Jan 25 2015

Wet Snow

Category: Friends,Music,Videoshisoneko @ 9:36 pm

After lots of false alarms since late last year the snow forecast actually happened! Friday night into Saturday morning, pretty wet but a lot more than I thought would actually happen overnight:

jan snowman

attacking the photographer

reaction shot

We got like 6 or 8 inches? I can’t tell. But a neighbor came by with a snow blower to help clear things away.

6-8 inches

Snow fallen on Buddha:

Buddha in snow

Saturday late afternoon we had movie night with early kid dinner of mac and cheese (homemade) and pulled pork at Robin’s:

kid dinner

Crafting firstborns:

first borns

Sunday we had skiing after missing last Sunday because of the ice storm. Tashi moved up to the slightly more elevated and definitely longer:

waiting in line

And Sunday afternoon while Rio went to Jack’s fifth birthday party at Monster Golf, we had a playdate with Daria over at our house (arranged over winter break!):

40-degree day

Thursday JJ’s mom Amanda, who is a teacher of the deaf in the city (and very pregnant), led the Daisies troop in learning about sign language:

"molly and ben"


And a random song the kids made up:

Jan 18 2015

Shoulder Dance

Category: Art,Friends,Videoshisoneko @ 9:29 pm

Rio cutting a rug, so to speak, to Rolie Polie Guacamole on Friday. He wanted me to take a video to show Tashi:

We bought three (!) CDs at a library performance way back when (March 2013!).

Recent Rio artwork:


As he explains: “Daddy is the big blue one, Rio is the small black one with the bug eyes, Tashi is the other blue one. And the black one front and center? That’s Mommy! With scissors in her hand, to cut out her white hairs!” (That’s seriously what he said!)

And Chinese; the newest character learned was the one for “sit”:


We just got the town’s 2015 calendar, featuring Roger’s house! No one in the family knew it was happening. The theme this year is about front-door styles:


I instantly recognized it from this photo from May:


Also, art from Tashi I came across while organizing stuff (all long MLK weekend):


And finally, I went into the city Saturday in the early evening to meet up with Tracy, who was with Dan, another friend from college… here we are! I for one was feeling a lot older than the 20- and 30-somethings out on a Saturday night in the city. (And, note to self: There’s no bus between 830pm and 945pm on a Saturday!)


We had a very wet and icy Sunday (did not go ski lessons, after the dozen emails, texts, and phone calls saying not to go out onto the streets covered with black ice). Tine and family came over in the afternoon—a good thing too! We had already done science fair prep, coloring, painting, Model Magic, baking… I am sure I am forgetting other stuff. O, of course the perpetual laundry and vacuuming. I made sister’s lasagna.

And on MLK weekend… well, Mrs. A. in the library showed a presentation about his life, and death, which I wondered about how it’d be presented. Then in the question and answer afterward, one of the kids knew all about Eric Garner, by name, which was kind of crazy to me. And separately, speaking of guns, this happened (site of our preschool), but we truly never felt threatened—and hats off to Amber for helping to get it on everyone’s radar (included village officials and school administrators) at the appropriate level of concern.

Jan 15 2015

Giant Can Opener

Category: Art,Friendsshisoneko @ 9:51 pm

The start, New Year’s Day. Two instruction booklets and I think at least six bags of Legos.

the start

Rio of course assisted:

book 1

lego book 2

As did we all. Tashi handled stickers, and I did a portion of book 2, whatever could be done independently.

sticker duty

Toward the end:

nearly there

And finished, among many other Legos from Christmas—Star Wars Lego-palooza!


We calculated building the thing took four hours (!).

Separately, Rio and Tashi’s original creations. Need to ask what they are, exactly:

lego creations

Monday we ran into lots of people at the library, including Miss Sarah, who nearly got sister’s stick bug terrarium from us, till Director Stephanie put the kibosh on it (bugs, coconut, bugs, overnight, bugs, feeding, did I mention bugs? Sister took the kit back and I think placed it with a good home—their old preschool):


We also ran into Chloe:


I am tagging this post “art,” for the Lego. Just to indicate what else was going on at the time, this happened. And Amber was instrumental in getting attention paid to the situation.

