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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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Judges: Good morning, and welcome to this session of Simulated Congressional Hearings. You have been brought here as constitutional expert witnesses to answer the question "Why did we go to war?" in regards to the American Revolution. Before we begin, please introduce yourselves, and tell us what you hope to be when you grow up and why. The Rest of the Group: Veterinarian, teacher, doctor, etc. Because they love animals/school/helping people, etc. Noah: I want to be a time traveler because I love the movie Back to the Future. *** The presentation begins. Kid #1: BOOM. Kid #2: KAPOW! Noah: What's that? Kid #4: That's the SOUND of WAR. Judges: Dammmmn that's good. *** Judges, during follow-up questions: So Noah, you mentioned really liking Back to the Future. What do you think it would be like to take the Delorean back in time to the Boston Tea Party? Noah: That would be pretty cool. I'd join and help the patriots. Of course if any British soldiers started firing at us I'd be wearing a bullet-proof vest from modern times. To, you know, avoid death. Judges: Probably a good idea. We appreciated your obvious passion about your subject matter today. Noah:... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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So this happened. Ike's getting an IEP. Welcome to the club, kid. But he's getting it for the least dramatic reason possible, at least by our household's standards: He has a pretty bad lisp. He needs some speech therapy. Okay. I asked his preschool teachers about the lisp last year -- they weren't too concerned, given his age. He was likely outgrow it on his own. (I looked into speech therapy anyway last summer, only to learn that articulation disorders aren't covered under our insurance and the cost would be YIKES.) The elementary school, on the other hand, absolutely provides services for articulation disorders, so I flagged it as a potential concern on every piece of enrollment paperwork that I possibly could. I asked his kindergarten teacher about the lisp at our first parent-teacher conference -- she'd noticed it, yes. She also wasn't too concerned, given his age, but agreed to have the school's speech pathologist stop by and speak with him. She did, and blah blah blah not too concerned, given his age, blah blah let's wait and see. And so we've waited. AND GUESS WHAT. He hasn't outgrown it. At all. Not even a little bit. He can't... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at amalah . com
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Noah likes to take a pre-dinner bike ride around the neighborhood. It's part of his routine whenever the weather is nice: come home, snack, homework, load the dishwasher, ride his bike around the same set loop two times, maybe three, then back for dinner. I've encouraged him to explore the neighborhood a little more, but he got a little lost doing that not long after we moved so now he prefers to stick to the same path. It takes him around to the street directly behind our house, and he likes to wave at me if I'm outside or at the kitchen window. I wave back. The other night, I missed the wave. I was at the stove making dinner. Ezra and Ike came in from playing on the swingset and set the table. I put dinner out and realized Noah wasn't back yet. Which, okay, that's fine, he'll probably be back in a few minutes. He wasn't. I checked the garage for his bike, scanned the street out back, then the front. I went to his room on the off-chance he'd come back and retreated there to play without anyone noticing (his stealth move to get out of further... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by thredUP. I've mentioned once or 100 times that I'm not a big fan of clothes shopping. I'm very impatient and get discouraged too easily -- I don't like the first thing I tried on! These dressing room lights are killing my self-esteem! This is boring and my feet hurt! -- and I also don't have that awesome "shopper's eye" that translate how something looks on the hanger with how it will look on my actual body. Obviously I love online shopping but I still get really indecisive and unsure about clothing. I am an e-commerce cart-abandoning nightmare. Jason, on the other hand, totally has the shopper's eye. He also finds shopping fun, and even relaxing, both online and in person. I know. He's either a gem or an insane person. As a result, I'd say he easily buys about 80% of my wardrobe these days. Which is admittedly awesome and convenient. So...shine on, you crazy diamond, I guess! So when thredUP expressed interest in a second sponsored post (along with a tempting $150 shopping credit), I knew I wanted to outsource the grunt work this time around, and I set Jason loose on the site... Continue reading
Posted May 17, 2017 at amalah . com
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I had a consult with a tattoo artist to finally, FINALLY get some cover-up work done on the truly terrible, highly regrettable J-A-S-O-N ink on my back left hip. Remember that? If not, yeah. I got my boyfriend's name tattoo'ed offset tramp-stamp style when I was 19 years old. Classaaaayyyyy. While I still like the guy very much, I really hate the tattoo. It was poorly done, embarrassing almost immediately (I mean, WHO DOES THAT? Besides impulsive and slightly tipsy 19-year-old girls away at college whose roommate is getting a daisy on her ankle oh wait okay never mind), and now it's 20 years old and completely warped and faded -- and annoyingly visible enough over my pants' waistline and two-piece bathing suits. I thought about just getting it removed, but always decided against that. It was a stupid thing to get done, but just like getting married less than a year later at 20 years old was ALSO not typically considered the greatest of ideas...we did defy a whole heapload of odds to remain married and happy this many years later. The tattoo has always felt kind of tied to that, and "erasing" it just never appealed to me.... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at amalah . com
