ashwagandha thyroid

November 2017

We started the month off with THIS on our counter. I proudly made it through November 1 without even a bite.

Thursday brought another happy day in the woods with our playgroup friends.

And then Friday was farm day! We love our Friday field trips.

And this is when Soren informed me, “My room is full of traps.”

We’ve always wanted to go to water fire in Providence, Rhode Island, and one Saturday the stars aligned. Since it gets dark so early we knew we could get home at a decent hour for bedtime, and with it being daylight saving we weren’t as set on a normal bedtime. We started out at a fun playground.

Made a stop for dinner while waiting for the sun to go down. Oddly, neither kid was interested in the spinach dip and the two pizzas we ordered.

And then… water fire! Honestly, I thought it was a bit of a letdown. But the kids loved it, so all was well. (And they were both asleep within five minutes of getting in the car to drive home, so we had a very peaceful ride!)

Cardboard boxes always make for a good time.

On our way home from dropping Soren off one morning we stopped by Walgreens to check on the Halloween clearance aisle. Jackpot! We got a few funny looks on the bike ride home.

Shaw is 2!

Since Shaw’s birthday feel on woodsy playgroup day, we stopped at TJ’s on the way to buy some of Shaw’s favorite snacks to share with our playgroup friends (hummus, Bambas, peanut butter pretzels, little cheese and crackers). Then on to the woods.

Everything was normal until Soren fell from a tree. He had been climbing this fallen down tree and had no problem balancing on the log when he was six feet off the ground (see picture). Somehow when he was closer to the ground, maybe three feet off the ground, he lost his balance and landed a couple feet from where I was sitting.

Lots of crying/screaming and holding his arm. He can be a bit of a cryer, but after a little while I figured he was probably really hurt. We hung out there for another 10 minutes or so until I realized the crying wasn’t going to stop. I stupidly declined help from friends to get to the car (it should’ve been just a seven- or eight-minute walk) and had a miserable 20-minute sweatfest trying to carry BOTH boys and our bags. Both kids were crying, of course. Soren would freak out anytime I would change positions because it would jostle his arm. And Shaw kept slipping on the leaves and just wanted to be carried. Disaster. Soren kept screaming the whole drive home. I made an appt at the pediatrician on the drive, and Tim happened to be downtown and could quickly get on the train to meet us at the house to take Shaw in for naps.

Soren finally calmed down by the time we got to the doc, but they recommended against doing X-rays since they couldn’t pinpoint the pain and didn’t want him to have the radiation of lots of X-rays. Soren wasn’t very helpful at determining where, exactly, it hurt. They gave him a sling, which I eventually coaxed him into. Getting his seatbelt on was like torture every time. I still am not sure if he’s a big baby or if he was in a ton of pain.

Soren slept upstairs that night on the floor near me (he had already been sleeping with me while Tim slept downstairs to train Shaw on how to use the green light clock). Miserable, miserable night for both of us. He would wake up whimpering every time he would try to move his body, then he would cry, and so on and so forth. Eventually I brought him into my bed and he did better propped up against me.

In the morning it was clear things weren’t better, so we went in again for the most miserable X-ray experience. So so much crying and screaming. They wanted him to move his hand/arm every which way since they still had no idea where it might be broken. At this point I was REALLY hoping something was broken and there was a reason for all his crying. Turns out it was a supracondylar fracture (above the elbow). But they wanted to re-do some of the X-rays, so back down two floors for more torture. Tim and Shaw were in the neighborhood, so I called him in to see if Soren would want a blessing. I think he liked the idea of stalling. After insisting on some private calm-down time with each of us (and then us together), we told Soren we just had to do it. More screaming, including, “I WANT A BLESSING! I WANT A BLESSING!” He gets SO worked up about stuff. (His doc later described him to me as “tightly wound.”) Finally we used force to get it done. Then we all had a good laugh when the X-ray techs gave him stickers, including one that said, “X-rays are FUN!”

So off we went to Children’s Hospital (since it was a Friday and maybe Veteran’s Day observed, the ortho wasn’t in our ped’s office or in their Boston office). Soren was so tired from the sleepless night before and all the trauma of the doctor’s visits.

The hospital experience was a breeze compared to the X-rays, though. (And while I’m typing this now he’s telling me, “I had fun getting my cast on. Well, I didn’t really like that orange medicine they made me take.”) After getting the bright pink cast, we treated ourselves to Regina’s pizza and Red Mango frozen yogurt (both in the hospital food court). We’d had a miserable 24 hours, but by the time he and I were driving home I felt like we were already on the other side of the whole thing. Felt so good.

