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You can have your smelly goats and fried whatever on a stick — my favorite part of the Minnesota State Fair is the vintage photobooths. They’re so vintage they need a sign: This is actual film. Please be patient.

Last month marked our fourth yearly visit to the fair, and after we showed Dalia the state’s largest boar (she was so impressed she may have wet herself), we set off to take our annual photo.

We came prepared; we knew the photobooths were next door to the butterfly house… we just forgot where the butterfly house was.

As we snaked our way through fanny packed fairgoers and livestock turds, our conversation felt familiar.

“This looks right, doesn’t it?”

“I know where it is, just follow me.”

“I think we turn right up here.”

“I know where it is, just follow me.”

“Isn’t it near the cookies?”

“Can you please just FOLLOW ME?”

After 20 minutes of passing the same corndog stand, we realized that finding the photobooths–and arguing incessantly about their location–was as much a part of the tradition as the 30 seconds behind the curtain.

It’s always important to honor old traditions — I’m already excited for next year’s navigation-themed argument — but new state fair traditions may include: nursing while eating an ear of corn, napping while Y looks at the tractors, getting licked by an angry horse, and inhaling a milkshake while walking back to our car.

P.S. my first impressions of the MN State Fair are here and here

WKND 9.15.15

4 snaps

 1. The most beautiful butterfly you’ve ever seen || 2. Good meat from the Lone Grazer || 3. Playing around with watercolors || 4. FLYING into the new year at Rosh Hashana services? Ha…ha?

4 moments

1 | Recently, I went to the mall and left a little sad. You see, for some reason, nineties fashion is back and the stores are filled with overalls, chunky clogs, scrunchies, and daisies. This stuff was popular when I was in 6th and 7th grade, and I don’t know about you, but middle school was NOT fun for me. As I walked to the parking lot, I was an eleven year old again: with a pocket full of yin yang stickers and no one to share them with, headed home to watch SNICK alone on my couch. This trend is AWFUL.

This weekend, Y said, “Can we talk about how the lady on the cover of the Madewell catalog looks like a mom from the 90s?” Y has spoken — this needs to end.

2 | On Saturday, our neighborhood hosted the Monarch Festival, which celebrates the monarch butterfly migration from Minnesota to Mexico with butterfly releases, butterfly crafts, Aztec dancers, salsa dancing, tacos, people dressed like butterflies on stilts… you know, what you would expect. The best part was that we kept running into people we know, so Y had MULTIPLE opportunities to tell this really amazing joke about how he thought the Monarch Festival was going to be a tribute to the history of the British royal family.

3 | On the way home from dinner at a friend’s house, waaaay past Dalia’s bedtime, she fell asleep in her fancy pink dress in the carseat. In what historians are calling THE BIGGEST PARENTING WIN EVER, Y and I got her out of her carseat, out of her dress, and into pajamas with lots of snaps WITHOUT WAKING HER UP. I’ve never been more proud.

 4 | Y and one of his friends went on an impromptu dad-date the other day and took the babies for a walk. Suddenly, I had an hour and a half to myself, which was far more stressful than it should have been. I think I spent the first hour and 29 minutes alternating between trying to decide what I should do with all of my free time and hyperventilating that my free time was quickly expiring. Finally I decided to go for a bike ride and it was GLORIOUS.

4 tastes

1 | For some reason, despite hating every taco I try, I keep ordering them in various places around the Twin Cities. I mean, when you live in , and I keep being horribly disappointed. At the Monarch Festival we tried Taco Taxi and YES. Just yes. (One other exception has been Sonora.)

2 | Victor’s 1959 Cuban Cafe. On the patio. Mango pancakes and a side of avocado for the baby.

3 | Our neighborhood had a block party in the parking lot of our corner grocery store. There was all kinds of stuff going on — Y accidentally walked in the middle of a cake walk (he didn’t win) and someone from the neighborhood church slipped a gift bag into Dalia’s stroller with a Bible coloring book and a cross necklace — but the main purpose seemed to be for local vendors that are sold in the grocery store to sample their products. Bloody Marys. Salsa. Homemade granola bars. Cheese curds. Salami. Chocolate. Honey. Granola. Coffee. I LOVE MY NEIGHBORHOOD.


4 | At Terzo wine bar, there’s this brilliant situation where, after you order your food, your waiter asks if you want to try the taste of the day for a dollar. Presented beautifully on a little spoon is one delicious bite of some combination the chef has dreamed up. Ours was delicious, but I was too busy marveling about the concept to remember what exactly we ate. Whatever it was, it had a balsamic drizzle.

reading /listening

I’ve started four books this weekend and haven’t been into any of them, including, sadly, Gumption by Nick Offerman. It pains me to type that. / My background noise of choice this weekend is all of the college football.

WKND | 9.7.2015

The saddest book currently for sale at your friendly neighborhood bookstore is called 940 Saturdays.


