Zev Family Newsletter: 2004

2004 started off like any other year; Rose Parade, glorious day, trip to the emergency room. Not to worry - the problem was a broken nail and the patient was Moody (the dog). Not a terribly serious problem, but the nail wouldn’t stop bleeding. It took two trips to the emergency vet (and over $100!) to get the bleeding stopped and the foot wrapped up properly. Fortunately, that was the worst thing to happen to any of us all year.

In the spring, Jackie’s many miles of running behind Benjamin on his bicycle finally paid off, and Benjamin learned to ride a two-wheeler. He now rides very well, but we’re still working on starting himself off without help!

Benjamin had a cooking party for his birthday. For Jonathan’s birthday, he invited a few friends over for a movie night/sleepover. Marc used the projector to turn our living room into a mini-theater. Very cool.

Jonathan went on a weekend retreat to the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI camp) with his 5th grade class. He really enjoyed himself snorkeling, disecting squid, star gazing, and hiking. Two days after he returned from CIMI camp, he went on a Temple retreat.

At the beginning of the summer, we gave the boys roller skating lessons. The lessons made a big difference, particularly for Benjamin and we got a bonus, too. When we went ice skating in November, we found that the roller skating lessons had improved their ice skating as well. Benjamin, who could not manage ice skates even with one of those ice skating “walkers” in January of 2003, can now ice skate by himself without any difficulty at all.

Jackie is still very into genealogy. In June, Jackie was very thrilled to discover that a picture labeled “Picus Store Fire,” sent to her via email by a stranger in 1997, was actually a picture of her great-grandmother’s brother-in-law’s store. She even found newspaper articles about the fire. You read all about it at www.jmz.la (click on the “Stories” link.) Also in June, Jackie was proud (and relieved) to finish a queen-sized quilt for her niece Jordan that Jackie had started 5 years earlier in honor of Jordan’s Bat Mitzvah.

The highlight of 2004 was our summer trip to sites in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. We saw Lake Havesu, the Grand Canyon, lots of Indian ruins, Sunset Crater, Meteor Crater, the Petrified Forest, Mesa Verde, Durango, Silverton, Four Corners, Page, Antelope Canyon, the Glen Canyon Dam, Zion and Las Vegas. We put about 2000 miles on the car, and enjoyed ourselves mightily. You can read more about this trip (and see pictures) at www.jmzconsulting.com/zev/news/Vacation2004.html.

We also greatly enjoyed a trip with Jackie’s parents, brother and sister-in-law (and no kids) to San Luis Obispo for the annual Mozart Festival in August. We put the boys in sleep-away camp (JCA) for 5 days and enjoyed nightly concerts that included a Brazilian Guitar quartet, Mahler, Beethoven and of course, Mozart.

When school started in September, Jonathan started 6th grade at Portola Middle School. In general, he adjusted to middle school fairly easily, managing changing classrooms 6 times a day, lockers and changing for gym without difficulty. The hardest thing for him has been the increased homework load. Once, he had homework due in five subjects the next day! However, he does manage to get it all done, (mostly) without compromising his other responsibilities (piano practice, clearing the dishes after dinner).

Benjamin is still at Beckford, and has his Kindergarten teacher again for second grade. She’s a great teacher, and we are pleased to have her again. He doesn’t seem to find anything difficult, even hard stuff like telling time and counting money.

The boys played soccer yet again. Jonathan enjoyed it very much, despite not being on a winning team for the first time in years. Benjamin enjoyed it too, but wants to try cross-country running next fall instead of soccer.

Marc is still working on getting the Foundation for Innovative Learning and Challenger Learning Center off the ground. It’s moving, but slowly. He received unofficial approval from the Challenger Learning Center organization to build a Center in the Valley. In addition, Marc obtained paid employment developing a database for a company that works for FEMA. So he’s been busy. The FIL work took him to Washington DC and the FEMA work took him to Atlanta and twice to Florida.

We asked the boys to expound on what had happened in 2004. Here are the things that were important to them, in their words (although rearranged to be in chronological order.) Jackie’s explanations and clarifications are in [square brackets].

Benjamin says, “Moody broke his claw. On Jonathan’s birthday, we saw “The Princess Bride.” One of the things we did was go on our trip. We went to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas which was the most fun. We went to Silverton and met a lady [a weaver in a weaving shop] and we went to Four Corners and took pictures. That’s where we got to be in four states at once. We found a lot of new crosswalk signals. [In Durango, the signals counted down the time you had to cross.] I had fun at Chatsworth Hills Academy [summer camp] and more fun at JCA, but more covering ears at JCA. [Benjamin is very sensitive to noise.] At camp, there was a picnic. Jonathan had a beach night and a beach day, but we only had beach days. Jonathan wet his camera in the ocean. I went to school in September with Ms Zika. Jonathan went to school with 6 teachers. The first day of second grade was very fun. I like her [his religious school teacher] and her name is Mrs. Green and sometimes we play a fun game. One day in the year when we were driving to school, the van got a flat tire, so we had to drive the tandem all the way to class. [When Marc and Benjamin went to the garage to drive to school one day, the van had a flat tire. We have a tandem bicycle and Marc used it to take Benjamin to school.] Then there was Thanksgiving – how we ate turkeys that were bad for us. Those were the chocolate turkeys that Daddy made. And Sarah Bracha’s birthday party. I got a few awards [at school, for academic performance and for Sportsmanship.] We went to a lot of plays this year, like Hallelujah Hopscotch, Pirates of Penzance, Winnie the Pooh. We bought a lot of things like gloves and ear plugs. We’re giving away a lot of stuff. [We went throught their toys and pulled out a lot of things to give away to charity.]

Jonathan says, “During 5th grade, we went to CIMI camp for 3 days. We got to look at algae and plankton. We had plankton races. At [5th grade] culmination, I got to watch balloons fly away. I got a bird with a head that popped up [an owl with a mortarboard that popped up!] and another one without a head that popped up. On the 4th of July, I hurt my leg. We went to camp before vacation and to a sleepaway camp with Michael and Samantha. It was fun. We went on hikes. On one of the hikes, I hurt the same leg. They had a really good pool. It was noisy. We made spice bundles and candles. My Hebrew school teacher has not done Hebrew school at our temple before, but she’s really nice. My first report card came home, but I’ll let my parents talk about it because I don’t want to boast.”

Our best to you all,

Marc, Jackie, Jonathan, Benjamin and Moody.