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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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A few months ago, we went to a baseball game with some friends. As we snaked through the arrival crush, our friends made a bee-line for the much shorter bagless entry line, at which point I gestured to my over-sized tote and apologized. "You know, so much crap because KIDS." The kids were...not there. They were home with a babysitter. And yet I was there, lugging around a giant bag that was maybe 1/4 full of crayons and tissues and old receipts and random Legos and a ton of other stuff I 100% did not, would not use at a baseball game. Handbags long ceased to be must-have fashion accessories for me...the bag I was carrying at the time was just a free canvas tote from Mom2.0 because YAY IT'S MACHINE WASHABLE...but after sooooo many years of diaper-bagging it, that moment in line was a weird, freeing moment of revelation.... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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Pay no attention to the new design quite yet (unless you're on a mobile device, which in that case, you are very welcome, about seven years late)...Jason jumped the gun a bit by sending it live. His priority was getting all the ad zones set up properly because of all those sweet, sweet Internet nickels; he didn't realize I wasn't down with the default fonts and wanted to test out at least fourteen dozen alternatives. I think we're currently displaying option number four and we're still not there yet. And I know some other pages are borked thanks to the bizarre way I had things set up before. Also, if anyone can help with the header/logo thing and expand some design-y doo-dads across the sea of Every Guest Bathroom I've Ever Had Green, shoot me an email with how much Cash Money you will require. But whatever, it's a site... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at amalah . com
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Wow, I just realized how completely overboard I've been going lately with the CATS CATS CATS stories and photos. It's like, are the kids still around? Has anyone checked on the kids? Yep, still around. And clearly very busy. (He actually seems genuinely fine with this.) Noah is just days away from his 11th birthday, Fellow Olds. And while he still hasn't voiced any displeasure/resistance to making appearances here, it's rare these days to have anything really significant to report about him. Current life goals involve learning to program so he can get a job at Minecraft and make enough money to buy a Delorean, then quit the Minecraft gig and be a full-time professional time traveler. He'd be happy to tell you his theories on time travel, if you have approximately 17 free hours. Also I spaced out this morning and poured milk in his cereal, which was the... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at amalah . com
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A few weeks ago, Beau learned how to open the back sliding screen doors with his paw. Or more accurately, with his toenails, which flash forward to today, has resulted in the screens looking like so: Awesome. He's such a smart dog!! Also SO MANY STINKBUGS INSIDE NOW. Before the damage got this bad, however, the main problem with Beau's new skill was that he'd let himself outside and then come back inside before I realized that he'd even done it, leaving the screen door wide open for God knows how long while I tapped merrily away on my laptop in a room far, far away. So that's how Rey got out of the house a few days ago. (Not to be confused with falling out of the house.) I realized the door was open, and then Finn started howling his alarms that he couldn't find her/Dumb Baby Did a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 21, 2016 at amalah . com
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Hi! Hi hi hi. How are you? I am fine. Everything is fine. Very very busy with non-blog work and then we had to travel to New York for a family wedding on Saturday and oh, absolutely, the whole thing started out as a planned day trip and ended up being a complete and utter clusterfuck as per my usual travel exploits, and while I suppose it would make for a classic Idiots Doing Idiot things story, the real reason things unraveled on us as badly as they did obviously kills the potential/appropriateness of humor. Long story short: Getting out of Manhattan and onto the very last NJ Transit train of the night was no easy feat on Saturday, and involved several unnecessary and/or aborted Uber rides, a lost credit card, a frantic sprint on and off the subway and a lot of REALLY oblivious, slow-moving Mets fans. None of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2016 at amalah . com
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Nine days into the school year -- not even a full two weeks! -- and we have our first kid down with a stomach bug. This feels like a record, even for our barf-happy household. I suppose I could look that up in the archives, but a quick search reveals multiple hundred posts that contain the word vomit (or one its more colorful synonyms). It's almost (but not quite) as many posts that contain the word poop! My blogging legacy, ladies and gentlemen. I have woven a truly rich tapestry. (Also I know, I know. Why is this kid always wearing Christmas PJs? I'm actually not sure, but you gotta admit they add a festive, cozy touch to the proceedings.) (10 minutes after I took that photo that pillow went through something unfortunate. It's going to be a great day!) Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2016 at amalah . com
