Oct 05 2015

Eight Ball Cue

Category: Art,Homeshisoneko @ 1:12 pm


Husband’s birthday was Sunday, he is a prime number this year (as is sister and her husband—they are all prime, which to me is pretty cool to be!), and I made chocolate cupcakes from scratch (I think husband and kids would prefer the unhealthy kind, though), while Tashi made this “eight ball cue” game in the morning pretty much out of thin air, because Daddy likes to play it. Lots of points for creativity!


The big box on the table still wrapped in map paper contained two Star Wars Lego sets, one of which husband built with sourcing assists from the kids. (It’s a new one, featuring BB8 in Lego!) Tashi also wore a birthday-appropriate shirt (cupcakes, from Nina Ping’s collection). She does always tie in her outfits to the theme!


Rio did a birthday card too. I thought I took photos of both birthday cards but can’t seem to locate them on my updated phone… will update this post later. Rio was careful to count out the number of candles. “Mommy you made me lose my place!!”

The night before we had wine club dinner chez Cooke, using a new sitter, who had to field Tashi’s coming down too (but seemed to handle it okay). The panic about Hurricane Joaquin ended up being just that, with the result that by Sunday midday the day turned out to be a beautiful fall day.


I have to take a photo of the finished Lego set too… now we have a place for the finished Lego sets, on our floating shelves in the basement! Will get filled up quickly. We biked into town, parked at the library, and had a late lunch at Raymond’s, then some playground time, then biked back (it’s just over a mile, but a little uphill going back) and watched the last Star Wars movie, so we’re now all caught up for the new one in December. Unfortunately Revenge of the Sith gave Tashi nightmares about lava. She didn’t get to bed till nearly 830pm from getting up multiple times.

Saturday we also had her soccer game in the cold, with rain misting. We biked there too and I was an ice cube (must remember to wear socks next time).

Artwork by Rio below. His inquiry the other day: “How does it search the spider web for a question?” (In reference to searing the web for an answer!)


Sep 30 2015

Talking With Mouth Full

Category: School,Videoshisoneko @ 7:54 pm

At mealtime an ongoing problem in our house, along with interrupting, not sitting still, sitting with knees up… but I digress.

We have video evidence of Tashi doing so! This is from the first day of school (I know, I am literally a month late posting—but Vimeo for free has a low weekly upload limit and I kept forgetting).

For context, we were asking about their first days. Rio went first (posted before, but what the heck, let’s show it again!):

Then Tashi’s turn:

Except! Food in the mouth as soon as we started rolling! (Such an antiquated term… I guess I should say as soon as I hit—no, touched—record.)

I don’t think I’ve written about how we’ve been biking to and from school. Sometimes it means having to put a bike in the car, if we need the car to go somewhere, but so far it’s worked out. At least, until this week with the rain coming (FINALLY). It does age me several years each ride and one road that was under construction for a long time was a real pain, but they’ve done great—and I know there’s a time limit on it with the days getting shorter and colder.

Sep 26 2015


Category: Activities,Schoolshisoneko @ 9:45 am

Tashi moved up from Daisies to Brownies… there was some kind of somewhat mystifying bridging ceremony literally on a bridge, involving daisies and a mirror and petals in the stream. No idea.


We biked there and back (from school)!


The Girl Scouts bonfire was Friday night, where as in years past I sent husband to go. He was away in LA all week (Monday to late Thursday). As always, I have a renewed respect for single parents after solo parenting all week. (It is easier, though, than when they were younger, for sure, but by 8pm every night I was fried. And then had to work!)


They sang “Roar” by Katy Perry at this “girl power” event.


The instructions included writing something that is about girl power to put in the bonfire. Tashi wrote “independence” (spelling it correctly!), but then burning up independence, literally, was a little counterintuitive.


Meanwhile, I was with Rio at Amber’s, and Rio did an assist on the Legos with Miles—this is the two of them proud that it’s completed. It’s the first time we can really recall the boys actually playing with each other. Scarlet and Miles are heavily into Legos too.


Tashi is learning a new song for piano, a waltz, and I have taken to braiding her hair while she practices. The other night she was struggling and angry about it, but then managed to calm herself with a bunch of “okay okay okay”s to herself and big breaths. I felt like I was getting a glimpse into what goes on in her brain!

Sep 20 2015

Back-to-School Night(s)

Category: Art,Cats,Home,School,Swimmingshisoneko @ 10:10 pm

Tashi’s new goggles, from Tyr. Her 2nd pair, actually, since the ones we bought and customized while in Avalon were child-size and therefore too small for her big mom-size head.


Yes, her braces are Mets colors.

