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.

Nov 07 2014

Tashi Is 7! And We Are in Woodstock

Category: Holidays,School,Travelshisoneko @ 12:05 am

…because there is a somewhat bogus (I have heard from trusted sources) NJ Teachers Conference, meaning next year and years to follow I may have to plan something farther afield. It’s a good time to travel, fewer crowds! Anyway I felt guilty about sending Tashi to vacation day care on her actual birthday (which won’t be the case next year, come to think of it—her birthday will be on Saturday) and convinced husband to take the days off and make a long weekend of it. Having just gone to Avalon with a hot tub that was our main parameter, and close driving distance, so we ended up in the Catskills, in Woodstock, where neither of us had been. And we have friends (Jessica and Janet) who live here full time or who have weekend houses (and pig roasts).

woodstock owly

The weather (she is wearing Rohan’s fluffy coat—thank you! Also for Nina Ping’s that she also loves! If only I could get Rio out of 3T!) hasn’t so far cooperated for outdoor activities (the house comes with a giant hot tub, swing set, and trampoline). It’s the weekend house of a musician who lives in Brooklyn, so it came with a piano, which is genius for me, less so for the kids.

Other updates from the past few days:

Rio’s 5th birthday craft at Ivy, which was Chinese (reading and donating “The Pet Dragon”) and stickers:


rio 5th bday at ivy

Tashi was there, because I got a call from the stand-in nurse saying Tashi fell on her head on the playground at recess and I think they just didn’t want her to be the victim of concussion on her watch. So I ended up taking her to the pediatrician (voice of calm!), where of course she got a clean bill of health, and then to Ivy to crash Rio’s birthday craft. In between: library to return books, and Bookends to use up birthday gift cards. She really was fine, as evidenced by this snap taken in the waiting room:

doctor's office

Part of the house:

nightmare before christmas

And another:

wood-burning stove

(She wasn’t so psyched about the Yamaha in the corner, although I was!)

We came down Wednesday evening, and are here through Sunday. Kids are sharing a foldout futon bed… not easy, but works if they’re totally exhausted.

Nov 03 2014

Rio Is 5! And Weekend Recap

Category: Family,Food,Friends,Holidays,School,Videoshisoneko @ 9:25 pm

Who is this masked boy?


That is, yesterday (Sunday), when we had our outsourced child birthday party. At a chocolate place. Tashi by the sign:


(She totally turned it up for her outfits this birthday weekend, as you can see here and then again below. The pink outfit is courtesy of Tish and Nina Ping. Thank you!)

So yes, we had a chocolate party for them, two days after Halloween. We had three people who didn’t come or even RSVP (but opened the invite, thank you stalker internets!). Possibly because of the sugar overloaded weekend! (But one was was Daria, alas.)

Making the chocolate:

We outsourced the party for the first time, which, despite having to keep it small (and age 5 and over), worked well—no cleanup for me! And, took precisely 1.5 hours. And it wasn’t a bouncy castle place, thank God.



Halloween parade for Rio at Ivy (minus his ninja hood):

Earlier that afternoon, Tashi at the Travell parade (someone had the genius idea to have all the teachers be domino pieces, with their grades represented as dots):


Trick-or-treating later with Amber and fam/extended fam:

Always the best-decorated house (remember our 2011 photo op?):


I actually have no idea who the girl is who is the witch with the green accents. We ended up back at their house for adult bevs and TV and pizza and candy. Kids went to bed at 10pm (!).


But we adults had lots of fun. Unfortunately, us not being home for trick or treaters meant someone nicked our orange candy bowl, ripped the sign that said to take more than one candy, and kicked our chair over! Hooligans. I think this is the first Halloween that felt really like Halloween—packs of kids roaming. Also, it was on a Friday night. Next year, Saturday night, might be (boo!) frightening.

Saturday was our family birthday gathering. Thanks to everyone who made the trip! And if you’ve read this far, you know that I took a cue from Gonggong and had a quiz about Tashi and Rio, which, if you’re a close reader of the blog, you would’ve scored well on. It was also slightly a memory quiz. Hard to remember everything! Despite the late arrival/entry, Rohan won. Questions ranged from “What were Tashi and Rio for Halloween this year? Past years?” And, “Where have we vacationed as a family?” But also: What was each child’s prenatal nickname? (Hint: foods in Spanish.)

Answering the quiz questions/practicing good penmanship:


Tashi schooling Dan on the answer (and wearing the all-white dress from sister and Rohan—still fits! The headbands etc. all her idea):




It was cold enough to set up a fire (and marshmallows, which Rio asked about incessantly):


My favorite part is making the cupcakes. This year: owls and cats:



Despite the limited number of people, Tashi still had a meltdown, as did Rio. Husband’s sister suggested team sports might help her be a better loser, which we’ll look into for spring.

