Surfacing
In Which a Good 75% of You Will Glaze Over By Paragraph Four

Post-Nasal Block

I've been sitting here all morning -- yes, actually physically here, in this virtual white space of my publishing platform, it's kind of like Tron -- trying to think of something to write about. And having a bit of trouble. I'm tired, I'm congested, I've just discovered that this "parent-teacher conference" thing is just a thinly-veiled excuse for schools to force you to parent your own children for two days in a row, and somehow our personal math means two schools x two days off = THREE days of scheduling fuckuppery.

(And only ONE actual parent-teacher conference. RIDDLE ME THAT, expensive hoity private school. EXPLAIN YOURSELVES.)

Anyway.

It's punt time. I could use a little writing exercise, so how's this...YOU GUYS post questions/topics in the comments -- any old random topic you want! the more off-the-wall the better! -- and I will pick some and update this post each time I write a little bit about it. Live, in real-time! Or...you know, whenever I get around to it, in between the whole keeping-children-alive thing.

I have actually done a variation on this before, a long, looooong time ago, if you would like to refer to that post for inspiration. Yeah. That's dryer lint. And multiple paragraphs about a kitchen sponge. I'm hoping we can come up with something a little more interesting than that.

Okay. Go!

(Oh, God. Nobody's going to ask me ANYTHING, and it will all crickets and silence and I will not only be forced to come up with my own post topics ANYWAY, I will also have to spend mental energy on creating sockpuppet commenters to hide the fact that no one asked me anything and maybe I didn't think this through very well.)

***

Whoa. Well. Oh em gee and all that. I guess my little attempt to guilt y'all into participating worked better than I anticipated! While my plans to rapidly update "live, in real-time" did NOT work as well as anticipated, what with the immediate and simultaneous arrival of Thing One on the school bus and the wide-awake caterwauling of Thing Two from upstairs. So there was much lunching and some sobbing when I had to break it to Noah that his afternoon school is closed today.

"But whyyyy I miss my friends, Mommy? Whyyyy my friends are all gone, Mommy?"

"Because it's Staff Development Day, sweetie." 

"..."

"I know, dude. Laaaame."

THEN I got momentarily derailed by the sudden appearance of an itchy, bug-bite-like thing on my boob, which required much Googling. Turns out it's a bug bite. Okay then! Now we are ready!

First up, by nature of her being FIRST!!!1!!1 is Allisone's suggestion of irrational fears.

Yes. Look. I'm still very, very scared of volcanoes. I've told you this one before. It's nothing I made up to be cute or calculatedly quirky on my About Page: I once had a full-on anxiety attack at the Mirage in Vegas while watching the beginnings of the outdoor laser/lights/fountain volcano show they do. THE GROUND RUMBLED. IT WAS OMINOUS. I FREAKED THE FUCK OUT. IN FRONT OF COWORKERS. I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS ANYMORE.

And yes. It really is thanks to an episode of Reading Rainbow. Hill of Fire, to be exact. Farmer finds a bump in his field, bump gets bigger and bigger and then eventually erupts and like, I don't remember. Everybody dies. Some with puppies. I think I was cowering behind the couch by the end. The WORST parts, honestly, were the scenes with LeVar Burton at the site of an erupting volcano in Hawaii. I kind of had my first girl-boy crush thing with LeVar. (Or maybe second, after Magnum P.I.) I was also maybe seven. My memory put LeVar like, RIGHT THERE, on the very edge of the volcano's mouth, gazing into the fiery abyss with his usual non-threatening enthusiasm, but according to the PBS website he was actually 2,000 feet away

That night I had a dream that my class was going on a volcano-climbing field trip, and we were all lined up and tied together at the waist with rope, when the girl in front of me turned around and told me that we were SUPPOSED to wear closed-toe shoes, AMY, way to follow the RULES. I looked down at my feet and saw that I was wearing flip flops. Then I woke up. I spent the entire day after in my backyard, looking for bumps. And probably a lot of other days after that. 

Fun update to this story! I now follow LeVar Burton on Twitter, but have never worked up the nerve to tell him this story and/or ask if he knows how I can obtain a copy of that episode. For like, therapy, and stuff. 

Next!

