ashwagandha thyroid

Portugal Day 7 — Sintra (August 2017)

Sintra day! This was one of my favorite Portugal days. The most unique architecture and gardens and views and history.

We walked from our apartment to the Rossio train station, then rode for about 30 minutes to Sintra. No seats for us — so we gave the kids breakfast and entertained them on the floor.

Taking this sketch pad thing very seriously.

Took LOTS more pictures of fancy tiles.

Our first glimpse of Pena Palace. Pictures hardly do it justice!

Taking tiles to the next level — 3D!

That’s us hanging out in that little turret.

And then we began our long walk through the Palace gardens and on to the Castle of the Moors.

Reeeally missing my UppaBaby right about now!

We took lots of pictures of cool trees for Pappy!

Cookie break.

More trees for Pappy.

Goodbye to the Palace, and on to the Moorish Castle.

It was a long walk to get up there!

Stroller nap.

And here we are. This castle was incredible. And enormous. So many stairs and long, narrow paths.

Just trying to make sure Soren didn’t fall over that one-foot ledge to his death.

Taking a breather.

Battle scars.

The bus ride back down to the train station. Already been a long day for this kid!

Excuse my double chin, but this is probably what I looked like every second I was sitting and not breaking up a kid fight. Had to get through that book!

Back to Rossio (train station), back to Lisbon.

Nicely decorated trains.

End-of-adventure rewards.

That night, Tim and I finally took advantage of the babysitter situation and went out for an adults-only dinner.

And it’s a good thing we did, because we got to talking about Soren’s upcoming kindergarten year, and we decided to… not do it after all. A surprise decision, for sure, but definitely the right one (and an exciting one — a year of play time for us at home!). So… just wanted to document my night with this guy.

Portugal Day 6 — Lisbon (August 2017)

Our Lisbon apartment had a perfect view of the Castelo de São Jorge, which sits atop a hill looking over the city center. So visiting the castle was our first item of Lisbon business. We made our way there on foot, taking advantage of the free city elevators to get higher and higher until we finally reached the castle entrance.

Not a free elevator, but a cool one!

Views as we made our way up.

Walking along.

This guy was busy re-painting the doors. Soren was mesmerized.

I don’t know how many pictures I took of tiles I loved, but it’s probably in the hundreds.

Soren was more impressed with the views from the castle than I expected him to be. You don’t really expect your 5-year-old to appreciate the richness of international travel, but in this moment, he got it.

And then he sketched the scenes for a LONG while.

There were all sorts of peacocks running wild in the castle gardens.

I spy Tim and Shaw.

Tim and Shaw ran around the ramparts until Shaw couldn’t handle it anymore. They spied me and Soren down below.

Shaw taking a breather on Tim’s back.

Taking a water break on our walk home.

Seriously can’t get enough of the tiles.

We took a (crowded) tram ride — kids were in heaven, of course.

After bifanas for lunch and then a very long nap for Shaw, we headed back to the Alfana neighborhood for a DIY walking tour of all the amazing street art (and more tiles — duh). Lots of tiny streets and nooks and crannies and beautiful buildings.

A little historia de Lisboa.

Cobblestone streets: A nightmare for the stroller, a feast for the eyes.

Stopped for a refreshing juice at this cute spot.

Next up was our nightly dinner dilemma — should we grab something and bring it home or attempt a dinner out and hope the kids will hold it together after being out for hours and hours. (With the added dilemma of not knowing where to eat and not having great access to tried-and-true tools like Yelp.) We finally decided to throw in the towel and head home, but on our walk home we spied a tapas place that looked like it was worth a shot. And it was a winner — bacalhau, octopus, cheese, hot flaming sausage. Delicious.

And then another late bedtime… especially considering the next day would be a big one!

Portugal Day 5 — Odeceixe to Lisbon (August 2017)

Happy birthday, Soren! We’re lucky he had low (or no) expectations about his birthday, because we spent a chunk of the day packing and driving. We didn’t really do presents, but I did happen to have a dollar store travel checkers game we hadn’t used on the airplane, so that became his one gift. He happily played with it while we packed up the apartment to head to Lisbon!

Goodbye, Odeceixe!

