Well hello there, blog full o' tumbleweeds. How's it hanging? So I went away for a few days there to a conference in Santa Barbara, California. A non-blogging, non-just-an-excuse-to-squee-and-party conference, where I actually spent every minute of my time either in conference sessions or in a semi-circle with coworkers while we worked and planned and over-strategerized our marketing funnels. At night there was good food and even better wine, but still like, Business Wine. (You know, where every delicious sip must be weighed against the ever-increasing odds of Saying Something Dumb or Regrettable in front of work people.) Overall, it was pretty uneventful. I didn't show up at the wrong airport or lose my luggage or cause any sort of international incident. I didn't get much sleep or free time, and the entire trip sort of faded into a hazy, four-day quest for either decent coffee or a place to charge my phone. *** On the flight out, the middle seat in my row was empty. A pregnant mom with a baby in her lap asked the woman with the aisle seat if she'd possibly consider switching to HER aisle seat just one row up, so she could put her... Read more →

It wouldn't be an All-American Olde Fashioned Tymes Storch Family Vacation without a little drama or injury of some kind, now would it? The only Jamaica-related injuries sustained last week were 1) me bashing up my shin pretty nicely, during the packing process at home, after getting my foot tangled up in a Big Wheel in our basement storage area while attempting to gracefully step over it in order to get my underwear off the drying rack, and 2) I dunno, Jason got a weird rash from one of our sunscreens? Pretty good, as these things go for us. Which left us in dire need for a little excitement and/or threat of mortal peril. HELLO! HAPPY TO BE OF SERVICE! We had just sat down to our next-to-last lunch on our next-to-last day when we realized Ike had gotten up from the table already. Being the fiercely protective mama bear that I am, I shrugged and mumbled something (through a mouthful of fried chicken) about seeing him right over there a few seconds before, he probably went up to our bedroom or something. I was right. But! One small extra thing. And here's one of the quirks of staying in... Read more →

We leave tomorrow. And then cycle of endless plotting on how soon we can get back here begins anew. I know I'm technically supposed to be writing words here, but there just...aren't any to fully and adequately describe how special this place is, how much I'll miss it, and how much of a blast we all had here. The food, the fun, the people, the feeling like you are in the middle of a heavenly, luxurious paradise but also in your own cozy, homey home. It's perfect. The memories, they will burn bright and awesome. Thank you so much for everything, Bluefields. *** As of tomorrow, please note that my family is officially free to come crash your vacation. Just, you know, putting that out there, in case you find yourself with an extra seaside master suite or something OH THE HUMANITY. Code is: jamalah,mon Code is good for 7 nights off-peak rentals in the 2014 season. Bookings from NOW until Saturday the 21st of June: First 5 bookings pay for 6 nights and get one night free, plus an overnight nanny for one night of your choice. Bookings from the 21st of June to the 12th of July: Overnight... Read more →

The revolutionary (chef) costume for today: I didn't even realize Ezra had packed his "outdoor cooking" apron (it has a picture of a grill on it, soooo...), but I guess it's good to be prepared. In this case, for a personal invitation to come hang out with James the Jerk Master as he prepared Bluefields' weekly jerk chicken lunch. It was... ...so cute. So very, very cute, I thought I couldn't even stand it. Until... Ike got himself a bite of the chicken. And Ike got himself a special pre-lunch to-go package of the chicken. Which he ate completely, in record time. And the next thing I knew (translation, the next time I did a head count and realized we were down one child), this was happening: Ike, in the OTHER chef's costume, out there pulling chicken off the grill in front of a live audience. Look out, Bobby Flay. Or anybody else who thought they were maybe getting some chicken for lunch, because I think Ike thought anything he helped with would be his to eat. He did end up sharing with all his friends at the kids' table, however. The drumsticks were a particularly big hit over there,... Read more →

I did indeed wake up before 5 a.m. yesterday, put my ass a small fishing boat with two local fishermen, and set off onto the great big ocean, past the sunrise and out to where it's nothing but endless, beautiful, unnerving flatness. Jason loves to fish and goes as often as he can (usually catch-and-release fly fishing), but I've never been, never tried, and so I can safely say my only goal for the day was to not thoroughly embarrass myself. (This is not me trying to be mysterious. This is me still too terrified of falling out of the boat to fully turn around for a photo.) The whole idea behind the deep-sea fishing excursion is to catch actual fresh fish for your actual lunch and dinner that day, which jazzed Jason to no end. I was...not that optimistic. On our way out and back, we passed directly through a huge school of dolphins. (And while I've never been one of those OMG DOLPHINS people, I have to admit that the only possible reaction being that close to them is OMG DOLPHINS!) FInally, it was time to fish. Our guide cast my line and handed it over to me,... Read more →

