Jul 21 2014

Behold, the Ducks

Category: Family,Videoshisoneko @ 9:47 pm

The Duck Derby (second annual) was Saturday! Here are our four (from left: Tashi, me, Rio, husband):


Tashi’s got a bit more decorated after the photo—and then got lost. Tashi swears she saw it escape through the net. Husband’s finished in the top 25.


Kevin came out Saturday afternoon to spend the night. He has been teaching in the city for Girls Who Code (a three-week leave of absence from his job), and was solo after sister and family (whom he has been staying with) headed for Maine for a week. He took over jumping-platform duty in the not-quite-warm-enough temps—and is the reason we have this family photo on the bridge waiting for the ducks to race:


I had spent the morning working at the estate sale at Roger’s house. Sad, but good to chat with many of Roger’s friends and family, who came in from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and closer to empty out the house that has been in the family for 72 years. I ended up with some sheet music, glassware and other kitchen stuff, dominoes, and playing cards—all vintage.

On Sunday we took the ferry out to the city:


And then a bus ride downtown to the 9/11 Memorial. We found Adrie’s dad’s name on the north side. (She got into Harvard early!) This is the view from the west. The footprints of each of the two World Trade Center towers are now memorial waterfalls. (UPDATE: In case you are wondering, we did attempt to tell the kids what happened there, describing it as bad guys who wanted to hurt America because they didn’t like what America stands for, such as freedom and equality for girls, as well as resentful of America being arrogant and telling smaller countries what to do. Not sure it sank in, although Tashi asked about it again later.)


After a riverside lunch (and a surprisingly clean, shaded, and sand-stocked playground), we happened upon this Irish famine memorial that I’d also never seen before:


The expressions alone are genius:

That’s the new Freedom Tower in the background, the tall shiny one in the back.


We were wiped out after our day in the city, even though the weather was perfect (low humidity). The kids got back yard haircuts before bedtime, which unfortunately means Tashi can’t do her own hair in a ponytail anymore. Oops!

Jul 18 2014

The Week in Review

Category: Friends,Health,Sports,Swimming,Videoshisoneko @ 9:13 pm

Rohan’s home! Picked up on Friday (by sister) from sleep-away camp after three weeks.


Pool on Friday… gymnastics on the sand!

Husband had taken a summer Friday to help (a LOT) with the dentist, which was in the morning. Alas, Tashi has yet another cavity, in a back tooth, making it six total, despite all our efforts with flossing and fluoride. She inherited our closely packed teeth. Rio also got X-rays for the first time, and was fine—fortunately!


I was in the city this week and saw Jenn and the girls—both walking!—as well as Tish for lunch. (And got a haircut.) I also started tennis lessons via the village with a book club friend. The first two classes got rained out, but we finally had a lesson this week, and it felt great to whack a ball in a serve over and over again!

Friday kid dinner dessert! Outdoors for half an ice cream sandwich till I realized we were being swarmed by skeeters.


Creative PJ-wearing from Tashi. Can you spot the naked Rio?


Jul 15 2014

Visits to the Pool

Category: Friends,Swimmingshisoneko @ 9:23 pm

This is totally a classic Rio expression:


As is this:


Reminds me of this photo—Rio always gazing up at his sister!

Aislinn came to visit with Cassius and Landis Saturday (Jeffery works weekends). At one point it was just Cassius (the blond one) and me, and he said, Do you know who I am? Who are you? I said, But of course, and, I’m Tashi’s mom!


From March 2009:

cash + tash

The day before, Dara came to visit with Sammy, who was the only one ready for this photo:


Sunday we did NOT go to Graydon (but to Abuelo and Grise’s), making for a very long afternoon at home when it didn’t actually end up raining. I got out the kiddie pool and they played in it with the water guns we’d gotten at Target that morning, which killed about a half hour max. We also played dominoes. Tashi is super-competitive! And so she and husband won—tied. The kids were so not interested in the World Cup final, beyond registering that Arjun-tina ultimately lost.

Tashi has been getting bitten up at camp (despite wearing bug spray), and Rio has been coming home with interesting math tidbits, like “two plus two plus two is six,” and “four plus four is eight.” In other news, we had the final inspection for the master bath on Friday! Phase 1.5 finally DONE. And cicada-shell season has started. As with finding loose change around, Rio freaks out when Tashi spots more than he does.