Fine, that may have been an exaggeration (have you READ Sarah’s Key??), but the premise of this book, a journal, is that when you have a kid, you have 940 Saturdays before that kid turns 18, and YOU NEED TO WRITE ABOUT THEM BEFORE THEY GO AWAY. Eighteen years is a huge chunk of time, but putting a number on it — a number that silently ticks away while you’re busy living life — is enough to give me hives. We’re already down to like 914 Saturdays over here, and what do we have to show for it? A giggly baby with rolls for days and 2,000 pictures on my phone? IT’S NOT ENOUGH. How will I remember?


I’m half joking, but the book’s point is well taken. I’ve been trying to write more often — it’s been a goal of mine every new year, every Jewish new year, every fiscal new year (I like to use any opportunity I can find for a fresh start) every birthday, every month, every week — and jotting down what happened each weekend seems like a good place to start.


4 snaps

 9_6_20151. LOOK OUT BEHIND YOU || 2. “You can sleep when you’re dead, dad.” || 3. Sometimes you need a late night snack, sometimes that late night snack is 1/4th of a loaf of challah || 4. I don’t want to tell you how many selfies I took of Dalia and myself this weekend, but this is one of them.

4 moments

1 | We brought Dalia to Shabbat services Saturday morning. As a kid, I hated going to services. As a young adult, the day I realized I didn’t have to go to services if I didn’t want to felt very important — if that moment in my life had been in a movie, I would have been standing on top of a building with the city swirling around me with possibility. As an adult, some of my best memories of childhood are falling asleep on the way home from Friday night services and getting carried inside in my fancy dress and shoes. And as a parent, bringing my baby to the once a month “tot Shabbat services” is kind of the highlight of my month. IT’S THE CIRCLE OF LIFE.

2 | Y and I went out for a drink Sunday night and accidentally stumbled upon an EDM festival (translation: electronic dance music), which we were way overdressed for (i.e. I was wearing bottoms, which were clearly optional). Don’t be jealous, but we saw Datsik.

Yeah, I don’t know who that is either. But I did have a gin, lemon, and lavender cocktail. I don’t know why lavender in drinks is so popular these days but I hope it never goes away.

3 | Saturday night, Y and his mom were making dinner and I ran to Ikea to buy the tray to Dalia’s high chair (sometimes high chairs and their trays are sold separately and you don’t realize until you put the high chair together — thanks, Ikea.)  Can I just give you one piece of advice? NEVER GO TO IKEA ON A SATURDAY NIGHT. The lines snake back into the warehouse and you might find yourself behind a family of eleven who are buying the entire Hemnes collection and all you need is a $5 high chair tray.

4 | I get obnoxiously giddy about this time of year, when fall is almost close enough to touch, winter is far enough away that it seems romantic and cozy, and your football team could still make it to the national championship.

4 tastes
1 | Scones and Gravy. That’s a thing. It might sound like a downgrade from biscuits and gravy, but it absolutely isn’t.  Get it at Harriet Brasserie. Sit on the patio and laugh at the people waiting in line next door to get into Tilia.

2 | Schnitzel made by Y’s mom, who was in town visiting. I have this vivid memory of eating these, defrosted, in Y’s rat and roach infested apartment when we were in college. He really knew how to woo a girl.

3 | Matzah ball soup from Cecil’s deli. It was so necessary on a gloomy Sunday.

4 | Impromptu challah French toast for some French toast connoisseurs: toddlers. It was my first time making French toast, and I think they approved.

reading /listening
Reading Sick in the Head, Judd Apatow. I’m borrowing it from the library right now, but I’m planning to buy this one and highlight the crap out of it. / Listening to a lot of Beach House this weekend.

mama loves you 5: the freedom to love and code (or not)


Dear Dalia,

Have I ever told you about the time I got locked in my tenth grade computer science classroom?

It was a nightmare for many reasons, the first of which being OMG I HATED COMPUTER SCIENCE. Apart from the subject matter, at which I was utterly hopeless, our teacher was a religious fanatic who wrote a pamphlet about abstinence that he regularly passed around to his students. AND, the internet was, like, a toddler, and still really novel and the guys in my class had just discovered a website with pictures of dead bodies.

My issues with coding and creationists and dead bodies aside, the real problem of my being locked in my computer science classroom was the reason: hundreds of angry students marching down the halls, slamming lockers and screaming.

“NO GAY CLUBS!” they yelled, according to the Newsweek article written about that day. “Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!” I remember people chanting. It was the first time I had heard that chant.

The reason for these protests — riots? — was the recent formation of a club called the Gay Straight Alliance. The Newsweek article (yep, my high school was on the cover**) mentions that it took 6 months for this club to get permission to form on campus.

I hope when you’re in high school, everyone shakes their heads in horror that anyone would have rioted over such a thing. “Our parents’ generation was so weird,” you’ll say to your friend via some communication device that hasn’t been invented yet, “my mom couldn’t code and gay people couldn’t have clubs.”

