Thursday, December 03, 2015


We have a lot to be thankful for this year. Our health, our family, our friends and neighbors just to name a few.

When we visited Susanne's mom in SC for Thanksgiving this year we put a new twist on the holiday. A succulent seafood feast! I'm sure that at the original Thanksgiving feast there was seafood so it's not really breaking with tradition right?

We had delicious crab legs, lobster tail and (mostly for the boys) plenty of shrimp sauteed in butter and garlic. I love our new tradition and want to keep it forever! And as an added bonus in the days after the holiday we got to have leftovers with friends that included turkey and potatoes and all the rest. Score!

Hope you and yours had a wonderful Thanksgiving too! -Monica

Nana's friend Vicky is very crafty and the boys love these decorations which were stuffed with M&Ms!

Seafood, seafood, seafood. And happy faces.

The boys kept buys with baseball and other fun stuff. 

They drive us crazy sometimes, but then they drive us happy. ;-)

Yes, very thankful!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Scout Law...

Pretty proud of Danny and his friends. The Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts gathered 1,832 pounds of food last weekend for the Capital Area Food Bank. Awesome! They first distributed 10 bags each to neighbors about 10 days ago asking them to buy/gather some nutritious and non-perishable items over the week. Then on Saturday they brought those bags to a local Safeway, and volunteered their time asking shoppers to pick up something extra to drop on their way out. 

This was the "speil" they first came up with:

"Help the hungry donate cans."

After a little grammatical coaching by one of my fellow Cub Scout leaders, they were soon saying:

"Good morning. Help the hungry. Donate cans." (much better).

Great job boys!!!! I particularly like that so many elements of the Scout Law came into play with this project.

A Scout is:

Monday, November 09, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy

This weekend was a typically busy one for us. On Friday night we took care of our 8 and 10 year old neighbors (their parents were away on a short trip), and also Susanne's dad and his seven year old daughter (and their cute dog) came to town for a visit.

But before any of that, we ended up taking home the boys' friends A and D from soccer until their dad could arrive which resulted in a big game of Beyblades! Much fun ensued!

Then while the neighbor girls went to Girl Scouts with another friend, we had dinner with PopPop out on the porch as the temps had been in the 80s all day which is crazy for November in DC!

The next morning we were all up bright and early to go on a community service project with Casey Trees. It was a little rainy but a lot of fun!

On Sunday it was off to church and then on our return we surreptitiously drove our doctor's office to get flu shots for all. There was much moaning and gnashing of teeth. But we all got our shots, and then got a well deserved reward of Gelato. 

I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend! Until next time. -Monica

Friday, October 30, 2015

And the Campin' Man Camps

Danny is really enjoying being a Cub Scout. Last weekend his Pack did an overnighter and even though it was cold, it was a great time. On the drive home was asked him and his buddy W., what their favorite part of the camping trip was. They both answered "the hike".

I had to chuckle. This from the boy who gripes about walking up to school somedays. ;-)

Everything tastes better when you are camping!

When you are a Bear Cub, it's time to be able to set your tent up without too much help from adults.
The scouts hiked pretty far up at our camp in MD. Again, this was the BEST part!
The guys later remembered that their real favorite part was the SMORES at the campfire!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

And...We're Back!

This pic of Benji was taken in the spring. In another month or so he'll turn 6! Time is flying.

I love this picture of Danny taken while watching a musical group perform in Germany.

Wow. Pretty sure that I have not skipped posting this long, well, ever. Can't believe I haven't posted since June 11th! And here it is two days before Halloween. Where should I begin?

In June we went on our bi-annual trip to Germany. It was our best trip yet in my opinion. The boys are now 5 and 8 so they can carry a lot more of their own things, and don't require quite so much constant attention.

Later in the summer we went to northern Minnesota with our wonderful neighbors, and then it was time to dive right back into school again.

You know, I never realized before having kids that homework would take up so much time. Danny who is our 3rd grader has worksheets and other homework just about every night and now that kindergarten is the new first grade, even Benji has homework! I personally don't recall ever doing homework so it's all sort of crazy to me I must say. And believe you me, after a full day of school, there is nothing that Danny wants to do less than sit down and do more. But we shall carry on.

Other than that life is good. We have gone camping a few times--Danny is now a Bear Cub Scout and next year his brother will be able to join. Guess that is all for now. Will do my best to write more. Promise! -M

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Happy First Communion to our Irish Girl

Last month Danny's best friend Callaghan made her first communion, and as the boys got dressed to go the the Mass (none to fancy as you can see) Benji came up with the idea of creating an Irish flag with her since the boys were in green and orange.

