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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
Our iron broke yesterday morning. Jason discovered this when he went to iron Ezra's shirt for picture day (which woowowowowowwww tells you everything you need to know about Him As A Dad vs. Me As A Mom), and it wouldn't turn on or heat up or anything. Good riddance. I hated that iron, as the steam setting never worked properly and always just dripped puddles of lukewarm water all over my clothes. Ten years, at least, I've hated that goddamn iron. Should I have just replaced it at some point? Of course! But then 1) that's one less thing in my life to bitch about, and bitching gives me life, and 2) come on. Does anybody remember the plastic wrap? I used that wretched, useless plastic wrap down to the last wretched, useless inch. Of course I'm not replacing a terrible iron. So I ordered a new iron. And was delighted to realize that I could get one delivered the same day, for FREE. Like, I sat there for multiple minutes contemplating this logistical and technological marvel. What a time to be alive, when irons will magically show up at your door mere hours after your old one gives up... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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As I mentioned in Monday's post, we spent Ezra's birthday weekend in the Poconos, at the super-family-and-kid-friendly Woodloch resort. (This is not a sponsored post. I was invited as a travel writer for AlphaMom, where a proper review-type post will appear soon. Woodloch comped our room and meals, but beyond that I'm not being paid for this post, or nor am I obligated to post about the trip at all. But like I would EVER pass up a chance to bore y'all with a bunch of my vacation photos, lololol.) (I bet they knew that, too.) ANYWAY, the boys had a ton of fun. There were: Bumper cars! (Not pictured, me, who went on them one whole time!) Go-karts! (Not pictured, Ike, who was like naaaahhhhhh don't think so.) (This was more his speed.) An indoor pool! And hot tub! And waterslide! And Halloween costumes, characters and bonus treat-or-treating! (Ezra went as Calvin [and Hobbes], Ike as Woody and Not-Pictured-Noah was Marty McFly again.) (And yes, that last one is indeed David! S! Pumpkins!) A petting zoo, pumpkin patch and painting... And ham. So much ham. (That was us "practicing" our scared faces just before I took him on his... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at amalah . com
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When someone else gets hurt -- be it a skinned knee or bruised feelings -- Ezra feels it. And I mean feels it, physically, to the point of tears. He then rushes to fix things, to make things feel better. Ice packs, Band-Aids, some candy, a dollar, a promise to always be your friend. His best friend in the entire world is a little girl who lives up the street. We took a trip to the Poconos this weekend for his birthday and he spent almost all of his birthday money to buy her something from the gift shop. He likes buying presents for people. "I feel their happy," he says. One time she went away and brought him back a snow globe. He accidentally dropped it on the bus and it broke. His heart shattered right along with it. "It was so beautiful," he wept into my shoulder. He's stopped ordering off the children's menu (unless there are corn dogs; he really loves corn dogs) because he wants to eat things that look more like what he sees on cooking shows. (Obviously he's a big Masterchef Junior fan.) Helping with dinner isn't enough anymore, he wants to makes things... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at amalah . com
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*Please note that in today's performance of DIY, the role of "Yourself" will be played by "Your Husband" because Yourself has had bronchitis for over a week now and feels like shit, but really, You know Yourself would've come up with some other excuse anyway. So when we last left off with the Saga of the Bathroom That Absolutely No One Cares About Except Me, Deeply, this was the state of things: (A reminder that all this chaos was self-inflicted fallout from a simple leak in the shower door. We were completely fine with this basic-ass, late-90s bathroom until a new shower door turned into a new shower and ZOMG, the new shower is so nice! And now everything else in the room looks like hot garbage! Like me, in every group photo ever. I feel you, basic-ass bathroom.) We forgot to take any official "before" photos, so here is a suspiciously elongated one from our house's real estate listing: (Oh yeah, sure, you literally keep nothing on your sink counter except a jar of decorative seashells and I totally didn't unplug our toothbrushes and dump them in the next room along with the half-empty handsoap and my hairspray for... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2017 at amalah . com