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You know what my kids love? Stickers! Do you know what they don't love? Sticker books. Or paper of any kind. Please do not send them any more stickers. I feel like they have enough. Go ahead and bookmark this for any upcoming Gift Guides For Parents You Secretly Hate, though. Wait, didn't I scrape you off already? Are you respawning? Shit. The weirdest thing about stickers is even after you've gotten rid of all the stickers, kids will always -- always -- find more stickers. TRULY. LIFE FINDS A WAY. (One time Ike ran out of stickers and decided to cover the entire bottom half of his door strips of Scotch Tape, which I guess was a little worse than stickers.) (Still, though. Please no more stickers. I could use more Scotch Tape, but only if it comes in a locked safe of some kind.) Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2017 at amalah . com
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Jason recently started attending pick-up games at a local indoor soccer place. It's been something he's been talking about doing for ages, but considering the last time he played any "serious" soccer was at least 20 years ago, he was understandably a little nervous about it. Finally he just accepted that he might very well be the worst player there, but dammit, he was going to show up and play. His first time out, he scored three goals. He came home exhausted and sore and completely ecstatic. He missed playing even more than he realized, he said, and it was thrilling how the skills he assumed were completely dormant after all that time just...started coming back. He wasn't the worst player there, but that didn't even matter. Because dammit, that person still decided to show up and play, and had a great time doing it. The next day we got to talking about it, about why he never did join a league or find a pick-up game -- our old place in Bethesda was literally a block away from a public field. Sure, some of it was the typical "what if I suck now/can't keep up" worries as middle age... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at amalah . com
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I've been working from/in my actual "office" every day for the first time in awhile, to better bounce back and forth between laptops (three) and email addresses (four), and to have room to spread out piles of documents and keep everything separated by client (five) and basically not rely on keeping everything straight in my head, oh god no, let's not do that, that's how things end up forgotten about and/or on fire. I haven't worked down here in awhile because one time, not long after we adopted them, the cats hid in the closet and got accidentally trapped overnight, and both of them panic-peed on the carpet. And unlike the Lego bins, getting cat pee odors out of carpet is basically impossible. We've managed it PRETTY well, with both professional cleanings and buying our own carpet deep cleaner and using it regularly (like pretty much every time we vacuum), along with throwing just about every pet stain/odor related product on earth at the problem. So it usually smells just fine (though I think vaguely carpet-cleaner-ish), but other times the smell starts emanating from the padding below and I'm just like, I'm out, I'll be working from the couch again... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2017 at amalah . com
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Plot twist: Jason has uveitis, not pinkeye. Because clearly regular ol' pinkeye is far too pedestrian for our tastes around here. We prefer the rarer, more obscure forms of eyeball discomfort. The more underground diagnoses, if you will. Epidemic Keratoconjunctitis? You've probably never heard of it. Now pass me the artisanal steroid eye drops. Uveitis is not contagious, although that didn't stop me from getting soap in my eye in the shower yesterday and spending the next hour or so convinced I was dying of pinkeye. (Spoiler alert: I'm fine, just dumb.) Also feeling a touch overwhelmed on the work front. I've been solidly in the "ebb" stage of the freelancing flow for the last few months, popping in occasionally with clients like "need anything? no? not yet? how about now?" while networking my ass off in hopes of landing something new. Which I did! And it's a big one! Like with a fancy badge and a giant laptop and lots of cool shit to do. And then LITERALLY on my FIRST DAY of the gig, I came home to a flurry of emails from three other clients all HELP HELP WE NEED YOU TO WRITE ALL THE THINGS HERE... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2017 at amalah . com
