S. They were just playing! No actual grandfathers were injured in the making of this blog post. Oh, and although it looks like Danny took a swing, he actually just tickled and ducked ;-)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

If he could talk...

Yes, if Benji could talk I do believe he'd be saying "You want a piece of this, huh? Do ya?"

We keep telling Danny, bless his heart, that even though he's got 2 1/2 years on his baby brother, he's only got about 6 pounds on him.

But don't let these pics fool you. The love each other to pieces. Usually. ;-)

When we lose a piece, we lose the peace...

As an add on to yesterday's letter to my family, I now do have something that I can share that pertains to Susanne. You see, as I've mentioned before, she is very good about matching stuff up. Socks, mittens, baby bottles with the tops etc...

And me? Not so good, nor very importantly, does it bother me.

But my dear wife, she doesn't like missing things. And this has been a pretty manageable state of affairs until this whole matching thing also began to apply to the toys. Yes, you heard me, THE TOYS.

The puzzles, and games, and blocks and matchbox cars and Lincoln Logs and sorting shapes cookie jars and what have you.

My philosophy is squarely on the side of "Don't sweat it. Those mysteriously disappearing pieces will turn up someday! Everything is somewhere after all."

And Susanne's philosophy is much more along the lines of "It's not logical. These toys and games have a finite number of parts/pieces. It makes no sense that any be missing."

Which makes good sense except when you factor in the young age and creative playing of our children.

So in a nutshell, when we lose a piece, we lose some of our peace.

But just to make sure to turn these lemons into lemon jello, I will add that FINDING a piece, is a cause for great rejoicing.

Gotta go. Find something. -Monica

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Dear family,

Benjamin, honey, if you keep pursing your mouth like that every time we offer you food that does not meet your high expectations for flavor and texture, we are going to have to start calling you Percy. Not kidding baby boy.

Daniel, sweetheart, if you keep saying "you're not my friend anymore" you're going to have to hear us keep saying "That's right. I'm not your friend--I'm your mother!"

And last but not least my dearest Susanne...wait...I got nothing. Apparently you alone do not have any annoying habits that I can poke fun at. At least that I know about yet ;-)

Love, you know who