Vacation in Acadia

Mina is very excited about standing up these days. She’s officially “cruising” – meaning she creeps around the house either by pushing things so she can walk behind them, or by holding on to things and moving along. She’s still pretty wobbly, so I don’t think we have to worry about actual walking for a little while. But it’ll happen before we’re ready, I guarantee! Anyway, look at that powerful stance of hers! There’s really no stopping this lady.

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A lot of shots of Mina’s back, I guess. But I can’t resist those little feet tucked under her while she plays. It’s also worth noting that she completely gravitates toward the trucks. I’ve hauled a few stuffed toys and even a doll downstairs for her. She’s got blocks and bean bags and books. But all she wants is to play with Linus’s trucks. He mostly doesn’t mind… Until he does, and then he yells, “Em Mina!” Which sounds like, “Emmy NAH!”

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OK, she does play with the stuffed toys occasionally. But she doesn’t exactly cuddle them. Here she’s got a lion by the tail.

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She’s got four teeth now, so she’s eating a lot more foods. Obviously she still can’t chew, but she’s really enjoying tackling things like apples. She gnaws on them like a little beaver and then just tosses it aside when she’s had enough. Unstoppable!

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She loves Linus’s water table. We used to go out onto the deck while he played, and I’d hold her in my lap and play with her. One day, though, I put her down next to the table and discovered she was more than ready for it. She fishes around for the little squirt-balls in the water, she tests the parts of structural integrity, and sometimes she just mercilessly splashes Linus in the face (he retaliates by carefully filling his watering can and then dumping it all on her head).

Aren’t those thighs the best?

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I have to say that Linus has really stepped into his role as big brother. He’s as patient as a two-year-old boy could possibly be.

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I predict that when Mina is older, she will either demand a very short haircut, or she will be one of those girls whose hair is always in a ponytail. She’s clearly had enough already of accessories – she just rips the barrettes right out. And her hair just has a mind of its own, flopping all over the place when it’s unbound.

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Linus, on the other hand, is all about accessories!

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This just kills me. It’s from the Minute Man National Park. Little Mina as an 18th century lady!

Minute Man National Park

And of course Linus is a man of action.

Minute Man National Park

I titled this post with the word “vacation,” but so far these photos have all been from home. At last, though, we’re off! That’s Grandpa you can see in the background. Now that he’s a man of leisure, he flew out to join us, and then we all drove north to Mt Desert Island. This is from our very first stop at a lobster joint, and then a little walk along the pier. It was cold that first day, but you’ll see it improved quickly.

Bar Harbor Ocean Path

Linus simply adores the ocean. All large bodies of water are now “biển,” and they must all be slowly filled with rocks from the shore. Was there ever a little boy who could pass by water and not toss a rock in?

That big thing you can see in the distance is a cruise ship. There was at least one dumping people off in Bar Harbor each day, so the place was pretty crowded. I believe these were Leaf Peeping cruises. They were just one week too early.

Bar Harbor Ocean Path

Bar Harbor Ocean Path

Mina was pretty excited about vacation. We discovered that she loves fish!

Cafe This Way, Bar Harbor

Here’s Linus waiting outside the This Way Cafe in Bar Harbor. Dad declared it delicious, so we actually ate there twice during the week!

Cafe This Way, Bar Harbor

These kids aren’t into posing, but we still managed to snap a few family pics during the week. Here we are, monkeys in a tree.

Cafe This Way, Bar Harbor

It was a week for milestones. Linus finally began speaking in little sentences, so we get to hear for the first time what he’s thinking. It’s incredible, actually. And interesting, as well, to watch him acquire new understandings every day, and then trying them out on us. He repeats everything, so you have to be very careful.

Meanwhile, Mina discovered the stairs. Our stairs at home aren’t carpeted, so she can’t quite get up them as easily. But she was racing up these. It’s terrifying.

Harbor Ridge Resort, Southwest Harbor

Linus simply loves hiking. Every time we went out onto a trail, he instantly took over as the leader. And he set a seriously rigorous pace.

Jessup path & Sieur de Monts spring, Acadia NP

Jessup path & Sieur de Monts spring, Acadia NP

This is one of our favorite places on Mt Desert Island. Just a simple, straight boardwalk, but so peaceful. We start every visit with this walk.

Jessup path & Sieur de Monts spring, Acadia NP

During this walk, Linus decided that we needed to hike in a particular order: Cha, Linus, Mommy, and Grandpa, who he calls “Ông.” We got in trouble if we go out of line.

