Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas is Coming!

On Monday another Christmas Eve will be upon us. This year we did our traditional advent calendar bags for each boy and yesterday the season really kicked into high gear with the arrival of their beloved "Nana" from South Carolina. We'll put up the tree tomorrow and do fun things like see a train show and lights display--the only thing I'd wish for differently is that this rain would become a gentle snow. But all in all I can't complain.

This year the month of December was marked by a terrible tragedy of a school shooting in a place called Newtown, CT.  Twenty 6 and 7 year olds mowed down by a man with an assault rifle. I can't imagine what those families must be going through. Danny's 5 and we've kept info about what happened to a minimum. When he has questions, he'll ask. But seeing him and his classmates at times over the past few days has been a bit bittersweet as they are about the same age as those kids who died. Heartbreaking.

On the brighter side, our beautiful Benji turned 3 this month. On the not so bright side, the poor guy was sick with probably two different gastrointestinal illnesses from about Dec. 3-18. Thank goodness he's finally better. Lots of laundry. It's kind of sad when your two year old starts coughing and then asks you to "get the bowl". At least he's very aware of his own body. Speaking of awarness, he's making fantastic strides in potty training. Wears underpants to pre-school now! Yet another milestone we are happy to reach!

December also for me brings up sad memories of my mom dying on Christmas Day just two years ago. She is so missed and every once in a while I still forget she's gone. I want to pick up the phone and tell her something. Always loved and never to be forgotten that Mommy of mine.

I'll end this post with a picture taken last night at Susanne's annual Bread for the City Holiday Party. The kids got to break open a pinata, and here are our two with their hauls. (And we still have Halloween candy that we're doling out!) I guess we could have worse problems ;-)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours. -Monica

Monday, December 03, 2012

Where'd November go?

Well, during the month of November, although we took some pics on our smart phones, we only took 3 pictures on Su's camera. And we managed to update this blog a total of 0 times. Not impressive right?

And it's not like it was an uneventful month. November 6th brought that nail biter of an election--President Barack Obama prevailed and I can now breath again. It really seemed for a time there that Mitt Romney might win and the thought of that worried me greatly.  Thanks goodness not only did Obama win, but in all 4 states that had same sex marriage votes, all 4 were positive. Thank you to the people of Maryland, Maine, Washington and the great state of Minnesota!

We also of course celebrated Thanksgiving down at Su's mom as has become our tradition. But unfortunately both boys were sick. Danny got diagnosed with pneumonia right before the trip down and Benji ended up at Urgent Care and also got put on antibiotics for respiratory troubles. I am so grateful that they are both better. Fevers and coughs are tough on little guys. Of course getting vaccinations are also tough on little guys, but they will be going in for their flu shots this afternoon. You may be able to hear them wailing in protest at around 3:30 from wherever you are in the world ;-)

Other than that all is well. We got to to go our friends Mikki and Kelly's wedding yesterday in a castle. I think all wedding should be held in a castle. The boys loved the venue and a great time was had by all.

Now it's Advent so we have our advent calendar bags strung up. The boys cannot wait to get up each morning and cut their bag down to see what's inside. They are learning a lot about waiting (which is very hard for them but very apropos for Advent.) Next up, Benji's birthday and then Christmas will be here before we know it. Hopefully I'll blog again long before then. Happy Day to all, and to all a good night! -M

Advent Calendar Bag opening by Danny in 2009 when he was about Benji's age now.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

One Nation--Under Ohio

"As Ohio goes, so goes the nation." As we draw closer to election day 2012 I can't get this cliched, yet true statement out of my head.

When I was a kid I remember internalizing that voting was a right yet also a privileged. That as an individual I had a sacred responsibility to vote and that I could make a difference with my vote. I also learned that voting was private. You never had to tell anyone who you were voting for--even people married to each other could vote different ways and that was okay and in fact, maybe never discussed.

I also grew up in a home where reading the morning paper was a participatory sport and believe you me, everyone knew where everyone stood on every politician both locally and nationally. So there is private and there is private if you know what I mean.

Today I am a registered voter in the District of Columbia and aside from all of the ongoing struggles with taxation without representation, I can and will indeed vote this year, but I'm having a bit of cognitive dissonance. You see, the District is overwhelmingly dominated by Democrats, and President Obama will win the District regardless of whether or not I vote. It's a fact. So in some ways my vote is not as important as some others. Maybe in terms of the popular vote, my vote may mean something, but let's face it, the electoral college votes are the real deal and will decide the election.

