Apr 15 2014

Spring, Swing

Category: Family,Homeshisoneko @ 8:58 pm

We had a wonderful upper 70s (possibly 80-degree) weekend—some snaps! (And a video.) Husband selfie with Rio. (I just used the word selfie. For posterity!)

crazy hair

Out on the bench. Tashi took this one:

bench bro

Rio took this one:

bench sis

We like the bench, a discard from our neighbors on the other side of the back yard. As husband said, it’s relaxing to look at:

bench sibs

We also got into some T-ball. Tashi swings rightie!

swing 1!

And for now Rio swings leftie as well as rightie. Here, rightie:

swing 2!

Afterward we went to see Abuelo and Grise, who is just back from a long visit to Florida. It was nice enough to be out in their back yard too, for a picnic of Cuban food. O, and I managed to cut Rio’s hair outside at the end of the day, back home, while he was just in underwear and a towel over his shoulders. (And the use of an iPad, still, of course!)

Apr 12 2014

International Expo

Category: Friends,School,Videoshisoneko @ 8:15 pm

The event Wednesday was way bigger than I thought it’d be. Note to self: Do not volunteer for evening performance duties. Or the food court. At the last minute (the day before), I decided to take just Tashi to the evening portion, provided husband was able to make it home in time. The food court was super crowded, and Tashi was distressed at seeing her friends/people she knew dressed in traditional dress and I hadn’t thought to have her do the same. We did manage to use our “Passport to Innovation” to visit several countries in addition to the five her class visited during the day (I did a quick Cuba and then Taiwan presentation).

Tashi repped Cuba at the last minute in the parade (I really hadn’t thought we’d make it back to school at night!):


The performances skewed heavily Asian (in fact the whole expo did) but we stayed for the entire thing—till 815pm—packed audience!

Friday the weather was genuinely warm, despite the forecast of rain. We hit two playgrounds after the last soccer class. I shot a video, but Flickr’s new look means I can’t embed it, only link to it—so here’s the link. We got to class five minutes early (uncharacteristically) and Rio spent it racing back and forth across the gym. Another mom said something about him using up all his energy before class. Rio: “Mommy, what does energy mean?” Me: “Um, you know what being tired is, right? It’s the opposite of tired.” Rio: “It’s untired?”

Rio and his nickel at the Y playground (“Mommy, I can buy a bagel at the bagel place because I have a nickel!”):


Rio before going down the covered twisty slide: “I’m going down the bathroom drainpipe!”

At the library playground—finally tall enough to manage the rope climbing thing, but it still makes me nervous when he’s up at the top:

king of the world

He made a playground friend on the ropes. As they were climbing up, Matthew said, “This is taller than a giant. Taller than heaven.” Rio: “What’s heaven? Is heaven a giant?”

Saturday afternoon was Matteo’s first birthday. The last time we were at Robin and Kevin’s house, we broke up the party with Tashi’s tantrum. We started this party with her being upset about this or that (mainly not being able to pump a swing like Bailey could). I also had her practice piano before the party, and having to play at any time than her usual practice time (bedtime) pretty much ends in disaster, leaving everyone in a bad mood.

Rio swinging with Amy:


The gaggle of girls over pizza:

pizza fusion

And finally, some snaps from earlier in the week—Tashi wearing a new fleece from Nina Ping (thank you!):


And can you spot the Yoshi?

spot the kitty

(And yes this means Tashi is finally in a full bed. Her feet were touching the bottom of the toddler-size one! This photo above is before we got the box spring that is needed to use this frame, which is Rio’s convertible crib-into-toddler bed now converted to a full-size bed frame. Rio is in her old toddler bed now.)

Apr 07 2014

Spring, Sprung!

Category: Food,Friends,Houseshisoneko @ 12:27 pm

slide 1

Finally! We have had a few days in the 60s. The slide is out, we were in the yard, and maybe Tashi will learn how to bike soon! (She is tentative—I can’t say I blame her! I distinctly remember my uncle Sharming teaching me how to ride.)

Leo and Sammy came down Sunday for dim sum (although the kids were full from these whole-wheat pancakes), a visit to the Schoolhouse Museum (more on that later), and back yard slide action. Tashi is wearing sunglasses of mine that were out because Dara borrowed them. Between that and the headband, she is rocking the ’60s look.