Jan 11 2015

Full Weekend

Category: Books,Friends,Music,Sports,Videoshisoneko @ 10:08 pm

Friday evening: Daisies (Father-Daughter) Square Dance (our second)! Organized by our troop, except I didn’t get a sitter for Rio so did nothing except offer husband’s camera… which they did not end up using—and why should they? Our phones are more portable, and just as good! With Aniela, Addison, Christine, and Molly:

square dancers

Saturday afternoon (after swim in the a.m.): song three of Tashi’s recital, not previously recorded by me, because we did a duet! A simple one. I think I was more nervous than she was!

I had thought it totally indulgent to also go up and play, till another family took up five songs and several instruments beyond the piano. That said, the twins in the family have an agent! Here are our two with their original Lego creations. We have this idea of submitting it to the Lego Club magazine.

lego creations

Saturday night: a double date with Robin and Kevin—dinner (Mediterraneo) and a movie (Unbroken, which we’d all of us read, even husbands). A late movie is tough; we got home at 1230am (Jessica babysat, after some confusion about her being able to babysit, generally).

Sunday morning: ran into Kevin and the three older kids as they finished up their 830am ski lesson and we were waiting for our 1015am one. Instead of doing weekday lessons like last year (which I handled mostly solo) we are doing them on Sunday mornings, with both parents, for the next six weeks.

830am and 1015am students

Just before the lesson start:

first lesson of the season

And a couple videos of early runs… before Rio got so tired he kept trying to squat down on his skis, and they fought immediately afterward (about what, who knows!) from being overtired and with frosty toes.

I say “full weekend” but after the ski lesson we went to a new diner for us (and really, we’ve hit just about every diner in the area, so that is saying something!) and then came home and I cleaned up and did some work while the kids played (Rio Lego) and Tashi listened to the rest of the second Harry Potter book. We did the first on the drive to/from DC, and it’s a measure of how out if it I was/am that I had no idea there were seven books and eight movies.

Jan 09 2015


Category: Friends,Music,Videoshisoneko @ 11:06 pm

Tashi’s recital is Saturday. This is at her lesson Wednesday. Still working on it!

Friday (today) we went to Liam’s to meet Padme, the new puppy, not shown.


The boys did some sword fighting—no slow-motion video (didn’t think of it till later) but here’s a GIF as a video—I can’t seem to be able to load it as an actual GIF:

After several days of really cold weather (6 degrees in the a.m.) we had some snow today—in the relatively balmy 20 or so degrees.

a.m. snow

Rio had a dentist appointment this morning. Did great, mainly because I paid him no mind, despite being in the room. No cavities! The hygienist, very chatty (as they usually are), said we needed to be better about monitoring his brushing, especially along the gum line. Rio sat through it all with his shades on watching TV (they are totally set up for kids!) and then as we were getting into the car he said, “Mommy? Next time I brush I’m going to brush my gums.” Or something to that effect—the point being he absorbs it silently and then says he’ll do it. (Which sometimes lasts.)

Tashi also absorbs it but doesn’t repeat it back. One other thing I wanted to note that I neglected to before—we hosted three separate times over the break! A record for us but of course loads easier with the kitchen expanded! It was Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and then just for Alex and Rebecca and Dan and Kim the Saturday after New Year’s.

Jan 06 2015

Owls Are Having a Moment

Category: Birds,Books,Travel,Video,Websitesshisoneko @ 3:37 pm

They started doing this in response to an owl call I found online at the end of dinner last night. Tashi’s library book this week is all about owls.

And, I didn’t know this, but fledgling comes from the word fledge, which means to develop wing feathers large enough for flight. So, fledglings are birds whose wings just fledged. Also known as an immature, inexperienced person!

These sound files are from the VERY excellent and ever-growing (I remember checking it when it launched, and there was hardly anything) Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

A booklet Tashi got from a classmate (who just moved to a Catholic school!) that was timed perfectly for vacation journaling.



This is why separate beds in the same bedroom are still not enough!



She kind of lost the fire after a few days, but we did manage to eventually print out some photos, which she captioned:




That last one was her favorite.

Owls are everywhere! We got them snowy owl adoption packages from Sierra Club. There may be as many owls in this house now as elephants!

Jan 01 2015

Happy 2015!

Category: Friends,Holidays,Videoshisoneko @ 11:10 pm

pre-party hugs

new year's door

Early crowd (our doors opened at 4pm):


Boys in the playroom Lego-ing:


Girls were costuming upstairs. No photos!

We started the movies at about 530pm: Toy Story 1, 2, and then 3. Guess whose kids watched them all!

first movie 530pm

Robin brought glow sticks:

nearly 6pm



I love these next two photos! Andrea, Rich, and Rachel:



Amber and Brian (above) are actually cousins, tracing their ancestry to the same fellow on the Mayflower, of all things! (And, yes, this apparently came up the first time they hung out together.)


