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 fête. 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:


Oct 05 2014

Daddy Bday

Category: Family,Holidays,Schoolshisoneko @ 8:03 pm

Husband’s birthday Saturday! Tashi’s card:


Because of this (we got one):

yes, i got one

The cake! Bourbon Madagascar Vanilla from Trader Joe’s, with a lot of chocolate frosting (from a can):

cat cake

It’s not real if it’s not recorded (see foreground)!:

cat cake, with phone

We had a pretty trying day with the kids Saturday for husband’s birthday, with lots of misbehaving and shirts missing at the dry cleaner (someone else took them), but I was also to blame for dropping the ball on securing a place to eat dinner pre-show. Fortunately, this small Theater District place called Chimichurri Grill—more upscale than it sounds—-had a seating for two at 515pm. (Meaghan babysat.) And the highlight of the day was probably the show! “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” adapted from a best-selling novel by Mark Haddon I read years ago, with the play adaption originating in London. It was really, really well done, a totally creative, inventive set/stage design—and with a nice math(s) angle for husband to enjoy (including a meme about prime numbers).

October is walk-to-school month here (everywhere?). The Travell Tiger came along on Friday! This is right before Tashi fell running to catch up—the Tiger had a bit of a too-brisk pace:

She recovered enough for the group photo:

Also Friday—I wanted to get them in the beautiful late-afternoon light running through the yellow sumac leaves at the beginning of our street, but just missed it. You kind of get the idea:


Still to come: slow-mo swimming vids from Saturday a.m., apple picking photos from Sunday a.m., (Hurds with Ngaio and Max—our fourth year!), and party vids from Justin’s 4th birthday in the afternoon (long Sunday!).

Trying this panoramic one:


Sep 28 2014

Lego, Lunch, and a Hospital Visit

Category: Family,Health,Videoshisoneko @ 2:36 pm

Sunday a.m. Lego creation:

displaying plane

With video explanation:

Later Sunday we went to the zoo, where Tashi predicted she’d run into people we knew, and in fact we did—two different parties, J.J. and Dahlia.

I am going out of order, but this is Friday lunch on Rio’s home day (yup two sliders, and he ate them both!):

slider 1 of 2

Saturday afternoon after swimming and errand-running (and Halloween costume-ordering, via the phone, and some due diligence re their peer birthday party which I really want to outsource this year!), we visited Grise who fractured three ribs falling in the bathroom earlier in the week. This was in the hospital Saturday; in the early evening she was finally moved to rehab.


We hope she gets well soon!

UPDATE: Some birthday party snaps from the past couple weeks!

Marco’s 3rd birthday, to which we were invited since Marco’s older sibs are Sophie and Luca (I had posted video from husband’s new phone; these photos are from their mom):



A snap from another mom at the 5th birthday party for Connor, which had a carnival theme and included snow cones, cake, AND a candy-filled piñata:

2014-09-29 01.00.30

You can just see the haircut I gave Rio after the Lego, before the zoo.

Sep 26 2014

Yoga, Space, Daisy

Category: Flowers,Videoshisoneko @ 12:05 am

Rio has been doing yoga at school! He comes home saying things like, “Mommy? I know how to do downward dog. And warrior pose. And a tree.”

Today it was: “Mommy? I know how you say good bye in yoga. You sit criss cross applesauce and put your hands like this [palms together] and you bow your head [bows head] and say mama stay.”

(It was beyond cute. Mama stay! I don’t think I can correct it, right? If only Rio would let me video tape this… He usually protests, a lot, but I will try!)


Also from Rio: “I wasted all my thirsty!” To mean I’m not thirsty anymore.

And from Tashi: “Can you hibernate in a bear suit to go into space to Pluto?”

Playing war (the card game). I started the video to capture Rio and then Tashi got a bit too into it.

Tashi went to the Y for “vacation day camp”—Rosh Hashanah—but apparently because it was raining they ended up watching “Frozen” for part of it! I forgot to retrieve her Epipen at the end (really an Auvi-Q) and had to drive back, too, but I have to say driving around the kids is a lot easier when they can strap in themselves. After we parked back at home, Rio found this flower.

driveway flower

Which we had to block off, of course!

driveway flower

Sep 22 2014

Fun With New iPh-

Category: Friends,Swimming,Videoshisoneko @ 10:01 pm

I’m sure you can guess how that title ends. It’s hard to believe that the oldest videos of Tashi are a fraction of this resolution and ability.

new toy

These videos are in reverse order, starting with Sunday evening first: Tashi and Rio at Patsy’s (just opened in Nanuet, N.Y.—critically, next to an Apple store, where we had to get husband a case for new skinny, fragile phone):


Rio—the phone does regular speed at the beginning and end, but slow-mo in between (with audio, though I don’t think YouTube is supporting it so you can’t hear it here):

The audio is pretty funny throughout. Soup:

We had gone to Leo and Sammy’s (after much confusion, my fault, about which day we were meeting up!) for some pool action.



Earlier that same day (Sunday), Marco’s third birthday party, at which the invitation read, “Dump everything, Marco’s birthday is under construction!” I liked how the renovation work at their house was leveraged into a construction-theme party—nicely done! (Why didn’t we think of that?)

