September 21 – October 20, 2019

I posted two nice entries about our vacation, and then disappeared! But we get to pick up right where we left off. In fact, in these first photos, it’s the very next morning after we returned home. We’re all horribly jetlagged and have been up since 4:30am. But there’s a parade!

20190921-DSC_8878

20190921-DSC_8873

The occasion was Bedford Day, which is just sort of a random celebration of our little town. It’s not a founders’ day or anything. It seems like more of a general excuse for candy and waving to the selectmen. We hopped on our bikes and got our pockets ready for some Tootsie rolls.

20190921-DSC_8902

Did Mina lose weight on vacation? No, I accidentally put a pair of Linus’s shorts in her drawer, and she wanted to prove a point.

20190926-DSC_8928

20190927-DSC_8930

Returning home set off a long spiral of Linus getting up early. It was a combination of anxiety left over from the trip, jetlag, and probably just a desire to play. He kept on getting up between 4:30 and 5:00 to play. Every single morning. And as I’m a natural morning person, I was the natural person to join him. He’s slowly getting better, sleeping regularly until 6:30 most days. Which means I no longer have an excuse to skip my morning gym sessions as I’ve done since before vacation. But I digress. The second day after we got home, he used those early hours to construct what we etimated must be the longest truck in the world. Then he climbed on it.

20190929-DSC_8940

Mina woke up and said, “We’re taking photos? I’m in!”

20190929-DSC_8942

Mina has really taken to drawing lately, and her images are getting more recognizable. And you MUST recognize them or you get a serious scolding.

20190930-DSC_8947

Also she’s a nurse. For dinosaurs. Who may or may not be confined to a jail.

20191001-DSC_8958

20191001-DSC_8959

Not sure what’s happened here. Maybe she was punished and decided to just go with it?

20191001-DSC_8975

Not pictured: Grandma and Grandpa returned from their grand tour of France and spent a few days with us. We realized they’d never been to Sleepy Hollow cemetery, so off we went. The kids really love this place and know their way all around it.

20191006-DSC_8978

Fungus!

20191006-DSC_8982

20191006-DSC_8987

20191006-DSC_8996

I can’t believe it took them so long, but the kids have finally realized that they can go up into the loft above the garage and throw balls down at me. And it’s apparently hilarious how hard it is for me to throw them back.

20191007-DSC_8999

20191007-DSC_9005

20191007-DSC_9008

The kids have taken a keen interest in helping with the landscaping and maintenance. When our landscape designer turns up, they both scurry to get hats, boots, and jacket – and then the tools they’ll need to dig holes with him. It’s incredibly lucky that he doesn’t mind their “help” and in fact gives them little jobs and chooses plants based on whether he thinks the kids will like them. I should post updated photos of the place one of these days!

20191008-DSC_9016

20191008-DSC_9024

 

The days are getting colder, but the kids are still out at the playground without jackets most days. Yen still manages to find new playgrounds from time to time.

20191008-IMG_1574

Time for your biannual check up! Mina is a pro now. I like how the kids wear their own sunglasses instead of the standard-issue safety glasses the dentist offers.

20191008-IMG_1551

That’s one satisfied customer! I was surprised when Yen told me they actually go through the whole cleaning and polishing routine – I didn’t think they’d sit still for it. But they’re very good little patients.

20191008-IMG_1548

20191008-IMG_1544

The dentist thinks Linus has been pushing on his bottom front teeth with his tongue. We’ll see what we can do about that (and start putting away money for an orthodontist now…).

20191008-IMG_1539

Inspired by all of this, the kids gave me a thorough check-up at home. Dr. Nana says all of my teeth are going to have to come out.

20191008-DSC_9038

20191008-DSC_9035

When he’s not performing complex dental surgeries, Linus helps Ba Noi return the recycling bin to the garage.

20191007-IMG_1535

And another new playground!

20191003-IMG_1505

20191003-IMG_1503

20191003-IMG_1501

20191003-IMG_1499

20191003-IMG_1492

Yen took them on a field trip to Lowell and the mill museum. Now they’re experienced pros, so they brought noise-canceling headphones instead of relying on the little ear plugs the museum offers.

20191002-IMG_1460

Trolly ride after the museum, of course – part of the whole experience.

20191002-IMG_1446

And of course the trolley stops next to a train…

20191002-IMG_1445

20191002-IMG_1438

The next day, Yen’s lovely aunt and cousin arrived for a visit. The kids call her “greatauntie 8” in Vietnamese. Unfortunately she didn’t get the best weather for her visit, but Yen tried his best to pack in some good stops while the weather held up. Including the kids’ favorite, Spring Shabu (aka, that restaurant Grandpa hates).

20191009-IMG_1587

Then a visit to Mt Auburn cemetery and the big tower on the hill.

20191009-IMG_1592

20191009-IMG_1602

20191009-IMG_1609

Back at home, the kids enjoyed the big bonus of her visit: cake! She brought so many goodies and assembled four cakes for them to work through! Linus insists that all cakes need candles.

20191010-DSC_904120191010-DSC_9043

20191010-DSC_9048

I cooked the first night, but I guess I didn’t do a great job because we went out for every meal after. Between that and my recent hip injury, my jeans are starting to get awfully tight…

Here we are at Ginger Court, our favorite Chinese restaurant. The kids call it The Place with the Big Candy Bowl. Don’t ever waste time treating them to fine dining. Just buy a bag of peppermints and they’ll be happy.

20191010-IMG_0346

The next day, Yen took them to the DeCordova, a sculpture park near our house. We actually get free admission through The Trustees, but we’ve never been over there. We’re clearly missing out.

20191010-IMG_1629

20191010-IMG_1641

Yen tells me this isn’t a real tree – which I guess you can see from the photo. But walking up to it, it he said it looked really real.

