Toby’s Trick or Treat


Mt. Vernon loves its pups. We took Toby on this Doggie Trick or Treat walk, visiting local businesses that were handing out treats. It was essentially a parade of hilarious dressed up dogs. Toby was so excited to be wearing his Wolverine jersey “costume” outside. We usually don’t allow it because he pees on it.


The costume winner easily went to this awesome pooch: Barking Bad!




Toby’s favorite: Paco the Taco


You can’t get away from inappropriately dressed females on Halloween. Even on a dog walk. 🙂


Ben’s costume wasn’t quite done (it is now!), so we made eyes out of post-it notes and taped them on. You are still pretty adorable, little Caterpillar.


Toby being a “good boy” for the treats.


Franklin Jr.

I haven’t posted in awhile because we were off in Philly for a long weekend. John presented at a conference, so Ben, Toby, and I tagged along to explore Philadelphia’s historical landmarks. Even though I spent 6 weeks in Philly for TFA Summer Institute in ’07, I never really saw any of the city during that time. In fact I’m not sure I ever left the Temple campus.  Sadface.

We walked around a ton, so Ben took several little cat-naps. And it was pretty chilly, so we finally got to bust out his awesome hand-knit poncho from his Auntie Loren.



Benjamin seemed less-than-thrilled during the semi-boring tour of Independence Hall, but he was all smiles the whole way through the long line at the Liberty Bell. He’s already become a bit of a flirt and the girl behind me was making him all googly-eyed.


Our favorite thing was the Benjamin Franklin Museum. There were lots of interactive displays that Ben fixated on. I actually learned a lot that I didn’t know about Benjamin F.  He was a pretty amazing dude. Even though we didn’t pick the name Benjamin for any particular reason (other than just really liking it), now I think I’ll edit a bit of his history and tell him that he is (sort of) named after a pretty flipping awesome Founding Father.

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I am already starting to imagine little Benjamin as an inventor, scientist, politician, musician, activist, diplomat, and writer.  Who says you have to pick just one?

With this weekend getaway we checked off our first city off the B-more bucket list. Still to go: NYC, DC, Richmond (where John goes for work once every six weeks), Ocean City (or some beachy town), Boston (maybe…it’s pretty far!), and who knows where else.

Here is the list:


I made it last month to help us keep track of the many B-more things we kept adding to our mental list. A year goes by fast, so we had to get serious people. It’s just another mesh of Pinterest ideas….  some scrapbook paper, hot glue gun, scissors, magnetic printing paper, and a metal baking sheet. Our mini-sized oven in this apartment wouldn’t accommodate this huge baking sheet so I re-purposed it temporarily.

In the spirit of MGoBlog, I’ll leave you with a kitten:


(This little guy was homeless and shivering in Philly. Some tourist found him and was looking for a pet adoption center. It took a lot of self-control to walk away because I had this throbbing impulse to snatch him and run fast without looking back.)



These days, Benjamin can’t keep his hands off things. I lost the pack of month-by-month stickers for awhile, and once I found them last week I decided we’d take belated four-month pics. Ben’s reaction? …No way are you going to put a sticker on my shirt and not let me play with it. To distract him, I handed him the old three-month sticker, still stuck on the sheet. Bad idea. He loved the new sticky sensation, but quickly got it stuck to the new sticker. So we had to rip it off. Doing it quick like a band-aid didn’t exactly work out in this case.


I don’t know what she’s talking about. I’ve never ripped stickers. Or pulled the hair out of the dog and eaten it. Or drooled buckets on every shirt in sight. Or peed and pooped in my bath. It must have been another baby.


My little creative genius said, “Mom, you always want me to smile. But doesn’t our audience want to see the full range of my emotional repertoire?” So we decided to do a serious photo shoot. He ended up smiling for the last few pictures anyway. Sometimes he just can’t help himself.


In case you hadn’t noticed, I am a total babe magnet. Those baby girls just can’t help themselves.
Aivry, Abriella, Lila… I’m looking at you.


Steely blue eyes.


Sometimes when we put Ben to sleep, John and I have a desperate urge to wake him up and make him laugh and smile. Or just to squeeze and cuddle him. It can be hard, but so far we have resisted the overpowering impulse. #onedayatatime #fightingthegoodfight
(Have I mentioned I have a new obsession with using the most ridiculous, superfluous hashtags possible? ….The inspiration? 1) This hilarious video, which I hope most of you have had the joy of seeing already; and 2) A wine-infused 10 minute rant (entirely in hashtags) with the hilarious girls at my last book club. #stillcrackingup



Well, this proves it. The lingual frenulotomy procedure Ben had done at 1 week old was a success.

The video is sideways. Not sure how to fix that… just turn your laptop/iphone/ipad sideways. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, Ben was born ever so slightly tongue tied. This means his lingual frenulum that connects the tongue to the base of the mouth extends too far forward, restricting movement of the tongue. It can sometimes cause problems in nursing and occasionally speech problems later on. So after much deliberation, we decided to have Ben’s doctor (who happened to be an expert in the procedure) go ahead and snip it. It turned out to be ridiculously easy and fast with only the tiniest drop of blood and no crying. Apparently there are very few nerve endings in this piece of tissue.

Mouth Wide Open

Benjamin watches me like a hawk whenever I eat. It is sheer AMAZEMENT to him. I like to be sure to eat lots of snacks throughout the day so that he has adequate opportunities to observe eating. (Wait, I shouldn’t have to make excuses…a breastfeeding momma needs her calories, right?)  If he is fussy and nothing else will soothe him, all I have to do is pop big mouthfuls of food and he will just stare with curiosity.

