Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Look Who's Visiting

Max and Rosco
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Rosco is the first grade Hebrew School teddy bear mascot. He visited us before at around Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah. Max brought him first and then he was sent back home with Rebecca. It was just sheer luck that we had a back to back visit.

We took pictures of Rosco having a bite of turkey on Thanksgiving, lighting candles, making challah, going to services, eating birthday cake and even going to Aunt Meryl's for a sleep over. Then it was time for the rest of the class to have fun with Rosco.

Well it turned out on Sunday that Rosco had visited all the families in Max and Rebecca's class. So we get to have Rosco one more time. Since we'll be having him for three weeks (we have no Hebrew class the next two weekends) I declared that Max and Rebecca would be sharing Rosco. Max would get him for the first week and half and Rebecca would take over for the second half.

My big goal for the next three weeks is to make sure Dell doesn't get a bit too friendly with Rosco.

Monday, March 30, 2009


No,not me. My roots run far too deep in the US to up and move to Israel, but a friend.

Larry has known Alissa from way back and I got to be friends with her as well. We had lost touch when she moved to Canada and only reconnected last spring. We were up north for a Bat Mitzvah, the parents are mutual friends and we were delighted to see Alissa and her (new to us) husband. We had a lovely time and over the course of the party found out that Alissa and her husband were biting the bullet and moving to Israel.

They were going to try and visit us last summer before the big move, but it never happened. Not long ago Larry found her on Facebook and I just discovered that she and her husband have a blog called n: a·li·yah.

It is a delightful site showing the experience of Aliyah for two North American Jews. I loved this post about snow skiing (really, there is snow in Israel!).

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Funny Bunny

bunny bread
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I was slicing up some challah for french toast when I noticed something interesting about the bread.

One of the slices looked exactly like a little bunny. It even had a cute little tail. The bubble doesn't quite match up with where the eye would be, but it's close enough.

Of course this didn't stop me from eating it, but I did take a picture.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Seriously Cool Train Set

A friend sent me the link to this and my jaw dropped.

All four kids loved it and at the end they practically said in unison "We have to go see that!"

We won't be going to Hamburg any time soon, but if we do you'll know where to find us.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Swirl of Action

Nate's picture
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The one thing I really love about digital cameras is that I no longer have to restrict myself or my children. We can take tons of pictures of anything that strikes our fancy.

For the most part we get some decent pictures and toss the truly terrible. Only the best get printed out.

But every now and then we get something utterly bizarre that is too good to toss. This picture is a good example. Nate was shooting pictures of the dogs wrestling. Most of them were blurry, but still recognizable. It was a case of a very active boy taking pictures of two very active dogs in low lighting conditions.

I deleted a handful and then I found this one. Nate was amazed and didn't believe me when I told him it was his. He had absolutely no idea what had happened of what he had been trying to photograph. I think the brown bit is a dachshund's flank, possibly be John. The rtest is a mystery.

We all thought it was pretty cool and that I should share it with the internets.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Artist of the Week: Pen and Ink

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Rebecca.

She is pictured here in her "Queen Ester" costume for Purim. That is pretty much her only costume. She loves wearing fancy dresses and what better excuse is there to dress up than being a queen? Even our Rabbi knows that Rebecca will be Queen Ester and she will be dressed to the nines.

The Meglliah reading was over when I got this candid picture. She had discarded her tiara at this point, but she still had her gragger. Noise making trumps beauty for this little girl.

She is in fact my feral princess. An absolute cutie with some of the most appalling manners. She is a work in progress and is improving, but she has a long way to go and especially in the morning. That said she has a very kind and loving heart.

Any way a few weeks ago I took her and Jake to a faculty Jazz recital at VCU. As part of Jake's band class he is required to attend three outside activities ie concerts.

all that jazz
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The students have a fair amount of leeway on what constitutes a legitimate event. It must on a professional level and if a rock concert, the artist has to be interviewed. With VCU practically in our backyard we have a huge selection of free events to chose from. Jake has shown a fondness for Jazz and VCU has an outstanding program so we had no trouble finding something enjoyable. Rebecca tagged along because she loves going out.