We stopped an hour into our drive at Santiago do Cacem. Time for another castelo visit!

We made it to Lisbon by late afternoon and eventually found our apartment (after walking up and down the sidewalk past lots of buildings with hidden addresses). After unloading all our bags, Tim drove the rental car back to the airport and hopped on the metro to rejoin us.

Grumpy metro selfie.

The view from one side of our Lisbon apartment. Way up high!

This pretty hospital entrance was right outside our building.

Ah, the rooster — the most common emblem of Portugal.

For dinner, Soren decided he wanted paella after seeing some on a sign outside a restaurant. So we rounded up some paella and a few kebabs and met up in the park by Martim Moniz. There were musicians and dancers aplenty, so Soren decided to join in. These videos are mostly blurry, but I need to keep the memory of Soren dancing like a madman, running back to us for a bite of paella, then continuing to flail his arms and legs all over the park.

Birthday gelato! Lots of red and stripes going on.

Getting to know the Lisbon sites.

Lisbon at night.


Portugal Day 4 — Odeceixe (August 2017)

Stinker Shaw joined us in bed during the night and slept fine until 4 a.m. when he was wide awake and wanted to play. After attempting to ignore him/wrestling him for who knows how long, he slept until 8 a.m., when the first bells began. He didn’t move through all eight bells, so I thought we were in the clear. but then he popped up and said, “DING, DING. BELLS!” Soren slept until 9. We ate fruit and bread with peanut butter and honey for breakfast and took our time getting ready.

Then on to our family “hike” to Odeceixe beach. It was not quite the hike we were expecting. It was mostly along a road and it involved some hills. Soren was a little out of sorts and cried here and there, wanting to be carried. So… kind of a terrible hike.

But the end result was lovely — a really beautiful beach with huge, long waves. It’s situated at the end of a river, so the beach is actually a peninsula surrounded by ocean on one side and river on the other two. Nice to have two varieties of water fun! We weren’t in swimsuits but played in the sand and shallow water. The beach was fairly crowded, and there were tons of surfers. The waves started waaayy out and slowly rolled in. And the water was fairly shallow for a long distance, so surfing instructors could stand in the water near people learning to surf. Per usual in Portugal, there were huge cliffs surrounding the whole place. Lots of campers on the other side of the river, and they would cross over to the beach by fording the river (carrying their things over their head).

Some people brought their dogs across the river on boogie boards.

Cute little beach village, complete with horse-riding police.

To save us the misery of hiking back to town, Tim ran home to get the car. (It took us an hour to walk the two miles there; it took Tim 20 mins to run it). On the short drive home we stopped in a tiny market to get bread, salami, and sheep’s milk cheese for lunch at home. The cheese was amazing and the whole lunch costed about 8€. Europe is the best.

After lunch, Shaw took a super nap — three solid hours. Tim and Paulina napped as well. Soren did quiet time but mostly interrupted my nap. I read and relaxed while being annoyed by Soren. Once he and I got bored of waiting for everyone to wake up, we went on a walk to find a treat. Most places were closed for siesta, and it’s a small enough town that we walked the whole place. But the little market we’d stopped in for lunch ingredients was open, so we bought fruit and popsicles/Magnum bars. Funny to see Soren deliberate over a fruity popsicle or a chocolatey Magnum bar.

We made our way back to the house and got ready for the beach. This time we opted to take the tourist train there (although Tim drove the car there so we’d have a ride home — we knew we’d stay there longer than the train’s schedule allowed).

The beach was lovely — we played for a few hours and stayed until 8 p.m. We outlasted all the natives. Tim and Soren went on an adventure while Shaw played in the sand and shallow river water. Paulina and I took turns playing and read.

With the tide out, Soren and Tim found they could walk over along the cliffs to the next beach. Along the way, they did lots of jumping in”rivers” and holes full of water. Soren had the time of his life. Turns out the next beach was a nude beach. Lots of creepy old dudes walking around looking at themselves, Tim said. Weird. They then headed for the other side of the beach and started climbing up the rocks over there. It quickly got pretty rough on their bare feet, and they gave up.

Soren and Shaw spent the last hour or so having the time of their lives together goofing off in the river. Tim said he’d never seen them have so much fun together. It got a little chilly as it got later and later!

