Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sleeping And Eating

That is how the days are passing, here in the Collins house. Miriam is adjusting well to life on the outside. Mostly she is getting lots of snuggles, napping, and eating like a champ.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

big brother cuddles

Untitled by m0nk3yphd
Untitled, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

Zachary has been amazing with Miriam. He keeps sneaking up and giving her the gentlest of kisses on the cheek or forehead.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Welcome, Green Jello!

We made it through the first night! Miriam Edith is hale and hearty, and Sarah got the green jello she had been dreaming of.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Ok. I am overexcited."

Zachary declared that at dinner tonight, having with the enthusiasm of a viking warrior just sloshed grog (or water) all over himself.

Who can blame him. It is the last week of school. They have a field trip tomorrow. They had "Orange Santa" come today. Then a holiday party. Then pajama (half) day. Grandparents are arriving in waves.  The baby is coming Monday. THE INSANITY HAS REACHED FEVER PITCH.

This may explain yesterday's falling asleep on my lap like he hasn't done since he was a toddler. Or the fact that he's currently sneaking towards me disguised as an orange towel ghost.

We're a little overexcited. We'll let you know when we're back to our normally scheduled programming.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Boomerang on a sunny sunday.

Z is starting to get the hang of it.  The lack of wind really made it much harder to get it all the way back to us. It landed about 15 feet away, my closest was about 25 feet away.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Thinkery - Austin childrens museum

a) The new space is fantastic. Z and I went both days on opening weekend.
b) so many really really cool things to do; light art, stop motion movie making, and aeroplane ...

this involves picking parts, testing them in the wind tunnel and then loading their planes into the cannon winding up the large bowling ball to 14 feet (see the blue ball in the column in th background) and then pressing the launch button.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Last night

Eight chanukkiah for the last night! Each with candles (or oil) made for quite a heat wave in the house.
Z got to open the last of his presents and here is a ohmy! awesome surprised face.

Untitled by m0nk3yphd
Untitled, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

In other news the Boomarang he got the other day was a huge hit. And today when he tried it out he got it to go all the way across the street in a 40 ft arc.

Night six

night 6

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Birthday sack racing

A classmate's birthday in Mueller park.  We had Sack racing, sunflower seed spitting and an impromptu tug o'war.

Kids who are not allowed to spit really have no clue. Most of them got it 1 to 3 feet, Z averaging with 2'. Those in the know were hitting the 6 foot mark. Hysterical.

Biking is getting better ...

this time we didn't run out of steam, get tired and have a crash that knocked back his confidence (last two times out). Plus he got to see Oliver nextdoor crashing on purpose and laughing about it, and a bit of competition was good for Z too. The crazy noise at the end of the second video is a head on challenge from Oliver playing "chicken".

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sugar skull

The sugar skull finally made it home. Zachary has been telling us all about this since before Dia de Muertos! Mexican day of the dead. He made it in multicultural arts.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Z is having a traditional Halloween. He drew the pumpkin face for me to carve by copying his pumpkin candy bucket face. The amazing ghost costume is by Sarah.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

What is the etiquette for a second child?

A second blog? A new combined blog? OH GOD OH GOD WHAT WILL WE DO??

(Obviously panic about the important things. Obviously.)

Friday, October 11, 2013


What are the numbers for?

Birthday boy

Assembly at UT elementary is amazing. After the dance party revolution, they stand and pledge allegiance to the USA in English and Spanish. Then to Texas. And then comes the school song and the pledge to be a peace keeper. Plus there are birthdays......

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Making shelves

I'm trying to put some shelves in Zachary's closet. But block city has occurred.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sukkah in action

This is the first year we have managed to get a sukkah happening. Really, as you can see from the picture, Mark is the king of the sukkah.
Of course, this week we have rain predicted. We will hang our paper chain and gourds, and hope for the best. We need rain too badly for me to wish it away. Happy harvest!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

playdate with kindergarten classmates

Zachary had a great time with Noah and Felix from his class. It was great to see he has made friends so quickly.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kindergarten! The saga continues...

Week one, a success! Granted, it was only three days long, but the fact is everyone managed to mostly be where they were supposed to be, and back again. Zachary has concurred that a return on Monday is likely (and, he pointed out, required if he understood things correctly. Which he has).

