Feb 10 2016

Year of the Monkey

Category: Birds,Family,Holidays,Sports,Videoshisoneko @ 11:11 am


It’s Popo’s Chinese astrological sign!

So, someday I’ll actually get my act together and make noodles for Chinese New Year, but this year I just did round foods (based on how moon cakes and clementines are round…!). Not the most nutritious, but these are multigrain at least.


The hong bao above I gave Tuesday morning, as for some reason I kept thinking Feb. 8 was a Tuesday. Round dinner was Monday. Sister did hong bao on the right night, Monday, and sent this photo as she remembers us posing as kids in the same way with our red envelopes!


Skiing Tuesday, our penultimate lesson (just four this season).

It’s very hard to get Tashi as she’s far away using the lifts. She also did go to the top of the mountain, which has a significant hill… and I could see she wiped out the two times she did it. Unfortunately she also lost skis and one banged her in her lip—she’s okay (and it’s not as bad as when she banged her lip at the allergist’s a few weeks ago!)—but was shaken up, to which she reacts with anger to cover up feeling shaken up. I hope last lesson she can get up there again! We’ll see.

Finally, for posterity (so I can remember!), and completely unrelated to anything else, KOEL!!! Aka the “uh-oh” bird I used to hear in Thailand. Took me a long time to find this thing recorded (googling Uhoh and Bird returned a song by Andrew Bird!):

Feb 07 2016

Double Birthday

Category: Family,Sports,Swimming,Videoshisoneko @ 8:22 pm

Crazy last-minute Friday morning snow! Fortunately school opened all on time. (Seriously, PHEW!)


Friday was also the last day of the school-wide read-along of “Charlotte’s Web”—we were asked to send in photos of family reading:


The snow was really pretty, maybe 3 inches, and then all melted by midday.


Friday I did Chinese New Year’s presentations for Tashi’s class and then Rio’s (Year of the Monkey, and after an HSA meeting I’d forgotten about, and before tennis—full day!).

And Rio’s monologue (I shouldn’t talk during these at all!):

Saturday we went to Rohan and Arjun’s double birthday party—after swimming, finally getting Tashi doing breaststroke:

Rio, for his part, is working on backstroke (no video, next time!).

Before the party, we had lunch at Big Daddy’s down the street from sister’s. She said to eat light… but we’d already ordered these giant milkshakes:


Kid dinner (all the kids getting so big, and tall, and taking up more space!):


UPDATE with brother’s photos:

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Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 10.47.25 AM

Cake and rocky road bars (her signature dish) by Neera, Declan’s mom!

We got home late, after 10pm… I went to bed right after the kids did!

Duck Pond Sunday, via bike:


In a bonus Amber and family also decided to head over to the playground, which was nice for me! Husband was looking in on Abuelo. That’s Ben handling all four swings!


It’s Super Bowl 50 (um, L)… and we watched together and attempted to describe the game to the kids before they went to bed (early).

Saying hello to Popo in Taiwan and Grise (still recovering after her fall, but home soon we hope!)!

Feb 04 2016


Category: Health,Sports,Videoshisoneko @ 10:33 pm

Skiing Tuesday:


Don’t mind the hot choco face:


I had no idea how loose that top one was, till piano Wednesday (and apologies again for such a messy face!):


It came out shortly after the above photo, at Kubo-sensei’s house! I am not sure how impressed the teacher was with it happening there. Post-bathtime/pre-bedtime (face still not totally clean, gah!):


We need to do the straw-through-the-teeth thing:


Yoshi boodge (budge?):


And o yah, Tashi! Pink helmet, green coat, light blue pants. She waves at the end of this very short video:


Hard to get photos of her skiing this year as she’s been mostly on the lift far from smartphone capture. This shot/video above was pre-lift.

Rio talking about bubbles in his cup of milk one morning: “The milk has a force field. The bubble is a force field. O, one force field popped. They are safe and sound with lots of force fields. One hundred force fields, there’s a lot. Like 56 or 29 or 12. One thousand force fields.” [monologue continues]

Tashi on snowstorm morning (yelling from upstairs): “Mommy! Tell Rio that long underwear isn’t really long underwear! He’s wearing the longest underwear he has!”

