ashwagandha thyroid

5 Fab Features on the 2017 Britax B-Ready Stroller

Some families have multiple cars. Others have a ton of strollers. That’s us — the stroller depot.

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Here we have an Uppababy Vista, a Britax B-Ready, a Baby Trend jogging stroller, a Schwinn bike trailer that morphs into a double jogger, and a neighbor’s stroller.

Living in the great city of Boston means I don’t need to use my car much. My stroller, on the other hand, sees VERY heavy use — multiple times a day, in all sorts of weather, and through varied terrain. Year round, we walk to preschool and back. We walk to the library. We walk to the grocery store. We walk to the playground, the post office, the bakery, the drug store.

So I need a stroller that fits my walking-centered lifestyle. The Uppababy Vista has been an absolute dream. But at the hefty price of $850, it’s simply not practical for most people (I purchased mine gently used — so at a steep discount!). That’s where the Britax B-Ready comes in!

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Britax generously sent me a fancy new 2017 B-Ready stroller to test out and provide feedback on. And I’ve been pretty pleased with it. In many ways, it meets my snooty stroller standards. It really only falls short in a few aspects. Here are my five favorite features so far:

1. It’s super versatile

I’m a huge believer in the power of talking to your baby, so I like lots of face-to-face time with my kids. I love a stroller that has the option of turning the child’s seat toward the parent or caregiver. The B-Ready has that — and more. It’s super adaptable. It boasts 12 seating options that allow you to configure your kids in a variety of ways — a bassinet or a car seat for an infant, two carseats for baby twins, a single seat that faces parent or faces outward, two regular seats facing front or facing each other, and so on.

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The conversations flow freely when we’re facing each other!

2. It has a GIANT storage basket

My under-stroller storage basket sees all kinds of action. It carries dozens of library books at a time. It carries backpacks — mine and my kid’s. And it carries pumpkins and watermelon home from the produce shop. It carries collected rocks and sticks, giant containers of bubbles, and picnic blankets plus food for a lunch at the park. So I need my storage basket to be big and sturdy. The Britax B-Ready nailed this one. The storage space is enormous, and the material is really easy to clean (it’s not unusual for me to find a very old and very mashed-up banana at the bottom of my stroller basket!).

3. It’s sleep-friendly and sun-friendly

Sometimes you need a stroller nap, you know? And sometimes it’s really sunny. Four-position recline and super oversized canopy to the rescue! Both seats recline to multiple positions, which is really accommodating for various nap needs. And the sun shade is fantastic in its size and design. You can pull it down all the way for complete shade and a dark space for a nap, or leave it halfway closed for regular sun blockage. There’s even a bonus sun visor that pops out for that last bit of sunlight that might sneak in. Also, on the top of the canopy there’s a mesh viewing window that stays closed with a magnet — no noisy velcro to wake the sleeping baby! The mesh is also great for breathability — and for playing peekaboo!

4. It looks sleek

Excuse my vanity, but I like a good-looking stroller. The dark frame and modern look are right up my alley.

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My 4-year-old is no longer a stroller rider. But he obliged for a moment so I could test run the two-seat configuration!

5. The little details add up

The B-Ready has a few nice little details that I wouldn’t have thought of but that come in SO handy. The red and green indicators on the parking brake, for example — so great to see instantly if the stroller is locked. And the back of the seat offers a nice-sized pocket, where I usually toss my keys and phone, lest they become buried in the bottom basket. I can’t say that about my Uppababy!

To be fully honest, though, I better note the few things I found lacking in the B-Ready:

1. This thing is HEAVY

It’s big. It’s bulky. And it’s super heavy. I recently got a new car with a large trunk, and the B-Ready barely fits. With the second seat on, I bet it wouldn’t have fit in the trunk of my Honda Civic. The specs say it’s three pounds heavier than my Uppababy. And its folded length is a whopping 42″; the Uppababy folds to just 33″ tall. The folded height is quite a bit different as well — 19″ for the B-Ready, just 15″ for the Vista. So you can see how the B-Ready would dominate your trunk.

2. The frame doesn’t feel quite as sturdy as I’d like

We wandered around Mount Auburn Cemetery a few days ago, and we wandered off the main roads on a few occasions. I was surprised that on a few hills and sloping, bumpy paths, I had to keep the stroller from tipping to the side. With as heavy as the stroller is, I wish it were a little sturdier and bottom-heavy. Also, I’m pretty rough on my strollers — I bounce them up and down stairs, I hop up and down curbs, etc. And the B-Ready just doesn’t handle like the Uppababy does.

