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 →


This morning Ike walked into the living room and placed a small box on the coffee table. "Don't move that," he told me. "It's what I'm taking to college." I'll admit it; I was a little scared to open the box. But turns out... It's just Sandwich the Cat, better known around here as Alive Max. Okay then! At least he's prepared? 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 →


Ezra decided he needed a haircut. So Ezra decided to find some scissors. And did...this. The childhood self-haircut rite of passage. He even went over it with the thinning shears. So the front was at least easily correctable with a short enough cut, but he also decided to take care of some random bedhead/cowlick things he had going on elsewhere. He cut them straight off at the root. We didn't know about that part until the barber finished up and noticed that...oh. Your kid has a couple bald spots now, sorry. But wait. Some of that hair looks kind of...blond? And that face looks suspiciously up to no good? What. Great. So Ike also decided to cut off a random patch of his hair, right off the top of his head, where it is currently sticking straight up and out, Little Rascals style. I thought maybe this was a sign that Ike finally wanted a shorter haircut, but nope. Nope nope nope. He just did it because Ezra did it. I coaxed him into the barber's chair for a very tiny trim that didn't really help camouflage the hacked-off portion at all, but at least his bangs are more or... Read more →


We celebrated the beautiful weather (and everyone's so-so recovery from the cold that wouldn't die from last week) by getting outside and tackling some yardwork. Lots of leaves and twigs and small branches to collect. Our trees like to shed many different things all year round. My contribution: ...aaaaand my children's: We paid them a dollar. Got what we paid for, I guess. Today is a professional day at school so everyone is home for the fourth straight day. We're running out of entertainment options, although my "Anybody Who Whines About Being Bored Gets Assigned Housework"rule is working out splendidly. The house has never been cleaner! (This broom and dustpan combo set is the perfect size for your littlest servants, incidentally.) Ezra eventually caught on, and decided to get ready for our next family protest instead. Can't argue with that last one. Read more →


I recently realized that the Alexa app on my phone logs each and every command/question/request the boys make of Ezra's beloved Amazon Tap. I scrolled through about a month's worth and it was...illuminating. And so today I present a long, winding look at exactly how the young minds of today are interacting with and pushing the limits of Voice Service Technology. alexa play the angry birds soundtrack When's my birthday? When is my birthday? When is October the fifteenth? How much longer until Christmas? alexa play the angry birds soundtrack Say it What time will be after four oh five? What time will be after four oh six? How do you make the color purple? How to you make the color orange? What happens if you combine the color red with yellow? What do the colors red and yellow make? Come on alexa play the angry birds soundtrack What how do you make the color white? What what? What is a cowboy? What is a cowgirl? What is a cowgirl? I said cowgirl not cowboy How long of a fall would it be if he fell down from a cliff? What do you hear? Can you drink anything? What happens... Read more →