The Kids Are Alright. Weird, But Alright.

Happy Halloween! Noah's been ready for today for...awhile now. Ah yes, very normal and not at all creepy. His friend is coming over for trick-or-treating and scary-movie watching later, dressed as our dear friend Pennywise. (The cardboard cutout has spent October looking ominously out the front window of Noah's room, much to the dismay of several Postmates and DoorDashers.) Ike's prepared as well. He asked me to Photoshop out the swing and turn the chair into a building. I did neither of those things because I do not know how. I don't (yet) have a photo of Ezra's costume, which he made himself and kept shrouded in secrecy. He asked for an Amazon box, aluminum foil and duct tape at one point. Also hair gel and sunglasses. Oh, and all the straps from our luggage. He's either going as some kind of DJ or plans to ship himself out of the country with a new identity. Stay tuned! I admit I was a little concerned about his homemade costume -- that other kids might not get what he's going for or make fun of him for not having a "real" costume -- and found myself halfway through a sentence trying... Read more →


Cakewalk

Not going to lie, one of my primary reasons for having so many children was to have more people to bake (highly amateurish) birthday cakes for. And after many years of fielding many varied requests, all three boys have more or less settled on their birthday cake of choice. Noah always asks for a Victoria sponge sandwich cake. Ike wants the same one-bowl chocolate cake recipe I've been baking him since preschool, which eventually landed on this specific variation with grapeseed oil. (I dump the wet ingredients into a large measuring cup so it's still technically a one-bowl recipe because fuck washing bowls.) Although every year he does change up the shape, frosting and decorating details, just to keep me on my toes. (I swear one of these years he's going to request an three-tiered octagon cake with dark chocolate frosting that is also blue, somehow, and yellow candles that turn into tiny rockets that spell HAPPY BIRTHDAY, IKE! in edible red smoke and also the whole cake doubles as a party pinata full of candy and money.) (And I'll be like, okay, I'll see what I can do, but are you sure I can't interest you in a giant... Read more →


This One Goes to Eleven

I was scrolling through the hundreds of thousands of photos I've taken over the years, looking for any that screamed EZRA! in an especially Ezra-y way. I found this video from May 2015. Ezra was six. Noah was nine and Ike was just a couple weeks away from turning four. I'm not sure why I recorded it. It's just the kids running around before dinner one random night. But it reminded me I need to record more videos of them just running around before dinner on more random nights. Ezra is being SO EZRA! Ike is being SO IKE! And even Noah manages to be OMG SO TOTALLY NOAH! in a three-second cameo. Their personalities are all there; the way they interact with each other is all there. Like then, exactly like now, the same as it ever was. Ezra is 11 now. He still checks Ike's hands at the dinner table. He still indulges Noah in whatever Noah feels like doing. He still starts 90% of his sentences with, "You know, Mom..." He still eats cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine. (Now we just grow three times as many for him.) Yesterday I brought home a small wooden lantern... Read more →


Celebrate Weird Times C'Mon

Some photos from this morning, in honor of the! Last! Day! Of! SCHOOL!! Ezra's class was instructed to wear something "tropical," hence the choice of shorts. I tried to casually suggest a different shirt and was promptly shut down, because he knows the plaid and pattern mix is "a lot of look" and THAT'S WHY HE LIKES IT. Last night the kids were all Christmas Eve-levels of excited, with all of them rushing to put themselves to bed early so today would come faster. This resulted in most of them being wide awake and massively distressed at 2 a.m., and Ike somehow slicing his foot open and having zero memory of how he managed it. I actually thought we might end up in the ER over it, but luckily it turns out the area right between your toes is just kind of dramatically bleed-y, like toddler mouths and foreheads. He's fine! And I bet his feet have never been cleaner. SPEAKING OF FEET. AND ADOPTABLE DOGS. (And yes, I posted that last photo on IG/FB already and nobody could figure out Ike's sleeping/leg arrangement. I can offer you no additional help or insights; the kid just falls dead asleep on... Read more →


Pride & Ham

It's the last week of school here; or more accurately, "school," because it's all free time and movies and water balloons from here until Friday. Soon I'll be the mother of third, fifth and eighth grade children. One of whom is going to be officially taller than me in about five minutes. (Maybe even sooner if my hair keeps deflating in the humidity like that.) Nothing like a little Baltimore sidewalk pizza, amirite? This is the finish line of the annual Baltimore Pride High Heel Race, which you will be SHOCKED to hear I did not enter. Just watching it was the most terrifying 30-plus seconds of my life, as all the various ankle/knee/elbow/face/butt injuries I've accrued over the years flashed before my eyes. (I wore sensible flats aka combat boots.) (Someone pls buy me this shirt.) Ike's been wearing those necklaces and various lanyards everywhere since Saturday; please note that I at least removed the condoms from several of them before he went to school this morning. Jason and Ezra had to leave the festivities a little early to attend sushi-making class. Ezra only ended up eating about three pieces of actual sushi, because he ate every single leftover... Read more →


