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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Once upon a time, my children did not eat Green Stuff. Well, wait. Once upon a time, they all totally DID, back when everything was pureed and mashed up and I was the one holding the spoon and making airplane noises like an idiot. Only Ezra retained any affection for green vegetables past his babyhood, but even he typically preferred them in a whole or easily identifiable form. Otherwise, he regarded Green Stuff with the same amount of suspicion as his brothers. Green flecks of fresh basil in spaghetti? NOT SO FAST. A bit of spinach in scrambled eggs? SACRILEGE. Microscopic dots of broccoli in mac-and-cheese? YOU'VE RUINED EVERYTHING, MOTHER. Beige was the ruling acceptable color in our house, and while we always tried our hardest to keep dinner from revolving around toddler whims and general childhood pickiness, our successes with green vegetables remained pretty rare unless I was up to serious sneaky-cheffing to mask their presence completely. Plain green peas were generally acceptable to everybody, and eventually I could make tiny-but-visible bites of broccoli palatable to Noah in mini pot pies or macaroni and cheese. Ezra would eat steamed broccoli or fresh... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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So this arrived a couple days ago. An early (and gigantic!) Christmas present from Jason's parents. It is a ladder. A proper, tall-enough ladder that will allow us to 1) paint some of the stupid-high walls and ceilings, 2) dust the ceiling fan blades, and 3) decorate the top of our Christmas trees without the use of a rake and Swiffer Duster extend-o handle thing. (That does not extend enough to dust the ceiling fan blades, ironically enough.) It is so fancy it comes with a whole DVD on how to use it. This is officially the most grown-up gift we have ever received. Or maybe the most obvious of hints to get our shit together. (Nahhhhhhhh.) But seriously, painting! Can possibly realistically happen! Goodbye beige and various beige-y shades of brown! Say hello to...oh God, hopefully not something that looks like a different color at first but then mostly comes out beige once it's on the whole wall. I should probably get the ladder out of the box and out of the foyer first, although y'all know our incredible track record on that sort of thing. And with that, #LADDERWATCH has officially commenced! Peace and blessings to your family... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at amalah . com
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My phone, as I more or less suspect, was completely FUBAR'd. The motherboard was damaged along with the screen, so...I got a new phone. And that's...kind of all I've got. I spent a tortuous amount of time yesterday trying to come up with something else to write about, as there's not really much of a plotline to buying a new phone. I had to go to two Verizon stores? Because the first one was fresh out of iPhones? Which I only learned about after waiting (and waaaaaaaiting) for the one lone salesperson to finish up with a couple who thought, hey, while we're here, let's ask this guy every tech support question we can think of, even ones that aren't even phone related, and also get his opinion on whether our online banking could ever get hacked by the Russians. PLOT TWIST: There was another, bigger Verizon store one shopping center over that still had plenty of iPhones. Suburbia! CONCLUSION: I got my phone from there and spent all weekend trying to remember all my various app logins. Then we watched Westworld while eating Velveeta chili dip and chicken wings. Oh and on Saturday there was an inexplicable amount of... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at amalah . com
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I dropped my phone on a sidewalk in Baltimore about a month ago, just barely cracking the upper-right corner. I've done SO MUCH WORSE to SO MANY PHONES, though, that I decided it wasn't even worth repairing...I was planning to upgrade after Christmas and demote this one down to full-time Kid Restaurant Entertainment/Angry Birds Duty anyway. Considering the kids still routinely argue over who gets dibs on a second-gen iPad with a completely shattered (and alarmingly sticky) screen, I figure they wouldn't mind yet another slightly imperfect hand-me-down. My phone, however, had other plans, and went on to basically disintegrate, crack by crack and chunk (!) by chunk. While the initial cracking was minimal, I popped it out of the case and realized the body was a tiny bit bent. So over time, I'm guessing, the stress just got to be too much (I FEEL YA, PHONE, SAME) and the cracks started to spread. Then large-ish pieces of the screen started flaking off, revealing the backside of the camera and other metal things that 1) are hot, and 2) will shock you if you do something inexplicably stupid, like lick your finger before touching them. Why, self? You spent an... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2016 at amalah . com
