Zoe teaching about art

December 4th, 2016

Just before the Thanksgiving break, Zoe and her fourth-grade classmates hosted a Native California “museum,” during which they displayed results of their quarter-long research project. Zoe’s topic was art (she was lucky enough to be able to interview her cousin-artist Eve-Lauryn LaFountain as part of it), and she was totally in her element when presenting to a group of second-graders one afternoon.

-M

zoe-at-native-california-museum

Avery takes LA

December 2nd, 2016

Before we left LA, we sought out a place to view the Hollywood sign — which we found in the Hollywood Hills. Avery, though, was more interested in dancing and singing than checking out the sign.

-M

avery-dancing

A very Harry birthday, part IV

November 30th, 2016

I couldn’t write about our trip to Universal without mentioning the wand shop Ollivanders. Just like in the movie (and books), visitors get to visit the shop and — if they’re lucky — participate in a wand-pairing ceremony. Zoe and Avery were chosen by the wand maker to find a wand and test out some spells, and it made for an extra-special visit.

-M

girls-testing-wands

girls-with-wandmaker

A very Harry birthday, part III

November 28th, 2016

Some photos of our second day at Universal (where we mostly explored the non-Harry Potter section of the park), as well as some photos of the girls on the beach and in Santa Monica. You can’t go to Southern California without visiting the ocean, right?

-M

girls-at-sing-display

girls-with-simpson-character

girls-with-snowman

avery-at-dinoplay

girls-on-sand

zoe-at-beach

avery-at-brunch

A very Harry birthday, part II

November 27th, 2016

Our first day at Universal was the day before Thanksgiving. It wasn’t all that busy (at least not compared to the next day, or to the times we’ve visited Disneyland), and we had plenty of time to wander around the Harry Potter section of the park. True fans of the books and movies have tons to geek out about there: Walking through the gates to Hogsmeade, you really feel like you’re part of the wizarding world. We went on several rides (including Zoe’s favorite, the 3D – and very realistic – Forbidden Journey ride), but to me they were almost beside the point. Just looking around and being immersed in the surroundings was worth the price of admission!

-M

girls-by-universal-sign

girls-and-daddy-entering-universal

entrance-to-hogsmeade

hogsmeade

girls-by-flying-car

girls-by-hogwarts-express

avery-with-map

avery-waving-wand

zoe-on-ride

avery-on-ride

A very Harry birthday

November 26th, 2016

When we heard last year that Universal Studios down in LA was opening Harry Potter Wizarding World, we knew we’d have to take the girls someday. Zoe’s 10th birthday turned out to be the perfect time to do it, and the four of us headed down last Tuesday and wound up spending two days there. I have tons of photos to share; for now, here’s one of my favorites – of the girls holding their wands.

-M

girls-posing

She’s ten

November 23rd, 2016

When Zoe was quite small, I asked her when she’d want me to stop bouncing and singing to her each night; her answer, after some thinking, was when she turned ten. At the time, it was hard to imagine her ever being that old – she was so little! And yet, here we are, facing a huge milestone of a birthday. Zoe is ten years old today.

I’ll post a full update here soon, but for now I’ll share a few photos of her from over the years and quickly reflect on what what November 23, 2006 means to me. Having Zoe plunked on my stomach that Thanksgiving night (11:11 PM) was the best moment of my life – despite her crooked nose and funny little face, she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. And becoming a mom and learning from a girl who often seems wise beyond her years has been humbling, exhilarating, exhausting, and amazing. I learn from her almost every day, and I can’t wait to see what kind of (gulp) woman she grows into and how our relationship evolves over the next 10 years.

Oh, and as for our nighttime routine? I stopped bouncing her long ago, but she recently amended her plan and still wants me to sing my lullaby (which I made up when she was a baby) to her every night. She said I can stop when she turns 18.

-M

zoe-collage

Hotel Browdy, part III

November 22nd, 2016

My favorite photo from Zoe’s party…

-M

girls-with-zoes-cake

Hotel Browdy, part II

November 22nd, 2016

More photos now from Zoe’s slumber party, which included (along with hotel-themed activities) a trip to a local sewing store, where the girls made their own PJ bottoms. And did the girls sleep at all? Let’s just say Zoe was very, very tired the next day.

