Happy Monday! Today I am best visually represented by this photo: Which is to say fat, cozy and in no mood to extricate myself from this couch groove. Mostly because of this, which Jason made on Friday night. (I helped! I made rice and prepped stuff and also kept his drink glass filled.) Homemade saag paneer and rotis. Enough to feed an army, or at least all of us throughout the entire weekend and again for me, for lunch today. (We made the cheese using this super easy DIY kit, the saag is a bit of a mash-up of these two recipes, and this is the bread.) Saturday morning I went to the YMCA to work out, then promptly came home and shoved another bowl of it in my face. Goals! We also took the kids out for some local exploring. Our poor little downtown continues to steadily recover from the flood, and the boys' favorite vintage toy store has finally reopened. (You might remember the owner as the hero dude from this video.) (The sidewalks aren't as pretty as they used to be, but I'll take this over GIANT GAPING DOOM CHASMS.) The kids were SUPER excited to see... 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 →

This was last Thursday: Outside in t-shirts, flush from playing basketball, waiting for Jason to arrive for back-to-back-to-back parent/teacher conferences. The weather was warm, the sun was shining, the most perfect sibling shot only slightly marred by some aggressively unfortunate pencil placement. This is today: (No, we didn't lose Noah. He's playing outside now too, but just wasn't in a picture-taking mood today or Thursday. My camera roll is chock-full of him posing next to a whole bunch of Very Important Lego builds, though.) We didn't get nearly as much as predicted, at least, and after last year's mega-blizzard this is a fairly tame-ass storm. But it's March. Marrrrrrch. So close and yet so far/cold/damp. Beau is not a fan, as evidenced by the muddy/slushy LET ME BACK IN THE WORLD IS BROKEN OUT HERE footprints all over the door. He later worked up the nerve to frolic outside with the boys and their sleds, then came back in and made a soggy beeline for my pillow. The cats spent part of the morning looking out the window while whimpering in wide-eyed panic but seem to have calmed down since. Definitely ready for spring to get sprung, tho. Read more →

So there's some stuff I haven't written about, for no real reason other than it's All Very Unpleasant, and I'm Very Tired of All This Unpleasantness, and would really, truly rather tell you guys nothing but funny stories about my kids and post pictures of cats like a proper blogger stereotype. But at this point I'm straight-up omitting a bit of narrative here, so let me get you caught up. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Awhile ago, actually. I'd noticed the hand tremors but was quick to write them off as something similar to mine, but they were getting noticiably worse from visit to visit. It's why she didn't come here for Christmas -- the symptoms have progressed to the point that travel is super difficult and (so far) her treatments have led to far more negative side effects than positive results. She's seeing a new specialist next month, so I'm hoping she'll get some better options. It's been a very different experience than my father's many illnesses, which were always punctuated by specific "OH SHIT WHAT NOW" moments of disaster and hospitalization. Every time I'd drop everything and get in the car, there was this dark cloud of... Read more →

In lieu of typing out one (OF THE MANY!) furious political rants I've been yelling at the walls over the past month week 24-hour news cycle, I'll tell you a more happy story. A blog reader FB messaged me with a note of thanks after seeing my photos from the protest again the Muslim ban. We chatted back and forth for a bit -- like sooooooo many of the readers I've gotten to know over the years, she was funny and friendly, a fellow mom with a creative streak, generous and kind. She was also, you know, a Muslim. And obviously not having the best day. She asked if she could send the boys a little gift from her Etsy shop, and since handmade gifts from readers have always been and always will be my favorite thing in the world (other than say, a bunch of Sephora gift cards in the wake of the Zombie Pinkeye Makeup Drawer-pocalypse), I said yes! Please! Gimme dat swag. She specifically insisted no plug or pimpage was needed, but nahhhhh, sorry Farah. Her shop is LittleMuslimDolls. Naturally Ike immediately turned them into flying superhero ninjas. Ezra simply paired them up as mommies and daddies.... Read more →

