April 2018

I believe the theme this month is: gears. We went to an awful lot of places where the kids could explore how gears work. You’ll see!

First up was the Discovery Museum in Acton. There are quite a few different perks that come with my job, and one of them is free family admission to this museum, which is 30 minutes from our house. All I have to do is show my little fob, and they let us right in. We didn’t go before because the entire place was being renovated – so now it’s shiny and new!

Discovery Museum, Acton

Just look at this. Could you imagine a more perfect scene for our little engineer? The gears at the top are just a sculpture, but the ones on the bottom are all magnetic, so he could rearrange them in different configurations.

Discovery Museum, Acton

It just kills me when Mina wears her fox ears out in public.

Discovery Museum, Acton

I like this museum because it’s just a bunch of exhibits to interact with. No reading, no watching, just things to touch and turn and tweak. You can imagine how busy it is on weekends, so we try to arrive right when it opens.

Discovery Museum, Acton

And it’s three floors, so you can climb up and observe play that’s happening below you. Here Linus and I were playing with air flowing through different tubes, and we had no idea Yen and Mina were above us. He stayed at this table for nearly 20 minutes, just trying different configurations. Other kids came and went, trying it for just a minute. But Linus continued on as if no one else was there.

Discovery Museum, Acton

Of course on the first floor they have water exhibits, which are a colossal mess. One poor volunteer just stands there with a squeegee on a long handle, periodically pushing excess water into a drain. She was pretty good natured about it. At one point Linus and I headed upstairs and he stopped to peer down at her, and she gave him a huge smile.

Discovery Museum, Acton

Discovery Museum, Acton

After the water, it’s a good idea to check out this machine, which blows air through a huge system of tubes. You can open little doors and shove in scarves and soft balls, then stand back and watch them fly around until they pop out somewhere and hit you on the head.

Discovery Museum, Acton

Discovery Museum, Acton

At some point, Mina picked up this little Nemo toy. It took us quite a while to realize it came from the third floor, which is designed to look like the crow’s nest of a ship. Here she’s watching a little Arduino board with a magnet trace designs in sand. I wonder whether it was programmed with MATLAB?

Discovery Museum, Acton

Now back at home, the experimenting continues. The kids get excited whenever I get a plea for donations from the Audubon Society or MSPCA, because I hand all of the stickers over. I guess if they get lost, someone will be able to send them home.

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This is Mina’s favorite way to wear the fox ears: one set on her head and another around her waist. I guess you can do that when you have, like, a 12-inch waist.

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There’s been a lot of dancing in our house lately. Mina has also begun to learn song lyrics. So when, say, “She Moves” by Graham Candy comes on, she sings along with it. It’s pretty adorable. But if you want a workout, you should really get up and dance with them.

Mugging for the camera. She’s also getting leaner, and you can see here how stunning her cheekbones are going to be one day.

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And handsome Nana! His hands are getting very large – rather like puppy paws. I think he’s about to go through a big growth spurt. That’ll be rough, as we’re already putting away his clothes regularly because they’re too short. I wonder whether Mina will like to wear a motorcycle shirt one day?

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More dancing! And also floor cleaning, maybe.

This Spring has been a rough one. It stayed cold all the way until this past week (I’m writing this on May 3), when it suddenly jumped up to the 90s. But we can’t stay indoors, so we bundled up and headed to Battle Road for a walk the night before Patriots’ Day.

Battle Road

Battle Road

Mina has made friends with her hiking boots once again, and is actually asking for them when we head out for walks now.

Battle Road

Linus remembered the exact spot to turn off the main road for a little walk toward vernal pools. He also bravely led the way through the woods, which was a treacherous journey after a winter full of heavy snows and downed limbs.

Battle Road

Battle Road

When we got to the pool, I hung around listening to the peepers and feeling optimistic, while the kids threw everything they could find into the water.

Battle Road

Battle Road

Battle Road

The next weekend was no warmer, but at least it was sunny. We decided to visit Drumlin Farm to see whether they had any baby lambs. Of course they did! And of course every other family in the Boston area had wondered the same thing.

Drumlin Farm

Drumlin Farm

We were in luck, though: last winter we happened to catch the very last day of the hay ride for the season, and now I believe we caught the first day of it for the new season.

Drumlin Farm

Drumlin Farm

Drumlin Farm

Drumlin Farm

Drumlin Farm

Back at home, Linus has taken to wearing this head lamp all around. When we head to the basement, he refuses to let me turn on the light in the stairs.

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Yen realized one night that we hadn’t taken any bath photos in a long time. Of course we can’t take very much, but at least you can see their little faces as they play together.

I confess we rarely bathe them. Their faces and hands are always clean, so we just don’t worry about it more than once a week, maybe even once every other week. I tell myself it’s good for their skin…

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Speaking of things that have opened again for the season, Yen and Ba Noi took the kids to the Boott Mills in Lowell. Once we discovered that they have teeny earplugs for the kids, it’s become a favorite. Linus is in absolute heaven looking at all the machines. Meanwhile Mina’s running to jump into Ba Noi’s arms.

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

Studying the specs…

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

This little exhibit is meant to let them explore weaving on their own. I think if engineering doesn’t work out, Linus can probably become a mster weaver.

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

Mina will select the colors and provide accessories.

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

Carding cotton!

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

Boott Cotton Mills ls museum

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In our endless pursuit to feed Linus’s love of things that move, we decided to go check out a water mill. It took an awfully long time to drive there, and then we discovered what the website neglected to mention: it’s closed for the winter! We’ll try again one day.

Wayside Inn Grist Mill

Wayside Inn Grist Mill

Wayside Inn Grist Mill

We had much better luck at Ipswich River Audubon Sanctuary. Linus remembered this sculpture. As soon as he realized where we were headed, he said, “First, we’ll check out the sculpture.”

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

On every walk there comes a moment when Mina rips off her coat – no matter how cold the rest of us are.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Linus climbed onto this limb and then decided to sleep like a panther.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

Mina helped me practice the balance beam.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

These kids are so strong! I only had to carry Mina on my shoulder for a little while, and Linus walked the whole way. Of course he did take a little break before climbing all the stairs back to the car.

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary

In my endless quest to get rid of unnecessary things, I asked Yen to take a photo of this toy so I could post it for sale at work. Linus knew what was up as soon as he saw Yen taking photos. He announced that it is his favorite toy, so I’m afraid it stays for a little while longer. I’ll give him a week and then pack it up.

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I’ve saved this one for last – I love it so much! You’re unlikely to understand him, as he’s speaking Vietnamese. But this is a video of Linus describing the machine he’s just invented. You’ll see that it’s very complex, and he’s thought about the entire thing.