Sandbox slow:

Swim panorama (at swim class Saturday):

Sep 18 2014

I’m a Bothie

Category: Art,Friends,Home,Parenting,Schoolshisoneko @ 9:33 pm

Among Rio’s papers recently:


I have been solo parenting with husband in Seattle—it doesn’t happen often, but between this and a trifecta of deadlines it’s been pretty bonkers this week. For one thing, I thought it was Thursday on Tuesday. The bed bath beyond is probably the hardest, especially with having to work afterward. That said, the kids have been mostly manageable. I am also making sure at least Rio’s in bed by 730, sometimes 715. (I admit we sometimes skip his book. Tashi reads in bed and shuts the light off herself.)

I haven’t been as diligent about capturing as many of these as I can:

Me, reading a book: What are baby ponies called?
Rio, triumphantly: Unicorns!
Tashi, off-stage: [snickers]
Rio: [upset]

Walking to a barbecue Sunday afternoon, I took photos of the two dozen yellow-tape-covered sidewalk potholes on the next street, on both sides of the street. They’re replacing the sidewalks, but the roots have to be ground down a bit, and it’s been weeks of bad sidewalks. (So yes, I emailed to complain, with the photos!) This is along Linwood, which is a crazy busy street:

not the safest

The mayor emailed and the parks dept. head called me. I was told it was fixed today but I have been taking the shortcut to avoid so I can’t confirm, yet.

Roly poly gathering at the Sunday barbecue, chez baby Reese:

roly polies

(With her 2nd grade crush, Ayla.)

Rio, talking about writing: I’m a bothie! (He claims to be able to throw with both hands, so.)

Rio, counting: One missipissy, two missipissy…

Tashi, talking about glowsticks: From the bah gaga we went to!
Me: What?
Tashi: Jessica’s party!
Me: [light dawning] A BAT MITZVAH!

The quietest dinner by far this week involved Tashi replicating her homework (easy peasy, writing the letter A, upper and lower case) for Rio. He did it all, to his credit! That’s dessert along with the dinner remnants.


Sep 13 2014

Catching Up

Category: Home,Schoolshisoneko @ 9:08 pm

Some snaps from husband—Tashi’s late-in-the-block-party face painting. Fortunately most of it came off, before school the next day! Rio also roaring in the back.


Husband’s thousand-piece puzzle that we collectively (but mostly husband) completed in under a day back in Avalon, and after a 500-piece puzzle was already finished. (These thousand pieces have a back story though, involving Amazon Prime, an address that doesn’t exist correctly on Google Maps, emails with Amazon, and many calls to the local UPS office.)

1,000 pieces

I have been swamped with work. Utterly. But Friday was still Rio’s home day! We met up with Liam for lunch at pizza/bagels and playground by the library. Here we are walking back to the cars.

village hall

Rio on the rocks: “I’m the king of the world!”

village hall


Me, reading a story: “What are baby ponies called?”
Rio, triumphantly: “Unicorns!”
Tashi, snickering.
The book: [Actually] foals.

Tashi’s first entry into her journal since Avalon: “First grade is tiring.” (I didn’t look—she told me.) It’s been a long week for all, with bursting into tears par for the course. Back-to-school night already happened too—her teacher seems very nice and genuinely warm and interested. It’ll be a nice change after the novice teacher for kindergarten. So far she’s had daily homework Monday through Thursday.

Sep 09 2014

Pool Action

Category: Friends,Swimmingshisoneko @ 12:05 am

We switched venues for swim lessons. Mainly because we couldn’t get into semiprivate lessons at the Y. At all, on any day! And we are tiring of the Y. So on a tip from Aniela’s mom we are doing Safesplash, at a local gym. We managed to get what seemed like the last spots for the earliest lesson of the day on Saturday (1130am). And at their levels. It’s four kids to one teacher, so we’ll see how it goes.

For the occasion, we also got new goggles, and Tashi is required to wear a cap:

saturday pool lesson

The rest of Saturday was a bit more challenging. Tashi is manifesting the same kind of negative attention–getting behavior as we had the beginning of last school year. It’s very trying. We’re trying to ignore it. Not very successfully, and Rio is copying, not to get attention per se, but to copy his sister. Sunday there was an Abuelo and Grise visit but I stayed home to work. Then we went to Robin’s.

sunday pool action

I like this photo for the girls negotiating. Tashi had given Sophie a ring from “Frozen” (Olaf, the snowman, and itself borrowed from Mia, whoever that is!) but, naturally, wanted something in return. This is Sophie saying, “Um, no”:


Then we had our annual block party! It’s always the Sunday after Labor Day, starting at 5pm. A bit too late for little kids, but it is what it is.

rainbow duo

Friday was Rio’s first home day of the school year. Husband worked from home, which ended up being useful for me and the load of work I have this month. This is Rio’s Lego creation:


I had a class parent meeting Monday afternoon at which I said to Lily, who is also Chinese-American: “It’s Mid-Autumn Festival! What have you done? I have done nothing!”

After the meeting I biked to the Japanese store (J Mart) in town and got mochi cakes, fortunately nut-free (and labeled!) and looking not unlike full moons. Then, as we’re supposed to do, we crafted a poem (loosely based on a cinquain, from Junie B. book):

Very bright
Glowing rising falling
The moon looks like cheese

As I told Popo, Tashi came up with the last line, which is supposed to be a synonym for moon. I was out of ideas! We got cloud cover early but then it cleared up.

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