Jan 31 2016

Arts Council

Category: Activities,Art,Family,Photography,Sports,Videoshisoneko @ 9:50 pm

Husband’s “Foggy Farm” photo, taken in Maine, is now part of the permanent exhibit at our town’s village hall. It’s right outside the village manager’s office. Pretty key location! Especially as I am one of those who emails the manager. There was a reception Saturday afternoon. The marble polar bear sculpture it is paired with is pretty cool too, no pun:


The kids got photographed a lot, and Rio ended up in one of the daily online news outlets:

Screen shot 2016-01-31 at 9.45.41 AM

Here’s the link to the story.

More Rio—speaking at his concert Friday! He was one of three kids, the only boy, and the first to speak! His teacher said he volunteered. He said he was asked! We were so proud.


There were a lot of colors to sing about… here are just a couple!

Tashi rock climbing with her Brownies troop, her first time! She was first in line. I like this video for the questions she’s asking the instructor while the other girl (Aniela, who’d done it before as becomes obvious!) scampers up the wall. Also the girls jumping up and down in excitement as they wait.

This is a different part of the wall, more confident!


Saturday a.m. post-swimming at diner lunch, Rio pulled out his tooth! One of the front ones loose for a while. We were all a bit shocked!


Andrew’s going-away party—he is off to Disney school in Florida for six months on Thursday! Roxana and Greg are driving him down.


And, burying the lead here, but I realize I haven’t yet spilled the beans: Tashi and Rio will have a second cousin soon!! Amanda is due in late July:


Science Fair prep Sunday a.m.! This will be one of the “before” photos:


IMAX 3D “Star Wars” Sunday afternoon:


Post-movie dinner (um, we drove from one mall to another… since we needed to get a trifold poster, and nothing is open where we are on Sundays) at Zinburger!


And the pièce de résistance! While watching the film I wondered if this could be Tashi’s Halloween costume—Rey from the movie—DONE!


Screen shot 2016-01-31 at 9.54.08 PM

Jan 27 2016

Ski Lessons!

Category: Sports,Videoshisoneko @ 11:05 pm

I hadn’t signed up last fall like I normally do… since it was 60 degrees and hard to believe it would actually be cold enough for snow. But the same organization (not the mountain itself) that organized the lessons a couple years ago did it again this year, with a quick turnaround time (email Wednesday, due Saturday, start Tuesday!). So, given the snow, we signed up. Fortunately for the kids it has been a bit like riding a bike—they were pretty comfortable getting ready and getting onto the magic carpet again.

As for Tashi, she’s aged into the 7+ group, and rode the lift! So, I have no photos. The group lessons are just four Tuesdays (not Presidents Day week) 415pm to, yesterday, 545pm (meant to be 515pm). I am just glad Tashi got on the lift, and skied down! It’s also handy that unlike the (super-crowded) weekend lessons their lessons (start at the same time even though they are different age groups now. (It’s their third year doing these lessons!)



Everything is a rental but the helmets, hand me downs from Ammar (via sister) and Charlotte (so Tashi would deign to wear pink).

After hot chocolate we had a basic dinner of, um, hot pretzel and chicken fingers at the lodge. Easier than rushing it back at the house. To her credit, Tashi immediately did her homework upon returning home!

Wednesday I stood in for another mom to watch over the “lunchtime course” of the Polar Bear Club, which Tashi elected to do. Everyone in the club brought snow pants and boots, and it was 15 min lunch, 30 min playing in the snow—they were the only kids allowed to do so (it’s a special sort of torture to prohibit schoolkids from playing in the snow at school! But requires lots of gear and prep/cleanup).

Building a snowman:


Lots of crazy King of the Hill (thank God no split lips or knocked out teeth; Tashi and another girl eventually joined; all of it a bit heart-stopping):


Toward the end for something less accident-prone to do I sent them to race back and forth across the field. Had a few takers, including Tashi, and it maybe killed 5 minutes.


