Dec 19 2014

Friday Concert

Category: Music,School,Videoshisoneko @ 9:48 pm

Perhaps the best thing I did all week is to ask Tashi, at aftercare pickup one day, where she’d be standing in the gym for today’s holiday concert. The next best thing was asking a mom of an older child whether we could just stay at school after a.m. pickup and she said, of course, and there’s even a bake sale and possibly coffee! There wasn’t coffee, but everything else worked out.

(Rio had three rice krispy treats, and two chocolate chip cookies. Not all at the same time. All for a good cause, the HSA!)

I sent around a bunch of videos to the parents of the kids surrounding Tashi. I had a lot. Good thing I had a new phone and lots of memory!

pre-show closeup

(Just one is here. If you really want to see email me and I’ll share the Google Drive link.)

Post-show mayhem photo op:

post-concert mayhem

Followed by, for Rio’s home day, library, lunch at home, puzzle, playground, Tashi pickup, at which she tripped over a sidewalk edge (really!), cookie making for me (to be decorated by the kids this weekend), attempts at games for Tashi and Rio, and fun kid dinner with Amber and co.

The light is so low in the sky—this is not more than 330pm, and they are pretending to be limping home:

pretending to be hurt


I’ll upload the longer song vids to Vimeo, at some point. I know you’re dying to see them!

Since we’re on an all-Tashi post, this is the report card comment from her main teacher, which Tashi read aloud twice, pleased as punch:

Tashi comes to school with a wonderful attitude. She is ready and eager to learn every day. She has settled in nicely to our first grade routines. Tashi is a polite and friendly student and helpful in the classroom. She loves to read and share all her ideas with partners. She shows strength in writing as she continues to organize ideas and develop them into wonderful personal narratives. Tashi shows critical thinking skills in math and is able to solve challenging math problems. She works independently and is focused throughout the entire day. As the year progresses she is participating more in classroom discussions and sharing her background knowledge. Tashi is a bright and eager student and I am happy to have her as one of my students this year. Keep up the wonderful work, Tashi!

UPDATE: Here is one of the better videos that was too long for Flickr. I’ll stop barraging you with videos now.

Dec 17 2014

Wednesday Concert

Category: Holidays,Music,School,Videoshisoneko @ 10:44 pm

Rio’s holiday concert was this morning! My new phone took not-great photos in the rather dim light but a mom friend got this one, which is pretty much how he looked during and in between songs.

reindeer 2

And I got a video!

This photo cracks me up—arms open, walking toward the holiday gift from the school! Also one teacher’s belt, and other kids waiting in the wings (aka on the floor). And Liam!

eye on the prize

Some other snaps from Ivy:


Recent artwork!



And Chinese:


Finally, green boy and Buddha!


Next: Friday concert. ’Tis the season!

Dec 14 2014

Music Weekend

Category: Family,Musicshisoneko @ 9:58 pm

The Mannes holiday concert! I managed to make it there just as it started at 1pm, having gone to swimming before, and then taken a GW Bridge bus across, and the subway. Chorus was first, with Arjun’s spoken word solo (the pole and conductor kept getting in the way):


And Rohan performed afterward (center, red):



Then I hoofed it to go get my hairs cut (first time since July!) and then bussed it back over to the East Side and helped with sister’s card assembly, enjoyed a short ribs dinner (brother-in-law bought the meat before 8am!), and then back to the East Side via bus for the Dvo?ák concert with Ro (as thanks for his help this summer in PA, and who doesn’t like a thank you that you can also enjoy!):


Yes, husband had the kids from Saturday midday on… something I booked in August. I spent the night (in the cavelike room the boys have—great for sleeping!) and in the a.m. ran Central Park for the first time since… 2010? GENIUS. Then husband and kids came into city, for holiday cookie decorating (cookies a nut-safe gingerbread mix from Ikea! And, what a difference a year makes: Rio did NOT just eat the frosting straight):


And we went to Central Park to show the kids the Obelisk, Black Panther, and Reservoir. (Rio could hardly walk there, much less back—I reminded him Arjun gave up the stroller before age 4, not that it made any difference.)




The best part of that last photo is the photo just before. He was nervous! (He = Rio)


Dec 08 2014

We Have Tree!

Category: Holidaysshisoneko @ 9:01 pm

we have tree!

And Rio has a haircut! The photo a little misleading, as Rio was upstairs all Sunday afternoon playing with Legos while we decorated. (Yoshi also a no-show this year.) Once again to the tunes of the Pandora Christmas channel (Charlie Brown version), the rest of us decorated the tree. We have a LOT of ornaments! Tashi also picked out the tree, a midrange one from our usual spot, the Y, after dim sum and ice cream with Dara and fam, which was restorative after our late, late night at a neighborhood holiday party a couple blocks down. (Because of me we were 1.5 hours late for estimated time given to sitter. Oops!)

