October 31 – December 2, 2018

You must be unhappy with me. I haven’t been posting much lately, and now I’m going to cover the whole month of November with just a few photos? Well, you’ll see that we’ve been busy. And hopefully the few photos that are here will make up for it. And don’t worry: Saturday we’re leaving for vacation, and you know we’ll have loads of photos from that!


This post is going to take us all the way back to Halloween! You might remember that Mina wore the traditional James family costume. She was pretty excited about it.


It just so happens that I cleaned off an old computer this week and discovered a scan of an old photo of Jenny wearing it! (and I’m here too)


Hm… Should I have mice or fish for dinner?



Linus talked about a number of different costume options leading up to Halloween, including a robot and a witch. In the end he said he just wanted to wear his spider costume again from last year. Luckily it still fit.


As usual, we only went to one neighbor’s house for trick-or-treating. We don’t have sidewalks in our neighborhood, so it’s not a great place for two little kids to roam. Still, we get lots of visitors. We all stayed home and the kids helped me hand out candy.

One particular visitor, a girl about 3 years old, said, “Trick or—” and then stopped and just stared at Linus, who was holding the candy bowl. Her mom and I both tried to coax her to talk, and she just wouldn’t. Finally her mom got down on her level to see what she was staring at. After a minute she stood up again and said, “I think she’s in love.” I can’t say I blame her. I poked Linus and he gave the sweet little thing some candy, and they left.


This is probably Mina taking a break from dancing. She’s very excited because Google Home listens to her commands now (or most of them). It’s rather more receptive to Linus, but he doesn’t request the songs she wants.


Linus has been creating huge structures that he says are houses. He spends hours carefully creating them, and then picks the whole thing up and tips it over. Then he announces it wasn’t him, it was a tornado. Plus the house was old anyway. *shrug*


On weekends, we let Yen sleep in. The kids and I make epic breakfasts (Mina always says, “Um… Pancakes!” when I ask what she wants), and then tackle some kind of project.



Mina spends a lot of time giving little creatures and figures rides on Linus’s trains and trucks. Generally without pants, but with some kind of an accessory, such as her backpack. She’s quite a fashionista. One morning Yen told the kids that they were going to visit my office for lunch. Mina disappeared, and he found her later, naked in the bathroom. She had laid out an outfit and was waiting for assistance putting it on. I wish we had a photo of it: pink sneakers, blue leggings with horses and castles on them, teal shorts on top of that, a brown shirt with hot-pink writing (“Silly Monkey”), her backpack, and her sunglasses. When she arrived, she owned MathWorks.


For Veterans’ Day (which everyone had off as a holiday except me), we took a quick little trip to Cincinnati (“Cin-la-la-ti” according to Mina). Yen and his friend Tan are both very interested in planes and military stuff and all that (MIT nerds), so we’d all talked about making a pilgirmage to the Wright-Patterson museum for quite a while. Tan and Susie took the initiative and just booked it.

I’m surprised how few photos there are of the weekend. Don’t mistake me – there are many, many more photos than this of the inside of the museum. But I’m being a little selfish and just posting a few that include the kids. We spent the whole day there, and it just happened to be the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI. Also on the trip we visited a children’s museum and the Wright Brothers memorial. Oh, and we ate Skyline Chili and Graeter’s ice cream, of course. I’m glad everyone was willing to indulge me! We also found a Vietnamese joint called “Wat da pho,” but that’s a story for another time.


We are not stroller people, as you know, but the kids sure enjoyed the strollers provided by the museum.





After we left, Mina pulled her hat down to maintain maximum warmth. I forgot how very cold and dry the midwest gets! Just two days there and my skin felt like sandpaper.


There’s a Mina in here somewhere…


We definitely need to get this child into a “big girl” bed. It wouldn’t be such a tight fit if she didn’t insist on sleeping with all of these stuffed animals, particularly the body-sized bear. We actually picked one out at IKEA a couple of weeks ago, but it wasn’t in stock. After vacation, I guess? Meanwhile, at least she’s cozy!


And speaking of cozy… We got a very unwelcome surprise the weekend before Thanksgiving: 6 inches of heavy, wet snow! I got up early and shoveled my half of the driveway so I could go to work, and the kids suited up to help Yen with the rest after the sun came up.


As you can see from Linus’s attire, it wasn’t all that cold. Just a big mess reminding us that winter hasn’t even begun.


Mina doesn’t let lack of tools stop her from doing a job.




Linus has been into making faces lately. “Show me a scowl!” and he’ll do a really good one. This one’s a silly face, of course.


Mina has become quite good at puzzles. She makes it extra challenging by tackling several at once.



And cooking! Linus has always been my helper in the kitchen, but Mina is getting really into it now. I can’t wait to do a gingerbread house this year!


You should be receiving your Christmas card from us in the next couple of days. Here’s proof that the kids helped out! Linus licked the envelopes, Mina sealed them, and we all collaborated on stamps.



And we’re off! Vacation in Vegas next week, baby! Linus has new luggage from Ba Tu (that’s great aunt for my side of the readers…) that he’s very excited to use.