Shanah Tovah, II

September 21st, 2017

The girls on our way to services today…


Shanah Tovah!

September 20th, 2017

It’s Rosh Hashanah, and Avery and a few of her classmates have a message.


“You’re doing a really good job”

September 19th, 2017

This is my craziest time of year at work (hence my lack of posts here), and I worked at a major event all last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. While finishing up a few things Sunday afternoon, Zoe — sitting across from me at the dining room table – – told me, “You’re doing a really good job at work, Mommy.”



“I am sorry about the storm”

September 15th, 2017

Not long after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the girls’ school arranged a letter-writing project for students at a Jewish day school there. Avery wrote hers – a new year’s card for Rosh Hashanah – the other day after school.



September 13th, 2017

It rarely storms in San Francisco – I can count on two hands the number of times I’ve heard thunder here – so it was a big deal when a thunderstorm came through the other night. Avery was a bit scared at first (such a San Francisco kid)! but then her dad suggested they head outside to watch the rain and count the seconds between the lightening and thunder, and she was a-okay.


Setting the tone for fifth grade

September 11th, 2017

The girls are back into the swing of things of school; it’s almost as if no break had been had! They’ve both been busy with getting-to-know-you type projects, with Zoe also working with her classmates on expectations for fifth grade. As described in the school’s newsletter:

To set the tone for the year, the 5th grade spent time this week putting together a grade-wide agreement. On Tuesday, the students brainstormed a list of ways that they want their classroom to look and feel, as well as a list of things they will need in order to feel successful. To build on that, groups of 10 worked together to narrow down and categorize the list into 4–5 categories. After presenting their ideas to the rest of the grade, the teachers reviewed and created the 5th Grade Classroom Agreement, which will be signed by all 5th graders.

The final agreements? Be kind, be respectful, be flexible and open-minded and embrace challenges and mistakes.


Hitting the beach to escape the heat

September 9th, 2017

During the recent heat wave we headed down to nearby Half Moon Bay to cool off and enjoy some beach time. It was a grey day but the cool breeze made up for it!


Back to the art museum

September 7th, 2017

Inspired by our trips to museums in Paris and Edinburgh, the four of us headed to the Legion of Honor last weekend. Despite Avery’s insistence that she finds “painting spots” boring, she seemed to enjoy herself (sort of) – but the trip was mostly for Zoe. She took a liking to the Impressionists in Paris, and the two of us had a good time analyzing the paintings in the Degas exhibit. (Added bonus: There were three Mary Cassatts, Zoe’s favorite, including the one she’s looking at below.)



September 5th, 2017

As most people who know us (or San Francisco) well, the city never gets very hot, even in the summer. Triple-digit temperatures are pretty much unheard of, which is why last week’s heat wave was such a big deal – and such a shock to our system. On Friday, Zoe wore shorts to school (a first) and Avery a spaghetti-strap dress with no leggings and sandals (also a first). And when Avery walked outside she summed things up nicely be declaring, “It feels like vacation!!”


Back to school, part II

September 4th, 2017

Almost every day of our trip last month, Avery talked or asked about one of her good friends. (“I wonder what she’s doing right now. Can I text her? What time is it there?”) She missed her and couldn’t wait to see her; and I think part of the reason she wasn’t sad to come home was because she knew they would soon be reunited!

Indeed, friends are a big part of the girls’ life – and seeing them was a major perk of returning to school! Here are a few more pictures from their first day back…


Back to school!

September 2nd, 2017

After our trip the girls spent a week hanging out at home and recovering from their jet lag (which, happily, wasn’t that bad). And then, last Tuesday, they headed back to school! They were more excited than nervous about third and fifth grade (though Zoe was a bit uncertain about her homeroom teacher), but all seemed to go well. When I asked them to describe their first week just now, Avery said, “fantastic – and different,” and Zoe said, “interesting – and different.”



August 31st, 2017

The last leg of our trip was to Edinburgh (another new city for us); we were there both to hang out again with Safta and PopPop and to experience the Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.

Along with seeing some good shows (including a kind of bizarre, but impressive, Korean musical about monkeys and an amazing performance by Cirque Eloize), we explored the Royal Mile, visited the Edinburgh Castle and saw the street that inspired JK Rowling to write the Harry Potter books.

We hopped on a plane and headed home after three days there. And, after our earlier flight to Tel Aviv (which was a full four hours longer), the 11-hour flight home was no sweat!



A final word about Paris

August 30th, 2017

I had always heard that Paris is a city for walking and wandering, and I now see what people mean: We walked miles and miles each day. And while the museums and touristy spots were certainly a highlight, some of my favorite memories are of when we just strolled around and discovered places and things we hadn’t read about in the guidebooks. We stumbled upon a random restaurant (which really looked and felt like more like a bar) on our first morning, for example, and it wound up being our favorite place to grab a tartine and coffee each morning. (It wasn’t fancy and seemed like a place that locals, versus tourists, would go.) And on our way to the Eiffel Tower one afternoon we walked through a pretty and quiet (read: non-touristy) street and suddenly stumbled upon the Place des États-Unis and a park called Square Thomas-Jefferson! Given our love for the musical Hamilton (and Jefferson’s role in it), it was a very cool (albeit random) find, and we wound up stopping and sitting for a while to enjoy the sunshine… A good memory indeed!


Paris, part III

August 28th, 2017

Our last full day in Paris meant a visit to the Musée d’Orsay, where we saw tons of Impressionist paintings and Zoe grew to appreciate art. (One of the first things she did when we got home was write a paper on Mary Cassatt – for fun!) We then took a boat ride and walked along the Seine and explored our neighborhood before having steak frites and the best creme brulee I’ve ever had! (I had to laugh when Zoe said, “That’s the best one I’ve ever had, too! I mean, it’s only the second time I’ve had it – but it was the best.”) Before jumping on an afternoon flight to Scotland the next day, we spent the morning enjoying croissants and café crème (see last photo) and visiting the Musée Picasso.

As I told friends when I got home, I had been looking forward to visiting Paris but I didn’t really understand what the fuss was about. Now I know. It’s an amazingly beautiful city, and I love that I got to experience it with my family. When I’m feeling blue or having a down moment I can just shut my eyes and think back to our time there – and to the streets, the cafes, and the museums – and smile. The memories we created were lifelong ones, and I can’t wait to go back someday and make more.


Paris, part II

August 26th, 2017

We packed a lot into our 3 1/2 days in Paris. After a full first day, we spent our second one exploring the beautiful Sacré-Cœur and Montmartre district, visiting the Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées and walking through the city until we reached the Eiffel Tower. (We didn’t want to miss the big stuff!) We ended it all at our apartment (see last photo) in the Le Marais district, which was the perfect little spot for us.