20191010-IMG_1650

20191010-IMG_1660

20191010-IMG_1673

The natural side effect of all that…

20191010-IMG_1705

This is just crazy! And I believe my photos are out of order – this all happened before dinner. That’s OK! They stopped off at Nara Park. I can’t believe Mina got in the water when everyone else was clearly so cold. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

20191010-IMG_1714

Then a walk around the lake. Mina is clearly impatient for everyone else to get moving.

20191010-IMG_1717

20191010-IMG_8691

Dinner again! This time we all met up close to my office. Look at all of that seafood pasta in front of Yen! Everyone loved the dish (although I still have memories of being sick in Amsterdam, so I abstained).

20191011-IMG_0451

20191011-IMG_0453

I believe this is the next day and Brookline, Larz Anderson park.

20191011-IMG_1723

And Noodle Barn for lunch!

20191011-IMG_1735

Then a visit to the MFA, which Yen and I have tended to avoid, thinking it’s not terribly child friendly. But looking at these photos, I do love to see the kids taking in art. It has to be good for their little brains, right?

20191011-IMG_1749

20191011-IMG_1771

20191011-IMG_1777

20191011-IMG_1797

20191011-IMG_1803

20191011-IMG_1807

20191011-IMG_1812

Out of order again – this is lunch the next day! I’m so sorry. Well, here we are in Marblehead, having a more or less traditional Massachusetts lunch: clam chowder, lobster stew, lobster bisque, scallops… And my turkey tip salad.

20191012-IMG_0531

Here’s how we earned all those carbs. It was cold, and a nor’easter had just blown through sending the waves into a frenzy.

20191012-DSC_9053

Because I am a terrible mother, I actually went off without Linus’s jacket! Luckily I dressed him in a thermal shirt, and after he adopted my scarf, he was perfectly toasty. And we’ve decided that scarves suit him, especially this one with Dia de los Muertos images all over it.

20191012-DSC_9052

20191012-DSC_9061

See? He’s totally undeterred by the weather!

20191012-DSC_9067

Mina was similarly comfortable, but relaxed. I guess she got into her “urban cool” mode. With ponytails.

20191012-DSC_9093

20191012-DSC_9092

20191012-DSC_9099

Kids! Kids! Don’t blow away!

20191012-DSC_9101

20191012-DSC_9107

20191012-DSC_9111

Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our guests the next morning. But we captured a few photos before they left for the airport.

20191013-IMG_0664

Including and especially some silly photos.

20191014-MIna & di 8

This was hilarious. We were all standing by the driveway taking photos and being sad about saying goodbye while Yen’s car slowly backed out of the driveway. What we didn’t see was that Yen did the backing, but as he got close to us, he leaned way down so it looked as if Linus was driving. I looked up to see just the end: the car moving and Linus laughing at himself. It was quite a shock, and then we all had a good laugh (especially Linus).

20191013-IMG_0668

After a stretch of terrible weather for our guests, we discovered that Sunday was lovely. We decided to make the most of it by driving to an orchard, buying apples instead of picking them, and then checking out the pumpkins and cider doughnuts.

20191013-DSC_9173

Mina doesn’t actually eat the doughnuts, she just licks all the sugar off and hands it back to me.

20191013-DSC_9157

20191013-DSC_9148

The kids really don’t care much about apple picking, or frankly even cider doughnuts. What attracts them year after year is this conveyor belt you can use to deliver food to a goat waiting up on a platform.

20191013-DSC_9228

We already have mums and teeny pumpkins, and of course the metal pumpkins I haul out every year. But the kids wanted one more. They picked out his little speckled guy. Isn’t it adorable?

20191013-DSC_9218

20191013-DSC_9217

20191013-DSC_9208

20191013-DSC_9199

20191013-DSC_9188

Here’s a place we haven’t visited in a long time: Broadmoor! The leaves were just about perfect.

20191020-DSC_9744 (1)

20191020-DSC_9723

20191020-DSC_9699

The kids spent most of the walk hauling this long stick. We were shocked how long they cooperated.

20191020-DSC_9667

20191020-DSC_9661

20191020-DSC_9660

There’s no perfect photo. One of them is always making a face.

20191020-DSC_9643

20191020-DSC_9649

20191020-DSC_9636

Who the heck is that??? It’s Yen! What’s he doing out from behind the camera?

20191020-DSC_9614

20191020-DSC_9595

20191020-DSC_9587

20191020-DSC_9589

20191020-DSC_9560

20191020-DSC_9549

20191019-DSC_9529

Now this is the next day, and a different hike – this time at Great Brook Farm. The kids call this The Secret Rock. When you’re on the trail, it doesn’t look like much. But if you step off just a bit, you can see that it’s quite large. I suspect we discovered it during one of Linus’s many, many, many pee breaks.

20191019-DSC_9481

20191019-DSC_9482

20191019-DSC_9458

20191019-DSC_9456

The kids discovered that they could take a stick and shove it quickly into the pine needles carpeting the trail, and it will leave behind what looks like a tiny cave.

20191019-DSC_9451

20191019-DSC_9445

20191019-DSC_9382

20191019-DSC_9383

20191019-DSC_9371

20191019-DSC_9528

Just, you know, hanging around making faces at each other.

20191017-DSC_9333

20191016-DSC_9297

20191015-DSC_9266

20191016-DSC_9269

The kids have been enjoying the keyboard lately. Linus’s favorite trick is to turn it on, raise the volume, and set the tempo as high as it goes. Then leave the room. Argh! But sometimes they get together and actually make music.

20191014-DSC_9263

20191013-DSC_9249

This is a particularly rare site: Linus singing!

I believe Dr. Nana has covered his patient (Nurse Mina) in Kleenexes for some kind of restorative treatment?

20191014-DSC_9257