***

Okay, next question, from Mary, who wants to hear how I discovered my love and/or talent (AIRQUOTES talent AIRQUOTES) for writing. 

I'm actually one of those cheesy Tracy-Flick types who ALWAYS knew exactly what she wanted to do. I was going to be a writer. I'm not sure I ever remember seriously wanting to be anything else, beyond the usual "actress/mommy/astronaut" phases. I wrote my first "book" when I was five or so. It was called "The Pink Bunny." My mom still has it. Aside from the questionable design choice of writing a book about a pink bunny on pink construction paper using primarily pink crayons, it honestly was not a terrible first effort.

Pink Bunny is lonely. Pink Bunny goes out to find her friends. She finds one (who I think was a purple cat or a blue bear or some other dubious, carnivorous companion for a bunny) and invites them over to her house. They eat popcorn. The end. I even made a cover and additional title page, asking my mom how to spell each and every word. "How do you spell 'written'? And how do you spell 'and'? And how do you spell 'illustrated' And how do you spell 'by'?" On and on, this went, and my mother never once let any trace of boredom or OMGness into her voice as she patiently went along with it.

I even made a back cover, where I drew long squiggly lines to represent the book's synopsis and publisher's information. 

I routinely started and abandoned book ideas all through elementary and high school -- usually whenever I came across a really cool notebook that I just HAD to write something in. Most of the results were predictably horrible, so, so horrible, but my parents never, ever stopped telling me that I was a good writer and to stick with it.

It also helped that my dad was a high school English teacher and our house was almost hoarder-levels full of every classic piece of literature in the WORLD, and I was encouraged to treat his office like my personal library, and also to write "book reports" for him on the books that his much-older students were reading.

Later, I started mixing in funny short stories based on people and teachers from school, or big controversial events that I thought needed to be diffused with a little humor. I'd pass the stories around and even the snotty popular kids would laugh and tell me that I was soooooo funny and should write a book or for a magazine and I would nod seriously and then go back to whatever crap-ass "serious" novel I was currently attempting to write longhand in an obnoxiously twee leather journal. 

In college I tried my hand at "real" journalism and absolutely HATED IT. I wasn't good at it. The style and form and pace didn't come naturally to me at all, and two weeks after landing a super-prized position at the Penn State student paper, I quit and switched my major to English, even though I had no idea what the hell I would do with it. But clearly, I was not cut out to be a writer after all. I guess maybe I would teach? Or be some kind of editor? Eh?

But! Then! (Oh my God, this story. It is so looooooong. Where's a goddamn editor when you need one?) (Oh. Right.) I took a literature course in American Comedy. Mark Twain. James Thurber. Erma Bombeck. Garrison Keillor. David Sedaris. While I was sort-of famous for being one of Those Students who regularly wrote A-level papers on books that I didn't even READ (hello, HEART OF DARKNESS, YOU ASSHOLE), I read every scrap of assigned reading for that class, and even all the short stories in our textbook that we never actually covered. I still HAVE all the books from that class, to this day. Changed my life, this realization that writing "funny" could still actually "count."

I toiled away for a few more years after that, more aborted novel attempts, some short-story and essay rejection letters, struggling to keep myself disciplined to KEEP WRITING even after a long day of editing investment advice and stock market commentary.

So I decided to maybe start a blog, just to have a dumping ground for my existing stuff and maybe a place to write something new, and just to see what would happen. The end!

(Still haven't written that blasted novel yet, though. Sigh.)

Comments

Allisone

Irrational fears: go!

(Mine is dirty socks. Why, not sure. Maybe I was traumatized by laundry as a small child.)

Haley

Tell us all about the best date that you and Jason ever had. and maybe the worst.

liz

Judging solely from what their current favorite things to do are: What careers do you see Ezra and Noah going into?

ElizaBeth

Amy, it seems like you found a way to love what you do, and do what you love. I need to find a new career, and everyone keeps telling me to find a way to get paid for what I love doing. What I seem to love doing is sitting on my fat ass and reading blogs....not sure anyone will pay me to do that! How did you manage to do it? Alternatively, you could maybe write about how the 80s where the best and worst period of modern music at the same time. Or douche. Really, it's up to you.