Classic Soren — always observing other kids.

We eventually made our way back home and bathed the kids while Tim went on a long search for a parking spot. It was Saturday night, so everyone was out and about (including a free show in the town center by a theater group — Tim wandered around after the kids went to bed to check it out). Tim eventually found a restaurant that would let him order pizzas to go (it took him five tries!). The kids devoured a few days’ worth of fruit waiting for the pizza. Shaw went to bed very easily, and Soren eventually made his way to his room — after 10 p.m.! His last night as a 4-year-old!

Portugal Day 3 — Lagos to Odeceixe (August 2017)

Good morning, Lagos! I woke before everyone else and read in bed — a vacation luxury. Shaw and Tim woke at 9, and Soren the teenager finally appeared at 10 a.m.

Whether on vacation or at home, Soren always has a book with his breakfast.

After breakfast, showers, and packing everything up we headed to the marina for a midday boat tour of the grottoes, caves, and hidden beaches.

Lots of people on the water on this beautiful day!

Edgar was our fearless captain.

So fun to see a new view of the beaches we’d seen from the opposite side the day before.

Still not sure how the boats squeezed through the narrow tunnelways.

The camel’s head!

Then back we were on the walking bridge heading to the mainland.

We grabbed some delicious (and cheap — 3€ apiece) sandwiches and fruit for lunch at a little Italian place in town then continued our walk back to the car to head out of Lagos.

We all piled into the car and set off for the “end of the world” — Cabo de São Vicente. Shaw slept on the drive; Soren listened to books. I made some good progress on “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” The views along the coast were unreal. Cabo de São Vicente is the southwesternmost point in Portugal, and the cliffs are nearly vertical. And it was SUPER windy, so I’m not sure how people weren’t blown off the cliffs straight into the ocean. Part amazing, part terrifying. We explained to Soren how people used to think that what they could see here was it — ocean for miles and miles, no land in sight (talked about Christopher Columbus, etc.). Shaw slept through it all while we adults took turns waiting with him in the car.

Soren couldn’t get over having to pay to go to the bathroom. Sad face with his bathroom ticket.

Sneaky paparazzi.

Crazy windblown curls are the best!

Giant chair — perfect for photos, no idea what it’s really about.

Please don’t fall off the cliffs.

Tim said running around the cliffs taking photos was one of the highlights of his life.

Then on to Odeceixe — a drive Tim says was a trip highlight for him. “No one has ever had so much fun driving a manual Ford Focus wagon.” (Also, Soren almost barfed on the drive. Fortunately, his stomach of steel prevailed.)

Odeceixe is the cutest little old town you ever did see, built on a hill and with the narrowest cobblestone streets. And no sidewalks, so when a car is coming you press yourself up against the house or building you’re standing by. The crazy streets also meant no parking anywhere except the town center, about a 10-minute walk from our cute three-story Airbnb — also known as the IKEA house, because that place was basically from the IKEA catalogue (in a good way).

The apartment overlooked the town and was also RIGHT next door to a large church with VERY loud eardrum-blasting church bells. Once we heard those bells I immediately jumped on the Google to figure out if these were 24-hours-a-day bells. None of us would have slept, if so! Fortunately, I quickly figured out (via Airbnb reviews) that the bells would go silent between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. We got settled in at the house and then went in search of dinner.

Bell tower. As Shaw would say, “DING, DING.”

Orange roofs = Portugal.

This pretty stairway ran in between the church and our apartment. Photo credit and head chopped off via Soren.

And then he wanted to be IN the walking-down-the-stairs photo.

The kids were total psychos at dinner, so blessed Paulina took them for walks while we waited for food. (We eventually had to drag them home in punishment because they were so wild.)

Shaw ate SO many fried piri-piri prawns. Tim had pork and clams. I had a bread stew thingie with seafood and a squid egg mixed in. And we all went to bed too late.

Portugal Day 2 — Lagos (August 2017)

After a surprisingly good night’s rest, Tim and Shaw ventured out first thing to round up some breakfast. Apparently, the place was dead even at 8 a.m. — not a soul in sight! (I had assured Tim he would be able to grab a few things from a fruit stand — oops. They eventually found a grocery store.)

