In other, less polarizing news*, you want to know who's doing great? These fools. Or more accurately, these three wise guys. Are just great. Can't really speak for the cat, though. Over the past couple weeks, we've had both all our parent-teacher conferences AND Noah's IEP meeting, re-evaluation/pre-middle-school year edition. Let's recap. Noah's self-confidence has EXPLODED this year (possibly thanks to the social skills program he attended over the summer, plus a med switch that's been like night and day), and it's showing in just about every aspect possible at school. After almost failing math last year (but turning things around in the last semester), his latest report card was all A's and B's, he enjoys tests and studying and writing, keeps himself organized and on schedule, and is starting to open up to new topics and interests and friends. He continues to be amazingly self-aware and self-advocating, and just overall seems much happier and bubbly and just...yeah. Confident. It's a really good look for him. At his conference, his teacher mentioned his (obvious) love and passion for history and social studies, but said it was a struggle to redirect him from the non-fiction section and into more literary texts... Read more →


We took the boys to the National Archives this weekend to see the Declaration of Independence. (The Constitution and Bill of Rights are there too, but for whatever reason Noah decided the Declaration is the most exciting of the three, and thus the main attraction.) Noah and Ezra brought out their Williamsburg hats (paired with Marty McFly and Star Wars outerwear), and also along for the trip were Noah's favorite history book, a Bionicle and of course, miniature American flags for others. (Oh, and a stack of Lego Mixel building instructions that have become incredibly important to Ike for some reason. Hobbes and Mister Doorknob stayed home this time.) We spent more time getting there, waiting in line, and browsing the gift shop than we spent viewing the actual documents. They're a lot more faded than I remembered, and Noah wasn't able to make much out beyond the title and one loop of John Hancock's signature. So he decided to buy a replica and read that instead, using the text from his book to help him decipher the cursive handwriting. His ultimate goal is to memorize the entire thing. I do not see that being all that difficult for him,... Read more →


Noah had his annual physical today -- his first time at our new pediatrician's office, oddly enough, as he hasn't had a single sick visit or injury or general health concern since we moved. This makes for a fairly boring check-up, although Noah remained in a low-level state of anxiety because I'd warned him he most likely was going to get a shot. He brought his Marty McFly jackets and his history textbook along to help keep his mind off of it. (Just when I think this kid's love of history can't get any better: He's now borrowing additional books from his teachers [as he's devoured all the main school library's offerings and still can't get enough] and I catch him reading them under his covers at night, or reading charming bedtime stories about the Boston Massacre to his brothers. Okay.) I already wrote a Big Whole Screed about the HPV vaccine at AlphaMom last year, but just to have it on the record here as I am a Wee Bit Het Up About This Topic, and want to make it clear that I followed through on everything in that rant: Yes, Noah got his first Gardasil shot today, and... Read more →


The great Marty McFly costume, which won for Mom Favorite because I bought actual useful clothing and accessories (ON SALE), combined existing wardrobe elements, and only spent $10 on that plastic-y cardboard Hoverboard . (Which I've been hiding in my closet because it's going to get destroyed in 3...2...1...) Noah loves it too, because with the jacket, vest and watch all being practical and non-costume-y, he gets to be Marty McFly every day. And who wouldn't love that. I'm asking. He met up with a group of friends from school while trick-or-treating and was so, so happy. The Green Ninja Redux: This time I did not even attempt a DIY o' Fail version, especially since now you can actually buy a real Lego Green Ninja costume . But Ezra chose this generic version instead, and added his own Ninjago headband . Other than some stains because he kept trying to wear it while also eating breakfast, he looked really great. I should have insisted on warmer underlayers, though, because he's home sick with a terrible cold today. As is Hobbes, who apparently ate too much Halloween candy last night and now has "the throw-ups." HMMMMMMM. Ike was Legolas , mostly... Read more →


Part One: In Which I Chaperone a Trip To a Pumpkin Patch For the Hundredth Time And it was predictably ridiculous, as my streak of being the bad weather luck charm remains unbroken to the end. About an hour in, the temperature plunged and the heavens opened, and an entire class of under-dressed kindergartners was soaked and chilled to the bone. I'd at least remembered to bring an umbrella and put a hat and mittens on Ike... ...but failed to notice that he left them behind at school. Also my umbrella was way too small to accommodate my small flock of charges, one of whom was dressed in a t-shirt and hoodie while even kids decked out in heavy parkas were visibly shivering. The trip was (mercifully) cut short, but not before we got pumpkins and some animal encounters in. ("Take my picture next to this sheep that I have no intention of actually standing next to.") (And then it oinked.) Part Two: Meanwhile, Back at G.Wash's Place... It was a day of dueling field trips, and Jason got to take Noah to Mount Vernon, where it did not rain AND they got fancy chartered buses with DVD players AND... Read more →


