ashwagandha thyroid

November 2015

November has become a bit of a blur. But I’m proud of myself for not getting more than a few months behind on our family journal!

IMG_20151102_095923 (1)

The first day of November was just about the most amazingly beautiful day I could imagine. Super warm, perfectly sunny, and autumn goodness in all its glory.

IMG_20151102_095935 (1)

IMG_20151102_100448 (1)

IMG_20151102_114438 (1)

IMG_20151102_120408 (1)

We met friends at Beaver Brook for stream stomping, playground exploration, and a picnic party.

IMG_20151103_171110 (1)

Soren and I typically stopped by the playground on Mt. Auburn street after my prenatal appointments. One day we left the hospital at 5 p.m. and it was pretty much pitch black outside. I had a hard time explaining to Soren why we couldn’t play, so we played. In the dark.

IMG_20151104_075835 (1)

I tried to prep Soren verbally for the big life change that was headed our way. Many days he would ask if I could tell him something about babies. So one day we had a swaddle lesson.

IMG_20151106_113742 (1)

We visited the Museum of Science one morning when I started to realize that impromptu trips would become much more difficult soon. He spent a long while experimenting with bubbles (and safety goggles).

IMG_20151106_192551 (1)

A house full of sweet friends joined me for a baby “sprinkle” (not to be confused with a baby shower). So fun to celebrate! And check out this cake!

IMG_20151107_104257 (1)

It’s kind of nice to have a tiny yard and no responsibility for raking (thank you, landlord!).

IMG_20151107_104952 (1)

IMG_20151108_095031 (1)

I love when Tim and Soren take Sunday morning adventures and leave me to nap in peace. The Arboretum is one of their favorite spots.

IMG_0685 (1)

And then, Shaw was born! Full story and more photos here.

IMG_20151112_121302 (1)

First car ride (coming home from the hospital).

IMG_20151114_143609 (1)

Remember this sleeper? (5 days old)

IMG_20151114_191148 (1)

Soren has been strangely adaptable with this new brother thing. He even shares his Llama Llama with Shaw when he’s feeling sad. (5 days old)

IMG_20151116_201204 (1)

Lots of sleepy snuggles. And lots of time on the Boppy.

IMG_20151117_114946 (1)

Eight days old.

IMG_20151118_091755 (1)

Dads’ breakfast at Soren’s school.

IMG_20151118_102210 (1)

Soren had been eyeing this construction site on the way to and from school for weeks. So he and Tim stopped one day to check it out.

IMG_20151118_111507 (1)

Sunday naps for all! (9 days old)

IMG_20151119_162722 (1)

A blurry selfie from our first family-of-four walk. (10 days old)

IMG_20151120_173507 (1)

Nobody turn me in to DCF, but Shaw didn’t get his first bath until he was 11 days old. I guess we were busy or something.

IMG_20151121_165018 (1)

I told Soren about the giant bagel sculpture at The Street in Chestnut Hill, and he begged for days to be able to go see it.

IMG_20151126_114647 (1)

Thanksgiving Day family kickball game.

IMG_20151126_114811 (1)

His form looks good until you notice that he’s kicking the ball in the completely wrong direction.

IMG_20151127_102855 (1)

Tim and Soren took a Black Friday bike ride while Shaw and I were lazy at home.

IMG_20151127_111146 (1)

Disc golf! Look at that form!

IMG_20151127_112546 (1)

The cutest caddy you ever did see.

IMG_20151127_170725 (1)

My sweeties.

Happy Birth Day, Shaw!

Welcome to the world, Shaw!

Welcome to the world, Shaw!

During labor and for the few days after Shaw’s birth, I was fairly certain I’d never want to do it again. I thought Soren’s birth was the hardest thing I’d ever done. But this topped it! At the same time, I keep reminding myself that I can do anything for four hours, no matter how painful or difficult it may be. So maybe I’ll have a third kid someday.

On to the birth story! Shaw’s birth day was not exactly what I was expecting — all I’ve ever known is Soren’s birth, which seemed perfect, and I’d wondered for months how we would all deal with things the second go ‘round. I’ll admit that my primary concern was Soren — how would he handle having someone else put him to bed? What if he woke up one morning and Tim and I weren’t there to greet him? Would Tim be able to take care of Soren while also spending time with me and baby post birth?

Partly because I’d been so worried about all that and mostly because I rocked childbirth the first time, I didn’t exactly prepare for labor and birth this time. I definitely thought about it, but I didn’t dive in to the books and my Hypnobabies mp3s and internet research like I did when I was pregnant with Soren. I was banking on the belief that childbirth is a perfectly natural experience that my body and mind would know how to handle when the time came. And although labor was insanely intense and difficult, everything happened as nature designed it to, and the end result was as perfect as can be.

In the weeks leading up to Shaw’s birth day, my body had felt much differently than with the last few weeks of my pregnancy with Soren. With Soren I was hoping to go past my due date to better accommodate our pending move to a new apartment. I felt great and was still going for long walks every day, fully enjoying the pregnancy and all that came with it. This time, I wasn’t quite as enamored with the whole nine-months-pregnant stage. Don’t get me wrong — I still loved my pregnancy and found it far easier to deal with than taking care of a newborn. But I was more tired this time around. I was less active in the final month, so my body was feeling a little out of shape. I had a harder time sleeping. The “practice” contractions I never experienced with Soren were very real this time, and each one reminded me what labor feels like (which scared me very much!). And I loathed all the bending over and getting up and down from the floor that parenting a preschooler requires. And since Soren was born at 38 weeks, I had a hard time not thinking that pregnancy lasts 38 weeks, and once I drew close to that marker it became difficult to imagine dealing with my huge, heavy pregnant body much longer.

A couple days before I hit 38 weeks, a few dear friends threw me a baby “sprinkle,” which is a casual version of a baby shower, free of presents and games and anything organized. We joked about the fact that Soren was born two days after my baby shower for him — maybe the same thing would happen this time?

We continued on with our weekend, and on Monday morning I had a scheduled appointment with Dr. Hardiman. As usual, it took forever to get Soren out of the house, and we were very late, and we had to wait awhile in the waiting room. And, as usual, the appointment took about two seconds because the heartbeat was normal and I had no concerns or questions. I declined any sort of vaginal check, knowing it wouldn’t mean anything either way. I joked with Dr. Hardiman that today could be the day, but I admitted that I felt no signs of labor coming on. So off we went, stopping to play at the playground. And then Soren and I got in a little tiff when it was time to go home for lunch and naps. I was incredibly frustrated at his defiance since he behaves that way so rarely, and I eventually had to climb up a shaky ladder on to the play structure to carry his screaming self down and to the car. I remember thinking how ridiculous I probably looked climbing up there, dragging a 40-pound kid down the ladder, and battling him into his car seat, with my giant belly getting in the way all the while. Not our finest moment. I don’t remember what else happened that morning, but I do remember there being a few other tough moments, where Soren and I just weren’t clicking like we usually do. It made me feel really sad, since we typically get along swimmingly and don’t experience much contention.

So then, during Soren’s nap, when my body started feeling a little different, I went into panic mode. What if the baby was coming tonight, and Soren and I were on bad terms? This was not the day to have a baby! I couldn’t leave him when I’d been feeling so frustrated with him! I was already beginning to miss Soren being my one and only. And I got kind of emotional about it. (I did realize that all these feelings were probably not on Soren’s radar, and the events of the day probably didn’t phase him much.) So I got him up from his nap around 3:30 p.m. and we headed outside to the park — I wanted him to know he had my full attention in case this was his last day as an only child!

