You, Me, A and B

The chronicles of life with Audrey and Benjamin

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A Good Day

We have a children’s book checked out from our local library right now called A Good Day. The gist of it is that several adorable animals encounter obstacles that threaten to ruin their day — squirrel loses his nut, bird loses his favorite tail feather, etc. — but they overcome their challenges and end up having A Good Day.

That sums up my day with the kids.

Benjamin woke up early to nurse, as he usually does, and never went back to sleep. So the day essentially began at 5:00 a.m. Early.

Unexpectedly, I didn’t feel that tired. I got to drink a full cup of coffee while it was still hot and to enjoy rare quiet time with Benjamin. I sang to him, watched him play, and enjoyed the feel of his soft, chubby skin.

Late in the morning we finally left the house, en route to a new (to us) splashpark in Arlington. Benjamin didn’t nap in the car as I hoped he would. I got the kids/towels/picnic blanket/food/diaper bag/stroller unloaded from the car, and about 10 minutes later it started raining.

Thankfully, I’d set us up under a tree, so we avoided getting too wet and just ate our lunch while waiting out the storm.

Benjamin was happy as a clam the whole time we stayed at the park, despite his missed nap. The fountains mesmerized him and he seemed excited to practice sitting on his own (a brand-new skill, as of today!).

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I forgot to bring toys for Audrey to play with, but a plastic container from our lunch did just fine as a substitute. And when Audrey fell and skinned her knee, she only cried for a moment before racing around collecting water again.

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We made it back to the car before a thunderstorm began, but having completely run out of wipes and disposable diapers, a stop by Target on the way home was unavoidable. And I had forgotten an umbrella.

So, I put Benjamin in the baby carrier, picked Audrey up, and covered both kids as best I could with our beach towel as I raced us all into the store. The storm had stopped by the time we left a few minutes later.

Back home by mid-afternoon, Benjamin went straight to bed, but Audrey didn’t even have “quiet time” in her room. Usually that means “witching hour” begins in force at 5:00 p.m. Tears, accidents, and constant demands are the norm — all while I’m usually dealing with a fussy baby, dinnertime prep, and a “starving” cat trying to trip me.

But we had leftovers to eat and Audrey entertained herself contentedly. Benjamin was in a great mood since he’d just woken up from a two-hour nap.

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Kenji didn’t make it home until 9:00 p.m., but that sure beats the 11:00 p.m. arrival time of last night!

Plus, it’s Friday!

It was A Good Day.

Audrey’s activities: making wardrobe decisions

For quite some time now (a year, maybe?), Audrey has been choosing her own outfits and pajamas each day. Sometimes this means she picks a summery dress on a snowy day, but hey, that’s fine by us as long as she wears a sweater and warm tights with it.

Naturally, Audrey has a few favorites. And by favorites, I mean one particular item strikes her fancy for the week (or month), so she picks that one each day until we convince her that it a) is in dire need of washing and/or b) she has lots of other nice items in her closet and dresser.

For the past several months, this pink tutu dress has made a frequent appearance, usually with these white pants.

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Seriously, I would estimate that she’s wearing this exact outfit in 75% of the photos we’ve taken of her since the fall. (Also, look at how good she’s gotten at using scissors! Cutting is one of her favorite activities.)

In recent weeks, Audrey’s branched out, wearing a different pink tutu dress (thanks, Grandnan!) and a pink dress with white embroidered flowers (thanks, Nana!) nonstop.

But nothing has really matched her love of the first pink tutu dress until Nana gave her and Claire these matching purple nightgowns last week.

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Since last Friday, Audrey has stayed in her nightgown as long as possible after waking up — quite a change from the girl who used to get dressed immediately after getting out of bed — and taken off whatever she’s wearing once we’re back home so she can put it back on.

It’s the perfect outfit for her favorite activity these days: spinning, dancing, and singing to the Frozen soundtrack.

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I think it’s safe to say we have officially entered the Princess Phase.

And then there were four…welcome, Benjamin (and happy three months)!

When I last wrote, we were anxiously awaiting our son’s imminent arrival (we were sure he’d be born long before my December 19 due date) and Christmas was right around the corner.
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Fast forward to today, and our little Benjamin is three months old!
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His arrival certainly made for a memorable Christmas.