Five Things, Only Two of Which Are About My Pets

FIRST ORDER OF BUSINESS: Jake! Is doing absolutely amazing! And available for adoption! He's officially the calmest and best-behaved animal in my entire house, so you're getting a great deal there. I will miss his super-happy-to-see-you-OMG-butt-wiggles!!! greeting every morning so much. He's such a loving, gentle creature and I am beyond honored to have played a small part in giving him the loving, pampered life he totally deserves. SECOND ORDER OF BUSINESS: This door. Which apparently sucks. It's Ezra's. This is absolutely SCANDALOUS language for Ezra, so you know he means it. He's referring to the fact that once upon a time, Ike enjoyed locking doorknobs before leaving rooms, resulting in several hopelessly locked-from-the-inside doors that required the whole-ass removal of the doorknob. Several of these doorknobs were then re-installed by Me, and thus no longer quiiiiiiite right, because obviously. His door can now be opened even when it's locked, if someone (IKE) pushes on it hard enough. He just wants a #*@%ing properly installed doorknob, god#&*@it. THIRD ORDER OF BUSINESS: If you haven't taken advantage of the AMALAH30 offer at thredUP yet, they've actually extended the offer so you still can! Go buy something. Treat yo self. FOURTH ORDER... Read more →


It Gets Better

If I had to name one aspect of parenting that I deeply, intensely hate, it actually wouldn't be the diapers or the sleep deprivation or the full-body bone-goop temper tantrums or even the look on your preshus beloved baby's face when you accidentally call him "sweetie" while saying goodbye in the middle school hallway. No, it'd be taking them to the damn dentist. Our past appointments easily take up several spots in my all-time top 10 Low Moments In Parenting list. We're talking screaming, kicking, crying. (Them, not me. At least not until we were back in the car.) I'd have to sit in the chair with them, pinning down their arms and legs with all the force my own limbs could muster, while a clearly pissed-off and tired-of-this-shit hygienist tried to assure them that "Mister Thirsty" was nothing to be scared of. (FUCK YOU MISTER THIRSTY, I'd think to myself, while also trying to think of post-appointment good-behavior incentives that didn't involve tooth-rotting junk food, lest the hygienist judge me even more.) We tried kid-only dentists, special-needs dentists, dentists whose lobbies were packed with video games and had televisions in the exam rooms. My kids would have none of... Read more →


Makey Makeovers

OH RIGHT ROOM PHOTOS. PREPARE TO LOOK THE HELL OUT OF SOME FURNITURE AND SHIT. Ezra and Ike's room, before: (Minus a generous floor-coating of toys and clothes and there was an IKEA dresser on the verge of complete structural collapse just behind the door. It has since been burned in the fire pit.) Ezra's OWN ROOM, which is HIS and NOBODY ELSE'S, now: Those curtains were in the family room when we moved in. After I replaced them Ezra claimed them for his own room because they were "fancy." They are also gold damask and the kid literally chose a paint color called "Damask Gold," so I can probably stop writing about him now, because that tells you everything you need to know about who Ezra is as a person. I upgraded to a standing desk in my office (that I am currently...sitting at, because I am tired) and gave Ezra my old one. Ezra chose EVERYTHING else -- from the furniture to the bedding, which he (correctly) predicted would coordinate perfectly with the wall color. "This is all very me," he declared. He also decided he was ready to be a plant father to some bamboo. We're still... Read more →


Blue Light Special

This week we had to say farewell to Ezra's Magic Glasses. They lasted just over a year, which is a pretty good run for plastic glasses he insisted on wearing every single day, all day, from the moment he wakes up until he turns off the light to sleep. (This insistence was fueled by both a genuine need to avoid the dreaded migraines and the fact that he got constant compliments on his "super cool glasses" everywhere he went and so he adopted them as his Signature Lewk.) We tried in vain to glue them so he wouldn't have to face the computer lab without them while we waited for a replacement pair, but the frame kept breaking and the lens falling out. I gently suggested that maybe -- MAYBE -- he could give it some time and see how he did without the glasses, because well...you know. My children sometimes occasionally perhaps fall on the high side of the OVERLY DRAMATIC scale, and I do sometimes suspect his self-professed sensitivity to every single light bulb in existence is not 100% rooted in reality. Maybe 50/50 real need vs. middle child desire to stand out, plus the aforementioned compliments/attention. (They're... Read more →


Vignettes In Search of Coherence

Apologies in advance for this random assortment of stories with no real point or connection; I am simply too beyond obsessed with the Entitled Rich People With Kids Who Don't SAT Good College Cheating Scandal story that I cannot go a 10 full minutes without refreshing my news feed. It's like the universe knew I was fresh out of Fyre Festival and Theranos documentaries/podcasts/memes and gave me a little gift of righteous schadenfreude, with an extra topping of fraud and Influencers and A GODDAMN DESPERATE HOUSEWIFE. *** For the first time (....in forever) (gaaaahhhhh nooo what have I done) (I'm sorry, I could delete that and spare you but I refuse to suffer alone), I was NOT awoken by Noah's godforsaken foghorn of an alarm clock. Instead, I woke up to the blindingly bright flashlight on Jason's phone shining directly in my eyes at 6 a.m. while he frantically whispered: Blood. There's so much blood. He was running around pointing the light at the floor, at tiny drops of red near his side of the bed, out into the hallway and then to an alarmingly large puddle on the stairs. "I don't know whose blood this is!" he said. "But... Read more →