Looks Like Ike

Ike is many many things. Ike is very cute, very funny, very smart, very passionate about getting the specific kind of liquid he requested in a very specific cup. (I mean, the boy asked for mulk in a plain red cup and you tried to give him joos in a Go Diego Go cup. You sir, do not deserve your nice eardrums, and shall be punished accordingly.) Ike is also a tiny bit sassy. Ike is NOT, however, a performing monkey, and lately seems to get real and actual delight from thwarting my attempts to document the cute/funny/smart things he says and does. Oh, he'll indulge me off-camera endlessly — say this, say that, count your shoes, do that weird forehead-to-the-floor-butt-to-the-sky breakdancing move again — but then the second my fingers inch towards the record button he's all, IKE'S OUT, BITCHES. His next birthday montage will be heavy on shots of him hollering NO at me before running out of the room. The good news is that I can probably recycle the footage when he's a teenager. (And then I will pull these photos out... ...and make the "MAGIC IKE!" joke for the millionth time and send him running out... Read more →

Zero One Two

It's Ike's birthday tomorrow. But bear with me for just a second. I'd never even heard of Alabama Shakes before they were on SNL back in February. Jason and I were sitting on the couch (on Sunday morning, naturally, watching a recording because we never stay up that late anymore) when they first took the stage and started to play "Hold On." We both sort of...froze after a minute, as we were hit with that thunderstruck feeling you get when you hear music that you just really, really love. And I loved everything about them. The rich, Janis-like voice coming from the lead singer; the crazy, completely unselfconscious way she contorted her mouth to create bluesy, primal sounds; the way the whole band let the song casually, effortlessly unfurl with a slow burn to a frenzied climax without thrashing around on stage or pyrotechnics or or props or naked body paint dipped in glitter. Just good, old-fashioned rocking the hell out. It probably took me all of 30 seconds to go from "Who?" to "Holy shit, I need this music in my life every single day from now on." When the song was over, Jason and I looked at each... Read more →

Doppy Urpdey

Below is an absolutely thrilling video, in which Ike sings "Happy Birthday." Only without any of the actual words...or the right melody...and also there's no cake. But there is a candle and an excess of toddler confidence and ham-face, so... Happy Friday! And no, I'm not paying royalties on that, suckers. It's a new original arrangement. Read more →

Four Going On Awesome

Today is Ezra's fourth birthday. Happy birthday, my funny little wonderful Zahbaby, and thanks for still letting me call you that. He woke up insisting that no, he is NOT four. He is six and a half. He has been waiting his whole life to be six and a half, like Noah was. Apparently he thought once Noah turned seven, he could move into the six and a half spot, like claiming an older sibling's room once they head off to college. He's still a little grumpy about the whole topic. Which means it's time for me to queue up his favorite song in the whole word and dance with him around the kitchen to it, and then swing him around in circles until we're both dizzy. Then he'll wrap his body around my legs like a baby monkey and hug me as hard as he can, and I'll fall over, and the song will end and he'll leap on top of me and say, "AGAIN, MOMMY! I LOVE YOUR SHIRT AND THE GREEN NINJA AND NOAH AND I HAVE ON MY FAST SHOES. AGAIN!" Works every time. Ezra's Fourth Birthday from amalah on Vimeo. Ezra's Favorite Song in the... Read more →


One year ago today, I took this picture. And then a few hours after that, I took this one. And probably a few hundred others, just like it. It's difficult to write about the day you were born without lapsing into lazy clichés. One of the best days of my life, one I'll never forget, like no other experience in the world, a day full of joy and love and endless promise and tinged with mystery. Who are you, little boy? What will you be like? How are you different? How are you the same? Everything stood still on the day you were born. We stayed locked together, even after you were so abruptly pulled from your cozy womby home, because I could not get enough of holding you, smelling you, kissing you. When others handed you back to me we'd both emit the same satisfied sigh as you settled back into my arms. Yes. That's better. That's right. At some point the fast-forward button gets hit, and the days and weeks and months hurtle by. Milestone after milestone, pound after chubby delicious satisfying pound. You're smiling, cooing, rolling, babbling, laughing, scooting, sitting, eating, crawling, standing, cruising. Doing everything a... Read more →

