June 17 to July 1, 2021

Who’s happy it’s summer? Linus!

We finally found the courage to take an entire week off and disappear! This time it was the White Mountains in New Hampshire.

We tried a hike but the kids weren’t really interested. On the way back to the car, we noticed a wide, low river that looked perfect for wading. So despite no extra clothes in the car, we let them loose.

The clothes starting coming off really fast.

After a break for lunch and a change of clothes, we found another place for them to test our patience. It’s a wide lake created by a dam with a little spillover.

The next morning (after a long swim; not pictured) we found another place to hike. It was what Yen and I dismissively call a “heart healthy” trail, but it got the kids back into the rhythm.

Linus is still running around looking like a little vampire with his missing teeth. As I write this, another is hanging by a thread. There’s a lot of soup on the menu these days.

Both kids are amused by a character in Avatar who always goes around with a piece of grass in his teeth, so they’re trying it out themselves.

I pointed out that the character they’re copying doesn’t smile very often, so Linus tried out a scowl.

Jazz hands in the woods!

The kids successfully lobbied to go back to the same dam/spillover. We told them this time they had to wear shoes instead of Crocs with the hope that my blood pressure wouldn’t get quite so high as they jumped.

That afternoon we found that we weren’t the only visitors. A mama duck was teaching her babies that the spillover is a nice place to find algae.

It was pretty stressful watching the little guys almost fall – and then finally fall! But it turned out they knew just want to do.

The ducks moved on then, and the kids turned their attention to jumping over the water again.

The next day started just like the others: with a long swim. When we went to Cape Cod, we didn’t swim as much as we wanted to because the pool kept getting more crowded than we were comfortable with. At this hotel, though, there were two large pools and everyone kept going to the one outdoors. As you know, we do everything we can to avoid the sun, so we went to the on indoors. There were a couple of days when one other family joined us, but mostly it was ours. Yen and I got to swim laps, and the kids finally got braver in the water. Mina took off her float for a while and dog paddled, and they both finished the week able to float on their backs unassisted for 15 seconds. We’ll keep practicing the rest of the summer.

After these daily workouts, you’d think we’d all be exhausted. But we told the kids if they did a real hike, we’d get ice cream afterward. They were double down.

We went to Artist’s Bluff in Franconia, which is across the street from Echo Lake. It’s a nice loop, about 1.5 miles. It’s an up-and-down with a lot of boulder climbing. The kids did a great job, and later I asked why they did the whole hike without complaining. Mina said, “It was so fun climbing on the rocks!” and Linus said, “I wanted ice cream.” Whatever works.

There are a couple of small overlooks where you always come out and think, “Jeez, is that it?” It wasn’t just us – a couple asked us whether that was the whole thing. We shrugged and all agreed to keep going and find out.

Yen grudgingly came out from behind the camera to appear in a photo for once.

One nice, one silly (as the kids always say).

At last! The real viewpoint.

The way back down was incredibly steep but much shorter.

We were torn about where to go next. The kids wanted to go to Story Land, but we really, really didn’t. I looked at Clark’s Trading, and just couldn’t. Finally we decided to head to North Conway to visit a restaurant we’ve always liked, and then we intended to visit Diana’s Baths. That was a stupid idea in the end because the parking lot was overflowing. After conciliatory ice cream, we turned back around and stopped at Sabaday Falls on the way home.

Well, then it was time to head home. Our compromise on Story Land was to visit Fun Spot on the way home. It was absolutely as terrible as you remember.

When we got home, we discovered that Linus had left a note on the slider for the neighbors. We had a talk about home security.

Just a few more for you back at home.

When we got home, Linus started his circuits class. I posted a video of one of his lessons, but this was what he brought home the first day. It’s a little game. You have a tiny hoop that you have to run over a wire without touching it. If you touch it, the connection is made and a little light comes on. Mina was impressed.

Here’s Mina practicing her eyebrow again.

Hopefully she won’t use that move the next time we cross a border – which I hope will be soon because we’re renewing her passport.

Linus wrote a cartoon.

A nice little pizza place has opened up down the street from us. Unfortunately it’s close enough that Linus and Yen like to pick up the pizza on their bikes. We need to invest in something to keep it flat.

It’s been incredibly hot this summer. The kids don’t bother asking for a pool because they know the answer. But they’re finding ways to keep cool.

And finally, a friend of mine gave the kids a skateboard.

It’s a good alternative activity when you get tired of hubcap rolling.

And last – but far from least – sometimes you find very strange things on your phone.