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I ate shellfish for the first time when I was 19. It took about three times before the Allergy Lightbulb went on over my head. I'd get a smattering of hives, a loopy/lightheaded feeling, and then finally, after a fateful all-you-can-eat shrimp bingefest at the beach, I got violently ill and threw up. Okay, I get it. I bought some Benadryl and immediately felt better after chugging it right in front of the cashier. No big deal, I didn't even like shrimp that much; I just ordered the all-you-can-eat because it was a really good deal. (Which I didn't even get to really capitalize on, as my reaction set in while I was still on my first serving.) Since I'd only ever tried shrimp, I never thought of it as a proper "shellfish allergy," though, and years later went on to try all the other delicious options out there without... Continue reading
Posted Sep 9, 2016 at amalah . com
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OKAY YOU TWO. LISTEN THE FUCK UP. For second and hopefully final time, LEGOS ARE NOT KITTY LITTER. THIS IS NOT A LITTER BOX. (It's also not full of Baby 0-6 month sized clothing, which you shouldn't pee on either because NOT A LITTER BOX.) We have two actual litter boxes, which both see fairly frequent and successful use, given how often I'm cleaning them out, and yet here we are. The boys started complaining that one of the Lego bins "smelled bad" and sure enough, someone (or sometwo) had peed in it. Now, usually this would be the sum of the story, and where the post would end, but because my life is EXTRA GLAM these days, it does not. Because midway through my disinfecting process, I noticed the water level started dropping. Because... Which meant... I'm starting to suspect that I am not good at doing things. (For... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2016 at amalah . com
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This is the school year I have been waiting for my whole life, or at least the parenting portion of it: All three children riding the same bus, attending the same school, and being there ALL THE LIVELONG DAMN DAY. And thanks to our child-spacing math, this is the only school year where that will ever happen. So far it's been gloriously easy, but also supremely weird. I'm so used to juggling multiple schedules and exits and drop-offs that having them all walk out the door at the same time and being DONE, JUST LIKE THAT, almost feels like a trick. After they board the bus I reflexively glance around the bus stop to collect a younger child only to realize I'm about to corral someone else's toddler. By noon I'm still jolting myself with a GO PICK UP A PRESCHOOLER muscle memory. Eating lunch by myself and not making... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2016 at amalah . com
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So I just dropped three entire children off at school, one FIFTH GRADER who is already so over it, a second grader who was like BYEEEEEEE PLZ LEAVE NO YAY, and sadly, the world's most terrified-looking kindergartner. Ike was expecting, I think, for us to walk him into his classroom, but since the school is approximately 97% made of kindergartners (rough estimate) at this point, they instead were corralling them in the gymnasium where each child was labeled and instructed to line up by homeroom and wait. Ike's face was like, "I'm so confused. I've made a huge mistake. Also they labeled me as Isaac." I spent ages filling out multiple forms listing both Ike's legal name and preferred name, and was assured that would be noted in "the system." It was not. His teacher promised him a new label once they got to the classroom but of course as... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at amalah . com
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At da beach, hangin' with kids, hangin' with friends, hangin' with Hobbes. Who has apparently been hangin' with the spiked beach punch pretty hard. Wow, get yourself together, man. If Beach House Week 2016 has a theme, so far it's been a tie between Things You Should Not Eat: (SPOILER ALERT: Duh. This is a terrible idea. So bad. Even more vile than your wildest fever dreams are able to comprehend. My children, of course, loved them. I still threw the package out while they were sleeping because I WANT A BETTER LIFE FOR THEM, A LIFE WITHOUT THIS ARTIFICIAL ABOMINATION.) (On the other hand, while Maryland blue crabs are ALWAYS something you should eat, especially while at the beach, maybe don't attempt to eat like, 40 of them, even between four motivated adults. That's an awful lot of crab and a pretty tremendous mess.) (Especially after pigging out on... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2016 at amalah . com
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It's been a week, you know? Good time for some cats. Oh look another cat. Hi, other cat. Nothing but cats. Okay, cat and one dog. Okay, dog and other cat. Okay, two kids, too. And that's all I've got. We're off to the beach for a bit and I've barely started packing, unless you count the kids' suitcase that I never unpacked after their week with the grandparents. That's good to go, because FORESIGHT. And EPIC LAZINESS. Which I always knew would pay off at some point, in one small way or another. Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2016 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. With lots of travel planned and our garden overflowing, we decided our standard Blue Apron delivery of three meals a week might get a little overwhelming, so we switched to the four-person, two-meals-a-week Family Plan a few times this summer. One of the more charming surprises of this particular plan (besides all the delicious foooooooood), was the inclusion of a weekly "Kids' Cooking Camp." Every week, our box included cooking activities, games and challenges for the boys to try. It was a really great idea. One week covered easy food prep techniques (peeling garlic, washing produce, rolling pizza dough), another week challenged us to keep the dinner table a family-focused, screen-free zone (that was harder on the grown-ups than the kids), yet another taught kids what grows in what season and why it matters; all summer kids were encouraged to submit recipes and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2016 at amalah . com