Before we went out, I started to feel a little crampy. And leaky. Neither of which I had felt when going into labor with Soren. I knew my water hadn’t broken, but there was definitely some fluid leaving my body down there. There was also a little bit of blood when I went to the bathroom (something else I didn’t experience when pregnant with Soren). I started prepping Soren, letting him know the baby could come tonight, and what would he think about having someone else there to put him to bed or take him to preschool in the morning. (We’d gone over these possible scenarios with him many times, but this time it was for real!)

I next called my mom to let her know things maybe were happening, since they were planning to drive from Virginia to Boston whenever I went into labor. I told her it might all be nothing, but who knows? I also called Tim, who offered to come home right then instead of waiting another 30 minutes, when he’d been planning to end his work day. I told him there was a good chance nothing would happen tonight, but I never refuse an offer to have him come home a few minutes early. So then Soren and I continued on with our play. We raced around the track at the playground. We kicked the soccer ball around the field. We threw the frisbee. We jumped around on the hopscotch numbers. And then I got a little crampier, and the sun was beginning to set. So we walked back home and settled in on Soren’s rug with a few books. I texted our doula to let her know I was feeling things, and right when she texted back to ask if I’d had any contractions — it was 5:15 p.m. — the first one hit me.

IMG_20151109_184730

The final belly shot.

I was on my hands and knees, breathing through it, and Soren was wondering why I couldn’t focus on the book we were reading. But he was a good sport through the first few contractions, which came about 15 minutes apart. After two or so, I texted the doula again and called Dr. Hardiman to let her know tonight was the night. She said she’d be ready for whenever the contractions got close enough together that I wanted to come into the hospital. Tim came home around then, and things started to really pick up. Tim says that at this point I kept saying, “I don’t know what to do! I don’t know anything!”

From there, I moved to my bed to labor away, and Soren joined me at one point — complete with deep breaths on his end to “help” me with mine. He was a little concerned about me. We shared some good cuddles in between.

IMG_20151109_183202

Tim got dinner going for Soren, and the doula showed up at 7 p.m. I kept telling her I didn’t remember what to do — I was sure she’d have a magic position for me to try that would make it all bearable. The contractions were more intense than I remembered with Soren, and although I managed the pain in the same way I had with Soren (basically just lots of breathing and moaning), everything seemed harder. I did love having the doula there to squeeze my hips during contractions — it provided a teensy bit of relief each time.

I think one thing that made everything more difficult this time was my distraction from the moment — I could hear Soren and Tim reading stories and getting ready for bed. I knew Tim had called some friends to come over and stay at our house with sleeping Soren, but I didn’t know the details and was curious about how it would work out (they’d need sheets and pillowcases and instructions on how to use the baby monitor, etc.). I wasn’t sure what I should wear. I hadn’t packed any sort of hospital bag, so Tim quickly threw a few things into a duffel. And I was really concerned about the fact that I hadn’t eaten since lunch — I became a little bit obsessed with trying to think of something to eat that would sustain me through the most difficult thing a body can do. But of course nothing sounded appetizing — I was probably entering the transition stage at this point.

My contractions quickly moved from 10 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart. And I started getting nervous about the potential for the baby being born in the car, since with Soren I had only arrived at the hospital with just enough time to push. So the doula and I made our way down to the front porch while Tim loaded the car and brought it to the street (Soren was in bed at this point). I moaned my way through a few contractions on the porch, and our friends arrived to stay with Soren. (I remember apologizing to them that I couldn’t make eye contact.)

The drive to the hospital is about 15 minutes, and it took everything I had to manage those contractions on my own (with Soren I made Tim pull over every time I had a contraction, which really prolonged the trip). I somehow was with it enough to direct Tim’s driving, as well — sorry, Tim. (Tim says, “You were basically having contractions the whole drive there, except for that brief moment when you tried to backseat drive.”)

We pulled into the emergency parking, and a couple of nice EMTs quickly brought a wheelchair over to the car. No way my body was capable of walking at that point. Tim pushed me through the emergency room, and I almost lost it when an old man was blocking our way by standing in the center of the aisle, oblivious to my pain. (Fortunately, a nurse yelled at him for me.)

When we got to the labor and delivery floor, the nurses asked me to walk to the nearby room I was assigned to. As if I could walk. I refused their request and opted to be wheeled into the room instead (the same thing happened with Soren). Once I was in the room, they had me go to the bathroom, and then once I made my way to the bed they strapped the fetal monitor to me for the initial check. I don’t have any recollection now of what was going on at that point — I wasn’t exactly conscious of my surroundings — but I guess everything was safe and sound, because I know they took the monitor off me before I started pushing.

Contractions were as hard and heavy as ever, and I was expecting everything to be over quickly since with Soren’s birth I walked into the hospital room fully dilated. But when Dr. Hardiman arrived at the hospital — which was a breath of fresh air for me — and checked me, I was so disappointed to hear I was only dilated to eight centimeters. Kind of discouraging. Only three hours had elapsed since my first contraction, but it sure felt like the hardest and longest thing in the world.

I was still struggling to feel like I was managing my contractions effectively. I kept thinking there surely was some miracle position I could try to make it bearable. I tried laying down, I tried on my hands and knees, I tried leaning against the raised back of the bed. I got to the point where I said — out loud — that I just couldn’t do it. But Dr. Hardiman told me I was probably close to push time, and she asked what position I’d like to be in for that. I still wanted someone to just tell me how to do it, so I asked what she recommended. I was on my hands and knees at this point and not feeling particularly confident there, and Dr. Hardiman told me that was just fine if I preferred it, but she also said that if I pushed laying on my side it would make it easier to hand the baby to me for cuddling as soon as he came out.

So on my side I went, and the pushing was even harder than I remembered with Soren. I just wanted it to be over. I felt like there was no way I could do it. And everything still felt like it was taking far too long, even though I could see the clock and I knew it was not quite 9 p.m. I had the nurse and the doula help hold one leg up, and I pushed with all my might. I remember Dr. Hardiman saying I was doing it just right, which seemed impossible to me since the baby was still inside me and not out where I wanted him to be. And even when they said they could see the baby’s head, I still felt like we weren’t making any progress. I just wanted the whole thing to end! But it was only three sets of pushing — so less than 15 minutes — and the little guy popped right out at 9:07 p.m. And I felt absolutely drained.

IMG_20151109_212018 (1)

Our first picture together, taken 13 minutes post birth.

They placed Shaw on my chest right away and he whimpered and cried while I laid there, exhausted and not feeling capable of doing anything more than keeping my arms around him. Dr. Hardiman helped me deliver my beautiful placenta a few minutes later, and she and Tim clamped and cut the cord after it had stopped pulsing. Dr. Hardiman also stitched up one small tear. After about 40 minutes of cuddles with Shaw, they borrowed him for a quick in-room weight, height, and APGAR check. He was 7 pounds 14 ounces and 20″ (Soren was 7 pounds 2 ounces and 20 ¼”). And then after they handed him back to me for more skin-to-skin time, he quickly made his way to the breast for his first attempt at eating. I was surprised at how hard that tiny baby could suck!

IMG_20151109_212050 (1)

After birth pains, anyone?

After birth pains, anyone?

IMG_20151109_212309 (1)

IMG_20151109_214322 (1)

IMG_20151109_212330 (1)

IMG_20151109_212339 (1)

IMG_20151109_213233 (1)

IMG_20151109_215820 (1)

After Soren’s birth I had felt so invigorated and strong and powerful — I remember telling everyone I could do it a million times over. This time, while I was still proud of what I’d accomplished, I felt like I could never do it again. Which is funny, since Dr. Hardiman told me she wished she could package up my births and gift them to all her patients. It’s a great feeling to know you’re loved by your doctor and nurses because you make things very easy on them — Dr. Hardiman was at the hospital for a whopping two hours for Shaw’s birth, from arrival to finishing up her paperwork.