After Soren and Paulina finally woke up (teenagers!), we headed to the “tourist train.”

Tim was quite skeptical of a “train” that is more like a little tractor pulling a few passenger cars and driving on the main roads. But the kids loved it, of course, and it took us on a nice little tour of the town. We hopped off at Ponta da Piedade. Absolutely stunning!

The western Algarve is loaded with vast sandy beaches and sky-high cliffs, and Ponta da Piedade is the best of the best. There are cliffs, grottos, tunnels, and rock pillars as far as the eye can see. And the contrast with the blues, greens, and turquoises of the water? Amazing! We climbed lots of big rocks, took lots of selfies, and prayed our kids wouldn’t run straight off a cliff. Europe doesn’t child-proof quite like the US of A.

After checking out Ponta do Piedade we began the long trek back to the house. (The tourist train wasn’t coming back anytime soon, so we were on our own.) We passed a few beaches along the way, including Praia da Dona Ana, ranked on some websites as one of the top 10 beaches in the world.

We grabbed some popsicles at a nearby shop then kept walking. Saw some neat houses and fun street art on our walk.

Once we were home and practically melted, we changed into swimsuits and headed out to walk to Restaurante Piri-Piri for lunch — our first official Portuguese meal. (Piri-piri is a local specialty — sort of a spicy fried chicken.) Tim asked the waiter/host how he was doing, and he said, “Not good. I am supposed to go home.” So… not the best service, but the food was pretty good — grilled prawns, grilled sardines, and piri-piri chicken.

Then, we were off to the beach — this time to actually DO the beach. A quick walk brought us back to Praia da Batata, the beach we’d briefly checked out the day before. Tim and Soren quickly went off on an adventure to explore the caves and secret tunnels to other beaches along the coast.

Tim said it might have been the best day of Soren’s life. Perfect blue water and amazing beaches at the bottom of enormous cliffs. Tim told Soren he should write about it in his travel journal. He said, “Maybe we should write about it in the Wall Street Journal. Just kidding!”

The water was chilly, but we swam!

It eventually became our private beach as everyone headed home for the day. We closed it out and then ventured back into town to get dinner.

No idea what this public body of water was, but Soren made it his personal bathtub.

Tim introduced us all to kebabs. The kids loved it (and we ate it many more times on the trip). We capped off the night with gelato. Could the day have been more perfect?!

Portugal Day 1 — Lagos (August 2017)

Well, we did it. We went to Portugal for two weeks with two little kids. Not only did we survive — we loved it and are ready to go back!

We were terrified of the overnight travel, so the night of our trip we put the kids to bed around 6 p.m. to ensure they’d at least get some sleep (we were expecting Soren to sleep peacefully for the whole flight and for Shaw to wreak havoc). Tim and I packed up our last few things, and then we woke the kids around 9 to head to the airport. They were, understandably, quite confused, but the excitement of going to the airport beat out any negative feelings. Soren thought it was quite amazing that there were so many people out and about, playing baseball, etc., when it was the “middle of the night.” Shows how often he gets out at night. We were also nervous about the possibility of a delayed flight (which would mean many hours in the airport with tired kids) because we were flying Azores Airlines — they had been experiencing a number of strikes from their employees, so flights all summer had been less than reliable. While we waited to board, Tim and Shaw picked up some snacks and drinks for us in the lounge (Tim had access since he was flying business class, the lucky dog).

We were thrilled to board and take off on time — 11:45 p.m. Shaw and Tim had a row to themselves in business class. Shaw was a little fussy until Tim moved to a window seat. He was also annoyed because the flight attendants made him wear a weird seatbelt that attached to Tim’s. After we took off, Shaw kept pointing out the window and saying “boat.” Eventually, Tim had Shaw lay on him and told him to go to sleep. Instead, he would pop his head up every few minutes and laugh at Tim. After about an hour of playing, he was out. He slept uninterrupted until we were 30 minutes out of Lisbon and Tim had to raise his seatback, causing Shaw to flip out for a good 10 minutes. He calmed down in time to land, and all was well.