We also had them play a little T-ball. Tashi discovered animal bones when she went to retrieve a ball at the end of the day. Some googling revealed it is a squirrel skull. It must be the same one whose bloodied fur stained the snow in our front yard this winter. O mani padme hum.

Sunday morning started with QUIET, which was amazing (I had gone out with Tish in town the night before—yay!). They were doing this artwork! Tashi’s family drawing (all of us have eyelashes, including Yoshi!) and Rio’s snowboard—he’s demonstrating how to ride it. He’s also getting better at being photographed (no more pained smile, for now!):

sunday morning artwork

Speaking of artwork, the master bath was painted, but the blue (and it is painful to admit) is too bright. I would advise ALWAYS painting a large sample and not just use a chip whenever deciding on paint colors! There were definitely proponents to the color. And I realize this is a lot of excess. We’re helping the local economy! You can see a bit of it here, next to the tub. Which fits husband and two kids.

tub (and blue)

For his part, Rio’s artwork is a bit more ephemeral. He likes making lasers and rockets and this MagnaTile creation started when sister was here visiting. He was coy about revealing what it is, but eventually it came out that it’s some kind of crab—hence the snapping action (and photos, ahead of putting it away).

opening widesnapped shut

So about the Schoolhouse Museum. It is a lot of Ridgewood history, and I learned for the first time that until the 1940s (recent history!) there was a “Ridgewood Code”—actually IN PRINT—that encouraged realtors to find houses for “only our types of people.” Which is to say white. This puts a new spin on all those families who have been here since at least the ’40s. Also, the Ku Klux Klan met in Ridgewood in the 1920s, but I was told by a museum docent that it was to keep Catholics more than people of color out. Still. Wow, right? I had thought Ridgewood was long a summer home/bedroom community but it appears it started out as Dutch farmland—like Inwood.

Friday Tashi had Daisies at Abma’s Farm’s HealthBarn education initiative. It was the one chilly day, but they soldiered through, tramping outside to check out the compost. I ended up staying with Rio since the drive was longer than I expected and the weather so un-fun. Of course, we undid all the learning about natural vs. artificial foods there by snacking on Belvitas.


Re the back yard, this from last March!

big hill

Hey! That blue looks familiar… maybe that’s my problem, it looks like tarp! (KIDDING.) And I talk about these seepage tanks buried underneath it (last June) every chance I get!

seepage tank

Apr 02 2014

Tooth, Tree

Category: Art,Friends,Schoolshisoneko @ 8:58 pm

Rio has said before that Lily is his girlfriend. This is early morning Play-Doh on Monday:



All winter since I’ve been driving the kids to school I rarely have time to hang around Ivy and do things like take photos, because Rio gets dropped off first, I drop off husband (when he couldn’t bike—which was true till about two weeks ago), and then look for parking near Tashi’s school. It’s a two-mile loop driving and depressing to me, but necessary! We JUST started walking again this week, though it’s been colder than 40 F, which is my mental threshold for making them walk. I’m still not convinced it will be okay for Rio to sit in a stroller if it’s that cold. (And you know it’s going straight to 90 degrees, no spring!) The photos above are from Monday, when I had to wait till 830am to register for swim—you have to do it on the dot or it fills up!—and I dropped her via car, with her getting out for the first time on her own (with an assist from the principal) and then brought Rio to school afterward.

This is from over the weekend that I forgot to post: Tashi’s look when she is strategizing playing dominoes. She’s competitive, our daughter—about nearly everything!


Her Yoshi illustration, which I wish I’d gotten a photo of her drawing—they were both on the kitchen floor and Yoshi literally sat for it (good cat!):


Tashi random question: “Mommy, when you die [me: alarm! what is coming next??], what do you want to turn into? I want to turn into a cat, I love cat treats.” I think she means, she sees that Yoshi loves her cat treats and that if you’re a cat, you get treats! At least she is getting the concept of karma.

Lunchtime reading:

lunchtime book

Tashi: “Mommy, I want to bring in my Tashi book to school because I told Nathan I had a book that was my name and he didn’t believe me and said I was doing April Fool’s.”

Note the tooth container, out of focus, in the foreground—she lost another top tooth. This one I am SO GLAD came out today, as she didn’t get sleep last night wiggling it around, it was just barely hanging on, she refused to take it out or have it taken out, and also could not eat comfortably, and so she was a mess this morning and I dreaded the day. They get a cute little tooth container on a string if you lose a tooth at Travell, and your name gets added to some kind of tooth chart. I can see Travell being the tooth-losing destination of choice.