You may have heard of a statistician named Nate Silver?  He's made quite a reputation for himself in somehow magically (or maybe mathematically?) making sense of all the possible electoral votes scenarios out there and from what I'm understanding is--it's all about Ohio.

It makes me think that there is no need to spend any time at all trying to convince fellow voters from anywhere other than Ohio to see what I see, and I find that all really strange.

But this election has me worried. I will honestly say that a win by the Republican party will hurt my family. The perfect storm of a President who has no qualms about catering to the agenda of neo conservatives depending on which way the winds are blowing on a given day, mean that strides forward on issues like marriage equality will be erased for sure. Karl Rove and his ilk will indeed be back. Did you know for example that Governor Romney has real issues with people like me--a non biological parent in a gay relationship raising children. Oh the harm I present right? His exact words in the Boston Globe article I linked to were “Some gays are actually having children born to them,’’ he declared. “It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact."

No, for so may reasons, I so support President Obama.

And now it seems that the only people who have the power to decide the future of our nation live in a state I have little connection to. It all seems so sort of "bizarro world to me".

So to the few friends and acquaintances I have in Ohio, I'd like to definitely ask you to vote. I can't tell you who to vote for, but I can tell you that in my simplified view of it all, you can vote for either love and inclusivity, or hate and exclusivity. Please don't be tricked into thinking that you will not, over the next four years, fall into that not so loved category for some reason or another. History is littered with examples to the contrary. -M

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

LOL or Something Like That

From some recent posts we've made to Facebook. Featuring Danny and Benji of course!

October 19
Danny told us tonight that another way of saying you're sick is to say that you're "over the weather." I must admit, this child, he makes my heart happy ;-)

October 15
So one last thing about this fun weekend when we went to Minnesota for my sister Alice's wedding. After we were all dressed and ready to get in the car to head to the wedding, two year old Benji looked at me in my dress and exclaimed "Mommy, your pants! Where are your pants??"

October 15
Flying back from Minneapolis today Danny spied Air National Guard planes on the tarmac. He turned to Susanne and said "Mama, those are the ones for the Army to fly in, and these are the ones for the humans to fly in." She assured them that Army people were humans too!

October 10
Dear Citizens of the World,
Sorry for this belated apology if you too were awakened at 3:45am by our two year old screaming over and over again "Marshmallows Mommy. I WANT MARSHMALLOWS MOMMY!"

Love, the Meanest Mom in the Whole Wide World

October 4
Oh say there? Has anyone seen my pink tutu? Apparently my 5 year old thinks that I wear one ,-)

September 30
Cutest. Thing. Ever. A cable channel here shows reruns of The Flying Nun. We watched last night, and now Benji can't wait to go to school tomorrow as he hopes "his nuns" can fly too! (He's asking to watch it again tonight!)

September 23
At the National's game today we were counting balls and strike with the boys. When I explained what a full count was, Danny asked me "how many balls and strikes in a half count then?" I was uncharacterisically at a loss for words. ;-)

September 22
Self-portrait on display in Danny's kindergarten classroom. He said he gave himself glasses because I wear them. Flattering I guess. I do not plan to ask him where the inspiration came for all that chin hair though ;-)

September 21
Can someone please explain to me the allure of the interior dome light to the preschool set? There but for the grace of God and our eagle-eyed neighbors have we avoided a dead battery about 10 times this month.

September 18
Susanne wrote--Unsupervised homework. Parenting fail. (Worse yet I was standing within 4 feet.)

September 8
Dear Benji's nap,
I hope I'm wrong about this, but I'm getting the feeling that you're leaving. Please don't go. I'm not ashamed to tell you--I love you Benji's nap!


September 6
Should I be worried that my two year old conjugates verbs better than I do? This morning he used the past perfect subjunctive. ("I wanted you to do it.") But on the brighter side, I am totally better than him at reaching stuff on high shelves ;-)

September 1
Danny got a cool a kit with caterpillars that will molt into butterflies soon. The best part of this has been that he keeps calling the caterpillars "patekillers". Makes me think that the butterflies will be called "flutterbys"!

July 11
Still in shock. Today I offered little Benji lots of options for music in the car and he wanted "words" (NPR). Clearly, Susanne, who drives 90% of the time has influenced him.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wedding Fun!

