The Year in Review: 2013

Welcome to our 2013 Year in Review!

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Someone once told Rachel when Sophie was a baby that the days might drag on but the years would fly by. It was a great bit of parenting advice, and 2013 sure has flown by! This year, we enjoyed a family trip to Niagara Falls, watched proudly as Sophie and her classmates led Shabbat services for the first time, saw Charlotte blossom as a reader and took on new professional challenges.

Eric continues to mentor student writers in Harpur College, cover campus news at Binghamton University and do a bit of music writing on the side. He was thrilled to interview Tony Orlando this spring — and to receive a call from him on his cell after the concert. Rachel organized the annual meeting of the University Research Magazine Association, which gave her an opportunity to welcome fellow magazine editors from around the country to Binghamton. She also had a chance to meet one of her science writing heroes, Pulitzer winner Jonathan Weiner.

It seems Rachel’s work related to science communications may be rubbing off on the kids. Sophie says she wants to be a lepidopterist when she grows up! A serious Harry Potter fan, she celebrated her ninth birthday this summer by inviting some friends to go to Hogwarts with her. (The adults in the family taught classes and Rachel even made chocolate frogs for the occasion. Uncle Jesse was potion master; Eric went all out as Dumbledore.) Sophie, who started fourth grade this fall, is playing violin, taking swimming lessons and studying Hebrew. Like all tweens, she seems to be growing up way too quickly. She recently asked if she could join Instagram!

Charlotte, on the other hand, is still our little girl. She’s in first grade and a big fan of Wonder Woman, unicorns and American Girl dolls. She says she wants to be an ornithologist when she grows up. Charlotte has expressed an interest in karate lessons, so it looks as though 2014 will have more adventures in store for us!

— Eric, Rachel, Sophie and Charlotte

Eric’s picks for the year’s best albums:

  1. Matt Nathanson: “Last of the Great Pretenders”
  2. The Wild Feathers: “The Wild Feathers”
  3. Paul McCartney: “New”
  4. Barenaked Ladies: “Grinning Streak”
  5. Toad the Wet Sprocket: “New Constellation”
  6. Capital Cities: “In a Tidal Wave of Mystery”
  7. Pet Shop Boys: “Electric”
  8. Dropkick Murphys: “Signed and Sealed in Blood”
  9. Noah and the Whale: “Heart of Nowhere”
  10. The Airborne Toxic Event: “Such Hot Blood”

Rachel’s 13 favorite songs of 2013 (in no particular order):

  1. “Pompeii” by Bastille
  2. “Lock Your Heart Down” by Churchill
  3. “Rose Tattoo” by Dropkick Murphys
  4. “Out of My League” by Fitz and The Tantrums
  5. “Forever” by Haim
  6. “Love Me Again” by John Newman
  7. “Go Home” by Lucius
  8. “Restless Heart” by Matt Hires
  9. “Harlem” by New Politics
  10. “Let Her Go” by Passenger
  11. “Stompa” by Serena Ryder
  12. “Brothers” by Tanlines
  13. “New Constellation” by Toad the Wet Sprocket

Do you have Spotify? If you do, you can listen to Rachel’s picks (plus a few extras) as a playlist: http://spoti.fi/1b5YTqm.

Five 2013 songs our daughters adore (click to see a video):

  1. “Popular Song” by Mika
  2. “Everything Has Changed” by Taylor Swift
  3. “Roar” by Katy Perry
  4.  “Applause” by Lady Gaga
  5. “Come and Get It” by Selena Gomez

A half-dozen great books Rachel read this year:

  1. The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
  2. The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
  3. Ashenden by Elizabeth Wilhide
  4. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  6. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
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