3. The handle, though adjustable, isn’t telescoping

The B-Ready’s handle adjusts up and down, but a telescoping handle would better accommodate people of varying heights. I’m 5’4″ and my husband is 6’3″, so we need very different handle heights!

4. The seat is oddly far from the parent

With my Uppababy, I can easily peek through the mesh window while I’m walking to see what baby is up to. When he’s forward facing, he likes to look up at me every now and then to say hi — it’s sweet. With the B-Ready, the seat is too far forward to make this happen. If he looks up, he can’t see me. And if I want to look at him, I have to stop the stroller and really lean over to get a glimpse at his cute head.

June 2016

Happy June!

We love the monthly free day at deCordova.

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More Tinkergarten fun. On this day, the kids walked all over the park finding treasures — pre-hidden items that would lead to a lemonade-making party. Soren is carrying the bottle of water.

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Last day of preschool at PCNS! I can’t imagine a more amazing preschool or more perfect teachers. Oh, how we miss that place.

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Miss Amy and Miss Brenda were the absolute best. Sometimes I felt like they knew and understood my own kid better than I did.

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The Hubbub Festival (run by the Boston Book Festival) was a hit, yet again. We met Huckle!

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Lawn games in Copley Square.

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Giant monkey puppets.

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Soren couldn’t get enough of these guys.

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Storytime with author Ame Dyckman and illustrator Zachariah OHora in the children’s room.

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Afternoon stroll.

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The Scooper Bowl is still my favorite day of the year. Soren agrees.

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Ice cream heads!

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Baby loves bath time! After about five minutes of him splashing like a maniac, I’m usually drenched from head to toe.

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Had to freeze this moment with a photo so I could remember Soren’s thoughtful pause on the sidewalk: “Mom, did you know that before they had washing machines, they used a washboard? You dunk the clothes in a bucket of water, then scrub them on the washboard.”

This one is pretty embarrassing… I tried to record the sound with no video, but it didn’t quite work and I look ridiculous.

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Berries!

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Oh, that face.

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Our CSA allowed free picking during the summer, so we made the haul to Western Mass to collect our goods. Strawberries were our main motivation!

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Grumpy church face.

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This was moments before I went over a bump, and Soren’s ice cream from Regina’s ended up smack dab on top of his head. There were tears.

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Page and Everett came for a visit! Loved having them see our city and play for a few days. This is right before Soren almost drowned at Castle Island. Puddle Jumpers are now mandatory!

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Ice cream at White Mountain.

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Page taught the school kids at the playground a thing or two.

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These two don’t even need me anymore! It’s awesome.

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Posing like statues.

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During a Boston Public Market picnic on the Greenway, I looked over to see that Shaw had gotten into a bag of potato chips and was practically inhaling them. He wins!

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Soren and Ev at our beloved “fountain park.”

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Even better with the scooter!

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Grandmama gives the best baths! (Mom, do you have the original of this photo? I can’t find it anywhere — this is the Instagrammed pic.)

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There’s nothing this one won’t eat! Chicken drumstick was a hit.

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More goods from our PYO adventure: I picked, washed, shelled, removed strings and stems, and cut pints and pints of peas.

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Why are babies always cutest when they’re naked?

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Love the fat-baby crosse-ankles sleep position.

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We spent at morning at one of the Harbor Islands. Look at this fatso!

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Searching for island wildlife.

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Had to try out the new smoothie joint by our house!

Had to try out the new smoothie joint by our house!

May 2016

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We got semi-serious in the spring about looking at houses. I attended a few open houses, we narrowed in on one neighborhood, and then we started making offers!

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The preschool moms breakfast was the sweetest!

Soren was not feeling the music program.

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Our fun Tinkergarten class continued through the month. Is Soren attacking a kid here?!

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One Saturday we ventured to Copley to see Robert McCloskey’s daughter, Sally, do a reading of “Make Way for Ducklings.” So fun to hear backstory on the book — like how Bob rounded up a few ducks to look at while illustrating, and kept them in his bathtub in his NYC apartment.

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Soren can be a bit of a bossypants know-it-all (he takes after his mother in many, many ways), to the point where he believes he can control traffic.

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Few things are more glorious than the first warm days at the playground each spring.

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Shaw LOVED his first ride in the swing.

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I had to document this dinner, because how often is a meal so monochromatic — and totally unintentionally?!

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More Tinkergarten fun.

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Menotomy Rocks Park is a new favorite!

