You, Me, A and B

The chronicles of life with Audrey and Benjamin

Happy fifteen months, Benjamin


Our little guy (literally — he’s only 17 lbs. 4 oz!) has a super runny nose again, but aside from that, he’s had a great month.

He can now climb all the way up the jungle gym and down the slide by himself!


In the past few days, he’s said a new word: “ball.” Unsurprisingly, he loves to play with balls. Big, light beach balls, small, bouncy balls — anything will do. I fully expect “cat” to be his next word. We’ll see.

He continues to enjoy reading books, both with us and by himself. I’m hoping to kick off our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten reading log this week. He’s already put quite a dent in it.


Benjamin usually wakes up somewhere in the 4-5:30 a.m. range these days (I don’t know what it is about that time. The end of a sleep cycle? Hunger?), he puts up a fuss whenever it’s time to get in the car seat/stroller/high chair, makes huge messes, and oscillates between hugging my knees whining “Mamaaaaaaaaa!” and toddling away from me.

In other words, he’s a full-blown, increasingly independent toddler. And so very sweet and cuddly.

Happy fourteen months, Benjamin

Benjamin is fourteen months old today!

Here’s a cute video of him toddling around recently. (He loves to wear the bells on his ankles. Whenever he finds them, he belts out his insistent “eeeee!” whine until I help strap them on.)

Benjamin has gotten two new teeth this month, bringing his total up to 10. Today I felt two more breaking through his gums, which may explain some of his recent “love” biting.

He’s putting those teeth to good use, as well as his newest (and oft-used) word, “huh-hoh.” Like when he throws his entire dinner of rice and veggies on the floor. for example.


I’m longing for long walks and visits to the playground, but Benjamin has been perfectly content playing with our pots…


emptying any filled containers he can get his hands on…


and playing hide-and-seek with his big sister.


I made an edible finger paint for Benjamin to play with the other day, but he didn’t really enjoy using it. (Translation: he started to cry once his hands were messy and he realized he was strapped into his highchair.)

He did, however, start scribbling on paper yesterday with a few crayons. He didn’t even try to eat them this time!


Here is his finished picture.


It’s hard to tell in these photos, but Benjamin’s hair is really starting to come in on the back. Stay tuned for baby mullet pictures!

Snow day

Today was the first of what will probably be a few snow days, knowing how things go here. We got about four inches of snow overnight, and even the federal government was closed.

So, it turned into an even longer long weekend!

Audrey was out on the patio playing in the snow immediately after breakfast. (And by playing in it, I mostly mean eating it.)

Little Benjamin was fascinated and envious, naturally.


In the afternoon, I brought a big tub of snow inside so both kids could play with it without freezing their noses and toes.

We also watched a movie (Cinderella), made hot chocolate, had a marathon Facetime session with our California relatives, played with toys, read books, and colored. I even managed to both do and put away laundry.

Benjamin slept terribly last night, mostly likely because his nose is still super stuffy/runny. Thankfully, he napped like a champ today and both Kenji and I squeezed in some rest time of our own.

One snow day down, several more possibly on the way.

Any suggestions for what to do now, aside from counting down the days until spring?

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Love Day from our two little valentines!


We celebrated with heart-shaped waffles, some candy, and lots of hugs and kisses. It’s hard to tell from their sweet smiles in the photo, but both kids are sick with a cold, so we kept the day pretty low key.

Audrey and I did lots of heart-crafting in the two weeks or so leading up to Valentine’s Day, though.

Her school party was on Thursday and, of course, the big highlight was exchanging valentines. Audrey chose to make her own, so we got to work a few days ahead.


I cut paper down to card size and drew a few simple heart designs with white crayons, and then Audrey painted them using watercolors. As she painted, the heart designs were revealed!

She lost interest in this resist technique after a while and then just asked me to draw hearts for her to fill in.

We affixed lollipops and then, voila! Valentines for everyone!


She made bigger cards for long-distance family as well, including a life-sized “hug” made from tracing her outline on banner paper.


On a different day Audrey and I painted construction paper hearts with tempera paint, and then folded them in half to see how it created designs on the opposite sides.


A few other quick projects included the toilet paper roll stamping, heart dog, and heart ladybug from woohome.

Now it’s time for me to gather ideas for spring and Easter-related art projects!

Audrey’s first chapter book

Audrey loves to read. She always has, from the first board books she “read” and chewed on as an infant to the picture books we now peruse together.

You’d hope for nothing less with two parents who majored in English Literature, right?

Since she’s been following longer stories with fewer pictures, I’ve been eager to read a chapter book together.