The itself concert was great, we all enjoyed the music. Rebecca did get a bit bored and asked of a piece of paper and pen. Curled up in her seat she started to draw in the dim light. She first drew a wonderful still life of instruments from the concert with a few notes to dress things up a bit. Going from left to right she made a drum set complete with two high hat cymbals, a double bass, another set of drums, and some sort of horn (possibly sax) floating above.

The details she provided are amazing. What further astounds me is she drew these during the concert when the house lights were off. She then went on to do some more drawings.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

My favorite one is what I call "the Mouser. "A rather happy looking tabby has a mouse by the tail. There is another creature in the foreground, I think it's a bunny, but don';t hold me to that.

It's a fairly simple line drawing. I love how she drew the pattern of the cat's coat, it really captures the essence of the mackerel tabby pattern. All it needs is the little M on the forehead.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's A Hoot

We are deep in the process of getting Jake ready for his Bar Mitzvah, so it was with a great deal enjoyment I read an article from our Rabbi about a group of women in their 90's celebrate their Bat Mitzvahs.

It's from the New York Times and you can find it here.

My favorite quote is:
“Most people in their 90s, they just eat their three meals a day and are happy to be alive,” Rabbi Kutner said. “I think this shows that at any age you can set a challenge and meet it.”

A challenge, perhaps, but not all the women see it quite that way. “My first thought was boy, what a hoot!” said Millie Danziger Fromet, 90.

They sound like a fun group of gals and a force to be reckoned with. As Ms. Agin said “You’re doggone right we’re feisty.”

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Apple Doesn't Fall Very Far

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Nate for the past year has been growing his hair. After the fiorst few disastrous attempts to shape his unruly mop we have settled on a mutually acceptable haircut. A cut, mind you, that I have been saying for quite some gives him a serious 70's vibe.

This weekend I got irrefutable proof that Nate is channeling the mid-seventies. Larry's mom sent us a mailer crammed with a huge number of photographs. There are pictures of long gone relatives, portraits of Larry's mom with her siblings and a few of Larry and his brother when they were much younger.

The one that made me laugh was Larry's fourth grade picture from 1975. It turns out at age 10 he had exactly the same haircut Nate has at age 10 in fourth grade. Their faces are different, but lord the similarities are striking.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Even better we got a picture of Larry with his baseball team. Larry's hair is a bit fluffier and his face a bit squarer, but you can see the resemblance. I think the expressions match better when I switch Nate's face between the baseball and the head shot comparisons, but you get the idea.

I think they are both unbelievably cute and I feel like I had contributed nothing at all to Nate's appearance. At least I have Jake and Max to console me, although Max looks more like my brother than me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday Bro

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Yesterday my not so little brother turned the big four oh. I don't know how it is with other siblings, but for me the landmark birthdays are far more significant when they happen to my brother. Most likely because I realize that I'm even older than that.

This year it'll be a double dose because not only is my brother turning 40 our mother will be 80.

So I'm posting a big hug for my brother. The picture is from 2002 and that's Nate giving his uncle a great big hug.

Happy birthday Jon!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Because we all need Heroes.

This is Icehouse's cover of the Bowie classic. I love Bowie, but this is even better.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Too Much To Do

Most school days are pretty quiet after the initial chaos of getting everyone out to the bus ends. I walk the dogs, mess about on the computer and, if needed, do a bit of food shopping. We have had a fairly good winter health wise so I haven't had too many days with someone staying home.

Then there are days like yesterday.

In the morning Max had a CF clinic check-up, he has them roughly every three months. It was his big annual appointment- blood draw, x-ray, the whole schmear. As an added bonus Jake also an orthodontist appointment in the afternoon. Both of these were in downtown Richmond.

Then to make it really fun we had a half-day at school (some sort of stupid staff development).

So I had to worry about either getting home in time to meet Rebecca at the bus or make sure Jake (who comes home a hour half earlier) was there to greet her. It got a bit hairy when Jake wasn't picking up the phone and I ended up calling Meryl. But he eventually did pick up when I was able to use my cell (I was at first calling from a hospital line and he did not recognize the caller ID) and all was well.

