Posing and playing

August 28th, 2016

A few photos now from our recent trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to – yet again – find the sun. (The first is my new favorite of the girls.)


girls posing

girls at playground

girls and Mommy at Terrapin Crossroads

Seven-year update (a little late)

August 27th, 2016

Avery jumping2

Like last year, I’m a bit late to this update – but this time around I blame the craziness of school ending, getting ready for our big trip, the trip itself, and then re-entry… Here now, though, is a glance at Avery at seven.

Personality: For many years now I’ve noted that Avery’s at-home (big, silly, fun, even sassy) personality differs from her outside one. Now, though, that gap seems to have have gotten smaller; though she is still generally quiet and studious in class, she is much more herself now during non-class time at school and around outsiders. At camp this summer, she had no problem going up to other kids and making new friends; I was especially impressed during those weeks where she knew no one but still had fun. (Each week she would come home with the name of a new friend.) At home, she can be whiny and she can fight with her sister at times – but overall she’s a good-natured, and sweet, kid.

Interests: Like in the past, Avery likes playing pretend (restaurant, doctor’s office, etc.) with her sister, but these days she’s even more into playing with Barbies, her (new) American Girl doll Chloe, and her stuffies; and building Lego Friends sets. Though we limit screen-time, she’s fond of playing games on her tablet and she’s very into watching Lego Friends shows on YouTube. When we’re out and about, as I mentioned in last year’s update, she’s prone to stop and pick up or admire little flowers on the ground – she’s constantly running up to me, saying, “Here, Mama!” and handing me little petals. More than other kids I know, Avery is also very into just being – if I’m relaxing on the couch, she’ll come jump on me and just sit and talk… She doesn’t always have to be doing something – she often just likes being around people.

School life: Avery was a big fan of her first-grade teacher – taking to heart much of what she learned from her – and of her class overall. (Learning about chicks and ducks was a particularly big hit.) She had so many big accomplishments at the end of the school year: leading and singing in an all-school prayer service and performing in a class opera and a play with her after-school drama class. If you ask Avery if she likes school her answer is sometimes no, but all the reports and photos sent home to us indicate otherwise! Though her first choice of activity doesn’t involve grabbing a book, she’s reading at the appropriate grade level and she has shown a recent increased interest in books. In terms of her social life, she has a lot of little friends and has navigated towards girls with big personalities; nothing makes me happier than watching them goof off and laugh together.

Other stuff: She’s up to 58 pounds and 51 inches. (Perhaps of interest: that’s the same height, and about the same weight, as Zoe at this age!)… She has lost four teeth, with her top two adult ones still growing in… She still sleeps every night with her beloved “finger blanket”… She got glasses for an astigmatism at the beginning of first grade and has only recently begin wearing them all the time… She still takes swim class but she can finally be considered a full-fledged swimmer… The photo above, taken by a dad of one her classmates, perfectly captures Avery at seven!


Family time!

August 26th, 2016

There’s been a lot of family-related activity here over the last week. Before school started, we were treated to a visit from Safta, a surprise visit from Pop Pop, and then some much-needed cousin time when Dan and Jenny came up from LA to celebrate Isaac’s fourth birthday. Isaac’s party obviously made a big impression on Avery; when asked on the first day of school to share on paper what she did over the summer, Avery didn’t mention Israel, Italy, Wisconsin or any of her camps, but instead wrote that she went to a swimming party with her cousin Isaac.


Avery and Pop Pop

girls and Isaac2

girls and Isaac

“Second grade is so much fun”

August 25th, 2016

Per tradition, I captured the girls’ thoughts on school the night before their first day. As you’ll see, Avery was excited but also a bit unhappy that her friend Liza wasn’t in her class this year. Turns out she shouldn’t have worried about not seeing Liza (shown to the left in the photo below): During these first few days, Avery has gotten to spend time with her friend before and after school and at recess.

As for Avery’s post-first-day thoughts, she said that the day “flew by.” And she informed me last night: “Second grade is so much fun.” (Music to my ears.)


Avery and friends on first day of school

Back to school!

August 24th, 2016

It’s that time of year again! Yesterday was the girls’ first day of school. Hello, second and fourth grades!


girls on first day of school

girls on first day of school2

Avery in class

Last pic of summer

August 22nd, 2016

This summer went faster than any ones in recent memory; the girls are back to school tomorrow. Given where they spent their last week of break I thought this was an appropriate spot for one last summer pic.


girls at zoo

Furry friends

August 20th, 2016

The girls spent their last week of summer at zoo camp, where they – yet again – came up close and personal with a variety of animals. Among those that Avery got to meet: Grace the Virginia opossum and (even better!) Cynthia the koala.


Avery at zoo camp

Avery and koala at zoo camp

Why we need a dog (according to Avery)

August 18th, 2016

The girls (and Q!) have been asking for a dog for some time now. In an effort to convince me why we need one, Avery told me the other night, “A dog would take away some of your chores. You know how we vacuum when there are things on the floor? He could just vacuum with his tongue!”


Sunny Saturday, part II

August 16th, 2016

I don’t think I’ve met a kid who likes to read as much as Zoe. So it wasn’t surprising (though definitely classic) when she took a breather at the playground by curling up with a book…



Zoe reading

Sunny Saturday

August 15th, 2016

When the temperatures dip low in the summer here, we like to head north, east or south on the weekends. Larkspur, a little town in Marin County, was our recent destination; there, the girls played around and soaked up the sun.


Avery at playground

Zoe posing


August 13th, 2016

For the past week, we’ve been turtle-sitting Yertle, one of the second-grade classroom’s pet. Avery was pretty small the first time we took care of him, but she’s older and more into him now; here was the scene in the girls’ bedroom the other night…


Avery watching Yertle


August 12th, 2016

Last weekend Zoe had a friend over for a sleepover. As we headed to camp that morning, she and her sister were excitedly talking in the backseat about it when I heard:

A: “What do and Dana want for breakfast? I can bring it down to you.”

Z, after a pause: “That is so sweet, Avery.”

(I agree!)


A new Harry Potter

August 11th, 2016

Zoe, as most people know, is a huge Harry Potter fan. So she was quite excited about the recent release of the new Harry Potter book, and more excited about a release party being held at our local bookstore that day. We met up with friends and goofed around there, and the next day she dove into the book.

And her assessment of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which she said wasn’t quite what she expected? “I like it, just not as much as the other ones.”


Zoe at Harry Potter party

Zoe at Harry Potter party2

Zoe’s thoughts on zoo camp

August 9th, 2016

The girls got right back in the swing of our summer routine by returning to zoo camp after our trip. They do fewer projects and artwork at this camp than at some others, but they clearly don’t mind. As Zoe told me in a serious tone one day, “We don’t bring home bags full of stuff from camp; what we bring home is knowledge…”


Birthday by the beach

August 7th, 2016

I shared a lot of photos of our trip, but now it’s time to rewind and cover some of the things we’ve done since our return. One of the highlights was my birthday, which was two days after we got home. It wasn’t ideal timing – I was still jet lagged and recovering from a stomach bug, but Q and the girls had several things planned. The family surprised me with some morning birthday cake and a spa set-up downstairs; Zoe’s massage relaxed me so much that I wind up taking a two-hour nap. Then we headed south for a little break from the city: We stopped in Pacifica at a coffee place I’ve always wanted to try and strolled along an ocean pier before the girls treated me to a birthday cupcake at one of our favorite cafes in the little beach town of Montara. It wasn’t much warmer there than it was in San Francisco, but we still had a sweet afternoon.



girls by water

Mommy and Avery strolling

girls and Mommy on her birthday