Archive for the '99. Two kids – Jan-Dec 18' Category

Zoe’s bat mitzvah, part I

Saturday, December 14th, 2019

After big events or trips, my dad would often comment that it was almost like a dream – that is, the big day (or days) came and went so quickly that it felt like perhaps it never really happened. I feel a bit like that with Zoe’s bat mitzvah – it was such a special day, and one that we planned for and looked forward to for so long – that it really was almost like a dream! Luckily we have lots of photos to remind us it really happened…


Family week!

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

It’s a big week for us! The first wave of bat mitzvah company arrived on Zoe’s birthday, with the arrival of Sandy and Cas; they spent a few days with us, and Aimee and her family came next. The girls are having a blast with their cousins: They took them to a Warriors game (where Tanner scored a Steph Curry signature!) on Monday night, and the next day they all went to school together. More family (and photos) coming soon…



Monday, December 24th, 2018

Friday was the girls’ last day of school before vacation. I asked Avery – who was nibbling a snowman cookie I got her as a treat and was still wearing pajamas from Brandeis’ traditional pre-break PJ-and-pancake day – for a pic, and she made me laugh by saying, “Put it on Insta and call it Hashtag Winter Break.”

We’re all definitely in need of vacation – well, except perhaps for Zoe, who always gets bummed when there’s no school – and not working and spending uninterrupted family time sounds pretty perfect right now. I’ll be taking a blogging break for a few weeks, but I’ll have lots to share when I’m back.


More on grieving

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Three months after my last post on grief, things feel somewhat the same. There are ups and downs: days when I’m feeling relatively good and strong and others when I’m still in disbelief and unable to think about living the rest of my life without my parents around. We’re in the middle of a tough stretch, with Thanksgiving, my mom’s birthday and (now) Christmas within a four-week period; and my work has also been incredibly busy, which hasn’t helped. I’ve come to discover that work stress plus grief aren’t a good mix for me.

Still, the good days are slowly starting to outweigh the bad ones, I think, and my sister and I can do things that we weren’t able to four or five months ago. (She moved into their house at the end of October and is settling in, and we just took care of the last of some financial things.) Q and the girls continue to help me out when I’m having bad moments or days – Zoe and Avery are always there with a hug and an “Are you okay, Mommy?” – and enough sweet things happen that propel me forward.

One such thing: A few weeks ago, Zoe was in the kitchen when we heard a loud noise. Avery went to investigate and reported back to me that I shouldn’t worry, Zoe had only dropped a bunch of (plastic) cups. “And it’s a good thing, Mommy,’ she told me. “When I was talking to Grandma and Grandpa in the shower I had asked them to send me a sign if they could hear me – something like cups dropping.” Somewhat surprised, I asked if she talked to them a lot and she said yes, usually in the shower and about “normal stuff.” Later, I asked if she really thought the cups were from Grandma and Grandpa and she looked at me and said, “Obviously.”


Maddie B the Mix

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

As mentioned before, Maddie’s transition into our family has been pretty seamless. Almost six months after we brought her home, she remains super chill and sweet; she has a few spurts of activity throughout the day but otherwise mostly lounges around and cuddles with us.

Instagram is my social channel of choice these days and as a fun little project we started an account for Maddie, too. Her handle is maddie.b.the.mix – follow along!


Learning about the first people of California

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

For the last few months Avery has worked hard on a social studies project on the first people of California, and she and her classmates presented their work to families last week. (Avery’s focus was the homes of the Chumash people.) From the school newsletter:

“Students worked in groups to study a tribal nation indigenous to one of the regions of California,” explains teacher Valerie Welsh. “The student-driven projects integrated science and the overarching theme of systems.” Within each region of California—desert, central coast, southern coast, central valley, and mountains—students selected a tribal nation to research and then each student selected an area of focus, including homes and dwellings, food, tools and technology, and ceremonies and customs. Then, as a group, students worked together to share information about native plants and birds and to create a mural.

Adds Ms. Welsh, “We strive to use an inquiry-based approach like this cultural center in all subject areas, as students are better able to construct meaning about the world and their place in it. The students presented their information with confidence and excitement.”


Weekend adventure

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

Speaking of Maddie, we took her on a little adventure with us over the weekend. Our original plan – to go on a hike at a spot my mom liked, in honor of her birthday – was thwarted when we saw a “No Dogs Allowed” sign. So we kept driving south and wound up stopping at a charming little dog-friendly restaurant in the middle of nowhere and then hitting some nearby parks.

I had been feeling sad about my mom’s birthday and her not being here to celebrate, and I was a bit disappointed things hadn’t gone as planned that day. But when the waitress told us the dessert options after our meal, I perked up: We ended the meal with a piece of cherry pie – my mom’s favorite.


A typical afternoon

Sunday, December 16th, 2018

This is a pretty common after-school sight these days: the girls relaxing or reading alongside Maddie.


Snowy fun in West Portal

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

The end of Hanukkah coincided with a neighborhood tradition: a winter festival and a mound of “snow” in the middle of West Portal. Like in years past, the girls stomped around and threw a few snowballs; Maddie (who I’m not sure has ever seen the real stuff) was less amused.


Hanukkah time

Friday, December 7th, 2018

It feels like Hanukkah came early this year; we were just catching our breath after the bat mitzvah, Thanksgiving and Zoe’s birthday when it began. Still, we were ready – and among the early holiday highlights were having friends over to light candles; going to a friend’s house for latkes and making sufganiyot from scratch.


Pine Lake with Maddie and the girls

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018

On a recent Saturday, before the fires and before the weather started to cool, I took Maddie and the girls to a new spot: Pine Lake and an accompanying dog park in nearby Stern Grove.


Zoe’s birthday, part II

Sunday, December 2nd, 2018

Zoe had a sleepover this weekend  to keep her birthday celebration going. Below, a few pics…


“Feels like summer break”

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

Yesterday, the girls found themselves at a place they haven’t been to much lately: school! Between our trip to DC, school closures due to the terrible air quality and the Thanksgiving break, the girls have had a total two days of school in the last three weeks. Their time off seemed so long that Avery commented to me last week, “It feels like it’s summer break!”

I, of course, loved having them around. Yes, they did get a bit stir-crazy at times (especially on those days when we couldn’t leave the house) and have been bickering more than usual, but with them home it felt like every day was a Saturday or Sunday. And I found myself feeling lonely when I telecommuted (in a very quiet house) yesterday.

Oh, well – the winter break will be here before we know it!


Zoe’s birthday

Sunday, November 25th, 2018

This year Zoe’s birthday fell the day after Thanksgiving, and she wanted to celebrate in a very Zoe way: by putting on a school and teaching some of her friends. And so, after spending several days lesson-planning, Zoe put on classes in science, math, reading and Jewish studies. Also included: recess (which involved walking Maddie in the rain) and birthday donuts.


Happy Birthday, Zoe!

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Another Thanksgiving, another birthday for Zoe… Here she is at 12!