You, Me, A and B

The chronicles of life with Audrey and Benjamin

Tag: visit (page 1 of 2)

Happy seven months, Benjamin

Our little man is now closer to his one-year birthday than to his actual birth day. *Sniff*


Actually, in my opinion, this is when it really starts to get fun.

Benjamin is babbling these days, blowing raspberries, sitting up confidently, studying objects closely and transferring them from hand to hand (or, more often, hand to mouth), dragging/rolling himself to items of interest, and protesting loudly when his big sister snatches a toy out of his hands. (And so it begins…)

Soon after I took the above photo, he shifted onto his tummy, in hot pursuit of the lens cap.


But then he got kind of stuck in his “swimming” position.


I kid you not, as of this week he’s also trying to pull up to standing (!). This most often happens when he’s in his baby bathtub; he grabs the side of the tub with both hands and pulls himself into an awkward-looking squat.

Over the course of the last four weeks, he’s tried all sorts of foods, mostly just sliced into chunks or lightly steamed as necessary: sweet potato, avocado, banana, plum, peach, zucchini, broccoli, blueberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, yogurt, cheese, bell pepper, carrot, pear, apple, green beans, eggplant, salmon, egg yolk, and more.

He seems to really enjoy the social aspect of mealtime, and he’s definitely getting the hang of chewing and swallowing.


He loves cherries (as well as zucchini and broccoli.)


Benjamin had lots of other firsts this month too–including his cross-country flight, which thankfully went very smoothly!


On our trip west, he met his Spain family aunts, uncles, and cousins.


He also had his first swim in the pool.


And his first trip to the beach!


Benjamin attended his first wedding this past weekend, but sadly, I didn’t get any good photos. I’m hoping the couple’s photographer managed to get a few. (He was right around the age Audrey was when she went to her first wedding. I don’t think he can top her four weddings in 3 1/2 years!)

Our travels this past month were fun, but I’m looking forward to a low-key August. I told Kenji that I’d like to stay within a one-hour radius from home. So, expect to see more of this in the next monthly-birthday post.


November recap

With Christmas only a few days away, a recap of our November activities is long overdue!

A major theme of the month: getting ready for Audrey’s baby brother! My due date was yesterday and I honestly thought he would be born weeks ago, since the second child often comes early. So we’ve been ready for his arrival for a while now. The freezer is stocked, the tiny newborn onesies are clean and in the dresser, diapers are at the ready, and the hospital bag is packed.

Most exciting for Audrey: baby beds/bouncy seats and toys abound throughout the house. She’s been “testing” them for baby brother.



The low point of the month: Audrey’s first (and perhaps only? I can hope at least…) bout with head lice.

She was a trooper, letting us “play hairdresser” after dinner each night. We opted for an herbal spray that made her hair smell like a citronella candle, followed by lots and lots of fine combing and nitpicking. It helped that she got to eat ice cream while we worked on her hair.


(I had lice too — no fun!) Thankfully we didn’t have a recurrence, so it only meant a few days of gross bug encounters, frequent laundry, and missed preschool.

Between the lice and a fever/cold, however, we were home a lot during the month. During a healthy period we made it to the zoo for some intense animal watching.


Thanksgiving was fun and pretty low key. Audrey made paper turkeys for Claire, Henry, Nana, and Grandpa, then we headed to Kenji’s parents’s house for Thanksgiving dinner.


Over the holiday weekend, we made our first trip to the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center, where Audrey enjoyed chasing James and Arlo (and even rode a space simulator with Kenji!).


Stay tuned for a Christmastime post soon!


Audrey’s adventures: Burke Lake Park

The weather has been absolutely amazing the past few days, sunny and in the high 70s/low 80s with little humidity. Very unlike Washington, DC in August.

So, to make the most of it, we’ve spent much of our time outside at area parks. On Thursday alone we went to three different playgrounds! Yesterday we met a friend and his toddler at Burke Lake Park, which we hadn’t visited since the fall.

Before we headed out the door, Audrey helped Kenji make sandwiches for our picnic lunch. (She’s way more interested in making sandwiches than actually eating them.)


Once we arrived at the park, we headed straight for the miniature train.


It was quite busy, so we had to wait for the next go-round. But that landed us right at the front of the line — and the front of the train!


After the train ride, we headed over to the carousel. Audrey went straight for the little flying elephant (?).


A break for lunch (really, a snack — mostly popcorn and fruit for Audrey), and then she was busy climbing and sliding at the playground.


As we left the park, I realized we never even went close to the lake this time!

Audrey’s adventures: 4-H Fair and Carnival

As he did last summer, Kenji has taken off all Fridays in July and August. Although that means he has to work longer days Monday through Thursday, having a series of three-days weekends together has been wonderful.