PS? I want to go to kindergarten. It sounds kind of fantastic.

UT elementary has breakfast and lunch for the students. So far Zachary is only dabbling in lunch, although already I think figuring out the cafeteria is a bit brave. They've got a vegetarian option for the mains every day, which is beyond fantastic. And he's eating it. I will have to write Chef Mario a thank you note.

They also do two "specials" a day. They alternate - one day they have PE & multicultural arts, the next day they have STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and Wellness.  This week in wellness they dug up the garden to start planting in their plot, and in STEAM they had building stations (Tinker toys, legos, etc.). Did I mention it sounds like fun?

Zachary asked me on the second day when they would start "Real Math".  I asked what he meant. He said he didn't want patterns, and matching, and counting, but doing math with pencils and like that.

Heh. Soon enough, I suspect.

After his first day, I asked him what his favorite part of school had been. He had just stumbled bleary eyed into the car (the day is long - 7:30am-3:30pm, and clearly working hard to figure out all the new things.). "Nap time. I was *so* tired."


We'll see how long that lasts.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


DSC_0048 by m0nk3yphd
DSC_0048, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

Z's first day went well. He was zonked after school, but had lots of stories to tell us.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


I put four chess apps, on the iPad, Z spent an entire afternoon* glued to playing either me or the 'puter.

* except for the three hours he spent running around and in the pool at Connors birthday.


At the end of a playdate, with a kindergarten classmate we know, they ended up playing checkers. It was cute the rules are simple enough to follow without much parental supervision.  After his friends family left, Z expressed a desire to play chess. And forty minutes later I am writing to say I lost, although I was mostly playing myself which is quite challenging. Z really understood, protecting pieces, threatening pieces, and check. So he managed to concentrate for almost an hour and was starting to think at least a move or so ahead. And he could see the moves I might choose, I think we need to this more often, it was super fun.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bits and Bobs

I'm currently under threat to write a blog post or else.

I don't know what the or else is. Probably Mark will hide the ice cream, which frankly seems inhumane.

Zachary is barreling towards Kindergarten. He starts school in just under a month, which is completely mind boggling. But as I watch him it is clear he is incredibly ready. He's reading a smidgen, and writing (backwards) a lot. But he's also totally grown into his body, which is awesome. Swim lessons are hysterical. He might try the swim test tomorrow (which I think means he could be in the pool without getting yelled at? It is so hard to know...) but he's starting to get the hang of breathing, rather than gasping.

In other news, he is also exploiting language to the max. It is pretty fun to watch. He correctly segued in the middle of a conversation Monday. Especially funny because he was TOTALLY rude about wanting a snack. I called him on it, and we talked about other ways to handle it. And then he goes "Talking of rude, (my friend) did XX today in class."

Well, there you go. I guess he's paying attention some of the time.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It doesn't rain here very often! So here was a chance for Z to use his umbrella and enjoy the spectacle.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 4th 2013

IMAG0643 by m0nk3yphd
IMAG0643, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

We went to a baseball game and afterwards enjoyed fireworks with a very patriotic mashup. And this weekend, we had sparklers before bed.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Texas Fight, #SB5

Our whole family was out in support of Wendy Davis, and the other hard working democrate Senators at the Capitol building.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Kiln night!

Eric (nextdoor) is a potter and has built a wood fired down draught kiln in their backyard. On Thursday morning he fired it. We visited in the morning, before dinner and again before bed. Here is Zachary all relaxed, watching the logs burn in his PJs. He (and I) were totally fascinated by the process.


With the glow of the kiln and the flames shooting out the chimney, and an almost full moon it was really quite spectacular.


