ashwagandha thyroid

October 2016

Started the month with General Conference. Our bowls were a hit! Super proud of myself for thinking ahead and putting the healthy snacks with the frequently used words (grapes for Jesus!).

Mount Auburn is a dream in the fall. Even better with friends.

Soren and Blake, sittin’ in a tree.

A bunch of Tim’s BYU buddies came over for dinner one night. Boys + Duplos = party time.

Autumn walks.

The firefighter costume got a lot of mileage again this year.

While Tim was in Germany for work, BFF Camilla came to town to whip my house into shape. Despite my hesitations, she pulled this mirror out of my wall.

What are we doing?!

We spent some time on the Greenway one afternoon with dinner from Boston Public Market.

Soren serenaded as we ate.

The fire department hosted a fun event one Saturday. Soren’s livin’ the dream here.

If Tim has to leave me for a week, the least he can do is bring European treats.

One evening Tim took the kids to Spy Pond, where they stumbled upon some excitement. A car had accidentally driven into the pond, so there were firetrucks and emergency vehicles galore.

Soren wanted to stay to the bitter end.

We ventured to Hartford for the open house of the new LDS temple. Shaw got stuck under a bench.

Forever family.

After the open house we went to a pumpkin patch for apple cider and hay jumping.

Shaw LOVES to play in or near the fridge. He’ll take any cast-offs he can find.

Boston Public Market wins for best giant pumpkins.

Shaw and I had our fair share of breastfeeding challenges (I blame him). We were so grateful for all the donor breastmilk he enjoyed! (I learned after I took this picture that you shouldn’t keep breastmilk on the door of the freezer. Just a heads up for anyone else who keeps a freezer full!)

Only got the kite stuck three times before we learned our lesson.

It’s a glorious day when a bunch of 4-year-olds can play independently and without conflict.

One of the worst nights of our lives to date. Soren tripped/slipped on the stairs and bashed his head. Of course it happened right before bedtime. We thought about trying to get by with just a band-aid, but the idea of a huge scar for life pushed me to the ER.

This was pre-stitches, when he was enjoying the attention of all the nurses who couldn’t get over his cuteness.

A few days later, Soren got into a little trouble during quiet time. Train stuck in the hair!

Massage night is the best night.

Wilson Farm disappointed us this year — no pumpkin wall! But those cider donuts will keep us coming back for life.

Shaw farm ice cream for my Shaw boy.

Halloween in our neighborhood is a little… crazy.

The sugar witch wins again! No candy for Soren, just Legos.

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.

September 2016

September 1 was cloudy and almost-rainy, but we decided to risk it and head to the Frog Pond. There’s something about the last days of summer that makes you crave getting out!

Soren scooted all over Boston shirtless and shoeless. Livin’ the dream.

We decided to throw a very casual birthday party with friends in our new backyard. Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting made a very easy birthday cake!

We ordered a grown-up couch on Labor Day. Real furniture!

We were wise to bring books for Soren to read while we deliberated over colors and textures.

Post-shopping nature walk.

Babes in a box.

Soren paid his first visit to a real hair salon. Second haircut ever, and very somber!

The cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

First day of a new school!

Being able to walk to preschool is the most glorious thing. On our first day, I had to sprint home since Shaw and I got caught in a downpour.

Tim and I had to go to a too-trendy restaurant for a work assignment, of sorts. We felt a little out of place there, but once I started eating the tater tot nachos none of that mattered. They may look a little scary here, but they were amazing.

And then Tim had to lay down in the T station because of too many nachos.

This video is long and slooow. But I had to document Soren’s first attempts at reading. Out of nowhere, I noticed one day he was sounding out words. So I checked out a few early readers from the library and put him to the test.

After the first week of school, separation anxiety started setting in. His teachers said we could chalk it up to all the changes of the month prior (moving to a new house/neighborhood, attending a new church, starting a new school, etc.) combined with the fact that Shaw was now old enough to be having fun and playing with mama alone while Soren was away. So Soren and I celebrated the close of a successful school week with chocolate croissants from Quebrada.

Soren and I went to the fireworks and celebration for Arlington’s Town Day. We splurged on a light saber (or “light saver,” to Soren), which was pretty much the greatest thing he’d ever seen.

If you’re gonna leave your shoes out, you might as well do something cute with them! Good job, Soren.

Tim took both boys out for their first shared spin in the bike trailer. Look at that hand holding!

We finally sold my dead car, and it was a little bit heartbreaking. I miss the Civic!

The kids and I went to Walden one warm fall afternoon and ran into some paddle boarding friends there. So Soren got to take a turn!

The kids and I were spoiled one morning by Britax and Boston Moms Blog. We received a free, fancy stroller (for review purposes), plus lunch, treats, and a stroller demo.

Shaw was obsessed with Cuisine en Locale’s corn on the cob.

With zero encouragement from us or Soren, Shaw is becoming a machine lover like his older brother.

Our cart was especially full one morning when we picked up a few items for our neighbors. These kids love our Costco runs!

