Late last summer, I discovered dozens of wild raspberry bushes in the woods behind our fence in the backyard. There were only a few stray berries left by that point, but Ezra and I did our best to harvest every last one we could. And I promised him that we'd pay better attention this year and maybe we'd get a few more. We started out picking just what we could reach through or over our fence, since we were a little wary of all the bugs and thorny things back there. (Of course we collected them in half of a Lego Star Wars planet. WTF else would you use?) Then one day, after watching Ezra pine for the dozens and dozens of bright red berries just beyond our reach, I said screw it, and hoisted him (and then my own ass) up and over the fence. Turns out, it's magic back there. Yes, there are thorns and mosquitoes and uneven rock paths. There are prickly vines to duck under, that catch and snag your hair and clothing and refuse to let go. There's a small stream that fills your shoes with muddy water, if you take a bad step on... Read more →


(Mah Innernetz went down on Tuesday morning and was finally restored late last night. No work, no play, just futile router rebooting every hour on the hour and racking up massive data overages from Verizon Mobile while waiting on Verizon FIOS to get its shit together, trapped in a super frustrating ouroboros of corporate bullshit.) First of all, happy birthday to this guy: Here he is with his birthday present, which I 100% had nothing to do with: In addition to Friday night soccer*, Jason's newfound return to outdoorsy-sportsy-ness now includes bike riding. Like on trails and dirt and stuff. He is currently scouring Craigslist for a bike for me, which is adorably misguided. To give you an idea of the last time I rode a bike, please consult this terrible blog post from 2003, only the fourth post ever published on this site, back when I had no clue what I was doing and wrote a lot of angry Open Letters to strangers and stores and the Oxygen Network. I do not particularly want a new bike. I'd really rather get a new dishwasher, as our current one is barely functioning and I am like five minutes away from... Read more →


It's the last day of school! You're mere hours away from summer vacation! Now line up outside so I can take one of a photo and do that "look how you've grown/changed" comparison thing. Look excited, or something. Wow. Tough crowd. (According to MY compare/contrast thing, Ike's hair is longer and he's wearing shoes he outgrew in January, Ezra's legs have grown approximately 25 inches, and Noah's been wearing the same dang shirt since August. Sounds about right.) Read more →


It's been a momentous couple of days around here, starting with Noah's elementary school graduation on Friday. Which...okay, we all showed up dressed for that "casual classroom party" vibe and instead discovered that OH NO THIS SHIT IS FULL ON SERIOUS POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCES. Girls were decked out in fancy dresses; some of the boys were in suits and ties. The mom next to me was all dressed up and brought balloons and roses. I wore workout clothes and brought my phone. Thankfully Noah spent most of the ceremony in the last row so no one could judge his shorts and Minecraft t-shirt...at least not until the super fomal certificate processional at the end. D'oh. The best part -- BEST -- was when the principal announced he'd received a very important letter for the graduates and read some kind of form letter about dreams and accomplishments and America blah blah blah. "Sincerely," he read, and then paused dramatically, "Donald Trump." Dead fucking silence. A few people rolled their heads back to suppress laughter and everybody else stared at the floor. I glanced at my forearm and swallowed an obnoxious snort. The graduates were not impressed. It was fairly delicious. Noah... Read more →


Jason was lucky enough to take a couple days off this week, and spent them either 1) getting at least one of the two children responsible for most of the screaming/tattling/HE'S BREATHING MY AIR sort of hullaballoo out of my hair, or 2) spending quality one-on-one time with our middle and youngest children, reinforcing good positive attention behaviors with a side of spoiling and all that jazz. Technically a bit of both, I suppose. Both days involved the aquarium and copious amounts of dessert. Jason also sent the following photo as evidence of Ezra's Scrabble prowess, but in doing so revealed himself to be a dirty cheat who plays acronyms and two-letter words the second I'm not around to challenge that shit. (Note: Jason won't play Scrabble with me anymore.) Last night it was my turn to treat a kid to a special time out, and I landed either the best or worst assignment, depending on how you look at it. I took him to see DanTDM Live at the Baltimore Hippodrome. Who is DanTDM, you might ask? A perfectly reasonable question that I'm still not sure I can answer. DanTDM is a small and highly energetic British human who... Read more →


It's Spring Break! And it's shaping up to be a disaster. Well, disaster-ish. That hysterical blind-to-privilege mommyblogger definition of disaster. The children have no camps! No activities! They are all just HERE. In the HOUSE. With ME and EACH OTHER and my DEADLINES. I did this to myself, yes, entirely. My new contract gig still hasn't set a start date so I didn't want to plunder our flexible spending account just yet for childcare expenses. I figured I could get away with reducing my hours across existing clients a bit this week, maybe just work half days if possible. But then this morning the news came in that my background check is done and lo, I am not a criminal unworthy of writing web site copy, and they have like a hundred and four projects they want me to work on immediately once the final rubber-stamp comes down. Okay. This could get interesting, very quickly. I sat down with the kids this morning and went over the day's schedule and some detailed instructions. No screen time or TV until chores are done. You will play outside as much as possible, I mean it, you will not mimic your mother's pale,... Read more →