Well I apologize again for being a horrid blogger. All is well here. The boys are growing, but apparently they grow a lot in their sleep, as they both seem to take turns waking up with various complaints. Interruption-free nights are becoming like the holy grail. I dream of those nights. I rarely get those nights. But I remain ever optimistic that one day we will manage to tire them out completely, feed them the exact right foods, find the exact right alignment of the stars--and they will sleep all night long. Please. But I digress.

You see, I'm not here to complain about lack of sleep. No, I'm here to share about a most wonderful day. My sister Alice married her very long time boyfriend Dave, (who I can now officially call my brother-in-law) on October 13th and it was so much fun!

We traveled to Minnesota for the nuptials and with Danny as an usher and Benji as a ring bearer, it was all very sweet. I even got to give one of the toasts (Dave's brother gave the other one) and it was a great evening.

We were so fortunate to have had the chance to stay with long-time friends, Amy and Matt, who not only shared their large attic with us to crash in, they also let us borrow one of their cars (to not crash in ;-)  It was so much fun. They have two kids who are 11 and 9 and the boys adored them. They also loved Finn the dog. Benji at the crack of dawn one morning squealed with delight "Finn is it you?" This as an animal licked his face in the dark. Happy to report it was indeed Finn.

Without further ado, here are a few pictures. My wife who looked gorgeous at the wedding, somehow managed again to not get in many/any? photos. She's that good. Here you go. Congrats Dave and Al. We love you and wish you the very best. Love, Monica

P.S. Susanne did get in some lovely photos taken by our host Matt who is an amazing photographer. Those we'll post later.

Me and my sister Alice at the reception.

Me and Benjamin. He's a doll right?

The brothers getting ready for their "starring" roles.

Danny and his beloved uncle, my brother Paul kicking back.

My niece Niki, her mom (my sister Mary) and our sister Alice the beautiful bride.

My brothers Paul and Neil make us all laugh by assuming a pose our dad and his best man struck at our parents' 1956 wedding. This time with cell phones instead of wristwatches.

The happy bride and groom in the receiving line. Congratulations Alice and Dave!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Strike a Pose!

Danny and Benji trying on their outfits to wear to their Auntie Alice's wedding. Handsome lads eh?

Joy in Mudville

Last night was a historic one in DC as our professional baseball team clinched the National League East title in the first time in, well, forever. Either they had to beat the Phillies or the Pirates had to beat the Braves, and even though we would have preferred the former, wel happily took the latter.

As the top of the 9th inning ended, word spread quickly through the stadium (and everywhere) the the Pirates had won 1-0! In the Nationals last at bat it would have been awesome to overcome the two run deficit and win too, but that was not meant to be. No matter. When the final out was recorded moments later, the Nationals began their celebration.

The boys were asleep long before the game ended, but when they woke up they were so excited to see all the pictures in the paper. They are having so much fun watching their favorite players on TV and well, so are we. They are really starting to understand the balls, strikes and outs thing and cannot wait for the next game to come on.

Here's to quite a few more weeks of baseball in DC (and maybe a World Series Championship?) . Go Nats! -Monica

P.S. In the short video above, the boys show their "Natitude" while eating breakfast this morning!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Let's Go Nats!

Can I tell you how happy I am that our boys like baseball? You see, before we had the kids, both Susanne and I already loved the sport. We'd shared some season tickets with friends when the Nationals first came to DC, and after a few years of babies who were too little and who hated the roar of the crowd (usually the booing) we'd sort of settled into just following the team on TV.

I'd grown up a Twins fan in Minnesota and spent most of my time in warm weather playing pick up baseball or school softball. All the way through college even. (I even still own a few records if you know me well enough to Google it--most times hit by a pitch is not a record I'm proud of, but the fact that I'm still in the top ten for most triples, homeruns, RBIs and fewest strikeouts, does make me proud.)

So I love to watch the strategy and the athleticism. And this year's team is one to really get exited about!

We took the boys three times this season and it's so fun to teach them and to watch them get so excited about their favorite players. Danny Espinosa and Bryce Harper can do no wrong folks.

And the fact that the team will be in the playoffs has just made it so exciting.

Here's to the Boys of Summer! Both at National's Stadium and at our house. -Monica

Benji thrilled (and a little scared) to meet "President Roosevelt" yesterday!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

It's a Bird, It's a Plane...It's Benji Man!

