You, Me, A and B

The chronicles of life with Audrey and Benjamin

Tag: house (page 1 of 2)

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.


Audrey and daddy

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!

photo (16)

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

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.


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.


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.


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.)


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!”


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.


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.


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.


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).

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


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).


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

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.


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.

Hurricane Sandy

We are very fortunate; unlike the summer derecho, Hurricane Sandy didn’t cause much damage here. We didn’t lose power at all, though the lights did flicker a few times, and Kenji didn’t have to navigate getting to work since the government was closed for two days.

We even survived three days stuck in the house with a toddler. I consider this good training for the cold winter months coming up!

It was good fun, actually. We hung out in our pajamas and found lots of ways to keep Audrey (and ourselves) entertained.

We let Audrey decorate us with stickers. (Yes, I’m wearing Christmas pajama pants already. They’re warm!)

We baked together. First: blueberry muffins. Audrey spent most of the time transferring blueberries from one container to another, eating the berries, and then asking for more.

Next up: classic chocolate chip cookies, Kenji’s favorite. Audrey helped mix the batter until she decided it was more fun to dump flour on the table, rub it around, and say “mess.”

We made a lot of cookies. Yum.

We made collages. I pulled out a few old magazines and had Audrey help me find eyes, a nose, mouth, hair, etc. to make a person.

She liked the animal pictures we found, so we added them too.

And then she played with all the clippings.

Then Audrey made art with colored yogurt and a toilet paper roll brush (while Kenji worked). This was, inevitably, followed by a special midday bath.

I also rooted through a basket of miscellaneous toys and found a pack of animal flash cards I randomly bought from the $1 bin at Target. Audrey liked looking at the pictures and saying the names of animals she recognized. She liked rolling over them too.

We also played music and danced, read books, did puzzles, watched the Sesame Street version of Feist’s 1234 song, changed baby doll’s diaper (MANY times), rode the broom like a horse, vacuumed, made messes, cleaned up, and made more messes.

But mostly, we enjoyed being home all together as a family, warm and dry with all the provisions necessary.

Audrey’s adventures: Falls Church Farm Day

Fall has officially arrived! Okay, I know the calendar said we changed seasons a while back, but it actually feels, looks, and smells like fall now; our lawn is covered in leaves, we’re wearing sweaters, and I’m busy baking, making soups, and roasting veggies.

Plus, it was Farm Day here in Falls Church on Saturday!

Complete with live bluegrass music…

a horse-led hayride…

and a petting zoo with these funny-looking chickens, ducks, bunnies, and other adorable little animals.

In the afternoon we met neighbors for a potluck block party. There, Audrey experienced her first moon bounce and snuck off with several chocolate chip cookies.

Have I mentioned recently how much we like Falls Church?

Treepocalypse (and our escape)

In case you didn’t hear, we had a major storm here in the D.C. region last week. A derecho decided to swing by last Friday night. (That term was new to me, too.)

The storm hit our area about 11 p.m. and scared both Kenji and me out of bed. Somehow Audrey managed to sleep through it. We lost power right away, but thankfully we were spared any other damage to the house. It’s lucky the dead tree in our backyard was taken down about a month ago; who knows if it would have made it through the storm still standing.

When we walked around in the morning, we saw lots of debris on our street.

Including this site, of a car flattened by a tree. (At least the owner seems to have kept a sense of humor. The sign on the tree says, “Free firewood! Must haul.”) Another neighbor had a tree fall on their roof. No one was hurt, thank goodness.

The road ours leads to on one end was closed as well because of a huge tree that had fallen. That one wasn’t actually cleared away until Tuesday.

Like everyone around here, we set to work buying pantry items, digging out flashlights, and moving perishables to a cooler as quickly as we could. The weather continued to be miserably hot, so we visited family during the weekend and beginning of the week.

Tuesday morning, when we heard it may be another several days without power (!), we reached our limit and decided to head south to stay with friends. It turns out the power came back late that afternoon, but we were happy to make the overdue visit anyway.

Audrey had so much fun (and so did we). She meandered around with Ella, Annelise, and Iris (who was also visiting), checking out the chickens out back, wandering around the huge yard, and of course, enjoying lots of yummy food.

She even got to watch “My Little Pony” videos with the older girls.

On Wednesday night, the girls ate together at the “kids’ table.” It was adorable. I think Iris’ crown is an especially nice touch.

We came home Thursday to a blissfully cool home with operating Internet, refrigeration, and lights, but it was sad to leave friends. We’ve promised to get together for a camping trip this fall, which should be a fun adventure.

Our little helper

Since Audrey is now over a year old, we’ve decided it’s time for her to take on her first chores.

Kidding, of course — but she does love to help us with everyday household tasks.

Her absolute favorite chore is emptying the utensils from the dishwasher. As soon as she hears the dishwasher door open and dishes begin clinking, she’ll drop whatever she’s doing and make a beeline for the kitchen. We’ve managed to zone her in on the utensil basket (and make sure to grab the knives first ourselves), though she hasn’t yet caught on that the dirty ones should stay in there.

As she hands me each individual utensil, I recite what it is (fork…spoon…) and she makes an accompanying “seh” sound to mimic me. Once the basket is empty, she helps push the rack back in and lift up the door.

Sweeping is also cause for celebration here. It’s hard to keep Audrey from snatching the broom right out of my hands. It’s also hard to keep her from playing in the dirt piles.

Vacuuming seems to both excite and terrify Audrey. If I say the word “vacuum,” she heads straight to the closet where it’s kept, and then tags along as I roll it out. When the machine is started she either yells/plays with a loud toy or clings to my leg and desperately gestures for me to pick her up.

Hopefully we’re off to a good start, and she’ll maintain this enthusiasm when she does have chores of her own!

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