Ben & Nana

My mom celebrated her birthday with us in Baltimore. We had so much fun and packed in a lot…pizza making, yoga, getting the world’s best massages, dinner at Dooby’s, an Irish play at Centerstage, and LOTS of playing and crafting.  Since I know she will be reading this  (Hi Mom! :)… here is a note from Benjamin about all the things he misses from your visit.

Top 5 Reasons Benjamin Misses Nana

1. I miss Nana’s ingenious double screen time in the backseat of the car. Now I have to scream my head off all by myself without the double iPhone distraction to save me from myself. 


2. I miss Nana’s expert cuddles during my sleepy bedtime bottle. No one holds my bottle for me anymore. Don’t let that Dad fellow fool you, this nine-month-old does all the work around here.


3. I miss Nana’s superb diaper changes. No one else seems to adore changing my diaper anymore like she did. Jeesh…What does it take to get appreciated for a good quality poo around here?


4. I miss Nana’s sophisticated animal noises during storytime. I never realized what amateurs Mom & Dad were until I experienced stories with my clever and amusing Nana.


5. I miss yoga with Nana. How is my Cobra pose looking, Nana?


Toby Misses Nana Too!



Mom… I’m sure you are going through withdrawals now that you are back in Michigan, so here are a few more pics for your Benjamin-fix. 🙂







A String Thing

In a former life, Benjamin was a cat. Here he was as a kitten:

Reincarnation is tricky…. so upon further consideration, he might actually have been this next little guy. We’re not sure.

Either way… the reason we know he was a cat is that he has an all-consuming fetish for strings (and string-like thingamajigs).  He enjoys finding them, catching them, batting them, staring into their pendulous wonderment, and most of all: chewing on them. You tell me, how is this not a cat?

It took less than 5 minutes to scan the house for some of his favorites. I put them together below, just so that you can see the eclectic variety of strings that make up his sophisticated palate…


As you might notice, he does have some partiality toward sweatshirt strings hanging from my neck and strings from the curtain pulls. Once his eyes lock in on these varieties and he manages to get one in his little fist, he let’s out a particularly blissful sigh (an Epic Sigh, in fact), as if all his dreams have now been fulfilled. As if he has achieved every noble purpose in this life and he is now ready to move on to the next life…. as a… STRING, of course.

I tried to capture the adorable perfection of the Epic Sigh, but every time I took my phone out he got too distracted. Unfortunately, the one thing in the world he loves more than strings is my phone.

But as a consolation, I did get some pretty cute stuff on video when I offered him my Glorious Sweatshirtstrings earlier this morning:


The Littlest Cupid

Once a month, I meet up with some awesome women to drink wine and eat chocolate. Sometimes we make a craft. Occasionally we talk about books.

As it happens, these girls know how to do playdates. This afternoon was the Valentine’s Party Playdate.  My little cupid and I were ready to bring our A-game.

When I saw the apples & oranges Valentine printable here, it was an easy win.


We brought some mac’n’cheese yummies. And we left with the Valentine jackpot! Benjamin gets the carrots/apricot/pear puree pouch & Mommy gets the rest.  Thank you, kind little people!


Cara prepped this cute little craft for the kids. She’s the lovely lady who started the book club and hosted this playdate party.  Benjamin LOVED getting his hand painted, but decided to make a ball with his fist when we went to put it on paper. Cara came to the rescue and pried his little fingers open, so we could get this goofy looking thing as a result. And we only got a few smudges of paint on our clothes. Another win.


I could not stop laughing when the time came for the little people photo-op and Benjamin got extremely confused and anxious, then pulled his freak-out card.


Most of the time, Benjamin could be found chowing down on any toy or object within reach. But, as one would expect at a Valentine’s Day party, he did get a little distracted by the ladies…  (You can click on the pictures below to read the text better!)


Here are all the little cupids, like ducks in a row.  NOTE: You don’t see me, but I am crouched on the side of Ben, propping him up on the arm-rest so that he can get a leg up on the big kids.  ALSO NOTE: This was after he freaked out and we took a moment to calm down. Trusty thumb came to the rescue.

Ben Valentines Playdate

I love my little cupid.

Something else I love (although only 0.0001% as much as my Ben) is PicMonkey, which I used to make these photo collages.

8 months

8 months


Benjamin had another fever today, so it was cuddles all day long. These bugs always hit on Thursdays, 2 days after his weekly daycare day. Ugh! Luckily the little man wasn’t throwing up this time (yet?), he just wanted to be a cling-on all day long. I managed to get him to detach for a few minutes to take these pictures. He seemed in a temporary happy/silly mood at the time, but once my camera was out he was pretty serious again. Oh well.


Floor 20.5

We have become quite set in our little routines–Benjamin, Toby and I.  It’s become a bit like Groundhog Day (the movie). Speaking of… Happy Groundhog Day!

 The Morning Routine:  Toby asks to go outside to “go potty” every day at 8:52am, give or take a few minutes. On the way back in, Toby gets spoiled with petting by the Lili (the building cleaning lady) and Dwayne (the maintenance man). I swear on my life they must wait for Toby in the lobby every day, just standing around. It is pretty endearing. Then Tyree, our favorite front desk guy, gets Benjamin to laugh at least once before the elevator comes. Then we ride it all the way back up and I count the numbers that chime by for Ben. If I don’t count he stares at me, then looks at the numbers, then back at me, expectantly.  [Side note:  I didn’t know until we lived here that there is no 13th floor in many buildings. A few years from now, when Ben can count on his own (crazy thought!), I think he will be saying, “Eleven, Twelve… Fourteen, Fifteen”  because he has heard me skip 13 SO. MANY. TIMES.]  Finally, we arrive on the 21st floor. Or should we consider it the 20th? Let’s just compromise and call it the 20.5th. As soon as we get home, Benjamin is programmed to go straight into nap-mode. I’ll spare you the boring details of the pre-nap ritual.  Then I gulp down more coffee so that I’m not tempted to take a nap myself. Then I work blog.

We’ve been blessed to have so many visitors up here on Floor 20.5. And several more to come in the Spring. We absolutely love to have people stay with us. Random fact: We have even talked about someday owning a bed and breakfast when we retire. We came up with this plan when we went to Costa Rica several summers ago, and stayed in the greatest little bed and breakfast.

There are still several of you (friends & fam) for whom we have not or will not be lucky enough to host out here in Baltimore. Although… (it goes without saying) the invitation is always open if you still want to come visit! But I wanted to post a quick little tour of our little place for those of you who may not make it.

This was from August 1st, 6 months ago, when we first moved in:

And yesterday, February 1st, 6 months later:

Halfway Donuts

As of today, we have 6 months left in Baltimore. 6 months left until we move to Ann Arbor. 6 months left before I start med school. 6 months left until Benjamin starts daycare full time.  Wow!

So today, I made SIX donuts in celebration. Any excuse to bake around here is taken quite seriously.

I bought this glorious and completely unnecessary kitchen item for John’s birthday, and all of a sudden baking donuts became a Saturday morning tradition addiction. But we haven’t made them in several months, so we were long overdue.

Just for fun, here are a few of my favorites that I’ve made along with my own pictures of how they turned out:

Brown Butter + Chocolate (recipe)


Blueberry + Ricotta + Vanilla + Lemon (recipe)



Cinnamon Sugar (recipe)


Apple Cinnamon + Brown Butter (recipe)


Cinnamon Roll (recipe)

I didn’t take a picture of these, so you’ll have to check out the recipe to see!


Have I ever mentioned that John and I want to start a food blog? So many things, so little time. 🙂