Things they don’t warn you about when you become a parent, No. 863: Under the right circumstances, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” could make you weepy.
Sophie and her fourth-grade classmates at Tioga Hills Elementary School gave their very first concert tonight. And the first time I heard their bows hit the strings, I really did tear up. It’s so great to see your kid take on a new challenge. We’re so proud of our girl!
Here’s a less than two-minute recap of their performance:
Well, 2013 has flown by at record speed. Our Year in Review is live, just in time for Thanksgivukkah. Enjoy!
Sophie has made huge progress as a swimmer this year. After a busy summer in the pool at Camp Sertoma, she has been taking lessons at our local JCC. Here you can see her diving for a 10-pound brick in the deep end!
This year has been a challenging, busy and rewarding one, professionally speaking. I’m in my fifth year as director of research advancement at Binghamton University. My main work involves communicating about research in subjects ranging from physics to neuroscience to economics. I edit a website and twice-yearly magazine focused on research news from Binghamton.
Rachel with one of her writing heroes, Jonathan Weiner
In the spring, our campus played host to the annual meeting of the University Research Magazine Association, which gave me a chance to meet one of my writing heroes, Pulitzer winner Jonathan Weiner. We had about 40 colleagues from around the country and as far away as London at the conference.
Many of the stories I work on these days are highly technical in nature, but I do get to do some writing about our scholars in the humanities, too. And once in a while, I have a chance to take on a project that’s way outside the normal boundaries of research communications. In March, I heard from one of our librarians in Special Collections who had discovered a connection between one of our archives and the TV drama Downton Abbey. The resulting story, titled A Countess on Campus, was published over the summer in the university magazine. I had such fun with it that I am dreaming of ways to write a book about Tilly Losch or in some way inspired by her life story.
Need a laugh? The Coker sisters have you covered!
My baby brother, Ethan, is now 14. He’s an avid reader, just like me, and very into sci-fi. We had a great discussion about books while we were out for dinner tonight, and I came up with a back-of-an-envelope list of recommendations. These are books he hasn’t read yet that I predict he’ll enjoy:
Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451″
Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”
William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride”
John Green’s “The Fault in Our Stars”
Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”
John Knowles’ “A Separate Peace”
Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild”
Ellen Raskin’s “The Westing Game”
Neal Shusterman’s “Unwind”
J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings”
Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”
Markus Zusak’s “The Book Thief”
Anything you’d want to add? I can’t wait to hear what he thinks of these!
We had two amazing birthday parties this year as Charlotte turned 6 and Sophie turned 9. Thanks in part to Pinterest and in part to my general craziness, there’s no end to the cool details and projects that can go along with kids’ birthday parties these days.
For Charlotte, we had a tea party for the girls in her class plus a few special friends and relatives. We set up a photo backdrop, complete with white gloves and paper parasols, prepared a sit-down lunch with tea sandwiches and organized a decorate-your-own-hat craft. I made a giant surprise ball for a game of pass the parcel, and every kid received a little prize. Check out my Now We Are Six pinboard.
Sophie wanted a Harry Potter party, and she invited all of her friends who had read at least one of the books. I don’t think she gave them a test before adding them to the guest list. We knew months ahead of time that she wanted to party like a wizard, and Eric and I have both read the Harry Potter series, so everyone played a part in organizing the day. I made invitations that looked like the letter Harry receives from Dumbledore in the first book. All the kids received a wand and either wore a robe or got one when they arrived for school. We had a Sorting Ceremony and then a series of classes, with my mom teaching Herbology and my brother leading Potions. Last but not least we arranged a Harry Potter-themed scavenger hunt, awarded prize money and set up a mini Honeydukes shop where the kids could spend their Sickles and Knuts. I have no idea how we’ll top this party, but it was a blast for all of us! You can see some of the inspiration on my Harry Potter pinboard.