Nay, of the year. Of the DECADE. Noah, to Ike, who was whining loudly about his sock getting wet: "It'll dry! It'll be fine!" It will dry. It will be fine. This, from the kid for whom socks in general were once a regular source of meltdowns, who required special-order sensory socks without toe seams, who most certainly would've required a fresh dry change of socks IMMEDIATELY after stepping in something wet, oh my God, are you kidding. It's easy to get bogged down in the tiny details of the present, with how things are right now, because their future seems too big to worry about. Parents of typical kids make the jokes about "no kid goes to college in diapers" or "I promise he won't still ask for a bottle in junior high," and of course, that's all true. But there are kids in college who special order their socks. There are kids in junior high who wear noise-cancelling earmuffs and sit on special seat cushions. (I know that one is true because next year it'll be mine.) There are adults who struggle every single day with so many things, and it's easy to picture your child's struggles following... Continue reading
Posted May 2, 2017 at amalah . com
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So Jason woke up this morning with pinkeye. Naturally, I am terrified for my own life and staying far, far away from him. Which sucks, because I really do like the guy but NEVER EVER AGAIN AM I DEALING WITH THAT BULLSHIT. (I did at least hurl a handful of my doctor-recommended eye drops at him before I ran screaming from the room.) Since I'm pretty sure the vast majority of you guys come here EXCLUSIVELY to find out the latest greatest trends that all the cool kids are talking about these days, but like, underground, because I'm very well-informed but also indie, let me tell you about a little-known toy fad currently sweeping the nation, or at least Ezra's second grade classroom: The Rubik's Cube. Suddenly all Ezra wanted in the world was a Rubik's Cube, because everybody else suddenly had a Rubik's Cube. And while I am always conscious about the perils of peer pressure and was fully aware that this toy would amuse him for approximately 45 seconds before being tossed aside in frustration, I was also like OH THANK GOD HE'S TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING OTHER THAN FIVE NIGHTS AT FREDDY'S and bought him a Rubik's Cube.... Continue reading
Posted May 1, 2017 at amalah . com
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Most Patient Cat of the Week, Who Knows On Some Level That I Could Put a Stop To All This If I Wanted To: Photogenic Cat of the Week, Whose Handsomeness Cannot Be Overshadowed By a Nearby Rando Laundry Basket: And Yet, Counterpoint, This Glorious Idiot: (Bonus points for Kermit finger puppet that has been claimed as a cat toy seemingly pondering the horror of his new torturous existence.) And Finally Some Random Non-Ladybug Nature That Happened, Because I Am Sometimes Still Surprised To Realize That I No Longer Live In the City, Even a Full Decade Later: WE'RE IN UR SUBURB, EATIN' UR SHRUBBERIES Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2017 at amalah . com
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Welp. Most of the ladybugs that got taken outside are dead now. I don't know how the ones in the container are faring, as I stuck it on top of the fridge and refuse to go near it again. Please don't tell my children (who thankfully don't read this blog, because thankfully nobody reads blogs). They were the main reason I didn't just grab the vacuum, as they were all shrieking DON'T KILL THE LADYBUGS MOM! THE LADYBUGS ARE GOOD GUYS!! at me while I stood there, frozen and contemplating the scurrying horror. There are a few lucky survivors. And a couple VERY GETTIN' LUCKAYYYYYYY ones, boom chicka bow wow. Look at you, repopulating that species mere inches away from several dozen corpses that you were most likely related to, awwwww yeah. In summary, bugs are gross. Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2017 at amalah . com
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By the time I woke up on Sunday morning, it was technically almost not-morning anymore and Jason had been up for hours. He'd already made a run to the hardware and gardening stores, done a bunch of yardwork, re-potted or transplanted dozens of seedlings and plants, and also brought this disaster waiting to happen into our lives: So industrious, that husband of mine. It was almost exactly 48 hours later, as I stood in the kitchen in my pajamas this morning, blearily making coffee, when the ladybugs -- first moved precipitously towards the counter's edge by Noah to make room for the toaster -- were sent flying off by the brute vibrating force of the nearby coffee grinder. And I watched in horror-movie slow motion as the lid flew off and an absolutely plague-like number of ladybugs spilled out. I am not proud to admit it, but every single bad word I have ever uttered on this website came out of my mouth in that moment, loud and clear and in front of my children. I ran around in a panic, looking for something to...scoop them up with? Something to help me get as many of them back into the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 25, 2017 at amalah . com
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Another reason to perma-love this time of year: It's pet adoption anniversary season!! AKA any excuse to spoil the animals while also eating human cake. Beau's officially been with us for just over a year now, and now that he's fully settled in I swear he's pretty much the dictionary definition of A Good Boy. "Who is a good boy?" I ask Google. "Beau is a good boy," says the search results. (While Alexa chimes in her agreement from across the room.) I still sometimes wish we had more solid information about his life before us, although when I think about some of the behaviors he had initially I realize it was all probably pretty damn bleak and we're better off not knowing the details. (Besides his HASHTAGRUNNING and defensiveness around food and sleeping children, we also had to carefully ration his water. If he saw a full water dish he would desperately and rapidly drink every drop, and then promptly throw it all back up. He wasn't used to having enough water. I'm so sorry, little doggo. That will never happen to you again.) (He's fine with his water dish now, and doesn't have an aggressive or nippy bone... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2017 at amalah . com