But now, weeks later, I still feel wary of having another baby. I’m convinced it’s the most difficult thing in the world you can do — physically and mentally. I don’t mean to make it sound like the whole experience was negative — in fact, I can’t think of anything that would’ve made it better or easier than it was. But man, it was intense. And certainly the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it was worth it! Just look at this guy!

Two hours after birth.

Two hours after birth.

Tim and Soren came over early the next morning so Soren could meet Shaw before preschool started. Soren was enamored by the fun buttons on the hospital bed.

Tim and Soren came over early the next morning so Soren could meet Shaw before preschool started. Soren was enamored by the fun buttons on the hospital bed.

IMG_20151110_080641 (1)

IMG_20151111_121235 (1)

IMG_20151111_113033 (1)

IMG_20151111_074921 (1)

IMG_20151110_172938 (1)

IMG_20151110_172946 (1)

IMG_0671 (1)

IMG_0680 (1) IMG_0685 (1)

IMG_0690 (1)

IMG_0693 (1)

IMG_0696 (1)

IMG_0699 (1)

IMG_20151111_180032 (1)

IMG_20151111_180035 (1)

 

October 2015

October might be my new favorite month. So many fun things to do and events around town, not enough time to do them all. I think the fact that we were down to our last weeks as a family of three also motivated us to make the most of our month. As each weekend approached we noticed our Saturday calendar was filled, and all my hopes of getting errands and cleaning done on our free day were killed. But it was worth it.

IMG_20151001_201408 (1)

My good friend Rachael came over one night for a DIY binge with me. We made elderberry syrup for immune support, lip balms spiked with essential oils (I added washi tape to the containers later and they look SO cute), and dozens and dozens of Larabars.

IMG_20151002_181819 (1)

As we wrapped up dinner at Punjab Palace one night, our server brought Soren a complimentary dish of ice cream. “I might need to brush my teeth,” Soren said. “It’s sugary!”

IMG_20151003_174209 (1)

IMG_20151003_174203 (1)

IMG_20151004_093834 (1)

Sunday morning adventures.

IMG_20151004_103814 (1)

IMG_20151005_172430 (1)

These kids had a train, and Soren walked circles around them for awhile, looking longingly at their fun.

IMG_20151005_172435 (1)

IMG_20151010_100724 (1)

We ditched Honeypot Hill this autumn for Parlee Farms — a new favorite. In the past I’ve enjoyed apple picking for the fun of it, but I’ve never been wowed by the apples we’ve picked (especially considering the cost). But this year was different. Best apples of my life. (And great cider donuts, too!)

IMG_20151010_104243 (1)

And the hayride to get to the orchards can’t be beat.

IMG_20151010_100357 (1)

IMG_20151010_101610 (1)

IMG_20151010_105556 (1)

IMG_20151010_111127 (1)

Hay bale maze? Yes, please!

IMG_20151016_180054 (1)

One Friday afternoon Soren and I headed to the waterfront after nap time for a fall festival outside of the Children’s Museum. Turns out it was $1 night at the museum!

IMG_20151017_093655 (1)

The next morning we found more vehicle fun at a touch-a-truck event in Waltham. Soren got to “drive” and/or play in a fire truck, a tow truck, an ambulance, a moving truck, a few school buses, and more.

IMG_20151017_093659 (1)

IMG_20151017_101958 (1)

He opened and closed the school bus doors for a good 20 minutes.

IMG_20151017_100834 (1)

IMG_20151017_172132 (1)

That afternoon, we ventured to the river for the Head of the Charles. We got there just as the races were ending, so we found a dreamy parking spot and didn’t have to battle the crowds. We even saw a few boat collisions! And then we loaded up on ice cream.

IMG_20151021_113425 (1)

My dad flew in for a quick two-day visit. We played at the playground, we ate pizza and watched the trains at Regina’s, he took Soren to visit a few nearby construction sites, and we spent a morning at Drumlin Farm.

IMG_20151024_103843 (1)

Soren was excited to learn that Stephen Savage would be at this year’s Boston Book Festival. He’s the author of “Where’s Walrus,” which has been a recent favorite in our house. (“Supertruck” and “Little Tug” are also great.) I love how Soren is sitting front and center.

IMG_20151024_105412 (1)

After the reading, there was a little time for Q&A. Look at Soren up there with his hand raised!

IMG_20151024_105752 (1)

Soren’s question was this: “Can you draw a penguin?” Stephen Savage thought he said “pumpkin,” so Soren got to take home a signed drawing of a penguin and a pumpkin. Tim and I were REALLY glad for this — it meant we didn’t have to stand in the long line and buy the book!

IMG_20151024_105824 (1)

IMG_20151024_130145 (1)

After grabbing a smoothie at B. Good we zipped over to Harvard’s football stadium for their annual community day — free tickets (and lunch!) to a football game. I’m 36 weeks pregnant here, but I don’t think I looked quite that puffy in real life — I blame it on the coat and the angle of the photo!

IMG_20151024_130239_1 (1)

IMG_20151024_132101 (1)

IMG_20151024_185731 (1)

That night was our church Halloween party. We had to snap a shot with our monster door, which was partially brainstormed and executed by Soren.

IMG_20151030_164040 (1)

On the 30th we did the annual trick-or-treat on Washington Street. Many of the candy givers offered treats to me as well — “it’s for the baby!” they’d say.

IMG_20151030_164302 (1)

After trick-or-treating we walked down to the Y for the Halloween pizza party. Soren axed every tree and apartment building he could reach.

IMG_20151030_174508 (1)

Along the way, Soren started noticing other kids eating their candy. I don’t know if it had occurred to him before then that eating the treats was an option. “I want to do what those kids are doing,” he said. So we let Soren eat the donut half he’d received from Dunkin Donuts. His dream come true.

IMG_20151031_105259 (1)

On actual Halloween we went to the library parade in the morning. Soren was pleased to be at the front of the line, right behind Anne the librarian. After the brief walk around Oak Square everyone ventured into the fire station for a little celebration there.

IMG_20151031_143218 (1)

Soren went trick-or-treating three times this year, and he never once ate candy! Major mom win. Leading up to the holiday we had discussed the “sugar witch switch” thing. I don’t know if he completely understood it, but he didn’t really ask about the candy. The morning after Halloween we gave him a $0.40 Matchbox car and a cheap paperback book and told him that was the gift from the imaginary sugar witch. He seemed pretty happy. A couple weeks after Halloween he asked about the candy and said he wanted it. But I reminded him about his gifts, and that was that! We’ll see how many more years I can pull that off.

IMG_20151031_150916 (1)

I hit 37 weeks of pregnancy at the end of the month and started feeling the nesting urges. The result was an IKEA trip and lots of package deliveries. I never actually got around to the organizing projects I dreamed up, though…

September 2015

IMG_20150902_114306 (1)

After so many years in Boston, we finally made it to the deCordova Sculpture Park at the start of September. It was a 95-degree day, but we made a big morning of it by hitting Drumlin Farm first and then exploring the fun creations at deCordova.

IMG_20150904_120600 (1)

One Friday morning Soren and I went to BU to participate in one of their child development studies (partially because we love supporting research, partially because I love seeing the way he reacts to the various scenarios they put him in). While we were out, we jumped on the train to Copley for some library and park fun. We tried to take a selfie at Copley Square and had a few failed attempts.