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Soren’s preschool had a family picnic one night, complete with a petting zoo!

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For my birthday, we spent the morning doing some of my favorites. Public Garden first.

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Blackbird Donuts

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Bubble festival

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Oh, these brothers.

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Soren totally mastered the scooter and hasn’t looked back. I’m LOVING this new phase.

He also decided he loves bashing into things while scooting.

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More Tinkergarten fun.

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Here, the kids were painting their “bindles” with DIY paints made from fruits and herbs.

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Bindles complete.

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Taking them on a hike to search for treasures to put in their sacks.

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This is how Shaw does Tinkergarten.

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Soren totally got his head stuck in the fence at Hardiman Park one afternoon. How does this even happen? First I took a picture, and then we worked to resolve the issue — Soren was totally panicked. Fortunately, a friend was there and knew just the trick — you have the kid walk the rest of his body (sideways) through the fence posts. Easy peasy!

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Our first Walden day of the season!

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I love putting this baby in the swing. He’s happy to just hang out on his own!

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Tim and Soren disc golf day.

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We took a trip to Butter Hill with my parents for a nature weekend. Thank you, Pappy, for taking both boys exploring!

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Always together.

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Nighttime reading of the most giant Richard Scarry book ever.

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Made a quick stop at the New England Ski Museum on our way to our morning hike.

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Taking the tram up to the top of the mountain.

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This hike looks like it’s easy, right? Turns out it was actually the hike of death (especially considering we had to carry two kids)!

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A little post-hike cool-off.

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So fun to spy black bears in the backyard.

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Secrets with Pappy.

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The Cabot factory in Vermont wasn’t too far beyond the church we attended. Here, Pappy and Soren are checking out old farm equipment.

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“Moooo!”

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On our way home from New Hampshire we swung by Kimball Farm for our first banana split of the season.

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My three favorite boys.

April 2016

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We started our April with a party for the 75th anniversary of our beloved “Make Way for Ducklings” at the actual Make Way for Ducklings store in Faneuil Hall. First up, craft time.

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Then face painting.

And the highlight of it all was when Soren was interviewed for an NPR story. We didn’t think much of it and didn’t see anything on the NPR site for a few days, so we figured the story didn’t run. But a few months later, a friend said he’d heard Soren on the radio! Here’s the audio clip:

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Obligatory stop at Boston Public Market for a Saturday morning donut.

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No one dotes on my boys more than sweet Mimoza. She built a little nest around Shaw to keep him from falling over.

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Five months old!

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Marathon Monday! Soren insisted on bringing the flag from our bike trailer. Kids are weird.

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I love this family candid.

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“Mom, there’s a man called Radiohead. Have you heard of him? We should listen to him.” Where did this kid come from?

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Someone is learning how to spell… (and no, he didn’t barf).

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Soren and Shaw got the storytime lady all to themselves for a little while at the MFA. We didn’t see much art that day.

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First popsicle! Almost 4 years old — does that make me a bad mom?

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Tim is good to force us outside on Sunday afternoons when we mostly want to lie around and do nothing. This day we walked around Hale Reservation in Westwood.

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As he points to each one: “This is my water, this is my juice, and this is my alcohol.” What?!

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Tinkergarten!

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Exploring in Menotomy Rocks Park.

#DearMom :: Lands’ End’s Mother’s Day Celebration {and Giveaway!}

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I’m convinced that being a mother is actually the hardest job in the world. The hours aren’t just long, they’re unending. The sleep deprivation is akin to torture. The messes are ever present — poop, crackers smashed into the rug, vomit, Legos in every nook and cranny of the house. The tiny people in this house seem to need food prepared for them at all hours of the day (and night, for the infant). The patience a needy newborn demands is astonishing. And the skill required to negotiate with a threenager is often beyond my abilities.

So to say that mothers deserve a little more appreciation is an understatement. Even knowing full well how thankless the job can be, I’m as guilty as the next person of not showing my own mother the gratitude she deserves!

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This Mother’s Day, Land’s End is making it a bit easier on us all with their #DearMom campaign. Through events in Sears stores and online, Lands’ End is providing creative new ways to celebrate mom. Here’s how you can join the fun (and take home a Lands’ End gift card!).

