Tag Archives: Benjamin

Ben is 17 Months Old!

Happy Halloween from our 17-month old monkey!

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Today, Ben is 17 months old! We can’t believe he’s a month away from being a year and a half. Ben has 7 teeth {top 4 + bottom 2 center + top left molar} and I just saw the makings of a new molar about to emerge.

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Ben has had a couple bouts of illness this last month {roseola and the stomach flu} and has lost a bit of weight. He dropped from the 15th percentile back down to the 4th. Ben hasn’t bounced back from his illnesses as quickly as we would have expected. We saw the doctor who encouraged us to try some probiotics and really bump up the calories and fat to boost his weight back up. Ben hasn’t had much of an appetite for dinner {probably partly due to a new molar coming in} so he has been waking up very early and very hungry.

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That reminds me – I’ve been getting asked a lot lately what size Ben is wearing these days. As mentioned above, he’s still a little peanut! Mostly he’s wearing 12-18 months, but still some 9-12 months. In particular, pants are very difficult to buy for Ben because his little legs are so thin. I think he’ll be in 12-18 month clothing for a while still!

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As I keep saying every month, Ben is getting more and more fun by the day. The biggest changes in the last month, I’d say, have been the vocabulary explosion and that Ben has started getting into climbing. He is still super sweet {getting sweeter?!}, very giggly and affectionate.

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Listening to Ben talk and learn to talk/figure out how to say new words has been really neat to see. I’m not sure how many words he can say – probably close to 50 by now. I’d say his actual vocabulary {knowing words in context} is between 25-30 words. Not all of the words sound like how an adult would say them – airplane is “ah pah” but they’re consistent and he knows what he’s saying.

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Some of his regularly used words are: ball, truck, bath time, nana {banana}, down, hat and applesauce. A big majority of his vocabulary is food words, though his most commonly used word right now is Edina, our nanny’s name. He has started to say words that he had previously only signed – like water and all done. He answers yes or no to simple questions, particularly around food. Ben can follow simple instructions, for example, he can pick out a story that he wants to read and then come sit in your lap.

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He’s also learning about animals and really loving animals lately! We went to the zoo recently and Ben was extremely engaged in seeing the animals and making animal sounds. It was adorable. He especially loved the river otters, the giraffe and the baby gorilla! He makes a ferocious lion impersonation too. 🙂

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New this last month – Ben has turned into quite the climber! At the start of October he had not figured out how to go backwards down a set of stairs or safely climb off of something on his own. About two weeks ago somehow he magically figured out how to go down things safely. He can climb off of our bed or down from a chair and he can scoot backwards down the stairs. This opened up a whole new arena for him to start climbing anything he possibly can.

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Ben has also started going to a tumbling class, which is perfect to get the climbing crazies out! He goes to a structured class one day a week and then we’re allowed to come in later in the week for unstructured time on the equipment. The class is for tots just his age and gives the kiddos the opportunity to safely climb up and over things, tumble around, jump into a ball pit, bounce on a trampoline and work on other gross motor skills.

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Preschool is still going well. We’ve gotten into more of a routine this month with taking Ben to his school program two afternoons a month. He’s starting to get into the groove there and knows what to expect and really is starting to learn the songs. Now that we’re into it, I’m seeing a lot of value {not just all the work that’s involved!} and we’re really enjoying it.

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We just got this fancy “tot clock” for Ben’s room. It’s a night light that changes colors when it’s okay for Ben to wake up {i.e. after 6 a.m.!}. This clock is really neat – we have it set to a soft orange hue for sleepy time, along with some light background noise {mostly to drown out the creaky floors!}, then it changes to a blue/green at 6 a.m. to signal that it’s a reasonable time to wake up.

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Because of his recent illnesses, lack of appetite for dinner and waking up starving, Ben has been waking for the day between 4 and 5 a.m. Right now, the tot clock is not going to solve the issue of him not waking up. Once we get him on the right track with eating again, I think it will be helpful to get him to stay in bed ultimately until 6:30, or better yet, 7!

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The weather this month has been absolutely fantastic. I can’t think of an October in the nine years we’ve lived in Seattle that has been anywhere near this nice. Usually it’s just pouring down rain in October. Not this year! We’ve gotten an extra long playground season for little Ben and he’s one happy camper about it.

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Here’s to another great month – I can’t wait to see what Ben is like a month from now!

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Ben is 16 Months Old!

