Plushie Power

To encourage Ike to stick with his various reading and writing exercises, we bribe incentivize him with plushies. The kid is crazy for plushies. Jason came up with the ingenious idea to buy a couple bulk bags of cheap knock-off Ty Beanie Boos. (You know, those little toys with the oversized sparkle eyeballs that they sell literally everywhere, so you can't walk into a grocery store or even a gas station without your child begging for a fuchsia and purple giraffe-type thing that you could've sworn you've bought five times already, but nooooo, that was Gilbert, this is Twigs. And then the other one is Sweetums, whose birthday is in February, not August. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND VITALLY IMPORTANT, MOMMMM.) Ike gets to pick one as a reward for say, mastering a new sight word deck, doing well on a spelling test, completing a writing assignment or a challenging book, etc. The plushies make him very happy, and the possibility of even more plushies motivate him to seek out even more challenges, vs. doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. Which is what we were getting before, in the pre-plushie era. I'd find stacks of homework worksheets mashed into the... Read more →


Blow Us All Away, Part Ezra

Thank you, thank you, every one, for the (always consistent yet always surprising to me, somehow) outpouring of love and support for Ike. And me, because meeeeeeeeeee. I know he's going to be just fine. (A more literal interpretation of how I wish I could send their little hearts and minds out into the world.) Anyway, let's PIVOT TO EZRA for a moment. Ezra actually started out this school year as The One I Was Most Worried About, because he was also experiencing a lot of social/recess-related anxiety. He had a pretty important friendship fizzle out last year, and coupled with the fact that he's very much an Inside Bookish Type Who's Really Just Waiting Around For Adulthood at this point, he no longer knew what to do at recess anymore. Sitting around on the Buddy Bench while contemplating the complex contradictions of his being was getting old, tbh. So he joined the school safety patrol, which meets weekly at recess. A dear friend of mine had business cards printed up for him, because he totally remembers what it's like to be a kid like Ezra. (The Baby-sitters Club books were a gift from another grown-up friend who also deeply... Read more →


The Loop, Part Infinity

It's IEP meeting season, again, and supercharged. It's Noah's re-evaluation year AND time to start planning for his transition to high school (!!!!!WAT!!!!!) next September. His meeting was mostly spent debating whether he continues to qualify for special education services, so...it was a short meeting, because surprise! He's got Autism. Still! Imagine that. My mother-in-law will be so disappointed. Must've been the flu shot. Or our lack of interest in essential oils. So he won't be losing any supports or services this year -- if anything, he'll get more, since the middle school team likes to send kids off to high school with fully loaded IEPs, and then let us decide once he's made the transition if anything is overkill or unnecessary. I was also expecting Ike's meeting to be similarly short and to-the-point -- we'd just had parent/teacher conferences and gone over alllll his reading progress and goals last week -- so of course, I was thrown for yet another loop when the team expressed their universal worry that Ike is showing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Wait. What? Oh. "He's just not the same Ike this year," the school psychologist said. "I've known him since kindergarten. Something is... Read more →


The Best Things I Bought For My Brain (2019 Edition)

In honor of Cyber Monday, it's better mental health through consumerism, betches. In no particular order, other than in the order I remember them as I wander around my house: Brain-Saving Plan to-do list/mental health planner & Punch Today In the Face motivational coaster (KatieAbeyDesign, Etsy) The part of my brain that took the longest to heal (post-apocalyptic ZZZZZPPPTTTZZZZ-style short-out) was/is, unfortunately, the part that allows me to simply sit the fuck down and get shit the fuck done. Oh, I'm plenty good at making long, elaborate to-do lists around 3 a.m., along with the many terrible consequences that will surely rain down after my subsequent failure to complete said to-do list. But by 9 a.m., I've lost all sense of urgency and/or curled into a paralyzed ball of panic and procrastination. There are a LOT of mental health planners and motivational office supplies aimed at correcting this pattern, but I found most of them either too shmaltzy and motivational-quote heavy, or entirely too detailed and similar to my 3 a.m. version. (DRINK EIGHT GLASSES OF WATER OR FAIL AT TUESDAY!) This one from KatieAbeyDesign on Etsy is way, way more my speed. Keep Fucking Going bracelet (Amazon) Simple, to... Read more →


Entertainingment

Once again, we threw a huge party and did not take a single photo of the actual party. Perhaps this is all a strange, yearly hoax where we only pretend to throw a huge party and like, know people and have friends. Or perhaps Friendsgiving only happens in our sick, twisted minds and we really spend the day drinking and conversing with ghosts! Here are the things I DID take photos of, in no particular order: Ezra created a scavenger hunt for the kids, complete with a big box of prizes. I had to ask about the "Stupid Hello Kitty" -- was there a smart Hello Kitty out there as well, like as a trick? -- and he explained that it was a Happy Meal "girl" toy that Ike got by mistake. "It's not stupid because it's a girl toy, though," Ezra clarified. "It's stupid because she's supposed to be a superhero but when you press on her head and it just kind of raises the arms a tiny bit and it's just..." He trailed off, visibly disgusted at the lack of product design that went into this particular Happy Meal offering. (The "Launch Pokeball" was the Happy Meal "boy"... Read more →