Meanwhile, Soren and I were with the commoners in coach — and our dear Paulina was across the aisle. Soren was pretty excited and not at all sleepy. The flight attendants brought “dinner” by sometime after midnight. Soren was in heaven. He talked to me nonstop while I nodded off. After a couple of hours, I had the bright idea to have him listen to an audiobook. I was able to sleep a little while he listened, and before the book was over he was fast asleep. Glad he finally got an hour or two of shut-eye — I had expected him to sleep the entire six hours!

Next thing we knew, we were in Lisbon! We were still a couple of hours out from the fun beginning, though — had to get through immigration, wait for bags, a rental car, etc. Eventually, we were on our way to the Algarve (about a three-hour drive), with Tim at the wheel of a stick shift that he couldn’t figure out how to reverse (we almost went over a cliff trying to figure it out).

We made a pit stop at Alcácer do Sal to see a castle. Turns out, it wasn’t much of a castle — it had been turned into a hotel. And there was no signage to indicate what anything was. And we were very hungry. And it was a million degrees. And I was grumpy. But… I guess the views were alright.

We were desperate for food at this point, so we drove into the little town to search. The few restaurants were full, and we were feeling timid about our lack of Portuguese. Eventually, we sent Tim off to scour each shop while Paulina and the kids and I roasted in the sun. Shaw chased a lot of birds and was oblivious to our misery. Paulina was her usual positive self and appreciated

Tim finally found a bakery and asked them to make us some ham and cheese sandwiches. They obliged. We hopped back in the car to eat while driving. Best ham and cheese we’ve ever had.

We were in somewhat better spirits when we arrived in Lagos that afternoon. Soren somehow stayed awake the entire drive, so he was going on very little sleep (Shaw napped some, thankfully). We found our Airbnb and a parking spot after a few trips around the block on super narrow streets. We waited on the sidewalk and checked out the scene while Tim connected with Joao, our host. Do we look tired?

And then we were in! The place was perfectly located and just big enough for our needs. Soren and Paulina bunked together; Shaw slept in our bed between us. These pics are from the inside looking out.

Then we headed out for an evening beach adventure — just a few minutes’ walk from our apartment on the cutest (and slipperiest) cobblestone streets.

The beaches were amazing. When we first walked in to Praia da Batata, it looked awesome but a little small. Then we discovered the secret passageways through little caves and rock formations that allowed you to venture from one beach to another to another. Really cool.

We walked back through town to find dinner — Tim and Soren grabbed some kebabs and fries. The kids LOVED them. Paulina and I picked up some OK burritos. Then back home for bed around 8 p.m. Still not sure how both kids survived that 24-hour period on such little sleep. Soren was the most shocking of all — that kid needs his sleep, but he was miraculously cheerful and easygoing the whole day, despite running on maybe four hours of sleep. Both kids were out pretty immediately when we put them down — and Soren slept hard for 14 hours!

August 2017

August was THE month of travel. So many trip pictures I might have to break this month up into multiple posts.

We started our August off with a regular park visit (this is a near-daily occurrence).

That same day, Soren and Tim went on a boat tour for Tim’s work, so Shaw and I hopped on the train and met them at the Frog Pond after.

Free as a bird.

Stopped at Area Four on the way home for dinner, and Soren was pleased to find a nice scootering path right next to our outdoor table.

And then, I headed off for my very first kid-free trip! It could not have been more amazing. We kicked off our first morning with a little capitol-building workout.

Wedding day!

Why yes, this is in a hospital chapel.

DDD forever.

I had the best visit with my favorite Bennetts.

Then on to the party. Perfect backyard reception.

Spent the next day walking the city, eating, pedicure-ing, shopping, talking, and taking photos.

Sunday morning brought us to Music and the Spoken Word at the conference center. My first time attending (or listening/watching at all), and it was amazing!


Then on to brunch at the Grand America. Also amazing.

Got to see this love twice in three days while in Utah! Also got to see Reagan and fam, Aunt Dana, and a few cousins. When I moved away from Utah 8+ years ago, I thought I might never return. But that place is filled with a lot of people I love!

We were surprised to see Soren on the front page of the WSJ one day. He’s famous.

While I was in Utah, Soren did a lot of this.

Shaw chased ducks.