Every day Ben continues to demonstrate how much he is learning right now – it is such an incredible thing to experience as a parent. Our little tyke is 16 months old now and his language and communication skills have exploded over the last few weeks. That has been one of the highlights of the last month.

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Because of our recent vacation, Ben only just had his 15-month check up last week. The doctor gave him a clean bill of health, along with four vaccines. We were excited to see Ben break through the 10th percentile in weight for the first time – he’s now in the 15th percentile! For height he’s around the 40th percentile. As of last week, Ben weighed 21 pounds, 14 ounces and was 30 3/4 inches tall.

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We have been having so much fun watching Ben learn to talk recently. He had been repeating words for a while and began to build up a vocabulary with proper association. Today he has a vocabulary close to 30 words, I bet. It seems like he’s learning a new word or two every day. I’m pretty blown away at how much he is able to communicate. His doctor let us know that his vocabulary is much more advanced than his age, which I had no idea.

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It’s hard to say what his favorite words are at any given point, but they definitely include:

  • Kitty
  • Truck
  • Yah (yes)
  • Lina (Auntie Alina)
  • Ceiling
  • All done
  • Bath time

Ben picked up on the baby sign language pretty quickly around 12 months. We taught him a few signs for things like “more” and “water” and “milk” – it’s really helped him figure out how to communicate with us. While we were on our recent trip Ben came up with his own sign for “hungry” or “eat” – he just started pointing to his mouth when he wanted some food. He’s very good at pointing at something and saying “that” which is super helpful so we know what he’s asking for.

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What’s possibly even more fun is the associations Ben is making. His nanny sings songs with him all the time and he’s learning random words from the songs. He can point to and say “ceiling.” “floor,” “window,” and “door” because of a silly song. He can identify his head, nose, mouth, tummy, feet and ears and can clap his hands. He is starting to be able to point out animals in books, in person or on the refrigerator magnets. There are a few animal sounds that he makes, but mostly just the name of the animal or he can point to the animal if you say its name. I just cannot believe how much his language skills are developing right now.

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In addition to communication, Ben’s physical skills are developing and he has become super stable on his feet. He’s beginning to pay attention to uneven surfaces and he’s falling a lot less {though he did just take a nasty tumble, nose first, into some concrete at the playground over the weekend}.

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Ben has taken to scurrying around the house these days. His “scurry” is somewhere between a walk and a run – he’s moving fast but not too fast. He loves to push his old school popcorn popper around the house and do laps through our circular main floor.

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One of Ben’s new favorite activities is somersaulting into Jackson’s bed. This all started with him running and jumping into Jackson’s bed and somewhere recently he figured out how to somersault. His somersaults are not quite on point but they are getting really close.

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Another highlight of the last month or so has been how focused Ben has become on something that is of interest to him. He has really taken to reading and right now his favorite books are those that have one big picture of something {i.e. a truck!} on it, or really interactive books like touch and feel books. The other day while I was making dinner he sat in Alex’s lap and they read stories and talked to each other for a good half an hour. It was so sweet to listen to.

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Ben’s personality is continuing to emerge. He is SUCH an entertainer. It is hilarious to watch – he has started blowing kisses as his way to say hello or goodbye and he does things to try to make people smile and laugh. He has begun laughing in appropriate situations – it is so funny. He is really starting to associate his actions with getting a smile from someone.

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Ben’s demeanor is so sweet. He’s a fun-loving kiddo. He is liberal with the hugs these days and if I’m sitting on the floor with him he’ll walk over and climb right into my lap for a story. He is fairly calm, but also very loud and dramatic at times. If he’s got an opinion about something he is sure to let you know. It is really hard not to laugh if he’s having a tantrum about something ridiculous!

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We are really finding that getting out for an active adventure every day is very important. Ben gets to a point where he gets bored if he is cooped up inside for too long. Most days for the last few months have been spent with at least one trip to the playground in the morning and another outing somewhere else. Now that the rainy season is looming over us {not here yet!!} we’re scouring the web to come up with an arsenal of tot activities. Ben tried out My Gym today and did a really cool gym class – I think that’s going to be a weekly thing now!

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I can only imagine that when I sit down at the end of October {let’s be real, the beginning of November} to write my next month post about Ben turning 17 months that he’ll be talking even more and maybe mastered his somersault. It’s hard to picture what he’ll be like in a month, but I can say for sure that he’s changing more and more every day. This little boy is a blast!

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Fall Family Fun!