One of the wonderful things was the kiln was so hot it actually made the Texas evening air feel less than the 90F it was.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Barton Springs

Zachary and I had a great Fathers day. We ran a bunch of errands and then cooled off at Barton Springs pool. A weird swimming pool, river hybrid, but it works out well. Z and I saw a couple of ten inch and one 16 inch fish down in the depths of the clear cool water. Completely changing the subject, after dinner tonight. Z said out of the blue "lets surprise Mum when she gets home. Lets tidy up the house really good and we'll be nice to each other. won't that be a great surprise" why yes, it would be amazing.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Best finds - rock pooling

DSC_0201 by m0nk3yphd
DSC_0201, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

Crab, Prawn, two Fish, Sand Eel, Starfish, Hermit Crab

Lamorna harbor wall

DSC_0252 by m0nk3yphd
DSC_0252, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

In the Pink forest

DSC_0557 by m0nk3yphd
DSC_0557, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

We return after a successful trip to England.
So many stories and no way to upload photos from the ipad. But now all the pics are up, Aswell JMI and the springs, Helen and Ross, Tim and Lucia, Cousin Peter, Penzance with Granny and Grandpa, rock pooling ( a theme through out our trip), Lands End, Paradise Park, Lamorna (because he loves the song), and culminating in the Sims wedding. What fun.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Dalek for sale

Dalek for sale by m0nk3yphd
Dalek for sale, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.
Also note the prefect badge holding up a Victorian dress medal (Kabul 1842). Thank you uncle Simon. The crazy lump on his is to stop the three day old shrunken balloon from blowing off.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Ignoring the video, just listen! This is the state we call drunk tired.
Z "...to walk are winding .... what does winding mean?"
S "it means doing this" Sarah indicates with hands M "twisty turny ........ there are..."
Z "many things that I would Like to say to you But I don't know how Because maybe You're gonna be    the one that saves me And after all You're my wonderwall .... what does wonderwall mean, what does wond?"

as promised

Monday, May 13, 2013


Swimming and now biking, Zachary is just racking up new skills. He was motivated because Tavi next door just learned how to ride without training wheels .
Z and I went on a ride to a quite street and then I took off the stabilizers.  I held the back of the seat and zoom off he went, a super speed. But as he got better at the balance, he slowed down and didn't need me sprinting along side him.  It was an awesome day (certainly a mothersday to remember) and we celebrated both with icee's.

Video to follow.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


With the abundance of hotel pools, Zachary went swimming each day of our trip. He is now swimming on his own!  It little looks like a cross between doggy paddle and slow drowning.  But even though it is inefficient it get him there and under his own steam, for which he is very proud and happy. He started out swimming the width of the lap pool, just two or three yards, and by the time we left Toronto he could go from one end to the other (14 metres).
Next we'll be working on closing his mouth, so he doesn't fill it with water every time he goes under.

Tagged out at second base

DSC_0177 by m0nk3yphd
DSC_0177, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

Go Z

Friday, May 3, 2013

An Artist

Every time someone has asked Z what he wants to be for the last six months or more the answer has consistently been an artist.

While visiting Toronto for the wedding, we stopped by the Art Gallery of Ontario.  The build was designed by Frank Gehry. He got to play on the Henry Moore, and see his large collection sketches, models and statues on display. He also enjoyed the storm room, a modern sound/experience piece, as well as a number of other sculptures and paintings.

henry moore with Z #3

Holding hands

At Kyoung and Kenny's wedding there were a handful of kids, around Z's age and all girls.

And with the excitement of the wedding there was a lot of imaginative play involving weddings, brides and grooms. No surprise, Z (the only boy) was picked to groom and may now be a serial bigamist.

During the best person speeches I went over to keep the kids from being too rowdy and raucous. There was a castle like structure in the corner of the hall with stairs and windows. It was far to echo-y but very fun, and for I few minutes I sat listening to Sarah, Brian and others.

I glanced over to see Zachary and one of the girls sitting on chairs like a king and queen. Another girl was talking and seeing to the royal couples needs, while two more girls were dancing for them. Then the servant turned to watch the dancers, and there was a quick moment of privacy. The little girl nudged Zachary's thigh with her hand palm up. He glanced down and went back to watching the dancers. She nudged again, and left her hand for a second in his lap. He looked down again, then at her and slided his hand into hers, and they sat holding hands. Adorable.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wedding in Toronto

DSC_0177 by m0nk3yphd
DSC_0177, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.
The three of us  (all matching!!) had a great time at the Kenny and Kyoung-Yim's wedding and in Niagra. More pictures (only 4 up for now) and stories to follow ...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

warm up

DSC_0116 by m0nk3yphd
DSC_0116, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

looks like a pro streching but really just waiting patently to bat.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pajama day