Speaking of April Fool’s: our seventh anniversary! (!!) Where’d the time go??? We had dinner in town at Village Green, walking both ways in the 50-degree temps, and courtesy babysitting from Ciara down the street.

Sister reminded me of funny things Rio said when she was here Sunday, eg “I hate this game,” referring to the soccer game on the big screen Amrish was watching (streamed from his phone!). Except he plays soccer every Friday at the Y.

We have been walking home from Ivy and running into Andrea and Raffa every day (Bruno didn’t make it out till today—he was in full wind-down TV mode earlier this week). Tashi and Rio love climbing the tree in their yard (usually fighting over it). They are wearing helmets because we scootered home.


Mar 30 2014


Category: Family,Health,School,Travelshisoneko @ 9:52 pm

So yes, I have been working hard on the Cuba display for the Travell International Expo in early April. Tashi helped me cut things out, and a lot of stuff comes from our trip there. The theme this year is inventions and inventiveness, so I learned how seasoned grapefruit rind can, apparently, approximate meat.



Still, as sister said, this project required quite a bit of parental involvement. I also designed the passport for the expo, featuring 20-some countries. And using Word—meaning, difficult!

Saturday afternoon we had movie afternoon—after Tashi won a game of dominoes. Good thing the TV came with four pairs of 3D glasses (for “The Lion King”).


Sister came to visit Sunday a.m. before her in-laws arrived (hence the rental Toyota). The kids built a Magnatile tower.


And Rohan got a workout otherwise!



Tashi had a fever Friday (sent home by the Travell nurse with a reading of 100.1 F, which in my book is NOTHING), crashing Rio’s home day that day (we still managed soccer and Trader Joe’s, en groupe), and she skipped swim Saturday—but she was better by Saturday night. However, I still think the tummy ache may be a bit faked.

Mar 27 2014

Art and Questions

Category: Art,Houseshisoneko @ 6:13 pm

Husband drew a picture on Tashi’s dry erase board. After he left, she wrote this note:


Then she annotated it (with one Chinese character, that she would not let me erase):


Can you find Tashi and Rio? From the wall at Ivy for March Madness. (March Stir-Craziness!) There are a lot of new, younger faces!


Also at Ivy, with her new favorite book, and Daria:


One weekend morning, making signs for their doors kept them busy. Rio got an assist with the stars and writing here, although the art itself is his. He is into these train-track-style drawings now:



Rio on a home day: Who am I playing with?
Me, needing to do something: You’re playing with yourself.
Rio: I’m playing with my shadow?

Tashi is asking us slightly philosophical questions like, Is it better to brush your teeth in the morning, or at night? Our answer is of course both. She said that one of her friends got upset when she said she was a better artist because she is left handed! Of course she must’ve heard us saying that. She also took a long video on her camera that I want to upload that is a tour of the house with her commentary, and apparently for posterity. Rio’s room is described as being his 4-year-old room. She describes her room with, “Isn’t it incredible? It is the master room.” Obviously from overhearing us describe it as the master bedroom to people! She also talks the entire time in upspeak (question marks at the end of every statement)!

Tashi: Who invented life?
Me: Who do you think?
Tashi: I don’t know, the President?

We are done done done with the cold—we even still have a tiny patch of ice in front of the shed—and I hope to be able to post a photo of the tub in the master bath installed (or at least prepped for its under-mounting—I take it it’s very tricky with the plumbing etc.). We also realized we should probably paint before the glass shower walls are installed. And, the shower drain has to be redone—we ordered a square-shape one but the standard round one was tiled in, alas. Onward!

Mar 22 2014

Crocuses! (Croci?)

Category: Art,Friends,House,Parentingshisoneko @ 10:12 pm

I asked the same question in 2012—how to say the plural of crocus—as evidenced by this post here. With a young Rio, and intact driveway! Here we’re still in winter coats (at least in the mornings) but the crocuses/croci are peeking out… in the grass however.

crocuses! croci!

