We had a strange Fall this year. The temperatures stayed high all through October – so much so that some of the trees didn’t change to their usual colors. It even got back into the 70s several times. Now I’m writing this in November, and we’ve had four days of 30s and 40s, with nighttime lows well below freezing. The poor trees are so confused, and many have just dropped their leaves as they are without changing them first.
Still, all of this meant that we had beautiful hiking weather for the whole month of October. And we made the best of it.
We spent a lot of time at Great Brook Farm this year, a little state park about 20 minutes drive from us. It has hiking trails over a wide range of terrains, a working farm, and (most important) locally made ice cream. Next year I believe we’ll buy an annual pas.
Here you can see just at the edge that our friends Tan and Susie joined us for a walk, along with their kids, Ethan and Ruby. They don’t hike as often as we do, but the kids really did a good job.
I’m so glad we put this mirror in the kitchen. Mina loves to make sure her outfits are up to par.
I think this may be a yoga position? “OK, class. Let’s move into Play Cement Mixer.”
Everything in our house has these little felt pads on them to protect them and the wall from the constant games of bumper cars.
And that’s how a lady eats!
The horse fascination goes on. Mina likes to ride her Rody while you read a book about horses. Over and over.
My weight loss is finally coming along, though there’s still more belly than I’d like. The kids are a great help – it’s like living with two personal trainers!
Back at Great Brook Farm, we found this teeny snapping turtle in the middle of the trail. It’s a park full of dogs, so after the kids admired it, we escorted it safely (and carefully) to the creek.
It was pretty vicious for something so small!
I suspect that after this photo was snapped, he announced he wanted to pee here.
Mina is actually doing really well with potty training. She’s completely trained when it comes to pooping: she alerts us by screaming, “Eeee!” and running to the bathroom. She doesn’t alert us for peeing yet, but if we remember to take her, she goes on command every time – even in the woods or hovering over a public toilet. She’s very proud of her Hello Kitty pull-ups.
More sticks. We have finally struck a deal that if he wants to run, he has to put the stick down. But aside from that, he’s almost always got a stick in hand while walking. None in the mouth, thank goodness.
Pausing mid-hike for some calisthenics.
We found this little park near Yen’s sister’s house. The kids were all over it – never mind that it had been raining all morning.
Linus climbed over all of the structures.
Meanwhile Mina insisted that co ba push her as high as possible.
Linus liked this litle cabin. He returned to it from time to time and just sat quietly.
As you can see, Mina has been to the salon. I love her ponytails, but long hair is just a lot to handle on a teeny kid as squirmy as she is. Plus she looks great in a fashionable little bob. She’s handled the transition surprisingly well. Before I cut it, she would pop up from her crib in the morning and shout, “Let’s make ponytails!” But as soon as I cut it, she seemed to understand they weren’t possible anymore. Now we just decorate it with as many barrettes as she can find.
Sometimes you just want to take off all your clothes and watch TV for a while.
In October, all of the fire stations do an open house – is this a national thing? We actually managed to visit two different stations. This one was particularly exciting because they got a call while we were there, so a fire truck and ambulance took off with lights and sirens going. It should really be called Linus Day.
Mina is less impressed by the trucks, but she does enjoy the snacks and the people.
In Burlington, Fire Safety Day coincides with Trucktober, which is when all kind of food trucks park in the common, and everyone comes out to run around. Linus was pretty disappointed that this bouncy house had technical difficulties. A few days later we saw them dig up the park and install electrical outlets throughout – so they don’t have to rely on generators anymore.
One of our last evening hikes of the year. It’s too dark now when I get home to put them in the car and go anywhere (outside). So the headlamps are packed away until Spring.
Mina is not recovering from a rave here, no matter how it looks. She got the glow sticks at the fire station and wore them everywhere for a few days.
A visit to the zoo!
Linus is kind of over the merry-go-round, but Mina simply loves it still. I try not to get dizzy.
Linus calls this particulary zoo “the zoo with the big train” to distinguish it from the one near our house.
Hey, Mina found another horse! “Horsees!” Horsees!”
This photo is so classic “Yen and Mina.” He’s decked out in her fox ears, and she’s checking the effect in the mirror while he photographs it all. You couldn’t possibly catch their relationship better.
Linus has always been into books, but I was worried about Mina for a long time. She had no interest, even in little picture books with animal sounds. There was clearly no need to worry, though. They both sit for hours looking at books on their own, and then demanding that we read them. Mina sometimes even asks Linus to read to her. Usually he says, “Go away. I’m busy.”
I love this.
You’re about to see an awful lot of photos of Mina in her fox ears. But I think Yen captured every face she makes with this series.
OK, quick: which kid is this? The pink coat is a giveaway, but other than that, isn’t it amazing how much she looks like little Linus?
We finally cleaned up the garden for the year. I’ve still got a few carrots sitting in the ground, and I haven’t put straw around the strawberries. But at least the tangle of tomatoes and herbs is finally gone. The kids had a great time. We should probably let them help tidy the yard more often.
I am not sure, but I think this is what’s happening in this photo: Linus is punishing Mina. When Mina is naughty (which is often), we make her stand against the wall while we count to 10. Then she has to apologize to whomever she hit (that’s the usual nature of her naughtiness). I haven’t seen this in action myself, but Yen tells me that during the day, Linus sometimes handles the punishing before he had a chance to. The strangest part is that she obeys and goes right to the wall while he counts.
“You think I should pee in there?”
Yen’s been trying to get the kids to stand still for nice photos. It takes quite a lot of effort.
Got it! Stay tuned for this on our holiday card, I’m sure.
Mina didn’t choose to wear this dress; I confess I put it on her. It’s a nice loose cotton, so she wasn’t too warm. And she looked awfully cute. She was still able to get her exercise in as usual!
So. Many. Trucks. This is a tiny sample. On Halloween, one kid leaned past me into the house to look around. As he walked away, I heard him say to his friend, “Did you see all of those trucks?!” Almost a hushed whisper…
Taking in some art at the Peabody-Essex Museum.
Both kids love to run flat out toward you. It’s pretty alarming if you’re not looking. Linus and I have ended up with mutual bloody noses before.
This is Mina’s favorite shirt. “Want to wear the heart shirt!”
I’m so proud of these kids. They were each able to walk all the way up this staircase without breaks or being carried!
Mina sometimes announces that she’s going to lie in bed and read a book. It is an awfully nice way to end a day.