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Sep 30 2014

I Pulled My Kids Out of School to Go Camping & I’d Do it Again

By at 2:54 pm


I recently decided to take my kids out of school and go on a camping trip–one week after school started. I grabbed my kids, packed up the camper, and explained to their teachers that this was necessary, and truth be told, it was.

Five years ago–one month before my daughter’s 1st birthday–I was diagnosed with Leukemia and later Lymphoma. My life became a roller coaster of doctor visits and horrific cancer treatments that I do not wish on my worst enemy.

Miraculously, three years ago, my body healed, and I went into the remission that we were all praying for. Little did I know what remission really means. For some reason, I thought the concept of surviving cancer would be similar to a Lifetime after-school special. Once the cancer left the building, everything would go back to rainbows and sunshine.  Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 4 2014

How a Terrifying Encounter in the Woods Prepared Me for Motherhood

By at 3:42 pm


The most poignant lesson I learned about parenting happened seven years before I became a parent.

Unlike many friends of mine who married in their 20s, adulthood was not “delivered” to me in a pink or blue receiving blanket, cooing and drooling. Instead, I became entrenched in the world of directing summer “teen tours,” which involved supervising a bus full of about 50 teenagers, as well as a group of recent college-grad counselors.

In preparation for running this “camp on a bus,” counselors and directors participated in an intensive weekend of First Aid and CPR training, exercises in group dynamics, and instruction on how to light a lantern without setting fire to the campground. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2014

We Took the Family Trip of a Lifetime & Then We Lost the Camera

By at 3:14 pm


And on the seventh day of our trip to California, we lost our camera.

It was an expensive Canon SLR with zoom lens, battery, memory card, lens filter, and sun shade. On that memory card were some 1,500 photos and videos that we’d taken in one week. In an instant, we’d lost something eminently replaceable and something devastatingly irreplaceable.

On the trip, we had visited Yosemite National Park, celebrated my cousin’s bar mitzvah in Berkeley, and toured San Francisco, my husband Rob skillfully and happily composing and snapping both posed and candid photos along the way. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 12 2012

Camping with My Kids & A Whole Bunch of Jam Bands

By at 4:23 pm

mountain jam festivalEarlier this year, I cooked up a plan for my family to camp out at Mountain Jam, a weekend-long music festival. My husband and I love live jam band music–it is one of the experiences which bonded us in our early days together. But family life is busy, and we don’t go to many shows. Our children knew about our passion for music and for outdoorsy fun. So, in June, with all three kids finally potty trained, we headed for Hunter Mountain Ski Resort with the whole family.

I was not sure how we would manage to keep the crew happy while roughing it on the mountain with thousands of hipped-out music lovers. Even the expense was hard to justify; a quick calculation revealed that suspending our housecleaning help could cover the cost. I was prepared to mop and scrub for a few months if my family was willing to join the jam! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 26 2011

Friday Night: Camping Out Shabbat Style

By at 9:42 am

camping tentI didn’t grow up in a camping family. Don’t worry, we traveled plenty to see family and important sites in the U.S. and abroad. But “let’s pitch our tent over there” are not words that I ever heard. My tent camping experiences come mostly from trips during and after college. However, when my husband and I got engaged we decided one of the places we had to register was REI, for all of the future camping trips we would be taking with our future kids.

Our first camping trip as a family was one night spent on a windy Sonoma, CA beach with our 13-month-old not quite yet walking daughter. We brought Shabbat candles, a bottle of grape juice and a big fresh challah, and had a nice Friday night dinner al fresco. At that time we didn’t celebrate Shabbat as regularly as we do now, but somehow it seemed to be the right thing for camping. Now that toddler is a three-and-a-half-year-old synagogue pre-school student who is so in tune with what she learns at home and at school about Judaism. She is the one who gets her kippah out at 3pm on Friday in anticipation of Shabbat. And she is the one who is really teaching us the meaning of giving charity, as she is a little obsessed with putting every coin she finds into one of her various tzedakah boxes.

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