It was a lovely day for a crafting/tea party, on the occasion of Sophie’s 6th birthday. This is the scene for 17 girls that Robin set up in her home (in addition to a future Etsy marketing photo, I wanted to get Tashi’s headband, unearthed after a few years lost—no joke—and purposely mismatched socks):


A rare photo of Mommy that Tine took:


In the back that’s Matteo, the birthday girl’s youngest brother (of three!):

tea party

Unfortunately we literally broke up the party when Tashi inadvertently knocked down Delilah and then wouldn’t apologize, this during a screening of “Frozen” I’d already negotiated good behavior for. Alas. Husband took her out screaming and crying—still waiting for our 6-year-old to stop behaving like a 3-year-old!—and determined that the reason she doesn’t want to apologize is that she doesn’t want to admit she is wrong. Hmmmmmm.

Friday morning, I dragged Rio with me to finish up the spring issue of the magazine; while I worked, he built this:

version 2

He also wanted to play “hands,” what he called throwing a ball (makes sense). But we never got around to it! Friday was a lot of running around to this or that. Including things related to school, like for the International Expo next month—here is Tashi’s passport cover design contest entry (concept and spelling all her own):


Which I am somehow in charge of, the contest. From Ivy, Rio’s leprechaun:


And finally, the tile is done! Slate-ish gray for the shower, and wood-like porcelain for the floors (planks) and then smaller tiles for the shower floor—you need the extra grip in the shower:

should we keep the blue walls?


faux-wood porcelain floors

Mar 18 2014

Glasses (Not Actual, Yet)

Category: Family,Food,Friends,Homeshisoneko @ 12:05 am

glasses boy

We are in March madness! Which this year means the lingering cold (but not the 1-2 inches of snow Popo and Gonggoing got Sunday night!) as well as the March birthdays. We went out Saturday early for Cuban food at Rumba with Abuelo, Greg, Roxana, Amanda, and Mark. Rio ate a bite of rice and beans, and a lot of those dry crackers (which here was served with something pink and yummy, and I honestly have no idea what it is). Tashi had ropa vieja and would’ve eaten the entire plate of chicharrĂ³n if we’d let her!

While we waited for food, we had a bit of fun with Amanda’s glasses, which are a very low prescription and apparently flatter every face shape! Good to remember as I am sure glasses are in their future; Arjun just got his first pair.

glasses girl

Afterward Amanda and Mark came over to babysit so we could go to a St. Patrick’s Day party thrown by my book club friend in town. At the beginning of the day we thought we’d be home by 1030 or 11pm since we were so exhausted already. We didn’t get home till after midnight (!). Amanda and Mark deserve HUGE HUGE THANKS for helping out and staying late and then making the long drive home with Calvin (the dog!).

Earlier on Saturday we managed to get out for a little bit. Tashi found an old metal pin that looks like was attached to the light pole before, but now is just jutting out.


She also insisted on dressing up for the evening out—in her yellow halter dress. Her school has an International Expo day that is coming up in April, and a fellow Taiwanese has gotten me to help out. I am also covering Cuba (somehow). There was a meeting on Friday, which is Rio’s home day, and it went on for an hour and 40 minutes! Rio was fortified by snacks and a bookshelf that happened to have a lot of kid books. He proudly wore his Travell visitor sticker all day, including to soccer later that morning.

sticker pass

Friday night we also had the Alexes over—best man Alex and Rebecca plus Alex and Nidia, all from husband’s HS. We had picadillo (husband’s signature dish), and on Sunday—after seeing a TICTOC production of “Beauty and the Beast” with Tine and family, they came over and helped us finish the leftovers.

About the play we saw (really, a musical): Rio was SO INTO what was happening that he was pumping his arms and clenching his fists in anticipation of the next plot turn toward the end. He was sitting on husband’s knee in the row in front of me and I was in tears laughing at how into it he was.

The kids pre-Sunday night meltdown, watching the new “Cosmos” with Neil deGrasse Tyson (from the Hayden) on DVR:

cosmos watching

A few things I keep meaning to write down for posterity:

+ When Rio is upset, since he’s been little(r), it usually eventually devolves into a yelp for “Mommy huggie”—or, if I am the one causing him distress, “Daddy huggie.” Tashi now also wants a mommy huggie when she’s really upset.

+ The kids have added an extra syllable to commercials, for some reason—they are commercia-mals.

+ “When they are shiny it’s like a crystal shining on them.” (Rio on his teeth.)

+ “Maybe we should buy a cat hoodie.” (Rio on Yoshi being cold.)

+ “Mommy that’s a sunny set.” (Rio pointing out the window at dusk.)

