Holidays 2020

Dear Family, Friends, and the Good Folks at Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna,

We hope this winter update finds you happy, healthy, and enjoying a restful and restorative holiday season with loved ones. There’s really not much to say as 2020 draws to a close. As we’re sure you’ll agree, it was a pretty uneventful year.

Springtime: Remote Only!

Starting in March, we thought we’d mix things up a bit by staying home a lot. Over spring break, John and Ayelet pivoted to a new type of teaching that’s widely known as “crummy”. Ayelet boxed up essential lab supplies and moved her research online. Max and Zach were fortunate to have enough support and technology to do some schoolwork from home.

Looking snazzy for photos before the online Passover Seder with Ayelet’s extended family!

Apparently we weren’t the only ones spending more time at home. On his daily walks, John could walk right in the middle of the street most of the way. The only traffic in town was delivery trucks.

The surge in online orders brought a tragic shortage of trampolines. We bought a basketball hoop before everything fun was sold out!

Supermarket shelves were pretty empty for a while, too.

Springtime ended on a joyful note as we were able to commandeer essential supplies!

Summertime: At a Distance!

We missed our annual summer gatherings with family and friends, though the boys did have some outdoor playdates with their friends. They enjoyed an online STEM camp and a season-long “Janet Camp” that featured plenty of tennis, baseball, ping pong, and beach trips.

The Jersey shore was never crowded on weekdays!

Zach joined an art camp that met 3 hours daily, becoming the first member of our family to get used to wearing a mask. He enjoyed it–the camp, not the masks–so much that he has continued attending art classes each Saturday since summer ended.

This summertime, it seemed that drive-thru attractions were more popular than ever. To help everyone keep a safe distance from everything, Jurassic Quest ® moved “The Largest Exhibition of Lifesize, Moving, Museum-Quality Dinosaurs in North America!” outdoors.

The sports complex in Philadelphia hosts games for the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers, and 76ers, but it’s never before hosted lifesize, moving, museum-quality dinosaurs!

Falltime: Masks Aplenty!

Once school began remotely for the boys in September, the enchanting sounds of Zoom meetings emanated from every upstairs room of our home.

Have school-provided Chromebooks, will Zoom!

After one month of this, the boys began attending school in person 4 days a week, with 1 day at home.

That’s more like it, masked and ready to go!

Ayelet and John continued teaching remotely, where they will remain for Spring 2021 as well.

News: Words Aplenty!

Max is now in 6th grade and will be turning 12 next month. He enjoys playing sports (soccer, football, basketball, kickball) with anyone who can keep up with him, reading fiction, watching stand-up comedy, playing video games, and creating and playing games with Zach. After earning his black belt last year, he’s continued to study karate.

Zach is 8 years old and in 3rd grade. He enjoys drawing and crafts, writing stories, building with Legos and K’nex, playing video games, reading funny books, and caring for his fish (Flower the betta, Bristle the bushynose pleco, and six zebra danios). In addition to art classes, he is continuing guitar lessons and is learning to play great tunes from the 1950s-1990s.

The boys mastered computers this year. They now create games, surveys, and stories on the computer, send e-mails and have “Google meets” calls with friends, and play video games. Turning off video games is a painful exercise that their parents assure them builds character.

The boys also discovered Star Wars this year. After watching the original 3 movies (and Spaceballs), they’ve created new games based on the Star Wars settings and characters. Max is a big fan of Darth Vader and Zach particularly loves Yoda.

In keeping with the “safety first” mandates for this year, even Bear is wearing his seatbelt!

Ayelet taught her first upper-level undergraduate course this year, a seminar on transdiagnostic approaches to psychopathology. Despite taking place over Zoom, the students were highly engaged and the course was quite successful! She continues to pursue multiple research projects with her three talented doctoral students, fabulous research coordinator, and many creative, dedicated undergraduate research assistants.

John still teaches, studies, walks a lot, works on and plays his guitars, cares for his fish, and watches what any fair-minded observer would probably classify as too much football. He wishes he had something more exciting to report, but he does plan to do a marathon on his 50th birthday next year!

John’s parents (John and Janis) sold their home in Hagerstown, MD and moved to a beautiful new home in Elkton, MD. We’re thrilled that they are now only a 1.5-hour (rather than a 3-hour) drive away from us.

Ayelet’s mother (Tova) retired fully this year and has been tackling some major home renovation projects. Ayelet’s father (Mati) continues his physics work part-time. They are enjoying the extra time together!

Our sibs and their families (14 different names) are doing well and have found resilient, creative ways to thrive in 2020.

Front row: Max, Zach. Back row: John (Zoom meeting ID: 776 245 8767), Ayelet (Zoom meeting ID: 816 685 2685).

We’d love to hear from you, perhaps even see you, in the coming year! In the meantime…

Have a
and a