June 25 – July 10, 2016

There’s a little spur path in the park we usually go to. A woman told me months ago that it leads past the yard of a retired dentist who is using his relaxing years to garden. One morning we decided to check it out, and found him standing outside. We said hello and he invited us inside to see. It’s amazing. He’s created an intricate Japanese garden right here in the ‘burbs.

Japanese garden near Burlington Park

He’s decorated it with birdhouses – at least 20 of them that he carves himself.

Japanese garden near Burlington Park

Japanese garden near Burlington Park

Japanese garden near Burlington Park

Japanese garden near Burlington Park

Back at the park, I put Mina on a swing. Linus isn’t a fan of swings, so Yen is anxious to get Mina hooked early. I’m not sure it worked.

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Tally ho, Lady Bug!

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I did not witness the events depicted in this photo. If I had, I assure you there would have been an awful lot of screaming.

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I know I post a lot of photos of Linus sleeping, but it never ceases to amaze me how seriously he takes it. He just flops with abandon. Of course, what you never see is the struggle we sometimes go through to get him there. Not always, but occasionally he just doesn’t want to sleep – often because he fell asleep in the car sometime during the morning and it threw off his schedule. What always works in the end (eventually) his hugging him really tight and pretending you’re asleep. With your eyes still closed, you have to say every once in a while, “Linus, close your eyes.” He screws them up tight and grins. And eventually, they stay closed.

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Last year we found a little hike just north of the Old North Bridge. We went back there again to see whether there were any frogs roaming around. Linus is very into holes right now. You can’t carry on with your walk until you’ve acknowledged every single one.

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

We heard the frogs, but all we saw were these lilies.

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

Mina doesn’t let the fact that she can’t walk stop her from enjoying a good hike.

 

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

We’ve been trying to get family photos more often. This is Linus making what we call the Monkey Face.

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

We came across this turtle just in time. There were a lot of very rambunctious dogs sharing the trail with us, and I’m afraid of what might have happened to it if a dog found it first. Anyway, Linus checked it out (but refused to touch), and in the end Yen carried it down to the water. He placed it on a rock and bam! It was in the water faster than you can imagine.

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

Concord Punkatasset Hill Trail

A little selfie before bed. Those sparkling teeth have just been brushed!

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My company outing to New Hampshire was this weekend. We get to select our own hotels, and this year I chose the Mountain View Grand. It’s the farthest, but we liked it the best of all the ones we’ve stayed in so far. The weather wasn’t very good, but we tried to make the best of it. It’s hard to be sad about a free weekend in a place like that.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Linus really loved it there. The enormous lawn made him so happy. He was all over the little hills and steps, and especially loved the gazebo.

Don’t know if you can see what his shirt says, but it’s entirely true: Dad’s Personal Trainer.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

I toasted a marshmallow for him one night. He acted as if I was offering him poison.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

It’s a very pretty old hotel. And I can tell you it’s not haunted, because I spent some time in the halls and the lobby between 4am and 6am. Linus was very excited about the windmill, and that we got to take a school bus to dinner Saturday night.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Because it was raining on Saturday, we decided on a sheltered activity: the Hobo Railroad.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

I would say the journey was about 15 minutes too long for kids this age. But they mostly enjoyed it. Linus wasn’t very excited when the conductor brought over an osprey wing and talons, but he’ll probably be into it next time.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

After all of that, Mina needed a nap!

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Whew! So refreshed and ready for dinner. She practiced the faces she will make while engaging in conversation with my coworkers.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Mina absolutely loves standing up right now. I think she will probably crawl within the next month. She keeps sort of hopping to propel herself toward it, but just hasn’t quite had the courage to fully launch yet.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Sunday, the weather was a little better, so we decided to take the tram up Cannon Mountain.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Here’s the view looking back down.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Linus really enjoyed the ride, especially when we got to the top and he could check out all of the gears that were making the thing work. He’s such a little engineer.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Here we are at the Basin – a little stop on the way home to stretch our legs. Linus really doesn’t like posing for photos.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Mina doesn’t mind, though!

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

I think maybe Mina was checking out Linus’s muscles?

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Still playing together. It’s just so good to see.

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The next weekend was extremely hot. We decided to go to a sprinkler park. It happens to be next to a little nature area, so Yen and Linus took a little walk along the way.