Fall is one of Alex’s and my favorite seasons. I love, love, looooove fall cooking – come August I’m DONE with salads, grilling and light eating and ready to throw on a pot of chili, bake some pumpkin muffins and indulge in rich, hearty dinners. In any case, we’re enjoying the start of fall here in the Pacific Northwest.

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We returned from our Midwest trip, where we had perfect summer weather, to 52 degrees and rain! It was an abrupt end to warm days and we loved it. Since we’ve been back, the weather has been perfectly fallish. We’ve been loving the cooler mornings, cozying up in vests and flannel and hearing Ben run around in the crunchy leaves. Oh fall!

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Last weekend Alex and I left Ben with his nanny and headed to Gig Harbor to attend Ryan and Anne’s wedding. It was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever been to. It was over-the-top in an absolutely perfect and sensational way. We were so happy to have been there!

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{cinnamon rolls + coffee the next morning!}

{cinnamon rolls + coffee the next morning!}

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Edina, our nanny, is such a great photographer. She took a ton of fabulous fall photos of Ben recently and I’m dying to share them with you!

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This morning was an absolutely perfect kick-start to our first weekend at home in a while – we headed north to Snohomish and took Ben, along with our friends, to The Farm at Swan’s Trail, a local apple orchard and pumpkin patch. It was awesome!! Alex and I were most excited for apple doughnuts, which were terrific, and we had such a great time.

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{August and Oliver, the twins, are behind Ben}

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Happy fall! 🙂

Ben’s First Day of “Preschool”

Ben had his first day of “preschool” this past week. As a way to get him more time with other kids his age and to get him out of the house we signed him up for a cooperative preschool near our house. He’ll go to school twice a week for the whole school year.

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A co-op preschool is one where the parents are very involved, and really in this case, run the operations of the school. There is a head teacher and a parent educator, and otherwise, everything is done by very involved parents. The parental involvement component is turning out to be significantly more than I expected, but I think there’s a great opportunity to build a nice little community.

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We missed the first two weeks of school because of our recent trip, nonetheless, Ben got started without a hitch and fit right in. The school sessions are 90 minutes and include an hour of free play, 20 minutes at the playground and 10 minutes of songs and circle time. Our first day went really well and Ben loved exploring the new space. It was really sweet to see all of the other kids playing and I am looking forward to watching them all grow up together this year!

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Ben is 15 Months Old!

My baby is really not a baby anymore. Last weekend he turned into a toddler before my eyes and today he is 15 months old. This little boy is making leaps and bounds right now – I can’t keep up with all of the changes. Ben is the light of our life and we absolutely adore how sweet and friendly he is, what an inquisitive personality he has and how independent and determined he is becoming.

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We won’t have his 15 month checkup until the end of September so I don’t have an updated weight or height. He’s probably somewhere between 21 and 22 pounds and I’m guessing 29 or 30 inches tall.

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Developmentally, Ben is on-point! We had an evaluation with an occupational therapist {this is a really incredible benefit we receive because he was a preemie – I wish everyone would take advantage of seeing an OT for their babe!} and learned that Ben is right where he is supposed to be, developmentally, which is always a concern with a premature baby. We got some great tips for how to keep helping him thrive.

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Over the last month the biggest change we have seen in Ben is his ability to walk. We made the call that he was a walker at the very end of 13 months and as a 14 month old he has really started to master it. Watching Ben learn how to walk was one of the coolest things I’ve experienced.

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It was so much different than seeing him learn how to crawl or roll over or sit up. It took so much determination and he was SO proud of himself when he would progress. He has been practicing different falling techniques and we could tell that he was trying to figure out how to turn by doing it over and over and over. Today, as an official 15 month old, he is really sturdy on his feet and is able to navigate transitions {i.e. rugs, steps up or down} really well.

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Independence has been a huge change recently, too. We’re now able to leave him in his room for several minutes to play by himself while we do something else and most of the time he stays fully engaged in whatever he was doing. He has been loving looking at books with one picture per page {great for vocabulary development!}, playing with his dump truck or anything with music.

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We sort of caved and let him play on the iPad. The bigger “cave” was getting the gigantic “tot proof” iPad case. It’s ridiculous, but I think he could throw it out the window and it would survive. He really likes to listen to music and he loves touching things on the screen, so one day last week I let him mess around on a baby app. We’re certainly not intending on this being a regular thing yet, but the iPad will definitely come on our upcoming plane ride!