Jessup path & Sieur de Monts spring, Acadia NP

Jessup path & Sieur de Monts spring, Acadia NP

Poor leader. He got tired after a while and had to be carried. Good thing I go to the gym.

Jessup path & Sieur de Monts spring, Acadia NP

Here’s a shot from lunch on the second day, which was at Jordan Pond House. There’s not a lot to recommend the food, but the location is nice. Mina was very popular in the dining room. During the meal, Linus got up to go visit her.

Jordan Pond House, Acadia NP

Isn’t he sweet?

Jordan Pond House, Acadia NP

Linus treated rock throwing very seriously on this trip. He would specifically announce, “thảy cục đá BIG”, which means “Go throw BIG rocks!” His language advanced so much over the course of a week that it became, “thảy cục đá BIG xuống biển kêu tủm,” which means, “go throw BIG rocks into the sea with a splashing sound.” He was very methodical, moving all over the beach, carefully selecting what he wanted. I couldn’t figure out his system. Some were round, some were flat, some were big, and some were small. He also wanted to throw certain rocks in certain parts of the water. Go figure. But we complied!

Jordan Pond, Acadia NP

Linus really enjoyed our condo. It had a deck on each level, so he was able to spend a lot of time outside.

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

The resort had a really nice playground, which we naturally took advantage of most days. It really helps these kids to get out and get some exercise.

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

Linus has become quite a climbing nut. It makes me so nervous, but he just scampers up like a little goat.

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

Linus and Grandpa are hiking buddies! He refused to say “Grandpa” – which I admit is a complex word! But I’m pleased to report that as of this writing (two weeks later), he actually just said it. He was listing off all of the people who are bigger than he is (Cha-Cha big! Mommy big! Ba big!) and then he added, “Kimp-pah big!”

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Linus definitely inherited my love of boardwalks.

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Grandpa loved the beach too. He just resisted the urge to throw rocks.

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

“Hey, everyone! I’m not tired! Why are we stopping?!”

Ship Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Of course we had to stop off for lobster. And then we all remembered that it’s an enormous production for not a huge payoff. But it’s nice once in a while.

Southwest Harbor lobster pound near Seawall campground

We thought it would be fun to photograph Mina on the giant bed in the condo – just let her roam around for a while. Yen got tons of photos – I’m only including two here. I think that’s quite literally 1% of what he took.

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

One evening we decided to drive up to the top of Cadillac Mountain for the sunset. We should have done it the first day when there were clouds. But a clear night is still pretty. Linus enjoyed this particular outing very much. He ran all over the network of paths up there, and even made some of his own on the bald rock.

Cadillac mountain, Acadia NP

Yes, we hauled our bikes all the way to Maine! We knew we couldn’t rent a set-up like this, so we had to. Dad isn’t much of a cyclist, so he hiked while we biked. There aren’t a lot of photos of this part of the trip because our hands were full. And I think it’s a good thing. I was incredibly whiny for most of the trip. I forgot how many hills there were!

Jordan Pond, Acadia NP

Over the course of the week, Linus got more and more friendly with Grandpa. Here you can see that he was even allowed to carry Linus on his shoulders. An honor!

Wonderland trail, Acadia NP

Yen took this one for Grandpa. He really loves these little red squirrels. He didn’t believe me when I pointed out the noise they make. He had to find one in action to put that skepticism to rest.

Wonderland trail, Acadia NP

I think I mentioned earlier that the cruise ships missed the best leaves by a week. That’s true, but it doesn’t mean there weren’t some pretty spectacular leaves for us to enjoy. Which is rather surprising considering the drought this year.

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

There’s an island near Bar Harbor (I actually think it’s Bar Island… Go figure!) that can be accessed at low tide. Every time we’ve visited, we say we’d like to check it out, but we’ve never gotten around to it – the tide has a funny way of coming in rather early in the morning. We committed this time, though. We got up early, ate breakfast on the road, and we made it in perfect time. So what you see Linus walking on here is actually ocean floor – or was an hour before this photo was taken.

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

Mina is a morning lady. She was so happy to be outside and checking out all the people.

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

Every time I’m at the beach with Linus, I feel like I’m living out a Midwestern fantasy of parenting. Out near the water, digging around for interesting things. Linus totally rises to the occasion by being fascinated with me.

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

He chucked a lot of rocks, of course.

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

And then he just started to run around. He got closer and closer to the water… And then he just went for it. It wasn’t all that cold out, and the water was warm because it was so shallow.