Then it was a sprint home with a hurried lunch and I then got to haul everyone back up to Richmond. Max had soccer practice at 5:30, so I tossed in cleats, shin guards, a pair of shorts, and a bottle of water. I'm glad I did that, because we were just able to make his practice.

Today was much nicer. All I had to do was go to the library and then I get to swap out some baseball uniforms. Just for fun I had lunch with the dynamic duo at school.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Artist of the Week: Aircraft Carrier

Great Grandma and Jake
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Jake, pictured here with his Great Grandma.

If I remember correctly this was taken in 2003 during Passover. It was a big deal for us to struggle down to Florida, but it was well worth the effort. Unfortunately she passed away not long after, but she got to meet all four of her American great grandchildren (the rest all live in Europe).

Jake has clear memories of visiting his Grandmother, Nate has some dim ones, and Max and Rebecca have essentially none (however they love the pictures we took of them with her and do recognize her).

Aircraft carrier
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
I love this picture, Jake is oh so cute and you can see the affection between the two of them.

Anyhoo, this post is about an aircraft carrier, specifically one built by Jake with Legos. He made it quite awhile ago and it has been parked in his room (much to the annoyance of his siblings). Without any help he was able to envision what he wanted and build it from scratch.

flight deck
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Nate had been bugging his brother to disassemble it and free up a large number of Legos. So we decided that I would take some pictures and then the ship would be taken apart.

It really was a very impressive creation. From the offset integrated island to the twin drive screws in the stern. Even Nate grudgingly admitted he like it once he got over his resentment over the number of Legos that had been used by Jake.

It's always interesting to see what they'll come up wiuth next.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cake of Resignation

Cake of Resignation
Originally uploaded by neiltron
I love Cake Wrecks and yesterday this gem popped up.

The cake itself is not a wreck per se, it's the fact that it was Neil's resignation letter.

If you click on the photo it will lead you over to his Flickr photostream and the text of the cake.

The man certainly has style.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Think I Need an Ark

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
We have had nothing but cold, cold rain the past four days. The kids are all getting squirrelly and I'm sick to death of it all.

In fact it has been so wet I've spotted a seahorse in our garage.

Don't you see it as plain as day?

It's from all the rain dripping off of Larry's car and collecting in a puddle beneath it. I saw it this morning while escorting the dynamic duo to the bus stop. They both agreed that it looked just like a seahorse and possibly a dragon as well.

It's amazing what you can find if you keep your eyes open.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Saturday was Pi day and Sunday was IEATAPETA (International Eat a Tasty Animal for peta day), a very food oriented sort of weekend.

For Pi day I picked up a stack of little pies for the kids and we had home made pizza pies for dinner. I could have made the little desert pies myself, but at less than a buck a pie and be able to have a different pie for each kid, store bought was the way to go.

It's a silly little thing, but I love pi day and letting my inner geek out.

IEATAPETA day was something started by Meryl a few years ago and is best explained by her. I loathe peta and I am very happy to go all carnivorous. For breakfast we had sausages, for lunch a delicious steak salad and we rounded out the day with tofu with hot meat sauce (it was going to be roast chicken, but it was still frozen).

And that was the excitement this cold wet and rainy weekend.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dancing with Jake and Rebecca

I looked out into the backyard yesterday and this is what I saw:

I love how Rebecca is having a great time dancing along with her brother. She'll never admit it, but she really does idolize him. She loves Nate and is happy to sit on the couch with him, Max is her eternal wrestling partner, but Jake is the one that captured her heart.

I guess sometimes you just have to dance and it's nice when someone dances with you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Now This is Snow

big snow
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
The news tonight was all in a tizzy over some predicted winter weather that should hit tonight and tomorrow. At most we'll get a trace amount of snow and more likely sleet.

There is in no way the same hysteria as with our last weather event, which admittedly was impressive for this area, but come on.