IMG_20150904_120547 (1)

IMG_20150904_120606 (1)

IMG_20150904_120619 (1)

IMG_20150904_165455 (1)

This is from a Soren/Tim adventure, so I’m not entirely sure what it’s about. But I think this is somewhere along the Charles?

IMG_20150905_095141 (1)

We spent one Saturday in Maine at Tim’s boss’ amazing beach house. We made a stop along the way at an underwhelming nature center near Plum Island. But the views were lovely!

IMG_20150905_152907 (1)

And then, the beach.

IMG_20150905_153026 (1)

IMG_20150905_153305 (1)

IMG_20150906_183719 (1)

The next day we packed up our post-church dinner and took it to the temple for a picnic.

IMG_20150906_185032 (1)

IMG_20150907_094955 (1)

We paddled around the river on Labor Day.

IMG_20150907_094909 (1)

IMG_20150907_094846 (1)

We spied loads of turtles along the banks.

IMG_20150909_180934 (1)

A few days later we found ourselves at Walden for an afternoon swim. We didn’t expect to be entertained by a bubble man! (Tim and Soren are in the background here — Soren is on Tim’s shoulders.)

IMG_20150909_180847 (1)
IMG_20150909_181726 (1)

IMG_20150909_185536 (1)

Every time we go to the beach or pond in the fall I get a little panicked that it’ll be our final trip for the year. Fortunately, this September Walden visit was not our last.

IMG_20150912_182831 (1)

Our second annual ward clambake (organized by me!) went off without a hitch! Although this is the only photo I managed to snap.

IMG_20150912_191548 (1)

We snagged a few extra lobsters and turned them into lobster mac and cheese.

IMG_20150914_103105 (1)

And then, life as we knew it was forever changed with the start of preschool for Soren. Tim and I attended the parents’ meeting the week before (while the babysitter put Soren to bed!), and it was the weirdest feeling. I was prepared for a rough transition and difficulties with separation. I cried on his “first” day, which was actually just a one-hour, ease-into-things introduction day. But Soren had no trouble and has been SO happy there. I’ve had a much more difficult time than he has — I hate not knowing what he’s doing for three hours without me! Though he’s spent plenty of time apart from me with a babysitter or at the gym nursery or at his EI toddler group, I was always nearby and had a general idea of what he was up to. So I worried a LOT those first few weeks of school. But both he and I have really fallen in love with his school and his amazing teachers.

IMG_20150914_103122 (1)

IMG_20150914_121011 (1)

After his first day we celebrated with a trip to a nearby park, where Soren braved the crazy tall slide.

IMG_20150916_183138 (1)

Uncle Ben came to town, so we tried a new North End dinner spot. Soren made his way along the Freedom Trail.

IMG_20150917_161236 (1)

We spent our five-year anniversary in Cape Cod — with Soren and Ben. We started at Mayflower Beach, which was a little rockier than we remembered at high tide.

IMG_20150917_161531 (1)

IMG_20150917_165056 (1)

This picture pretty perfectly captures Soren’s preferred way to play at the beach. He takes the role of superintendent, bossing other people around and telling them what to build for him.

IMG_20150917_170401 (1)

I spy Tim, Soren, and Ben — way out on a sandbar.

IMG_20150918_115141 (1)

The next morning we went for Mayflower again, this time to enjoy low tide.

IMG_20150918_115153 (1)

The shallow pools make it our favorite.

IMG_20150918_115123 (1)

Too big to fit anything but my stretchiest swimsuit top.

IMG_20150919_102330 (1)

The next morning we tried out West Dennis Beach for an oceanside experience.

IMG_20150919_104017 (1)

It wasn’t our favorite, but the seashells were superb (that’s what those three boys are searching for in the shallow water).

IMG_20150919_170846 (1)

After naps, we made our way to Corporation Beach.

IMG_20150919_172906 (1)

IMG_20150919_173600 (1)

IMG_20150919_174508 (1)

Anniversary selfie.

IMG_20150919_175846 (1)

IMG_20150919_180326 (1)

And after a spin on the swings, we called it a trip.

IMG_20150920_121943 (1)

This is on our drive back to Boston — Soren’s hand on my belly, my hand on Soren’s. We stayed this way for awhile.

IMG_20150920_145350 (1)

Probably once every three months or so, Soren has a fluke early wakeup from his nap, and the only way to save it is to bring him into our bed and hope he falls back asleep. Tim and I have lots of photos like this that we’ve texted to each other over the years — trapped in bed with the sleeping boy.

IMG_20150921_173227 (1)

Soren has inherited his parents’ poor art skills, and he’s never been interested in coloring or drawing. When we play outside, he wants me or Tim (or Paulina) to do all the sidewalk chalk work — and of course he dictates what we draw. But this month he turned a corner and actually attempted something on his own! Miracle! I think it may be his first attempt at drawing a person. It’s pretty much a head and a penis. In his words, “Look how long it is!”

IMG_20150921_174605 (1)

IMG_20150926_110227 (1)

Tim and Soren rode to the end of the Minuteman one Saturday. And the train car in Bedford was open for touring — the first time we’ve seen that happen.

IMG_20150930_095101 (1)

I’m starting to feel a little bit silly at the gym, attempting all my same workouts but with a huge belly and an extra 30 pounds hindering me. This was at about 32 weeks — funny how I thought I looked enormous then. You should see me now just three weeks later!

IMG_20150930_120332 (1)

Oh, library day. Nothing better than a huge stack of new books. It’s the one day of the week Soren will sit silently in his room for a long stretch. Our favorite is to make a big bowl of popcorn after naps and then read a ton of books together right in a row.

August 2015 — Part 2

IMG_20150814_095628 (1)

Back in Boston, we had a sad Friday saying goodbye to the once-a-week preschool Soren had been attending for about a year. He started there through the amazing Early Intervention program, and then he got to stay on as a “community” kid when he didn’t requalify for EI services (although the beloved in-home play visits had to end). Oh, how we loved Miss Courtney. I snuck into class on the last day to properly document things.

IMG_20150814_102108 (1)

Soren loved playtime at the school’s “gym” (also known as the gross motor room).

IMG_20150814_102558 (1)

IMG_20150814_102631 (1)

IMG_20150814_102920 (1)

IMG_20150814_103039 (1)

IMG_20150814_110153 (1)

I already have plans to get my second baby into Miss Courtney’s group as soon as he hits 18 months!

IMG_20150816_100500 (1)

Tim and Soren often go on “adventures” on Saturday and Sunday mornings. When I download Tim’s photos, I’m never quite sure what they’re about, but Soren just explained this one: “Remember that big huge dead fish?”

IMG_20150815_114011 (1)

A happy Saturday at our beloved Nahant Beach.

IMG_20150819_113146

I started getting crazy sentimental the day before Soren’s birthday and had to start taking loads of photos and videos.

IMG_20150819_112909

I can’t remember how this started, but Soren loves to play games that involve slides and balls of any size. He throws them down the slide, and I’m supposed to try to catch them.

IMG_20150819_113135

IMG_20150819_113133

IMG_20150819_183517 (1)

We loved the outdoor concerts at one of our libraries this summer (even if they were really poorly attended). We’d bring takeout, spread out a blanket, and enjoy nearly private concerts and free books to take home. Plus, Soren loves those lion sprayers.

IMG_20150819_183529 (1)

I decided I would try to document (on video) a bunch of things Soren learned while he was 2. But, of course, he was opposed to the idea since it involved videos. I used M&M’s for bribery, and on the day I finally got him to agree to doing the videos, I couldn’t think of very much to ask him to do! Oh well.

