“You didn’t have to follow me”

October 20th, 2017

Speaking of the girls getting bigger (and how they’ll soon grow out of certain activities), they scolded me at dinner last night about that morning’s drop-off. They had both run ahead of me when we walked into school, and I stopped by each of their classrooms to say good-bye before taking off. This, I was told, was not cool – and not something done by other parents.

“You didn’t have to follow me,” complained Avery. “I mean, it’s okay to walk me into the classroom but not to come in after me.” And though I just popped my head into Zoe’s class (I didn’t even walk in!) she found it “embarrassing.”



Too big

October 18th, 2017

During our recent visit to the pumpkin patch, I tried getting a photo of the girls in one of the hay maze openings.  Turns out they’ve grown too big to both fit – but they had fun trying.


Morning at the pumpkin patch

October 17th, 2017

Since the fires up north, we’ve all been paying attention to the air quality index and planning our activities accordingly. During a recent yellow (“acceptable”) air quality moment the other morning, the girls and I slipped away to take our annual trip to a nearby pumpkin patch – and we practically had the whole place to ourselves.

It occurred to me while there, as it did last year, that we might not have many years of this left. Pretty soon, I suspect, visiting patches or Halloween-themed spots, picking out little pumpkins and posing for photos for her mom will be the last thing Zoe (or Avery) wants to do. But for now, I’ll savor our adventures!


Role reversal

October 15th, 2017

I don’t often do “dramatic play” with the girls – it’s not really my thing – but the other night I felt inspired and wound up playing “baby” with the girls. For a good 20 minutes I played the role of a toddler who was comforted and held and put to bed by Mommy (Avery) and Auntie (Zoe). It was so sweet to watch Avery’s little face pressed up against mine as she softly sang “Light a candle for peace” and “99 bottles of beer” (the latter which I sometimes sang to the girls when they were little) and helped get me to sleep. And I must have played my role well, too, because I heard her tell Q, “We’re playing baby with mom, and she’s really realistic.”


The fires

October 13th, 2017

It’s been a bit of an odd week here, due to the fires I mentioned below. They started last Sunday, a day after we got home from Wine Country, and they’ve been wreaking havoc ever since. And we’re not unaffected: We have many friends with relatives or homes in Sonoma or Napa Counties, and – depending on the direction of the winds – the smoke has made its way to the city several different days, limiting our outdoor activities. (Avery’s soccer practice and game were cancelled, as were Zoe’s cross-country practice and meet – and neither girl had outdoor recess or PE all week.) We’re also planning a quiet (inside) weekend at home, while we would normally be at a pumpkin patch or at some outdoor fall-themed event.

We’re only facing minor inconveniences, of course, and my heart goes out to all the people who have lost their homes or loved ones. It feels surreal to be close to something so tragic, and it’s hard not to feel helpless when following the news. Everyone is just hoping and praying that the winds will slow and the fires will finally get under control.


Pumpkin patch time, part II

October 11th, 2017

More photos from our first patch of the year, which we visited with friends last weekend. (Though this particular town – Petaluma – is okay so far, it’s right around all the terrible fires in Sonoma and Napa Counties, and we’re all just sick over what’s happening.)


Pumpkin patch time!

October 9th, 2017

As most readers know, we (okay, I) love a good pumpkin patch. We visited our first one of the season on Saturday.



October 8th, 2017

Our friends have a large garden in the back of their Sonoma house with lots of fruits and veggies – grapes, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. – to pick. Avery was particularly fond of the small green apples she got to collect and at one point told me, “I love having a farm in the backyard.”


Splashin’ around in Sonoma

October 7th, 2017

The girls had off school on Thursday and Friday so good friends invited us to their family home in Sonoma. It was an amazingly relaxing time, with the girls swimming, making and throwing water balloons, and playing other games outside. (As for the adults, we just hung out, and even got some shopping in.) After a crazy few weeks of work, it was exactly what I needed, too!


All about Avery

October 5th, 2017

As a getting-to-know-you exercise, Avery’s new teachers asked the third-graders to write little books containing facts about themselves. Avery brought hers home yesterday, and here’s what I read in hers:

I have a sister named Zoe
I love swimming
I like to visit Israel
I like playing soccer
I love to play Minecraft
I love to read

Sounds about right…


Go, Lions

October 3rd, 2017

Brandeis hosted this week’s cross-country meet, and Avery and I got to go and cheer on all the runners. Below, a photo of the group.


At the lake

October 1st, 2017

In honor of the new year, Avery’s class recently walked to nearby Lake Merced to do tashlich; along the way they collected and removed garbage bags full of trash.


After school fun

September 28th, 2017

School pick ups aren’t generally my favorite time of the day: Though I’m always happy to see the girls, I’m often also kind of tired from work or the day’s events. But yesterday’s pick up was particularly fun, with Avery and her friends performing “Hamilton” songs while we waited for Zoe to get back from cross country practice, and then Zoe joining the three girls for an adorable group hug.


Run, Zoe, run!

September 26th, 2017

Speaking of cross country, here’s a peek of Zoe at her second meet. And it was a good one: She was the 12th girl (and first 5th grader) to finish.


Big stuff for Zoe

September 23rd, 2017

The beginning of the school year has been particularly eventful for Zoe. She joined the cross-country team (though she has been part of the school’s running group, this is her first official school sport) and she became part of the school’s youth mentoring board. She had to apply for the latter position, which involves weekly meetings with 11 other students. As described in the school’s newsletter:

The Brandeis Youth Mentoring Board officially launched this fall as part of the Brandeis mentorship program that began in the fall of 2016. This youth board consists of students in fifth through eighth grades who, says Dean of Student Life Sharona Israeli-Roth, “want to support and make a difference in the mentorship program by actively helping to create mentoring activities and serving as leaders to the rest of our student-mentors.” This Brandeis Youth Mentoring Board will work to make the mentorship program meaningful for the entire student community. Students interested in participating on the youth board were asked to complete an application that included the questions “Why are you interested in joining?” “What do you hope to gain from your involvement?” and “What are some of your ideas for the mentoring program?”

“We were so impressed with the many students who applied to be part of the board,” adds Ms. Israeli-Roth. “Because of how many applications we received, we decided to select three representatives from each grade.”

As Zoe wrote in her application, she loves working with little kids and she has a lot of ideas for ways to improve the mentoring program. She was super excited to be chosen.