Danielle

I remember you mentioned doing the 30 day shred a while ago.. How did that work out? Did you stick with it for 30 days? Did you do it more than once a day? Have your abs been shredded?? Should I try it? Would you ever even in a million years consider posting a before and after pic? Am I being way too forward?? Thanks Amalah!

Mary

Off-the-wall topics? How about telling us when you first discovered that you enjoyed writing?

I have to say, I've been reading your blog for years, and I love it! I have a 4-year-old and a 5-month-old (both boys), so reading your blogs is sort of like a real-time parallel-universe type thing for me.

Sorry, that's just sounded creepy.

Anyway, I'd like to hear about how you became a writer. Also, if you know how to get Flarp out of carpet, I'm very interested in that topic too.

Mary

I posted a comment, and then I think it vanished. Anyway, I wondered if you'd want to tell us how you first discovered your love and talent for writing?

A

I love this game!

How did Jason propose?

Megan

I want baby food directions and recipes!

Ora ridic dating story from before when you met Jason.

Hey You

What do you think of those super mean sites that exist for no other reason than be hurtful to mommy bloggers? Horrible or good for them for finding their niche? (I think judging people is rarely good for the record.)

cagey

I have been reading The Unhealthy Truth and seem to remember you mentioning it on one of your Advice columns. The book is blowing me away and I am shocked at how few folks realize how food can really affect us - say, Red #40 for example.

I was wondering your thoughts on this and if you have seen whether certain things affect Noah. For example, artificial colorings are the devil now in our house because my son flips his lid every time he has them. And this is the same kid who can eat ice cream and go right to bed! For him, Red #40 is like main-lining a bit heroin.

Erin

Is there anything you miss about life before squooshie babies? My husband and I want to start a family before too long, so I just want to be sure we don't take this time for granted, you know? What should we enjoy while we can?

Bliz

I always love a good embarrassing puberty story...
OR
You could settle a disagreement between a friend and me. Neti-pots: wonderfully refreshing and glorious and heavenly, or horrifyingly nasty and dangerous and just... ew.

Bekki

How in god's name do you brush the teeth of two one year olds who refuse to open their mouths?

Also, taking a cute picture of your kids for the Christmas card without them either running away or running straight at you to grab the camera...ideas?

Sarah

DC-area restaurants! new favorites? returning to any classics? great dishes? recommendations? (Have you tried the grilled octopus at Proof? It's amazing.)

birchsprite

If you could travel anywhere in the world... where would you go?

teachergirl

totally off the wall but completely relevant to my world right now: what early signs did you have that you were pregnant? were you one of the throwing-up-before-you-even-took-a-test kind, or one of the "i had no idea!" kind?

Kathlyn

How did you pick your kids names? And what are your grammar pet peeves (if you have any)?
(I have my own, but am still awful with certain rules - just tried to figure out if it should be "kids names" or "kids' names" and failed miserably. MS degree = worth NOTHING!!!)
OR are there any grammar rules/spelling rules/etc can you never remember??

Lucia Frohling

Holiday gift recommendations for: employees, babies/toddlers/kids (ages 0 - 7), family that lives out of state and I won't be able to actually see because I'm due four days after Christmas (a bit of sadness here), etc....

Starting (suggestions) your own family Holiday traditions (see above with regards to us in PA and family in TX and Iowa)...

cIII

It's cage-match time. CornNuts vs. Funyuns. Both are crunchy and satisfying. Both poorly represent their packaging description.

But, there can be only One, Highlander.

Meghan

I think you have posted before that you get recognized by readers in the Outside World. What's that like - is that kind of weird? Crazy? Cool?

What's your favorite thing to eat for lunch?

chris

Nail polish. Discuss.

(hey, I just happened to look at the mess on my desk, and you said off-the-wall :p)

loonytick

What are the most obnoxious toys your children have loved?

Ashley

The pros and cons of giving flowers to a significant other. Or rather, anything that would prevent the female half from monkey-biting the male half when he won't buy flowers without several prompts and glares.

Oh, I'm not bitter. (yes I am.)