The picture I have here is from my mom's about 6 years ago. We got 3 feet of snow on Christmas eve. Talk about your white Xmas. It was a beautiful thing to watch the snow come down. My job was to keep the deck clear. I'm standing on the edge of the deck, right before the five or so steps down to the backyard. I had shoveled the snow off the deck and beyond the steps so you can see it really was a boat load of snow.

The amazing thing was we expected to be snowed in for a few days, but 24 hours later we were plowed out. Now that's is some serious snow removal.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Artist of the Week: Shapes

Nate and pups
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Nate, but not the puppies (although they are very cute).

I like this picture of Nate despite not being able to see most of his face. He wants o have long hair and it invariably flops over his eyes and covers a goodly portion of his face when he is looking down. However you can see his smile and such a sweet smile it is.

Nate loves dogs and puppies even more so. When he is out in the world and on his own I know he'll get a dog as soon as possible. I just can't imagine him not ever having a dog. He is very kind and gentle with the puppies when we go see them. At home I'll often find him stretched out on the floor holding Dell.

He can be such a gentle soul.

Rhombus planes
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
But sometimes he just has to be a boy.

He is fascinated by all things military. Most of his games and drawings center around war. So it was no surprise to me when he brought home this particular piece of art a few weeks ago.

The assignment was to create a picture by just using simple shapes. Nate created three fighter jets racing across a cloud filled sky with just rhombuses, hexagons and triangles.

The jets are exclusively made with rhombuses and the result very effectively captures the essence of the jet. I think it a pretty neat piece of art.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Purim!

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
And nothing says Purim like two dachshunds dressed as penguins!

Well sort of, but the kids are at school and I won't have time to post them in all their finery until tomorrow. This is what I have now.

Anyhoo, I think they are very cute with their little bow ties. I could have picked up some bunny costumes for them dirt cheap at Target last week, but it was just so wrong.

For crying out loud they EAT bunnies. Meryl really wanted me to buy them (ok the bunny ears were cute), but I resisted.

So break out your groggers, John and Dell have, and come celebrate Purim.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Aren't they cute?

Don't they look cozy?

Larry spotted them all cozied up on Wednesday, when it was still winter and mentioned to me that it would be a cute picture. I took the hint and the shot.

It was still cold out and the kids were inside watching a little tv and playing with their Nintedos. I think Nate was there first and Rebecca slipped next to him to watch him on his DS. We have a couple of throws in the room and the two of them are happily sharing one on the couch.

It really is a cute picture, thanks honey for the heads up.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This is just a pretty picture I took a few weeks ago up in Culpepper. It is another one of my drive by photos and I loved how it turned out.

The sun is blocked just enough by the tree branch to not overwhelm the photo. I could fuss over the underexposed foreground, but I think that would distract from the picture. It was late afternoon and the shadows were indeed lengthening.

I'm very minimalist in my photo editing. I mostly just crop, maybe straighten out the image, fix the tint and light balance, and once in a blue moon I will clean up a few imperfections.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Four Day Winter

snow lumps
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
So you remember those snowpeople I posted about way back when, I think it was yesterday.

Well they are now officially snow lumps.

It hit about 70 today and... well you can see the sad, sad result.

Winter lasted an intense four days, three of them being snow days. Pretty much all of the snow is gone except for in hidden corners and as the pathetic remains of snowmen.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Snow People

snow people
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar

All we had today was a two hour delay. So for four hours they were gone baby, gone!

It got up to the mid fifties and most of the now is gone, except our two snow people. And I have to say snow people because Rebecca wanted a snow lady and Max made a snow pirate. We made them yesterday afternoon because dagnabbit with this much snow we need to have snowmen.

It was a bit tricky because we had waited a bit too long, but we got creative. The traditional rolling snowballs did not work. Instead we used the big chunks of snow and ice created by the road grader. The end result was overall pretty good.

It'll be fun to see how long they will last in the 70 degree weather predicted this weekend.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Artist of the Week: Life Cycles

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is the very handsome Max.