While searching for something the other day on this blog, I found myself reading a bunch of posts from when our oldest son Danny (now 5) was Benjamin's age (now 2). I was really struck by how much more I talked about Danny than I ever do about Benji. Maybe it's just that curse of not being the firstborn or something, but I've decided to remedy the situation by taking a moment to say a few words about our dear Benji.

First of all, sometimes it's hard to believe he is only 2 years old. He won't even be three until December, but at his tender age he runs, jumps, and chatters with the best of them. The "best of them" being his older brother and much adored neighbors Callagh and Josie (who are 5 and 7 respectively.)

Benji can talk! And argue and even reason sometimes. I find it quite remarkable. The other day we drove past an intersection and he told Susanne he had been there with Patty. He had indeed been there with her for a graduation luncheon--when he was only 28 months old. He LOVES Bryce Harper of the Nationals. "Bryce Harper, where's Bryce Harper?" he'll ask whenever the game is on TV or as you can see when he gets to go to games from the picture above.

He'll say things like "the catepillars are butterflies now. They don't live in the trees, they live in the flowers on the circle". (Which is just what we'd told him when he spotted butterflies out there.) He's truly amazing. And can I tell you that he's actually really, really good at any matching game? His memory puts mine to shame (but that's not saying much.)

And in terms of strength, he is kind of "Bam Bam" strong. Ask  his brother who gets tackled regularly. They love to yell "AAAARRRRGGGG" and run towards each other to "play football". They both land on the ground--almost always with Benji on top--and then they start doing this weird "whistle" sound and both jump up. It's always fun until somebody gets hurt ;-)

Did I mention he can be stubborn? He can be stubborn ;-) Just how many times can a boy request "I want milk! I want milk! I want milk!"? Don't ask. And I almost forgot to mention how stealthy he can be. When he wants to he can be quiet as a mouse and sneak up on you (particularly when he is trying to escape from his bedroom right after being put down..

Anyway, we love both our boys so much and I'm glad I got a chance to share a little bit more about this clever, funny boy. Our Benji Man!

Saturday, September 08, 2012

From Patapilars To Flutterbys

Danny got a great Butterfly Garden from his Pop Pop for his birthday back in May.  It took us a few months, but we finally got around to ordering the caterpillars so that we could witness their transition into painted lady butterflies.  Both boys anxiously awaited our shipment -- in fact Benji spent most of a Saturday stalking the postal carrier in search of the "patapillars! patapillars!"

When they arrived I was a little skeptical that they had survived the mail, but they soon began to crawl around, eat, and spin some silky stuff.  The boys were quite fascinated.

By the end of the week all five caterpillars had attached themselves to the top of the cup and formed their chrysalides.  It was time for the transfer into the butterfly habitat.  (That silk is strong! It made it hard to get them out of the cup but also kept them from falling off the paper disk, I guess.)

Even though somehow only Benji got into the pictures, Danny was equally as excited, I assure you.

And the waiting was a little hard...especially because you weren't supposed to bat around the habitat.
But on Wednesday -- while no one was watching -- the first three painted ladies emerged!  (The tight white mesh of the habitat made them pretty hard to photograph, but check out the proboscis of the one sitting on the orange!)

Coincidentally that was also Monica's birthday (the cake and candles were for her, not the butterflies).  The neighbor girls were equally as excited as our boys and decided that the butterflies would be named Josie, Danny, Callagh, Benji and Emre.  Benji-fly and Emre-fly joined their siblings on Thursday.

We all enjoyed watching the butterflies and tried to keep them happy with the oranges and flowers drizzled with sugar water, but today was the day to set them free:

Thanks Pop Pop for a great gift!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

P.S. He Loves You

UPDATE: My dear friend Dave's sweet babies were born about 3 weeks after I wrote this post so I'm updating with a picture.  Welcome to the world Samuel and Sylvia (AKA Sam and Syl).  So precious!