I hope to write separately about his birth story before the details get too hazy, but for now I’ll just say: going into labor on Christmas Eve morning was quite emotional. I was excited to meet him, nervous about labor (which was induced insofar as the doctor broke my water), and sad about missing Christmas morning with Audrey. I worried she would be disappointed at missing Christmas morning with us. After all, we (Audrey and I) had only spent one night apart before then.

It turns out I had no need to worry about Audrey. She had a fantastic time spending Christmas Eve and Day with her Bowman cousins. (In fact, she keeps asking about future sleepovers!)
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Thanks to Claire, Santa knew just where to bring Audrey’s presents.
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But the best Christmas present of all was Benjamin Masuda Bohlin.
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On Christmas morning, Audrey and Benjamin met for the first time.IMG_4595

The day after Christmas, we headed home with our tiny new package, all 7 lbs. and 20.5″ of him.
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And since that day, there have been countless kisses, cuddles, and “exuberant hugs” (as my friend so aptly described them) between Audrey and Benjamin.
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I hope, now that I’ve finally gotten something posted on the blog again, that I’ll be able to capture his “firsts” here. (We’ve already seen his first smiles and his first roll from his tummy to his back.)

But I also hope to make note of the everyday moments, especially with Audrey, that are so special. Not to mention the funny things are three-year-old does and says these days!

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I was just moaning about being so behind on the blog (again! Or, still?) that Kenji said, “Just do something quick!” and sent me this adorable photo for posting.

So, here you go!

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Hopefully this will kick start my posts–especially before baby boy arrives in mid-December!

Audrey’s activities: movie night (with popcorn!)

We had our first movie night with Audrey on Friday!

The three of us cozied up on the futon to watch Finding Nemo — which, it turns out, is much scarier than I remembered (for a two-year-old anyway).

In general Audrey liked the movie, but watch she really got excited about was the popcorn.

Audrey’s (sick day) activities: shredded paper sensory bin, baking, and cleaning

Audrey was sick this week, so we spent most of our time at home.

Weeks like this make me realize that although I’m a SAHM,  most days (or mornings, at least) I usually spend out of the house with Audrey — at the area parks, library, friends’ houses, music classes, pool, museums, running errands, or elsewhere. So we were both feeling a bit antsy by Thursday morning.

I decided it was time to try something new. “Sensory bins” — tubs filled with different materials for hands-on play – are all the rage on parenting/kids’ activity blogs. I’ve created a few for Audrey before with rice and dried beans, and she’s definitely enjoyed running her fingers through them, pouring them from one container to another, and using them for pretend cooking play.

Recently I (re)ordered a shredder to deal with old bills and financial statements. (Our last one died quite a while ago and the paperwork had just been piling up in a bag.) The shredder came last week but I didn’t even take it out of the box until Thursday morning. We also kept most of the boxes from our move, including a big-but-not-too-deep one perfect for a toddler’s arms to reach into.

Voila, a new sensory bin was created!

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I had Audrey close her eyes while I hid her little plastic Disney characters and animals inside the box. She then dug through the paper to find them.

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As she found each toy, she made it jump/dance/balance along the side of the box.

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The bin held her interest for a while, maybe 20 minutes or so, which was a success in my book — especially since she rediscovered it after her afternoon nap.

We also did one of our regular rainy/sick day activities: baking! A few super-ripe bananas in the fridge were begging to be baked into deliciousness, so we got to work on a new blueberry banana bread recipe.

Audrey peeled the bananas…

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…then mashed them, taking several bites along the way.

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I was on my own to finish making the bread shortly thereafter, when she heard a lawnmower start across the street.

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After the banana bread was in the oven, Audrey eagerly helped clean up the kitchen. Spraying the appliances and floor is one of her preferred chores.

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Thankfully, Audrey seems to be out of the woods with this latest bug. She has a lingering cough and runny nose, but her fever is gone. Just more help building up her budding immune system!

June-July recap

August is here and the last blog post is dated June 1! Here’s a quick recap of the past two months:

1. In mid-June, we tagged along for Kenji’s work conference in San Diego, CA. The trip started out rough — Kenji had a 103 degree fever the day we flew cross-country — but by the end of the week he was fully recovered and we’d seen (many of) the San Diego sights.