Beaver Brook Reservation

Beaver Brook Reservation

Beaver Brook Reservation

Beaver Brook Reservation

Beaver Brook Reservation

Beaver Brook Reservation

Beaver Brook Reservation

Mina and I had been sitting in the water the whole time! Here’s Linus now that he’s joined us. As usual, one of the few kids with a hat!

Beaver Brook Reservation

Mina surprised me by really enjoying the water. She sat and splashed for a long time before Linus joined us.

Beaver Brook Reservation

Beaver Brook Reservation

Back at home, everyone sat down to have lunch together. Mina usually gnaws on her little teething biscuits while the rest of us eat “real” food.

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Linus tried on Mina’s barrette. He makes it work!

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“Doctor, it hurts when I do this!”

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Linus gets a real kick out of pretending to be a baby. The pacifier is one of his favorite props. I’m not sure how he even associates it with being a baby, as Mina has always refused to use one.

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Yen and Linus still do field trips most days. This one was to the butterfly garden. Linus is really interested in insects and spiders right now. We’re trying hard to encourage him to find them fascinating, not scary. So far so good!

 

Butterfly Place, Westford

Butterfly Place, Westford

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You’ll notice he’s wearing a pull-up and not a diaper. I would call him potty trained at this point. He does still have accidents from time to time, and his nights aren’t always dry. But most of the time he pees on the potty (or against a tree if we’re in the woods). He’s pretty proud.

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So sleepy!

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It’s been so very hot lately. I keep asking Yen when we can move to Canada! But for now, we are just touring all of the different water parks in the area. This one is right in Billerica, very close to us.

Manning State Park

Manning State Park

Little Mina in her car seat. It’s amazing how much she’s changed in the car. Her first two months of life, she went absolutely nuts every time we drove anywhere. Once we went to visit friends an hour away, and she actually screamed during the entire car ride there, and again on the way back. Now she just relaxes and plays, and sometimes even falls asleep. She gets really excited when she first gets in the car because she can lean over and watch Linus get strapped into his seat. She always wants to know where he is and what he’s doing.

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No babies in this photo. But isn’t it pretty?

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This reminds me of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

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Mina’s hair is insane. I don’t want to cut it. But it’s all over her eyes. I make a little pony tail for her when she gets up in the morning, but so far Yen and his mom haven’t dared to remake it when she pulls it out later in the day. I am not interested in cutting her bangs! And in the back… When she had her last bath and it was all washed down flat, I realized it goes down to between her shoulder blades!

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This funny little lady. Do you remember how my old cat Merry used to sleep? Exactly like this! When I put her into her crib at night, she slowly unfurls from being curled up in my arms.

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Linus really loves Mina. He looks out for her, and sometimes even seems to want to protect her. Yen has started to play a little chase game with them in the evenings. He holds Mina, and they both chase Linus around the house. Then suddenly Yen turns so that Mina is chasing Linus and sneaks up on him. It sends them both into a giggle fit.

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Linus definitely has a renewed interest in books since he and Yen have been going to the library. I like it when Mina reads along with us.

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A little series of Mina stuffing things in her mouth – it’s a pretty standard scene.

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This was Mina’s last bath with the infant insert still in the tub. From now on, she will have to take her baths in the baby tub, but inside the big tub. When I put her in the baby tub on the counter, she splashed and kicked so hard that she flooded the bathroom.

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White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Hm. These photos are out of order! Never mind – I’ll go back to that weekend. Here’s Linus climbing the stairs in our hotel in New Hampshire. We were on the third floor (which was really the fourth floor – they do European counting for some odd reason). He loved their stairs because they have rails all the way up, so he never had to get down on his knees. He must have felt like such a big boy.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Here we are at dinner the first night. We were the only people in the restaurant for the first 20 minutes! Then the rest of the room filled up with other families, and it was like a big party. I have to say that Linus did a really good job. We rarely go out to dinner because it’s just such total chaos. But he ate his spaghetti and meatballs (and fruit for dessert), and was quite a little gentleman.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

The hotel has its own farm. We weren’t able to go during the day when the buildings were open, but we still got to see a few animals.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

They had just installed a new playground. Linus was happy to break it in.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

I think I mentioned before how much Linus loved the windmill that is on the hotel grounds. I was surprised how loud it is!

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

Another failed attempt at a nice family photo!

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

That little nubbin of mountain on the right is actually Mt Washington.

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

White Mountains retreat at the Mountain View Grand, Whitefield,

What a funny little ending! Silly, sweet lady.

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