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As of 1 p.m. today, Ike is finally, for-real, officially registered for kindergarten. When I called to make the appointment and admitted that yes, he's another Storch boy, little brother to the other Storch boys, I was asked why on earth I waited so long to register. A fair question. "We had some...readiness concerns," I explained. Ike's June birthday has always worried me. He'll enter kindergarten a full nine months younger than his brothers were, and he's never been particularly mature for his age. To be honest, he's probably the opposite of that. Especially at home where he's most comfortable with his role as "the baby." His behavior reports from preschool weren't 100% glowing either, as he would get shy and then stubborn and refuse to participate. He'd claim he didn't know the lyrics or hand motions to the songs they sang every dang morning and sit in stony, arms-folded... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2016 at amalah . com
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We picked the boys up on Saturday, with Beau as a reluctant and extremely barfy passenger. Which was great because obviously Jason had SO much fun cleaning the minivan the day before, he couldn't wait to do it again. He did much, much better on the ride home, thanks to being reunited with his boys. And/or because he realized that we weren't systematically shipping family members off, one by one, until only the cats remained. The boys immediately made a beeline to Noah's new room, and it went over even better than I hoped -- I worried Noah's expectations would be higher than what I managed to deliver on, but in his exact words: "This room is AMAZING. Thank you guys!" /high fives self //smacks ear by accident For point of reference, here is a very bad, very glare-y before photo taken while we were prepping to paint: Biggest challenges... Continue reading
Posted Aug 16, 2016 at amalah . com
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It's 11:32 a.m. on Friday night now, and I just woke up 15 minutes ago. And it was glorious. And it's been that way all week, I have to admit. We dropped the boys off at their grandparents last weekend, spent one night in Philly (and still managed to squeeze in three different cheesesteak outings), and have spent the rest of the week here at home, sans kids. The first morning I woke up super early to phantom kid voices and that sense of OH SHIT WE'RE PROBABLY RUNNING LATE FOR SOMETHING. We stayed up super late for no other reason than we COULD, heading out to restaurants and bars and clubs just because LOOK AT US, WE'RE NOT PAYING FOR A BABYSITTER. And then we started sleeping in later and later until here we are today, bordering on full-time nocturnal. In the hours in between, we painted Noah's bedroom... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2016 at amalah . com
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Oh, hello blog. You're boring! Life is boring. I don't actually mind boring, though. Noah finished up four weeks of a summer school program for social skills, and despite originally being supppppperr not-so-on-board with the whole riding the BUS to SCHOOL in the SUMMER, that is UNFAIR MADNESS, he ended up having a really great time. When we showed up to the open house, we immediately bumped into a boy who Noah had an on-again/off-again/on-again friendship with all year. A boy who I admittedly did not always think the most charitable thoughts about during the off-again part, but who lit up with a huge, excited smile at the sight of Noah, and rushed over to give him a big hug. His mom and I looked at each other like, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, okay, I get it now. That friendship is solidly on-again, as are two new friendships with two other boys in... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2016 at amalah . com
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We were out having dinner when the warnings started: Flash floods in Ellicott City. The warnings, however, weren't coming through on our phones via weather service alerts, but directly from our waiter, who was running from table to table making sure everyone knew: don't drive through downtown Ellicott City. I don't know how he found out, but we thanked him for the heads up and assured him we'd take an alternate route home. We were in downtown Catonsville, which is a little over three miles away from downtown Ellicott City. We'd driven right through it an hour or so earlier. Despite the not-great weather, the sidewalks and bars and shops all seemed typically packed with tourists and locals. In my head I imagined some rising river water clogging up one of the main intersections and causing a traffic snarl, which we avoided by taking the long way home. We only... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2016 at amalah . com
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Yet Another Important Update On The Ongoing Cat/Box Situation: Somebody peed in the box. So now nobody gets to play in the box anymore, this is why you can have nice box things, you are gross guys, etc. Of course, the matter of WHO peed in the box is a mystery for the ages. So many bladders, so much nonsense. Speaking of mysteries (and nonsense), can someone tell me WTF this is? This is in our upstairs hall linen closet. It is some sort of pushable red button up near the top shelf. It has mystified us all ever since we moved in, although we have (SO FAR) all managed to resist the urge to PUSH THE RED BUTTON, OH GO ON PUSH IT, JUST SEEEEEEE, WHAT'S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPENNNNNN? We didn't notice it during the inspection or anything and mostly forget that it's there but then I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2016 at amalah . com