Soren joined Tim and some friends for a “pizza crawl” one Saturday. Right up Soren’s alley.

Then on to Thanksgiving. We drove down Thursday morning and made it to Brooklyn in record time. Got settled at our apartment, cooked my rolls and stuffing, then headed over to dinner. Delicious, as always.

City Bakery for hot chocolate and croissants.

After I had brunch and shopping time with friends, I met up with Tim and the boys — and Ben! — at Brooklyn Bridge Park for some evening fun. Playgrounds, carousel, walking along the waterfront. Then walked back home to rest our tired feet and tired kids.

Saturday we hung around Carroll Gardens in the morning, visiting more playgrounds and bagel shops.

Tim met up with a friend he hadn’t seen since high school. In the afternoon we did our own pizza crawl as Tim’s single birthday request. Played at the playground in Washington Square Park in the pitch-black dark, despite the sightings of big fat rats.

Had an easy drive home Sunday morning. Our easiest road trip yet — I didn’t sit in the back seat at all! No crying, no complaining, no temptation to use screens, and I didn’t even have to do much entertaining with toys and books. We’ve arrived. (Until the next kid comes along and we start all over with the hard stuff.)

When we got back we spend the next week kicking off the Christmas season with the tree lighting in Copley Square, Light the World each morning, the annual Relief Society wreathmaking party, and putting up Christmas lights for our first time ever (thanks to Ben for doing the grunt work).

Tim had a birthday! He took off work early and went to a movie by himself. Then we all met in Davis Square for dinner at his beloved Boston Burger Company. As we were heading out the door to walk to dinner it occurred to me that I probably was supposed to make a birthday dessert. Totally forgot. I did put candles in his oatmeal that morning, so maybe that was enough to count.

And we ended November with a return to the woods. No broken bones this time!

October 2017

On the first of October we were due to pick Mackenzie up at the airport (so she could then drive up and pick up our AT hiking parents), so we drove out to Deer Island for a morning walk.

General conference watching… sitting as close together as possible

We went to Walden with the grandparents, but the only photo I took was of this nudie baby. It works so well to strip him down, rinse him off in the water, put him on a clean blanket/towel in the stroller, and wheel him up to the car with no sand touching him. What will we do when he’s too big for the stroller?!



We brought the grandparents to woodsy since that’s where they’ve been living for the past many months.

And then to Monotomy Rocks Park for some fishing and playground time.

Tim was heading out for a work trip one weekday evening, so he took the boys for a park visit in the morning.

And then disc golf with Soren in the afternoon.

This was the sunniest, most beautiful woodsy day! I laid in the field and soaked up some Vitamin D while Soren made some sort of creation with leaves.


You know Halloween is near when you find this guy in your bed.

This little sweetie is turning into a reader! Hallelujah!

And then, the autumn day we’d all been waiting for… apple picking! One of Soren’s friends had a birthday party at Honeypot Hill, so it was an extra fun time.

He doesn’t look impressed here, but we had a super hayride complete with a steep-ish downhill and lots of bumps!

During one of Soren’s piano practice sessions (via Hoffman Academy), he was asked to play five favorite songs for friends or family members. So we opted to video record his songs.

When Tim got back we decided we felt bad he missed our apple picking excursion. (And I started getting stressed about not having enough farm-fresh apples.) So we went again! This time to Parlee Farms for 40 more pounds of apples!

Shaw and Dada took a walk one Sunday morning to watch crew boats. Shaw’s future, perhaps?

I found him like this one day — on our back porch, standing on top of the chest freezer.

Just a perfect autumn day at the park with Superman.

We stopped by Goodwill a few days before Halloween to search for a white sheet (the classic ghost costume). This coulda worked too, maybe?

And then, another autumn day we’d been waiting for — the Boston Book Festival!

Tim took the kids on a Mount Auburn Cemetery adventure one morning while I was in a church meeting.

And then, Halloween! We had to go find some face paint an hour before trick-or-treating, so we got to enjoy some of the Mass Ave trick-or-treating festivities.

The cutest train conductor.

Soren was REALLY into scaring people.

Figuring out the trick-or-treating thing. (Though he never really figured out that he was collecting treats!)

Other October fun not pictured: Tim hiked around the White Mountains one Friday with his brother and a friend. Lots of trips to Magnolia and other playgrounds. A Saturday afternoon in the North End and a stop at Paramount for dinner. More woodsy playgroups. STEM, Spanish, and farm school for Soren. A rainy walk in Mount Auburn Cemetery. A work trip for Tim to the Netherlands. A T-ball class for Soren. And many other things I’m fogetting about!

