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.
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.
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):
We are in Avalon! Arrived Saturday to our giant house—much bigger than we expected from the photos. Also it seems to have bumped us into a new level of customer care with the realtor—daily phone calls and a tub of caramel corn.
We are staying at the very north end, new for us—we have a panoramic view of the ocean, and the beach entrance is a mere block away (but actually getting to the water is a little bit of a walk). Beach Saturday late afternoon:
And enjoying the cool breezes at the end of the day:
Kaaren and Stephen (and family and friend) are staying 0.8 of a mile away and also here the week—we had crab cakes and 150 clams for dinner the first night all together.
This morning (early!), Rio happy about the impending pancakes made by sister:
The kitchen/great room and view:
The balcony up to the third-floor master suite:
Tashi already managed to find a shark tooth—again! This time it seems to be a sand tiger shark tooth. Here, Rio unable to get his legs out of the sand after being buried:
The awesome wraparound deck—facing north, so it’s nice and shady!
Before sports team shirt day, Monday while waiting for the bus pickup:
Trying to wink, the same day, in the afternoon:
Tashi’s been a bit run down and getting sick, but we’re hoping she recovers before we’re off next week! Long days at camp I think. Also, we had a busy weekend—well, at least our Sunday—a book club meeting with families at Delilah’s mom’s pool. Rio’s holding his own so far. Here’s where his obsessive hand-washing is working in his favor.
My favorite photo from sister’s trip—the Vatican!
Followed shortly by the photos they took of the Coliseum, like this one:
Before Tashi, probably the one thing he’ll ever do before her!
This was day 2… we didn’t have the presence of mind to video his wobblier first rides the day before. Tashi isn’t thrilled but while super-close herself needs to get over the hump of fearing falling over and hurting herself.
Those yarn sculpture things I was talking about. Husband’s is the orange one, naturally:
Yoshi’s expression most of the day:
Before camp on a rainy Tuesday. Tashi left her Keens there (she also had sneaks), sparking an internal debate for me: Do I handle this? Let her? Both? I ended up (on counsel with another parent) emailing and also writing a note for her to remember to ask about them. The shoes made it back home the next day. They are both very much enjoying camp—Rio comes home every day saying he’s tried some new food, which is remarkable, even if he is literally just tasting it (hash browns, tacos, tortilla, Fudgsicle—surprisingly he did not like it—and avocado).
Surprise birthday party for Robin on Sunday—organized by her husband, and he pulled it off!
Prepping for Deerkill, sunblock edition:
They started their two-week stint at the camp today. Rio’s first ride on a bus! (They bus to and from, door to door. Yes! Along with lunch and snacks included, and towel service at the pool—contributing to the overall cost but so far it seems worth it!) Rio was all smiles on the bus. They were exhausted at the end of the day—which in Rio manifests in crazy overreacting crying jags, and in Tashi manifests in crazy overreacting being angry at everything. Lovely! Fortunately husband was home (taking care of the tire that got a puncture in it).
Two things I wanted to mention: Rio took the deep water test again, but didn’t pass. Hung on too long to the lifeguard’s raft. Lots of tears a day later when he said he didn’t know he couldn’t hang on. I bet he tries again… Tashi, meanwhile, I wanted to note two things: how she saved an ant at Popo’s house and multiple flies from our house (when the doors were constantly open). The karma thing is sinking in! Also, even if both children react not at all to me slicing my finger open, Rio had a look of real concern, whereas Tashi I am realizing randomly expresses her affection through art projects, like homemade yarn necklaces for husband and me (red yarn for me, orange yarn for husband) and this woven yarn sculpture she decorated with colored tape, after asking me which was my favorite.
I have some videos from swim lessons Saturday I have to figure out how to upload while retaining the fast-motion action.
We had the Cuban side over Saturday afternoon to show the house—99 percent done! (final inspection Friday)—and the weather, while hot, was bearable. Plus I got a fan, taking my cue from Allie’s parents down the street who had two fans going and I got zero bites. (Also, from sleeping in a fan constantly in Thailand, I should know that fans work to fight mosquitoes!)
Gina did Tashi’s hair to match hers:
It’s been a while since we’d had this side of the family all over—probably not since the kids’ birthdays. Alex and his fiancee Rebecca also joined.
I am also belated posting some photos Popo took from our week in PA and then her visit here. She came to swim lessons with us:
And captured a typical a.m. at home (note Tashi’s Harry Potter book):
We also, Sunday, finally made it to Deerkill where the kids will be doing camp next week and the week after. They get two periods of swim.
I have to say being at an actual pool was a little boring after a while… it’s not like I am actually playing in the sand as well, but there’s more to do and it definitely has a different atmosphere—also it’s more comfortable to sit in sand than on concrete around a pool!
Some slo-mo videos off the (low) diving board. I took these too late in the afternoon, when they were getting tired. First, Tashi:
We are at Superdome Sports camp this week, an all-sports camp for ages 5 to 13 that goes from 845am to 3pm. They seem to like it, especially the games arcade before and after! Today is Popo and Gonggong’s 47th wedding anniversary! Sister is in her last week in Italy with family to celebrate their 15th anniversary. I can’t resist posting this one photo:
I don’t think I posted Rio’s photo in the local news… He was on the cover this time, which is actually a first. It is funny the paper consistently prints photos of people of color! I think this is the fourth time in the paper between the kids. At some point they’ll age out of being photographed, for sure.
Rio was very interested in how the Tour de France works, with husband explaining multiple stages and cumulative race times to him. “Daddy, is the bike race still going on?” he asked. In fact it’s over—with a week of racing coinciding with our week in PA, which is kind of perfect for all of us.
Sister is in Italy! Crazy view from the flat they’ve got in Venice, the first stop!
And an equally splendid view in Florence, which I’ll post after they’ve uploaded it.