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Communication has been so cool over the last few months. Ben’s vocabulary in actual words {not just sign language} is increasing – his favorite words are: pasta, cracker and kitty and he not only can say the word, but he says it correctly in context. It is so neat to watch him figure things out and to see that he can understand what I’m saying.

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One day recently I told him to sit down while he was in the bath tub and before I could help him sit down, he sat down. It’s moments like that that I have to sort of take a step back and realize how much this kid can understand and how much he’s growing up {insert mama tear here!}.

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Ben has transitioned over the last month to having only one nap a day, which has been fantastic. That means more time to take longer trips up to the playground! How Ben plays at the playground seems to change on a weekly basis. His favorite things are playing in the wood chips or the sand, playing with the dump trucks or the tricycle. He also loves watching the big kids play.

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Ben has really become a water baby! I’m starting to wonder if he’s part fish – he is so comfortable in water and he loves splashing his hands and kicking his feet. We’ve had a lot of fun with the kiddie pool and splash pad in our backyard, wading pools and outdoor pools around the city and going to the beach. Oh, and the bath, but he’s getting bored in the bathtub, so we’ve got to step it up, I guess.

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Over the last month, sleep has been a big focus for us. One of our goals was to get Ben to totally put himself to sleep. We absolutely achieved that goal, and it happened much easier and faster than we expected. So, now Ben is putting himself to sleep independently and has been sleeping basically better than ever.

{B discovered the Nest camera when he woke up! I thought this screen shot was hilarious!}

{I thought this screen shot of Ben discovering the Nest camera was hilarious!}

Last weekend when Alex was out of town, Ben “officially” became a toddler. Everyone always says it’s a game changer when the tot starts walking – while I knew things would change I really didn’t expect it to be any different in terms of how fast Ben would be. Yeah, that was naive. Ben was a super fast crawler but now I literally can turn my back and not actually know where he is 2 seconds later.

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He’s vertical now and at eye level with our wine glasses hanging up in the hutch in the dining room, which he likes to touch. From there, he goes to the dog’s water dish and throws something {half the time, my keys} into it. Then he runs in the bathroom and opens the locked cabinet door, and then pushes open the toilet seat, then pulls the toilet paper from the roll and dumps out the trash before opening all one of the drawers and then tries to close the bathroom door and accidentally runs it over his toes or closes it on his fingers. And then he’s off to our bedroom where he pulls open a drawer so fast it sends him flying backwards. And then he’s in his room trying to open the diaper pail {not hard to figure out!}. Now he’s on the other side of the house playing ball with Jackson. From there, he’s in the kitchen pulling open the pots and pans cupboard and taking all of the lids out and clangs them together like cymbals. And that’s over the span of 2 minutes. Yes, I am perpetually exhausted these days.

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We are really looking forward to starting Ben’s cooperative preschool in a few weeks. It’s a play-based school program and I’m excited to get some new ideas of things to do with him and have the opportunity to observe him playing with other kids. I think he’s going to love the social time – he is so friendly and seems to love being around other people.

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One of the bittersweet parts of Ben turning 15 months old is that we have decided, per the pediatrician’s suggestion, to be done giving him a bottle. It was really sad knowing that it was the last bottle we’ll ever give him, but it’s also exciting knowing that he’s growing up and turning into a little boy. He doesn’t need the bottle anymore and he is eating better than ever, loves food and is nailing it at restaurants lately.

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It still blows my mind how rapidly Ben is changing and how every month I keep saying it is still getting better and better. I really can’t imagine what changes are coming next for Ben, but everyone keeps saying it really does keep getting more and more fun.

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Holy cats! August is shaping up to be NUTS for us. We have SO much going on this month it’s going to be hard to keep up! I even started writing in our calendar who is taking which car on what days so that we can manage everything right down to the nitty gritty details.

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We started off the month by buying a piece of land over in Leavenworth, a quaint mountain town about 2 hours from Seattle that we spend a lot of time visiting. We’ve been looking for a vacation home in the mountains to share with Alex’s parents for more than a year and recently decided to change course and build a house.

{The view from our new property!}

{The view from our new property that overlooks a field with a giant rock wall and mountains in the background.}

{This is where we expect the house to go.}

{This is where we expect the house to go.}

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We’re elated to have found a beautiful, flat 3.1 acre property to call our own! We expect to close at the end of the month and will likely start building next summer. We had hoped to break ground this fall if possible, but it seems like holding off until next year makes more sense. We don’t want to rush into it too much. That means, though, that we might be spending Christmas 2018 in our new mountain house! More on this to come later, I’m sure.