August 2016

Started our month off with some white board fun. It’s rare that Soren will carry on a normal conversation while I video, so I love this one.

A few weeks before Soren’s birthday, we received a surprise delivery.

One morning we took our lunch to the “front yard,” which turned into band practice with trash can drums and tree branch drumsticks.

Library day is the best day of the week — peace and quiet for me.

After a somewhat-stressful summer, we closed on our new house!

Soren enjoyed full access to Sharpies for drawing on moving boxes. This lovely piece of artwork shows a guy sitting on a toilet. Classy.

A few random August videos:

First lollipop at the ripe-old age of almost-4.

We had the saddest goodbye at our beloved Faneuil library. Oh, how we miss those librarians!

A highlight of the new house is even better access to public transit than our Boston spot. Tim and Soren took the train to church to celebrate.

Visiting the de Cordova hearts on a perfect summer day.

“Can you imagine? First it’s green and little, and then it gets older and brown.”

We also discovered the fun inside the museum this visit.

Neither kid could make it home awake. So I sat in the driveway, enjoying my own quiet time.

Swing lover.

Soren’s last day as a 3-year-old! We shared a cupcake.

And we took fuzzy selfies while cuddling.

And then, suddenly, he turned 4! We had a quick breakfast at home before heading off to Thomas Land for the day!

His face doesn’t show it here, but he was thrilled.

Literally jumping for joy.

We hit the regular part of the park first and saved actual Thomas Land for last.

Carefully studying the map while riding the train that (very slowly) winds around the park.

Is there anything sweeter than a 4-year-old who rests his hand on your leg during amusement park rides?

Shaw had a good time, too.

Barely tall enough to ride the Troublesome Trucks roller coaster!

Soren got to volunteer to help during the show at the roundhouse. (Which was THE lamest show I’d ever seen.)

Pumping break for mama. Five stars for Edaville’s nursing room!

Soren and Tim on the ferris wheel. One of about five times they rode it.

That night we continued on to the Cape. I can’t picture anything better than a week at the beach.

Better than a regular week at the beach is a week at the beach with Paulina! She came for a few days and had lots of good playtime with Soren.

 

Having Paulina around also meant we got to go out sans kids a couple of nights. Ice cream!

It was all fun and games until our car died while we were out one night. Tim and I waited a few hours for a tow truck to arrive. And that began our month with no car!

But who needs a car when you’ve got the beach.

These two.

Our daily setup.

Going to the beach with kids means reading time is drastically cut down. But I finished a couple books while we were there!

The walk home was just long enough for Soren to fall asleep. He plays hard!

Backyard naps.

Shaw and Tim spent a lot of time at the house to keep Shaw sufficiently napped. But he did get in some good beach time!

Wave jumping never gets old.

Nature’s sand toys.

Another day, another book.

Another backyard nap.

Chasing seagulls.

And back at home. It was strange to come “home” to our new house, which we’d only been living in for a few days before our vacation. Soren was back to business as usual right away.

We continued our no-car life and got friendly with public transportation. Here, Shaw chews on our Charlie card.

Adapting to bus life.

I swear the squirrels are getting crazier every year.

Pizza in the stroller basket means it was a good afternoon in Harvard Square.

July 2016

Soren has started dropping his nap this summer, so in an effort to preserve our sanity, I instituted mandatory quiet time each afternoon. We put a stack of books in his bed, and he can read or sleep until his clock tells him it’s been an hour. Fortunately, some days he still conks out — often with a book in hand!

Tim took Soren to see his first fireworks show for the 4th of July. He was in heaven. They pre-gamed at Rancatore’s.

Waiting for the fireworks to start — and ready for any loud noises.

We hate so many things about the way Walden Pond is managed, but this day they won a piece of me over when they offered a surprise afternoon story time!

Shaw graduated to the cart! Grocery shopping with these two is surprisingly fun.

A little afternoon yoga in the park. Soren is way into that child’s pose.

Namaste.

I love the early stages of writing, where the words go from left to right and around in circles. He made this “NEED FOOD” sign for a little in-home panhandling. And then he asked for $20 to get chicken fingers at Zaftigs.

Squinty-eyed and happy in the sun at The Street.

We love our Thursday afternoon jaunt to our CSA pickup — nothing better than a stroller full of farm-fresh greens!

Shaw’s first skinny dip!

The stupid “safety checks” really kill our fun.

I keep thinking he’ll figure out that sand and rocks don’t actually taste good. But so far, it hasn’t clicked!

Sunday afternoon picnic and walk at Larz Anderson park.

Our neighborhood has had the BEST construction action over the last four years. It seems they’re always tearing up the streets or putting in new pipes or knocking down a house or something. Soren couldn’t be happier about it.

I got to attend another Hanna Andersson pre-opening party as part of my work with Boston Moms Blog. Someone’s happy about cuddling with his new jammies.

As part of the purge before the move, I went through all the recipes I brought with me from home to college. All those years ago, I photocopied everything from my mom’s recipe files, then cut them out and pasted them onto notecards. And now we have the internet and I NEVER use paper recipes.

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.