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Yesterday morning I dropped Noah off at his school and watched him head inside, wheeling a suitcase behind him. He's off on a two-day, two-night field trip to an outdoor adventure camp by the Chesapeake Bay with his classmates. All 300 of them. Who decided all these tiny babies were suddenly ready for this shit? Who decided the grownups were? It was nice to see that most sixth graders are still willing to publicly hug and kiss their parents goodbye, and that this was a Big Deal for plenty of other families -- some cars were packed with moms and dads and grandparents and siblings to wave off their newly official Super Big Kid Who Takes Suitcases Overnight Now. Other kids were clearly sleepaway camp veterans, bouncing out of cars with an overstuffed duffel bag because maybe they have a better understanding of what "several changes of inner and outer clothing" actually looks like for two days at one of these places -- I just kept adding stuff until there wasn't anymore room for stuff. What if his sweatshirt gets muddy? What if all his socks get wet? ("It'll dry! It'll be fine!") Electronics of any kind were strictly prohibited,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2017 at amalah . com
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(I always feel the need to hedge Posts Like This [mundane, complain-y, privileged AF] during Times Like These [seriously, how many national emergencies/tragedies/horrors do we have deal with right now?] and be like: I know. I know! I'm really upset and distressed about it all too in real life. But here is where I come to try and be kind of funny on the Internet. So Imma do that. Hugs for everybody.) Once upon a time, several blog posts ago, I revealed the secret shame of the demogorgon shower sludge, and our less-than-super-adult approach to doing anything about it. (At least anything that would cost us more than a tube of Denial Caulk.) But finally we had a plan and an contractor and things started happening: Demolish-y things! Gateway to the demonscape things! We decided to bump the shower out to the edge of the wall and tile up to the ceiling, and replace the shower basin with a mosaic tile floor. We had three and half boxes of tile leftover from our kitchen/foyer remodel, which wasn't going to be quite enough. Which at first was a big old ARGH because we'd bought discontinued tile (discounted to only $1.50 a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2017 at amalah . com
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If you ask him how middle school is going, he'll say: "It's fine. It's long." And yet he still auditioned for (and was accepted into) the afterschool jazz ensemble, which he says "flies by so fast" because he likes the "jazzy music" and because his saxophone "is like, the main character of jazz." He's tall and lanky and huge and handsome and at least a couple girls have noticed, but he's not interested, no, ew, stop. (But don't you dare say things like girls can't game or code or use "throw/play/scream like a girl" as an insult because you will get an earful.) The kid who couldn't stand Halloween is now begging to go on ghost tours and jump-scare haunts. Next week he's going away on a two-night, outdoor education field trip with his class and I'm the only one who's even remotely stressed about it. "It'll be fun. All my friends are going." He still asked for a Lego set for his birthday, but probably mostly because he hasn't realized he can ask for gift cards to Steam yet. The Lego obsession is slowly giving way to video games and drawing comics and YouTube, though he still likes to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2017 at amalah . com
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I've been on a bit of a purge-and-organize closet bender around the house lately -- what most people would probably consider "spring cleaning" except it's now September because I'm not a slave to your calendars, man. This place has a legitimately amazing number of closets and built-in storage options, but of course the downsides to all that storage means you can simply wall up all your crap for years, out of sight and mind like the Tell-Tale Heart, until one day you open a door and BLAM. You are dead under a pile of regifting candles and suitcases and board games nobody likes. So I've been waging the War on Crap one closet at a time. Lesser victories (aka ones I forgot to take a "before" photo of, like wow it's almost like I've lost the compulsion to share every minute of my day with the Internet or something) include the boys' bookshelves and a linen closet: (Note that I separated and organized sheets by SIZE! And added corresponding labels to the shelves! And made SEVERAL attempts at properly folding the fitted sheets as per YouTube demo instructions before saying fuck this and balling them up into a semi-flat wad... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2017 at amalah . com
