Pay no attention to the new design quite yet (unless you're on a mobile device, which in that case, you are very welcome, about seven years late)...Jason jumped the gun a bit by sending it live. His priority was getting all the ad zones set up properly because of all those sweet, sweet Internet nickels; he didn't realize I wasn't down with the default fonts and wanted to test out at least fourteen dozen alternatives. I think we're currently displaying option number four and we're still not there yet. And I know some other pages are borked thanks to the bizarre way I had things set up before. Also, if anyone can help with the header/logo thing and expand some design-y doo-dads across the sea of Every Guest Bathroom I've Ever Had Green, shoot me an email with how much Cash Money you will require. But whatever, it's a site that at least looks like it's from this Internet century and maybe Google will remember that I exist again. Our original trip to Hersheypark included two days' worth of park passes. We ended up spending one day at the park and the rest of the time at our hotel's indoor... Read more →


This is the school year I have been waiting for my whole life, or at least the parenting portion of it: All three children riding the same bus, attending the same school, and being there ALL THE LIVELONG DAMN DAY. And thanks to our child-spacing math, this is the only school year where that will ever happen. So far it's been gloriously easy, but also supremely weird. I'm so used to juggling multiple schedules and exits and drop-offs that having them all walk out the door at the same time and being DONE, JUST LIKE THAT, almost feels like a trick. After they board the bus I reflexively glance around the bus stop to collect a younger child only to realize I'm about to corral someone else's toddler. By noon I'm still jolting myself with a GO PICK UP A PRESCHOOLER muscle memory. Eating lunch by myself and not making one for someone else kicks me in the emotions a little bit. (Although that might just be the dog and cats underfoot and nipping at my ankles every time I walk into the kitchen because YOU CAN FEED US ANYTIME, ALL THE TIME.) I've met them at the bus stop... Read more →


So I just dropped three entire children off at school, one FIFTH GRADER who is already so over it, a second grader who was like BYEEEEEEE PLZ LEAVE NO YAY, and sadly, the world's most terrified-looking kindergartner. Ike was expecting, I think, for us to walk him into his classroom, but since the school is approximately 97% made of kindergartners (rough estimate) at this point, they instead were corralling them in the gymnasium where each child was labeled and instructed to line up by homeroom and wait. Ike's face was like, "I'm so confused. I've made a huge mistake. Also they labeled me as Isaac." I spent ages filling out multiple forms listing both Ike's legal name and preferred name, and was assured that would be noted in "the system." It was not. His teacher promised him a new label once they got to the classroom but of course as we left we could still hear people calling him Isaac. So anybody on the to-nickname-or-not-to-nickname fence out there, I must report that a different legal name CAN be a bit of a pain in the ass, leading to blank dumb stares in doctors' offices because who the hell is Isaac,... Read more →


At da beach, hangin' with kids, hangin' with friends, hangin' with Hobbes. Who has apparently been hangin' with the spiked beach punch pretty hard. Wow, get yourself together, man. If Beach House Week 2016 has a theme, so far it's been a tie between Things You Should Not Eat: (SPOILER ALERT: Duh. This is a terrible idea. So bad. Even more vile than your wildest fever dreams are able to comprehend. My children, of course, loved them. I still threw the package out while they were sleeping because I WANT A BETTER LIFE FOR THEM, A LIFE WITHOUT THIS ARTIFICIAL ABOMINATION.) (On the other hand, while Maryland blue crabs are ALWAYS something you should eat, especially while at the beach, maybe don't attempt to eat like, 40 of them, even between four motivated adults. That's an awful lot of crab and a pretty tremendous mess.) (Especially after pigging out on Velveeta nacho dip and chips just a couple hours earlier.) //PHOTO NOT FOUND ...and theme #2, aka Burying Small Children In The Sand Is Fun: Burying Ike from amalah on Vimeo. Unburying Ike from amalah on Vimeo. (Noah was having none of the burying business, naturally, but he's here and... Read more →


Happy belated Fourth of July! We decided to try something a little different this year -- a picnic and symphony orchestra concert at a local park, followed by fireworks. Kids were SUPER into it. Clearly. (Weary sigh.) I figured there'd be SOME downtime where the kids might need some please-stop-wandering-and-stay-on-the-blanket tethering entertainment, but unfortunately they powered through all the sandwiches and snacks and an entire case of juice pouches within the first 30 minutes. And we still had about three and a half hours to go before fireworks. There was a Star Wars melody at some point (aka the point during which I was stuck in an obscenely long bathroom line) and Jason reported that they did in fact look up from the warm glowy glowboxes and deem it "cool." Then they all asked if we could watch the fireworks from the parking lot instead, because they always sit on top of the car for fireworks. What's this picnic blanket shit? Why were we messing with tradition? In the end, it was a great fireworks show and everybody enjoyed it. (The hour-and-a-half wait to get out of the parking lot, however, not so much. Probably should've listened to the kids... Read more →


