Monday, December 25, 2006

It's Christmastime!

It's Christmas morning and the present opening is done (well it's done here - we still have gifts to open at Paul's parents' later) and everyone is either napping or playing with their new toys. We just wanted to share a photo of our tree after Santa came last night and our official Christmas Eve family photo for 2006!

We hope that you got everything you wished for this year under your tree!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas from us ... to you

December has been a whirlwind of activity for us. The girls performed in the Nutcracker for the first two weekends of December (8 performances for Emily & 10 performances for Hannah - she did 10am Friday shows for schools in addition to the other 8 shows) and since I help backstage for most performances (and attend the few where I'm not helping) I was busy that whole time too. Emily was a skater and a soldier this year and Hannah was a party guest.

Right after the Nutcracker was done, it was time for the annual school Christmas show at Hannah's school. Even though Emily has graduated and no longer attends the same school, she was also in the show this year (as a special guest) since the music teacher at the school is still her voice coach. Spencer Davis was in attendance at the show and he commented to his wife about Emily's performance and her stage presence - he said that had he closed his eyes he would have thought it was a black gospel choir singing (it was a gospel song). Spencer also told his wife that Hannah has a great voice and will be giving Emily a run for her money in a few years!

The day after the Christmas show was the last day of school before vacation for the girls and I was busy with the class party for Hannah's class since I'm the room mom this year. I'm happy to report that even with all that, we do finally have our tree up and the presents are all bought (though not all wrapped yet) and the cat has knocked the tree over once already so I guess it's officially Christmas time for us!

We want to wish everyone the merriest of Christmases and hope that you enjoy the time with those that you love.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Next Disney Star?

Disney was wanting to hire some kids for a band for an upcoming project and Emily's voice teacher thought she'd be great for the project. Her voice teacher wanted a photo of her looking young - I'm guessing they want 12 year olds or so for this project - so Emily & I went to a park one day and took some photos at Hannah's school the next. Okay so she doesn't necessarily look young in some of these but here are a few of the ones I liked best ...
And who knows what's going on with the Disney project - for now that's on hold - but at least I got a cooperative subject for photos and some fun shots of Emily out of it!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Halloween Happenings

I wonder how many years more Emily will be trick-or-treating. Since her high school allows the students to wear costumes to school on Halloween, I'm sure she'll do that but I'm sure her years of actually going out and trick-or-treating are numbered. This year the girls and I went and had dinner with another family and then went trick-or-treating with their daughters one of whom is in Emily's class in high school and the other who is in a grade below Hannah at her school. They all had a great time and got tons of candy!

What did they go as this year? Emily was the Energizer Bunny and Hannah went as Hannah Montana. If you don't know who Hannah Montana is, she's the title character on a popular Disney show played by Miley Cyrus who is the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus - remember Achy, Breaky Heart anyone?

Mark Your Holiday Calendars!

I know it's early to be thinking about Christmas but in just over a month, the girls' ballet studio is putting on their annual production of The Nutcracker. It gets bigger and better each year and this year will be no exception! If you typically make The Nutcracker part of your holiday season, please think about making it RZBC's Nutcracker this year. And if you haven't added The Nutcracker to your holiday traditions, this is the perfect year to start that tradition!

Performances are held at the Madrid Theatre on Sherman Way in Canoga Park on December 8th at 7pm, December 9th at 2pm & 7pm, December 10th at 2pm and December 15th at 7pm, December 16th at 2pm & 7pm and December 17th at 2pm.

This year Emily is a skater, which is the opening number of the show, and a soldier in the fight scene near the end of Act I and Hannah is a party guest and will be on stage for much of Act I. They will be in all performances of The Nutcracker and they'd love to have you attend.

You can buy tickets online or at the Madrid Theatre box office. Most shows will probably have tickets available at the box office the day or evening of the performance though in the past there have been some sold out shows but this is the first year with 2 weekends of shows. This year it is also reserved assigned seating rather than general admission.

Will you see me at all of the performances? Well, I will be in the audience once again taking pictures of The Nutcracker (yes those are my photos from last year) for at least a couple of the shows and I'll be backstage helping out for the others!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

50 & Still Partying!

Welcome to my second half century - yep I made it 50 and I celebrated with a lots of friends and family at Pickwick's Pub. I certainly hope that everyone who came had a fun time because I sure did. I recommend embracing 50 since it's going to happen anyway so why not celebrate it!

Entertainment provided by Bob & Susan Cowsill

Me with Bob & Susan

Blowing out my candles - luckily NOT 50 of them!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Last Year of Elementary School

It's hard to believe that my baby is in her last year of elementary school but she is! Hannah started 5th grade a week ago yesterday and is thoroughly enjoying it so far. She loves her new teacher already and keeps telling us how much fun her teacher is. I think Hannah's teacher from last year feels slighted but at least this year she has a class that's mostly girls.