Jul 12 2014

‘My Peanut Allergy’

Category: Allergy,Booksshisoneko @ 9:05 pm

When the children request a “tell me a story” they often like ones that feature some catastrophe—husband breaking a bone, Mommy falling down a cliff. Perhaps not surprisingly, Tashi’s allergic reaction is a favorite. She got a little help with this book (spelling, narrative, but the drawing ideas are all hers!):









(And the book that inspired it.)

Jul 10 2014

Fat Belly

Category: Cats,Videoshisoneko @ 2:51 pm

I don’t know how it started, but all throughout the renovation Tashi liked to go up to whoever was working at our house, slap them on the stomach, and squeal “Fat Belly!” Beyond rude I know but no amount of telling her to stop made her stop. She does it to everyone, including family members. Charming, right?

The ultimate fat belly in our house belongs to this one:

Watch the short video, and Yoshi giving me the hairy eyeball, literally!

Jul 06 2014

The Fourth

Category: Family,Health,Holidays,Home,Videoshisoneko @ 9:40 pm

Hurricane (or Tropical Storm) Arthur really threw a wrench into weekend plans. The parade managed to go on—and in fact the cloud cover made it easier than ever to a) get a prime viewing spot and b) make it bearable weather-wise. Still, here are the rather serious (grumpy!) parade faces I got!

(grumpy) parade faces

Still, they managed to turn it on for a local ABC affiliate that zoomed in on them as soon as we sat down on the parade route. (More evidence they like people of color!) Grise happened to see Tashi and Rio on the news!

After walking back home (two strollers) with Amber and Lori, the weather was still bad and it started to pour, so it was like a winter day being indoors. We made cookies and played dominoes, interspersed with various freakouts and tantrums. Tine and family came over in the late afternoon for a playdate and we managed to not put a movie in.

happy fourth!

Kids went to bed, but Tashi was convinced she wanted to watch the fireworks. It was chilly out, so we ended up waking her for the 9pm fireworks… viewed from our front lawn! But they didn’t start till 930pm. We sat out waiting for a while. Tashi lasted about 10 minutes after the fireworks actually started, and then asked to go back to bed.


Saturday! World Cup (Arjun’s team won—Argentina—Tashi noted the similarity and Rio is still talking about Arjun’s team Arjun-tina):


Followed by a quick Graydon jaunt (Arjun wasn’t feeling 100 percent, but we managed to stave it off with ibuprofen):


Inspired by the matches (two of them on Saturday), they later played soccer (no photo) with brother, followed by sparklers (that sister ordered online):

setting up sparklers 1

Listen for Rio’s comment:

More sports (Sunday, Wimbledon, men’s finals)—Arjun spent the night in Tashi’s room and I woke up to them giggling at 6am. She was upset when he left (which coincided with feeling badly that his head got bonked—an accident).

fave cuz

We did make it to the Ramsey farmers market, then tennis on the street, and lunch. Tashi was weird with food all weekend (she is not into any barbecued offerings, or even pizza, wanting only fruit), and then she was really upset Arjun had to leave Sunday. It’s nice for her to have a big brother—and for Arjun to be the oldest!



Graydon again late afternoon, with Gonggong—followed by naps for some of us:


UPDATE: photo from Monday morning pre-camp, pre-(long) drive (with stops) for Popo and Gonggong—managed to get smiles all around!

smiles all around

Jul 02 2014


Category: Art,Friends,Health,House,Videoshisoneko @ 12:25 pm

After a long hiatus (but many birthday/holiday emails) we finally were able to catch up with John and Melanie, who visited with their brand-new baby Lucas, whose birthday I’ll always remember because it is the same as mine, and also on Mother’s Day! We’re thrilled for them and happy they could spend the night here.

He is in full squall here, 7 weeks old!


We remembered that at that age, babies cry for just three reasons: they’re hungry, tired, or need a diaper change. Later on, more sleuthing is needed, or they just tell you.

photo setup

They had something like just weeks to prepare for the baby—maybe six?—after finding out their adoption had gone through. Melanie’s tied into an amazing-sounding donated breast milk group, so our fridge was quickly filled up with bags and bottles. And considering they live in Northern Virginia and brought the baby to the reunion Melanie had, I’m impressed they were still traveling relatively lightly, but including their own Moses basket (that doubled as storage when the baby was elsewhere).

'i wanna see!'