{Holding up his computer after signing the offer we made on the lot! We were so excited!}

{Holding up his computer after signing the offer we made on the lot! We were so excited!}

In other news, lately Alex has been suggesting that we should get Ben some more socialization with other kids during the day. While he gets out to the playground most days and story time at least once a week and a play date most weeks he doesn’t have the same social experiences that he would have if he went to daycare.

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I’ve got no qualms about daycare, it simply works better for our schedules to have the flexibility of a nanny. So, after scouring the Internet and polling some of my mama friends, we have enrolled Ben in a preschool co-op that starts in September. This preschool has “classes” for one year olds where it’s basically unstructured play time together {they have more formal classes for 2, 3 and 4-year olds). The class meets twice a week for 90 minutes each day. Not too big of a commitment. I’m really looking forward to starting – because it’s a co-op, all families have to get involved to help run the school, so I’m excited to meet other parents in the area and get Ben some time with other kids. Buuttttt that also means that each family has a “job” {I’m the designated “worker” in our family} sooooo you’re looking at either the new Halloween party planner, spring picnic party planner or sunshine chair!

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Another child care note worth mentioning is that our nanny has left us for a three week trip. We’ve got backup care scheduled, but you never know how that will turn out. I have a feeling it’ll be a mama + Ben month.

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Nearly a year ago, now, we started going to our parents group, called PEPS {Program for Early Parent Support}, which met once a week for 12 weeks. We built a really nice community with other families close by who have babies the same age as Ben. The PEPS organization asked if I’d be interested in facilitating a new group and because we didn’t have enough going on, I said yes! Despite our crazy schedules I’m really, really looking forward to leading a PEPS group, which starts in a couple weeks. It will be one evening per week where I get to facilitate a meeting between 8 families with newborns. It will be so fun to think back to those crazy days with a newborn!

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Alex has two bachelor parties to attend this month – one in Whistler and one down in Portland. So, it’s really going to be a mama + Ben month!

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The weather has been hot, hot, hot lately. We’ve had this really weird smog clouding the region the last 10 days from wildfires up in British Columbia. I heard that our air quality right now is worse than Beijing! We can’t hardly see across the lake and you can literally see the smoke clinging to sights off in the distance. It’s really strange. That being said, I haven’t gone for any runs in the last week and Alex hasn’t ridden his bike, so we’re ready for the heat wave to break and the smoke to clear! I’m ready for fall!

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Ben is 14 Months Old!

Without a doubt the development and changes in the last month have been more significant than any other month in the last 14. We’ve got a little boy on our hands!

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This last month has been filled with growth – physical and developmental! I swear Ben grew 3 inches this month {he has his next checkup at 15 months, where they’ll measure his height}. He weighs around 21 pounds but it’s been a while since we’ve gotten him on the scale. He has 6 teeth {2 on the bottom, 4 on top}. Finally his hair is growing too – he has these little sections in the back that are becoming curly and his hair is getting more and more blond. Oh the cuteness!! He also has a major tan line – I guess he tans like his mama! His little legs are quite tan from sticking out when he’s in the stroller {and yes, we do put sunscreen on him, and yes I use the good stuff}.

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In the last month or so, one of the biggest things that Ben has been working on is communicating effectively with us. He is getting so good at pointing at what he wants. Sometimes he’s even patient while we get it for him! This is so unbelievably helpful and has cut down on some whining. He is becoming more and more independent and wants to do things on his own sometimes.

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Ben is really mastering some of the sign language we’re using with him. He learned the sign for “milk” a couple months ago and more recently can sign “water” and “all done” and “more” – all very, very helpful.

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Speaking of water – this last month has been a huge, huge transition for Ben with regard to swapping milk in a bottle with water in a sippy cup. The Munchkin 360 sippy cup and kids Nalgene water bottle {without the vent} have been his two favorites. He can drink from both cups completely on his own!

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As a 13-month old he smoothly transitioned from 4 bottles a day to 2, one when he wakes up in the morning and one when he goes to sleep. He drinks 10-12 ounces of whole milk total in a day now. Weaning him off of milk was significantly easier than I expected. There were some tough days earlier on in the transition but it was pretty smooth, especially once he figured out the sippy cup. I think that was the most helpful factor.