It’s always funny seeing people you know from Graydon fully clothed, like Grady’s parents, Molly and Mike (with Kevin):


730pm (in between movies) sparkling cider, plastic champagne glasses, and dessert—and individual countdown clocks for the kids—all courtesy Robin!


Trouper 2 year old—Matteo on his dad!

8pm trouper

The kid crew now upstairs and at nearly 10pm:

nearly 10pm

We had 16 adults and 15 kids all together including ourselves. Special thanks to Riza for all the wine glassware she lugged from Brooklyn to Midtown way back when to give to me! We have definitely used them!

Tashi and Rio stayed up till nearly midnight, and I probably should’ve just had them stay up till midnight with us except Rio was literally falling apart, becoming his usual completely illogical self when sleep deprived. Amber and Scarlet, and Brian and Revely, plus Dan and Kim (who arrived at 1030pm) closed out the night. Scarlet was literally crying to go home! While returning Amber’s camera I saw Scarlet again today and asked if she forgave me. Fortunately she did. As for me, well, I was also falling asleep!

I started cleanup last night but didn’t finish till the morning. Some of the aftermath in the a.m.:


The first day of the year was sunny and chilly, and we walked to the Duck Pond playground, where we hadn’t been in years (really!). Although Tashi says she remembers us going there on New Year’s Day 2011, being carried on our backs through the snow. Photo here:

sherpa new year

Kids never so excited to go back. And now that Rio has managed 5.5 miles a day in D.C., the short walk to the park was nothing! I hope this lasts.

tire swing

I shot this in slow-mo but Flickr just renders it at a normal speed:

After the tire swing, Rio was literally walking sideways, feeling a little nauseous. Here he is trying to get back to normal.

a bit dizzy

After 10 or 15 minutes he recovered enough to tackle more swing:


And finally, the start of building the Giant Can Opener:

book 1

More photos of it in stages soon!

Dec 31 2014

Happy New Year’s Eve!

Category: Friends,Holidaysshisoneko @ 1:38 pm

We were inspired to do this holiday card collage by Melanie, who in turn was inspired by her sister to do it. Worked great! And a good project for Tashi.


A photo just before we made the long drive back up home. Rio kept talking about seeing Yoshi again.


Happy we are home, Yoshi meowed after every name I listed when reviewing who is coming over later today for our kid-crazy New Year’s Eve (last year’s here, 2012 here, 2011 here, 2010 here in PA, 2009 in the city at Samantha’s, and 2008 at our old flat with infant Tashi who stayed up late!). Yoshi likes to sack out in the sun on Tashi’s bed so Tashi leaves her there and uses Rio’s bed to read.

Rio on DC: “There’s so much walking in this place!”

Tashi: “It’s a very, very good place and has amazing stuff inside it.”

Happy 2015!

Dec 29 2014

Many Memorials

Category: Friends,Travelshisoneko @ 10:09 pm

On Sunday we had a second day of lots of walking (5.5 miles) in DC, with the weather fully cooperating, which was awesome, save some light showers starting in the afternoon. First, Jefferson, which I had remembered as being far away from other memorials:


photo tricks

The view one way:


The view the other—of the Jefferson:

jefferson memorial steps

This was the first of MANY memorials that day. Six, I think: Jefferson, Washington (from afar), MLK, FDR, Lincoln, Vietnam War. Resting, already, outside Jefferson:

jefferson memorial



FDR we did not photograph but it was cool—very spread out in brown/gray rock with lots of engraved quotes. He was very quotable!



sitting on lincoln steps

lincoln map

I also didn’t get a good shot of the Vietnam War Memorial—it had started to sprinkle. Kids falling asleep in the Uber ride from lunch back to the Air and Space Museum for the gift shop:

sleepy in uber

sacked out in uber

Then we drove to VA to John and Melanie’s, had a relatively late dinner, and packed the kids off to bed on a shared futon in the basement. (We are sleeping a couple feet over on a shared Aerobed.) Rio has a cough that I finally treated tonight with Delsym that I bought new (forgot to bring). We went to the Virginia outpost of the Air and Space Museum:

air traffic control tower

This was the coolest thing to see—the actual Discovery Shuttle! (The one we saw on the Intrepid was the prototype, the Enterprise, that flew but never went into space.)