Jan 24 2016


Category: Friends,Home,Videoshisoneko @ 6:17 pm

Now I can think of the storm name, not the boy band!


First foray into the snow Saturday a.m. (swimming etc. all canceled):


Eating snow with powdered sugar:


Buddha in the a.m.:


Cool layers of snow from Rio’s window late afternoon:


We still had Cookes and Fitzpatricks over… trekking through the Himalayas to make it back to our house. That’s Tashi with her head in the snow:


It was pretty blizzardy (windy) with lots of snow falling all day:


Officially we got 18 inches but it seemed like more!


The damage inside:


A Saturday snowstorm is just about perfect timing, all things considered! Husband home, no work to really worry about, or school to miss!

Jan 22 2016

Home Day Rio

Category: Homeshisoneko @ 10:51 pm

This is our last half school year of home days with Rio. He doesn’t really know it yet, but I admit it makes me a little sad too. After they’re both in school full days, they’ll probably do (or I’ll sign them up to do) things together, the same time, same day. Fortunately Rio’s already asked when he can go to Y aftercare, the same as Tashi. Soon!

Home day Lego Rio (after I did tennis, as a sub, for the first time since maybe November; Rio gets babysitting aka some TV and reading time while I play the 45 min—meant to be an hour but I am usually late because of K pickup):


He likes to walk around with his hands in his pockets these days—a preview of adult Rio (taken at Kubo-sensei’s)!


Rocking the b/w love Rio:


We’re hoping the snowmageddon forecast for this weekend isn’t all that! (Also, we have casual dinner with friends scheduled!) And that said, I just signed up for four Tuesdays of skiing with the kids—had been feeling guilty we hadn’t signed up! Tuesday afternoons means I’ll have to do it all solo… hopefully it won’t be as arduous as years past.

Jan 18 2016

Alexes and More MLK Weekend

Category: Activities,Animals,Friends,Holidays,Swimming,Videoshisoneko @ 9:35 pm


We had the Alexes over, including a junior (almost)—Alex’s son who is 15. This was Saturday night, following Saturday afternoon with Chris, Lane, and Jax over—17 months and we discovered he’s allergic to cats. (He also has eczema.) They ended up having to leave early since Jackson was so unhappy. Now they know at least about the allergy! No photos… maybe next time.

UPDATE: Alex D’s time-lapse video! Watch here:

Saturday day I also took these videos of Tashi swimming, meaning to stitch them together but didn’t. That’s breast stroke she’s doing in the first one:

Sunday we saw Tine at their house (no photos), with our wine fridge as Daragh’s holiday gift! Husband got to see their house for the first time too.

And Monday, MLK Day, to Connecticut! (See 2012 and 2013 and 2014.) We met up with Kelly and girls. Here’s Tashi and Rowan:


Poking moon jellies—I learned that a group of jellyfish (not really fish) are called a smack! A smack of jellies! Brilliant!


Tashi and Quinn seemed to pick up right where they left off! I had fun recounting the early a.m. babysitting of Quinn when Rowan was arriving into the world.



Afterward we went to say hello to Kelly’s father-in-law Dick, made famous in this episode of “This American Life” on NPR (transcript here).


Rio on the dark side during bath time Monday:


Jan 13 2016

Catchup (Including Some From November, Eek!)

Category: Activities,Allergy,Books,Cats,Family,Friends,Holidays,Home,Swimming,Videoshisoneko @ 10:44 pm

Tashi (and Rio) were very excited that Tashi’s name was almost in this Mo Willems book:


Yoshi keeping warm—we had 50s and flash T-storms Sunday, and then back down to below freezing temps this week (still no snow… wondering if we’ll get the kids on skis at all this season!):


Using the Turtle Fur balaclavas for cycling, when we can, to school since they work great under helmets and for keeping necks warm:


The future is now: virtual reality cardboard Google glasses! In a special BB-8 version that Miles is trying out and, as you can see, pointing to things as he watches. The iPhone goes inside it and it’s amazingly immersive. Seriously, we’ll never have to leave home again, between VR, Amazon drone deliveries, and Alexa, among other things. (“Wall-E” called it… alas.) But as I told Amber, she got it at our house first! Talking to Alexa, VR… I am hoping all our kids remember forever where they experienced them first!