Today he took it a step further. While I took bites of my arugula salad, he kept holding his own mouth wide open. When it was clear I wasn’t going to share, he started trying to insert his entire fist into his mouth. At one point he even choked himself and had to cough it back out. If there is ever a sign that a baby is ready to start experimenting with solids, this must be it. We were planning to wait until closer to the six month mark to start him on rice cereal, but since he’s past four months and clearly eager to figure out this eating thing, we might try giving it a go sooner.


Lately, I keep catching myself with my mouth wide open too, metaphorically speaking. My next big milestone is not eating solids (haha!), but starting medical school. I’ve been getting more antsy about starting lately. Don’t get me wrong, I am savoring every minute of this year and sometimes wish it would stretch on forever. But I’m also ready. I’m itching to think about, talk about, & write about medicine.

So when my friend Ashley, a second year OB/Gyn resident, came to visit on Sunday, I just couldn’t get enough. Ash is on a Maternal-Fetal Medicine rotation in nearby Harrisburg, so she drove over to B-more for an all-day visit. While it was great to catch up in many ways, picking her brain and hearing about the types of cases she sees was possibly my favorite part.

Why else is medicine on my mind? Well, last night was the 1-year anniversary of finding out I got into the University of Michigan Med School! Oct 15th at midnight is when medical schools can legally tell the first batch of applicants that they’ve been accepted, and Michigan makes a VERY big deal out of it.  Around 11:55pm, when I realized the exact anniversary of my acceptance was about to happen, I started to feel that same nervous knot in my stomach that I felt exactly one year ago. As the minutes ticked closer to midnight, I thought about all of my future classmates who were about to find out the life-changing news and I wondered what creative trick Michigan had up its sleeve this year to inform them of their acceptance. Then, at the stroke of midnight, I pressed play on the video that changed my life 365 days ago. I sat there watching it again, mouth wide open.



Last night John and I had our FIRST real date in over four months. Since Benjamin was born we’ve toted him along to plenty of dinners and bars (yup, we’re those people).  But we’ve never left him with a babysitter. Why did we wait so long!?

We bought season tickets to Centerstage, a performing arts theater in our neighborhood because: 1) they are ridiculously cheap if you are under 35 years old –only $48 for all 7 shows!–and 2) it will force us to go out more without Ben; while a baby in a bar is a rare sight, a baby at the theater is pretty much unheard of.

Our goal is to see all 7 shows. The first one was Animal Crackers, a goofy, Marx Brothers vaudeville-style musical. John looked so awesome in the goofy Groucho glasses they passed out, but he stubbornly refused to let me take a picture. What a Grouch! 🙂 So Benjamin and I decided to try them on today:

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In preparation for the first big night out, we shelled out $35 to buy a one-month trial to With 12 replies so far to our post, it’s already WELL worth it. Half have been sketchy, my favorite being Iesha who started her reply with, “hello I FOUND YOU lol…”    (Dear Iesha, You might want to tone down the creepy factor.)

After breaking a few hearts , we have four girls waiting in line, so we’re now stocked with childcare options for the rest of this year. In a city where we don’t know anyone, this is awesome!

Brianna, the first sitter we tried out last night, turned out to be perfect. She came over at 6pm while Ben was taking his bath and helped us finish out his bedtime routine by giving him the bottle and putting him down. I warned her that I might act a bit neurotic since this is our first time leaving him. But still, I’m a tiny bit embarrassed by my lack of self-control. It went something like this:

Brianna: Don’t worry guys, I got this.   [as Ben screams bloody murder upon finishing his bottle]
Me: Okayyy… [slowly backing away and walking out to the door]
Toby:  Ruff Ruff Ruff [runs into Ben’s room barking]
Me:  We’d better get Toby. [John and I come back into Ben’s room.  John grabs Toby]
Me: Oh Benjamin, here’s Mommy, do you want Mommy to put you down to sleep? [taking Ben out of her arms]
{{{as the words were coming out of my mouth I couldn’t stand how obnoxious I sounded, but I also couldn’t fight my overpowering maternal instinct to soothe the crying babe. Brianna dear, this is what neurotic looks like…}}}
Brianna: You guys go ahead, don’t worry. Like you said, I’m sure he’ll stop crying in a minute.
Me: Okay, you’re right. THANK YOU! Bye. [slowly backing away again]
Me: Let’s just stand here for one minute until he stops crying [outside apartment door]
John: He’ll be fine, don’t worry. [his crying is already starting to fade away]
Me: You’re right. [slowwwly walking to elevator, stopping every few steps to listen]
Me: Let’s just wait here for a bit to be sure he doesn’t start crying again [at the elevator]
John: He will be fine. What’s the worst that can happen…he cries for 3 hours? Stop worrying. [the elevator door closes]
Me: WAIT! I forgot my cell phone. (convenient excuse!)  [getting back on the elevator to head back up to our floor]
Me: Ooops, I actually do have it here in my pocket. But let’s just walk back to the apartment door anyway to make sure he’s not crying anymore.
John: Okay, whatever will make you feel better.
[we stand outside the door like freakish stalkers listening. the neighbors, on their way out, give me a creeped out look. John waits patiently, exasperated]
Me: Okay, he’s not crying. We can go. I’m sorry I’m so crazy.
John: You are only a little crazy on the scale of craziness. It’s okay.


All that worrying for nothing…the little guy was a perfect sleeper (as usual). Still, I sat with my phone on my lap the entire play, just in case.

Next time we go out I know I’ll be way less anxious. There’s a first time for everything.