IMG_20150820_065027 (1)

And then, the birthday! The stupid package of balloons I got from the dollar store only had ONE red balloon in it. So Soren latched on to that thing and played with it for weeks.

IMG_20150820_071659 (1)

Candles at every meal! Actually, I think we only did candles at breakfast and forgot about them the rest of the day. I told Soren he could pick a special birthday breakfast, and he chose boring oatmeal. (In “Curious George and the Birthday Surprise,” George and the man in the yellow hat are eating breakfast, and the food in George’s bowl looks like it could be oatmeal. Soren decided he wouldn’t have anything else for his birthday breakfast.)

IMG_20150820_120745 (1)

Soren’s birthday outing took us to Sunshine Farm for raspberry picking (and ice cream eating).

IMG_20150820_113855 (1)

IMG_20150820_122520 (1)

Chocolate peanut butter cookie dough. Let’s just say I’m good at picking ice cream flavors.

IMG_20150820_123027 (1)

IMG_20150821_102817 (1)

The day after the birthday is just as fun — new toys! Oma and Opa indulged Soren’s Duplo obsession. Soren has more than once referred to himself as a “Duplo maniac.”

IMG_20150822_125504 (1)

While I was at a baby shower, Soren and Tim took an adventure on the train. I loved seeing this sight on my drive home. I also love Soren’s go-to position when riding on Tim’s shoulders — arms crossed, resting on Tim’s head.

IMG_20150822_110723 (1)

Oh, and here are a few pics from Tim’s phone from that day’s outing. Tim says Soren needs to know the type of each tree in the Public Garden.

IMG_20150822_110553 (1)

Busy day with the ducklings. Of course Soren commandeered Mrs. Mallard.

IMG_20150822_110447 (1)

People may think he’s a girl on occasion, but how could we cut these curls? I get comments at least weekly from strangers who tell me I shouldn’t cut his hair. “I cut my son’s curls off and they never grew back!” the sweet grandmas tell me.

IMG_20150822_165954 (1)

And then, Soren’s birthday party! We didn’t do any sort of a party when Soren turned 1 or 2, so this year we decided to throw a minimalist bash in the “backyard.”

IMG_20150822_174605 (1)

Costco pizza is all Soren really needs to be happy. He spent much of the party lounging and eating, watching the other kids run wild and make a mess of his sandbox and pool.

IMG_20150822_174851 (1)

I don’t like cake. And I’ve never done a birthday cake for Soren before. This year I figured I’d persuade him to choose ice cream or brownies or a pie for his birthday treat. But then I got sucked into Pinterest one day and my cake aversion went out the window. So, Sorens greatest dream came true — chocolate cake plus construction equipment.

IMG_20150822_181745 (1)

In the weeks leading up to his birthday, I asked Soren repeatedly who he’d want to invite to a party. His first answer was always Paulina, his beloved babysitter.

IMG_20150822_182035 (1)

Sidewalk chalk for the win! And then our driveway was full of chalk outlines and looked like a crime scene. Also, if you want a great deal on sidewalk chalk, I got this giant box for only $5 on Amazon. Waaay better deal than Target.

IMG_20150827_153931 (1)

Toward the end of the month Soren was running through the house and stepped on a stray birthday balloon. He did something to his ankle in the process, and he spent the morning crawling around the house to avoid putting pressure on the ankle. He would lay on the couch with books or scoot around the rug playing with Duplos. Nothing had changed by the afternoon, so I took him in to the doctor to have it checked out. First X-rays!

IMG_20150827_154047 (1)

He was very serious about the whole thing.

IMG_20150827_163531 (1)

The doctor concluded it probably wasn’t broken, but advised us to come back if nothing had changed in a day or two since those tiny ankle bones can be tricky. She wrapped up his ankle and sent us on our way (with advice to have him wear shoes that would support his ankle… as if we own any like that). Here he is crawling up the stairs.

IMG_20150828_182928 (1)

I couldn’t love a photo more than I love this one. So many wonderful things happening here — sunset, Walden, my boys swimming, perfect late-summer temperatures.

IMG_20150829_105916 (1)

One Saturday morning I got to go to a killer barre class in Back Bay for one of my “work” projects. So Soren and Tim headed to our beloved fountain park.

IMG_20150829_105742 (1)

His happy place.

August 2015 — Part 1

Our August was filled to the brim with beach trips, birthdays, and everyday, around-town fun. So I’ll have to split our monthly post into two!

IMG_20150802_131504

After a little bit of church with the family, we hopped in Pappy’s truck to drive to Rodanthe. Soren was ready for naptime.

IMG_20150803_191114 (1)

I didn’t get any beach pictures on Monday, but that night’s activity was the annual family rodeo. Soren chose a pink hat, naturally (because it’s the closest to red).

IMG_20150803_191233 (1)

Game face.

IMG_20150803_191324 (1)

Killing time waiting for his event to start.

IMG_20150803_192355 (1)

Smooching my little cowboy.

IMG_20150803_200705 (1)

The evening sunset.

IMG_20150804_162200

And on to the beach. Soren started strong and a little overconfident the first day, so when he took an early spill into the water from the boogie board he decided he wasn’t an ocean kinda guy. Here, on day two, he stuck with the sand.

IMG_20150804_162227

Fortunately, the sand provides plenty of fun when you have a shovel!

IMG_20150804_162430

I think he’s contemplating whether he should face his fears.

IMG_20150804_170835

Standing near the water! An improvement!

IMG_20150806_110827 (1)

Another day, more digging.

Digging trenches is Tim's specialty.

Digging trenches is Tim’s specialty.

IMG_20150806_111953 (1)

Feeling a little friendlier with the water!

Page and Isla.

Page and Isla.

IMG_20150806_112206 (1)

IMG_20150806_152301 (1)

Mara.

IMG_20150806_162409 (1)

It was rare to find all 10 cousins on the sand at once. Although Truman didn’t quite make it into this silly-face photo.

IMG_0980 (1)

A little Pringles bribery never hurt anyone.

IMG_20150806_162511 (1)

Welcome, Truman.

IMG_1012 (1)

IMG_0996 (1)

Soren’s favorite silly face to make.

IMG_20150806_164705 (1)

Pappy worked his magic to get Soren into the water.

IMG_20150806_164813 (1)

IMG_20150806_165301 (1)

IMG_20150806_165303 (1)

IMG_20150806_165615

IMG_20150806_170200 (1)

IMG_20150806_170500 (1)

IMG_20150806_170523 (1)

IMG_20150806_172552 (1)

One of my favorite views.

IMG_20150806_172124 (1)

Back on the board, and couldn’t be happier!

IMG_20150806_172149 (1)

IMG_1103

I didn’t end up with any shots of the huge group (Salem?), but how amazing is it that all 20 of us are here?

IMG_1118

IMG_20150807_164301 (1)

From beach to pool and back again.

IMG_20150807_161852 (1)

I was sitting by the pool one afternoon and really wanted a snack. The twins worked some magic and lowered an apple down. Next came Otter Pops for all.

IMG_20150808_095639 (1)

First ones out on this morning.

IMG_20150808_095551 (1)

IMG_20150808_094811 (1)

IMG_20150808_094849 (1)

IMG_20150808_104824 (1)

IMG_20150808_101413 (1)

IMG_20150807_115048 (1)

IMG_20150807_113033 (1)

IMG_20150807_112940 (1)

IMG_20150807_112706 (1)

Some cousins found this enormous pipe at the bottom of the ocean one afternoon. For the rest of the week it was used daily.