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See San Diego photos. (I’m trying out a new system of uploading sets to Flickr since I can’t fit many in the blog posts themselves. Let me know what you think!)

2. From San Diego, we flew north to Portland, OR to visit the west coast Spains. We had lots of laughs, great food, and fun adventures with my brothers, sisters-in-law, and niece. We only get to see them a few times a year, so it’s always a special treat to be together.

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See Portland photos.

3. We announced officially that Audrey is going to be a big sister! I’m 20 weeks as of yesterday, and we found out that it’s a…BOY! Baby boy Bohlin is expected on or around December 19.

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4. About a week and a half after we got back from our west coast trip, we moved. (Only about a 1/3 mile, thankfully. We love our neighborhood and are so fortunate to be able to stay here.)

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Audrey seems delighted with the new house. Occasionally she’ll mention the “yellow house,” as she now refers to it, but never in a sad or longing way. She seems to especially enjoy the two sets of stairs in our new house (technically, a townhouse) and her new room.

5. A few weeks ago, Audrey transitioned from her crib to a “big girl bed!”

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This is probably the most exciting event of the summer from Audrey’s perspective. She loves that little bed and really treats it like her own domain. We are not allowed to even sit on it.

Thankfully, naps and bedtime are still going smoothly. She sometimes comes out of bed, stands at the top of the stairs, and calls for water or help finding her paci, but generally she’s been staying in bed after we tuck her in. In the morning she’ll usually call to us until we go in her room.

6. In July, a friend arranged for a group of us to visit the fire station just down the street from us. It was great — Kenji and I enjoyed it as much as Audrey! The firefighters were incredibly accommodating, spending an hour showing us the trucks and the interior of the station. And all of the children left with their own hats.

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See fire station visit photos.

So, there are the big events of the summer (so far). We’re looking forward to a visit from Grandnan and Granddad in a few weeks, but hopefully otherwise this will be a fun, but calm, month ahead.

Audrey’s activities: helping out around the house

In my experience, one of the more successful ways of guaranteeing something housework-related actually gets done is if Audrey is involved, rather than left to hang onto my legs (literally). It doesn’t make for the most efficient of tasks, but she loves to be mama’s helper — and I love to teach her how she is already contributing to our household.

When making dinner, I try to figure out an “Audrey job” that she can do beside me. Usually it involves washing veggies (bonus: she gets to play in the sink!). One of her recent favorites was snapping the woody ends off asparagus.

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She also helped make garlic bread the other night. And wow, was it is the saltiest bread I’ve ever eaten! She was liberal with the garlic salt. That meant both she and Kenji liked the bread but I thought it was practically inedible.

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Baking is especially fun for us both; she gets to help pour in ingredients, mix it together, and eat the delicious final products!

When it comes to laundry, Audrey is generally most interested in deconstructing my folded piles. She likes to try on all of the clothing items — anything from her own pants to daddy’s underwear is fair game — and shake the clothes, pretending to fold them. Recently I put her to work matching socks (one of my favorite ways to help my mom when I was little).

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Of course, trying on socks was part of the fun.

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Yesterday I gave Audrey her own spray bottle and let her squirt water onto the windows to her heart’s content, then wipe it up with a little cloth. (Unsurprisingly, she was more interested in the spray bottle than the cloth, and liked using it on the floor, chairs, cat, etc. too).


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Audrey has also helped mop the kitchen floor with her own sponge and small container of water.

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Last but definitely not least: the vacuum! Audrey is both fascinated and terrified by the vacuum. She likes to turn it on, but bolts away as soon as she does. (I don’t blame her — it is really loud!) Generally she is more of my supervisor, telling me which carpet to tackle next. But yesterday she liked using the handheld part. Until it sucked up her shirt, that is.

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year! Here’s to new adventures (and forts) in 2013!

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Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’ve celebrated a very traditional Thanksgiving here: we watched the Macy’s parade (during which Audrey learned how to do “jazz hands”), hosted the Bohlin/Bowman clan for dinner, went for a post-meal walk, and watched lots of football.

We have so much to be grateful for. It’s been a great year.

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