Shana Tova to everyone who celebrated Rosh Hashanah over the weekend! Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year and Shana Tova means “have a good year,” in case you were curious. This year marks the first year we ate Rosh Hashanah dinner al fresco! Usually we are in fall attire and staying warm indoors, but this year, the kids slurped matzah ball soup in their bathing suits at our friend Seri’s house. What a gorgeous day!

Also, potentially the beginning of the end of the planet. But, whatever. For the purposes of holiday celebration, we focused on how awesome it was to go swimming before we cut the challah. Also, I totally appreciate that in the photo I am about to show you, there is a plastic water bottle and I am part of the problem. I swear, guys. I am trying to do better.

The feast at Seri’s place was a joint affair with the Ketzners responsible for the soup and the steak and the Wiles family (translation: Mike) responsible for the roasted chicken and potatoes. Kertzners took care of salad; Wiles family took care of dessert.

Check out that beautiful chicken!!!! Well done, Mike.

After dinner, Seri and I did our traditional sleepover swap. After much discussion, Harlow and Luke decided to come to our house, while Mazzy and Gavin stayed at Seri’s.  My fave part of the sleepover swap is when we text each other pictures the next morning about how nicely everyone got along.

Seri: “Kids were a pleasure. I will take Mazzy and Gavin any time.”

Me: “Yep. Same! Harlow and Luke were a dream.”

The big kids years bear many fruits, and one of them is conflict-free uneventful sleepovers. Plus, it really is so nice to see how these two particular friendships have developed over time. Mazzy and Gavin, who were a little like brother and sister from the age 2-6yo, took a brief hiatus and are now bonding again in a renewed and more mature stage of friendship. It’s great to watch.

Harlow and Luke continue to act like an old married couple.

One of the best things about Jewish holidays is that most of them are multiple nights. This way everyone has a much easier time figuring out how they can celebrate together. My mom almost always has her Rosh Hashanah dinner the second night, so that no matter what obligations or gatherings my sister and I want to attend the first night, we are guaranteed to all come together the next night.

And then, of course, Grammy and Sammy can be surrounded by both sets of grandkids at once.

Some other fun things that happened this year…

Mazzy was in charge of cutting the challah for the first time.

Harlow started a new tradition of bringing doughnuts for dessert because that’s what they did at her Jewish preschool. They served jelly doughnuts to celebrate a sweet new year (which I found out is a traditional way to celebrate even though we never did that growing up). Doughnuts are Harlow’s favorite food (especially since we don’t let her eat them that often) and she was pretty devastated by the jelly. So devastated that I took her to get a glazed doughnut with sprinkles from Dunkin Doughnuts after preschool ended that day. Now, Harlow will tell you that the only place she likes to get doughnuts is from Dunkin. I think she thinks all other doughnuts have jelly. Anyway, she has been planning to bring Dunkin Donuts to Rosh Hashanah dinner for over a year now and woke up from a deep car slumber just to remind us, right as we were passing Dunkin on the way to my mom’s house.

There is nothing like fulfilling your child’s dreams.

Lastly, my Uncle Scott had the great honor of blowing the shofar at his synagogue and brought it so he could show the kids. The shofar is a ram’s horn, in case you were curious. I did some research so I could explain the significance. Turns out, there are many different meanings, both for why it’s done and for what each different blast means. My favorite explanation is that it’s a summons to the Jewish people to awaken from their spiritual slumber and pay attention to God. Kind of like a trumpet blare for a king’s coronation.

I posted a video of my uncle blowing the shofar on Instagram and someone commented that the shofar seems similar to how bells bring people to church. And then someone else messaged to say that they do the same thing in Hinduism. They use a conch shell before religious ceremonies.

In truth, I am not that religious of a person but I love sharing our family’s traditions and seeing how receptive everyone who follows me is to learning about something new. It’s especially fun to see the similarities.

Makes the world feel a bit smaller.

Happy Jewish new year to everyone, no matter what you believe!