Today, your dad and I are celebrating our six year anniversary two days after same-sex marriage became legal in this country and the same day as Minneapolis’s Pride celebration. It feels really special to me to share this celebration, and although we didn’t make it to Pride this year, my goal is to bring you as often as I can. I hope you grow up in a world where everyone is allowed to do their thing. I hope it’s not even a question.

Mama loves you (no matter who you love),


** P.S. — “Newsweek” was a magazine. A “magazine” was a bound collection of articles and pictures that was delivered to your house every week or month. A “cover” refers to the very front page. KIDS THESE DAYS.

weekend thoughts / 5.30.15


It’s funny what sticks with you from childhood, isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately: what songs Dalia will remember us singing to her, what books she’ll remember reading, what smells will remind her of home. Part of me wants to [brace yourself for the most hated word of 2015] curate that for her, but my practical side realizes that despite my best efforts, that one time I got Carly Rae Jepsen stuck in my head might be, in her mind, the soundtrack to her childhood. And that’s okay.

My mom clearly wanted me to feel a connection to certain things, namely books —  scribbled inside my old copies of A.A Milne’s When We Were Very Young and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein are heartfelt notes  about how her mother used to read those books and how special they were to her — and hopefully me.

But… sorry, Mom, I have no recollection of ever reading those books.

The books I remember most vividly from childhood are some that I’m sure my parents bought as afterthoughts and definitely weren’t meant to be family heirlooms. The breakfast page from Richard Scarry’s Busytown is still the gold standard to which I hold all breakfasts (nothing has lived up), and there’s a Sesame Street book about flowers that has, for some reason, stuck with me. In a brilliant plot line clearly meant to span decades and cross continents, Big Bird buys a bouquet of flowers and distributes them to his friends. There’s an iris, a tiger lily, a daffodil, and a rose (he couldn’t afford a peony, I guess). To this day, all of those flowers make me really happy — especially irises — and I know for a fact it’s thanks to that book.


Last weekend, a big bouquet of irises bloomed in our kitchen while I threw together an impromptu surprise party for Y’s last day of residency (okay, I made tacos and brownies for six people. STILL.)


Our house was just the way I like it — filled with people (again, six of them… we have a small house) and early 2000s rap music.


Dalia and I visited the farmers market where I drooled over handmade pottery and dribbled breakfast tacos on D’s head (motherhood is hard, man).



On Sunday night, Y and I took our leftover tacos and my 75 cent garage sale picnic basket, filled the water jug from my hospital stay with champagne, and walked to the lake for a picnic. (Full disclosure, we opened the bottle of champagne because we both needed a drink after one of us threw a wee temper tantrum. It wasn’t the baby.)

In between there was baby yoga, footlong hot dogs on a corner patio, and a visit to the chicken bookstore, and I know Dalia will never remember it, but I hope these are the kinds of weekends she does remember.

two months

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Dalia at one month // Dalia at two months

Dalia Loves:

+ Neil Patrick Harris. I’ve been listening to his audiobook while feeding her, so I’m pretty sure she thinks he is her mother.

+ That weird eye pattern that’s threatening to become stylish. I think I heard her say it was on fleek. Look at that smile… she’s into it.

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+ The mating habits of penguins.

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+ Modern art


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+Dance parties. We even have the same favorite French rap song.

Dalia hates:

+ 6 pm – 10 pm.

+ The sound of Ike’s tags when he shakes. She throws her tiny little hands up in surprise every time.


+ Opening and closing her fists while eating — is this something all babies do or does she finally have her first very own Thing?

Lessons learned:

+ I can’t fit myself and the carseat through my tiny old kitchen without breaking the knobs off the oven. I guess life in the 1920s was a little smaller.

+ My neighborhood library has a story time for ages 0-2. Great, I thought, That will be a nice walk and maybe I’ll meet some people who live in my neighborhood. Side note: there’s a weird phenomenon in Minnesota of NEVER seeing your neighbors for 4+ months. It’s too cold to spend any more time outside than is absolutely necessary, you see, and outside is where you meet your neighbors. I think I started looking pregnant around November, right when we all went into hibernation mode, so when we walked out of our house in March with a stroller, all of our neighbors were shocked.

Hence the desire to meet some people in my neighborhood.

ANYWAY. Story time at the library. So we get there (late), and as I walk  in I immediately realize that no other child is under the age of 1, and here I am with this little baby who a) doesn’t comprehend stories and b) has suddenly fallen asleep. What’s the saying? “Watch other people’s toddlers read stories while your baby sleeps?” Something like that.

Also, no one else there lived in my neighborhood.


+ On more than one occasion, I’ve thought:  I REALLY can’t leave her in the car for three minutes while I ______? 


+ “I like it when you talk about your milk production. It makes you sound like a country.” — Y