Back-to-School Night was this past Wednesday, where we got to check out Rio and Tashi’s art and other work in the first two weeks of school. I’m psyched about Rio’s kindergarten teacher. Where Mr. DeRisi was pretty harmless and not actively harmFUL, Mrs. Mahler is totally on it, with two emails, a handwritten note, and new-to-me handouts including a glowstick the first day and a card that said something about the coming year being bright! She’s also instituted a daily password—to ask your child about to get them to talk about the day. I admit I was confused about what this password was till she explained it. She also does a lot of movement-based teaching, which is awesome considering there’s no actual recess in this half-day kindergarten scenario. We are also psyched about Rio’s Ivy teacher, Miss Maxine!

This is art inspired by Kandinsky’s Squares With Concentric Circles:



This I had to photograph high on the wall. Her favorite food… octopus?

She also wrote us a note very neatly that I’ll have to photograph, and which said at the end, “PS Write me back.” Tashi’s teacher Ms. Morrisroe is young (it’s her 2nd year teaching, and I keep wanting to write Mrs. but she’s definitely a Ms.!), and she’s filling in for her actual teacher who is on maternity leave till January. In fact two of three 2nd grade teachers are out on maternity leave.


After tennis Friday (we have six weeks of low-key lessons—same as in the spring) we stopped by the Duck Pond to get pond water to look at under the microscope—Tashi’s face is in reaction to how dried up the pond is. It’s very dry. (Perfect for our new sod!)


Soccer Saturday was hot, too—just before the actual game started (they get “lessons” beforehand from a separate non-parent coach, who is British) Tashi said she wanted to go home. She’s wearing an orange cap here. It was hot in the sun. Then we had the Chans and Meehans over for a barbecue, and late in the evening Tashi and I caught the tail end of the Walthery block party. Our block party was the next night—always a challenge on a Sunday night! No photos, but it’s three late nights in a row for the kids.


Speaking of the sun—Yoshi has the life. This is her typical spot and pose in the late afternoon, stretched out exactly like this for hours:


Sep 15 2015

Tashi and Rio Ride!

Category: School,Sports,Videoshisoneko @ 7:56 pm

FINALLY over the hump… this video is awesome because it shows how Rio had actually taken over some of the coaching. Tashi wants a new bike seat as the one she has is uncomfortable, but it hasn’t stopped her from wanting to ride every morning and afternoon. We knew this would happen—that she’d love it. Both of them do. Soon… biking to school!!!!

I am class parent for Rio’s class this year… file under “taking on too much.” I made the mistake of saying I wasn’t going to do it anymore after this year in front of Rio who immediately got a little upset. But, the HSA stuff I am doing is SO invisible to the kids, and actually contributes to taking away kid time. So, after two years on the board, I am going to really pare it down. As this blog is my witness! Anyway, because of being class parent, his teacher wanted to meet me and the other class parent, so I got to take this snap of Rio at his desk (otherwise, parents are hardly allowed in the classrooms with their kids).


Tashi also started soccer Saturday. RIO BIKED THERE! We all biked save Tashi (who started biking Sunday, a day later… will be a few more days till she can handle sidewalks I think), who rode her scooter. It was gratifying to see these young girls with long hair in ponytails racing around the field. She’s never played the game so it was all a learning experience. Big thanks to sister for the hand-me-down cleats and shin guards! She’s with one of her best buds Danny-elle (how she pronounced the name last year, or was it kindergarten?):


Sep 09 2015

LEGO Star Wars Imperial Attack

Category: Activities,Home,House,Swimming,Videoshisoneko @ 9:33 pm

Over the long Labor Day weekend, husband did this short with the kids:

I almost should record their reaction watching it—Tashi invariably discounts her performance, but both kids did a great job ad-libbing the funnier lines! And there was apparently only one rehearsal (I was playing tennis with my friend Jamie).

And, I forgot to upload this husband selfie from Sunday that he posted with hashtags onto Instagram:


And, from Monday, Labor Day—marking the day we moved here FIVE YEARS AGO!!!—the last day of the season at Graydon. It was hot out, and the water had been cleaned up (usually by the end of August it’s pretty grotty), but it got a bit crowded… making me somewhat glad I’ll admit that it was the last day.



Those are stick wands… we’re still in the penultimate Harry Potter on CD, though Tashi’s read them all, and some more than once.

Rio said to me last Friday (home day, short as it is) that before Avalon that he thought his new school was different from Tashi’s… hence being nervous!

Husband to Rio playing Yahtzee in Avalon: How are you three hands behind?

Rio: I have two hands not three!

We are back into the swing of things. I have had a school-related meeting every day this week. Actually it started last Friday! Last Friday library, this Tuesday library, Wednesday meeting, Thursday call, and Friday meeting. At least it’s “just” one school thing per day.