Dear David’s Twins,
It’s just about time to welcome you two into the world. You don’t know it yet, but you’ve had us all a bit on edge of late as we get word that you’re ready to make your entrance, and then get word that you’re not.  I know you’ll come when you are ready, but hurry okay!
So… I wanted to write you this brief note to let you know how excited we are that you are coming, and to tell you a few things about your dad.
There. Now on to a few things about your dad. By the time you can read this for yourselves you will already know these things about him. Your dad is funny, creative, optimistic, endearing, clever, and determined. When he walks into a room he immediately becomes the hub and we are mere spokes drawn into his charismatic orbit. (He hardly ever lets that go to his head by the way ;-)
And did I mention lucky? I hope you two inherit this from him. His “parking karma”, His “YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED” proclamations that never disappoint. Good things happen when your dad is involved in stuff guys. That’s just the way it is.
He knew he’d be a gay dad, but didn’t really start out to be a single gay dad. But he'll be fine and I can’t think of a better parent for you to have. He doesn’t look at the prospect of raising twins by himself as something that is insurmountable.  He looks it as it is. A great opportunity to get to love and raise the two most incredible babies in the world. And his circle of friends is wider and stronger than he’s ever realized. But he’ll learn that soon enough too. (And I’m also guessing he won’t be a single dad for long. But then again, like I said, good things happen when your father is involved ;-)
Alrighty then kids. We expect to hear any minute, hour or day that you are here. Keep your seatbelts fastened. You’re in for the ride of your lives! –Monica and family

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School 2012

Brothers - both were so excited to go to school!

He's ready to go!!
So excited he can barely stand still for a picture!

Just for comparison: 1st day, August 2010.

And They're Off!

UPDATE: As promised, here's a little video of Benji taken on his first day.

Today is a milestone for our family. Both of our boys started school, (Danny kindergarten and Benji pre-school), and as is to be expected, this has conjured up some emotions. We seem to have a good mix of friends with kids of varying ages, so I've been having different conversations about how hard it is to transition--whether sending your "baby" out the door to when they are really young or to start college. I think that the one thing both have in common is that we as parents are asked to trust.

Trust that the school we are sending our children to is safe and engaging. Trust that our child will listen and learn and make good decisions. And trust that we've not sheltered them so much that they are unable to cope and adjust to this thing called real life.

But I also think there is something else that discomfits us even more than this question of trust. It's this question of pain.

What parent in his or her right mind wants to cause their child pain? And yet as we walk out the door of the school or wave goodbye to a bus on that first day, we know that even if they seemed okay, there will come a time in moments, hours or days that they will miss us so much they will ache. Real and actual internal pain. And the only place in the world they will want to be is enveloped in our arms as we cradle them and assure them that everything is going to be okay.

But we won't be with them in that moment. And I kind of hate that.

If we/they are lucky, they will be consoled by teachers or peers or friends, and their pain will start to recede like the ocean's tide.

But for those of us who sent them off, the specter of that pain does not recede far from our psyches. We are the ones anxiously eying the clock on these first days.  Imagining our child trying to navigate a whole new world without, well, us. Ridiculous right?

Both Danny and Benji make us so proud. They are bright and social and funny and I know on some level that they will be just fine. It's just all the other levels I struggle with a bit ;-)

For the record, Danny is starting his 3rd year at a charter school in our neighborhood. He is surrounded by teachers he knows and virtually all of the same classmates he's had. For him it was like "old home week" heading back. He seemed so happy and as we stayed for opening activity, it was clear to see that he was behaving well, confident and listening well to his teachers. Of the two boys he's more introverted in some ways I'd say, so going into this very familiar world was comforting for all of us.

Benji, (whom I'd describe as a bit more extroverted) on the other hand went today for the first time to a school where he knows no one. He's only two so I'm not even sure if he remembers the tour we took a few months ago. It's a lovely pre-school, and he was so sweet meeting his teachers this morning. He was not at all happy to see us say good-bye, and frankly he's the one I'm most anxious about. Maybe I'm projecting a bit though. I went to a new elementary school every year when I was a kid and it was hard to be the new kid. All the other kids where Benji started today have been together already for weeks (or longer). Anyway, I am going to optimistically predict that he will do well. He has pretty darned advanced language skills for being only 32 months old, so maybe we'll try to interview him on camera tonight and make a video of his story of his first day.

I am praying today that both boys have great days and that come tomorrow, both will be excited about returning. If not, that's a battle I don't even want to think about! Hasta la vista. -Monica

Friday, August 24, 2012

Our Summer Vacation (#2)

Day two of our Minnesota adventure took us on a drive from St. Paul up north to Woman Lake.  The highlight of the day was a stop at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd. 

27' tall Paul Bunyan himself greeted the boys with a hearty "Hello Danny and Benji!" as we walked in the front gate.  This did NOT go over well, particularly with Benji.  Neither boy could be convinced to sit on Paul's boot for a picture despite his invitation to do so.  As you can see, even getting this picture was a bit of a challenge.