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This morning I had my first big kick-off meeting with my newest freelancing gig, which once again highlighted that after a decade of working from home, there is nothing harder in the world than waking up, showering, putting on actual proper clothing, and getting my ass out the door on time anytime before noon. Which, I know is exactly what literal bajillions of people manage to do just fine every morning, and really: Color me genuinely impressed. Like serious props, guys. I don't know how you do it, because I'm terrible at it. The main issue this morning was the completely self-inflicted crisis of not having much in the way of a Professional Wardrobe anymore. I have one nice black suit, a couple okay dresses, a bunch of really, reallllllllly old separates that scream "business casual circa early 2000s" and absolutely zero office-appropriate shoes to pair with any of it. And yet I never, ever remember how limited my options are until I have a meeting to be at in like, an hour. The office I was visiting is business casual so the suit felt like overkill (not to mention my black footwear choices are either sandals/flip flops or stilettos/fuck-me... Continue reading
Posted Apr 21, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by NxN. A few years ago, I showed up at a client's office for a meeting and was immediately asked if I was feeling okay. Because (groan groan groooooan guys don't ever say this to people) I "looked really tired." I felt fine, and had actually slept very well the night before. What happened is that I forgot to put on any foundation or concealer, and -- GASP -- had inadvertently revealed my actual human face to my coworkers. This weekend, on the other hand, I went out on a date night with my husband and very much deliberately left the foundation (and concealer and bronzer and highlighter and all that other jazz) at home. Nobody said I looked tired, and instead Jason told me several times that I looked pretty. Yes, he's biased. THAT SAID, my skin! Look at my actual human face skin right now. It's 39 years old and it is happy. So let's talk a bit more about my skin, because this is a blog and that's what we do here: It is technically combination, though probably more on the oily side overall. Other than the occasional hormonal breakout, I've outgrown the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2017 at amalah . com
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Jason: At store. Need anything? Amy: Deodorant plz. Jason: oh god what kind there are four million kinds. Amy: Dunno an invisible solid of some kind. Jason: Degree? Dove? Secret? Clinical? Motion activated? Amy: OMG it's all the same shit. Just get whatever is on sale. (Later...) Amy: What the hell is all this? ' Jason: Yeah I didn't know whether you wanted to smell like Shower Clean or Sexy Intrigue. Amy: And what's this third one? Jason: That's Black & White Pure Clean. No idea what that smells like but it promises not to leave stains or marks on your clothes! That seemed cool. Amy: Just how long were you there reading the labels on women's' deodorants? Jason: Wait. Are you judging me for spending an excessive amount of time pondering the nuances of deodorant marketing? You? Really? Amy: Touche. (I'm a Shower Clean girl and he damn well knows that, by the way.) Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2017 at amalah . com
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Jason was lucky enough to take a couple days off this week, and spent them either 1) getting at least one of the two children responsible for most of the screaming/tattling/HE'S BREATHING MY AIR sort of hullaballoo out of my hair, or 2) spending quality one-on-one time with our middle and youngest children, reinforcing good positive attention behaviors with a side of spoiling and all that jazz. Technically a bit of both, I suppose. Both days involved the aquarium and copious amounts of dessert. Jason also sent the following photo as evidence of Ezra's Scrabble prowess, but in doing so revealed himself to be a dirty cheat who plays acronyms and two-letter words the second I'm not around to challenge that shit. (Note: Jason won't play Scrabble with me anymore.) Last night it was my turn to treat a kid to a special time out, and I landed either the best or worst assignment, depending on how you look at it. I took him to see DanTDM Live at the Baltimore Hippodrome. Who is DanTDM, you might ask? A perfectly reasonable question that I'm still not sure I can answer. DanTDM is a small and highly energetic British human who... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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Last night a friend of ours came over for dinner and brought his two (2!!!) sweet and friendly Labrador Retrievers. Beau thought it was the best! dinner! party! ever! and not just because Jason fed him some of the chicken. He was just SO happy and excited to have those other dogs here. But now today I can't shake the feeling that my Beau Bear is sad, and misses his new friends. All morning he kept whining and begging to go outside to see if they were out there, somewhere. He seems to realize now that they are not. Maybe it was all just a dream -- a wonderful, waggy-tailed dream. AND YET, DESPITE ALL THIS EVIDENCE THAT BEAU NEEDS A BIG-DOG FRIEND, negotiations with my husband have stalled, because he won't even have them with me. (Although Rey's all, I SEE UR INNERNET HISTORY AND THINK U SHOULD CHILLZ, WOOMAN.) Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at amalah . com