September 2017

We put the “labor” in Labor Day by moving our new fridge into our house… in a rather creative fashion.

We had come home from Virginia in JULY to a broken fridge/freezer. (Which means we said goodbye to a couple hundred dollars worth of food.) After it was deemed irreparable, we ordered a new one and awaited its arrival. But then delivery guys COULD NOT GET IT INTO OUR HOUSE (or get the old one out of the house). They tried removing doors, they tried both stairways. (We later learned the previous owners had had the fridge hoisted up by a crane and brought in to the second floor during their renovations.) In the process, the delivery guys realized part of the fridge was actually damaged and should be sent back anyway.

So… we waited and waited (relying on two mini fridges to get us through), and after six weeks with no real fridge/freezer, we got our second delivery and brought over a crew of friends from church. We took the railings off of our second-story porch, got some ropes, and away we went. First we ditched the broken fridge.

We used our kids’ wagon to bring the new fridge from the garage to the front of the house.

And then, we (they) hoisted!

Lots of styrofoam left over for sword fights.

We celebrated that evening with a bike ride to Lexington for pizza and playground time.

That week was back-to-school for Boston kids, but since we decided to hold off on kindergarten for a year, we continued our summer play with a Walden trip.

We decided to build some structure into our school year, though, in a homeschool sort of fashion. On Mondays Soren began attending a STEM class at Ready, Set, Kids!, and on Wednesdays he did a Spanish class at the same place. Thursdays were for woodsy playgroup, and Fridays were Soren’s favorite — farm school at Wright-Locke Farm. All that fun left lots of time for me and Shaw to play by ourselves!

Shaw has the cutest head nods and shakes for “yes” and “no.” We made a number of attempts to document.

One Saturday we had a work day at the garden, so the kids ran free at the playground and found a little frog friend! (We rewarded ourselves later with bagel sandwiches in Davis Square.)

We took advantage of the perfect fall weather and enjoyed a nature walk one Sunday morning in the Fells.

Thank goodness for this wagon. Tim used it one night to make deliveries to the neighbors (a borrowed mini fridge from one, a stroller from another).

Just another woodsy playgroup day in the Fells.

Shaw has become adept at pointing out the blazes that mark the trails (trying to impress his hiking grandparents).

Soren waits all year for town day — he knows he can sucker Tim into buying him a lightsaber (which will break a few days later) while they watch the fireworks.

We had our summer celebration halfway through September to wrap up our summer goals project. We had to modify our goals somewhat, but I’d call the whole thing a success! We base our goals off the scripture in Luke (2:52) that says, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” So we do one goal for each of those four categories.

We celebrated at Kimball Farm (finally using some free passes we earned when we bought our car!) with bumper cars, a zip line, ice cream, and more!

We live for Kimball Farm’s sundaes.

This seems to be the only picture I took on our anniversary, and it has nothing to do with our anniversary. I have no idea why there was an eggshell on the stairs going up to my bedroom. Where are the insides?! Oh, kids.

Each week after farm class at Wright Locke Farm, the kids got to take turns on the barn swing until the parents arrived. Could there be a better swing setup?!

I have way too many pictures and videos of partially dressed kids!

Will it fall?!

September days at Walden are just the best. (Until we’re leaving for the day and don’t know if we’re saying goodbye for the day or for the season!)

The next day was another hot one, so we ventured to Cambridge for a splash pad day (why does every other town shut theirs down by Labor Day?!).

Our last day in the woods for September was a magical one. One of those days where the imaginative play was at its peak!

Peek-a-boo over the blowdown.

I don’t know how this game began, but it had something to do with sleeping.

One day Soren was playing with this matching game and figured out the concept of square numbers. His mind amazes me.

Soren got his own library card! Age 5 is magical already.

Portugal Day 15 — Ponta Delgada (August 2017)

Good morning, Ponta Delgada! We only had one day on the island, and we really hadn’t planned anything (I think we’d run out of planning energy by then). So we wandered to the tourist train “station” to see what they had to offer. Saw the cutest houses on our walk.

While waiting for our tour, we explored the Forte de S. Bras, a small fortress near the main harbor.

Then on to the “train.” We opted for the garden tour, which took us through lots of cool side streets and secret gardens.

Very serious about the whole thing.

The most amazing trees!

Matching poses, part 1.

Matching poses, part 2.

We ended up doing a second train tour as well — this one highlighting local architecture. After that, we wandered around the city for a bit to kill time until Tim’s selected lunch spot would open.