Yesterday we spent the day visiting one of our favorite spots in Fairfax County: Frying Pan Park, the last working dairy farm in the county.

The park offers traditional farm animals to see — chickens, turkeys, cows, sheep, pigs, horses, and goats — as well as a country store, hiking trails, playgrounds, and a carousel (which never seems to be running). We went yesterday because the park is also hosting the Fairfax County 4-H Festival and Carnival this weekend.

On our last visit, back in June, Audrey couldn’t get enough of the mommy pig feeding the piglets.


This time, we had to practically drag her from the tractors.


When we finally made our way over to the carnival, she told us she wanted to go on every ride. Luckily for our pocketbooks, she was only tall enough to ride the miniature train and carousel.

We took a quick break for a picnic lunch, and then took a wagon ride around the farm.


Audrey even got to end the visit with both chocolate milk and a lollipop. Hello, sugar!


You can see more photos from the park here.

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 adventures: Air & Space and Natural History Museums

We’re fortunate to have so many (mostly free!) museums here in the D.C. area. As someone who used to work at one, I’m especially keen to expose Audrey to the range available to us — art, history, textile, you name it.

Audrey and I are regulars at the National Building Museum (to play in the Building Zone) and I took her to a great exhibit at the Hirshhorn, but we really haven’t visited too many museums otherwise (yet). Now that tourist season is over and it’s getting too cold for the park, the idea of heading downtown is much more appealing.

So, last weekend Kenji and I took her to the Air and Space Museum. We planned to visit the annex out by Dulles Airport, thinking it was closer to us, but Google told us that drive would take 35 minutes. Getting downtown, on the other hand? 15 minutes!

Audrey had a great time running around saying “airplane” repeatedly and climbing up/in whatever she could.

Visiting with her made me realize how important it is for museums to have things kids can touch!

Plus, since it is free, we didn’t feel guilty leaving after only an hour or so.

This past weekend we headed to the Natural History Museum. First we saw the huge elephant in the atrium, sped through the (crowded) dinosaurs, and walked through the mammals.

Audrey made a new friend along the way.

The highlight of our visit was the insects exhibit, where a person was stationed with actual specimens for visitors to hold. Audrey wanted to touch all of them, of course, but we thought the caterpillar was the best option.

We even stayed for lunch in the cafeteria and treated Audrey to her first taste of jello. (She was a fan.)

I don’t know if it was all the walking, the sights, or the jello, but the Natural History Museum visit wore her out. She napped 3 hours that afternoon!

Audrey’s adventures: Disney World

Yep, we took our not-quite-two-year-old to Walt Disney World! Kenji had work training at the Disney Institute, so of course Audrey and I had to tag along.


We flew down Saturday morning, but it was early afternoon (naptime) by the time we checked in at the hotel. So we spent the first part of our trip in the lobby while Audrey snoozed in the stroller.

Once she was up, we headed to the Magic Kingdom.

The vintage steam train was one of Audrey’s favorite discoveries.

The other: the carousel (of course!).

We only covered about a quarter of the park, but we did get on a few toddler-friendly rides. “It’s a Small World” really took me back to own childhood visit to Disney World, way back in 1985.

The iconic castle was lovely all lit up in the evening. After dinner and the spin on the Winnie the Pooh ride, we called it a night.


Our first full day at Disney was jam packed.

First, Audrey met a bunch of characters over breakfast. Thankfully the costumes didn’t scare her.

She liked “Bear”…


and the Mad “Hakaka”…

but she wasn’t quite as impressed with Alice or Mary Poppins.

After breakfast, we headed to the Animal Kingdom park. There we went on a ride that felt like an authentic safari, complete with giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and other animals right outside the car windows.

Kenji headed to the first session of his work training in the early afternoon, right around the time I started walking Audrey (in her stroller) in a loop around the quietest part of the park I could find: the outdoor food court.

After her brief nap, the two of us did more exploring.

Audrey liked “Dinoland,” where she could actually touch the (fake) animals.

Even better: the petting zoo, where she could pet a real animal! (The abundance of germs throughout the park freaked me out a bit, but no where more than here. Not to mention the proximity of the goats’ legs and mouths to my little girl. Eek.)

After a long day, we had dinner, headed back to the hotel, and reunited with Kenji. Audrey was out like a light and I was happy to make use of the minty foot rub provided by the hotel.


On to Epcot! But, with a more modest plan of attack, since the combination of short naps and late bedtimes was taking a toll on our toddler (and me).

We explored the park in the morning; our favorite stop was the “Nemo & Friends” ride/aquarium. The tanks were huge and filled with gorgeous fish.