This weekend we started work on Big Serious-Ass Vegetable Garden 2.0... By setting up the world's lamest grow operation ever in the basement. We're planning once again on two jam-packed raised beds and about a half-dozen containers. It's a lot. Please note my use of the word "we," which is a lie. I helped clear out some boxes and assorted junk and Jason did everything else. I went back upstairs, poured a glass of wine and took pictures of my pets. Weekend productivity: NAILED IT. Last year none of our seedlings grew and we ended up buying plants instead. We started them too late, I think, and didn't account for colder temperatures in this basement vs. our old one. So in addition to the starter trays and grow light, a heat mat and digital thermostat have joined the setup. We're going with SLIGHTLY fewer tomato plants this year, but probably still too many. Summertime visitors to Yellow House should once again expect to have large bags of tomatoes hurled politely handed to you, no really, I insist, come on, you're not leaving until you take some, Jason, block the door, they're trying to escape without taking any tomatoes, etc. Read more →

Further evidence that Marrch is the worrrrrst*: A friendly reminder that it's time to renew Ceiba's animal license! Right on the one-year anniversary of her wild adventure of wandering two whole lawns over, then getting herself carted to the shelter, where I first paid for the license (and a fine for not having the license in the first place whooooops), and also got the news that oh yeah ur dog is peeing blood now, might wanna get that checked out. At least she lived out her final couple weeks as a fully legal dog, although perhaps under the new administration the citation for being off leash on her record would qualify her for dog criminal deportation. Either way, love my option here for explaining why I'm not paying for this anymore: THAT'S ONE WAY OF PUTTING IT I GUESS. I still vividly remember the panicked, clammy, heartsick feeling I had that entire night, and the CRUSHING GUILT that it was all our fault -- the gate/no collar/no microchip/the letting-the-dog-out-and-just-plain-not-noticing-she-wasn't-let-back-in. My brain kept circling back to the possibility of "that's it, this is it, she's gone and something terrible is going to happen and you'll never know what happened, but ohhhhhh... Read more →

The rr key on my keyboarrd is sticking. Not every time, so I keep forgetting about it, and then rrealize a second too late that I've just sent an email or article or blog post into the worrld with a bunch of r-rrelated typos. It's great. Rreally grreat. Luckily this dump doesn't really care for stuff like "editorial standards" or "prroofreading" or "grammarr that doesn't fold and collapse in on itself under the weight of the seventh line of a single run-on sentence" or "CAPS LOCK IS LAZY AND SHOUTY," so I should be okay. rr. r. rrrrrrrrrrrr. (STOP IT, ASSHOLE KEY. ARRRRRGH.) Anyway. How's everybody's week? Mine is boring, although I'm trying to pretend it's not March because March is a very bad, not rreally grreat month for me, historically speaking, what with it being long and cold and grey and oh right, the month where everybody and everything I love dies. Not to be dramatic, but well, March can suck it. Rey was making some vomit/heaving noises this morning and I was like, DON'T YOU EVEN START WITH THAT I CANNOT. (It was a hairrball.) Last night we trried to make falafel pita sandwiches and something went very,... Read more →

Ezra decided he needed a haircut. So Ezra decided to find some scissors. And did...this. The childhood self-haircut rite of passage. He even went over it with the thinning shears. So the front was at least easily correctable with a short enough cut, but he also decided to take care of some random bedhead/cowlick things he had going on elsewhere. He cut them straight off at the root. We didn't know about that part until the barber finished up and noticed that...oh. Your kid has a couple bald spots now, sorry. But wait. Some of that hair looks kind of...blond? And that face looks suspiciously up to no good? What. Great. So Ike also decided to cut off a random patch of his hair, right off the top of his head, where it is currently sticking straight up and out, Little Rascals style. I thought maybe this was a sign that Ike finally wanted a shorter haircut, but nope. Nope nope nope. He just did it because Ezra did it. I coaxed him into the barber's chair for a very tiny trim that didn't really help camouflage the hacked-off portion at all, but at least his bangs are more or... Read more →