Babe the Blue Ox was definitely less intimidating - thank goodness he didn't bellow "Good Bye!" as we left.

Our Minnesota trip was all the more special because we had been invited by our wonderful neighbors from DC - Melissa & Norman and daughters Josie & Callagh. A week on a lake in northern Minnesota is a long standing family tradition for Melissa's family, and we were so grateful to be invited along.  The whole family has long been raving about how wonderful and relaxing (parents' take on it) and fun (kids' take on it) the trip would be. 

Paul Bunyan Land is part of the annual tradition, so we met up with the family there.  As you can see here, the boys had a fantastic time on the rides with Josie and Callagh.
During the later days of our trip and especially when we were driving back to St. Paul to go home, Benji would frequently pine for "Bunyan Land! I want to go to Bunyan Land!" in the back seat.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our Summer Vacation (#1)

I took 238 pictures during our week long vacation in Minnesota and spent quite a bit of time deleting the not so great ones off the camera to fit more and more! (Monica took some of them too.) Now I have a bit of work ahead of me to organize and show off the best ones.  We had several different stops during our travels - St. Paul visiting with Monica's family, Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd, Kee Nee Moo Sha on Woman Lake in Hackensack, a day at Pine Beach Resort in Nevis, and the trip back to the Twin Cities to fly home. All this to say that this will only be the first installment of several for our vacation photos.

On the day of our arrival we spent the afternoon at the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul with Monica's brother Paul (aka Uncle Pauly) and her niece Janna.  That's Benji driving the two of them on the bus:
Danny spent a few minutes in the dog house pretending to be a dog and then he said to Uncle, "OK, now you be a person!"  He makes a pretty good person, that Uncle!

The construction crane was also a big hit with the boys.  Thanks to Janna's help they were able to lift the I-Beam up onto a truck:
Even Monica (lower left) gave it a try while the boys raced off to other endeavors.

The Curious George room was so fun we had to go there twice! (Yes, thus lots of pictures.)

And this was just the first 2 hours of our vacation! Really! There are more Children's Museum pictures (after all, there was water play and a rooftop garden with a climbing structure, the opportunity to be a turtle, etc, etc) but check back for Our Summer Vacation (#2): Paul Bunyan Land.

Monday, August 06, 2012

We love Nana and Baseball

The boys had a great time at a National's game with their Nana a few weeks ago.  Here's a great picture of the three of them:

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Putting Your Hatred Where Your Mouth Is

Dismayed. Disheartened. These are the best two adjectives I can think of to explain how I felt about an hour ago. You see, I had traveled today to a different government building than I usually go to, and after working on a project all morning with a colleague, stopped for lunch. As we approached the Corner Bakery, we both noticed a really long line stretching down the sidewalk. I remember thinking "must be free ice cream or something at the place next door."

So we had lunch and then wandered outside to get to the Metro. The line stretched even farther down the block. Looked like tourists and office workers, all hanging out in the hot sun to get into the place next door. I think I gasped when I turned and saw that the store they were all waiting to enter was Chick-Fil-A.

For those who have not followed the news of late, the owner of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy (yes, his name is really Mr. Cathy!) has been vocal about being against same-sex marriage and has donated tons of money to causes that negatively affect gay people. This caused an uproar. So Mike Huckabee (former president-wannabe) has rallied "the troops" to show their support for Chick-Fil-A by buying food there this week. This story shows what happened yesterday in Louisville.

Where was I? Oh yes. In Arlington, VA. A long line snaked down the sidewalk. No one was being militant. People just stood there waiting. I didn't hear any of their conversations. Nicely dressed. Nicely behaved. But to see this long line stretching down the street, I was struck with such sadness.

Parents standing with their children were teaching them to hate before my very eyes. In this group of office workers and tourists, I recognized no one, and yet recognized them all. That silent group that smiles and nods when I introduce my wife but suddenly seems really busy--too busy to chat. Those folks who KNOW what Jesus said in the bible about homosexuality. (Umm...sorry to steal this one from John Stewart (or was it Stephen Colbert?), but hey, Jesus said not one word.)

As we walked past this quiet (yet apparently oh so hungry) crowd, we came upon a reporter interviewing a  woman. I couldn't help but stop for a moment and hear her tell the camera man oh so earnestly how "this was about freedom of speech, and being on the side of righteousness...". I turned away shaking my head as she continued on and on about "love" and "God" etc...