Baby Ike Walking, A Play In Four Acts

Hey! So what's it really like having three boy children in your house, all the time, all on top of each other's business, and yours? What's it like trying to celebrate each individual child's accomplishments while simultaneously warding off jealousy, rivalry, fighting and GUYS PLEASE STOP THAT BEFORE SOMEONE STEPS ON THE BABY? This. This is what it's like.* Baby Ike Walking, A Play In Four Acts from amalah on Vimeo. *Which is to say: poorly lit, with inferior cinematography, and a soundtrack that could effectively double as birth control.** **Also, awesome. Though it helps to always have everybody in their pajamas so you can randomly decide to send them to bed at any given moment. I DON'T CARE THAT THE SUN IS STILL OUT, YOU'RE BEING TOO SCREAM-Y AND I'M TIRED. Read more →

Go, Ninja

Noah's IEP meeting went very well, by the way. (The plot points! They are dangling!) Of COURSE it went very well. I always get myself so needlessly lathered up about these meetings ahead of time -- a peril of being overly-informed about other people's horror stories, probably -- and then we show up and remember that oh. Right. These people actually give a shit. About their jobs and their students and that whole "making a difference in the life of a child" thing. I'd gotten a somewhat...strange phone call from the school psychologist the week before that knocked me a bit off my axis, and then a conversation with a classmate's mother at a birthday party set me even more on edge. Because this same psychologist was causing problems for them and everything about their IEP was contested and a struggle and the whole thing sounded crazy combative and stressful. Just like another mother had described their experience this year to me a few weeks before, at another party. Sternly-worded letters! Hired advocates! Parents storming out of meetings! Peace negotiations all blown to hell! I think I need to stop attending so many birthday parties. Or find something else to... Read more →


Wednesday is coming. Wednesday is coming and with it comes sadness and heaviness and a sense that I will need to say something -- to write something -- and that I should know what that something is by now. But to figure that something out, I would need to be thinking about it, about the sadness and the heaviness, instead of pretending that Wednesday is not coming. Pretending it doesn't mean as much as it does, this weirdly arbitrary-when-you-think-about-it block of 365 days plus one, for leap day, which makes it feel even stranger, like I should be dreading Tuesday but the Gregorian calendar is dictating that no, thou shalt be sad on Wednesday. Pretending that I will not be spending it visiting his grave and comforting my mother and basically powering through the day (C'MON THURSDAY!) as quickly as possible so it doesn't crush me like a gnat and I'm not making any sense here, today, on the Friday before, which doesn't give me much hope for coming up with the right words on Wednesday. Ya know? Probably not. That's okay. Me neither. Here's a video of Ike begging for ice cream while Noah asks for permission to watch... Read more →

You Should Have Seen The Other Guy

We bought our Christmas tree this weekend, which was terribly! exciting! because 1) it was the first year Noah did NOT wig completely out over the idea that we needed to transport the tree on the roof of our car, so we got to all go as a family instead of Jason picking a tree out and sneaking it in while I kept Noah distracted and/or placated with lies about how yes, Daddy TOTALLY let the tree ride inside the car, properly buckled safely in the passenger seat, and 2) Ezra got into a drunken fist fight over a blue spruce and the basket of free miniature candy canes. The fist fight was with a slippery, tree-sap-covered patch of pavement. The pavement totally got his, if you know what I'm saying. He'll think twice next time before messing with a three-year-old and his candy canes, for sure. I asked Ezra to tell me his side of the story, just so I could add another movie clip to the now epic-lengthed documentary I'm working on entitled "ZERO FEAR, LESS SENSE: THE COMPLEAT EZRA STORCH INJURY COMPENDIUM EXPERIENCE." (Look for a screening at a wedding reception in the distant future near you!)... Read more →


I COULD sit here and tell you what my weekend was like, with words and stuff, OR you could just go ahead and watch the following video over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over (breathes) and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over a few hundred dozen times or so and basically get the gist of things. Read more →