Dec 05 2014

Boatsman Chant, Marshmallow Santa

Category: Art,Family,Food,Music,School,Videoshisoneko @ 11:41 am

She sang this “Boatsman Chant” so sweetly when playing it… somewhat captured here when I asked her to do it again. [UPDATE: I cut the version With Yoshi interrupting. Too soft to hear. Except Yoshi.] This is apparently a Canadian folk song.

And Rio’s explanation of his holiday drawing. He had started freaking out about not being able to draw “a good” Christmas tree but I left the room to do other things and he got over it on his own.

Some leftover snaps from the long weekend:

Here, Rohan helping to determine the quarter-size violin is a bit too small already for Tashi. The “free” Suzuki lessons at school don’t start till 2nd grade, alas. (And honestly I am loathe to bring another instrument—and one that has to be sized!—into the house. I know nothing about violin, too. Maybe that’s a good thing?)


Post-Beaumonde in Philly Sunday (after the snow the Wednesday before, it was very warm temps… like mid-50s):


Brother’s artwork! In his new fancy furnished flat/dorm-ish room (with some sisterly intervention he now finally installed a proper shower curtain from Popo):


Including a huge rooftop shared space with pool tables, weight/workout room, and outdoor pool, among other amenities:

pool table

After a long weekend of daily freakouts from Rio at 5pm, pretty much on the dot, a combination of poor sleep (shared bedroom) and poor eating, we are working on reintroducing foods to Rio all week, with mixed results. (Advice from brother, via coworker parents: Let him go to bed hungry! Brother, by the way, along with husband, were both picky eaters! And Popo told a story about brother hiding drumsticks in the sofa. I remember sister pouring milk into a plant.) So far, we’re back on honeycrisp apples, a bite of sardines, and banana chips. Tashi suffered through sweet potato (once her favorite, alas!) and is now back onto arugula, of all things. (Not complaining.)

Tashi’s class’s “Starry Night” interpretations (1B, on the left), that we hung up (and shared with another class, that also looked at Van Gogh’s work). That’s baby Raffa, no longer a baby!


We tried to take a good photo for the holiday card all weekend. This didn’t make the cut—Rio seriously will not stand or sit still!

reading terminal market

Nov 28 2014

Turkey Hands

Category: Animals,Family,Holidaysshisoneko @ 7:38 pm

Tashi spent all Wednesday after we arrived making these turkey hand name tags/place settings for our Thanksgiving meal. (Her idea.) The meal we had earlier than usual, around 2pm, although there was a little last-minute microwaving of turkey legs to make sure they were thoroughly done at the joint. We have enough leftovers to last us through the long weekend.

turkey hands

I told Tashi I had to take a photo of her eating a leg as it’s become custom for her to dig into one (from two years ago):


While recovering from the food coma, we did a Thanksgiving family photo:


Which husband took with his phone after setting it up using this Lego stand:

After the kids were packed to bed, we went to see “Interstellar”—which we thought was worth the hype and the nearly three-hour length. (And one of the few movies we actually discussed as a group afterward. And there’s a wiki!) Popo and Gonggong had already gone to see it in IMAX (somewhat inadvertently) and sister and I had a hard time imagining them sitting through the bombastic previews for other “action” movies (mostly based on comics).

Otherwise, the days home so far have been a lot of this (pally rides? polly rides? I’m never quite sure what they’re calling them):

pally ride

Plus Lego and train building, some piano, some violin, and ice seat making (outdoors). After they’re uploaded, I’ll have to link some of the fast-mo and slow-mo videos husband took using phone.

Friday afternoon we made it out to the city for a late lunch at at City Tap Room (no kids’ menu, which I rather liked—Tashi had skirt steak, Rio a burger) and the Academy of Natural Sciences for a dinosaur exhibit. One young guide was showing how dinosaurs and birds are similar (“birds are dinosaurs!”) using a large, raw turkey—close to the size we’d roasted yesterday (16.5 lbs). (After we arrived I realized we’d been a couple years ago with sister and family one muggy summer weekend day.) The butterfly exhibit is awesome for being included in the ticket price, year-round, and uncrowded. This owl-camouflage one landed on my head:


The big eye on the right is meant to be part of an owl. But look at the two “eyes” on the left… that look like they are attached to a snake’s head. Pretty amazing, right?

Searching “Thanksgiving” or even just “turkey” on this blog pulls up lots of great old photos… they really do grow up fast! The ones from here, 2010 (and uploaded a month after Thanksgiving, it looks like), are especially great.

Nov 26 2014

Starry Night, Snowy Day

Category: Art,Family,Friends,Schoolshisoneko @ 4:41 pm

We are in PA having made the decision to cancel a car appt in the a.m. and miss the school half-days (husband had already taken the day off) to be on the road by 10am. It worked—despite the slush and wet snow and heavy rain we got here before noon. Sister is due to come later, possibly. If not, tomorrow a.m. while they are driving I am in charge of the turkey (!). I very nearly had us go Tuesday night but it was good not to rush out and drive in the dark, in the end.