That’s Tashi on the floor by the sliders. We had kind of a rough weekend with her beforehand. On Saturday morning she said her belly hurt, and I didn’t think much of it, till she vomited everything in her stomach from the night before in the powder room, nowhere close to the toilet as she has no experience with being sick like that (she didn’t remember getting sick in the car in France) and didn’t know what it feels like to be on the cusp of vomiting and what to do.

I think it hit every surface except the ceiling, and I was ruing all the grout in the basket weave tile and wainscoting in that room! She felt better, but wasn’t quite 100 percent till Monday night. (The same day I noticed there was splatter even outside the bathroom, on the wall opposite in the hallway!) Oddly nothing smelled. Sister thinks because it was fruit, not meat, that made her sick. I think it was the frozen grapes I gave her as a snack, which we’d made ourselves, on Friday after Graydon with Amy and Liam. She’d said that one tasted funny, but she’d eaten it anyway. After all this Saturday morning she rallied to go see “Maleficent” with Christine, although we went to the loo three times (to pee). (For the record, the super-scary trailer of that movie is totally misleading.)

Graydon Friday (which is the shared home day for the summer):

digging girlssand boys

Blackberries Wednesday:


Part of the shower stall (long story with the glass on this thing, which is to be enclosed for the steam shower. Measurements have been off by fractions of an inch and they’ve had to redo a couple times):

glass half full

The glass ceiling installed (a week later, with Dan inspecting):

our own glass ceiling

The closets installed (on the Saturday Tashi was sick):


So… we’re getting close!

Rio’s Seussian artwork (I actually have no idea which way is up):


I like the textures on this globe he did:


Tashi was feeling mostly better Monday at dinnertime, as you can see in these next three videos. The kids like watching themselves in old videos (and by old I mean from when they were babies or toddlers), so I am trying to remember to take more videos to capture life with them now. Except they get a little crazy when they know I am recording.

At the end of this video (actually the 2nd in this series), I stop recording, as it’s obvious what I am trying NOT to capture. Note Yoshi completely placid in her spot by the window.

Happy birthday yesterday to sister’s husband and to brother tomorrow!

Jun 25 2014

Tashi’s Last Day of K!

Category: Allergy,Art,Cats,Health,Schoolshisoneko @ 12:05 am

It was Tuesday, yesterday, and I neglected to take a photo, but this isn’t a big one to graduate from (rationalizing). I did manage to capture the cards she made, completely unprompted, for her teacher and teacher’s aide.

Mr. DeRisi is leaving Travell to become a P.E. teacher at Hawes and Somerville (and earn a full-time salary). We’ll miss seeing him around.


Bailey must’ve taken an art class as she taught Tashi how to do these fruit bowl still-lifes, which are her favorite things to draw nowadays. (Between this and the manga drawing she learned from Zenia it makes me think we should probably, at some point, sign her up for an art class? She’s into it at least.) Check out the signature on the bottom left:


The card for Ms. Watson is a bit harder to read:


But it says (again, unprompted!), “Thank you for being a great help to Mr. DeRisi for 178 days! PS Have an awesome summer!”

Tashi did have an alarming nosebleed the night before the last day. I think maybe a combo of cat allergies and dehydration. Her new teacher, unlike the one this year, is the teacher whom I’ve heard has been teaching for a while. We’ll see how it goes. But it seems like her Ivy crew is all split up. We did have an end-of-year party at a friend’s house this afternoon that I also managed to not photograph. It was HOT, and siblings were invited, so Rio came and was shrieking/whiny the whole time after eating too many Munchkins and cookies and drinking too much juice. He wanted to go home an hour in, but we stayed two hours and everyone was in bed by 715pm.

The sibs school photo from late May (at Ivy) is a lot of Tashi forehead, but a natural Rio smile at least, unlike last year. And yes, it occurred to me to sort of match their outfits for once!:

late may

Tashi’s summer plans, detailed at Travell:


They go straight into Ivy camp (today!) before we head to PA at the end of July.

PS All cats should be as chill as Yoshi:


Husband has taught them to see if “the belly’s open,” meaning Yoshi is ready to be pet on her (large, soft) belly, just slightly visible here.