IMG_20150808_110606 (1)

IMG_20150808_100814 (1)

Sand crabs!

IMG_20150807_122115 (1)

Getting into the house after beach time was very difficult most days, because It was reeeally hard to pull Soren away from his firefighter hose.

IMG_20150807_183425 (1)

Downtime at the house.

IMG_20150811_120022 (1)

Flying from DC to Boston is typically quick and painless since we normally fly JetBlue. On this day, there were tears and angry words thanks to the idiots at US Airways/American Airlines (we had to use some vouchers from the flights we canceled last December due to that pesky miscarriage). Moral of the story: Only fly JetBlue!

July 2015

We escaped the US of A at the start of July for our holiday weekend in Canada. Tim’s moral opposition to patriotism/nationalism and my firm abhorrence of expensive, large-scale fireworks shows make us a perfect match.

IMG_20150702_125007

We kicked off the fun with a gas station picnic and a game of what Soren labeled “hopscotch.”

We kicked off the fun with a gas station picnic and a game of what Soren labeled "hopscotch."

We spent our first evening getting settled in at the apartment (an awesome Airbnb find — stay there if you go!), playing at the beautiful Parc Sir-Wilfrid-Laurier around the corner, and gorging ourselves on poutine at La Banquise.

The next morning, our first priority (after a healthy breakfast at the apartment, of course!) was breakfast dessert. We swung by Boulangerie Les Co’Pains D’Abord on our way to to the Biodome.

Look at this face! He knows about the important things in life — pain au chocolat.

Look at this face! He knows about the important things in life — pain au chocolat.

Hatching out of a giant egg.

Hatching out of a giant egg at the Biodome.

Smoochin' penguins.

Smoochin’ penguins. Soren is now well versed in the various animals we used to refer to simply as “penguins.” Puffins, macaroni penguins, rockhopper penguins, king penguins.

IMG_20150703_152448

Our afternoon walk led us to more treats.

That evening we hung out at Parc La Fontaine, walked around the quartier des spectacles, took the Metro back to our neighborhood (obviously the highlight for Soren), and got our Mexican on at El Zaziummm. After dinner I was able to confirm one of my biggest fears — I have definitely developed an intolerance for avocados! And this is coming from someone who is completely skeptical of most food intolerances and allergies. I’m hoping it’s just a weird pregnancy thing and will go away soon.

The next morning we took off for Jean-Talon Market, but not before making a two-minute stop to pick up this bad boy (the machine, not the child) off the side of the road.

Just $2 (in Canadian dollars, no less!)? Don't mind if I do.

Just $2 (in Canadian dollars, no less!)? Don’t mind if I do.

During our market excursion, we feasted on croissants, breakfast sandwiches, peaches, plums, a spicy sausage sandwich, yogurt, smoked salmon bites, and ice cream.

We didn't leave room for macarons.

We didn’t leave room for macarons.

IMG_20150704_101214

Market entertainment.

That afternoon we walked through yet another park on our way to dinner.

IMG_20150704_163732

IMG_20150704_163740

Soren made friends with the sweet owner of the creperie. He brought Soren a lovely fruit plate while we waited for our meal.

Soren made friends with the sweet owner of the creperie. He brought Soren a lovely plate of fancy-cut fruit while we waited for our meal.

Then we were off to Juliette & Chocolat for dessert. Two sit-down restaurants in one night? Soren lives the life of a prince.

Then we were off to Juliette & Chocolat for dessert. Two sit-down restaurants in one night? Soren lives the life of a prince.

Dessert is served. I wish I could remember what each of these delicacies was. All I remember is magic.

Dessert is served. I wish I could remember what each of these delicacies was. All I remember is magic.

Heaven.

Heaven.

Had to lick every last drop.

Had to lick every last drop.

And then it was Sunday, and time to head home. But not without a stop first at the famous Fairmount Bagel, plus a failed attempt to go to French church (thanks for nothin’, mormon.org).

IMG_20150705_103020

Montreal or midwest? We couldn’t believe how flat and never-ending the land was. Also, travel potty for the win! This awesome potty is one of my best motherhood purchases to date.

On our way home we swung by the King Arthur bakery and store in Vermont. King Arthur is always a good idea.

On our way home we swung by the King Arthur bakery and store in Vermont. King Arthur is always a good idea.

Manually grinding flour. Something I'd never have patience for.

Manually grinding flour. Something I’d never have patience for. But isn’t the machine beautiful?

I forget why I took this picture — Soren must've said something funny. This kid has never met a grate he didn't like.

I forget why I took this picture — Soren must’ve said something funny. This kid has never met a grate he didn’t like.

The week we got back brought a long-awaited day for Soren — firefighter storytime at the library. He’d been talking about it for months, and the event did not disappoint. After firefighter Dwaine read a story and answered questions, we walked to the fire station next door (where we are frequent visitors) for a tour.

IMG_20150709_144848

IMG_20150709_145340

IMG_20150709_145552

IMG_20150709_145707

That weekend we got free tickets to the WGBH FunFest thanks to my new connection with Boston Moms Blog. With bounce houses, face painting, and unlimited ice cream, we were in heaven.

IMG_20150711_110633

IMG_20150711_111058

As far as Soren knows, Curious George is ONLY a character from a book. Don’t tell him there’s such a thing as Curious George on TV.

IMG_20150711_114411

IMG_20150711_120651

Tim’s parents (known in our home as Oma and Opa) came to town the next week. We played in town for a few days then spent a long weekend in the Berkshires. This time we found a perfect HomeAway win — we stayed at a cute cottage on an actual sheep farm!

The house just happened to be a few feet from the Appalachian Trail.

The house just happened to be a few feet from the Appalachian Trail. Yes, Soren is missing his pants.

IMG_20150716_174751

From Tim's morning run up some mountain.

From Tim’s morning run up some mountain.

We hiked around Race Brook Falls one morning.

We hiked around Race Brook Falls one morning.

Always throwing rocks in water.

Always throwing rocks in water.

On Saturday we made it to a Boston Symphony Orchestra rehearsal at Tanglewood.

On Saturday we made it to a Boston Symphony Orchestra rehearsal at Tanglewood. “I hear violins!” Soren says.

IMG_20150718_120011

Back at the sheep farm to say farewell to our friends.

Back at the sheep farm to say farewell to our fuzzy friends.

pic3

pic2

pic1

Our drive home was somewhat of a nightmare. The usually pleasant MassPike turned into a parking lot, and we sat in traffic for a few extra hours. We swung by Springfield before the worst of it to check out the Dr. Seuss Sculpture Garden.

IMG_20150718_145323

It had rained earlier, so the sculptures were slippery. Soren took two or three big falls and let out plenty of tears. Tim was insistent that we not let him play on the sculptures anymore, but I wanted him to keep trying. And so did Soren.

IMG_20150718_150300

Soren regularly refers to himself as "the gate master." We have no idea where he came up with it.

Soren regularly refers to himself as “the gate master.” We have no idea where he came up with it.

Near the end of the month Soren’s six-week Rock-a-Baby music class wrapped up. I’ve been mostly successful at attempting to practice “slow parenting,” this summer, so we’ve kept our schedules free and clear from sports and lessons and organized classes. But I was assigned to write a review of Rock-a-Baby for a local parenting site, so we couldn’t pass up the offer of a free class. I snapped a few photos for the review, and I think they pretty well capture how much he loved the experience.

IMG_0656

IMG_0662

IMG_0594

IMG_0602

He also loved the chance to watch traffic on the Pike from our spot in the parking lot.

He also loved the chance to watch traffic on the Pike from our spot in the parking lot.