Larry took this one and we both really like this picture. You get to see Max's blue eyes and how very handsome he is. It is one of the very few pictures we have of him facing the camera and not mugging. He is all boy here.

He looks good in this shirt. The combination of the red with navy blue sleeves is very becoming to our boy. His eyes, for a change, really pop out. And his hair, oh his hair, actually looks blond. When he is with his good friend Edward, who has very light almost white blond hair, Max's hair looks to be closer to chestnut than blond. It's only when he is with his siblings you can see how light his hair really is. As our pediatrician says, he is the white sheep of the family.

As for this week's art, it is an assignment Max brought home from school sometime last week.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
It is about life cycles and features the chicken and, Max's all time favorite, the sea turtle.

Going in a counter clockwise direction, you see an egg is laid, it hatches, and so on. The chicken goes from a small chick to its juvenile form onto the adult form and then the cycle continues.

The sea turtle life cycle was a sort of bonus from Max. He was only required to create one, but he decided he wanted to make a second one. Like the chicken there is an egg that hatches. From there it moves to a baby turtle moving along the beach to the sea, then young turtle grows to it's adult size where it too continues on.

I love his little illustrations. They are not as realistic as his sister's, instead they posses their own kind of charm. They are clearly recognizable and I was able to understand what the pictures are all about, without any explanation from Max.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

And So It Goes On

road grader
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As predicted we got plowed out today at a little after four, just under a day and a half from the end of the snow storm.

Mind you I had already been out once. The roads in our subdivision were a sloppy mess, with ridges of frozen snow and ice. Once out onto the main roads, it was smooth sailing.

Of course the best part was what was used to plow our road.

Yes Virginia, you can use a ROAD GRADER for snow and ice removal. It was so unwieldy it took over 10 minutes for the dang thing to turn around in our cul-de-sac. It was a symphony of back up beeps with the horrific grinding of the blade being dragged across the pavement.

Oh and for those keeping score at home, school has been canceled, yet again, for Wednesday. It's like the county wants us to home school or something.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow, Snow and More Snow

playing in the snow
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
We ended up with just over eight inches of snow.

The kids got to celebrate with homemade cinnamon rolls this morning before they tumbled outside. The thick white blanket weighed heavily on our trees and bushes. One fun side effect was the impromptu cave formed by the bent over branches on one bush. All four (along with two dogs!) could fit inside. You can just see Rebecca's little face peeking out as she waves to the camera.

Max and Rebecca only lasted about an hour, although Max swore he was out for about two and half hours. Jake and Nate were happily outside all morning long. They only came inside when they wanted lunch.

dog walk
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
In the afternoon Larry and I went out for a walk with the dogs.

The snow was a bit deep for the dogs, so we decided to forgo our usual route on the fire trails through the forest. Instead, we stuck to the roads around the house. As you can see the roads are unplowed, which really was not a big deal during our walk. The dogs had no problem trotting through the slush.

However, with the big freeze tonight, the roads will be hideous tomorrow. I really hate how it takes VDOT a day and a half after the end of a snow event to get to our neighborhood.

So instead, I'll think about how cute the dogs looked running about in the front yard.

I chucked some kibble into the snow to get them to move off the pathway. It always brings a smile to my face when I see them porpoising through the snow with tails wagging.

hidden treasure
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
As for this picture...

I thought it would be a nice spark of color and you would get to see that at least one of our daffodils survived.

The little cedar got bent over by the snowfall and happened to shelter the bloom. If you look closely you can see that the flower head too is also bent from its much smaller load of snow.

I couldn't find the flower I photographed Friday, it lies buried beneath the now. But come this weekend I'll be seeing more daffodils when all of the snow melts away.

However until then, I'll enjoy the sparkling beauty of our foray into winter.

Oh and the kids, they get another day off because of the bang-up job VDOT has done to clear the roads.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Snow Day?

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
If this keeps up, it very well looks like we just may get a snow day.

And the kids, they are very cautiously optimistic. The caution is from being burned one too many times by snowstorms that didn't pan out.


Just got the call from the school phone system:

County schools will be closed due to inclement weather on Monday, March 2.