Before taking the shot we even asked their Irish auntie if we had them standing in the right order. She assured us that yes, we were okay, but alas, we ended up reversed. Through the magic of being able to rotate a photo, I present the actual Irish Flag in the proper order. Congratulations to our beloved Callagh!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

This boy is EIGHT YEARS OLD!

Happy birthday to our number one son Daniel! Today he started the day opening presents at the breakfast table (as is our tradition). He was pretty happy as you can see. (And yes that is a Minecraft piƱata behind him that Susanne is crafting for his pool party on Saturday.)

Once we got to school he hung out with his buddies then the whole student body sang happy birthday to him in English, Spanish and American Sign language. It was actually really awesome. Then it was off to his field trip.

They happened to be going on a field trip to the Smithsonian's Native American Indian Museum and I tagged along (at Danny's strong urging) as a parent volunteer. These kids have been together for almost 5 years now and it's almost as fun to watch them grow as it is to watch Danny grow!

The field trip was great fun and more singing ensued. The day is only half over as of yet though. After school he will have rehearsal for his upcoming musical, The Wiz, and then the whole family will be going on a fishing outing with his cub scout troop. It will be a memorable birthday to say the least. 

Party time happened a few days later at our local pool.


And to think it all started with a little tiny swaddled baby who stole our hearts eight years ago today and has refused to return them. ;-)

Happy Birthday to our dear Daniel! Love, Mommy and Mama

Friday, May 22, 2015

BFFs (like seriously, forever)

We are so lucky to have neighbors that we adore. Their family has two girls around the same ages as our boys and the kids all go to the same school. Let me explain. These are the best kind of friends--the carpooly, cheese platey, movie nighty, never ending play daty, go on vacation togethery kinds of friends. Which I highly recommend to everyone in the world.

With our oldest and their youngest both turning eight very shortly, I just wanted to post these two pictures showing Danny and Callagh when they were just a few months old and again the other day. There is something about these two that just makes me smile (when it doesn't make me yell.) ;-)

Danny was born in late May and when Callagh was born about 2 months later, I remember we went over to our neighbor's house to wait for the family to come home with their new bundle of joy. Danny was of course only two months old and so the girls' grandmother invited me to lay him down in the new Moses basket they had gotten for the newborn. He promptly "christened it" if you know what I mean. ;-)

After a diaper change and some quick clean up, little Callagh arrived home, and so on the first day of her little life, she and Danny met. And these two second graders haven't stopped playing yet. I think that might make them official BF Forever, at least so far. Here's to the next 8 years and all the many more to follow! Love, Mommy

Monday, April 27, 2015

Spring is in the Air!

There is something about springtime. Rebirth, can just feel a change in the air.

For us, life just keeps on rolling along. School, work, friends and activities. This month we took in a Nats game with our friend Elisa and her family who were visiting from California and had visits from the boys' Uncle Paul and their Pop Pop. Our big news is that we are gearing up to go on a trip in June to Germany. We go every two years as Susanne's family is mostly there and it is my fervent wish that each time we travel with the kids, it gets a little bit easier. Their new passports arrived today which made me very happy because it is just one less thing to worry about.

We are of course very interested in tomorrow's (Tuesday's) arguments at the Supreme Court regarding marriage equality. It's amazing that people have been camped out to get a spot in the courtroom since last Friday night. I know that the decision will not be announced until July, but it still feels like tomorrow is going to be a historic day in the fight for equality. Of course there is more than that topic in the news. Yesterday a terrible earthquake and aftershocks devastated Nepal and our thoughts and prayers are with all the people there. And the protests following the killing of unarmed black men by police officers are powerful and I hope causing a shift in race relations in our country.

Figured I'd add a few pictures of our two (and friends). Our Danny will turn 8 next month which is amazing to me. But looking at him at this picture riding his bike, I guess I can almost picture him at 16. Almost. ;-) Until next time! -Monica

Danny followed by his little brother circle our cul-de-sac with great enthusiasm!

What? What?

The boys and their BFFs walking on sunshine all the way up to school .the other day

Benji just monkeying around. He loves those monkey bars at our local park!

We were proud of Danny's first ever science fair. He was thrilled that a judge told him that this make him want to go home and make some paper airplanes!

Yes. We bought him some peanuts and Cracker Jacks!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

March just marched on by!