I wish I could tell you I got my 15 minutes of fame right there. How I insinuated myself into the interview and said a thing or two. I did not.

I got on my train and went back to work.

But this is not over.


Friday, July 06, 2012

Life is Good

From some recent Facebook snippets...

July 6
Danny telling Susanne all about one of the parents bringing a pet in to show the kids at school, "Mama, it was the biggest snake you never saw!" Indeed.

Guess we'll have to work on the whole never/ever thing, but it was super adorable to overhear.

July 2
I've taught my 2 year old to bellow "it's a scorcher out there!" With feeling. I may have accidentally created a monster, -)

July 2
Looks like it's "Take Your Kid to Work Cuz There is No Electricity at Summer School Day". That's kind of a catchy...

June 25
My boys shower me with gifts every day. Love, affection, humor etc... I just wish they hadn't showered me with their fevers, sore throats and other fun infections that we've spent the past several weeks dealing with. So now they are both on antibiotics for ear infections, and I'm well, I don't know, feeling pretty darn ugh.

June 19
Extricating oneself from a small toddler bed without waking up your (finally sleeping) feverish, demanding, grumpy two year old is not for the lighthearted. Nor in all honesty for anyone weighing more than 50 lbs. (I've attempted this maneuver 3 times in the past 24 hours with varying levels of success.)

June 15
So today I made Benji one of my childhood favorites--peanut butter and jelly on saltines. Except his was sunflower butter and Palmer's All Fiber All Fruit on whole grain saltines. That's progress right?

June 13
We normally use regular band aids, but today I picked up a box of Toy Story ones on sale. Benji was so excited, I was scared for a sec that he was going to purposely give himself an "owie" so we could crack it open right away. ;-)

June 4
"Bujeezus". That thing that gets scared out of you when you sleepily open your eyes to find your two year old staring at you.

Screaming in response is not recommended.

June 3
The boys think I let them watch cartoons on weekend mornings because I love them. But it's really because I love reading the newspaper in peace. And them ;)

Su took a great Instagram pic of the boys when they were finally reunited after a week of being apart while Danny was at Nana's house. Aren't they just the sweetest!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

And then we saw the alligators

Last installment of photos from Cypress Gardens: the boys hadn't really been able to see the alligator hiding among the lily pads when we were out on the boat, so we decided to end our day with a short walk along the swamp.  After reading this sign at the entrance to the trail, we knew to keep our eyes open:
We walked out to where I had seen a rather large alligator hiding in the lily pads and using my big lens and with a bit of photo cropping here at home I was able to make the alligator appear:
This next alligator didn't require nearly as much work.  On our way back towards the car he walked right across the path between the boys and myself!  Unfortunately he took me so by surprise that I didn't get a photo of that.  But here he is in the water just moments afterward (hard to tell here, but he's just a baby - maybe 3-4 feet long):
And I found one more baby who thought he was well hidden among these weeds:
And one last photo from Cypress Gardens:

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Boys in a Boat

Our next activity at Cypress Gardens after the butter fly house was the swamp boat adventure!  With Nana in the very middle - the middle seat of the middle bench - making sure no one went overboard and Mama in the back paddling, we made our way among the bald cypress trees across the black water of the swamp.  Since I was paddling there aren't too many pics, but here's a few:
Danny was great at spotting the white arrows that marked the path 
- can you spot one on a tree above?
 Benji, Nana & Danny really seemed to enjoy the ride.

And here is a difference between my boys in two pictures: Benji, above, spent almost the entire trip hanging over the side of the boat with Nana firmly holding the on to some part of him or his clothing and with his hands splashing in the water.  Danny sat upright, just about as close to Nana as he could get - I think he was a little worried about the potential for meeting up with an alligator.

We did spot a white egret, an osprey, a few turtles and a rather large alligator - however, he was at such a distance that the kids couldn't really see him among the lilly pads. Paddling under bridges was also a lot of fun:

Next up: alligators!

Monday, June 25, 2012

In the Butterfly House

One of the things that we did while at Nana's house in South Carolina this past weekend was visit Cypress Gardens, which was a beautiful place and super fun for the kids.  Our first stop there was the Butterfly House.  Benji was a little impatient to get to the "atta-fy house!!!" as you can see by the pained expression on his face as he is made to pause for this picture on the way to the entrance:
The butterflies inside were very beautiful indeed:

 Oh, and there were fascinating bees, too:

Stay tuned for another post...there was much more to see there!