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This morning Ike walked into the living room and placed a small box on the coffee table. "Don't move that," he told me. "It's what I'm taking to college." I'll admit it; I was a little scared to open the box. But turns out... It's just Sandwich the Cat, better known around here as Alive Max. Okay then! At least he's prepared? Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's Spring Break! And it's shaping up to be a disaster. Well, disaster-ish. That hysterical blind-to-privilege mommyblogger definition of disaster. The children have no camps! No activities! They are all just HERE. In the HOUSE. With ME and EACH OTHER and my DEADLINES. I did this to myself, yes, entirely. My new contract gig still hasn't set a start date so I didn't want to plunder our flexible spending account just yet for childcare expenses. I figured I could get away with reducing my hours across existing clients a bit this week, maybe just work half days if possible. But then this morning the news came in that my background check is done and lo, I am not a criminal unworthy of writing web site copy, and they have like a hundred and four projects they want me to work on immediately once the final rubber-stamp comes down. Okay. This could get interesting, very quickly. I sat down with the kids this morning and went over the day's schedule and some detailed instructions. No screen time or TV until chores are done. You will play outside as much as possible, I mean it, you will not mimic your mother's pale,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Weekly Tasting. If anyone were to ask Jason and I what the secrets are to our long and happy marriage -- hypothetically, anyway, as absolutely zero people have actually asked us that question -- we'd probably list the following: 1) Regular date nights 2) A similar sense of humor 3) A mutual ability/willingness to apologize for being an idiot sometimes And personally, I'd probably add: 4) The occasional night away from each other 5) Wine Amazingly, for this post, I got to experience both #4 and #5 at the same time. So a couple times a month, Jason and I give the other person the night "off." Jason goes out to attend a sportsball exhibition of some kind, then the next week it's my turn to hang out with friends, see a movie, or just LEAVE THE DANG HOUSE for a change. Although as nice as it is to get out and socialize with other humans on a more regular basis, I kinda have to admit that I almost enjoy the nights in alone just as much. I make something fun/easy for the kids' dinner, then order take-out, assume total control of the TV remote,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2017 at amalah . com
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IT'S ROSÉ WEATHER, MOTHERFUCKERS. (Or, if you're my fruit-and-vegetable-texture-adverse child, it's purplish-brownish yogurt/spinach/frozen-berry-blend smoothie weather, which admittedly isn't as pretty, but he swears is delicious and solves quite a few nutritional/digestive concerns. Plus it puts the stupid-expensive blender Jason bought me last Mother's Day to good use.) I always spend this time of year in half slack-jawed amazement at how happy and mentally healthy this sort of weather makes me, and half in scrunched-forehead confusion at the idea that there are places with this sort of weather ALL THE TIME, places were I could hypothetically live and feel like this year round, because? I don't know. I like to babble bullshit about "liking having different seasons" when honestly, at least two out of four of our seasons can probably go fuck themselves. We met with the middle school's special education team yesterday to officially plan Noah's transition. It went well. I had to push to keep a few goals and accommodations in place because technically he's achieved said goals and doesn't currently use those accommodations, but given our history with rocky starts to new school years (and how hard the transition to a new school turned out to be last... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2017 at amalah . com
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This weekend the calendar ticked over into April, and lo, there was much rejoicing in Amy's brain. There was also the simple pleasure of watching a five-year-old pretend to be a cat for several hours, complete with his revolutionary costume of the day: (BTW, officially on the hunt for a drama camp/afterschool program for my smallest biggest ham. Anyone local have any recommendations? Not looking for anything stage mother-y/next great child star-ish, just want to get this kiddo an outlet for his raging LOOK AT MEEEE performing-and-pratfall-itis.) Cats. Also in full-on LOOK AT MEEEEEEE mode. On Saturday night Jason and I saw Rent, Again, For the Sixth And Probably Not Final Time. Although at this point we know the show so thoroughly well we notice when the conductor is pacing the show a half-beat too quickly, and have detailed best-to-worst rankings for every Mark/Roger/Mimi/Collins/Angel/Joanne/Maureen/Benny/Joanne-Understudy-Who-Gets-the-Big-Seasons-of-Love-Solo we've ever seen and, in summary, are probably incredibly annoying and tedious about the whole thing. And now we have matching shirts! We are THE WORST. On Sunday we spent the entire day tackling garden and yardwork crap. Jason got the vegetable garden ready out back while I hauled in many, many bags of mulch to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2017 at amalah . com
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