Tuesday I went into Travell with JJ’s mom (new, from Brooklyn) to do an art docent project on Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” and “Wheatfield With Cypresses.” After I read a short bio that left out the part about cutting off his ear and other unsavory bits, the kids talked about how the town and skies and fields and trees were depicted (“swirly colors like finger paints”) and other things they noticed about the art, like the moon being as bright as a star and the church steeple. One boy thought he saw a sea monster in the cypress. Nearly every student had seen “Starry Night” before. Then we did our own versions of “Starry Night” using sidewalk chalk swirls on blue and black construction paper (that I’d picked out from a pack of 200 sheets!).

JJ’s mom brought in thicker poster board paper for them to make cutouts for the town that was then glued on, and the final pièce de résistance—also her genius idea—was the glitter glue—which, I have now learned, goes fast! We killed 12 tubes also from Target (and which had a strange, counterintuitive way of opening—to the left—to spark creativity??). The last bit was reading an art board book about Van Gogh (from this set) that showed more of his work along with rhyming descriptions. I think they all liked it. Tashi was the very last to finish her art and a bit disappointed that I didn’t display just hers to the class. I tried to explain it’d be like gloating or bragging if I only showed hers. Because we got there early and were scheduled right after recess, we had 10 extra minutes for 40 total, which was helpful! The teacher’s aide expressed appreciation we didn’t actually have them do finger painting for the whole project. Less mess, which was our thought, too. (The chalk and glue cleaned up quickly enough.)


Then I got back out to my bike and discovered the seat had popped loose somehow. I managed to make it to the bike shop in town. (Young technician, upon seeing it: “Oh, your something-something broke.” Me: “Can it be fixed??” Him: “Of course!” Which he did, gratis.) I ran my errand returning books and getting 428 new books on tape for the car ride (okay, maybe just six) in time to meet Amber and fam to go over Yoshi care for the next few days. (Miles: “I don’t want Yoshi to be all alone!”)

Rio did a Thanksgiving craft, too, on Tuesday with a few of the class moms:

ivy tday craft

Sunday we’d gone to see a pirate improv show that was probably mostly over the heads of our bunch but still short enough and cheap enough and definitely close enough (the middle school) to make “live theater” worthwhile. On the walk home (balmy low 60s!) there was a tire someone was tossing out on the curb and that the kids all gravitated toward (more than one person said they wanted it as a tire swing):

tire kids

Then two sets of husbands and extra kids came for an early get together with food and vino, which didn’t feel too early since it gets dark at 430pm. (Unfortunately we did not have leftover piccadillo to share from the Cuban fest with a couple other couples the night before. All finished… we hope.) Everyone’s still made it into bed by 7 or 8pm!

Snaps from the puzzle-fest with babysitting Saturday, pre-Cuban fest (thank you Mark and Amanda! And Greg and Roxana, for babysitting Calvin, in turn):

A snap from the drive to PA today—they usually start losing it about 10 to 20 minutes from Popo’s house, which does not bode well for our drive to DC after Christmas:

car kids 1

And the snow on Popo’s deck, with big fat wet flakes falling:

snowy buddha

The snowman (slushman) husband made with Tashi and Rio while I took a nap (!!):


The snow-slushman they’d made before husband intervened:

solo slushman

Tashi’s “Save a Turkey, Eat More Chicken” poster at school. The first reason (all hard to photograph clearly in the dim hallway light) is because it’s bad karma to eat a turkey!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 22 2014

Turkey Craft

Category: Friends,School,Videoshisoneko @ 12:21 pm

After the weather changed abruptly, Rio (and I) were the first to get sick. Actually I think I have allergies, still, but we were both pretty runny on Thursday. He seems better already though. I semi-organized a Daisies event for this month, exactly coinciding with being runny—but I don’t think any of the girls noticed. It was a mini food drive (two cans per girl) and a simple Thanksgiving craft. They meet in the school cafeteria (called the Tiger’s Den):



Which cracks me up because she followed exactly what the craft is supposed to look like:


Whereas a lot of the other girls were more freeform, tracing their hands to make the feathers etc.

Then I dropped her at aftercare (to do homework!), got Rio from Ivy, brought him home for piano, which he sniffled through and generally wasn’t very attentive, went back to Travell get her again, made and fed them dinner, got Rio into bed before 7pm, and then showered with Tashi (large master shower, and I needed to anyway!). And then I did work.