Pajama day by m0nk3yphd
Pajama day, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

with leg warms to fend off the sudden cold front.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Team pride day

Team pride day by m0nk3yphd
Team pride day, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.
Missed a photo of Tuesdays silly sock day, but really odd socks aren't as exciting as team pride. Z is sporting his tigers uniform, Y teeball cap and his handknit "giants" scarf.
Wednesday, was an ice cream afternoon treat.  Z told us his teacher was funny, Ms Jessica said "I have a silly question, would you like more ice cream?" of course they all did and so he ate almost no dinner, as his belly was full because he'd had two tubs!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Crazy hair day

Crazy hair day by m0nk3yphd
Crazy hair day, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.
For week of the young child (April 14-20) daycare has something everyday.

Today = crazy hair day

So Z went to daycare with awesome spikes. Helped in part by his sudden angelic behavior, he was super cooperative and helpful all weekend, earning him a prize this morning. It just makes life quicker and easier. He was dressed and eating breakfast before I even had a chance to get in the shower. And that gives us extra time to do fun things like coat his hair in gel and blow dry it into the work of art you see before you.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hi Zachary!

Welcome, from the telescope! It is 4am, and hopefully you are sound asleep. We're working hard, and having fun.  Some people up here even saw a mountain lion yesterday! Love you.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When you joke about the internet

Clearly we brought it on ourselves.

Pretty much every day when we get home Zachary yells "DO I HAVE A PACKAGE?!?!"

The answer to this question is inevitably no, like 90% of the time. It is not his birthday, it is not a gifting holiday. It is APRIL.

So late last week he cried out as we parked the car. And I quite exasperatedly started to shut him down. Except there was a package on the doorstep. An *unexpected* package on the doorstep. That Zachary was unsurprised about (although we'll just put that up to his five year old optimism that if he HOPES hard enough, the universe will warp to his will. Which is usually right so...)

Me - "Zachary, are you buying stuff from Ebay?"
Z - "Yup. I got up while you were sleeping and used the computer to BUY THINGS!"

Apparently sarcasm has transferred generations adequately. I believe our job here is done.

He ran to the package, scooped it up and shrieked "IT IS FOR ME AND FOR DADDY!" Of course it is. How could I even doubt?

We went climbing down in the greenbelt. Zachary is getting braver all the time. Ironically, braver without his harness on. Something about the straps make him wildly cautious, but he'll boulder way up high with just his boots on.

coming soon ...

DSC_0277 by m0nk3yphd
DSC_0277, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.

Sarah has a few really funny stories to jot down here. In the meantime, cuteness to tide you over.
We had a super awesome weekend, with Tee Ball (more pics are up), vegfest (a vegetarian extravaganza), and Kieran's 3rd Birthday party.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

zachary joke

Knock Knock
Who's there?
Banana pants
Banana pants who?
liar liar pants on fire

Friday, March 29, 2013


In the car to daycare, Z started to count. He went from one to one hundred, with me only prompting a little.
"38, 39...."
"what comes after 3"
quietly under breath "1,2,3,4"
"40, 41, 42 --- 48, 49......"
"what comes after 4"
quietly under breath "1,2,3,4,5"
"50, 51, 52 --- 58, 59" then quietly under breath "1,2,3,4,5,6", then "60, 61 ---"
He went the rest of the way on his own. and got to 100 as I was pulling into the parking lot.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Puzzle persistence

Puzzle persistence by m0nk3yphd
Puzzle persistence, a photo by m0nk3yphd on Flickr.
Neither of these puzzles are easy, but Zachary logical tried each piece in turn, both directions until the Matzah on the right was finished. I was impressed with the patience he displayed.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tooth numero 2

Last Thursday, Zachary, had a loose tooth, an extremely loose tooth.  So loose that he pushed it 90 degrees and we could see the little hollow root. It fell out at school. Which makes for a first for him, out of only two. And he proudly got to give it to his teacher to look after for the day, just like Ramona in one of Beverly Cleary's stories.

It turns out it fell out during his speech therapy session, so a first for Ms. Terri too!  She wasn't traumatized, and told me this morning it had just pop out during his mouth exercises. Hitting the floor with a tinkle tinkle, and a gasp from both of them!