Spotted this creepy lady at the park one day. Shaw was fascinated but would not go near her.

The next day he faced his fears and picked up the doll head.

And then we were off to Portugal! Portugal needs its own few posts…

July 2017

Tim and the boys kicked off first weekend of July with a Sunday morning jaunt to Ipswich.

On Monday went to Wingaersheek Beach (our first time!) for some pre-holiday fun. The beach was as dreamy as we’d heard — minus the fact that the city of Gloucester has banned puddle jumpers.

What would a beach day be without seafood?

July 3! What are the chances?!

For the 4th of July we took a family bike ride in the morning then had a classic summer dinner on the porch — ribs! Afterward we took another family bike ride for ice cream.

Tim and Soren trekked out to Burlington for fireworks — theirs had the earliest start time of all the towns around! Shaw and I went to bed.

Soren told Tim the fireworks were pretty boring this year. “Maybe next year we can go to a shorter one so I can go home and go to bed.”

Tim’s greatest dreams came true when Shaw recognized and said “Tintin” for the first time.

These two were the craziest during a library singalong one day. Shaw was ready to wrestle!

Had to document a rare date night. Mostly because we got a parking spot RIGHT in front of the Pru.

This chocolate was the best part of my night.

Just a bowl of fresh raspberries from the backyard.

Naps are a rare occurrence for this kid. Love this Saturday afternoon scene.

We went to a minor league ball game one Saturday afternoon. Brought back good memories of Orioles games with my family!

We were early to church one day, so I had to document it.

Once or twice we’ve had to take the car over the bike because of the size of our cargo. This one was close, but Soren kept it in the trailer.

We spent a rainy morning at Imagine. How cute are these firefighters?

Then, we were off to Virginia for a couple days with the grandparents and a week at the beach with the Dickson clan. Pappy had secured a small bike for Soren to try out, and after about 30 seconds of working with Pappy, Soren was off and riding!

The best week of the year!

The beach wasn’t too far, but we were glad we brought the scooter!

Couple of (second) cousins trying to catch a seagull.

Second cousins comparing pacis.

Napping buddies, every day.

Sometimes like that, sometimes like this.

All the love for Aunt Dana.

So many cousin Parcheesi games.

Lots of early-morning time with this kid. Sunrise, anyone?

Many thanks to Uncle Kaplin for the trip to the boardwalk ice cream store.

Soren and the big kids (his first cousins once removed).

Yep, definitely the best week of the year.

And then, sadly, we were headed home. But not without a stop for breakfast sandwiches. Because #diners.

Another Sunday morning hike with dad.

On Shaw’s first Sunday back in nursery, he had an accident with a toy shopping cart. Look at that shiner!

June 2017

Why is June so busy? One of the more notable events of the first few days of June was an info meeting for parents at Soren’s kindergarten. How are we already there?! I didn’t take any pics, but if I did it might have been of me getting a little teary as I walked into the school.

Also, Shaw at almost 19 months:

On Saturday, another round of headshots with my Boston Moms Blog ladies (photos courtesy the lovely Jennifer).

Next we were off to the Greek Festival in Arlington, which we biked to. Our first ride with Soren on the trailer bike behind me and Shaw in the trailer behind Tim!

We ate souvlaki and bounce housed it up all afternoon long.

We made some progress on our “yard.”

On the first Sunday in June Soren gave his first talk!

We had a few minutes to kill after church since Tim was still at church in another building in the stake, so we walked up to the temple to run around.

That week Shaw had a mishap with the floor. He and Soren were running around — lots of laughter — until they smacked into each other and Shaw’s chin hit the wood floor. Not too much blood, and he was fine after a few minutes of crying, but we decided the gash was big enough to merit a visit to the ER. Tim and I went back and forth for far too long about which of us should take him in. Mom guilt got the best of me, so I took him in. I was nervous after the trauma of the experience with Soren. Fortunately, this time was somewhat better. I hated the doctor who did Soren’s, but I loved this doctor. And instead of being there until 11 p.m., we were out by 9 p.m. this time. He ended up with eight stitches! The best part was when I almost passed out. I was doing fine and was even watching her stitch it up and asking questions (the little chunks of fat that were coming out of his chin were fascinating), but then after awhile I started feeling really hot and a little lightheaded. So the doctor told the nurse tech guy (who was holding Shaw’s head) to call for a nurse to bring me juice and come hold Shaw’s hands down (since I had been doing that). Suddenly, all these people came rushing into the room — turns out he had pushed the “code” button. Embarrassing for me! I kept my head down for a few minutes then was fine. I asked the doc how often the dads come in versus the moms, and she estimated 75% moms. She said the dads are usually the ones who get queasy or pass out.