Hannah is still the only girl in her class but she's friends with a lot of the girls in the 4th grade and since 4th & 5th grade have recess and lunch together she has buddies to hang out with during those times.
I am going to be the room mom for Hannah's class this year. I was the room mom for Emily's class when she was in 5th grade and it was a lot of fun so I'm looking forward to it for Hannah's class too. I've felt badly the last few years with Hannah's class because the room mom's have just not gotten it and there haven't really been activities or crafts or games at their parties so I intend to make up for that this year with some fun parties. If anyone has any good suggestions for class parties for Halloween or Christmas or Valentines or Easter send them my way!

Monday, August 28, 2006

It's Official

Emily's in high school! Today was the first day of high school and Emily was up and ready without any kind of protest. I think she was a little excited even though she said it doesn't seem real yet. I hope that she has a wonderful high school experience!
I bet it seems real now since she has Science homework!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Life's Passages

This past weekend we flew to Northern California for the wedding of Paul's youngest brother. It was held in a lovely garden setting overlooking a vineyard. It was a beautiful wedding and a fun and lively reception and interestingly for me the first Jewish wedding that I had ever attended. I found it very challenging to try to get the photographs I wanted at the wedding and my hat is definitely off to wedding photographers. I can't imagine the pressure of having to capture all those special moments.
All of the grandchildren on Paul's side of the family took part in some way in the wedding and Emily & Hannah were no exception. Both of our girls served as guest book attendants and they did a great job even going from table to table to make sure that people had signed the guest book and received a copy of the program for the wedding.
Paul and all of his siblings also played a part in the wedding either as groomsmen or as huppah carriers.
Mazel Tov Steve & Katya!
We're quickly approaching another of life's passages. In less than a week, Emily will be starting her freshman year at high school. We went to the school today for an appointment with her counselor since she hadn't been assigned any elective for the year. Emily really wanted to take dance but since she's in so many honors classes she can only have an elective in certain periods and dance wasn't available. So, she'll get her computer class requirement out of the way either by testing out of the class or by taking it the first semester and she'll get at least one semester of her PE requirement fulfilled.

In less than two months, on October 20th, I'm going to have a major life passage of my own as I turn 50! As I approach that milestone, I find myself reflecting on my life - on what I've done and what I would still like to do. It's common on the Internet to find a list of things to do before you die and so I thought I'd come up with one of my own but I'm calling mine Things I Want To Do in the Next 50 Years!
  • Travel and Travel-related:
    • Visit all 50 states - I'm 26 short of this goal right now as I have visited:
      1. Washington
      2. Oregon
      3. California
      4. Hawaii
      5. Nevada
      6. Arizona
      7. New Mexico
      8. Utah
      9. Colorado
      10. Missouri
      11. Texas
      12. Nebraska
      13. Louisiana
      14. Illinois
      15. Minnesota
      16. Michigan
      17. Tennesse
      18. Alabama
      19. Pennsylvania
      20. New York
      21. Connecticut
      22. New Jersey
      23. Massachusetts
      24. Rhode Island
    • Visit Ireland and kiss the Blarney Stone
    • Take a cruise along the fjords of Norway
    • Visit England and have a pint in a British Pub
    • Share a kiss in Paris
    • Visit the pyramids in Egypt
    • Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu - Check out the virtual hike at
    • Visit Australia & New Zealand
    • Go to Disneyworld
    • Visit Washington, D.C
    • Visit Catalina
    • Take a 2nd honeymoon to Lake Louise
    • Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans
    • Go to the top of the Empire State Building
    • Climb to the top of the Statue of Liberty
    • Ring in the New Year in Times Square
    • Take a carriage ride in New York
    • Swim with dolphins
    • Take a ride in a hot air balloon
    • Walk the Great Wall of China
    • Visit the Amazon Rainforest
    • Ride a gondola in Venice
    • Ride on the Orient Express
    • Drive cross country
    • Go on an African safari
  • Learn to play the guitar
  • Sing a duet with Bob Cowsill (actually this one scares me but part of me really wants to!)
  • See my children graduate from high school & college
  • See my children married to men they love
  • Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary (which means I'll still be around at 85!)
  • Become a grandparent
  • Own a convertible
  • Learn to say "no"
  • Meet a Beatle
  • Learn to ski
  • Get all my photo & negatives organized
  • Quit biting my fingernails
  • Lose weight and keep it off for good
  • Read the classics
  • Get a professional massage
  • Own my dream house
  • Own a successful business
  • Meet all of my first cousins
  • Spend a weekend at a fancy spa
  • Raise a million dollars for St. Martins
  • Rent a vacation home on the beach
  • Stop being afraid of what others might think
  • Discover what I am truly passionate about and pursue it
  • Be happy (or at least content) with who I am
I'm sure there are many things missing on the list that I will accomplish in the next 50 years but it will be interesting to see how many of these I might do!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