B

What time is too early for your kids to wake up, but too late for them to go back to sleep. 4:30 AM is the evil time for us. For some reason if the kids wake up at 5, I can coax them back to sleep, but damn if 4:30 doesn't make them wild like a wolfman on full moon juice.

lumpyheadsmom

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

Helen

Third baby? Trying? Thinking? I ask because I have two wee girls the age of your boys and I think I'd like more and yet I Am So Very Very Crazy with two... so you know, what are you thinking?

Catherine

Forget "love of writing" genesis (kidding), tell me what's your favorite guilty pleasure? Mine is watching Bring It On every time I run across it on cable. Oh, the shame....it shames me.

Nicole

Why you don't come to Vancouver to visit me? :)

Bitts

I was wondering if you'd perhaps talk about some concrete examples of the way you feed your family. I'm interested in things like recipes (what's your go-to dinner?), ideas about your shopping habits / lists, your timeline (do you shop once a week? do you do any bulk cooking?), your budget (if you're comfortable sharing) and the stores where you shop a lot (Wegman's / Whole Foods / Trader Joe's, I'm assuming? Also, what books inform your food choices -- both general 'idea of food' books and / or cookbooks?

Lauren

Things I'd like to know more about for my own selfish reasons:

1) How to survive a 6-hour flight with a 9-month old at Thanksgiving. Benadryl? (Baby does not nap anywhere but his crib and we did not buy him a seat).

2) How do you feel about the age difference with your kids? We're currently contemplating when to go for baby #2.

Sprite's Keeper

You're going to piss off the Google Reader, you know that, right?
Okay, here goes.
What's the highest praise you've ever earned as a blogger?

Katie

I am maybe (hopefully) moving to the DC area next fall. What are the good (cheap but not lame and not scary) places to live? Shall I live far away and take the Metro to work?

Kelly

What do you want for Christmas? I need some new ideas for my sister and aunt, so please HALP!

Darcey

Can we get an update on Ceiba?

Anna

What was your first job out of college? How did you get it? Did you like it? How did you get your NEXT job after that?

I, um, am clearly at a certain place in my life, and I am asking everyone I come across questions like this.

Brenda

What do you do when you're listening to NPR and your four year old asks, "Who died? Were they a bad guy?" when listening to, well, half the news that's on.

B

Looks like all the babies/writing/blogging topic questions have been covered- soooo...

If you could choose one celebrity to be BFF, who would you choose? Then reverse it- which celeb would you have a trashy tabloid feud with?

Pinkie Bling

Who's on your "Top 5" list, Friends-style (and, laminated? or in a constant state of flux?), and who's on Jason's?

Sally

Ok. This one is pretty deep, so you might want to focus on dryer lint instead. :) I just got into an argument with a friend of mine the other day about this.

Do you think a parent's job is to mold their children by setting boundaries and expectations for what kind of person they grow up to be or do you think our job is to take away boundaries and societal expectations and instead help them discover who they already are and what they want out of life even if it leads somewhere you don't agree with.

She was firmly in the first category and I was firmly in the 2nd. I'm sure the two positions aren't exclusive and most people are a mixture of the two. What do you think?

Cobblestone

Are you going to write a book too? I'd spend money for it! Maybe even a hard copy instead of the Kiddle version!! (tempting now ... isn't it??)

Sincerely, Jenni

10 Reasons you may have Alzehiemers (oh wait... thats what I'm writing about)

Ok, here goes: If you could had to sum up all the advice you want to give your kids into a 25-word summary, what would you say?

Deanna

Reflect on 40 years of Sesame Street in your life.

She Likes Purple

This is going to come out all wrong, I JUST KNOW IT, but you seem to be one of the more popular bloggers who has managed to keep her sense of humor and stay connected to the blogging community better than most. How do you do that? Or, better, do you make a conscious effort do that? Has your view on blogging and readers remained the same throughout the years regardless of the number of readers/commenters you've had? I think it's really inspiring, honestly, and I think you capture the heart of blogging ridiculously well. So. Just curious. Thanks, lady!

Jess

Sometimes I kinda want to be Canadian. That way I could throw random a random 'u' in a word and make it look cooler. 'Behavior' for instance. Does it not look much more sophisticated as 'behaviour'? (I suppose I could have used British instead of Canadian - but wanted to give props to our neighbors to the North)

jodifur

what is the best thing that blogging has brought you? Besides the income of course. And why do you keep coming back?