The doctor assured me Shaw would sleep really well that night since he would be exhausted from the whole experience. Joke was on us — he ended up in our bed after waking up crying a few times. Traumatic night, for sure! The next day’s naps were no better. Cuddles with Tim during morning nap, sleeping in bed with mama during afternoon nap.

On Friday the kids and I spent the morning at Drumlin Farm, complete with a hay ride.


This is the photo that should earn me “Worst Mom of the Year.” Shaw was climbing up the slippery water/sand chutes like a maniac, and I was videoing him instead of bringing him down to safe ground. Then he slipped and knocked his chin against the metal. The chin that had just received eight stitches. It split right open. I called the doc to see if we really needed to go through the same miserable stitches experience again, and they said yes. Thanks to Shaw’s drool-y nature, the original stitches had dissolved quite prematurely. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it again if it was mainly for cosmetic reasons, so we brought Shaw home for a nap and decided to wait it out. By evening time we decided we should probably do something about it. But maybe not another traumatic experience (and another $100). So we brought him to see a guy in our church who happens to be an ER doc. He used some steri strips (and some super glue) and sent us on our way. Oh, and you know how I thought I was recording a video the whole time I should’ve been protecting my baby’s precious chin from another fall? Turns out I wasn’t even videoing, I was holding up my phone in photo mode like a total dummy.

Sometimes Soren and Tim bike to the pond to have snacks and read Tin Tin.

I fell in love with my back yard after seeing this babies pop up outta nowhere.

We went to an event at one of our old favorite libraries in Boston, mostly for the free Ben & Jerry’s and the concert with one of Soren’s favorite kid bands. He’s totally geeking out here talking to Karen K (of Karen K and the Jitterbugs).

Soren had his last day of preschool in June. The final day was a family party, and my contribution for the breakfast was one million mini muffins. Is this muffin pan the best or what?

Face painting, bounce house, balloons, games, the works.

Soren + teachers.

After almost a year of being closed, our neighborhood park finally opened and is better than ever!

It was set to open on Saturday, but when the construction workers began tearing down the temporary fence on Friday afternoon, we all broke in.

The next day we got started on our garden. Lots of weeds to take care of!

Look at that beautifully weeded plot. Too bad the soil was such poor quality.

Then Soren and I headed to the Feast of the East — the biggest event of the year in our neighborhood. We joined the parade and walked next to a dog-walking organization — Soren and I somehow ended up walking one of the dogs during the parade!

Tim and Shaw came to join after naps — Shaw is obsessed with the crosswalk flags and will NOT cross the street without one.

After the feast we went back to the garden for more work.

On Sunday morning I was in charge of early morning duty with Shaw. Off to the park we went.

To Shaw’s delight, we saw lots of wildlife on our neighborhood adventure — squirrels, baby bunnies, and a snapping turtle!

Then Tim took the boys to Gloucester for a walk along the Ocean Lawn.

In mid-June we got to see the tall ships docked in Boston — first time they’ve been here since 2000 (and Boston is the only U.S. city that got to see them this year).

True love.

Our friend Jana invited us over for a playdate one day. Trains, chicken nuggets for lunch, and a tire swing!

First backyard raspberry of the year!

Just a regular day around the house — hard hat, necklaces, lei, Home Depot apron, Superman cape, and backpack on, with paint stirrer in hand.

Falling in love with my backyard a little more every time a new flower blooms!

Who doesn’t love a trip to the hardware store?

At the end of June I finally became a biking mom. I can’t figure out why I didn’t start sooner. On our first day we rode to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, the library, and Otto in a fraction of the time it would’ve taken us to walk. I’m hooked!

Free delivery by these two.

We finally finished planting at the end of the month!