I forget what they were checking out on the iPad here, something “Star Wars” I think:


This was a Friday kid dinner. Five years strong (nearly, by spring)!

Rio’s Saturday a.m. Lego creation; I liked the tilted angle but not sure I captured it fully:


Speaking of years, year three (!) of the father-daughter Girl Scout Square Dance! (See last year and the year before.)


Their swim evaluations later Saturday a.m.:



Rio in his orange hat (knock wood, still in hand):


We don’t go to Target as often as before (in Inwood when it was lots easier) but went post-swim and lunch, only to be nearly done and have a fire alarm go off. Added nearly an hour to our shopping trip. But the bonus is we ran into friends who are living in Teaneck (or Tenafly, I get those two mixed up!) temporarily while they wait for their new Brooklyn apartment building to be finished.


We gave the kids the phone in order to actually have a convo. The Slap Stickers are actually pretty funny.


We got home at 5pm (!!!!) and quickly took down the tree. Check out this ornament!!


Sunday (at 10am!) Rio had a trampoline birthday party to go to:


And then we had people over for early kid dinner—our opera friends, the mom took us backstage at the Met, and a mom whose husband is Filipino, so her daughter actually looks a bit like Tashi (who for whatever reason is pretending to have her eyes closed):


For posterity, some long videos capturing everyday life with the kids. Actually I wish I were better with writing down the things they say, like Rio telling me proudly this morning he filled the water bottle himself, the one he keeps at his bedside, and Tashi, equally proudly, telling me how she saw Resolve stain remover at Fairway and pointed it out to husband, knowing that we hadn’t been able to find it at Target.

First, Rio before piano today (Tashi was at her first chess class meeting after school—I went to get her later), talking (and pacing around) about the Magic Treehouse:

And the weekend before, at Abuelo and Grise’s house, playing in the back yard:

And FINALLY, catchup with brother’s pix from T-day weekend. No idea why Rio’s shirt is a bit wet at the collar for this first one, at Valley Forge in the really warm weather:

t-day weekend1

tday weekend3

Soccer in the back yard:

tday weekend2

tday weekend4

That’s it! I think I caught up with everything. At the allergist we saw that Tashi is 51 inches tall, 54 lbs, and moved up to the next Epipen level… which is non-junior. Some kind of sad milestone really. She also may need an inhaler sometimes… couldn’t blow out all the virtual candles but did better after Albuterol (sp?). So, we have a script for that too.

UPDATE: Wait, I forgot the CHICKEN DANCE! From December:

Finally, since I’m updating, we got some snow Thursday morning!


Jan 06 2016

A Trio of Rios

Category: Family,Friendsshisoneko @ 9:41 pm

Santa Rio:


BB-8 Rio:


Sly Rio:


The last one taken at El Vesubio in West New York, at a late lunch Saturday with Abuelo, Grise, Greg, Roxana, Gina, and Adlai, plus some extended family. I kept telling Rio to be careful with the rather flimsy styrofoam cup, in which was a chocolate shake, and he’d pick it up and squeeze it ever so slightly, and give me that look!

Tashi dancing in Abuelo’s back yard—she and Rio also performed some holiday songs on the piano, as did Grise—playing “Für Elise” easy-peasy!:


Over the break we also went to see Miss Sarah from Ivy and her new baby Maisie! Born December 2. They live about an hour away in West Jersey—there was snow on the ground, though when I said this to Sarah she said, I wouldn’t know! We gave her our old changing table and baskets and Maclaren… good sturdy stuff that I hope they’ll enjoy. Plus that blue toolbox toy too. We told Sarah and the dad, Jeff, to go ahead and bring the baby to a morning showing of “Star Wars”—Maisie’ll probably sleep through it!


School started again Monday, and work right back with it. Sister and family all back home safely from India—I’m sure the now below-freezing temps (10 F this morning!) are a wakeup call for all of us! Still no snow though… so far we are taking a hiatus from skiing.

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