Mar 10 2014

Spring Forward

Category: Activities,Art,Friends,Home,House,Videoshisoneko @ 2:35 pm

My line about Tashi and Rio has long been: They play great together, until they don’t. On weekend mornings, we usually can get at least an hour or more of playtime, sometimes punctuated by brief (physical) fights, but toward the end with one of them unraveling. Sunday, after springing forward, they surprised us with this made-up song. (Just so you know, the video is 1.5 minutes long!)

Tashi says things like “let’s pretend I’m the big sister and you’re the little brother.” I had to ask if the song was made up, actually—for all I know it’s from “Frozen”!

Speaking of that Disney juggernaut, Amy has already procured (from before the movie was released!) a costume from it… one of the princesses. I think Elsa? I know, I should know this, but I am may be one of the few parents of a young girl who hasn’t seen the movie! Amy VERY graciously let Tashi wear it the entire time for our visit to Tine’s house Saturday afternoon.

aqua girls, orange boy

In fact for Tashi’s school “small moments” writing exercises the fact that she’s seen “Frozen” and “The Lego Movie” became writing topics. The fact that they have to figure out the spelling is pretty obvious (this is all basically two sentences over three pages without much punctuation):




I like the rainbow rendition of the movie, and then Amy’s blond hair on the last page. Saturday was also swimming, the HS science fair, and a late night the night before for Tashi (830pm)—a Daisies “sleep under” at Travell that I was regretting dropping her off at but then was happy we did when she came home with a decorated pillowcase (and St. Patrick’s Day paraphernalia, so I don’t have to find some for our holidays-obsessed child).


In addition to the girls the solar system. She and Rio remain interested in all things space. Even though Rio was scared during the Liam Neeson-narrated “Big Bang” short at the planetarium, he’s since wanted to watch it again (it’s on YouTube, of course).

From Tashi:


Sunday was the video at the top, followed by an early afternoon tea ceremony and (loud!) taiko performance at the library (not free, but worthwhile!). Sabrina and her mom also went, and Tashi is only pretending to drink the matcha here (she tried it, but didn’t like it):


taiko listening

Recent Rio artwork:


And his new signature—no more jellyfish R, which is very sad to me! But I have seen him write his name just like this upside down, which I thought was rather remarkable:


We still have lots of snow on the ground. Rio and I spent an enjoyable hour yesterday in the warm sun chipping away at the ice to widen the driveway and sidewalk, building on the same work husband and Tashi did earlier. Now we can at least park two cars side by side in the driveway again. The sheetrockers/spacklers were here at 7am Friday, Saturday, and today. Yes, 7am!


That’s looking up toward one of the skylights, and you can just see the scaffolding needed to spackle the cathedral ceiling.

And finally: Tashi’s phrase these days: “That’s awkward.”
Rio’s: “Of course.”

Naturally I wondered where they had gotten these, till I listened to self.

Mar 05 2014

Lion, Ski, Pajamas

Category: School,Sports,Videoshisoneko @ 9:49 pm

Tashi had a reading marathon at school (actually, village-wide), whose end was tied to Dr. Seuss’s birthday in March 2. She managed to read 19 books, many of them assigned from school anyway. She needed 12 to get a gold medal and gift card from Ben and Jerry’s. On Monday there was a “dress up as your favorite book character,” and we settled on the Cowardly Lion mainly because she could still just squeeze into the size 3 costume (top only)!

Reading “Sam and the Firefly” (rendered as “Flyerfly” in her book report later):

reading workshop day

That’s Kento dressed as Thing 2 next to her. The Cowardly Lion was also inspired by Christine reusing her Dorothy costume, too:

dorothy and the cowardly lion

Meanwhile, last day of ski lessons was also Monday. The coldest day yet (19 degrees):

Tashi’s the last one here—after the kid who fell:

Rio arrived at the lesson in a cranky mood, but after getting all the gear on and doing a few runs, he was a happy kid! Success!

Tashi’s hands got pretty cold (note to self: bulk order of hand warmers for next year!) but Rio stuck it out till the end, including the hot chocolate and then a warm pretzel for good measure:

last-lesson snack

Pajama Day for Rio, and a tower he built:


tower thing

Rio on the scrolling text at the beginning of “Star Wars”: “This is like the end of the movie.”

Rio as we crossed over the GW Bridge into the city last weekend: “Hey look at the city, we’re going to go all the way in there, right?”

Tashi after Ivy the other week: “Amanda’s going to be famous. She has a photo on Facebook!” Me: “What is Facebook?” Tashi: “It’s a book with lots of faces?”

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