Kerrie

Write about what to buy this Xmas for the mother-in-law who has everything. I'm leaning towards a vibrator at this point out of sheer desperation of getting her something other than a bar of soap.

Shari

How about sharing how to remove crayon from a cabinet?

And, relatedly, is it wrong to remind my 2-year old that it is very, very bad to draw on cabinets every single time he walks by? Note: red crayon on white paint. OK....not paint exactly, it's primer, we will get around to painting it someday, really, but will that take care of RED CRAYON? Also note: this is an OLD red crayon, one of mine from childhood, not the current easy-clean washable kind.

Tracy D

Suggestions for how to decide what to be when you grow up? Now that I am 35 I think it might be time to think about that one.....

Tracy D

Suggestions for how to decide what to be when you grow up? Now that I am 35 I think it might be time to think about that one.....

Shannon

Favorite Sesame Street character (in honor of the 40th anniversary)

Ryley

I like food.. so....
If you could only eat one thing for a really long time what would that one thing be?
Or just what is your favorite food?
Or what would be your last meal??
mmmm...fooooddd...

MommiePie

What is your favorite type of wine?

Megan@Blueberry Scones

I've been reading your blog for years, and I love when this comes up!

Ten years ago, where did you see yourself? What would Amy from 1999 think of Amy 2009?

Susan

My pede recommended a homeopathic nose spray called Sinusin for nasal congestion - works like a charm!

Since the birth of Snackbox, I've discovered nothing ruins a friendship like the topic of baby sleep, but since you exhibit a lot of my parenting ideals (though my son appears to wear pants more often than Ez =]), I'd love to hear how your boys sleep now and when they were younger, and the various paths you took to get where they are today (and do you wish you had done anything differently?).

[Oh, and Lauren? We took our 9 mo old on a 7 hour plane ride in Sept. and he did not sleep - EVAH. Based on Amy's "Quick. And Hurry." blog posting and reader comments from July I took an ENORMOUS bag of recommended toys to entertain him - his favorite? An empty beer can. Mother of the Year, rightchere!]

andi

okay this may be too deep for Sick Amy, but....

were you afraid to have another baby after all of your experiences with Noah's developmental stuff?

Missy

Hmmm... how do you keep photos organized? Also, what do you use to host pictures for this blog?

Alternately, dryer lint is good with me.

Amy

How is your dad?

Why do you like Ceiba more than Max?

What ever happened to The Tyre?

Are you still thinking of moving back into the city?

How much time do you spend online?

Do these jeans make my ass look good?

Bliz

For Katie, wondering where to live in DC: May I put in a plug for the Takoma neighborhood? If you can't afford to live downtown (I can't), but don't want to live in VA or MD (I didn't), I recommend Takoma as a pretty, kinda-hippyish area that's not scary at all. I live across from the metro stop (red line), so commuting is suuuuper easy. Adorable farmers' market, shops, and restaurants a few blocks away in Takoma Park, MD.

(Thanks, Amy, for letting me hijack your comments section for a minute there!)

M

One of my favorite posts from your past is the one where you give the play by play commentary on the Mt. Vesuvius eruption/re-enactment that Discovery channel or TLC or something aired a few years back. At the end of the post you were trying to get someone to give it to you on DVD and I'm curious if anyone ever did. Also, what gives with being afraid of volcanoes? I lived 100 miles from Mt. St. Helens growing up and, meh, if it blows, it blows. What can you do?

StacyG

I want to know about Ceiba. How did you come to own her? Did you always want a chichichiuiua or however you spell it! Any ramifications from the fertilizer incident?

Aunt Becky

How did you meet Jason?

Also, where are my car keys?

Karen

Fuck, Marry, Kill:

Steve from Blues Clues

Sam from The Wiggles

Any of the Twilight vampires

(or just come up with your own three)

Lauren

I'll also vote for irrational fears- thanks, Allisone, commenter #1.

I did a post on that myself and was surprised that many people share the same ones! http://tinyurl.com/nfjvzl

Backpacking Dad

Do you think Tool Academy 2"met, surpassed, or fell short of the standard set by the original season of Tool Academy?

Jessica

We have a spoiled and jealous canine child and are expecting our first human child... any tips for getting puppy ready for baby?

