Dinosaurs

We break for dinosaurs. We drive for dinosaurs. Basically, if it comes to dinosaurs, we are in. So we drove through the rainstorm Sat to see the Field Museum’s new dinosaur exhibit. It was kind of…well…not what we thought it would be. High on roars, low on information and education. Still, we had fun. M was pretty spooked by it all, regularly holding onto my leg like she did a couple years ago, saying “this is terrifying,” and asking me what every loud sound was. Maybe it was too much for a Saturday morning. Since it poured the entire day across Indiana and in Chicago, we were sort of stuck in the museum once we arrived. But that’s not a terrible place to be stuck for a day. I was so relieved to be home and out of the rain by 8 p.m. Worst rain we’ve ever driven through.

I also made a Halloween haunted house with Madeline after school yesterday:

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Fall weekends…

A few pics from the weekend, first with the kids’ friend MJ at Thistleberry Farm:

Yes, we took turns burying each other in a huge vat of corn, and it was both calm and eerie.

Later that day, we met up with some friends for Sukkot and the kids played well together. Mine look fairly wild in this pic:

sukkot

On Sunday, Madeline and I caught up on our baking:

baking

A very kid focused weekend

We began last weekend with a kids fall fest at their school Friday evening. At 90 degrees, everyone was roasting as they bounced in bounce houses and played games with their school friends. The next day, we headed to Silver Beach in Michigan, an unexpected surprise due to the heat wave. The kids were pretty happy with the decision:

beach pic

The next day, Becca completed a children’s triathlon at the YMCA! I was very proud. And nervous. Becca, not so much. I can’t tell if she knew it was a competition and didn’t care or perhaps she didn’t realize it was a race and she just knew it was something she wanted to experience and complete. Either way, she was very chill and stoic. Pics from the race:

kids swimlaughmedalrun

Madeline, on the other hand, was very jealous. Very. She knew it too, and kept saying, “Mom, I’m so jealous.” One had to be at least six to enter the race, and Madeline still lacks and physical and emotional maturity to enter a race. Poor kid. She is still talking about feeling left out, and it’s 3 days later.

We ran home to shower after the race and then went to our second Lego robotics meeting with friends. A full, busy weekend:

lego robotics

Being a parent

I’ve been thinking about a lot of this stuff lately, so perhaps it will be helpful to write it down.

I worry at times how they will grow up Jewish – will it be the right way and will they understand what being Jewish means? Is being Jewish about Gd? Is it about family? Is it about culture, ancestry, ethics? Yes to all of it. I just wonder at times what they will understand, and when. Right now I feel that they know the Old Testament; they understand holidays, too. They also seem to feel some kind of feeling about being Jewish at times – pride, but also loneliness. Or perhaps I’m projecting? I think a lot of this is really about me and less about them, but still something I think about as we attend High Holiday services and make matzah ball soup and honey cake and go to the Saint Joseph River to recite the Tashlich prayers. What will they take away? What will have meaning for them?

And school, of course. Are they taking too many tests (yes)? Am I putting too much emphasis on knowing math facts quickly (yes)? Is there too much emphasis in 2017 on high test scores and good behavior and too little on creative and critical thinking and independence (yes, yes, yes, yes)? Is there anything I can do about any of this (yes and no)? I can curse No Child Left Behind and do my best to expose them to a range of materials and experiences outside of school.

So now I’m a Lego League Jr. robotics coach with FIRST. They wanted to try it, and here I am, reading about hydroelectricity in between editing my tenure packet and making the honey cake. I’ll update with pics next time I write.

 

 

Shana Tova

The holidays are upon us, and we are lucky to have a great group of friends here to celebrate with – here’s a pic from Wednesday night of the “kids table” with all the kids dipping their apples in honey to celebrate our hopes for a sweet new year. My kids are very sweaty in this pic after running around outside for an hour.

wed

Fall begins

And so it begins again. New backpacks, haircuts, tennis shoes for the girls, syllabi, committees, and students for me.

Here are a couple pics from the first couple days of school for R and M:

We also had our first apple picking adventure of the season in Michigan just now:

In other news, Madeline started to read about a week or so ago, and Becca tried out for the city’s Nutcracker performance. Madeline is making friends in kindergarten and she wants to join one of the swim teams in town.

I love this time of year. Michigan and northern Indiana really know how to do fall.