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Hello! And welcome to my home. Please ignore the demonic horror-movie sludge growing through the wall in the bathroom. It's not yet fully sentient so you should be okay. So siggggghhhhh and bleeeeeearrrrgh and welcome to homeownership. The shower door in the master bathroom started leaking over the summer and like good responsible adults we immediately did the following: 1) Ignore it. 2) Google it. 3) Caulk it. Just...caulk the shit out of it. 4) Watch it. 5) It's getting worse, isn't it? 6) Like a lot worse. 7) Honey, I don't think the caulk did the trick. 8) MOAR CAULK!!1! 9) Ignore it some more. 10) ALL RIGHT FINE WALL, YOU WIN. We're about 90% sure the leak is limited to the shower door frame (and there's no mold, for the record, just mildew and run-of-the-mill water damage that hasn't spread beyond that spot). But since there's really no way to know for sure without ripping out all the drywall and wall tile (and since replacing the door isn't exactly cheap on its own and wow, that would suck to replace it and then be all, OH LOOK THE DEMON SLUDGE IS BACK), we are redoing the whole shower.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2017 at amalah . com
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Ike had his weight check and successfully gained a pound. Not a huge amount, but enough to satisfy his pediatrician for now. He also shot up ANOTHER inch in height, so I think we have our answer as to where his body prefers to utilize it's calories: Towards total devotion to the fine art of outgrowing all his damn clothes. Meanwhile, I gained like five pounds during the same time period, as the switch to whole milk string cheese did nothing to impact my personal string cheese consumption. Luckily! I am healed enough to ride my bike every day again! Which was a thing that started happening this summer, much to my own lazy ass' surprise. And it was one of the first things I whined about after breaking my elbow, perhaps because I knew that I'd prove perfectly capable of eating string cheese left handed. I am staying off hills and could probably get smoked by a toddler on training wheels, but still. I am outside doing a thing! Back in the realm of the Inside Kids, Ezra came home from school last week and announced that he was taking up the violin, as it has been his life... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2017 at amalah . com
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1) One screen door 2) Half of a patio furniture cover 3) One and a half pairs of sandals 4) One pair of my underwear, GROSS 5) So much cat poop,* GROSSER *problem finally solved with this weird doohickey 6) All The Squeaky Toys 7) Most Of The Throw Pillows 8) Dozens upon dozens of bully sticks, rawhide rolls, deer antlers, pig ears, cow ears, buffalo tendons, christ dog maybe try a salad or something 9) Her bed 10) Her new bed 11) Half loaf of stale bread + plastic packaging 12) One yogurt cup (cup included) 13) Half bag of dried egg noodles 14) Crayons, so many crayons 15) Part of a welcome mat 16) And like, at least half of a tree 17) The really delicious Indian food leftovers I'd just finished making for lunch :( 18) Ike's dinner that he left "unattended" "by accident" surrrrrre 19) Literally Noah's math homework 20) ALL OF OUR HEARTS Continue reading
Posted Sep 15, 2017 at amalah . com
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Jason and I binge-watched Atypical on Netflix a few weeks back (and if you haven't checked it out yet, GO NOW DO, it's wonderful). I could probably write a dozen blog posts on all the many, many thoughts and feels I have about this show (which I repeat, is wonderful), but for now I'm going to go off and ramble down a completely different tangent. HOWEVER, the fact that we watched it will be important later. (Now THAT's how you structure a coherent blog post, folks.) Back when Noah was officially diagnosed with ADHD, we teamed up with his doctor and therapist to talk Noah through his diagnosis, what it meant and what would happen next. We didn't take the decision to try medication lightly, and I certainly had no intention of just handing him a pill, like here, take this, without thoroughly explaining what it would do and what potential pros and cons we'd need him to self-report going forward. There was a book and several sit-downs and lots and lots of follow-ups and check-ins. And then his Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis happened. In kind of a short order. And...well, we didn't tell him. That sounds horrrrrrrible, I know.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2017 at amalah . com