Jun 22 2014

Treasure Maps

Category: Art,Friends,Swimming,Videoshisoneko @ 8:04 pm

Tashi’s map, inspired by Geronimo Stilton, and purposely crinkled and ripped:


Rio’s version:


Both have skull and crossbones (by Tashi—hers is white):


Which reminded me of a particular episode by new favorite podcast (except in this ep, it was obvious to me to start with a skull-and-crossbones symbol, though the Mexican candy branded with the Jolly Roger aka “jolie rouge” threw me off!)

A Friday visit from Sammy, with a sanity break for me with Dara:


They look skeptical:

juice boxes

After they headed back home, Rio and I headed to Graydon, where we ran into Justin from his class and big brother Jackson, who is in Tashi’s kindergarten class:


I said to Rio that Friday morning, to get him thinking about something else and calmed down after not being able to write “stop” perfectly (I dread doing homework with him—he is impatient, plus a perfectionist!): “Build me something with the Magnatiles!” To my surprise, he did, complete with pothole. This is San Francisco:

Saturday, with official swim lessons on hiatus for the summer, we were all back at Graydon, where Rio bonded with Molly’s son Grady (whom we’ve trick-or-treated with):


(That’s Tashi splayed out just in front of them.)

After which we quickly showered/bathed and headed to Dan and Kim’s for a late-afternoon barbecue, during which I had to take Tashi to Ella’s birthday party (a friend from kindergarten), and then back again to pick up Rio. Both kids had three nights in a row of “late” nights, meaning 8pm, or a bit later. That extra half hour or so makes a huge difference, especially on consecutive days. Plus, being in the sun exhausts everyone. Tonight (Sunday) both were in bed by 715pm. We all needed it!

Sunday midday we went to see Abuelo and Grise, who were treated to the full effects of tired Rio. The kids both nearly fell asleep on the drive back. Still, we made it to Graydon in the late afternoon, rejuvenated by the water, sun, hot dogs, and lemon ices.

Jun 20 2014

Space-Time Continuum

Category: Art,Food,Swimmingshisoneko @ 9:10 am

Rio’s description of this art: “I took a trip to space and that’s the ship and I got tired of floating and…”


“…so I did something different I dived off the ship into the shallow part and into the midnight zone.”


(It’s a book.)

Tuesday was unusually bonkers for me: Walk Tashi to school. Husband took Rio. Run short run in heat/humidity. Home to shower, and prep to go into the city. Meanwhile water dying Green Giants in back yard. Drive to Park N Ride to take bus into city, as I had laptop with me and didn’t want to be sweaty mess. LOT FULL. Panic. Guy drives out, leaving me the only metered spot left.

Wait for bus in heat, late. Sweaty mess anyway. Traffic. Texting with Tine to arrange meeting up at pool later. Arrive meeting just in time, goes long, then run-walk to make 245pm bus back home. More traffic. Pick up kids at Ivy, drive home and lube everyone up to go to pool. Rio upset for some reason, but Tashi steps up and gets him dressed and calmed down (!). Drive to pool, wilt in heat, be proud that just an hour earlier I was in the city, discuss big Valley vote happening that evening with everyone, hot dogs and jelly sandwich dinner at pool, and of course ice cream, drive back home.

oreo ice cream

Discover husband not in fact coming home for meeting (calendar mishap! My own fault!), frantic scramble for last-minute sitter. Angry at hospital for taking up so much time, money, and emotion! Mad texting finding a sitter. Friend of regular sitter comes over (another 7th grader), I manage to shower, get the kids bathed, piano practiced, and in bed. Tashi does bedtime reading for Rio.

bedtime book

Walk to meeting at middle school with mom who secured sitter for me (her daughter usually does it). Text updates to new friend Elizabeth real time, as the votes came in, one by one, as well as summary for husband at volleyball. Having arrived a half hour late, missed the first no, first yes. But then it was no, no, no, no, then another yes. Final votes, 5 to 2 rejecting. HOSPITAL SHOT DOWN. Cautious optimism!! (Cautious because this has happened before—see this happy letter from 2011 that Elizabeth co-signed and sent to the paper, only to have Valley come up again, like an endless, awful game of whack-a-mole!)

So frazzled that I crash fellow mom’s fifth grade moms drinks thing at a house near the hospital, then end up running home in continuing heat to relieve sitter. Tweet, email, to bed! Husband not home till 11pm. That was my Tuesday!

We also, every other Tuesday, get a CSA share delivered—to our front door! So I had to leave a giant cooler out in the heat. At dinner Wednesday husband said, I can’t eat this, it’s too fresh! (Joking, obviously.)

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