Rio on the mend (aka enjoying ice cream) Friday:


We had a playdate in the a.m. with Dylan, met Liam for lunch, then hosted a playdate for Silas (for Rio) and Alex (a boy in her class, for Tashi), which went okay except I may have to do one playdate at a time next time. Tashi and Rio still fought, which was annoying! And then rather late-going kid dinner chez Scarlet and Miles, which is always a great end to the week! (Hello, new reader! :)

Other recent snaps: Tashi with headband hair and Nina Ping Uggs (thank you!!):


Tashi homework station:


Sleek new black swimsuit:


And Rio-play monologue:

I have been trying and trying to capture on video Rio’s solo play like this. It’s impossible as he dislikes being video’d (unlike his sister).

Husband: “We are going to the pharmacy.” Rio: “Is that where we get farms?” Husband: “It’s called Rite-Aid.” Rio: “Do we have to turn right to get there?”

Tashi: “Does the universe have a bottom, where all the gravity goes?”

Nov 18 2014

Yellow Polka Dotted Dress

Category: Photography,Schoolshisoneko @ 4:01 pm

I admit I am not quite sure about Tashi’s school photo this year. The one year to show her teeth growing in! Or maybe that’s why we didn’t get a big smile as we usually do.


These were taken the 3rd week of school, no joke. Tashi wore fancy shoes, which I knew would not be in the photo, and would be difficult to wear all day. (Strappy sandals.) Me: “Aren’t those going to be hard to walk in all day?” Tashi: “It’s okay, all we do is tests anyway.”

Then we got this alternative below. Which I think we may go for, doing a retake seems a little bonkers. Her eyes are open in both, right?

Tashi Lee-Garcia_s

Our weekend: Friday playdate with Christine, at Christine’s, which meant Tashi walked out with a stuffed animal (“she gave it to me!”) which meant Rio freaked out (“I want one too!”) and then I freaked out (“this is not a toy store!”) etc.

Saturday swim then Tine and family over (long overdue visit), and then Sunday was Rio birthday party for Ryan K (vs. L or C) at a bouncy place. Rio brings home goody bag with snake inside (stuffed, Oriental Trading). Tashi: “I really want a snake too!” Then finally followed by third playdate with Oliver at Oliver’s house. “Ninjago! More Ninjago!” This on the TV. Pickup after school Monday, Tashi has a windup flashlight from science club. Rio: “I want one too!” Bursts into tears. I find a windup flashlight we had from fire department, and then Tashi says, “No fair, you didn’t get me a stuff snake!”

Nov 11 2014


Category: Food,Friends,Travelshisoneko @ 10:44 pm

Or as Tashi thought it was at one point, Woodstuck. It does sound the same! I think she appreciated being away on a trip for her birthday, so it was worth it (the movable feast 1.5 hours up, and back). The house was great—with key features like the trampoline, hot tub, and wood-burning stove. And the Yamaha upright piano! (Much to Tashi’s dismay.)

On Tashi’s actual birthday (the 7th), we went to the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery at the top of a steep hill (suggested by Popo). It started to flurry! Tashi didn’t bring her hat, so she is wearing husband’s, and so isn’t very visible, but the prayer flags are! Festooned all over.

karma triyana dharmachakra


monastery in snow flurries


At the house, we did a lot of hot tubbing:

hot tubbing

And trampolining:

hammocking pose

in air


And hammocking:

hammocking T

hammocking R

And making rather complicated tissue-paper owls from a craft set Tashi picked out using a birthday gift card:

tissue paper craft

owl budgies

We did get to see my friend Janet and daughter who is yes, 11, and my height. Possibly taller. And gamely played with young children.


We also met up with Josh and Jess (late of Fleisher’s) at their house for a fun dinner Saturday night (kids in bed half past 10, yipes!), along with Matt and Steph. In his spare time, Josh, who is starting up Applestone Meat with Jess, makes Play-Doh meats.

mini meats (what a butcher does for fun)


O, and Lego sets (see above left).

Rio at the end of the night:

light saber

And besides kicking around a soccer ball and throwing a basketball, we shuffled a lot through the plentiful leaves. We went to a restaurant (healthy casual diner-ish) called Oriole 9 three times for breakfast/lunch. Never did find out the genesis for the name! The giant wall chalkboard outside while we waited for a table on the weekend:


We also went to Roost in Stone Ridge. Same concept, I think (only breakfast and lunch, and yummy), on Josh’s recommendation on the way out of town. We also listened to a lot of Lemony Snicket (sadly not narrated by Tim Curry through all the books).

And finally, one main accomplishment was finally finding a stone Buddha for our back yard. It was meant to go under the Japanese maple, but it’s a bit too short still, the tree. So next to the bench it goes, on a slate platform, with room for offerings, as suggested by Popo who helped pick and arrange the Buddha by email!

buddha at home

(It is moved a little farther away from the bench so swinging legs don’t accidentally kick it.)

This is most of it, but you can see the whole Woodstocky set here.

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