Ezra’s Art 2016

Once again we got a stack of art to bring home at the end of the school year. The school’s art program is really good — the kids love it and their work is so great. Here are the pieces Ezra brought home this year.












Ezra’s Fifth Grade Promotion

On June 2nd, Ezra finished up his elementary school career with a fifth grade promotion ceremony at school. He seemed pretty low key about the event, but insisted on getting dressed up. He loved the jacket we got for him for his piano recital, so he wore that even though the sleeves were a tad short. He looked adorable. Here he is with Bruce before we left for school in the morning.


We dropped off Ezra at his classroom and took our seats with all of the other family members. Soon the younger grades filed in and sat on the grass in front of us, and finally the fifth graders started to file in.



There were, of course, a few speeches that were great but a little hard to hear. The four fifth grade teachers sang a song to the kids about leaving elementary school that was a bit of a tearjerker. Then the principal gave out the certificates.


The teachers greeted all the students. This is Ezra’s teacher, Ms. Darrow.


He got a good bear hug.


After the ceremony we spent a few minutes milling about on the field and then there was a little party upstairs. Ezra and his friends immediately filled their plates with all sorts of goodies and dug in. I managed to pull him away for a few pictures.

Ezra and Emerson:


Ezra and Henry:


An actual family photo, missing sick Finn unfortunately:


The three musketeers:


This boy.


And just for posterity’s sake, here’s his Kindergarten school picture.


I took a ton of pictures; the whole album is here.

Bernie Sanders Rally

Since California’s primary is so late and we’re pretty much a true blue state, politicians usually don’t come here unless they’re doing a fundraiser. So, when Bernie Sanders announced that he was doing a free rally right here in Palo Alto, I knew we had to go. I’d never been to a political rally before, and who knows when this might happen again!

I walked by the site (Cubberley Community Center) on my early morning walk and saw the beginnings of the event preparation. It was the calm before the storm, but there were already news vans, semi trucks, and volunteers setting up booths. And lots of red, white, and blue.




I really had no idea what to expect in terms of the number of people attending or how hard it would be to get in. They started letting people in at 11:30, but the event wasn’t set to start until after 2:00. So, I let the boys finish school (it was their early day, a 1:40 dismissal) and then we biked over to Cubberley and met Bruce there. We eased through security and surprisingly found a place to sit in the bleachers. The only problem was that Finn was complaining of a stomach ache. But Finn’s been complaining of a stomach ache a lot this year (stressful school year), so I just kept trying to comfort him instead of giving in and going home.

It was a pretty good sized crowd.


Finally, Bernie came out (in his Warriors cap) and gave his regular speech. It was very strange to hear his words in person and super fun to be there.


We stayed for about half of the speech before finally giving in to Finn’s painful stomach. Since we were on bikes, he was forced to ride home. We got about half way when he asked to take a break and proceeded to throw up all over the sidewalk. Poor kid! Needless to say, our joy at participating in an actual live political event was marred by the parental guilt of making Finn sit through it when he was obviously sick. He remained sick for the next six days, missing out on all of the end-of-the-year festivities and the first day of his bicycle camp. But on the positive side, he’s fine now and no one else got it, so I guess that’s a plus.

As for Bernie Sanders, he went on to lose the California primary the next week. We didn’t think he’d win the nomination, but it was exciting to have him in town nonetheless.

Field Day 2016

I volunteered to help out at Field Day again this year, and this time my station was the tricycle ride. It’s not a race — someone may get hurt! But the kids seemed to have fun anyway since it was so challenging riding on the tiny tricycles. Here are Finn and Ezra giving it a try.



Fifth Grade Picnic

Fairmeadow fifth graders celebrate the end of their elementary school careers with an all-day picnic at Foothills Park. I volunteered to drive and chaperone, but really I had nothing to do since the kids are both self-sufficient and totally uninterested in interacting with adults. But it was fun to hang out and watch Ezra among his friends. I didn’t take very many photos but I’ll share what I have.

This one was when we first arrived. The boys immediately found sticks, and someone noticed there was a lizard on or near a rock. They were trying to do something with it (I don’t know what) and Ezra was very upset. He couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just leave it alone.


This is Ezra and some friends playing a game where they close their eyes and squeeze the hand of the person next to them, trying to go around the circle faster than the other groups.


And here’s the whole fifth grade class; I think there are 100 of them. Ezra is in the middle.


My favorite part of the day was when they got their yearbooks.


I loved watching them study all of the photos and rush to sign everyone’s yearbooks.


Parents were able to make a personal page for their kids if they wanted. Of course, I made one for Ezra. Since he’s only been at Fairmeadow for two years, I included photos from all of his years of elementary school. Even though he’s a man of few words, I think he liked looking back on the early photos, especially since the main part of the yearbook was filled with early-grade pictures of the rest of the class. Here’s the page I created for him.


Angel Island Field Trip

Last month I chaperoned Finn’s last field trip of the year — to Angel Island, just north of San Francisco. All of the kids and most of the chaperones made the 90 minute plus trip on school buses. The overflow chaperones (me included) went together, which I thought would be better, but turned out to be a little too Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride for my liking. At any rate, we all made it, if somewhat worse for wear.

First up was the ferry across the bay to the island. I was paired with another mom and these were our charges: Finn, Atticus, Sasha, and Ethan.


Here’s another one of Finn on the ferry. It was very bright and windy!


The day’s plan was to hike to the top of the mountain, have lunch, hike back down, and play at the beach for a while. Here are Finn and Atticus consulting the map.


The first part of the hike was pretty steep and strenuous and there were lots of complaints from the kids. But then the trail settles into a fairly easy, meandering route and most of the kids did pretty well. Finn and his friend Eli took turns taking pictures with Eli’s camera.