And one more time because it’s their favorite… “It’s the sugar talking” video! (We did sugar gorging Saturday post-party, and then today I brought in all the leftovers to Ivy to give to Tine, whose school is doing a candy drive to send to the troops. Am so glad I can pass them along!) This is from two years ago. Tashi’s chatterbox a precursor to Rio’s:

Oct 30 2014

Calm Before the Halloween-Birthday-Palooza

Category: Art,Holidaysshisoneko @ 4:02 pm

Just in time for the day before Halloween, I unearthed these shirts. I thought I’d given all of the ones we had away (from sister) because we’d outgrown them, but not quite yet!


(Although in this photo he is wearing 4T, Rio also is still wearing 3T for many things! Yes, he’s about to turn 5 on Sunday! Tashi’s shirt above is size 5! Yes, about to turn 7 next Friday!)

Yoshi is on one of the seats—where she usually muscles her way in at every meal.

Rio: “I want to be a policeman when I grow up!” Later, I found this in his papers from school:


Other Rio artwork, from learning about the postal system and mailing mail. He’d mailed this to himself from school:


his first rendering of full name that i've seen!

Tashi has been concerned about the length of her name when she gets married (to be fair, a concern we had before we decided to hyphenate them!). “My name is going to be very long when I get married unless I marry Rio and we have the same last name.” [Ensuing conversation about why siblings don’t get married, or even cousins, these days.]

Tashi: “When you win by a hair, your hair goes across the finish line before the other person.” (Said with authority.)

Tashi: “What does the D.C. in Washington mean?”
Us: “What do you think it means?”
Tashi: “Washington Double Cool?”

Rio, watching husband do something on the iPhone: “What does that say?”
Husband: “Search the web.”
Rio: “O, so maybe he’s a spider and the words are caught in him and you have to find the words you said!”

Tashi, looking at skeleton lights decorating Amber’s house: “How many little people did you kill?” (I am still laughing about that one!)

Tashi’s comment when told where we were meeting Dan and Kim up in the Shawangunks a few weeks ago at a restaurant called Gunk Haus: [long pause] “Do we really have to eat gunk?”

Tomorrow starts Halloween and a parade at Travell and then Ivy and then trick-or-treating >> Saturday family birthday at home >> Sunday outsourced chocolate child birthday. Wish us luck!

Oct 26 2014

Piano, Planting, and a Party

Category: Friends,Holidays,Music,Videoshisoneko @ 7:29 pm

A lot to catch up on—I haven’t been on top of it to update the blog more than once a week, alas. I am trying, though! Here are photos from the past week:

Thursday Rio started piano lessons. Here is he warming up, in a couple vids:

(He sits seiza all the time… piano, breakfast, probably at school!)

Basically he is learning the finger positions and which finger is called by which number (thumb = 1, pinky = 5, etc.—something Tashi still sometimes has problems with), and some notes. The teacher comes to our house, and he seems to be good with very little kids. We’ll see how it goes!

Friday morning we planted the crocuses at Ivy in Roger’s memory. Stephanie, the director, is awesome for letting us do it. The dirt ended up being a bit more rock-filled than we’d thought, so the kids mainly just dropped the bulbs in while I did the digging.

crocus planting

Then since I’d forgotten the hot sauce to keep squirrels and other critters away we ended up coming back again to finish up. I also brought some topsoil. We’ll see if the crocuses survive the weekend!

after squirrel-proofing

(I planted narcissi, daffodils, and red tulips Sunday, around our front yard.)

And finally, the 2nd annual family Halloween party, which I admit is fun to figure out costumes for, for the adults (because it’s our one opportunity, and Robin always has adult beverages and good eats).

a little cut off

Can you guess what we each are? Hint: Tashi’s costume is something she’s really into (hint: wisdom, law, war, crafts, arts, courage, inspiration…), and mine is centered around the devil horns and the bits of dirt taped onto the red dress.

Here wea re at Robin’s (Sophie and Luca’s mom, along with two others younger than Tashi and Rio). The kids watched three movies (!):

mad scientist

Happy birthday to sister on the 23rd! And sincere condolences to Gonggong on his brother Gary’s passing.

Oct 19 2014


Category: Food,Friendsshisoneko @ 8:21 pm

Girl Scouts (Daisies) bonfire Friday night. Husband took Tashi (I did my G.S. duty the week before at the pumpkin patch!)—last year, the 7-8pm time frame seemed too late. This year, it seemed doable.


With Sophie:

under covers

Followed by the seventh annual pig roast up in Olivebridge (this year’s title: Il Pigganino). We listened to the first Lemony Snicket on the way—a bit of a tactical mistake as on the way home, when they should’ve fallen asleep, we had to finish out the somewhat scary story. But a good story, if a bit alarming to parents who really think there should only be happy endings and nothing bad happening to little children.