  • Stop by Sears in Natick to celebrate mom: On Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sears in Natick will be all decked out with Mother’s Day fun. The first 50 people at each event will receive a Lands’ End gift card to be used toward a Mother’s Day purchase! Try the #DearMom custom video booth to record and send a message to mom (and be automatically entered to win a $500 gift card!). Or visit the #DearMom custom lettering station, where a local lettering expert will be on hand to write a custom card from you to your mom.
  • Show mom how much you care: Through May 6, share a Mother’s Day message, photo, or video on Instagram and/or Twitter using #dearmom, #contest, and #mylandsend for a daily chance to win a $100 Lands’ End gift card. (Each day, @LandsEndPR will post a unique prompt or question.)

Also, stay tuned for an Instagram/Twitter post that’ll give you a chance to win a $100 Lands’ End gift card!

Proof that my mom is a supermom — she made us these coordinating rompers. I refused to wear mine.

Proof that my mom is a supermom — she made us these coordinating rompers. I refused to wear mine.

March 2016

Here’s our March! Light on photos, heavy on vids.

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Finally, at age 3.5, Soren watched his first television show! Sesame Street, the show of my childhood, kicked things off for him.

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Evening fun at Cambridge Common.

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Soren’s preschool class took a field trip to the MFA. We loved the kid-friendly tour and the accompanying art project!

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Museum pose.

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Nothing like a late-March snowstorm to remind us we live in Boston.

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“You know why I have this bowl on my head? ‘Cause I’m pretending to be a Jewish kid.”

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Easter egg hunt at Tim’s co-worker’s house.

February 2016

As if I even remember what happened in February at this point! But I’ve been feeling the urge to get my “journal” up to date lately, so here we go.

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We spent a lot of our mornings and afternoons like this. With Soren at preschool in the mornings and still napping well in the afternoon, Shaw ended up sleeping on me all. the. time. This meant I only had one hand free for the laptop, which cut my productivity in half. But it did inspire this blog post.

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Tim and Soren got in a few good sledding Saturdays.

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And a hockey game! Obviously, the zamboni was a hit.

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Soren was totally sold on the dentist when he learned that his hygienist’s dad was a real life fire chief — and her favorite color is read, like Soren’s. Win. If any local friends are looking for a pediatric dentist, you’ll LOVE Dr. Weiss.

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Soren’s preschool art show was the BEST. They had spent many weeks studying Andy Goldsworthy and Vincent Van Gogh. The two photos here are Soren’s take on some of Goldsworthy’s nature sculptures.

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This is Soren’s take on “Starry Night.”

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And Van Gogh’s “Sunflowers.”

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My 3-month-old lover on Valentine’s Day.

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The only other photo that captured our V-Day. Loads and loads of laundry. Mom life doesn’t stop on holidays, I guess. (Tim was making dinner, though — I won’t complain!)

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After much deliberation, we decided to stay in Boston for Tim to take a job at Harvard. Boston for life!

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Once we made our big life decision, we were off to Arizona for Layton family fun — and sun! Short sleeves never felt so good.

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Golf cart rides are one of the major perks of visiting the great grandparents.

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We visited a small candy factory for a tour and some tasting. Don’t ask me what Soren is wearing on his head.

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The kids got to make a strange little “treat.” Pretzels, white chocolate “eggs,” and a yellow candy “yolk.”

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Shaw fell asleep in the car, as usual, so we swung by Cabela’s for Soren to check out the wildlife. So much camo in that store. Yikes.

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We logged some good playground hours.

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We found the low-budget Enchanted Island Amusement Park to be a dream for two 3-year-olds. First, the train ride!

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Train ride selfie!

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Bumper boats.

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Soren rode this roller coaster about a million times. Front car, back car, and everywhere in between.

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Great-grandpa took us to see his planes at the Air Force base.

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And we finished our trip with a windy Mexican meal out. Perfection.

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We missed our flight home by about 90 seconds, reinforcing our belief that leaving the East coast is usually a bad idea. This guy finally fell asleep near the end of our flight home.

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Back in Boston, Tim and Soren finished out the month with a Saturday morning at a tinker workshop. Future engineer, here we come!

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January 2016

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We kicked off the new year with our third annual New Year’s Day visit to the train exhibit at the Botanic Garden.

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Soren remembered that James was part of the exhibit last year… but we couldn’t find him anywhere this time. Finally, at the last minute, we discovered his hiding spot!

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Both boys were napping by 10:30 a.m. Thank you, pacifiers.

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Highway potty stops for all.

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Back at home, this lover boy turned two months old!

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Our Christmas just kept coming. We had a pile of presents under the tree that didn’t make it down to Virginia, so we opened a few every couple of days.

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At a recent checkup, Soren’s world was rocked when he saw Curious George on the waiting room TV. He had no idea George was anything but a book character.