So You Want to be a Rock-n-Roll Star

August 11th was the date for the second DayJams concert for Emily & Hannah. This week Hannah was in a band named Red Bullet and they wrote and performed a song titled Electric Shock. At the end of their performance the director of the camp joked that we'd all go home with the song stuck in our heads! Unlike the previous week, this week Hannah's band was a mix of girls and boys. Hannah said she liked the all-girl band better but that she definitely enjoyed both weeks of camp.
Emily was only in one band during this week of camp and I think she felt less pressure because of it. She said that she enjoyed the second week of camp more than the first week but was quick to say she liked both weeks! Emily's band was named Free Parking this week of camp and included 3 members from one of her previous week's band. The director of the camp liked the song that her previous band, Hot Laundry, performed and asked that they do it again. So in addition to singing their song, Moosifiction, Free Parking also covered Hot Laundry's song, Set Me Free. I noticed during the Hot Laundry song that Emily was having a problem reaching the high notes and she told me that her throat had been bugging her and was really dry at that point so I guess she's experiencing what it's really like to be in a band and have to perform when you're less than 100%. She still did great though!

It was fun to see both of the girls perform two weeks in a row and I enjoyed taking pictures of all of the bands. The August 11th concert convinced me that I need to get lens hoods for my lenses though - the sun shining through the trees onto the bands just caused all kinds of issues with the photos.

Time to get back to the real world and concentrate on getting ready to go back to school - oh and go to Paul's brother's wedding next weekend too. Emily starts high school on the 28th of August and needs to finish up her summer reading. Hannah also has summer reading to complete but she doesn't go back to school until September 6th.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Rock Stars!

This week and next both the girls are attending Day Jams. Emily went to Day Jams for a week last year and really enjoyed it and this year both girls are going for 2 weeks. On Monday, all the attendees to the camp are put into bands (basically by age and skill level). Each band has to name themselves, design a band logo and write a song during the week. On Friday the camp puts on a concert where each band performs their song.

Hannah was in an all-girl band named Black Lightning for the first week of the camp. She had a blast and was not at all nervous introducing the band and singing lead vocals!

Emily was lead vocalist in 2 bands: Not So Average Joes and Hot Laundry. Since the vocalist has to write the lyrics to the songs Emily was kept very busy attending rehearsals for both bands each day and writing lyrics to 2 songs! She looks very comfortable in front of a band but she was a bit disappointed in the performances on Friday. The mix was bad for Not So Average Joes and you couldn't hear her vocals very well and the band started too soon so Emily had to play catch up with the vocals. And, she says she messed up a couple of lines during the Hot Laundry song too. I don't think anyone in the audience realized she had blown any of the lines - that's the beauty of performing original songs!

Emily on vocals for Not So Average Joes

Emily on vocals for Hot Laundry

This coming week they get to do it all again with brand new bands and brand new songs! If you're in the area and want to come to the Friday night concert contact me for information!

This looks like such fun that it almost makes me want to attend Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

School's Out For Summer!

It's hard to believe that another school year is over and I now have a 5th grader and a freshman in high school!! I'm sure it will all sink in when we go buy uniforms for Emily and order her text books.

Emily graduated from 8th Grade last Wednesday. Each of the graduates spoke or performed during graduation - that's possible when there are only six graduates! Emily sang the Star Spangled Banner and she did an awesome job. I had more than one parent tell me that she made them cry. While she was singing, Emily's cap fell off; she was fine and kept going but the other two girls that were graduating started to laugh which caused Emily to have to try not to laugh. Paul said it was a good thing because she was much too serious up to that point.

In addition to receiving her diploma, Emily was also awarded a Presidential Award for Educational Excellence. After the graduation ceremony, there was a reception on the patio outside of the church and then we went out to dinner with two of the other families of graduates. It was a long night but a lot of fun. We are so proud of Emily for her outstanding academic record in Elementary and Middle School and for her acceptance to High School with honors. I still can't believe that she's old enough to go to High School!

Emily being presented with her diploma

Emily and her teachers at the reception following graduation

The dress Emily picked out to wear to her graduation was great with her eyes but whoa when did she get so grown up looking?

Hannah's last day of school was last Thursday and she is truly going to miss her teacher next year though she's been invited to stop in for the weekly tea party any time. Being the only girl in the class, she and her teacher truly bonded. Hannah had a great 4th grade year and is just hoping that some how, some way we'll get at least one more girl for 5th grade next year!