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Milk is no longer an important source of calories for Ben. It’s even getting to the point where the bottle isn’t even what he wants or needs when he’s looking for comfort. Our pediatrician recommended being done with the bottle altogether by 15 months, so I guess that means that’s coming this next month.

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Since Ben is getting his calories and nutrients from real food now he’s eating like a little champ! In the last week we got to the point where Ben has started to essentially eat about half of an adult-size portion. I’m still very much adjusting to this – it’s a huge change of mindset to be preparing that much more food.

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Ben started out as a 13-month old who was learning to stand up on his own, took some steps mid-month and then finished out the month by officially beginning to walk! It has been such an exciting month for Mr. Ben!

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Sleep for Ben hasn’t been stellar this last month. I attribute it to Alex and me leaving Ben for four days when we were in California. For most of the last month he regressed to waking up once in the night, seemingly for some comfort and cuddles, and quite often arose for the day by/before 5 a.m. Not his best month for sleep, but certainly not his worst.

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After this change in his sleep {previously he had slept through the night at least 6 of 7 nights a week for at least two months consistently} we played around and re-worked his bedtime routine a bit. I’ve been a big fan of Elizabeth Pantley’s “No Cry Sleep Solution” – I know I’m in the minority but I’m just never going to get on the “cry it out” bandwagon.

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We revisited the book and are re-implementing some of the strategies {we had done this several months ago} and we are seeing positive changes. We also got him a night light and started shutting Ben’s door at night. Ben is going down to bed really well and he puts himself to sleep in his crib {with company} and is starting to put himself back to sleep when he wakes up in the middle of the night. All of these things he had done previously but made a major regression at the end of 12 months.

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As of the last few days, Ben’s bedtime is 7 p.m. and his wake time is around 6:30 a.m., give or take about 20 minutes. We’re really happy to be back on track!

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In the last month Ben has started mimicking us SO much. He’s repeating words left and right and he’s begun imitating what we do sometimes, too. Ben can blow kisses and point to his tummy when asked where it is. He mainly repeats food words – “pasta” is his favorite. He absolutely loves to play peek-a-boo. It’s the cutest thing!

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We did a lot of traveling this last month. Ben came with us to Leavenworth for a day trip. We went up to Camano Island to spend the 4th of July with our friends. Ben and I met Alex way up north in Vancouver, British Columbia for a quick getaway, and then last weekend we went to Seabrook, Washington for a beach vacation. We love getting out and about, but we’re just as content to be at home and spend the afternoon up at our neighborhood park.

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This kiddo is turning into a little boy right before our eyes. I am so excited to see what Ben’s 15th month brings us – I have a feeling some more teeth and running are upon us this month…

We’ve Got a Walker!

It’s official – we’re making the call… Ben is walking! Check out the video here!

The first time Ben stood up on his own {as in went from a sit to a stand without help} was the weekend of the 4th of July. Since then he’s been practicing standing up, only a little bit, and walking while holding our hands.

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About two or three weeks ago Ben took his first steps – it almost seemed like a fluke! We kept trying to get him to repeat and he seldom would. Then last weekend we really practiced with him and he kept taking more and more steps. It seemed like he didn’t understand that he could walk – whenever he’d be standing and we’d say “come here” he would get down on his hands and knees and crawl over to us.

Finally last week on Tuesday I was really getting into it and kept practicing and cheering him on and I could tell it clicked – he finally got it that he could take steps on his own! Watching him figure out that he could walk has been one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had. His eyes were so bright and wide and he was smiling ear to ear – he was SO proud of himself!

Check out the video here of him on Tuesday {it’s too long to embed here, I guess}.

He has been getting stronger and more stable with taking steps all week and then finally today we made the call to say he is walking because he went from sitting to standing to walking 100% on his own with no support or help at all.

Ben’s balance and ability to walk very far is still very limited – the most I’ve seen is about 10 steps. I have a feeling, though, that in two weeks he’s going to be running! We are mentally preparing for lots of falling, bumps and bruises – hopefully he’ll get the hang of it quickly!

Quick Trip to Vancouver

Alex has been going up to work in Vancouver lately. One of his trips happened to end on a Friday, so Ben and I decided to head north and join him for a quick International trip.

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Alex and I both love, love, love Vancouver – it feels like a big, urban city, yet intimate. Surprisingly, the population of Vancouver is very similar to Seattle {about 650,000}, but it actually feels like a big city. We both agreed that this is one of the only other cities we think we would live in {and boy would that be incredible!}. I think it has to do with the parallels to Seattle and of course its proximity to Whistler.