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I’m kind of embarrassed to post this picture. But this is what the back of Soren’s hair had become before his very first haircut.

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As he does with most new experiences, Soren took this very seriously.

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Inches and inches… gone.

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Just another afternoon nap with my baby in my lap and my laptop by my side.

December 2015

Happy December! Since Shaw was born I’ve been feeling like I never take pictures anymore. After loading them all here, though, it seems we’ve got plenty!

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This sight is a regular afternoon occurrence. The sunglasses are usually safety goggles for construction work. The cape is always on backwards. On this particular day, he ran into the room and yelled, “I’m Superman! I do baaaad things.”

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For about a week, Soren would ask to have Shaw join him in his crib after he woke up for the morning. He also would regularly ask, “Is Shaw big enough to play yet?” I think he’s now figured out that it’s going to take awhile.

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Santa and the mayor made their way around Boston for the various tree lightings throughout the city. We walked to the Oak Square festivities and arrived just as Santa was wrapping up — so no line! We reminded Soren a number of times that Santa isn’t real, but it’s pretty confusing when you’re sitting on his lap.

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Just another Sunday evening.

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Four weeks old.

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Grandmama came to town to help for a few days while Tim crammed and slept in preparation for his Harvard interview. When it was all over, we celebrated by getting Reubens at Boston Public Market. Soren mostly cared about the play place.

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One month old!

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During a midnight feeding I decided we needed to take family pictures before the winter weather set in. So first thing in the morning I texted a friend who met us 15 minutes before the church Christmas party was going to start. She snapped a few photos and we called it good. Impromptu photo shoots are kind of a good way to go — no time to think about what to wear and no time to stress over the fact that I was months overdue for a haircut. You just do it, and it turns out fine!

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This is the photo that ended up on our holiday cards. It’s now February and I still haven’t sent them all out.

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At the church party, Soren worked on a gingerbread village with two doting girls. I love watching him work the crowd at church or church functions. He knows everyone (and most adults he addresses by first and last name) and doesn’t feel the need to stick too close to his parents.

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During the church Christmas program the next day, the Primary kids sang a few songs. We didn’t know if the rising Sunbeams were supposed to join or if Soren knew the words to the songs. But he decided to make his way up there and sing off to the side. We still aren’t sure if he knew the songs.

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Look at this fatso!

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Soren’s preschool Christmas play was pretty awesome. Despite singing all the words at home, he kept his mouth shut during the performance. And he was pretty distracted by the action on the stage.

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Another day, another Duplo creation. He called this one a “train track party.”

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And then we made our way to Virginia for interviews for Tim and family holiday fun. Our drive went pretty smoothly, other than too many stops for Soren to go potty and for Shaw to nurse. We stopped at a large Wawa gas station hoping to find an eating area where I could feed Shaw. No go. I asked an employee if there was any place to sit, and she graciously wheeled a comfy chair out of their small office. Beats nursing in the car!

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At my parents’ church we sat in the first row of chairs and had the giant aisle in front of us. Since we were at vacation church, we decided to forego any attempts at reverence. Soren enjoyed parading around the chapel singing the hymns and waving a squirrel puppet to the beat.

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Of course I can never catch the smile in a photo. But at six weeks, Soren started giving us some good grins. Right on schedule.

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I love a baby in a onesie.

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When I heard the Elephant and Piggie play was at the Kennedy Center, I jumped online to search for tickets. After a few days, the unsold handicapped seats were released for purchase! Look at this kid parading the Hall of Nations like he owns the joint.

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Watching Soren watch this play was one of my favorite motherhood moments to date.

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Another attempt to catch a smile.

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Little grump.

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Soren liked making his way down to the basement to visit Beau and Mackenzie. And their bed, apparently.

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We had to visit the zoo while were in Virginia. But this time we got our first zoo lights experience (after it got dark, of course).

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We took a day trip to Charlottesville with my parents since we knew Tim would be interviewing at UVA in January. Soren was sold on the place after trying the fried chicken.

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Pappy and Grandmama taught Soren the fine art of getting trucks to honk.

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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!

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

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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.

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

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First car ride (coming home from the hospital).

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Remember this sleeper? (5 days old)

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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)

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

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Eight days old.

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Dads’ breakfast at Soren’s school.

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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.

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Sunday naps for all! (9 days old)

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

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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.

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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.

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Thanksgiving Day family kickball game.

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

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

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Disc golf! Look at that form!

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The cutest caddy you ever did see.

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My sweeties.