Rio actually ate real food (roast pork). And we got to catch up with Josh and Jess, whom we hadn’t seen in three years (they had been too busy with Fleisher’s, but now it’s sold and they’re onto a new, stripped-down thing), Emily and fam, and Katherine and fam. (I told Daniel I can’t wait to hear him riff on a Bach Invention.)



In this, Rio is discussing the finer points of haunch vs. belly with Isaiah, Josh and Jess’s 5-year-old (the blond), while Matt (the host with Steph) faces the camera phone:


Plus, marshmallows! Really jumbo size again—genius move by a teen out of frame to use a rake:

Finally, I had no idea our brick that we bought in support of Travell had been installed—check it out! I am not even sure Tashi’s seen it on the playground.


Happy birthday to Gonggong on the 20th! And sister on the 23rd.

Oct 15 2014

Summer Reading P.S.

Category: Schoolshisoneko @ 9:53 pm

We get an e-newsletter every Tuesday from Tashi’s school, usually filled with at least a dozen or more links about school and community events and news. I didn’t get to looking at it till late Tuesday, when I clicked on the link for “Summer Reading Marathon Contest Winners”—and saw Tashi had won for most pages read in first grade! Had no idea there was even a contest—I thought the lists were just for teachers.

Tashi did get through a lot of Diary of Wimpy Kids and Enid Blytons, probably pushing her over the top page-count-wise. When I showed her the link on my computer and her name on the list Wednesday morning, she was thrilled! She won a gift certificate to a local bookstore—one we’d actually never been to but which, for some reason, always gets big-name authors.


Screen shot 2014-10-15 at 7.31.47 AM

Also, her microscope that she’d been wanting since last Christmas was over (no kidding) and which she’d saved up for since then (with some straying into purchases of stuffed toys) arrived. We set it up after Rio was in bed (easier, alas).

late night scoping

Many times, while looking at the prepared slides, she said: “This is awesome!”

Oct 13 2014

Popo’s Birthday

Category: Art,Family,Friends,Holidays,Schoolshisoneko @ 6:41 pm

Popo celebrated a big birthday Oct. 9 (seven-oh!), providing a good reason to make it home for Columbus Day weekend again. Tashi had no school, so husband took the day off.

Gonggong had been planning a surprise party for her since July 4 weekend (no joke!) when they were here visiting. We were each given tasks to complete for the fĂȘte. Sister did the photo book (large and puffy-covered!), I did the PowerPoint (which we didn’t actually use because of computer hookup problems, but we got the photos up at least), Baba did the written captions and a pop quiz on Popo’s life (the sisters scored the best, followed by a tie among the three older kids; husband wins for creativity in answering), and it was very well documented:

photo book

quiz questions

Trying to figure out answers to the quiz questions (“What is Popo’s doctorate in?” “When did she arrive in the U.S.?” “What number child is she in her family?” That last one I got wrong!)

quiz questions

I made some cupcakes:

popo's bday

This weekend we also went back to Linvilla Orchards, where we’d gone last year.

under the straw

It was lots more crowded this time, probably because it rained all day Saturday. I realized after waiting 30 min for a 20-min hayride that it was my third hayride in a week. (I learned it is technically a straw ride, from the driver’s narrative—the hay they feed to the animals, but the dry stuff that we were sitting on they don’t even feed to them; also, it’s a law that apples that fall to the ground can’t be used in any food, not juice or applesauce—so, to the slingshot they go!)

apple slingshot

They had doughnuts, cider, cotton candy (less bad than the caramel/candy apple to me, for some reason), and then the birthday cupcakes all in one day. Gah!


Last year we’d brought along Tag-Along Tiger with us for a photo-filled weekend. This year, the day started at 40 degrees but it climbed up into the 70s, possibly also explaining the crowds. We met up with Grace and family again. Everyone is taller! So is the corn in the maze!

corn maze

Friday we met up with Liam for lunch in town and we ran into these guys (Liam not shown in the photo):


The 2nd hayride (Thursday; I’m working backward) was at DePiero’s Farm, which involves a hayride to the pumpkin patch. We’d been before as a family. Tashi was the only girl out of the 12 who would not put on her hoodie in the chill. For the record, I am still waiting for the magical behavior improvement I witnessed in other 5-year-olds. She’s nearly 7.

2nd hayride of 3 hayrides this week


Tashi is very proud of her penmanship, especially when I said it was like a typewriter. We’ll see how long it lasts!


Rio’s map of his school:


And his house for the 3-D “our neighborhood” display they did at Ivy:


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