Ezra’s First Focaccia

Ezra continued on his bread-making roll and made a focaccia on December 16th. It’s a long process because of the starter that needs to be done the day before and then all of the folding that takes about 7 hours. It came out pretty good but stuck to the pan a bit and Bruce had a grand time trying to pry it free. Nevertheless, it was quickly gobbled up!

Ezra’s Banana Bread

Ezra’s in a different program at school this year called Connections. It has a more hands-on, project based learning philosophy and there is an 8th grade project called ROPE (Right of Passage Experience). Students are meant to choose something to learn about, find a mentor, and then present at the end of the year on all that they learned. Ezra decided to do bread baking and asked his Uncle Bob to be his mentor. His first item to bake was banana bread, and he made his first loaf on October 14th.

It turned out pretty tasty!

He is going to have to learn a little more about cleanup though …

He’ll continue to make some additional quick breads and then move to yeast breads. He’s looking forward to cinnamon rolls which I think are the last item on the list.

Cat Town Oakland

On August 19th we went across the bay to visit Vanessa, Thomas and Reba in their new digs in Piedmont. After a visit at their house, we went to Cat Town in Oakland since all of us are cat lovers. Ezra, the cat whisperer, had the most success interacting with the cats.

Also cat related, earlier in the month, Bruce had installed the swinging backyard chair we’d gotten for Ezra and I snapped this photo of him and Emmy.

Ezra’s 13th Birthday

Teenager in the house!

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OK, so he’s a sleepy teenager with a cold, who we forced to get up early-ish on the Sunday morning of his birthday so we could have breakfast together before Finn’s hockey practice, but a teenager nonetheless.

This year, in trying to come up with a good birthday activity for a kid who didn’t want to have a party, Bruce thought of having one-on-one time with each of us. Luckily, Ezra is still game to hang out with his family so it all worked out. On Saturday, Bruce and Ezra took BART to San Francisco to spend the day at the Exploratorium. They had a great time and there was ice cream, so, you know, all good. There were not, however, any photos of the day.

After they got back, Finn took Ezra to Teaspoon, the local all-the-rage bubble tea shop. They rode their bikes there and had an independent, brotherly outing.

On Sunday, I finally got my time with Ezra — we went to see Black Panther. I think I got the best deal of the three of us. It was great! Wakanda forever! Ezra liked it because there were lots of explosions. And he got a giant bag of popcorn and an Icee. Don’t tell his orthodontist.

For dinner, he’d requested bacon-wrapped shrimp, which he had picked out on the menu when we were in Belize at the Secret Beach, but the restaurant ran out of gas for cooking so he never got to try it. When I told him he could choose whatever he wanted for dinner, he immediately went for the bacon-wrapped shrimp. He said all he wanted was a big platter of it.

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So that’s what he got! It was delicious — Bruce made it with a maple Sriracha glaze. Yum!

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For dessert I made chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting.

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And ice cream, of course.

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I think he had a good weekend despite his cold. Hopefully he feels as loved as he is.

Ezra’s Great Helm

Ezra’s been studying armor from the Middle Ages and he was disappointed that his teacher hadn’t assigned any projects for the unit. Actually, there haven’t been any projects at all which is unfortunate for him. He’s been really interested in the subject matter, especially the helmets, and Bruce encouraged him to make one even if it wasn’t assigned. And so, they made one together — a Great Helm.

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He took it to school and his teacher loved it and said he should bring it back for Open House.

Ezra’s Homemade Pasta

Another perk from Ezra’s Living Skills class was the homemade fettuccini alfredo we made in early February. He’d loved it when they made it in class, so I bought the Kitchen Aid pasta attachment set (which they use at school — talk about lucky kids). I don’t have many photos because I was busy helping.

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Ezra’s Living Skills Class

Ezra took a “Living Skills” elective this year, mainly because it’s a prerequisite for the Advanced Cooking class he wants to take next year. It’s been great — he made himself a pair of pajamas, learned how to do laundry, and had a long section on cooking. That part has benefitted us all, especially on December 23rd when he decided to make egg drop soup for dinner.

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It was delicious!

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Meanwhile, Finn, Jamma, and Bruce played a wicked game of Monopoly.

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Ezra also made a gingerbread house at school right before break, which was pretty cool.

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I love that he took this class and I’m looking forward to more cooking from him in the future!

Ezra’s Tooth Extraction

After the joy of Halloween candy, Ezra had to pay the piper and get his errant tooth extracted. It was a doozy that required oral surgery but he came through it like a champ. He looked a little worse for wear that first day …

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Good thing we have comfort kitties.

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That is a big tooth.

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I was worried about his recovery having had a tooth extracted myself and it was the worst, but he did just fine. He was allowed unlimited screen time, and between that and a few Advils, we barely heard a peep out of him.

Ezra’s Cell-a-bration

Ezra has really been enjoying science class this year, and in October they put their knowledge of cells into action by building models. All of the models were assembled in the cafeteria and families got to come and take a look. I didn’t take many pictures but here are a couple. As usual, Ezra enjoyed explaining the part he made — the vacuole.

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And here’s a longer shot of more of the cell.

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Braces, Phase II

On the day before school started (August 14th) Ezra got his second set of braces on after a break of about 18 months. He’s got a lot going on and will need oral surgery to coax an errant tooth into place, but for now it was just the top and a little bit on the bottom.

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More than anything, I just thought this scene was funny.

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Skylights

We finally found a household chore that Ezra will do without complaint: Cleaning the skylights. He loves being up on the roof so it’s a perfect fit.

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Ezra’s Sixth Grade Artwork

During the last week of school, Ezra brought home his artwork and projects from the year. As is our tradition, I’m posting it all here.

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Also! Here’s a picture of him from the sixth grade formal lunch that happened the week before school got out. So dapper!

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Ezra’s Last Sixth Grade Dance

The third and final sixth grade dance happened on May 12th. I’ve been surprised at how enthusiastic Ezra is about the dances, although so far it’s all about the junk food and not at all about dancing. So, I guess not really surprising at all. For this one, he went with Henry and I dropped them off. I wanted to get a photo of them before they left the car … it wasn’t easy getting them to settle down.

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Finally, they let me get one conventional shot.

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Ezra’s Last Orchestra Concert

Since Ezra has decided not to continue with cello next year, May 10th was his final JLS orchestra concert. While I’d be happy to see him continue with cello and will encourage him to take up another instrument in the future, I can’t say I’ll miss hauling the cello around! Here’s video of one of the pieces the sixth grade orchestra played that night.

Ezra’s Drama Class

Part of the elective “wheel” the sixth graders do is a drama class. At the end of the five-week course, they put on a mini-play and parents are invited. Of course, we went. It was super fun to see Ezra up on stage — I think he really enjoys it. He had some funny lines, and he even took over the part of another kid in his group who wasn’t at school that day.

Here are a few snapshots (I didn’t take any video, although we have a recording of the whole thing from his teacher).

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