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(But first, an elbow update: Good tidings and huzzah! My latest x-ray revealed enough healing for me to ditch the splint and sling and focus on getting my range of motion back. I'm not allowed to lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee [official doctor's orders] and it's still pretty painful and gimpy-stiff, but my arm is freeeeeeeee from the mummy wrappings and I will definitely not need surgery. I am currently taking bets on how long it will take the five gloriously long fingernails I managed to grow during my weeks as a one-armed lady of leisure to break off. I'm guessing I'll lose at least one by the end of this post.) As I mentioned earlier, I somehow got talked into attending the Maryland Renaissance Festival/Faire thing on Monday. It's...not really my thing, to put it mildly, but I figured the kids would like the jousting and at the very least I know I enjoy watching both Shakespeare and people letting their nerd flags fly. And beer. There is beer. This is an acceptable outing. These outfits are also acceptable. Ike brought the hat from home and we rented the rest of the pirate garb. And you... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2017 at amalah . com
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Well, hi! Look at me, typing and working. I am now allowed to take my arm splint off for UP TO 20 MINUTES A DAY for typing and work. Do you know how much I'm going to accomplish in that precious 20 minutes? Probably not very much! There is so much going on and so much to talk about and write about (omg Texas r u ok luv u plz have some money so v sorry), but today I'm just going keep things as myopic as possible and point out that Noah, my Noah, your Noah, OG Blog Baby Noah, is officially a middle schooler. Congratulations, we are all ancient now. Be careful out there today. Don't break a hip. (Affiliate link plug here but like, I'm being "authentic" and shit: We got him one of those Gizmo Gadget GPS watches last month and it is an excellent little doohickey. If you've got a kid on the Spectrum or any kid, really, who wants/needs more independence and freedom but isn't ready for a full-featured phone with data and games and distractions and all that, I highly recommend it. Noah loves it.) (Mentioning it mostly because 1) he's obviously wearing it,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2017 at amalah . com
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(HA HA SUCKERS, of course Imma talk about my stupid elbow.) Another week, another doctor's visit, X-ray and this time, a bonus ultrasound. We can now add "tricep avulsion" to my diagnosis, which basically means my tricep muscle cracked off a tiny piece of my olecranon (aka ye olde nubby pointy bit) in what I like to imagine was a fit of super-strong tricep Hulk rage. Also I have a HUGE hematoma under there too, literally bigger than all the elbow bones put together, so I look forward to watching my elbow turn 500 different shades of purple in the weeks ahead. It'll be like watching the eclipse all over again! SEGUE TIME. Here is my elbow out in the wild. Please note my ability to hold a beer remains unaffected, blessed be to the alcohol gods. A friend of ours scored us three kids' vouchers for free Orioles tickets for them and deeply discounted tickets for us, which meant we could take the money we saved on tickets and blow it all on hats. Lesson learned, do NOT wait to panic-buy five hats at the baseball stadium because you didn't pay attention to where your seats were and anticipate... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2017 at amalah . com
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Hellooooooooo. It's been a week. A magical week, full of much learning about elbows and why you should not break them. Also, there was an eclipse, that, I dunno, I was personally pretty underwhelmed by. I watched an orange circle slowly get covered by a black circle and the world was not plunged into dramatic darkness. It maybe got a little extra shadow-y for a minute? Maybe not even that? Did I miss something? Am I dead inside? Should I go back and edit out at least three commas from that first sentence? (Answer to all those questions is yes, probably.) Anyway, I hope everybody's eyeballs are fine (with maybe one exception). Now back to my elbow, which is NOT fine, but could be worse, because damn, elbows are complicated. Amy's Elbow, Inside & Out A follow-up with a orthopedist confirmed that yes, I fractured the nubby pointy bit of my elbow, also known as the olecranon. Which sounds vaguely science fiction-y. The good (?) news is that the break non-displaced: the nubby pointy bit is cracked but still intact, and the crack is lined up nicely to heal without surgery. Although my very cheerful doctor very cheerfully informed me... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2017 at amalah . com
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Well, we are back. I have to admit our big attempt at an off-the-grid vacation did not go exactly as planned, but my commitment to (mostly) staying off social media was probably a win for all of y'all, as you were spared an AWFUL lot of complaining. It started with this, the evening before our flight to Cancun. We'd been gloriously clueless, right up until we arrived at my Weather Channel-watching in-laws' house with the kids. By the next morning, the potential tropical cyclone seven had been upgraded (downgraded?) to Tropical Storm Franklin, a truly terrible name for a storm because we all know Franklin is a whiny little bitch. But it looked like our flight would get there a few hours before the worst of it, and while we'd likely lose a day to rain, Cancun wouldn't get hit TOO badly. As long as we got there, we agreed, we'd be fine and make the best of it. And we did get there! Right on time with the sun still shining! We managed to hit the pool, beach, outdoor restaurant, two swim-up bars AND a jacuzzi tub before the first of the raindrops started to fall. And fall. And... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2017 at amalah . com