We're here. I am more than a little concerned that this place is far too good to be true, and that it is all a dream, perhaps some kind of hallucination after I had a psychotic break in the hallway outside customs in the Montego Bay airport, because our flight ran out of immigration forms at row 27, and all five us were in row 31, and thus had to fill out all five forms while sitting on the floor of a long narrow hallway, loose passports and children and backpacks spread all over the place, trying to fill in the correct information but we were rushing too much and kept making mistakes, like putting Ezra's passport number on Ike's custom form because the baby photos on their passports look too much alike. And then everybody had to go pee at different times and Jason kept missing signature fields and like, three extra flights arrived and lined up while we were still stuck in that hallway and ARGLE BLARGLE GAH GAH GAH WE ARE NEVER GETTING OUT OF HERE EEEEEEEEEEEEE. Of course, we did get out of there, eventually. We emerged exhausted and frustrated and annoyed at everything and remained... Read more →

T-Minus a Bunch of Hours or Something

We leave for Jamaica tomorrow morning. Which: NO COMPLAINTS. I SWEAR. I AM TOTALLY CHECKING MY VACATION PRIVILEGE. But our packing and final preparations are complicated slightly by the fact that Jason is currently in Ohio, and won't be back until very late tonight. So it's pretty much all on me. Which is all but guaranteed to end super badly. I'd make a joke about somebody not having any underwear but underwear is far too obvious of a thing to forget, plus I've checked everybody's underwear stash already and it's all good and there. Which means the thing I've forgotten is probably even worse, like pants, or all of my clothing. So not much time for dicking around here today — I've pre-written a nice stash of Advice Smackdowns, so if you were concerned about missing a day's worth of questionable advice, don't worry about it. I've got you and your terrible life choices covered. But I need to finish packing, care for my children, and talk Ezra down from the ledge he's climbed over what he should put in his backpack. I was thinking everybody could bring their best bedtime stuffed toy(s), some doodling notebooks/crayons and maybe a small... Read more →

1) Ike's third birthday is on Sunday a) HOLY CRAP WHAT b) Buy Ike's birthday present Figure out what he is even talking about when he says he wants a "pirate treasure" for his birthday, then buy whatever the hell it is, provided it is not, in fact, an actual pirate treasure because I'm trying to keep things under like, twenty bucks. c) Make a cake or cupcakes or maybe just thaw out a couple of those banana muffins I made last week that he seemed to really dig. d) Clean the house before family descends on us tomorrow and judges the filth. e) Finish Ike's birthday video, cry about it, post about it, gaaahhh maaahhh baby is gonnnne 2) Next week is insane a) Two different preschool "graduation" ceremonies that I don't dare skip b) End of preschool year picnic c) Wait, once preschool's over my children will, like, be here in the house with me? All day? All the time? That doesn't seem right. d) Noah's field day e) One last IEP meeting to finalize next year's code and plan, during which I should probably sack up and admit to his teachers that Noah will be missing the... Read more →

I came here to post something happy and exciting and now I'm crying. Dang it, eyeballs! Long story short, and let's just get the justified feelings of jelusbitchpants out of the way: We're going back to Jamaica next month. Back to Bluefields Bay Villas. We went there four years ago, had the most unbelievable time, I blogged about it, and afterwards a whole bunch of you guys also decided to go there (and were nice enough to mention that you found them through my blog). I've stayed in touch with the owners off and on, and they've always been super-nice and open to the idea of us returning, but I always felt weird about specifically asking, like I was being grabby and inviting myself, until finally they called me and were like, "YO. STOP BEING A DORK. HOW'S THIS JUNE?" EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEOMGGGGG. So that happened, but that's not why I'm crying. After we settled on dates and I booked our flight (full disclosure: Bluefields is covering the all-inclusive accommodations, we pay for our airfare, I receive no additional monetary compensation for posting, and everything I choose to post is my own and not being reviewed or influenced, yadda yadda), I asked... Read more →

Greetings from slightly-more-than-halfway-through Spring Break 2014, which shall forever be known as the time I decided it would be a good idea to go back to Colonial Williamsburg for a couple (non-sponsored, on our own dime) days. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, let me assure you that attendance levels at Colonial Williamsburg are JUST FINE, BORDERING ON BEYOND BONKERS right now. Since our last trip was solidly in the low season, we arrived with a false sense of confidence and at a distinct disadvantage to everyone else, who showed up with things like "plans" and "dinner reservations" and "the ability to actually look at and read the map, rather than just sort of walking to where you generally remembered things happening last time, even though everything was moved around to accommodate bigger crowds." (And on Tuesday, when it rained all day, you can add "ponchos" and "more than one goddamn umbrella" to that list.) (And on Wednesday, when the temperature dropped like, 40 degrees, add "coats for Mom and Dad, who both potentially caught their respective deaths.") We did arrive with an inordinate amount of attitude and sass, however. (The oversized hipster sunglasses are some conference swag Jason... Read more →