Eleven years ago, this happened. Our (not-so) little perfect baby arrived. And everything changed forever. Last night during dinner, Noah held his hands up, fingers spread wide. "Starting tomorrow I won't be able to show how old I am with my hands anymore." Into uncharted territory, once again. He looks just like his dad. He got a small, adorable smattering of freckles across his nose this summer and sandy bit of blond back in his hair. His feet are officially bigger than mine and I can just rest my chin on the top of his head, and at least once a week he'll turn a hug into a jump, just to make sure I can still pick him up, even if it's a struggle and only for a minute or two. It's still all Legos and Minecraft and comic books, along with a deep interest in the many theories and philosophical aspects of time travel. This year, however, he's doing his biography book report on Alexander Hamilton. ("SIT DOWN JOHN YOU FAT MOTHER BEEEEEEEEEEP" is his favorite most inappropriate turn of phrase. Probably my bad.) He would like everyone to vote for Hillary Clinton, our first Girl President, a milestone... Read more →


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 →


Wow, I just realized how completely overboard I've been going lately with the CATS CATS CATS stories and photos. It's like, are the kids still around? Has anyone checked on the kids? Yep, still around. And clearly very busy. (He actually seems genuinely fine with this.) Noah is just days away from his 11th birthday, Fellow Olds. And while he still hasn't voiced any displeasure/resistance to making appearances here, it's rare these days to have anything really significant to report about him. Current life goals involve learning to program so he can get a job at Minecraft and make enough money to buy a Delorean, then quit the Minecraft gig and be a full-time professional time traveler. He'd be happy to tell you his theories on time travel, if you have approximately 17 free hours. Also I spaced out this morning and poured milk in his cereal, which was the single worst thing I have EVER done to him, especially since it was the LAST BOWL OF CEREAL. He ate maybe three mournful bites and then made himself some rage-toast out of spite. Mark this date down and Never Forget. Noah clearly will not. (I just got up to pee... 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 →


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 →


We picked the boys up on Saturday, with Beau as a reluctant and extremely barfy passenger. Which was great because obviously Jason had SO much fun cleaning the minivan the day before, he couldn't wait to do it again. He did much, much better on the ride home, thanks to being reunited with his boys. And/or because he realized that we weren't systematically shipping family members off, one by one, until only the cats remained. The boys immediately made a beeline to Noah's new room, and it went over even better than I hoped -- I worried Noah's expectations would be higher than what I managed to deliver on, but in his exact words: "This room is AMAZING. Thank you guys!" /high fives self //smacks ear by accident For point of reference, here is a very bad, very glare-y before photo taken while we were prepping to paint: Biggest challenges included finding a shade of paint that somewhat downplayed the purple carpet, sanding down approximately four dozen handpainted daisies, and working around a towering inferno of toys, including an incredibly large replica of the Ghostbusters headquarters that Noah built on his own (aka NOT the skullfuckingly expensive set) and BEGGED... Read more →


Late Summer Wrap-Up of Nothing in Particular

Oh, hello blog. You're boring! Life is boring. I don't actually mind boring, though. Noah finished up four weeks of a summer school program for social skills, and despite originally being supppppperr not-so-on-board with the whole riding the BUS to SCHOOL in the SUMMER, that is UNFAIR MADNESS, he ended up having a really great time. When we showed up to the open house, we immediately bumped into a boy who Noah had an on-again/off-again/on-again friendship with all year. A boy who I admittedly did not always think the most charitable thoughts about during the off-again part, but who lit up with a huge, excited smile at the sight of Noah, and rushed over to give him a big hug. His mom and I looked at each other like, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, okay, I get it now. That friendship is solidly on-again, as are two new friendships with two other boys in his grade. I think 5th grade is going to be pretty great. Ezra and Ike are finishing up a school-prep camp together this week, and are also having a surprisingly amount of fun despite the heavy academic focus. Learning can be fun! Especially with your brother there, even if the... 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 →