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Misting fans? Check. Cooling towels? Check. Passport wallets? Check and check. Cute new bathing suit? Hellzyeah check. 400 dozen bottles of sunblock? Check check checkity check. Laptop? Naaaaaahhhh. Next week is our 19th wedding anniversary. And while we originally planned to "save" a big special vacation for our 20th next year, we ended up changing our minds. After all, 2017 marks 20 years together, which should also count for something. Also, both of us really, really need a vacation. A real one, sans kids, without a work meeting or two squeezed into the agenda to justify the expense, or a trip sponsor/brand to satisfy with a quota of blog posts and regular properly hashtagged social media check-ins. A vacation where BOTH of us leave our computers at home and go completely off the grid, un-damn-reachable, do not bother me, I do not care if your website is on fire. So that's what we're doing. We're going to Mexico. I am going to see some pyramids. I am going to lose my ever-loving archaeological-tastic mind. What I won't be doing? Blogging. Checking social media. Reading the goddamn news. I've turned off my breaking news alerts (aka my Outrage Attack Dailies) and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2017 at amalah . com
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I took Ike to see my hairstylist yesterday, who wasn't super optimistic she'd be able to do much beyond a very close clippering, but was determined to at least TRY to keep Ike looking as much like Ike as possible. (Shoutout to Kiera at Bombshell Salon!) Every other stylist in the place looked at him and said to me, "oh evvvvvvvvery kid does it, I swear." Then they turned to him and said, "I bet that was pretty fun though, right?" A quick reminder of the before: (For both state of his hair and general mood.) And now! The triumphant after: A little bit of genius, a little bit of witchcraft... ...and yep, a little bit of Trumpian combover. It'll likely require some product until those front bits grow out to keep the camouflage in place, but I think we can do that. He's incredibly happy and relieved and really quite pleased with his new look. "Don't I look SO CUTE AND GREAT?" he asked his brothers as soon as we returned. (He still thinks he's going to let it grow back out, though. After rejecting all the short hairstyle inspiration pics I showed him, he asked me to Google... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at amalah . com
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I was down in the basement finishing up my workout when Ike appeared at the top of the stairs. He said he had something to show me. "You'll never believe this, Mom," he said. "Now that I'm six years old my hair is different." My stomach sunk. I turned around. It sunk even more and took my heart with it. "OH IKE," I shrieked, "OH NOOOOOO. WHAT DID YOU DOOOOOOO?" I knew what he did, obviously. He'd gotten the scissors (again) and cut his own hair (again), but this time it wasn't just one small random snip off the top. He'd hacked his bangs off entirely, almost to the roots in some places, and taken off large random chunks around the sides of his head. Only the long, straight locks in the back were untouched. I more wanted to know WHY. And of course, the unanswerable, perpetual question of CHILD WHAT WERE YOU THINKING. "Did you want your hair short? Because we could cut your hair short! Oh, Ike, why why why did you do that?" "No!" he responded, shaking his head and looking slightly stricken, "I still have long hair! I just wanted to make the front look cute... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2017 at amalah . com
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Ike had his six-year routine physical yesterday, and in Classic Ike style, it ended up not being as routine as I was expecting. He's on track height-wise, shooting up over three inches this past year. Weight-wise...not so much. He's always been a skinny thing, but consistently 25th-percentile-or-so skinny. He gained just a tad over a pound this year, which knocks him all the way down to the 12th. And while growth charts are certainly prone to some year-to-year weirdness, our doctor was very much Not Happy and Rather Concerned with Ike's weight. At barely 39 pounds, he's underweight for both his age and height, and it's just super inconsistent with his growth so far. Now, we dealt with our fair share of Dinnertime Pickiness Drama Shenanigans this year, but I really thought 1) he's been doing much, much better for several months now, and 2) we were more than making up the calories of a smaller dinner elsewhere throughout the day. Good breakfasts, a generous lunch, lots of healthy snacks. He drinks whole milk and loves cheese and yogurt and granola bars and fruit and chicken and steak and fruit/vegetable smoothies. He doesn't drink soda or get regular candy and... Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2017 at amalah . com