It was a lovely hike with great views.



I took this one from the top after we had lunch.


And here’s our whole unruly bunch.


And my selfie with Finn.


Soon we were off, taking a different trail back down.



After the hike we had a lot of time at the beach. Too much time, if you ask me (or any other chaperone). Finn didn’t go in the water, which was understandable because it was freezing! Despite unpleasant rides home for both of us and lots of traffic, we eventually made it at about 6:00 pm. Long day!

The next day Finn brought home thank you notes that he and Atticus wrote. I loved his.


I loved how we talked and hiked, too, my sweet boy.

Maker Faire 2016

I was out of town last year but Bruce and the boys went to the Maker Faire. This year, since they had such a good time, we got tickets early and were excited to go. We knew it would be crowded, but I am always shocked and dismayed at just how crowded events like this are. After a rocky start of fighting the multitudes of people, we settled in for an enjoyable day. I didn’t take many pictures, but here are a few of our favorite things.




The boys were totally taken with this vaudeville-type performance that we watched just before leaving. Super fun, campy group.



There was also a great show by Mentos and Coke guys, Eepybird.com. But, sadly, I didn’t take any pictures.

Ezra’s Strings Concert 5/19/16

Ezra and his fellow fifth graders all learned an instrument this year. Ezra chose cello, and while he didn’t practice at home much he seemed to really enjoy playing and was very excited about the end-of-the-year concert. He loved getting dressed up in his crisp white shirt and black slacks.


He was particularly enamored of Pachelbel’s Canon so I made sure to video the performance. The footage isn’t great given my vantage point, but at least you can hear the song pretty well.

He was one proud boy.


And here he is after the performance chatting with another mom. So cute!


He also pointed out some artwork he did as part of the “Musical Miniatures: Portraits with Music Notations” project.


I’m very pleased that he has such great opportunities for art and music at school. He plans to continue playing cello next year in sixth grade.

Our Little Free Library’s Third Home

After two weeks in the house, we had our first real bit of trouble — backed up pipes. There’s always something when you buy a house, but we were more than a little disappointed this time. We had some time to kill as we waited for the plumbers to show up, so Bruce turned our day around by putting up the Little Free Library.


We picked our spot and he dug another large hole for the post. Soon enough, it was up!


The kids at the elementary school across the street found it almost immediately. I’d stocked it with the books from when it was at the other house, as well as many that I’d culled from Ezra and Finn’s collection. About half of the inventory was gone in a couple of days. As usual, people are slow to contribute, but we’ve had a few donations over the last couple of weeks. I think it’s another good location for a library. And, it’s just one of many on our street!

Jasper Ridge Tour 5/13/16

My friend and hiking group leader, Sonya, arranged for a docent-led tour of Jasper Ridge last month. It’s the only way you can hike in the area, which is a biological preserve owned by Stanford. Here are some photos from the hike.

The large, but shrinking, reservoir.


The dam adjacent to the reservoir. Quite an interesting build.


Here’s another view of the dam, from down below.


Our docent pointed out lots of interesting things …


… including this rock with holes used by the Native Americans for cooking.


It’s a beautiful place.


We passed this giant oak on the way in and out. So majestic.


Ezra’s Science Project

Like many previous projects, this year’s science project (which fifth graders are required to do) was not met with enthusiasm. He chose a topic from the list of suggestions (do people taste jelly beans differently if their eyes are closed) and did some minimal preparation before testing his subjects: Henry, Emerson, Finn, Bruce and me.

I tried to let him do the project as he saw fit with a little help from us. We finally convinced him to take Bruce’s advice and use graphs to show the data. He wrote up everything else on Google Docs and we all helped put it together late on the night before it was due. Once Bruce came up with the idea of gluing jelly beans on the board, Ezra finally showed some enthusiasm. Then he drew comics and little legs on all of the jelly beans.


Here he is at the science fair. I think he was actually happy with the experience, in the end. But it wasn’t easy getting there!


Mother’s Day 2016

Mother’s Day came one week after our move and we were all still reeling from the chaos and finding our way around the boxes. The boys also had a birthday party to attend, and the cable guy was coming to figure out what was wrong with our modem. Regardless, I had a lovely day that started with breakfast prepared by the boys and my morning newspaper edited to my liking by Ezra.


Oh, if it were only true.

I got in a nice long walk while Bruce took the boys to the party, and the cable guy fixed the wifi. In the evening we went for pizza at Howie’s and dessert at Tin Pot Creamery. It was a great day and I felt rejuvenated enough to face the coming week of tackling Boxland! Love my boys.


NASA Field Trip

On May 5th, I chaperoned Ezra’s class at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View. After an initial mixup on our entry time (we were early and they wouldn’t let us in) and an impromptu lunch on the outer grounds, we finally checked in and made our way over to the educational building. The day was split up into three stations; our first taught about wavelengths and light.





Really, though, the thing I found most interesting was that they had a model of LADEE, the spacecraft that flew Bruce’s error correction code for the laser communications terminal. Ezra and I were more than a little proud of Papa.



The next station had a few spinning things. Unfortunately, the guide didn’t explain what was happening, but the kids had fun anyway.

There was a third spinning demonstration — two people sitting in chairs on what looks like a seesaw. While the whole thing is spinning, the two participants try to throw a ball back and forth. It’s very hard. To the delight of the first group of students, their teacher leaned too far back and the chair snapped, throwing her off the seesaw. Sadly, it was out of order after that, but the kids didn’t mind because one of the chaperones had been filming so everyone got to see Ms. Darrow go flying. Luckily she wasn’t hurt and, as usual, she was a great sport about it.

The third station was a mockup of the International Space Station. Each of the kids had a different job. I don’t remember exactly what Ezra’s job was, but here he is.


All in all, a pretty informative field trip!