In Noah's Social Studies class yesterday, the kids were divided into two teams for a mock debate. Team assignments were random; no one got to choose their side. The two teams? Patriots vs. Loyalists, set to debate the pros and cons of the American Revolution. Guess which team Noah was on. Or more accurately, he was supposed to be on, until he freaked out, melted down, and refused to participate. We got an email from his teacher afterwards explaining what happened, and two sentences in I knew exactly what was coming. WHY OH WHY DID YOU NOT SEE THAT COMING? He couldn't be a Loyalist. Loyalists were the ENEMY. Loyalists were the Bad Guys. Even just pretending to be a Bad Guy makes you a Bad Guy, at least while you're doing the pretending. His teacher called it a temper tantrum, but really, it was probably more along the lines of a panic attack. It's interesting that this happened so close to Halloween, given all those years Noah refused to wear a costume for similar anxiety-tinged reasons: Pretending to be someone or something else means you must not be yourself anymore. Putting on a costume represented a fundamental change in... Read more →


Noah really wanted a birthday party this year. Jason was happy to oblige and slapped down a deposit on a video game truck rental; meanwhile I balled up into the fetal position every time I thought about it. A party. At our house. With children. Or maybe no children? Or not enough children? Noah happily handed out invitations to his entire class and several friends from last year, I absorbed any and all social anxiety on his behalf and felt an acute ache in my chest with every day that brought another "no, can't make it, sorry!" or complete radio silence. Finally there were some yeses, we sent in reminder cards and got a couple more. The day of the party, we still hadn't heard from well over a dozen parents. ' But at some point, I stopped caring. I woke up feeling good. Relaxed. The house was spotless and we kept everything else as low key as possible. We had enough children and adults coming to definitely qualify as a party, including all the people I know Noah cares the most about. They all arrived with big hugs and smiles and gifts and explored the house in a wild,... Read more →


Ezra (and Bluen and Bube and Jimmy and Hobbes) had all their birthday dreams come true this weekend. Including this!! This is our friend's horse Ace. She's been offering to take the boys riding awhile now, and Ezra decided that sounded like a perfect birthday activity. To be honest, I was somewhat expecting Ezra to change his mind once he was there, live and in person with a Real Horse. And I think he was a little nervous, but not enough to hop right on and give it a try. He cut his first ride fairly short, but then after watching his brothers he decided he wanted to go again. After all, it WAS his birthday. He was much more confident the second time around. I haven't ridden a horse in FOREVER, so I broke myself in on the laziest, fattest horse in the barn. "Leisurely pace" doesn't even begin to describe it, but it was nice to realize I remember how horses work, more or less. Also, I didn't fall off and die. So, success! Noah went next. He rode therapy horses a couple times in preschool so he obviously loved this, almost as much as exploring the barn... Read more →


Something has gone terribly amiss in our hand-me-down clothing system. Clothing size math makes me crazy, but it seems everything has collapsed due to a bad ratio of non-worn-through-the-knee pants to children-with-weirdly-similar-leg-lengths, combined with our usual oh-crap-it's-suddenly-chilly-quick-try-on-last-year's-pants seasonal unpreparedness. (The Legs Collective, back in simpler, summery-er times.) Noah's now wearing clothes long enough that they're typically destroyed before they're outgrown, greatly reducing what I can pass down to Ezra. Ike's legs are insanely long that he's practically wearing the same pants size as Ezra (who is a good head taller but super extra skinny), leading to a critical pants shortage. Ezra has attended school all week in jeans that are noticeably two inches too short, which ALSO highlights his complete lack of socks. (I mean, we have millions of socks. There are literally socks everywhere. None of the socks match, and also we are still besieged by the mysterious Zombie Baby Socks, because all I ever do is throw out or donate baby socks and yet THERE ARE STILL BABY SOCKS IN THIS HOUSE. But matching socks that fit them now? Pffft. Pipe dream. I could go buy three dozen more socks tomorrow and we'd be tapped out by Saturday.)... Read more →


Less than a week before Noah's birthday, I still didn't have a present for him. Or even a vague idea of what present to buy him. I mean, obviously it was going to be Something Lego, because look at how Not Enough Legos We Have: (We bleached and Nature's Miracled the entire stash, just to be safe, then laid them outside to dry. And then we forgot about them and it rained. And then it rained again and again and now they are finally ALMOST dry and falling through the cracks in the deck and it's basically my Lego Anxiety Dream brought to terrifying life.) What Noah REALLY wanted was a discontinued Back to the Future set. Which I found on eBay for a pretty ridiculously high price, considering the size of it, and so I informed that NOPE, NOT HAPPENING. PICK AGAIN. His SECOND choice was a not-discontinued but even more bonkers expensive Ghostbusters set, because he has suddenly landed smackdab into the 1980s fanboy demographic. I again said sorry, no, we're not buying anything that expensive. His third choice was disappointed silence. Crap. One of the many small businesses from downtown Ellicott City is an independent Lego seller/reseller,... Read more →