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Hours spent in Philadelphia, total: 27, ish Hours spent on trains: Three Hours spent waiting for trains that were late: One Hours spent in meetings: 12 Hours spent in meetings thinking about when we get food: Nine Hours spent in meetings resisting urge to slide dramatically off chair and under the table every time someone said, "hold up let's revisit that last slide for a sec": At least four Number of times I felt irrationally important and grown-up like because I was wearing an ID badge I had to swipe to go to the bathroom: 11 Number of nostalgic favorite snacks from my Pennsylvania childhood consumed and frankly disappointed by: One Number of cheesesteaks consumed with tremendous enthusiasm: Two Number of salad portions politely accepted on plate: Three Number of salad portions discreetly hidden under a napkin and thrown away: Two Point Seven Five Number of inexplicably tiny hotel room hair dryers used: One Number of times I ordered business cards to bring to meetings: Two Number of typos I made on the first order: One Number of actual business cards distributed: Zero Number of work things to do as result of meetings: 4,20583u70q303q55uj7 Number of children who greeted me... Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2017 at amalah . com
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Ezra and Ike attended a kids' cooking camp this week, which has been delightful, especially since Ezra sweet talked his counselor into letting him bring home an extra cupcake for "his mom who really loves cupcakes." I originally signed them both up thinking they'd be together, so Big Bro could help keep Little Bro out of trouble (or at least keep his head out of the ovens, or something), but they were divided into different age groups. Ike's been pretty mad about that, which may or may not have been a reason behind the Incident Report we received: According to the camp nurse: "Isaac complained that he had something in his nose. Asked Isaac to blow hard to remove the object from his nose." According to Sir Isaac himself, he "dropped a bead on the table and it bounced back up into [his] nose and got stuck there." WELL AT LEAST WE GOT TO KEEP THE BEAD. Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2017 at amalah . com
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Late last summer, I discovered dozens of wild raspberry bushes in the woods behind our fence in the backyard. There were only a few stray berries left by that point, but Ezra and I did our best to harvest every last one we could. And I promised him that we'd pay better attention this year and maybe we'd get a few more. We started out picking just what we could reach through or over our fence, since we were a little wary of all the bugs and thorny things back there. (Of course we collected them in half of a Lego Star Wars planet. WTF else would you use?) Then one day, after watching Ezra pine for the dozens and dozens of bright red berries just beyond our reach, I said screw it, and hoisted him (and then my own ass) up and over the fence. Turns out, it's magic back there. Yes, there are thorns and mosquitoes and uneven rock paths. There are prickly vines to duck under, that catch and snag your hair and clothing and refuse to let go. There's a small stream that fills your shoes with muddy water, if you take a bad step on... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by PURA D'OR and 2MinuteClub. After my last sponsored post on 2MinuteClub's skin products (which I am still using, still loving, BTW), a wholllllllle bunch of people asked me if I'd tried their best-selling Facebook-famous shampoo and conditioner. I said that I had not, but really wanted to, and...well. Mayyyyyyyybe if they were happy with the skincare post they'd let me try the hair care line next. BOO YAH. First, here's what I'm dealing with: Super duper fine hair. I have a ton of it growing out from my oily-as-anything scalp, but thanks to the aforementioned fineness, plus coloring and heat styling, it gets increasingly dry and brittle as it grows out. Which means lots of breakage and fly-aways and split ends that require regular trims. Which also means I have been trying to grow my hair out to my Goal Length (of just below boob level) for approximately 700 years. I'm still several inches short, since I eventually end up having to cut back most (if not all) of the growth progress thanks to the dryness and breakage. Now I know I could stop 1) coloring and 2) heat styling, but y'all. Come on. Frizzy,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2017 at amalah . com