One day, during a rainy walk home from the library, I got all reminiscent about how my sisters and I used to devour our books on the drive home from the library, and my mom would complain that none of us would talk to her because we had our noses stuck in our books. Same goes for Soren today. Only he’s in a stroller.

IMG_20150727_172629

I love when Soren asks me to request particular books from the library website. Here, we have “Little Blue Truck Leads the Way.”

That weekend we spent our Saturday afternoon downtown at the Figment art festival. It was the weirdest.

IMG_20150725_161108

Thank you, Greenway, for providing hammocks for all.

Thank you, Greenway, for providing hammocks for all.

IMG_20150725_164605

IMG_20150725_164552

IMG_20150725_094333

And then we were off to my homeland for hangout time and beach prep in Virginia.

We spent our first day hanging at Reagan's and visiting the National Harbor.

We spent our first day playing at Reagan’s and visiting the National Harbor.

I'll be honest — I do not like this new location for the Awakening statue. Move it back!

I’ll be honest — I do not like this new location for the Awakening statue. Move it back!

High fives

High fives

Back in Ashburn, Soren lived for fun in the backyard. Clothing always optional. "It's a wrecking ball!" he says of Grandmama's tetherball game.

Back in Ashburn, Soren lived for fun in the backyard. Clothing always optional (all the better for luring ticks). “It’s a wrecking ball!” he says of Grandmama’s tetherball game.

Next up is August and lots and lots of beachy fun.

June 2015

Our June:

One of our most beloved Boston events takes place each June at Government Center — the Scooper Bowl!

One of our most beloved Boston events takes place each June at Government Center — the Scooper Bowl!

IMG_20150603_171013

Ice cream hats FTW! Note my bulging 15-week baby bump (and Soren’s ice cream bump).

IMG_20150603_171451

Out of the 20-scoops we ate, our favorites this year were Ben & Jerry’s Save Our Swirled (and Tonight Dough is always a hit), Baskin-Robbins’ York Peppermint Pattie, and Yeungling’s Sea Salt Caramel Swirl. We were completely incapacitated by our sugar comas that night.

IMG_20150603_175338

Somehow, Soren still had it in him to plank it up on the Greenway.

 

Tim and Soren went for a Blue Hills hike one Saturday morning during my gym time.

Tim and Soren went for a Blue Hills hike one Saturday morning during my gym time.

My favorite picture, ever.

My favorite picture, ever.

IMG_20150611_075607

This is Soren’s prime spot for checking out the goings on at the park — baseball, soccer, cricket. He also notes whether our neighbor is sunbathing on his porch (“He’s nudie!”).

IMG_20150612_065338

Soren MUST be involved if we’re using the food processor. He insists on taking a “taste test” at every step of the pesto-making process and will let me know if it needs more salt, oil, garlic, etc. By the time we’re finished, he’s usually consumed four or five heaping spoonfuls.

IMG_20150612_163044

First summer trip to Butterhill. Here, Tim is teaching Soren all about disc golf while I read and watch from the giant and perfect porch.

IMG_20150613_072218

Soren was a pro potty learner (and I guess he wanted this horse to learn, too). We were really surprised at how easy and low stress the whole thing was. I know it’s different for every kid and every parent. but our secret to success was to wait until he wanted to do it, and then we let him take the lead. No staying home for three days straight, no pressure from us to ditch the diapers, no reading books or articles about how to potty train. A lovely process for us.

Soren latched on to this fishing pole and went in search of things to catch. He mostly ended up with pinecones.

Soren latched on to this fishing pole and went in search of things to catch in the back yard. He mostly ended up with pinecones.

IMG_20150613_082235

Bedhead at Polly’s Pancake Parlor.

IMG_20150613_102900

Always throwing rocks in rivers.

NATURE!

NATURE!

IMG_20150613_111826

IMG_20150613_111040

This photo was taken moments before Soren lost his ability to pee standing up. I had to go badly enough (blame pregnancy) that I squatted in the woods. Soren saw this and has refused to go standing up ever since. This means we no longer have the convenience of peeing in our back yard, by a tree at the park, or in a parking lot when I don’t want to find a real restroom.

IMG_20150613_111134

17 weeks

IMG_20150613_173615

Same day, new spot, new clothes, no pants, and more rock-throwing.

IMG_20150613_182244

IMG_20150616_102646

For a few days straight, Soren insisted on bringing this box on all our outings. It was his “sample cart,” from which he dispensed such delicacies as “mango and cream cheese” and pepperoni pizza. Signs we spend too much time at Costco and Trader Joe’s.

IMG_20150616_102638

IMG_20150618_093303

Soren takes his strawberry picking very seriously. Only the ripest berries will do.

IMG_20150618_093414

IMG_20150618_094210

“These are NOT ripe!” says the strawberry snob.

IMG_20150618_095947

IMG_20150618_113831

On the way home from berry picking, Soren and I stopped at Dairy Joy for an impromptu burger and ice cream. I considered it research for this blog post I was working on.

IMG_20150620_090140

For weeks Soren anticipated the Boston Book Festival’s first annual Hubbub fest, which was like the BBF but just for kids. He knew Mo Willems would be there, and he was thrilled. HIs excitement was compounded by the fact that I decided to ditch the car and take public transit instead. This was our second MBTA bus ride ever.

IMG_20150620_111149

We got to Copley in just enough time to snag a decent spot in line, which meant we got pretty good seats for Mo Willems’ book reading and Q&A (there were a few hundred people there). We rushed to get in the book-signing line after, but it was clear it would take at least 30 minutes to get to the front. I tried to persuade Soren to ditch the line and go enjoy the rest of the festival, but he wouldn’t have it. I don’t know if our two seconds with Mo were worth it, but Soren was glad to get his copy of “Knuffle Bunny” signed and to tell Mo how much he loves “Time to Pee.” (Also, we confirmed that Mo does pronounce it “ka-nuffle.”)

IMG_20150620_111156

Thanks, photo guy, for the memorable shot.

IMG_20150620_113225

Next, we snuggled up in the reading tent.

IMG_20150620_114359

And lifted some weights. There were tons of really neat games and playthings on the lawn at Copley, but many of them involved my participation with Soren, so no pics. Tim got stuck doing cafeteria work at the temple that morning.

IMG_20150620_121812

As we were heading out Soren spotted the Roxy’s tent, so we snagged a grilled cheese sandwich. Lunch on the T was never so good.

IMG_20150623_171144

After a few years of partial gardening attempts (with mediocre attempts), we finally have thriving plants! Our basils are out of control (I’m actually harvesting the leaves correctly), our cilantro is not dead, and our parsley is always green and fragrant. Best of all, our tomato plant (in the back) is enormous and has dozens of little green guys growing and on the cusp of turning red.

IMG_20150627_155841

One Saturday afternoon it was a little too cool for the beach or pool, so we made our way to Drumlin Farm. On the tractor ride, Soren waved non-stop to every animal and person he could get his eyes on.

IMG_20150627_162812

IMG_20150627_164217

Just like a goat.

IMG_20150627_181531

After the farm, we swung by Walden for a quick picnic dinner, then off to Kimball Farm for dessert. Sometimes I try to talk Tim out of ordering the large ice cream, but then we polish it off with no problem. Also on this visit, Soren learned he HATES port-a-potties. He had to go #2, so I took him over to the potty and showed him what it was all about. He took one look inside the toilet, took a few seconds to let the small wash over him, and screamed to get out of there. We did have the travel potty in the car, so Tim sprinted to grab it. Unfortunately, we were out of bags to place under the potty. Tim’s solution? An empty ice cream cup. TMI? It worked like a dream.

