As someone born two days after Christmas, I always thought Ike had it made with his June birthday. Unfortunately, I've realized that although he's not competing with a major holiday, his birthday does tend to get a bit lost in a flurry of end-of-school-year and sibling activities. On his actual birthday, we had to rush through presents and his birthday dinner in order to get Noah to his band concert on time. (Ezra wrapped up a semi-deflated ball that Ike likes to steal from his room, along with a handmade card. Noah stuck around to confirm a lack of Minecraft/FNAF-related presents and then kinda wandered off.) Thanks to a Woody costume and an ice cream sundae (complete with a candle and singing waitstaff), he didn't seem to mind the day's crowded schedule that much. (Also a bulk package of composition notebooks helped. They fill these up by the dozens.) Saturday was pretty booked up too, with music lessons and an end-of-year picnic at school, which they were all clearly thrilled about attending. But hey! Pizza for the MILLIONTH MEAL IN A ROW. (Ezra's Hobbes is literally disintegrating, guys, and I fear his days are numbered. If anyone sees a similar... Read more →


Six years ago today, our family was officially made complete. Six years ago today, we welcomed the funniest, sunniest little boy on the planet into our lives. Today I sent him off to his almost-last day of kindergarten with a hastily put together "special birthday snack" to share with his friends. It is, embarrassingly, just 22 plastic sandwich bags with only five or six Doritos each, because that was the only store-bought, nut-free snack we had on hand that was both unopened and non-stale. Because I completely forgot about the special birthday snack. Until Ike reminded me last night, and I watched his face fall as he recognized the signature OH SHIT expression on mine. It's hard to be the Baby Ike, sometimes. He was actually thrilled about the Doritos, since I think he's only ever had them at parties, or perhaps as someone else's special birthday snack. "My friends are going to LOVE these chips," he declared confidently as we packed them up. (It came out more as my fwends are going to WUV deez chips, which of course we're working on, but dang it the lisp just makes everything he says sound even cuter.) He's much better about... Read more →


So this happened. Ike's getting an IEP. Welcome to the club, kid. But he's getting it for the least dramatic reason possible, at least by our household's standards: He has a pretty bad lisp. He needs some speech therapy. Okay. I asked his preschool teachers about the lisp last year -- they weren't too concerned, given his age. He was likely outgrow it on his own. (I looked into speech therapy anyway last summer, only to learn that articulation disorders aren't covered under our insurance and the cost would be YIKES.) The elementary school, on the other hand, absolutely provides services for articulation disorders, so I flagged it as a potential concern on every piece of enrollment paperwork that I possibly could. I asked his kindergarten teacher about the lisp at our first parent-teacher conference -- she'd noticed it, yes. She also wasn't too concerned, given his age, but agreed to have the school's speech pathologist stop by and speak with him. She did, and blah blah blah not too concerned, given his age, blah blah let's wait and see. And so we've waited. AND GUESS WHAT. He hasn't outgrown it. At all. Not even a little bit. He can't... Read more →


Most Patient Cat of the Week, Who Knows On Some Level That I Could Put a Stop To All This If I Wanted To: Photogenic Cat of the Week, Whose Handsomeness Cannot Be Overshadowed By a Nearby Rando Laundry Basket: And Yet, Counterpoint, This Glorious Idiot: (Bonus points for Kermit finger puppet that has been claimed as a cat toy seemingly pondering the horror of his new torturous existence.) And Finally Some Random Non-Ladybug Nature That Happened, Because I Am Sometimes Still Surprised To Realize That I No Longer Live In the City, Even a Full Decade Later: WE'RE IN UR SUBURB, EATIN' UR SHRUBBERIES 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 →


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 →