Ike had his first "real" birthday party this weekend, aka the kind of party where we sacked up and invited his entire preschool class to an actual organized party, rather than just half-assedly inviting a bunch of our friends over to barbecue and eat cupcakes in the backyard. Five years old calls for a proper birthday party, I think. Ike chose a pizza-making party at a local restaurant, blatantly copy-catting his classmate who had the same party not that long ago. But hey, the party package included invitations, cookie decorating, pre-made goody bags and I didn't have to clean up a thing. I like how you roll, child. Jason did have to pitch in and help with some dough shaping, which apparently was MUCH harder than it looked, AMY, STOP LAUGHING. Poor Noah was having a fairly severe sensory freak-out over the tie-dye wall decor and getting flour on his hands, and also a touch of I'm too big for this shit existential crisis, but participated anyway to make Ike happy.* I offered Ike the choice of whatever kind of cake he wanted, figuring he'd pick something that would require a professional decorating job, but no. He wanted a plain... Read more →


Before I left for my (brief, more-time-on-planes-than-on-the-ground) trip to California (for all of one day at the Mom 2.0 Summit), I had a LOT of shit to get done. Important shit. Like this: My track record for chaperoning field trips in horrible weather remains almost impeccable. If there's an outdoor activity planned, the temperature will inexplicably drop 20 degrees that day. If there's a hayride involved, it's going to rain, so prepare yourself for a damp butt. I was supposed to chaperone Noah's fourth-grade field trip to Annapolis that morning, before realizing I was double-booked. Triple booked, actually, because Ezra had a doctor's appointment to get his hearing re-checked, so Jason had to cover that one, right before I bailed on him for the next two days. Whoops. So yeah. Ezra recently failed a hearing screen at school. Just like he failed a hearing screen back in preschool. That time a follow-up revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and the doctor suggested that he was just too little to understand the testing instructions. This time the follow-up revealed that his eardrums are misshapen. That's usually is the result of chronic ear infections or allergies, neither of which really applies to... Read more →


I've been asked that question a lot lately. Overall, I think the boys are coping with the double-whammy loss pretty well, albeit each in their own way, at their own pace. Noah -- who remembers the loss of his grandfather the most vividly -- is probably doing the "best," although that's really not the right word. He's the most pragmatic and accepting, it's pretty matter-of-fact to him now. As I already wrote when we broke the news about Ceiba, he very literally experienced every distinct stage of grief right there at the dinner table, one right after the other. After that, he was "okay," more or less. He understood why we had to put her down and would patiently explain it to his brothers ("she's sick and going to die anyway, it's our job as her people to make sure it's not painful"). He sought Ceiba out for extra love and attention during her last days, but was also very focused on the exciting possibility of a new dog. His rapid-fire approach to grief certainly came in handy with Max, as we had less than zero time to adequately prepare the boys for what was happening. They'd known he'd been... Read more →


Allow me to present the greatest photo in the history of #BabyIke #NOTTIRED: Apparently Ike and Ezra decided to play a late-night game of house, resulting in Baby Ike being carefully and compactly tucked into Ezra's doll crib. Where he then stayed until midnight, completely sound asleep, when I found him and moved him to his regular bed, like a real drag. Ezra was deeply displeased with me and the theft of his real-life baby in the morning. "You nearly gave me a heart attack!" he scolded, "I was so worried!" Ike denied anything out of the ordinary happened until I showed him the picture, at which point he was still like, "this proves nothing, I was just pretending to sleep." #NOTTIRED4LYFE Read more →


Actual voicemail I received: "Hello, this Nurse [Redacted] from the Health Room at [Redacted] Elementary school. I'm calling about Ezra, who was brought here earlier after getting hit in the head by a door, and he's fine he's fine he's fine, he's back in class, but um...I just...well, I'm just a little confused by some of the stuff he said while he was here and am worried that maybe he isn't so fine after all, so can you please call me as soon as possible?" Actual conversation I had: Nurse: Okay, so an adult accidentally swung a door open directly into Ezra's head and knocked him over. He came here for an ice pack and since the injury involved his head it's policy for me to ask a few questions to make sure there's no disorientation or confusion. Me: Okay...this could go one of several different ways... Nurse: He answered everything correctly, his name, how old he is, what grade he's in...until I asked him to name the people in his family. Me: Mmm-hmm... Nurse: It all started out clear enough, Mom, Dad, Noah, then...Ike? Is that another brother? Me: Yep, that's all correct. Nurse: And then he started talking... Read more →