IMG_20150630_170041

Most of Boston’s splash parks and water features didn’t open until mid-June. Artesani opened earlier, so we made a few attempts there. Soren hated it. Too much chaos, too many unpredictable water sprays coming at his face. I was worried he’d never love splash parks again. Fortunately, he’s perfectly happy with the other parks (Joyce Park here).

May 2015

IMG_20150502_092525

Saturday morning nature walk for Tim and Soren.

IMG_20150504_171454

Our first shorts day of the year was May 5. Finally, real spring!

It’s a miracle — I only took one video in May. Soren has memorized the names of the 15 leaders of our church, and we think it’s pretty impressive.

IMG_0376

Tim’s parents came for a visit in early May, so we made our first trip of the year to Walden. Just as good as we remembered it.

IMG_0385

IMG_20150507_174926

IMG_0929

Another spring favorite — the Public Garden. This is the first year Soren has been into Make Way for Ducklings, so the Public Garden is talked about often at our house.

IMG_0935

IMG_0387

IMG_0937

And, of course, the swan boats.

IMG_20150508_115335

Soren thought the Boston Common carousel was just about the greatest thing he’d ever seen.

IMG_0995

IMG_20150508_114641

 

IMG_20150509_105549

 

IMG_0392

IMG_20150509_111421

 

IMG_20150514_074925

 

IMG_20150514_161050

 

IMG_20150514_163631

 

IMG_20150514_163331

 

IMG_20150514_164122

 

IMG_20150514_165150

 

IMG_20150519_074426

 

IMG_20150523_100234

 

IMG_20150523_104433

 

IMG_20150523_172723

 

IMG_20150524_093919

 

IMG_20150525_104049

 

IMG_20150525_104105

 

IMG_20150525_115409

 

IMG_20150525_120227

 

IMG_20150527_165713

 

IMG_20150527_170935

 

IMG_20150529_170756

April 2015

Where were we? Ah yes, at the beach! Let’s pick up where we left off at the end of March.

Tim arrived partway through the week — he couldn't stand to miss a beach trip. He and Soren enjoyed a sunrise yoga session one morning.

Tim arrived partway through the week — he couldn’t stand to miss a beach trip. He and Soren enjoyed a sunrise yoga session one morning.

IMG_20150402_164320

IMG_20150402_164557

I LOVE when he puts his hands in his pockets.

I LOVE when he puts his hands in his pockets.

IMG_20150403_102830

Clothing comes off, piece by piece, after being knocked by a baby wave.

Clothing comes off, piece by piece, after being knocked by a baby wave.

Beach time is way more fun when Tim's around — he and Soren play in the sand, I read.

Beach time is way more fun when Tim’s around — he and Soren play in the sand, I read.

A rare moment of peace for these two — they're sharing the machines!

A rare moment of peace for these two — they’re sharing the machines!

Cool kid with his new dollar store sunglasses.

Cool kid with his new dollar store sunglasses.

When we come to the beach during the summer I'm never interested in outings that don't involve sitting by the ocean. But during the spring, when it's just too chilly to stay on the sand all day, adventures around town become more appealing. On this afternoon we ran around the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

When we come to the beach during the summer I’m never interested in outings that don’t involve sitting by the ocean. But during the spring, when it’s just too chilly to stay on the sand all day, adventures around town become more appealing. On this afternoon we ran around the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.

And then we stumbled upon the Buxton Woods Trail, a great little loop that brought us sightings of deer, snakes, and pelicans.

And then we stumbled upon the Buxton Woods Trail, a great little loop that brought us sightings of deer, snakes, and pelicans.

A cute singing moment at the beach house with my boy.

Beach Easter was a little different. We didn't have an Easter basket with us, but we found an egg hunt down the road. Like last year, Soren was a little slow about the whole thing.

Beach Easter was a little different. We didn’t have an Easter basket with us, but we found an egg hunt down the road. Like last year, Soren was a little slow about the whole thing.

Unlike last year, he actually asked to try the candy inside the eggs.

Unlike last year, he actually asked to try the candy inside the eggs.

His first piece of junk candy — ever! I think it was a mini Snickers.

His first piece of junk candy — ever! I think it was a mini Snickers.

Then back to Virginia, with an Easter Sunday jump on Reagan's trampoline.

Then back to Virginia, with an Easter Sunday jump on Reagan’s trampoline.

The back of Pappy's truck is grandson heaven.

The back of Pappy’s truck is grandson heaven.

IMG_20150405_185050

Soren rode one of Mackenzie's new horses. "How do I make it go?" he asked.

Soren rode one of Mackenzie’s new horses. “How do I make it go?” he asked.

We love the Dulles airport for the bonus train ride we get to take — it's Soren's dream come true to ride a plane and a train in one day.

We love the Dulles airport for the bonus train ride we get to take — it’s Soren’s dream come true to ride a plane and a train in one day.

Soren is wild about Thai food. I'm surprised we had enough Dok Bua leftovers for two containers!

Soren is wild about Thai food. I’m surprised we had enough Dok Bua leftovers for two containers!

IMG_20150411_155636

After a winter's break, Soren is back on his bike and is slightly more interested than he was last fall.

After a winter’s break, Soren is back on his bike and is slightly more interested than he was last fall.

The next day we took a trip to Drumlin Farm with friends. And it was seriously one of the highlights of my life. We walked into the sheep barn just as this mama was preparing to give birth to the token white lamb. We stayed and watched the whole thing play out, including waiting for the baby to take its first wobbly steps and make its first attempts at nursing. All the kids were bored out of their minds by the time the second lamb was born, but none of the moms was ready to leave the scene. I had actual tears in my eyes — the miracle of life!

The next day we took a trip to Drumlin Farm with friends. And it was seriously one of the highlights of my life. We walked into the sheep barn just as this mama was preparing to give birth to the token white lamb. We stayed and watched the whole thing play out, including waiting for the baby to take its first wobbly steps and make its first attempts at nursing. All the kids were bored out of their minds by the time the second lamb was born, but none of the moms was ready to leave the scene. I had actual tears in my eyes — the miracle of life!

The second birth was a bit anticlimactic, but of course I had to video it.

We returned to our favorite "digger" park one Saturday in April, unsure of what conditions would be like after that doozy of a winter. Good news — everything is still intact.

We returned to our favorite “digger” park one Saturday in April, unsure of what conditions would be like after that doozy of a winter. Good news — everything is still intact.

This might be the cutest rendition of “I’m a Nut” I’ve ever heard. If you can’t quite understand his speech, here are the lyrics. “I’m a little acorn round, sitting on the cold hard ground. Everybody steps on me, that is why I’m cracked, you see. I’m a nut. I’m a nut. I’m a nut, I’m a nut, I’m a nut.”

Thanks to a fortuitous seating arrangement at Trident Cafe, I got to have a lovely chat with Gabrielle Blair, aka Design Mom, ahead of her Boston talk and book signing. She's a delight.

Thanks to a fortuitous seating arrangement at Trident, I got to have a lovely chat with Gabrielle Blair, aka Design Mom, ahead of her Boston talk and book signing. She’s a delight.

I keep wondering when his love affair with machines will fade. No time soon, apparently.

I keep wondering when his love affair with machines will fade. No time soon, apparently.

Tim ran a half marathon one Saturday while Soren and I grocery shopped and lounged in the sun. Soren jumped in at the finish line.

Tim ran a half marathon one Saturday while Soren and I grocery shopped and lounged in the sun. Soren jumped in at the finish line.

Evening train ride with Tim during mama's workout.

Evening train ride with Tim during mama’s workout.