So, tonight before bed, we read the first two chapters of the first book in the Magic Tree House series.

The verdict? She liked it! It was definitely an unfamiliar experience for her to not finish a story in one sitting, but it got the official seal of Audrey approval: she asked to keep the hall light on in order to look through it for “five minutes.”

I’m curious to see how long it will take us to finish. Reading to Audrey during the day is challenging unless Benjamin is napping. Here’s hoping he takes a good nap tomorrow afternoon so both Audrey and I can find out what happens in the story!


Happy fourth birthday, Audrey

Is it really possible that our sweet, bright Audrey is four?

Have we really celebrated three birthdays since the amazing, exhausting, miraculous day that she entered our lives?


It’s such a cliche, but it’s true. The years have flown by.

Happy fourth birthday, dear Audrey!


I love you so much. So much more than I could ever put into words.

I love that you ask me to tell you a story every day, all day, even though it’s exhausting coming up with new “spooky” stories involving the Berenstain Bears, Belle/the Beast/Gaston, ghosts/monsters, and getting lost in the woods.

I love seeing you learn, and I’m so impressed that you can write Audrey, mommy, and daddy, plus most of your letters, without any guidance.

I love your love of reading, and how excited you get over a visit to the library or bookstore.

I love that you can dress yourself –even zipping up your coat!–despite the fact that it leads to 15 clothing changes each day, with shirts, skirts, and pants strewn about the house.

I love that our dining room table doubles as our “project” space, and is usually covered in a stack of pictures you’ve made plus scissors, paper, glue, paint, crayons, and other supplies for sudden bursts of creativity.

I love how imaginative you are, even though it means you ask me to “be him” all day so you can speak directly to Gaston/the Beast/Brother Bear/the trashcan (I kid you not–we celebrated its birthday this morning).

I love that you enjoy dance class, just like I did when I was younger.

I love your eagerness for Saturdays, when you get to make waffles with daddy and watch your weekly movie.

I love that you treat others kindly and empathetically, expressing concern when someone is upset.

I love seeing you as a  big sister to Benjamin, whether it means affectionately rubbing his head and saying “I love you,” carrying him across the living room, or throwing yourself from your chair because he took your headband.

For all this, and so much more, I celebrate you today and every day, dear Audrey.

Happy birthday, sweet girl.

Happy 13 months, Benjamin

Tiny-but-mighty Benjamin is now thirteen months old! And although he’ll always be “Baby Benjamin,” he’s officially moving into toddlerhood.

That’s right: he’s walking!

Here’s a video. In the mere days since that was taken, he’s gotten so much more confident in his newfound ability. Earlier today he walked from the living room into the kitchen without stumbling or stopping once. I was washing dishes and loading the dishwasher, so he was motivated.

Yes, there’s no doubt that the sink is his favorite place to be at the moment. Any time we happen to be washing our hands/dishes/getting a glass of water, Benjamin is there at our feet within minutes, whining vehemently and reaching his adorable little arms up for his turn.

So, thankfully, my sister-in-law let us borrow her handy kitchen tower. He’s a bit small for it, but he looooooooves it.


And there’s even room to share it with big sis.


I’m already dreading our water bill for this quarter.

In other Benjamin news, he now says “Mama” and “Dada,” signs “more” and “all done,” can climb up onto the sofa (his second favorite place in the house), mostly sleeps through the night (at LAST!), has preferred books (Barnyard Dance is hot right now), and generally keeps us running around all day, every day.


First snowstorm of 2015

The new year hasn’t started out too promising for us.

Both kids were sick with a stomach bug for well over a week, and even I had it (baaaaaaaad) for a few days. Poor Audrey had it the worst. She lost two pounds. Two pounds! That’s almost 10% of her body weight. Then both kids started running fevers, with accompanying coughs, sneezes, runny noses, and general crankiness.

But then something magical happened.

We woke up to snow!


There’s nothing like a good snowstorm to instantly cheer you up.

Things are already looking up for 2015.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Sebastian, and Prince Eric!


Audrey has wanted to be a mermaid for Halloween since the day after last year’s Halloween. (Or maybe even before last year’s holiday, but so late that the idea was vetoed.)

Nana made a beautiful mermaid tail, I tied together a little “bikini” top, Amazon supplied a crazy red wig, and voila! Audrey was transformed.

Benjamin, naturally, had to be her crab sidekick.


Audrey really got a kick out of trick-or-treating this year. Being more familiar with candy definitely helped! “Wow, I get even more!” she said as we went from house to house.

She picked five pieces to keep, and tonight the Great Pumpkin will come and leave a new present in exchange for the remaining candy. Win-win!

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