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 →


It's been a week, you know? Good time for some cats. Oh look another cat. Hi, other cat. Nothing but cats. Okay, cat and one dog. Okay, dog and other cat. Okay, two kids, too. And that's all I've got. We're off to the beach for a bit and I've barely started packing, unless you count the kids' suitcase that I never unpacked after their week with the grandparents. That's good to go, because FORESIGHT. And EPIC LAZINESS. Which I always knew would pay off at some point, in one small way or another. Read more →


As of 1 p.m. today, Ike is finally, for-real, officially registered for kindergarten. When I called to make the appointment and admitted that yes, he's another Storch boy, little brother to the other Storch boys, I was asked why on earth I waited so long to register. A fair question. "We had some...readiness concerns," I explained. Ike's June birthday has always worried me. He'll enter kindergarten a full nine months younger than his brothers were, and he's never been particularly mature for his age. To be honest, he's probably the opposite of that. Especially at home where he's most comfortable with his role as "the baby." His behavior reports from preschool weren't 100% glowing either, as he would get shy and then stubborn and refuse to participate. He'd claim he didn't know the lyrics or hand motions to the songs they sang every dang morning and sit in stony, arms-folded silence. If he didn't get his preferred seat or spot in line, he'd run off and pout in the corner. He refused to follow classroom rules he thought were silly, like not being able to get up and go to the bathroom by himself. His class had a couple older... Read more →


By Friday night, things felt distinctly more "back to normal" around here, that is to say, a complete and utter disaster of my own making. Ike had been invited to a birthday party at a friend's house, and while the invitation clearly said "pool party," I was weirdly plagued with doubt as to what that actually meant, as I have not attended a pool party since probably junior high. Like, is it a real pool? Or something more like we would do, which would fill up a kiddie pool and set up an off-brand Slip n' Slide in the backyard? Am I supposed to wear a bathing suit, or just Ike? But all I own are bikinis? Is that inappropriate? WHAT'S THE ETIQUETTE HERE I'VE COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN HOW TO SUBURB. I also realized that since moving, no one has come across any of our pool or beach-related gear, including floaties or backpacks or goggles or pool noodles or any of the 20 million sand toys we own. I made another last-ditch effort to find it all in the storage area before giving up and thus showing up to the pool party (YES IT WAS A REAL POOL WHO HONESTLY THINKS... 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 →


As a generally optimistic person (or just a naive dumbass), I naturally assumed that there was nowhere to go but up after the Monday morning clusterfuck. And yet I was in no way surprised when Tuesday morning kicked off promptly with Ike projectile vomiting at the breakfast table. I'd just smugly finished packing his bag for the day (INCLUDING HIS LUNCH GO ME) and turned around just to see it happen. An entire cup of milk, all over his nice clean bathing suit and matching(!) swim shirt, his chair, the floor, just everywhere. And so instead of a second day of summer camp -- a precious day, one of only 10 days I'd ponied up for childcare for him all summer -- Ike spent the morning getting a bath and ushered back to bed. Then he voluntarily relocated to the floor outside the bathroom after the next wave hit him 20 minutes later. And that was our morning. By mid-afternoon he'd perked up enough to sip water and watch some Super Why, then had a little dry cereal and another nap. By dinnertime he was running around like a lunatic all I WANT TACOS AND CANDY I'M STARVING. So. He... Read more →


I don't mean to alarm anyone... ...but according to our math... ...Baby Ike is five years old. I don't know how that happened either, but here we are. A fully-formed little boy with a big personality, who smiles with his entire body, who hurls himself around the house with the sheer force of a superhero-fueled imagination. A sweet little boy who still wants to hold my hand and cuddle, who quietly asks "but will you be with me?" before any new situation or outing, revealing a painfully shy streak underneath all that ham, bravado and cheese. He loves animals, great and small. If he had his way we'd have a horse in our backyard, maybe some bunnies, and definitely more cats, because you can never have too many cats. More cats mean it'd be easier for him to find one to hold. He misses Max and Ceiba so much, and talks about them often. I've caught him talking to their ashes more than once, telling them about our new pets, but reminding them that he still loves them. If you ask, yes, he is still mad about his hair, and is back to insisting on at-home bang trims ONLY so... Read more →


What a week. With all the dog eyeball drama, cats jumping out of second-story windows and babies graduating from preschool, it's all been A Little Much. Make that way too much. Ike's preschool did a whole proper graduation ceremony, with hats and Pomp & Circumstance and songs (that Ike did not sing, choosing instead to cover his ears in protest) and awards and enough mini-cupcakes to send the entire graduating class into a final sugar-fueled frenzy. Ike won an award for being "kind and huggable" and hammed it up during his teacher's little speech about him, making a series of smug little faces similar to the one pictured above. I'm not sure it's fully hit me that not only is Ike done with preschool, we as a family are done with preschool. No more tuition checks, no more separate drop-offs and pick-ups, no more half days, no more days when the highest expectation is mostly to have fun and not bite anyone. Maybe fingerpaint a bit. This fall, all three of my babies will get on the same bus and go to the same pressure-cooker of an elementary school. For all of one year, before Noah moves up to sixth... Read more →