-M

girls-working-at-hotel-browdy

SONY DSC

girls-at-sew

girls-sewing

zoe-sewing

girls-laughing

SONY DSC

 

Hotel Browdy

November 21st, 2016

To celebrate her upcoming birthday, Zoe decided to throw a hotel-themed slumber party. She and her dad set up Hotel Browdy, which featured a restaurant, spa and five guest rooms; made Hotel Browdy shirts; and prepared room keys, hotel maps and a check-in stand for guests. I was impressed with their creativity and level of detail and couldn’t help but wonder: Could a gig in the hospitality industry be in Zoe’s future?

-M

girls-at-hotel-browdy2

SONY DSC

Sisters and buddies

November 20th, 2016

Avery’s class has fourth-grade buddies that periodically visit to help out with projects – like a recent measurement-focused one. And look who Avery chose as her buddy?

-M

girls-at-school

Favorite teacher?

November 18th, 2016

I asked Avery tonight who her favorite teacher was. She thought for a minute and then said, “You. You teach me something every day.” Awww…

-M

Fizz! Pop! Wow!

November 16th, 2016

Avery was sick again this week: Her strep cleared but a few days after her last dose of antibiotic, she came down with a fever again. She has spent a lot of time at home these past few weeks (luckily she’s a good patient) but in between bouts of illnesses she got to take a field trip to the Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkeley and participate in a Fizz! Pop! Wow! worshop there. As described in the school newsletter:

“After a full and rich unit on solids, liquids, and gases, students had the chance to combine a variety of solids and liquids,” says teacher Rachel Klein. During the workshop, second graders experimented with green chalk, beans, rice, baking soda, cranberry juice, lemon juice, water, and vinegar to see which ones fizzed and bubbled. “They tested their results using four of their five senses (no tasting!)” adds Ms. Klein. “We also blew up a balloon with the gas we created by mixing vinegar and baking soda.” The workshop was a fizzy and foamy—yes, effervescent—conclusion to this science unit!

Glad she didn’t miss it.

-M

avery-and-ethan-on-field-trip

Mommy-free weekend

November 14th, 2016

I left town shortly after my last post. No, I didn’t flee the country (though I considered it) but instead went to Chicago for a dear friend’s wedding. I was away from the family for three nights: That’s kind of a long time for us, but the girls didn’t seem to mind. They reported that they had a lot of fun because “Daddy says ‘yes’ to more things than you do,” and they each had plenty to do. Among other activities, Zoe ran a race, planned her upcoming birthday sleepover, and finished a major project on Native American art (due today), while Avery had her last soccer game of the year, followed by a team party.

-M

zoe-after-race

averys-soccer-team2

averys-soccer-trophy

Thoughts from a (sad) mom

November 9th, 2016

Today was, for me, a dark day – and a far different one than I had expected.

For weeks now I’ve been playing out a scene in my head: After the election I would look into Zoe and Avery’s eyes and proudly say, “We did it – we elected the first female president.” I was so looking forward to being able to say to the girls that they could grow up to be anything they wanted to be and for it to be true. I was so looking forward to celebrating with them and for having them be able to share this historic moment with their daughters someday.

I wasn’t expecting this heartbreaking result – I didn’t expect so many people to vote for a bully, a person filled with so much hate and anger against women, minorities, and other groups. And I didn’t expect to feel so hurt, powerless and broken afterwards.

Someday soon, I’m sure, I will feel hopeful again. Today’s not that day. But a few things did help me get through: connecting with a number of loving family members and friends (all of whom are as shell-shocked and upset as I am), thinking of all I have to be thankful for, and holding my girls close. Last night, in fact, just as the tide was turning and the numbers began looking very bleak for Hillary, Avery asked me to climb beside her in bed. I lay next to her with her head nestled into my chest, and as she fell asleep and I listened to her deep breaths, I thought, “This is what matters.”

May tomorrow be brighter.

-M