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This trip we stayed on the waterfront at the Fairmont Waterfront, right across the harbor from Stanley Park {Vancouver’s version of Central Park}. I loved that location – it was close to shopping, restaurants, the Gastown neighborhood, Stanley Park and, obviously, the water.

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Ben and I were on our own for most of the trip. I got very organized and packed up in advance and then just in time for Ben’s morning nap, we were on the road. My one regret: not stopping for coffee on our way out of town!

Similarly to most kids, or so I’ve heard, Ben is not particularly fond of being strapped into his car seat for any length of time, let alone 2-3 hours. For our drive to Vancouver, Ben was testing out his new car seat for the first time. It seemed like he may have been more comfortable, which helped make it a successful drive.

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Additionally, I opted to pack a little “car bag” of fun toys I could just throw to him in the car seat if he got antsy and much to my surprise, he didn’t even need any of them! I loved my idea, nonetheless, and will certainly plan on doing that for our next car trip.

Another new idea I had was to stop at a playground for a picnic lunch and to stretch our legs. While I was waiting in line to cross the border I searched for a nearby playground and ended up finding Redwood Park in Surrey, the town on the other side of the border. This park was AWESOME. Ben was too little for most of the equipment but he sat on the grass watching all of the big kids play and loved practicing walking {while holding my hand} all over the park.

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Edina had packed us a little bento box lunch the day before and Ben loved his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. When did my baby become a little boy!?!?!

Side note: one of the first things I noticed at the park was how nicely the other moms were dressed! Boy was I glad I opted against the cute and comfy athleisure get-up I had initially considered wearing. I saw ZERO leggings – you read that right – ZERO leggings – at the park! This theme carried through our trip – the folks up in Vancouver sure know how to pull themselves together.

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Our first stop after getting checked into our hotel in Vancouver was the pool! This pool was fabulous and overlooked Coal Harbour with the Coast Mountains in the background. It was absolutely stunning and the weather was perfect!

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Ben LOVED swimming. We have a little swim float that he sits in and he was happily kicking and splashing as we cruised around the pool. Everyone was getting such a kick out of his adorable giggles and cheesy grin.

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We had such a fun day together. We strolled along the waterfront and watched the seaplanes take off, gawked at the cruisers {we stayed across the street from the cruise terminal} and practiced waving at strangers. We even had some gelato 🙂

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While we have taken several trips, this was the first time we had stayed in a standard hotel room with Ben. Oh let me tell you how un-glamorous it was {even though our hotel was super nice!}. Let me set the record now: I plan on not ever staying in a standard hotel room with a baby/7:00 bedtime child again!

In an ideal hotel set-up, we’d have a separate bedroom for sleeping children, along with a refrigerator that can accommodate bottles and snacks. A super perk would be a high chair with a tray, but we’d compromise with a high chair + a table that the high chair can pull up to, thus allowing the child to feed himself.

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Given that we had no good high chair set up {after we finished dinner, the hotel staff brought up a standard restaurant high chair but there was no good table to pull it up to} we had several picnics on the floor. It was pretty cute, other than the mess that was made when Ben picked up his lunch box and started waving it excitedly in the air. It also made me think of this sweet video about a parent’s normal being a child’s magic. I really enjoyed this trip for the opportunity to be creative and think outside my normal parenting box.

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After a really fun breakfast on Saturday morning we rented a couple bikes and went for a bike ride through Stanley Park. I think Ben loved the bike ride but hated his helmet!

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Our trip was really quick – after our bike ride we packed up the car and headed out in time for Ben’s long morning nap. We employed the same strategy that I used on my drive up, and that was to stop at a playground on the other side of the border. We had a suuuuuper long border wait time, so we were all ready to get out of the car and stretch our legs.

{We stopped at a grocery store and got some fresh sandwiches and some sides from the deli - it was a great way to do lunch on-the-go!}

{We stopped at a grocery store and got some fresh sandwiches and some sides from the deli – it was a great way to do lunch on-the-go!}

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I’d say our trip to Vancouver was a huge success! I’d definitely do it again.

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Ben is 13 Months Old!