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I had a weird dream last night -- not VERY weird, as my weirdest weird-ass dreams go, but still -- where I looked out my front door to discover that one of our garage doors was sitting at the far end of the driveway, banged up to hell. I ran outside and a crowd of neighbors had already gathered, explaining that this sort of thing "happens all the time," thanks to a crazy woman in the neighborhood who likes to pull into empty, open garage door bays in hopes of sneaking into houses and wandering around.* Sometimes, they said, she'll close the garage behind her to hide her car, then back out in a panic before you catch her, destroying the door in the process. "You should keep your garage doors closed," they said. "So I should call the police," I said. "Nah," they said. "It happens all the time.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2016 at amalah . com
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So I'm in my office right now, admittedly drowning in work and emails and procrastination-fueled idiocy, and Rey is asleep on the guest bed right next to me. She's been there almost all day, as Miss Princess Tubberbutt has settled nicely into her life of leisure here. That spot allows her to come over for human attention without walking more than two steps, and lets her know the SECOND I stand up to maybe possibly head to the kitchen and put more food in her bowl. A few minutes ago, Finn walked in, clearly stressed out as all hell. He meowed over and over at me, then came over, got up on his hind legs and started tapping my arm with his paw, like hey hey hey listen listen listen. I thought maybe he was hungry (he eats even more than Rey but of course remains a svelte silver fox,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2016 at amalah . com
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By Friday night, things felt distinctly more "back to normal" around here, that is to say, a complete and utter disaster of my own making. Ike had been invited to a birthday party at a friend's house, and while the invitation clearly said "pool party," I was weirdly plagued with doubt as to what that actually meant, as I have not attended a pool party since probably junior high. Like, is it a real pool? Or something more like we would do, which would fill up a kiddie pool and set up an off-brand Slip n' Slide in the backyard? Am I supposed to wear a bathing suit, or just Ike? But all I own are bikinis? Is that inappropriate? WHAT'S THE ETIQUETTE HERE I'VE COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN HOW TO SUBURB. I also realized that since moving, no one has come across any of our pool or beach-related gear, including floaties... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2016 at amalah . com
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I don't know, guys. Has this week kind of done anyone else in? Especially after all those other weeks? I keep coming here, staring at a blank New Post page for awhile before realizing I'm completely out of words. I don't have an impassioned opinion piece or moving tribute or even some half-baked political rant in me anywhere. I just want shit to stop. All the shit. Just...could you not, shit? Anymore? Can I open a news app just one morning without having to read about more shit? Followed by a news cycle's worth of having to read some other shithead's shitty reaction/opinion/total-non-solution to the shit? Shit, I'm tired. I downloaded Pokemon GO on Monday morning mostly because I didn't know what else to do. At least I'm walking more? My backyard is lousy with Rattatas. But I also discovered a half dozen raspberry bushes just beyond our fence in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2016 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Wisdom Panel® Canine DNA Tests. Beau's original adoption listing said he was a mix of Miniature Schnauzer and Yorkshire Terrier. We have no idea if his owners gave that description when they surrendered him to the shelter, or if it was just a guess made by a vet or the rescue group or what. We do know that the "Schnauzer" part seemed to mostly be based on his pre-haircut appearance, because once his fur was groomed it was clear his actual snout wasn't all that Schnauzer-like after all. His foster mom agreed, and added her personal guess of terrier breeds mixed with wire-haired Dachshund, based on his legs and feet. Our vet said he was all terrier: Yorkie, Jack Russell, Cairn, and probably a good smattering of others. When I would play around with online tools and surveys based on his physical appearance, I would... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2016 at amalah . com
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In the weeks after adopting Beau, I became super-hyper-conscious of how many damn exit points there are in our new(ish?) house. Our old house had two doors and one gate, and you could stand in a single spot in the foyer and get the open/close status on all three at once. Now there are five different doors that lead to the outside, spread across three different levels. Three doors lead to the backyard, where there are then two different gates that could possibly be open, on complete opposite sides of the yard. One doors to the garage, where there are two more doors to worry about, especially since one of our neighbor's garage remotes accidentally opens ours by some weird cross-signal coding glitch. The front door has a storm door back-up, but that's useless unless it's locked because Beau quickly figured out he could push it open with his front... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2016 at amalah . com
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