Closeup of the heat shields on the underside and wing:

heat tiles

John took a photo:

discovery with face

And I took a couple snaps of John and Lucas, now seven months old!

discovery with stroller

sacked out


silver flame thing

Chess at the end of the day (for like a minute! Though Tashi and husband did play in the a.m.):


A bit more photos from the set/album D.C. in Dec.

Tashi has been keeping a journal (for school) about the trip. I think a couple pages are all about Rio keeping her up at night. We drive back home tomorrow!

Dec 27 2014

The White House

Category: Family,Friends,Holidays,Running,Travel,Videoshisoneko @ 9:42 pm

penn ave

I said to a couple of policemen, one on a bike, “Didn’t this street used to be open to cars?” I was talking about the street right opposite the White House, Pennsylvania Avenue. They said: “A long, long time ago, before the Oklahoma City bombing.” Which—I looked it up—was 1995. A long time ago—probably before those cops were born!

At any rate, the street is now closed to all but pedestrian traffic, although I remember driving by the White House at night all lit up. Our walk-by was at the end of a long day of walking—5.5 miles, which is something of a miracle for the kids (tracked by the iPhone), and which followed a night spent in the hotel with many, many wakeups.

white house

I think the kids each peed a half dozen times, and the toilet at Embassy Suites, where we’re staying for a couple nights before going to John and Melanie’s in Northern Virginia, is as loud as a jet engine. Tashi was way cranky and whiny for most of the day, and Rio continues to subsist on air and no sleep, but they rallied to the point where they managed to enjoy the hotel pool and hot tub in late afternoon today for nearly an hour before an early dinner (in the hotel).

DC hotels are way, way cheaper than hotels in other metropolitan areas, and we picked this place based on its location close to the museums and sister’s having stayed at another one nearby, but the free breakfast and happy hour are both seriously too crowded on weekends/holidays to really enjoy. Still, Tashi and Rio love the pool, just 3.5 feet deep all around. Here they are pretty fresh and ready to go in the a.m.:

outside starbucks


One main goal of our DC trip was to go to the Air & Space Museum. There was a (fast-moving) line outside at 10am, and a Cessna, among many other space things (the exhibit about the race to the moon was especially good, even with Tashi unraveling), to look at. Including I think one of the actual monkeys sent up into space.


And the adults were much more interested in reading everything than the kids. After lunch at the Native American Museum (a tip from Josh and Jess, and featuring Native American food, like blue cornbread), and as the weather was warm and the kids were antsy, we also spent a bunch of time outside. Here’s the lobby area of the Native American Museum—check out that Inuit (I think) language!

check out the letters

Outside the National Gallery of Art, with its glass pyramids like the ones (also designed by I.M. Pei, later) at the Louvre:


lafayette park

A stop on the drive down Boxing Day, at the Farm and the Fisherman in Cherry Hill, recommended by Andrea (Bruno’s mom) who did a long DC weekend this fall. The restaurant’s Wikki Stix were a hit:

wikki stix

Doing jumping jacks at a rest stop—yup, we arrived in DC after dark (easy when it gets dark at 430pm), but still made use of the pool conveniently down the hall:

rest stop

Xmas Eve we spent at Greg and Roxana’s:

playing games

And then we hosted Xmas Day:

early dinner

xmas day

Adlai and Gina hadn’t yet seen the new kitchen, and it was nice to be home so Rio could do all his Lego kits without having to move things from place to place:

xmas lego

Nearly all were Lego Star Wars. Also I gave husband the kit for the giant can opener aka Millennium Falcon.

While husband and Rio went to get Abuelo and Grise Xmas Eve day, Tashi and I prepped desserts and lasagna, and she also joined me in my mile-a-day run challenge that goes from Thanksgiving till Christmas. Since it rained all day, we did it indoors—a video and some snaps:


Snaggle-toothed runner!


Then Xmas Day we all met at one organizer’s house to run from there to her daughter’s gravesite nearby in Valleau. Taylor (one of her triplets) died age 7; she’d had Down syndrome and was in hospital a lot the past year for other health issues. This was the third year of the mile-a-day challenge—my second—and I’m glad Jamie, who organized it, and Anna, the mom, had the idea of doing it to remember Taylor.

xmas day run


On the drive down Boxing Day we listened to about half of the first Harry Potter in CD—borrowed from sister—and which had the kids doing lots of rhyming spells on the end of our walk today. Here’s the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on our drive down at dusk:

bay bridge

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