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

About this time, Grandpa and I decided to get a move on and headed on to the actual island, following the trail up for a view of Bar Harbor. The next time we saw Linus, he had changed clothes!

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

You must be shocked to learn the he fell in. Later he was retelling the story to Yen. He said, “Linus fall in ocean, drink water.” And then he pretended to cry.

His clothes were completely soaked, so Yen had put him in his own undershirt. I draped his jacket on my hat for the rest of the walk. When we got back to the car we piled everything onto the windshield to dry in the sun. People kept walking by and laughing at the teeny pair of underwear on the windshield… and then laughing even harder at the naked little boy in the front seat.

Anyway, here’s the view we got to enjoy.

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

Bar Island trail at low tide, Bar Harbor

Just a couple of hours later, he was dry and back at it again on another section of beach.

Bar Harbor Ocean Path

Bar Harbor Ocean Path

Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor

Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor

Now this is another stop. This is the Thuya Garden on the other side of the garden. It was a very nice little find.

Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor

Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor

Thuya Garden, Northeast Harbor

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That evening we went over to the west side of the island to watch the sunset… and to chuck rocks.

Pretty Marsh picnic area

Pretty Marsh picnic area

Pretty Marsh picnic area

I don’t think I’ve mentioned what a great job Linus did on the hikes. Sure, he fell a few times (and so did I!), but he just kept at it. He tackled hills, rocks, and long staircases.

Pretty Marsh picnic area

The next morning, Yen looked for a hike that would be a little more off the beaten path. He found a little loop around a reservoir, and luckily it had boardwalks too.

Lower Hadlock Pond, Acadia NP

Have I  mentioned how lucky we were with the weather? The days were all sunny with temperatures in the low 60s – except one day that got into the upper 70s. Really perfect.

Lower Hadlock Pond, Acadia NP

Lower Hadlock Pond, Acadia NP

I stopped off to nurse Mina for a bit, and found that Grandpa had climbed out onto this ledge for a little meditation session.

Lower Hadlock Pond, Acadia NP

Mina became very attached to Grandpa, and she’s looking forward to his next visit. She has given him orders not to shave his beard. She loves to reach her little fingers out to touch it. It’s not quite long enough for her to pull.

Gate House, Acadia NP

Later that afternoon, we ended up back at the beach again.

Hunters Beach, Acadia NP

I suppose it was careless of me, but I let Mina get down and taste the rocks. I figured they must be fairly clean. Washed with rain and baking in the sun all day. The poor little girl was always trapped in the carrier, so I thought a stretch would do her good.

Hunters Beach, Acadia NP

Ugh. These stairs again! I suppose it’s good exercise…

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

I guess both kids enjoy exercise. Here’s Linus climbing up to the deck of the main building on the resort. The door turned out to be locked, so he had to climb all the way back down again.

Harbor Ridge Resort #46, Southwest Harbor

Hiking buddies! This was an evening hike. It made a total of four hikes for Grandpa that day – he’d gotten up early and hiked Mt Acadia before the rest of us had breakfast!

Beech Cliff Loop trail, Acadia NP

This hike was very small, but the views were incredible. I was incredibly nervous about Linus.

Beech Cliff Loop trail, Acadia NP

Beech Cliff Loop trail, Acadia NP

Mina absolutely didn’t care that she was on the edge of a cliff a thousand feet in the air.

Beech Cliff Loop trail, Acadia NP

Beech Cliff Loop trail, Acadia NP

I forgot to mention Linus’s fascination with the phone in our unit. I don’t understand how he knew what to do with it. We don’t have a land line, and our phones are just flat pieces of glass and plastic. And we almost never actually use them as phones, so he never sees us talking on them. But he picked this right up, started pressing the buttons, and saying, “Hi Ba Noi!” I got scared he would call Japan, so I unplugged it. That made him announce that it was out of batteries.

This was our last hike of the weekend. Shortly after this photo was taken, I turned my ankle and fell. Mina and I were both OK, but I took us back to the car where we played while everyone else finished the hike. If it had to happen, I’m glad it was on the very last day.

Compass Harbor trail, Acadia NP

So I missed seeing a monkey in a tree…

Compass Harbor trail, Acadia NP

And a very nice beach.

Compass Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Compass Harbor trail, Acadia NP

Back at home, things got back to normal. Linus ate soup like a little Japanese gentleman (at the end he demands, “More water!”).

Mina ate everything we put in front of her.

We played our little crawling game.

And Mina… Well, she crawled naked into a table. Business as usual!

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