Jul 30 2014

Cup Art, Duplos, Tennis

Category: Family,Language,Parenting,Sports,Videoshisoneko @ 8:20 pm

A typical morning:

Gonggong: Why was Rio crying?
Me: He is 4 and irrational. Today it was wanting to keep playing and being worried someone would put away his toys or that he’d forget to play when he got home.

Tashi at least enjoyed the noodles they made during the cooking part of camp:


Tashi holding some cup art, Rio and his Duplo creation:


We actually shot a long video about how to make the cup, in parts, for husband, to calm her down the first afternoon. It’s too long to post. Rio owl-bombed the entire time.


They are most out of sorts at pickup, not unlike pickup at Ivy when they are tired. But, all things considered, they seem to be liking Chinese camp, and ending at 130pm isn’t as short a day as I’d feared. (Popo has pretty much eliminated the house maintenance part of my time—xie xie!!) The camp is a short drive, and lunchtime is included (food that we provide), so there’s no mad scramble to feed them as soon as we get home.


We have been attempting a daily schedule of reading, writing, practicing something, physical activity, a home chore, and good eating. Tashi is racing through the books sister had given us a while back—the Littles, Horrid Henrys, and now the Enid Blytons (finally). For each day this week there are themes I’d cribbed from a homeschool blogger but they have sort of gone by the wayside, eg “make it Monday,” “Tuesday trip” (ours was only to Trader Joe’s—and somewhat of a disaster as there weren’t free lollies as at the one we usually go to), “wet Wednesday” (we did water balloons), “thinking Thursday” (I have NO idea what to do for it), and “fun Friday.” I am hoping the new Pixar is showing somewhere close for that one.


We have gotten into the habit of doing tennis at the high school, which is nearly always completely empty, at around 430 or 5pm so I can wear them out even more so they go to sleep pretty immediately in the shared room. As for the actual tennis, let’s just say Tashi can only improve after tennis camp the next two weeks, and Rio basically chases a ball around several courts. They tire out after usually only 10 to 20 minutes, sit and suck on Ricolas and drink water, and I hit a bunch of serves for a while. Then I send them running back and forth on the grassy field next to the courts to doubly make sure they are tired! Today they played in their still-wet swim clothes since I knew the sun would dry them right out, even at 5pm.


We come home and they watch about 20 minutes of a long animated version of Siddhartha’s life as their daily dose of TV and so they each eat an apple-orange squeezer. By this time, too, Popo already has dinner ready (Tashi: dumplings, rice and seaweed, chicken; Rio: bacon, cheese, crackers, chicken, seaweed—but, I did do waffles with honey one night too). They’re usually in bed around 8 or even a little later, which is much later than usual but if they aren’t super tired it gets worse as they chat and jump around the room and I have zero, zero patience for that at nearly 9pm.

Meanwhile I have been cleaning out boxes of books and papers and other dead-tree ephemera from college, high school, and even earlier. I am quite confident I will never be sifting through emails, tweets, and Instagram (I’m not on it anyway!) like this. Which is good and bad.

Rio’s koala drawing for me (with a baby):


Jul 27 2014

Three Weeks in PA

Category: Family,Videoshisoneko @ 7:34 pm

We’ve started our three-week jaunt in PA. Actually Rio is here this first week, me weeks one and three, and Tashi all three. Week one is Chinese camp till 130pm (!), and weeks two and three is tennis camp (till 3pm) that Rohan and Arjun do every year and which we are trying for the first time with Tashi. Husband will be back this weekend, and sister will be here weekends, and I’ll be back for the last week. Fortunately, our college-age sitter across the street doesn’t go back to school till later in August so we have help with pickup when I’m down here.

This was during the drive down Saturday:

thumbs up

owlies on the move

Rio’s serious (or maybe it was funny?) face:

making faces

Some Lego swordplay with Gonggong:


The first night sleeping here sharing a room is always a tough one for the kids, compounded by a late night Friday too at Amber’s and an attempt at family tennis in the late afternoon sun on Saturday. (We all wilted.) That said, the kids still woke up Sunday at 510am and never really went back to sleep. But they were in bed tonight by 7pm. Tashi passed out mid-complaint about not being able to read in bed when sharing a room.

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.

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