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 →

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 →

Before I left for my (brief, more-time-on-planes-than-on-the-ground) trip to California (for all of one day at the Mom 2.0 Summit), I had a LOT of shit to get done. Important shit. Like this: My track record for chaperoning field trips in horrible weather remains almost impeccable. If there's an outdoor activity planned, the temperature will inexplicably drop 20 degrees that day. If there's a hayride involved, it's going to rain, so prepare yourself for a damp butt. I was supposed to chaperone Noah's fourth-grade field trip to Annapolis that morning, before realizing I was double-booked. Triple booked, actually, because Ezra had a doctor's appointment to get his hearing re-checked, so Jason had to cover that one, right before I bailed on him for the next two days. Whoops. So yeah. Ezra recently failed a hearing screen at school. Just like he failed a hearing screen back in preschool. That time a follow-up revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and the doctor suggested that he was just too little to understand the testing instructions. This time the follow-up revealed that his eardrums are misshapen. That's usually is the result of chronic ear infections or allergies, neither of which really applies to... Read more →

I've been asked that question a lot lately. Overall, I think the boys are coping with the double-whammy loss pretty well, albeit each in their own way, at their own pace. Noah -- who remembers the loss of his grandfather the most vividly -- is probably doing the "best," although that's really not the right word. He's the most pragmatic and accepting, it's pretty matter-of-fact to him now. As I already wrote when we broke the news about Ceiba, he very literally experienced every distinct stage of grief right there at the dinner table, one right after the other. After that, he was "okay," more or less. He understood why we had to put her down and would patiently explain it to his brothers ("she's sick and going to die anyway, it's our job as her people to make sure it's not painful"). He sought Ceiba out for extra love and attention during her last days, but was also very focused on the exciting possibility of a new dog. His rapid-fire approach to grief certainly came in handy with Max, as we had less than zero time to adequately prepare the boys for what was happening. They'd known he'd been... Read more →

Well, that didn't take long. I sent Ezra's teacher some evaluation forms and surveys on Monday. She filled them out that same day and faxed them directly to our doctor, like, OMG GET THIS KID SOME HELP. The doctor called within 24 hours and was like, whoa, yeah, that's ADHD and also OMG GET THIS KID SOME HELP. This is the book Noah's therapist read to him after he was formally diagnosed and we made the decision to start medication. I just ordered a copy for Ezra, and yes, we are making the same decision for him. We were very reluctant and resistant with Noah, and in retrospect we agree that we waited too long. Believe me, we tried just about all of the alternative med-free strategies, multiple therapies, diet changes, you name it. We didn't just throw up our hands and spring for the meds to make our lives easier. (Well, okay, I did throw out one of those ADHD IS A PACK OF LIES-type book that my MIL gave us after a cursory Google search on the author, revealed her to have close ties to the church and teachings of Scientology. Didn't even recycle it. Not even a... Read more →

Special Needapalooza

I went to Noah's IEP meeting yesterday, our first "real" meeting with the new school. We had an initial "move everything from County A to County B and try to not let anything get lost in translation" meeting in the beginning of the year, but this was the Actual Annual Big-Deal one, where we determine services for the next 12 months. The good news is that...well, it's all good news. Noah has transitioned beautifully and his new team loves him, and even better, REALLY understands him. After years of being classified solely as a SPD/ADHD kid at his old school, to the point that the team seemed surprised by his eventual Autism diagnosis (and then had to rapidly overhaul his IEP), I think it was really beneficial to move into this school with the ASD code firmly in place. No question, Noah needs those specific needs met, and here is everything this school can possibly provide. His new IEP is strong, comprehensive and best of all, was written from the point of view that this is just who Noah is and how he thinks and learns. He is not a problem to be solved. He is a child who will... Read more →

So I get that Valentine's Day is a cheesy, unnecessary holiday birthed from crass marketing and consumerism, and it's cool to be all, "whatever, we don't do anything for Valentine's Day because we don't celebrate Hallmark Holidays blah yadda blah." But I married a romantic with a penchant for big gestures and special occasions. Not doing anything for Valentine's Day goes against his very DNA. So we celebrate Valentine's Day, but to prove that we're not complete lemmings, we don't celebrate it specifically ON Valentine's day. This year we went with February 13th. Yeah, that'll show 'em! Stick it to the man! (On Valentine's Day Proper we took the boys to see Kung Fu Panda 3, which wasn't technically terrible or anything, but I feel like the storytelling possibilities and overall concept of a kung fu fighting panda have officially run the full course and it is time to move on.) (Next up: Jujitsu Shrimp! Crossfit Honey Badgers!) On Saturday, Jason woke me up with the news that he'd booked me a surprise massage appointment, because he is amazing and also loves to ignore our "no gifts this year, right?" agreement every single time. Probably just to make me look... Read more →