We've had a busy month here for sure. We finally had a new kitchen floor and back door installed, and then decided to add some new counter tops and a back splash while we were at it. We are really happy about everything (including a new breakfast counter where we can put stools) but having construction like this done just seems to throw everything off kilter.

Picking tiles and the backs splash turned out to be very stressful experiences for both me and Susanne and I'm glad we should not have to do that again for the next 50 year. Or at least that is my hope!

Our refrigerator was in the dining room and we had no access to our stove or dishwasher for a few weeks. It was definitely cathartic to get thing all put back in their places again! But again, we are so pleased with all the changes!

Just a glimpse of the overall wonderful changes to our kitchen.
This month we also took a wonderful weekend trip with our best friends to New Germany State Park in Maryland. The cabins we rented were remodeled and had wood burning fireplaces and it was, as always a ton of fun.The kids even performed an Easter skit they made up that, as always, cracked us all up.

Josie, Callagh, Danny and Benji enjoy lunch with Nana Jo and Papa!
Soccer has started up again, Danny's rehearsing for his school musical, Cub Scout rocks on, Benji has learned how to ride his bike, and it seems like there is never a dull moment here.

Sometimes I do wish for a dull moment. ;-)

Anyway, have a great day everyone! -Monica

Friday, February 20, 2015

Best time to go to the dentist? 2:30 (Tooth Hurty)

Well this didn't really require a trip to the dentist, but last week one of Danny's loose top front teeth finally came out. It had been loose forever so we were very excited.

We were all on the couch watching America's Funniest Home Videos (which we normally do on Sunday nights), and he was, of course, jumping around. He smacked his mouth on the back of my wrist and jumped right up yelling "my tooth!" Sure enough it was gone. A mad scramble ensued to find the missing tooth on the couch and he was so happy, mostly because it didn't really hurt nor bleed very much.

Now if we can just get that other front tooth out. It's been loose for a REALLY long time! -Monica

P.S. Our tooth fairy brings silver half dollars. Fun to look at and put in piggy banks.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Be Still My Heart

Last night Susanne had an odd sound in her voice when she asked me to come downstairs for a call. Our good friend Becky was calling to say that our amazing friend David had suffered a heart attack.

It has been an emotional 24 hours. Dave and I met on our first day of Peace Corps a long time ago and have a special bond. He is a single gay dad with two beautiful children--twins just 2 years old.

He is now conscious and speaking,  and we are all praying for his complete recovery.

I would say "be still my heart" but as David,  an amazing teacher would say, "rephrase!"

Here is a pic of him with his kids celebrating their first birthday.  And here is a link to a short and very fun slide show from his big Five Oh this summer.

Prayers for his full recovery! -Monica

UPDATE: 1/23/15 - He is improving and hopefully will move out of the ICU tomorrow! Words cannot express how happy I am!!!!!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Happy 2015! Oh Yeah!

Danny enjoying some New Year's Disco Madness!
I can hardly believe that it is 2015. We are chugging along here. Benji is finally (cross all fingers and toes) healthy again. He did end up with an infection in a tooth that then needed to be pulled on the last day of the year--just icing on the cake in terms of his overall health the past two months. So far in 2015, he's healthy as can be though, and let's just hope it stays that way!

We had a fun evening on New Year's with our friends Rachel and Jeff and even pulled out our cool "disco ball" bulb that spins and makes funky colors everywhere and danced to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. We did the same thing with them last year and I like to think that we have a new tradition! Both families have two little boys and they definitely enjoyed playing together. In case you didn't know, other kid's toys are basically SHINY NEW TOYS, so again, it was fun.

Taking a little break with Mommy.
We had a good Christmas too. This pic was taken at the Willard Hotel at the very start of the holiday season when we spent the day after Thanksgiving with one of my former students, Amelia, and her family when they came to DC. First we went to see A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theater which was great fun and then strolled around town before dinner. We landed here at The Willard Hotel and then later went to dinner at the Old Ebbitt Grill. A wonderful way to start the Christmas season!

At the Willard Hotel. One of us is not happy. ;-)
One of Susanne's gifts this year was tickets for all of us, including her mom, to go and see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Kennedy Center. It was a wonderful performance. We all know the songs as we've watched the DVD many times and, well, it was a pleasure to see. We've got to do stuff like that more often.

Susanne on the right with her mom and the boys right before we saw the show.

And for the final event of our holiday season, we hosted our favorite "Peace Corps buddies" for our annual White Elephant Party. Look what Benji got. Rut Roh!

Life sized Candy Cane. Stop the madness!
That's it for now. Happy New Year everyone. Onward and upward!!! -Monica