So far this fall, Tashi and Rio have swimming and tennis (the latter seasonal and just six weeks), Tashi has organized soccer for the first time (using cleats and shin guards from sister!) going till late November twice a week which is totally bonkers I know, and they both have piano… and I think that is it, for now! We are hoping this forecast for a downpour Thursday happens. In the middle of stage 4 water restrictions (hand watering of lawn only twice a week) our sod got planted… and it’s thirsty stuff. (So, already brown—within a day, honestly. Not sure about this new landscaper delivering this stuff when it was already stage 3!

Tashi’s sun-kissed hair:


Rio’s first homework assignment:


Sep 06 2015

Cousins and Dinos

Category: Birds,Family,Travel,Videoshisoneko @ 10:31 pm

Sister came by Saturday night for an overnight stay. They arrived from their friends’ barbecue after our kids had already gone to bed, but in the a.m. there was ample time for slow-motion videos and the shuffle game (using a soccer ball).



And Rio performing:


In the afternoon we went to Field Station Dinosaurs, in Secaucus, which is closing shop (so a university can use the land)—penultimate day it’s open. I have to admit I had no idea how many dinosaurs look a lot like Tyrannosaurus Rex (same family). Like these, the size of small dogs:




This is the state dino, hadrosaurus–I also didn’t know we had one:


Pachycephalosaurus! Like from the TMBG song:


Kids were melting toward the end, despite the lower humidity than it’s been. Also, there were these Lego-like toys, LaQ, pronounced La-chi?, one of the sponsors. Along with Goya, a sponsor of the auditorium. When we got home, Tashi pointed to a can in the pantry and said, “Look Mommy, Goya!” The product placement worked!



The highlight for me was the 3D BBC World movie narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch (indoors with seating—oh, and the movie itself was great! 30 min about a rhino ancestor and more recent discoveries).


I don’t think I realized just how much they’re (science) is drumming in how birds are the only remaining dinosaurs, to the point where dinos are now listed as “non-avian dinosaurs” to make them distinct from birds today.

Sep 02 2015

First Day of K and 2

Category: School,Videoshisoneko @ 8:35 pm


Rio had been falling into baby talk pretty heavily the past two days… and complaining of sleepiness and a stomachache. But the morning of, after admitting a couple times he was feeling nervous, he rallied.

Tashi’s last-minute panic had to do with wearing a dress when she saw a few girls en route who were not wearing dresses on the first day. Monday we went to Sophie and Luca’s for a five-hour (!) playdate (mostly in the pool)—but I even brought my laptop to do some work. Tuesday Rio went to Ivy while Tashi had a playdate in the morning with Charlotte and in the afternoon with Claire, a new friend a grade older (whose dad also works at NBC). She got really bitten up though in the past two days, well before dusk, and after a bug-free Avalon (although I got eaten on the two days the wind came from the bay side).

Here they are recounting their first days. Tashi’s I have more of, and will upload once my storage space renews.

Aug 29 2015

Beach Roundup

Category: Family,Travelshisoneko @ 8:36 pm

Proof I was there! On sandcastle duty two days in a row (one of which we got attacked by sand fleas, with the breeze blowing in from the bay). Some of these photos are from Gonggong too:



The boys and G&G (both a year older than Ro), as we came to call them!


Husband manning the flames (I think just about every night! With assists from the boys, young and old!):


See, on another evening:


Whisking—sister said Rio helped break eggs and mix:


Proof Baba was there, and on the beach!


And Popo too!


This cracks me up—note the 13-year-old girls:


And proof Kevin was there—just before heading off for his Spain sabbatical (three months of language immersion, I swoon with envy!):


Kaaren and Stephen were excellent sports about coming over lots—they rented a dozen or so blocks up—they were a movable feast!




Frisbee! A soft one. Tashi throws well—leftie! While Rio is working on it. I have to say Tashi spent a lot of time on the beach looking in the sand. She found a tiger shark tooth on the beach the second day. And… we went to the beach EVERY DAY. Even me! We got into the habit of going to the beach, coming back to clean up, and then having dinner.





Checkout morning (today):


On the way home, in part since we’d spent literally every day at the beach, we stopped at the aquarium in Atlantic City—where we’d last visited five years ago!


And I had to get a shot of Tashi’s nearly flaxen hair (French braids by sister)!


Aug 26 2015

Castle Madness!

Category: Family,Swimming,Travel,Videoshisoneko @ 8:01 pm





Sister has been having to work, along with brother-in-law, so I’ve been on beach duty. Fortunately, I am reading an excellent book (from Tish, by Elizabeth Gilbert, “The Something of All Things,” with the Something equaling S-something, and whose title I keep mixing up with “The God of All Things”!). I went solo with the kids Tuesday, with an assist from brother-in-law. There has been some wifi drama at home (resolved) and some sand flies (intermittent).

The scene Wednesday:




I’m especially proud of the drip towers (my purview):


And a time-lapse video we shot for 30 minutes this afternoon, or more, from approx. 415 to 445pm, that in the end is just three minutes long!

Auntie bonding time (French braids courtesy sister):


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