Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy (?) New Year

10 days ago, we lost my beautiful mother, Ronnie Sussman. The kids are dealing, I am dealing, but it makes celebrating her birthday (yesterday) and the New Year very difficult. Aunt Jodi has been staying downstairs, and we've been going back and forth to Queens to see Papa Dan, but most of the time we've been trapped in the house due to extreme cold and there's been an aura of sadness and grief. While we know these won't last forever, I may be even more absent than usual for a while. We'll see.

Yesterday, Milo figured out buttons!
He unbuttoned and buttoned up his pajamas tonight as well!

We discussed our resolutions for 2018 - Alex has decided to get back to writing more, Penny would like to cook more and try new foods, and I am going to craft more and get back to moving my body regularly. Milo should be able to write his name without help and be well on his way to reading.

We are spending tonight at home with a bunch of snacks and a 500 piece puzzle. It is my sincere hope that 2018 is better than 2017 in basically every single way. From all of the Zalbens to you and yours, Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Happy Chanukah!

Tonight is the last night of Chanukah, and Milo had a performance and party through his school. Unfortunately, Penny wasn't feeling well, so she and Alex stayed home. I took a ton of photos, though, so you can attend vicariously, as they did!
Morah Dini finds Milo's candle crown
Some quick gelt before the festivities.
Ready for the River Styx, just in case
Candles Assaf & Milo
Getting ready

He did such a great job!
Our first activity downstairs was making an edible dreidel. Marshmallow fluff glue to hold on a chocolate chip point, with a pretzel stick to spin.
The only part of the dreidel Milo was interested in.
Milo is INTO facepaint
This is the best game ever. Shooting water pistols at lit menorahs.

Dreidel decorating

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Night Eight at home!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Dear Penny

(That's the Princess of Eight, for those non-Sesame Street nerds among us)
My girl, you are now eight years old. There is nothing left about you that is a little kid - you are a fully big kid now. At lunchtime, you were showing off your knife skills. You are able to use the food processor to make latkes. You clear your place after meals. My heart is warmed by your genuine gratitude, your kindness, your thoughtfulness and your wisdom beyond your years. Your sense of humor is unbelievable - your timing, your insight, and your awareness of your audience is staggering. You have continued on with tumbling and the violin, and just completed your 12s times table, which means you have collected all of your stars on your math chart. You have started knitting yourself a scarf! I'm sorry I passed that obsession on to you, but I do very much enjoy sitting next to each other on the couch knitting together.
This weekend, Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens, and we are taking four friends to see it as your party. You get so excited thinking about this - so delighted about how happy your friends are going to be to see it with you, and so thrilled about another Rey movie. I hope that this whole year is full of things that please you that much. I hope that you are able to find joy in friends and your family, that you continue to devour books and that you see yourself in all of them.

Happy birthday to the greatest, bestest, special kissiest girl I've ever met.

Don't grow up too fast, ok?

Wednesday, November 1, 2017


This year, Halloween started two weeks ago, with a visit to Boo at the Zoo - my favorite Fall activity. The kids wore costumes that they weren't going to be wearing on the actual day, and we had a great, gorgeous day at the zoo!
Milo now LOVES face paint.

Actual Halloween was finally the weather I remember - high 40s - so chilly enough to need a layer or two and not end up sweaty at the end of trick or treating. The neighborhood went all out, as usual, and everyone loved our Wonder Woman and Super Donut.

Work/school attire

The costume is store bought, but I'm pretty proud of this makeup job

Super Donut awaits his sister - she is putting on another layer, as it is windy. Will our heroes ever get some candy?

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The flu?

Last night, while getting changed into pajamas, Milo told me that the Band-Aid covering his flu shot injection site was bothering him. I offered to take it off (it's been on there for more than a week) and he slapped his hand over it, looked up at me with his giant puppy eyes and asked in all seriousness "Mommy, if I take off this Band-Aid am I going to get the flu?"

My heart shattered. He's so capable yet so very tiny. What a complicated giant world we are throwing our children into, and how many things like this is he afraid of all the time?

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Family Friday!

The first Family Friday of third grade was yesterday! Penny is still in the mini-school, so we drop her off in the big yard and she takes herself inside. We were so excited to get to join her for a peek into what her days are like.
 When we got n, we received our assignment - dressing up paper dolls for Halloween. Penny made a witch and we collaborated on a Nearly Headless Nick that I'm pretty proud of:
Milo had Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off of school for Sukkot, so he's been staying home with Sara, our sitter. Sara has discovered Milo's main weakness

She is also a musician, and was going to record after her day with us, which meant she had a French horn with her. I tried to play it, and it is genuinely hard, but neither kid has a problem with it. This video is after Milo stopped scaring himself by making sound:

Monday, October 2, 2017

Milo's 3 year old check up!

Milo had a doctor's appointment today, and though he really did not want to go, he rocked it. He is now 30 lbs 8 oz, and 37 1/2 inches tall. There is a new crazy machine that the nurse holds across the room that somehow measures your focal distance, but also it chirps like a bird and flashes red and blue lights, and I'm pretty sure it's magic.
Our pediatrician, Dr, Julie, is totally the best. She had a big chat with Milo, talked him through the otoscope, which he was really nervous about, and answered the question he had been waiting all day to ask. Milo has just learned that everyone used to be a baby, so he asked her if she used to be one too.
At the end of the appointment, he got a flu shot, and though there was crying, he was very brave. As we were leaving, Milo said to me "I don't like shots!" and I told him the incredible secret of shots - NOBODY likes shots. This blew his mind.
After the appointment Milo got to choose where he wanted to go, and he chose the playground. We spent a little while playing the most 2017 game possible - me chasing Milo with him shouting "Don't take a picture of me!"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Milo's Orientation Day/First day!

Milo had an hour of Orientation at Chai Tots on Monday, and his first full day yesterday! He is now officially in Nursery!
Insisted on wearing his Chai Tots shirt

This is one cool dude

Milo found "his letters" all by himself!

Wasting no time - they got right down to it.

Last year's first day and today's!

Milo picked the restaurant for his first day of school celebration

Full day take two!

Decorating his mitzvah tree branch decoration.
This morning on the way to school we stopped to watch a baby squirrel try to climb a tree. It took a really long time, working on various strategies, and eventually fell about three feet. It hopped right back up onto the tree to try again. As we walked on we talked about it, and Milo said that maybe its Mama Squirrel would be able to help it. Or its Big Sister Squirrel. Or its Morahs. We talked about all of the helpers we could think of and it warmed my heart that he is taking all of the pieces that he's being given from school and home and thinking about them in real-life ways.