I’m not sure if I’ll really keep up with the month-by-month updates now that Ben is one. He has been doing so many new and fun things lately that I wanted to try to document it, so here we are…

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This beautiful baby of ours has turned into a true-to-form toddler over the last six weeks. Tantrums are happening, drama is ensuing, Ben suddenly has preferences {and demands!} and is communicating quite effectively with us. He’s started to point to what he wants and he’s using sign language for things like “all done” or “milk” – it’s pretty handy.

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Over the last month or so, Ben has gotten four new teeth, for a grand total of six {four on the top and two on the bottom}. This has been very painful for all of us, but also really fun because it has helped him become a better eater and chewer. When he smiles it’s still hard to see his top teeth sometimes so I don’t really have a good photo to show all of his pearly whites. Speaking of pearly whites, holy cow is it hard impossible to brush this kid’s teeth!!

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Ben has been eating really, really well lately. Since he was about 11 months old his ability and interest in eating has continued to grow. Until about a week ago he had zero interest in fruit and now he’s downing about 1/3 of a banana every morning and he shovels strawberries and raspberries into his mouth as fast as he can.

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Yesterday his nanny gave him a whole peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which he finished, and he has a new found love of graham crackers and Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. Cheerios are still the way to his heart, along with sausage and cottage cheese. Another favorite is mini waffles {I’ve heard the blueberry ones are really good!}.

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{Side note: Ben has one of those little snack cups that you can reach your hand in and grab a small snack, like a Cheerio, and it's supposed to not dump out the snack. Not surprisingly, Ben figured out how to dump out the entire contents on the first day he started using said snack cup. Conveniently for mama it was in the middle of a store.}

{Side note: Ben has one of those little snack cups that you can reach your hand in and grab a small snack, like a Cheerio, and it’s supposed to not dump out the snack. Not surprisingly, Ben figured out how to dump out the entire contents on the first day he started using said snack cup. Conveniently for mama it was in the middle of a store.}

Ben’s personality continues to emerge. He is such a little entertainer. He flirts with everyone – he’s got this coy look in his eyes and then out of nowhere he will start waving his arm to say hello to someone. The wave quickly turns into a full on hand clap/cackle/giggle/hammy smile combo. He is going to be such a piece of work!

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It’s hard to say what Ben’s favorite activity is, though I could come up with a few things. Probably the top choice is pulling all of the books off the bookshelf. That’s mama’s least favorite activity. He loves to read the books, too, but only after he’s pulled a handful off the shelf. He loves turning anything into a drum set – he bangs on anything possible. Ben is very happy when left to independently explore something – he loves to be set loose to crawl around, pull himself up on something and cruise from one thing to the next. He’s a really independent kid, but he’ll check to make sure you’re still hanging out with him, usually by coming back to you for a hug.

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Lately Ben has been more willing/able to follow directions. He generally listens when we tell him “no” or “no touch” or to come here or to stay on his back when we’re changing his diaper.

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One of our big to do’s with Ben as a 12 month-old was to reduce the amount of milk he was drinking. The goal was to go from 30+ ounces per day down to around 15 ounces. It ended up being significantly easier than I expected. The transition coincided very well with him starting to eat a lot more solid food and we were able to very easily phase out quite a bit of milk.

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Right now he only gets 2-3 bottles per day – for sure one when he wakes up and one when he goes to bed, though the morning bottle seems unnecessary as of late. We’re trying to limit it to two bottles and then extra milk during the day in a sippy cup. He seems to really want the comfort that’s associated with the bottle and even when he drinks milk from a sippy cup sometimes it’s unsatisfying to him. That said, he’s doing very well at drinking water from a sippy cup, which is really important now that he’s only having about 12 ounces of milk per day.

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Ben can say several words, including: dada, mama, dog {dog dog}, yum, hot, ball, up and he tries to say “all done” buttttt has some work to do on that one. He has been mimicking us a lot more with our actions and what we’re saying.

{Ben goes to story time at the library around once a week with his nanny. It's a fun time for him to play with other babies.}

{Ben goes to story time at the library around once a week with his nanny. It’s a fun time for him to play with other babies.}

In the last week Ben stood up without using anything to support him – we were at the park when he did it for the first time. It seemed like a fluke – it was as though he didn’t realize what he did. The next few days he repeated it many, many times, though. On Thursday, completely out of the blue, he stood up on his own and took three steps to walk to me. Alex, our nanny and I were all there to see it, which was so fun!

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This kiddo is turning into a little boy right before our very eyes. Every day he does something new and figures something else out. Parenthood has been a much different journey than I expected in the absolute best way possible.

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