I tried to teach Soren the fine art of statue imitation.

Can’t get enough of Portugal’s streets!

Cheese wheels galore.

And then lunch. Tim had sought out the most non-touristy and local spot he could find with the best Portugal has to offer. It was tiny, and we were definitely the only non-locals there (also the only ones with kids). Shaw was crazy, which put a damper on things. But it turned out to be a trip highlight, since Soren decided he loved the grilled mackerel. We also had stewed beef and sardines. Plus lots of potatoes.

Tim’s favorite quote of Soren’s on the trip happened while at the restaurant, when Soren said, “You know what’s kinda cool? When you’re in a place and the food is different, you just kinda have to get used to it!”

We walked home while Shaw napped in the stroller. There was not a single gelato place on our route, so we settled for Magnum bars and a fruity popsicle for Soren.

And just like that, our trip was over. We packed up, walked to a nearby hotel to call a cab, panicked when it took forever for the cab to come, then eventually headed off to airport.


I had jotted down a few other trip notes, mostly cute things Soren said on the trip, and now I don’t have the context on some of these for when they happened or why:

At some point while we were split up into pairs, Soren told me, “I hope Tim and Shaw are having fun!”

When we were in Lagos near the stone arches by the beach, Soren said, “We have Duplos of those!” (We do have a few Duplo arches.)

Also, so many head pats. The kids received little pats on the head every day from lots of older Portuguese people. They were so friendly to the kids!

One day while Soren and I were walking back to our apartment from some outing or another, and I was probably sweating to death and out of breath going up and down all the steep sidewalks, I commented, “Portugal has so many hills!” And Soren, licking yet another popsicle, said, “Yeah, and so many treats!”


Portugal Day 14 — Lisbon to Ponta Delgada (August 2017)

We started our morning with breakfast on the porch before beginning the packing routine. (Mackenzie took the boys on a walk —thank goodness — while we tackled the suitcases.)

Packing — my nemesis.

Then, off to Lisbon to catch our flights. We stopped outside of Lisbon for lunch — kebabs and burgers. Then, to the airport.

Good thing we had someone to push the stroller!

The kids made friends. Meanwhile, Tim snuck off to his fancy lounge and brought us back some snacks.

An easy flight for all! (Tim and Shaw were in business class, again. Soren and I in the back with the regular folks.)

After we landed, we took a million years to figure out how to get to our apartment (no Ubers or Lyfts allowed at the airport, apparently, and no buses working). Eventually we got a cab (no car seats — yikes!). Our apartment for a night was lovely, but NO WIFI. I thought I might die, but it turned out I was fine. We bathed our filthy kids, then ventured out for dinner. Our apartment wasn’t in the greatest location for food, and a lot of things were already closed for the night. So… we ended up at Telepizza, a European chain that is… not good. BUT, they had a ball pit, where Tim captured the best video of our kids that we could ever imagine. We all went to bed around 11 p.m. — very unlike us, but we figured we might as well start adjusting back to EST!

If you’re a bacon lover, make sure you get the pizza with “crispy bacon, extra crispy bacon, and bacon.”

Portugal Day 13 — Amarante (August 2017)

Our last full day in Portugal was one of our most low key. We lounged around in the house in the morning since it was raining outside — maybe the only day of the two-week trip that bad weather kept us inside. Lots of thunder and lighting the night before. Shaw somehow slept through it all, but Soren needed a bedmate. (Which means Tim let me sleep in that morning!)

Once the sun came out we walked to the river and rented a paddle boat.

Mackenzie and I occupied the drivers’ seats — Tim handled the boys in the back.

We had lunch along the river on the cutest little patio.

Apparently some of the summer festivals in Portugal include fertility-related themes. One particularly peculiar custom is exchanging “bolos de São Gonçalo,” a sweet pastry and fertility symbol, unmistakably shaped like a man’s you-know-what.

Then back home for naps and quiet time. After a little more rain we took a walk to the Parque Florestal de Amarante (the park we’d visited a couple days before. This time we checked out the aviary and watched the peacocks fight.

For our last Amarante hurrah, we walked to get gelato and crepes.

Then we explored a bit of the town we hadn’t seen yet. We wandered over to the ruins of the Solar de Magalhães — a XVI century manor house owned by the Magellan family. We also went into the Igreja de São Pedro and got a great private tour by the caretaker there. He explained so many neat intricacies and symbols in the church that I have since forgotten… but at the time I remember thinking it was all very amazing!

Shaw became obsessed with church bells during our trip. So we had to video document some of his faves!

