Back to the track

January 15th, 2018

Dating back to when Zoe was a baby, we’ve gone to the race track to celebrate Q’s birthday. We went again last week; here are a few pics.

-M

Boys

January 13th, 2018

Avery, at the age of eight, has made an important discovery about the opposite sex.

“You know what’s really annoying?” she asked me after school yesterday. “Boys.” And, after a pause (but without explanation), “boys this age are so immature.”

I had to smile.

-M

Landmark project

January 11th, 2018

As mentioned earlier, Avery has been hard at work on her landmark project. (Before winter break she was assigned and asked to prepare a poster-board presentation on a San Francisco spot; hers is the Ferry Building.) She recently finished and posed proudly for her dad.

-M

Party ready

January 9th, 2018

Last weekend, Zoe and a few friends attended the bat mitzvah of a classmate’s sister. It’s the first of many in their future (in seventh grade there’s a bat or bar mitzvah practically every weekend), and I loved seeing them all dressed up – and looking so big.

-M

Hawaii, then & now

January 7th, 2018

Two last things from Hawaii (I promise!): A family shot we took on another favorite spot on the island – compared to the same shot two years ago.

-M

Aloha, part V

January 5th, 2018

Our last batch of trip photos come from our last days on the Island. On Christmas Day, we hopped in the car and went on an 11-hour road trip around the island. Among our stops: a coffee farm/museum (one of the few businesses open), a black sand beach and the volcano national park. And the following day, spent at a new hotel, was all about lounging around and looking at beautiful things. (What better things to do on a vacation?)

-M

Aloha, part IV

January 3rd, 2018

One of our favorite spots on the Big Island — both to hang out and snorkel — is right outside the Mauni Lani Beach Club. Q and I first discovered it when we took our anniversary trip there a few years ago and were excited to show the girls the following year. And we went back again…

-M

Happy 2018!

January 1st, 2018

A quick post to say: Happy New Year! 2017 wasn’t the best year (for a variety of reasons), but here’s hoping for a happier, healthier 2018.

-M

Aloha, part III

December 30th, 2017

With clearer skies, we jumped on a snorkeling cruise on our second full day in Hawaii. We were joined by several families from the girls’ school that were also vacationing on the island, and by yellow tang. Many, many yellow tang!

-M

Aloha, part II

December 29th, 2017

When we stepped off the plane in Hawaii last Wednesday, it was raining – a real rarity for this time of year. But we didn’t let the wet weather (or the clouds the next day) get to us: We made floral leis and swam on our first afternoon, and the next day we traveled about 90 minutes to the beautiful Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden. Along the way we made lots of little stops, including to admire a waterfall alongside a (very Hawaiian) one-lane bridge. As I wrote recently on Instagram, one of my favorite things to do in Hawaii is jump in the car and stop at whatever piques our interest – which is what we did here. After all, it’s the journey, not the destination – right?

-M

Aloha!

December 28th, 2017

You haven’t heard much from me lately because we were in Hawaii (back to the Big Island) for a week. We have tons of pics to share – for now, here’s one of my favorites of the girls, from one of our favorite spots on the island.

-M

More from Hanukkah

December 19th, 2017

Some more pics now of the girls celebrating Hanukkah at school and home. In order: Avery shows off a cardboard menorah she made with classmates, Zoe presents during an after-school Hanukkah assembly, Avery writes cards to friends, and both girls light candles.

-M

PJ Day

December 18th, 2017

I’ve mentioned the girls’ school pre-winter break tradition here before: On the last day of first semester, the older kids make pancakes for the little ones, and everyone wears pajamas. Here were the girls as they headed into school on Friday morning.

-M

An additional thought on Zoe

December 17th, 2017

I recently read this (terrific) New York Times piece about a mom’s thoughts on her daughter going to be college, and this passage jumped out at me:

She is a competent young woman. She makes sound decisions, chooses decent friendships and navigates the world with an inner knowingness that has always belied her age.

This is no humble brag. Much of who she is, quite honestly, has little to do with me. She came into the world [this way]…

“That’s just like Zoe,” I thought when reading it – and it’s true. I’ve long thought of Zoe as an old soul, and I’ve also long thought that it has nothing to do with me. But regardless of how she turned out this way, I’m still proud.

-M

Eleven-year update

December 15th, 2017

I haven’t done one of these in a while (looks like I forgot to write one when she turned 10), but there’s a lot to say about Zoe in her “tween” years.

A lot about Zoe at 11 is the same as in years past: She’s serious and quiet at times (also very much a rule follower and very much a deep thinker), but she has also a fun and silly side.

She loves school and being organized and doing self-directed projects: Much of her downtime is spent doing research projects, putting together lesson plans for school (which is typically taught to Grandma via Skype or to me and Avery), or – new this semester – managing a 3rd & 5th grade performance of Hamilton. (Zoe got this idea over the summer, and much of the fall has been focused on casting and rehearsing.) She works on so many projects and activities at once that it’s often hard to keep track of them all. “Is this for school or fun?” I’ll often ask her.

Fifth grade has been good to her: She joined the cross-country team and had a great first season, and she was selected to serve on a youth mentoring advisory board, which she loves. She also continues to enjoy math and reading; she recently started a book blog, and earlier this month she started a book club for her classmates. And speaking of classmates: She has strong relationships with numerous girls in her class, and she started g-chatting with many of them within the last year.

As “old” as Zoe often appears to us, she still likes doing things she did when younger: She has logged hours and hours over the last year playing with Legos, Groovy Girl dolls or American Girls. And she still does “dramatic play” by setting up and running little restaurants or shops, often with her sister.

Speaking of her sister, the two of them remain close. Despite their age (and personality!) difference, they almost always find something to do together. And Zoe is very sweet with her, comforting her when she’s upset and offering to help with her homework (though Avery often doesn’t want her to). They also have a sweet weekend morning routine, where they wake up early and cuddle together on the couch watching whatever show they’re currently into. (They discovered – and loved – “Fuller House” this year; there was a mermaid show that they spent months bingeing on, and they’re currently into a kids camp show called “Bunked.”)

Since our last update, Zoe has had phases when she acts more stereotypically “preteen”ish than others – we’ve had periods of relatively quick tempers and crying for little reason. She also is less excited about us being around her friends than in the past – just this morning she asked me to not “embarrass” her if I came into her classroom. (When I probed further she said doing something like wiping off her mouth – which I wouldn’t do – would qualify as embarrassing). Still, challenging behavior isn’t the norm, and for the most part she’s not that much different than she was when she was Avery’s age.

One thing that has changed, though: her height! Not a week goes by without someone commenting on how tall she is. She’s almost 5’1” – officially taller than some of my friends – and she’s also now wearing a size 9.5 shoe! Keeping in mind that girls of this age can start feeling self-conscious about their bodies, I recently asked her it ever bothered her to have people comment on her height – and she just shrugged. I think she’s used to it by now!