First Time Skiing

February 2nd, 2014 by ninja


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Thanks to the generous invite of our friends, we got to experience Cornwall, CT for a weekend in its full Winter glory – and the kids got to spend their first day ever skiing! Their day started with a one-hour semi-private lesson to cover the basics and afterwards, they kept practicing on the baby mound with us for another hour. Once they were able to hold their balance, we took them on a chair lift, and ushered them down the easiest slope with our poles to hold on to. As you can see, they LOVED it! We must have gone up the lift for about 10 times. Tobin couldn’t stop smiling and was seriously disappointed when we had to return our skis at 4:00pm. Mika and Z on the other hand, were happily juggling skiing and voracious reading.

This weekend also marked the first time skiing for me in at least 25 years (!)  Back then, I had overcome a bad, ski-induced knee injury and frankly thought I’d never ski again.  Surprisingly, I quite liked getting back into the groove along with the kids and our friends. To be continued…

PS: Thanks to Andie for the movie and plenty of extra pictures!

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70 … 생일축하합니다, 할머니!

January 30th, 2014 by ninja


Today is a big day for Halmoni, who is turning seventy. With the help of the kids’ Korean friends, we recorded the most epic birthday song to date! It was perfect timing, since we gather this group of kids every Thursday after school, for their language classes. Happy Birthday, from all of us!

Thanks to Jayna, Jake, Lillian, Henry, Ruby, and Otto for singing with us!

No Comments | Category: Daily Musings, Music, Videos

MLK Day Volunteers

January 20th, 2014 by ninja

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Mika’s school encouraged the upper grades to volunteer on MLK Day at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy. Thankfully, the activity didn’t involve getting anywhere near the still-toxic body of water, but rather help maintain the flourishing compost piles, which will help keep our community trees and gardens healthy in Spring. Most adults helped turn over the brooding, 160°F (70°C) piles of 1-month old scraps with pitch forks. The kids got to work with the pleasantly smelling, perfectly fermented end product. Their job was to rub the final pile through a large sifting station, to get all larger pieces of wood chips and debris sorted out. After two hours of hard labor, we got treated to hot apple cider and an in-depth Q&A session to answer every last question about composting.

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Ice Skating (From Skratch)

January 19th, 2014 by ninja

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Technically, this was the second time Mika went ice skating in her life. The first time was five years ago, and she couldn’t have been more apprehensive. Since she didn’t learn to skate back then, she stepped into the rink a complete beginner all over again. After a few rounds of scooting along the edges, she got steady enough to be pulled around by me without falling, and by the time the rental skates were killing my ankles, she didn’t want to leave. This was definitely not our last visit to Brooklyn’s new “Lakeside” skating rink!

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Cat Doodles

January 17th, 2014 by ninja

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Found two Luna doodles in Mika’s pocket today, and got her permission to post.

1 Comment | Category: Drawings, Photos

Connect the Dots

January 16th, 2014 by ninja

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Mika and Z have been challenging each other during recess with home made connect-the-dot puzzles. Mika’s creation on the left (solved by Z), and Z’s creation on the right (solved by Mika).

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Snow (Hercules) II

January 5th, 2014 by ninja

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Last year’s igloo project had a lasting impact on our kids. They kept talking about it throughout the year, and Mika’s friend Z proved to be the perfect partner-in-crime to kick off the 2014 Igloo Season. The two girls set up shop on Z’s terrace, conveniently located next door, and built for several days. Their process was more about fun than about efficiency though: it involved making an initial brick, which would then be grated through the seat of a patio chair into fine ice shavings. The shavings would be compacted into the actual construction brick, and fastened with loose snow onto the wall. They could have built twice as high – but opted for double the fun instead.

No Comments | Category: Daily Musings, Photos

Snow (Hercules) I

January 4th, 2014 by ninja

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Just two weeks after our 69°F beach day, Winter took hold of the city via blizzard snow storm Hercules. We got a moderate 6-8 inches, but public schools were closed on Friday nonetheless, much to the delight of you-know-who. We ventured out with Z&B to Brooklyn Bridge Park. Bone chilling wind kept us from walking all the way to the sledding hills of Pier 1, but there were a few little mounds on Pier 6, a lot of “snow boulders” to collect along the way, and a pristine soccer field to be conquered at Pier 5.

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Winter Break in Baltimore

December 29th, 2013 by ninja

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Between the Holidays, we made a trip to Baltimore to spend a few days with Sung’s family. It was (great)grandmother’s Lunar Birthday as well, so we had lunch at her house twice. The kids loved to re-connect with everybody, and made friends with the new dog. We also un-earthed a bunch of old game boards from Sung and Uncle Joe, and played a bunch of ’80s board games, chess and checkers.

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Frohe Weihnachten / Merry X-Mas

December 25th, 2013 by ninja

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Christmas is always a two-step celebration in our family, with German and American traditions being honored.

Step 1 (German): on Christmas Eve, we sing O Tannenbaum to our tree, and the kids get to open expertly wrapped and packed gifts from my family in Germany. The traditional German Bescherung is followed by a meal of Kartoffelsalat (my grandmother’s recipe), served with Würstchen and ice cold Pilsener. As every year, a couple of new ornaments are being added to our collection of home made decorations: this time, we received a felted Santa mouse, and a classic wooden angel.

Step 2 (American): the kids set out milk and cookies for Santa and go to bed. This year, they insisted to have their toy tree right next to the big tree, which is quite adorable. Cue for Mami and Daddy Santa to leave all other presents under the tree and wait for the big X-mas morning surprise. Of course, the kids were up at the crack of dawn, so it was still dark outside when we opened presents, read new books, and set up the microscope from Halmoni and Harabogi.

I might have gotten some of the best gifts ever from the kids: Tobin built a Lego mini me, and placed me in my home office, complete with Luna on the desk, camera, books, and my favorite shoulder bag with the red strap. He had a little help from Sung though, who resourced the detailed pieces necessary.  Mika build a large, camera shaped candy tin, full of my favorite ginger candy. It has a flip-open top, glitter paint inside, and just about every washi tape imaginable on the outside. Such an awesome scuplture!

1 Comment | Category: Daily Musings, Lego, Photos

69°F/21°C on the Second Day of Winter

December 22nd, 2013 by ninja

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We couldn’t quite believe our eyes when we saw Sunday’s temperatures rise to almost 70°F – especially after the first little snow storm we had last week. Quickly, we turned our joke (“Beach Day!”) into reality, and went for a trip to Rockaway Beach. Out there, it is always cooler (windier?) than in the city, but the weather was still balmy enough to qualify for a North German Summer day ;-)

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Rise of the Mini(fig) Robots

December 20th, 2013 by ninja


Tobin has started to build a distinct new crop of home made Lego action figures, moving on from his flock of fighter birds to mini robots. As always, they interact with all the store bought Minifig folks…

1 Comment | Category: Daily Musings, Lego