Adventures in Chaperoning

HI THERE! WHO'S READY TO CRUSH SOME SHIT TODAY? lol jk that mug is full of Theraflu, not coffee. I don't have the flu (we "believe" in the flu shot around here, because it is the flu shot, not Santa Claus), but some absolutely brutal cold -- or some amalgram of multiple colds from Jason's work, the kids' schools, that field trip to the Maryland Germ Factory Science Center I chaperoned last week -- that will not let me live or breathe or go 10 minutes without coughing up a lung. I didn't want to or even intend to chaperone the field trip, because I am really terrible at interacting with other people's children and never know how to handle my pack of charges. ("So you like, go to school? That sucks.") I shoot for being the Cool Chill Mom but instead end up being the Awkward and Ill-Prepared Mom who has terrible Time Management Skills. I forgot to ask about bathroom breaks until we were suddenly in a panicked sprint to find the nearest restroom two floors away; I couldn't find an empty table at lunchtime so we all ended up eating on the floor in a random corner;... Read more →


A Square Lamp in a Round Hole

Many, many years ago, we went to West Elm for pillow shams and also left with a lamp for our dining room. (A wee Ezra was helpful enough to document the shopping trip at the time.) All lighting was 10% off, and then there was an extra 40% store-wide sale going on, and so we got this $399 chandelier (in discontinued grey), comprised of hundreds of (INDIVIDUALLY! WRAPPED! IN TISSUE PAPER! AND TAPE!) seashell bits and bobs for...definitely less than that. This lamp was the only non-furniture thing in our old house that I insisted on bringing with us when we moved. This lamp was non-negotiable. This lamp was a Hill That I And Any Subsequent Real Estate Deal Would Die On, even against the most strenuous advice of our agent. (The same agent who made alarmingly critical noises about the MAIL SLOT on our front door, and so I rushed out to buy SPECIAL POLISH for the mail slot. AND THEN, when the special mail slot polish failed to deliver the desired pop of curb appeal, I replaced the entire mail slot because YES, THIS NEW MAIL SLOT WILL SURELY SELL THIS HOUSE!!1 !OMG!!1CRYTIME!) (This lamp was very important... Read more →


Friday Foto Dump (NOW ON A MONDAY!)

(I put this post together on Friday morning and then...just...forgot to hit the publish button? And then I checked my Facebook notifications later that night and was like, damn, nobody had anything nice to say about Ezra's costume? WOW, OKAY THEN. But no, I'm an idiot who has only been at this blogging thing for SIXTEEN HECKING YEARS and still does dumb shit like that. Anyway, enjoy this blast from the past of Late Last Week!) I was right! Ezra was a DJ. (Specifically a DJ character he created in Roblox called "DJ Joey the Redstone Rapper." SURE OKAY I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND ALL OF THOSE WORDS GOOD GOING SON.) He built a strap-on turntable, complete with amps, spinning records and a headphone jack.. It was a HUGE HIT at school. Everyone thought it was amazing. It held up great all day, but unfortunately started shedding parts almost the minute we walked out the door for trick-or-treating, so he missed the group photo. I could only hold these homicidal manics back from the candy for so long, you know. (You can see the last minute repairs going on inside just behind ALL UR NIGHTMARES.) Here's Noah in a more wholesome context... Read more →


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 →


It's Household Procrastination To-Do List Season

So Jake left us for his new home on Friday, which: SAD, but also I'm still pulling clumps of his fur out of the robot vacuum so it's like he hasn't really left! Good god, did that dog shed. I could knit us three new foster dogs with what I lint-rollered off the couch this morning. This weekend I painted our dining room, after four full years of bitching about it. (Turns out one person's deep and abiding love for "rich deep chocolate browns" is another person's "oh my god why is everything in this house the color of poop?") Okay, it was more like painting one and a half walls vs. a full room, BUT STILL. You know how we do here. YEAR ONE: I don't like that dark brown in the dining room. I am going to complain about it on a near-daily basis. YEAR TWO: I don't know...maybe green would look nice? Grey? Blue? Peach? White? Wallpaper? Metallic stencils? Shiplap? Purple? YEAR THREE: Ugh. We'll have to prime first, so never mind. YEAR FOUR: HAPPY SATURDAY MORNING I JUST SENT OUT SAVE THE DATES FOR FRIENDSGIVING AND I REFUSE TO HAVE ANOTHER FRIENDSGIVING IN A POOP BROWN... Read more →