After lunch Audrey finally got a good, long nap — in her bed! And I got some much-needed work done.

Then we took the train back over to Epcot to see the World Showcase and meet Kenji for dinner. We ate at a Mexican restaurant across the walkway from a “house” (pyramid) Audrey enjoyed. Here she is on one of her many trips inside it.


To the pool! The hotel had a nice pool with a kid-friendly splash park, so Audrey and I spent the morning there. She was more interested in watching other kids play in the splash park and climbing onto the poolside chairs than actually getting into the water, but hey, that kept her entertained.

She also tried to climb into the fountain and uprooted a flower (saying “uh-oh” as she did).

After another solid post-lunch nap, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom — with Kenji, who was done for the day by mid-afternoon.

For our last night, we made sure to catch the light parade and evening fireworks. After a final ride on the carousel, Audrey conked out in her stroller.


Home! Disney made the whole checking out process as painless as possible, but it was still a hectic morning between getting Audrey dressed and moving, finishing packing, getting out an e-newsletter on deadline, and schlepping all the bags downstairs.

It was nice to come home, but we had a great trip! Even though Audrey likely won’t remember it, we have lots of fond memories to tell her about.

And like my mom said, when she’s begging us for a trip to Disney we can tell her “But you’ve already been!”

Audrey’s adventures: pumpkin patch

The bad news: We have a mold issue in our kitchen.

The good news: Audrey and I are up in Rhode Island for an impromptu visit with my parents while the repair work is done!

It was a blustery but mild day so we walked Audrey over to the pumpkin patch after her (abbreviated) nap. Yes, walked. The farm is literally around the corner from my parents’ house.

We did our best to catch the perfect smiling-toddler-holding-a-pumpkin fall photo, but Audrey wasn’t too interested in that.

She preferred riding in the wagon.

And trying to push it. Also, collecting rocks.

Audrey’s adventures: Labor Day in RI

I’m trying to finally catch up on posting photos from our summer travels. I’ll start with the most recent trip: Labor Day weekend in Rhode Island, visiting Grandnan, Granddad (aka Tickles), and G.G. Bird (aka Bicycle), as well as some dear friends. (The nicknames were chosen by Audrey during our visit.)

We didn’t make it up to RI last summer, so we were excited to make the most of the gorgeous weather while we could this trip.

One of our first stops: the beach! It is the “Ocean State,” after all.

We were pretty unprepared the first time we went — we didn’t bring a swimsuit for Audrey, only a towel, since we weren’t sure how she would react to the water. She absolutely loved it, though, and ended up splashing in her clothing and then toddling around the sand in just a diaper.

For our second trip to Easton’s Beach, Audrey was more properly attired.

The highlight of that visit was the carousel. She even rode a horse!

Aquidneck Island has quite a bit of farmland, too, which makes for more toddler fun. At one farm only minutes from my parents’ house, you can feed the goats. Audrey initially had help feeding them from the cup, but ended up giving them pieces directly from her palm.

She got a kick out of them licking her hand.

After feeding the goats, we  crossed the street to a different farm (and historic site) where you can feed ducks. Unlike the goats, they weren’t behind a fence. Instead, they greeted us in the parking lot and followed us over to the pond.

Of course, the very best part of the trip was the grandparent-granddaughter (and great-grandparent-granddaughter) time together.

Audrey’s Adventures: Navy Memorial Plaza & Hirshhorn Museum

Yesterday Audrey and I had plans to meet Kenji for lunch and to visit his coworkers. I decided to add a museum visit to our trip since we would already be in the city.

We had some time to kill before museums opened. (I don’t think I ever considered 10 a.m. a late opening for something until Audrey was born!) We stopped in my favorite local tea shop, Teaism, for a snack and ate it at the US Navy Memorial Plaza, which has a huge map surrounded by a circular fountain.

There, Audrey paused for a moment to touch the relief sculptures.

But mostly she kept climbing onto the ledge, trying to touch the water in the fountain. I managed to keep up with her enough to prevent her from falling in.

Just about the time it was getting uncomfortably hot, and I really began questioning my decision to wear jeans, the Smithsonian museums opened.

I took Audrey to the Hirshhorn so we could see “Suprasensorial: Experiments in Color, Light, and Space.” It had been recommended on a local parents’ list-serv as a fun indoor activity for toddlers, and it sounded pretty cool to me too!

Audrey seemed to really get a kick out of the installations, especially this one.

Although, the most exciting part of the museum trip seemed to be the nine-month-old boy who was also visiting. His mom and I sat with the two kids for a while in one of the installations — a dark room filled with cots and a music/movie sequence — and then throughout the rest of our time at the museum, Audrey toddled around saying “Baby! Baby!”

The girl has her priorities.

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