That night Tim and I took advantage of Mackenzie’s presence and went on a romantic date to… the grocery store. Had to prep for the next day’s travels!

Portugal Day 12 — Amarante, Guimarães, Braga (August 2017)

We woke up earlyish on this Sunday (Shaw was in our bed most of the night) and made it to most of church in Guimarães (didn’t understand a word). There were about 30 people in the branch there, and we met missionaries from New Hampshire, Arizona, Idaho, and Portugal.

Next, we headed to the Guimarães castle.

Next, we walked to the teleférico de Penha and rode to the top to explore up there. We ate lunch at a little restaurant (goat, pork, bacalao, rice, potatoes, soup), walked around the gardens/church, then rode the tram back down.

Next, we drove to Bom Jesus do Monte just outside of Braga — a sanctuary and pilgrimage site with an impressive staircase system (rising 381 feet, on top of the climb up to the stairs from the parking lot, if you choose that route). Shaw slept in car under Mackenzie’s watch while I started a brisk walk up the path to the famous stairs; Tim and Soren took the funicular up. I entered the church and got caught in a pilgrimage group there from Fatima. We were all sitting in the benches, taking it all in, but when everyone stood and started singing I made my exit.

After we returned to our cranky baby at the car (sorry, Mackenzie!) we ate peaches in the parking lot and watched a car get towed (kids’ choice). Then back home for fruits/veggies and meats for dinner on the back patio. Oh, and bread. Our Airbnb came with freshly delivered rolls or breads every day — some as big as our heads!

Then we walked into town for gelato and crepes — we all deserved it. And the kids were in bed by 8!



All is well until you get powdered sugar all over your shirt.

Portugal Day 11 — Amarante (August 2017)

Our first full day in Amarante was a Saturday, so we began at the mercado, where local families have been selling their produce and wares for more than 100 years.

Tim couldn’t resist the meats.

Prettiest little town!

We walked to a nearby park, and Soren was excited there were enough stone benches for each person to have his/her own.

Travel checkers — perfect for a game in the park.

Our afternoon adventure included a crazy drive on narrow winding roads overlooking scary, steep cliffs, then a super hot hike to Fisgas de Ermelo. Tim had researched it pretty thoroughly and assured us it would be worth it. He was right!

This kid is a sucker for a good view.

Soren’s look by the end of the hike.

Just when we thought we’d seen it all, a herd of goats came waltzing down the road — followed by their shepherd!

Portugal Day 10 — Lisbon to Coimbra to Amarante (August 2018)

On Friday we said goodbye to Lisbon and our apartment with the view of the castelo.

While we packed up the apartment and Tim picked up the rental car, Soren figured out what the remote control could do. Thanks to his Spanish preschool, he could pick out a few words here and there!

We headed north for a couple of hours until we hit Coimbra, Portugal’s former capital city.

Coimbra is home to a preserved medieval old town and the historic University of Coimbra. Soren did not fall into the fountain.

Tiles, tiles everywhere.

Inside sé velha de Coimbra — the old cathedral of Coimbra.

Soren walked into the church and knelt right down like it was regular.

The prettiest pink building you’ve ever seen.

We took a long walk up lots of hills to the famed University of Coimbra.

Great views from the top!

Portugal Day 9 — Belem (August 2017)

The kids woke up early today, which made it easy to get ready and get out the door for our train ride from Lisbon to Belem.

After a 35-minute train ride, we found ourselves at the Monument to the Discoveries.

From there, we walked over to the Belem Tower — and found some fun along the way.

We definitely did NOT wait in that long line to get in.

Next we walked over to the gardens by the monastery for a sandwich lunch at the playground.

Then, the monastery!

Then, time for treats. We walked to the Pastéis de Belém in the little town for natas — the famous little custard tarts.

And then why not top it off with gelato from Santini?

We had to wait awhile for a train back to Lisbon, and when one finally arrived it was full. Soren cried halfway home because he wanted a seat. Shaw was wild as well. A lady gave them candy, maybe to be nice or maybe to try to shut them up. We finally got off because they were too crazy. It was too late for naps, so we pushed through the rest of the day by stopping at the money museum, which was surprisingly fun.

Shaw and his stroller got their own personal lift up the stairs.

I can’t stop laughing at these. The museum had some fun interactive exhibits, including getting your face “printed” on Portuguese bills.

On the way back to the apartment we stopped by a market and got suckling pig sandwiches and a kebab. The kids were kebab fanatics. Also, VERY tired at this point. So Mackenzie and I ventured out after bedtime for an adults-only Indian dinner!