September 20 – October 20, 2018

Welcome to Fall! That means it’s hat season.

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Yen has instituted a routine of downtime each afternoon (now that naps are mostly over). Everyone gathers in our bedroom, and the kids relax for a bit and drink milk. Then they get to read stories, watch a couple of videos, and just generally stop moving and spend some time together for an hour. As you can see, they really love it and look forward to it. They mostly watch Sarah and Duck (which means they go around saying, “Greedy Duck!”) and Wall-E (which means we listen to “Put on Your Sunday Clothes” from Hello Dolly pretty much all the time). I selfishly love this routine because it means that when I get home, I find the whole troupe gathered together and happy.

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The kids are getting better and better at hiking. This particular jaunt was a low-key evening hike involving everyone’s favorite: boardwalks! I think the secret to getting kids into hiking is proper footwear. Their little boots give them confidence on rough terrain. And it doesn’t hurt that Mina’s excited to put on her pink shoes.

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Little Nana is looking like a GQ ad in his new sweater. It’s no wonder we call him Handsome Nana.

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With the weather getting colder, the kids are in the house more and more during the day. I sometimes think we need to go through the toys and edit a bit, but they really do still play with everyting. Of course they have favorites: Mina loves her little books that play music, and Linus continues to construct endless systems of gears and windmills.

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And reading! Yen still makes fun of me because I was so worried that Mina wouldn’t be a reader. We were so diligent about reading to Linus, but Mina didn’t have much interest as a wee thing, and we didn’t push it. Now she’s addicted – particularly to dinosaur books. I think they know more about dinosaurs than I do. They can name pretty obscure ones, and they’re not at all bothered by the fact that some dinosaurs ate others (Yen picks out some pretty vivid books…). I think they feel sorry for me when all I have to offer is my little Triceratops song.

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There was an unseasonably warm day when Yen had a great idea: mini golf! He took the kids to Kimball’s, which is an absolute institution around here. It’s got bumper boats, a driving range, etc. – and a huge ice cream stand!

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He had no idea just how brilliant his choice was until Linus saw this water wheel and went absolutely insane.

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Mini golf with the under-5 set turns out to be more like a battle royale. Good thing there was no one else on the course.

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Strutting!

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I’m pretty sure there’s not actually a lost ball – he’s just fishing!

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The most beautiful outcome of this outing was the exhaustion afterward. It’s not uncommon for Linus to put himself down for a nap occasionally, but Mina never indulges. And yet here they are – and together, no less!

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After Mina got up, Linus moved to the couch and really got comfortable.

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Mina hasn’t been accesorizing quite as much lately, but I got out the barrettes for old time’s sake and she went a little nuts. I think it works!

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Getting ready for Halloween, we hauled out all of the costumes. Mina allowed me to put her into David’s old cow costume.

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But the official costume of 2018 was the traditional James Family cat. You’ll see more photos when I post the next batch. It fit her perfectly and really went well with those giant dark eyes of hers.

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And she was rather pleased.

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As you can see, Yen is playing with lenses again.

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I’ve been trying to tap into my basically-non-existent crafty side in the evenings. I made little “Indian” (being PC there…) hats one night. Mina was pretty excited about them.

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This was a really exciting hike. We found ourselves in Sherborn, so we decided to try out Rocky Narrows, a hike Yen and I had taken together before we were married. It’s a 2.5-mile loop that involves some hills and scrambling on rocks. The kids were amazing! They never asked to be carried, and just kept moving.

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It was a pretty chilly day, but Mina wanted nothing to do with her jacket. She is hot blooded, this one. “I like the cold!” and “I’m an owl cold!” (she flips nouns and adjectives… she’ll get there!) I guess that’s a January baby for you.

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Meanwhile Linus was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and his fancy sweater, and still began complaining that he was cold. August baby! I took Mina’s disgarded jacket and fashioned a kind of hood for him.

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This was a little surprise we had for the kids. There’s an air strip below where people fly fancy model airplanes on weekends. The “pilots” knew we were there and gave us quite a show.

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Don’t worry – Mina didn’t get too far before I noticed.

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We tried to make little games while we hike in order to keep the kids interested. This hike was all about mushroom spotting. I have to admit I’ve never seen so many different types of fungi in my life.

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Here are some action shots. They really did a great job!

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We finished the walk and went for some very well-deserved Korean food. It was a terrific day for everyone.

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Little flirt!

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I’m SO glad I wasn’t home to see this. Linus strung a bag between the cabinets and got Mina to climb inside. Yen has promised me that it will enver happen again.

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You’ll notice some fancy nails here. I’ve been treating myself to a manicure every other week, and each time I come home, the kids ask for their own nails to be pretty.

Mina looks absolutely delighted by whatever Nana is showing her, and I’m sure she is. She thinks he’s the absolute greatest. Unfortunately he’s in a bit of a phase where he tends to think she’s a pest. I’m trying to use it to teach him sensitivity toward others’ feelings, but it’s awfully slow going. Mina, though, just keeps turning the other cheek. I love that about her.

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Along with thinking his sister is a pest, Linus has been asking me to baby him a bit. He even let me swaddle him in the new blanket Grandma made him!

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“Hey, you! Hurry up!”

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This was a walk we took with Grandma and Grandpa (not pictured, unfortunately). Guess what Linus is looking at…

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A snake! He was actually the one who spotted it lying on the ground. I was awfully proud because he wasn’t scared, just excited. We all (except Grandpa, of course) gathered around to watch the little guy.

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Oh wait! There’s Grandpa pretending that we’re not looking at a snake.

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This is from another walk the same day. You’ll notice that Mina has abandoned both her bike and her jacket.

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The next day (much colder – no jacket abandonment at all, just hat refusal) we headed up to Portsmouth. I complained to Yen that we hadn’t been up there in ages, and it used to be such a Fall ritual for me! Luckily Grandma and Grandpa are real Portsmouth fans, so they were up for it.

They weren’t interested in the USS Albacore, though, so we toured it first and then met up with them.

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This one really kills me. “Anh hai, it says here that it goes under the water? Can that be right?”

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Here’s Linus contemplating months at sea surrounded by gears and dials. Luckily he didn’t sign up immediately.

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Hm. Maybe toddlers would make a great submarine crew. They’d never complain about the space!

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Mina owns every place she goes, even cramped crew quarters.

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Wait, there goes the jacket! One does need to get comfortable for a game of checkers.

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Here we are back above ground and full of seafood. It turns out that Linus really loves mussels! He calls them clams, but never mind.

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Airborne!

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Here Mina’s getting to know her new swim diaper. We just put them back in lessons and the policy of the joint is that everyone under 4 has to wear a swim diaper – even though she’s been wearing big girl panties for six months now.

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Our living room is now a permanent campsite with sleeping bags and blankets spread in front of the fireplace. It’s quite cozy!

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Mina has been playing in her “special dresses” drawer.

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Vacation time! Or rehearsal, anyway. The kids heard that Yen was taking them out for the day, and they ran and got their backpacks. Mina filled hers with toys, and Linus filled his with snacks. Doesn’t she look ready for school?

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Grandma and Grandpa’s visit coincided with Grandpa’s birthday, so we got an enormous cake.

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Grandpa let the kids do the honors.

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I’ll finish up today with some random playtime shots. Feel free to come over any time and join the fun!

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