I also like the suggestions above re sharing horrifying dating/puberty stories.

BeeBelle

Perhaps you could comment on the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (Google it, it's real) - one-upping Zero Population Growth. Just think of the impact that would have on mommy-bloggers! I seriously ran across this yesterday and I have no idea what to think about it, so I'm looking to Amalah.com to clarify for me.

Daisy

I just found out my Grandma is going to have some serious joint-replacing surgery over Thanksgiving and I'm brainstorming what I could do from far, far away to help her recovery go smoothly. Short of teaching Grandpa how to cook (yeah...no) or hiring a chef for them (not in the budget) I'm out of ideas. Halp?

Erin

How about that really horrible commercial where the women walk around and all the plant life around them (bushes, etc.) seems to neaten itself up into triangles and squares? Suggesting? Obviously?

Sarahd

Any recent meet-ups with other bloggers? Or plans to do so? I have always thought I would LOVE to hang with you and Emily from Not That You Asked. If you guys ever get together, PLEASE let me know. I am a mommyblogger at heart (without an actual blog!) and I promise I'm not a weird stalker or anything!

Karen Chatters

My dad always said the more you pay for school, the less you go. I think he was on to something.

How do you cut the nails of a 1 YO?

Heather

I want to know how you came up with Noah's and Ezra's names, too...GO!

duchessbelle

Ok, what item are you willing to spend far too much on and what are you not? For me, I will easily and happily spend $200 on a great pair of shoes but the idea of paying more than $50 for sheets (ok, fine I only get them when they're $20 at Target) makes me gasp in horror.

PaintingChef

There are a thousand questions above me and I'm not reading them all. I'm difficult like that.

So my husband and I are STILL (yes... STILL) trying to have a baby and I've pretty much decided that when said blessed event happens, we are going to (try) go the cloth diaper route. They are too cute for words.

My question is this... when your cloth-diapered Ez is being kept by your parents or Jason's parents or anyone other than you and Jason... do they object to cloth diapers? I just have this... VISION of my in-laws freaking the fuck out over cloth diapers (they refuse to clean a litter box, I can only imagine how the cloth diapers are going to go over.) Is it an area where you stand your ground or just give in for the sake of all the screaming and what-not?

Cara

I've been hunting through your archives for a post I swear you did about pregnancy books. But,I can't find it, so how about you just tell me? What book(s) should I run out and buy? I know its not What to Expect.

Quinn

How's your dad?

How do you get rid of the grainy texture in some baby foods? The last few things I've pureed (blueberries, peas, and mixed veggies, all previously frozen) are grainy and I'm not sure what to do. My .b
aby
.doesn't
like 2m

Oh hey, he decided to say hi. Anyway, he won't eat the grainy stuff. Halp!

Am I being a terrible mother by handing my 9 month old an unplugged mouse to distract him while I comment on this blog?

How do you keep your kids entertained and alive while you work? I need to start taking freelance work (unemployment money's running out and there are no jobs!) but my baby is not much of one for independent play.

Babyproofing: what did you do? How do I do an open entertainment center without actually erecting a babygate fence around it?

How do you type on an iPhone with nails?

What's your go-to every day wine?

How do you make local mommy friends? I'm kind of shy and bad at it but oh my god I am going craaaaaaaazy I need adult! interaction!

We've been making our own hummus but I can't get it quite right. So far I've got chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, garlic, and thyme. Any other ideas?

You linked to a postpartum belly exercise exercise book/video on Bounce Back awhile back. I tried the exercise on the webpage and it was AWESOME. Do you have the book or video? Which would you recommend?

What's your favorite, most useful, crazy awesome gift to give at a baby shower? The gift that makes the mother-to-be instantly realize that you are experienced and smart and a sage among mothers?

Er...ok, I'll stop now.

Amy M.

How did you get Ceiba?

Also, did anyone from your old workplace ever contact you about that chair you peed on while pregnant with Noah? (Okay, I've been reading a while...)

JC

I'm going to suggest that you go an entire post linking to past articles on your advice column.. I started reading the comments and it seems like you've already answered TONS of these.