This weekend the calendar ticked over into April, and lo, there was much rejoicing in Amy's brain. There was also the simple pleasure of watching a five-year-old pretend to be a cat for several hours, complete with his revolutionary costume of the day: (BTW, officially on the hunt for a drama camp/afterschool program for my smallest biggest ham. Anyone local have any recommendations? Not looking for anything stage mother-y/next great child star-ish, just want to get this kiddo an outlet for his raging LOOK AT MEEEE performing-and-pratfall-itis.) Cats. Also in full-on LOOK AT MEEEEEEE mode. On Saturday night Jason and I saw Rent, Again, For the Sixth And Probably Not Final Time. Although at this point we know the show so thoroughly well we notice when the conductor is pacing the show a half-beat too quickly, and have detailed best-to-worst rankings for every Mark/Roger/Mimi/Collins/Angel/Joanne/Maureen/Benny/Joanne-Understudy-Who-Gets-the-Big-Seasons-of-Love-Solo we've ever seen and, in summary, are probably incredibly annoying and tedious about the whole thing. And now we have matching shirts! We are THE WORST. On Sunday we spent the entire day tackling garden and yardwork crap. Jason got the vegetable garden ready out back while I hauled in many, many bags of mulch to... Read more →


We survived, both the drive and the trip itself. Post-road-trip/mini-vacation crash aside, today is kind of a rough day over here. So forgive the lazy mass posting of photos without much storytelling. (NOT PICTURED: AMALAH, THE GIANT CHICKEN GIRL WHO DOES NOT ROLL WITH THIS SKIING NONSENSE.) (That's Jason's niece on the left, also known as Ike's Favorite Person.) (She made him a pom pom puppy, now known as Ike's Most Treasured Possession.) What is it with vacation homes that suddenly make board games so attractive, by the way? We have a huge stack of dusty games that no one ever wants to play, that get taken out maybe once a year just long enough for an essential piece or two to go missing. But whenever we go on a trip it's like the goddamn National Chutes & Ladders Tournament and Operation Invitational. It's so old-fashionedly wholesome. (Ike cheats at Candyland something terrible, though.) Post-skiing entertainment at the lodge was a bit more their usual speed. Netflix cartoons, hot chocolate and chicken wings. "I did awesome at skeeting. My favorite part was when I fell in the snow on my belly." Ezra spent the weekend bargaining with us over what... Read more →


After the insanity of last winter, our next-door neighbor and fellow long-ass driveway-haver had the sense to procure a snow thrower in time for this year. We did not, because we are cheapskates with the memories of goldfish...but then it didn't really snow at ALL so we were happy to have procrastinated on the expense. Then boom! March mini-blizzard, because of course. Jason has back issues, though, so shoveling us out was going to be All Me. So imagine my delight when I looked outside and saw that our neighbor, SUPER STOKED to finally break out that bad boy, had already cleared our driveway for us. (The bottoms of our driveways are shared, but he went above and beyond and came almost all the way up to our garage.) I opened the door to yell our thanks; he just shrugged and waved, then spun around with a gleeful look on his face as he went up the sidewalk to go help another house of people who were miserably dealing with the heavy, slushy, icy snow the old-fashioned way. The suburbs! What a country. I shoveled out the last few remaining feet and it damn near killed me -- every shovelful... Read more →


This was last Thursday: Outside in t-shirts, flush from playing basketball, waiting for Jason to arrive for back-to-back-to-back parent/teacher conferences. The weather was warm, the sun was shining, the most perfect sibling shot only slightly marred by some aggressively unfortunate pencil placement. This is today: (No, we didn't lose Noah. He's playing outside now too, but just wasn't in a picture-taking mood today or Thursday. My camera roll is chock-full of him posing next to a whole bunch of Very Important Lego builds, though.) We didn't get nearly as much as predicted, at least, and after last year's mega-blizzard this is a fairly tame-ass storm. But it's March. Marrrrrrch. So close and yet so far/cold/damp. Beau is not a fan, as evidenced by the muddy/slushy LET ME BACK IN THE WORLD IS BROKEN OUT HERE footprints all over the door. He later worked up the nerve to frolic outside with the boys and their sleds, then came back in and made a soggy beeline for my pillow. The cats spent part of the morning looking out the window while whimpering in wide-eyed panic but seem to have calmed down since. Definitely ready for spring to get sprung, tho. Read more →