Also - to remove ANYTHING from a cabinet/hard surface use those Mr. Clean sponges. They work wonders. (Black sharpie marker on white cabinet for DAYS - out!)

Amy in StL

I recently went camping with friends for 5 days - primitive camping. (Well, technically we didn't have showers or running water or anything but pit toilets but we did have a guy who brought a propane oven and a propane burner. Is that still primitive?) I never thought I could go five days without running water or the internet. Have you ever camped or roughed it? I mean since childhood?

Starbuck

Do the ion-shine hairdryers actually make you hair shinier? Or is it a gimmick to make money? I have one and see no difference whether it's on of off. I've always wondered...

Sarah

re: hummus - add fresh lemon juice! and salt.

Rachel

Back in June, you asked for suggestions on paint colors for the kitchen. Just curious if you have painted yet, but I know how home projects go... I have several that we were going to do right after we moved in (ummm, yeah, that was 1999, hello 10 years ago!). Just curious if you painted & love it or hate it... = )

tonya

What color would you be if you were a crayon? What would you name it?

chellebelle

Ceiba! Max! Please!

becks

I just roasted a butternut squash thinking I would make some soup for dinner... sitting here realizing that my cookbooks are all packed (we're moving in 3 weeks) and I don't remember which book my fav recipe is in (I think it's a red book? Or maybe orange?) so simple butternut squash soup recipe that will be pleasing to both toddlers and parents alike?

College At Thirty

Is Max still alive? I'm glad that Ceiba seems to be doing better (I hope?), but you hardly post about Max. It's probably because he's a cat, and as such, totally ABOVE all this blogging folderol. But how is he?

Jodie

Okay - so I'm going to get personal! (You asked for it!). I'd like to know how you keep the *spark* alive in your marriage and sex life. Hubba hubba!

Julie

I would like some wine suggestions, please. Not that I can probably buy them out here in the middle of frickin' nowhere, but anyway.

Beth

Hi Amy, this is kind of a personal question so you don't have to answer it if you don't want. But here goes.

Ok, so I've been with my bf for a year and a half. And we both want kids--we're talking about getting married soon. But here's the thing, a woman I know (not a friend) who has two kids recently through out her liberator sex pillow. And it kinda freaked me out. Like, just because you have kids, you don't want a liberator pillow anymore? Are they not having sex anymore? Please tell me if your sex life was ruined by kids.

Yes, I get the idea that it takes more planning and you get tired. But seriously, if you don't mind, could you please reassure me that you and your husband still have at least some kinky good fun? This lady really freaked me out.

eva

How do you like your Subaru? What make and model is it - I thought Forester. Do you find it big and awkward, or totally necessary for having two kids? etc.

Jo

Tips for how to be a better blogger? especially when typing with one hand and holding/feeding baby? :-)

Wally Hartshorn

Okay, here's my question: How the heck did you become such a good writer? Seriously. What sort of writing were you doing before you began blogging?

Maren

Handbags! How are they doing? Any new ones that aren't diaper bags? Or are there some that double as that?

Gab

Why did you decide to move to DC way back when?

What's your biggest regret?

Ade

Mmmhh...can Jason write a guest post about food??? Can you post recipes of your favorite foods. Another story by Ceiba please...OMG those crack me up. I'm pretty sure that doesn't help, but those are what I have for you today!

Natballs

i want to see a complete tour of the house!

Spookie

Clothes - what do you wear as a stay at home mom? How often do you go shopping? Do you do online shopping? How do you (if you do) keep from feeling like a slob? What is your opinion on furry boots?

caleal

Do you have any super weird prized possessions from your childhood you keep around?

For example, I still have a black plastic Batman mug from 1989. It is my Most Favorite Cup, and it has stayed with me wherever I have moved. (I try not to use it as much, though, because the logo is coming off.)

Or, as a nicer example, the very first teddy bear my dad gave me (when I was born, in the hospital) is another one I always have with me.

Kari

Do you have a Sliding Doors moment? A moment in your past where, when you think back, had you chosen differently, things would have gone in a vastly different direction?

kelly

Things to do at a baby shower, which I am throwing for my pal (in January) who is pregnant with an OOPS baby 11.5 years after her "last" baby. The baby is a girl and she has a great SOH so the more embarrassing/hilarious etc. the better.

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