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In other, less polarizing news*, you want to know who's doing great? These fools. Or more accurately, these three wise guys. Are just great. Can't really speak for the cat, though. Over the past couple weeks, we've had both all our parent-teacher conferences AND Noah's IEP meeting, re-evaluation/pre-middle-school year edition. Let's recap. Noah's self-confidence has EXPLODED this year (possibly thanks to the social skills program he attended over the summer, plus a med switch that's been like night and day), and it's showing in just about every aspect possible at school. After almost failing math last year (but turning things around in the last semester), his latest report card was all A's and B's, he enjoys tests and studying and writing, keeps himself organized and on schedule, and is starting to open up to new topics and interests and friends. He continues to be amazingly self-aware and self-advocating, and just overall seems much happier and bubbly and just...yeah. Confident. It's a really good look for him. At his conference, his teacher mentioned his (obvious) love and passion for history and social studies, but said it was a struggle to redirect him from the non-fiction section and into more literary texts... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at amalah . com
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Onward! To the next holiday! After missing out on much of the Christmas season last year due to Zombie Pinkeye (shudders) (phantom eye twitch) (emergency eyeball check), I decided we were wasting no time this year. Time to chop a tree and deck some motherfucking halls. We went SLIGHTLY less ridiculous with the tree size this time around, and as a momentous first, not only did my children not break a single ornament, they actually helped decorate the tree. As opposed to "helping" "decorate" by "hanging 40 ornaments on the same two branches." We also found all the outdoor decorations we bought on sale last January, so we're no longer that One Sad House with no lights or wreaths or other holiday whimsy. (Although we technically still have no wreaths, because although I am 110% sure I bought some red ribbon for both bows and hanging-purposes, it has yet to resurface. And Amazon is all, "oh, you want some outdoor ribbon? at this time of year? that'll be over a hundred damn bucks, you slacker." So our wreaths are still stacked up in a corner until I can go buy some non-price-gouged ribbon at an actual store, which: Christ. That... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2016 at amalah . com
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We hosted our second-ever Friendsgiving potluck on Saturday, and once again, I forgot to take any pictures to prove that it actually happened and people actually showed up, or that the whole thing isn't just a yearly shared delusion of ours, where Jason and I serve multiple turkeys to a collection of brooms and mops we've placed around our dining table. (Traditional roast turkey on the left; deep fried on the right. Possible sighting of a human guest's arm in the background.) But seriously, we had about 25 friends and neighbors this time, which was much, MUCH more reasonable than last year's ALMOST FORTY, most of whom never left the kitchen because we stupidly put all the booze and appetizers in there. This year I was a lot more strategic in food/alcohol placement so we more or less avoided any bottlenecks, although setting up the bar in the lower-level family room meant every time you wanted a refill you were going to have to deal with some stairs. So you know, drink responsibly folks, or you're gonna end up as a party foul anecdote on the Internet. No one fell, but the night before the cat did this: On Friendsgiving... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2016 at amalah . com
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So tomorrow we're hosting Friendsgiving (get vacuuming, kids!) and then Ezra's birthday party is on Sunday and I'm all asdlkafjedonfvoenkfv right now so let's just post some pet photos and call it a day. Or half a day. Or half-an-ass day. Whatever. I was all ready to take Mr. Bo Bear here for another professional groom and haircut, then realized that selfishly, I really need him to stay as fluffy as freaking possible right now. (I mean, look at that ridiculous face. Don't you feel better already?) So I gave him a bath at home, trimmed up his nails and all the fur around his snout, eyes and paws that seemed to be bothering him. This is at least slightly blog-notable because after we adopted him, he was very defensive about his mouth and paws. I once tried brushing/trimming a small tangle on his snout and he snapped at me (then immediately felt TERRIBLE and curled up on my lap crying and wagging his tail, all DON'T SEND ME AWAY I DON'T KNOW WHY I'M LIKE THIS), and I've never tried again since. Same with holding his paws or otherwise restraining him long enough to trim his nails. This time... Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2016 at amalah . com
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Ezra: Mom, I really wish I could learn how to vacuum the floor. Me: ... Me: BEHOLD, I AM MAGIC WISH-GRANTING FAIRY. KNOCK YOURSELF OUT, CHILD. For whatever reason, after school on Monday, Ezra suddenly noticed there were still Cheerios all over the kitchen floor. Now, there are ALWAYS Cheerios all over the kitchen floor, this has been a constant point of crunchy underfoot irritation in my life for damn near a decade now, because the pincer grasp milestone is a crock of shit, but this was the first time any of them actually 1) noticed, and 2) felt compelled to do something about it. Me, again: I got out the vacuum, went over some basics, and barely got in a demo push before Ezra grabbed it out of my hands and went to TOWN on those Cheerios. The kitchen vacuuming quickly turned into bedroom vacuuming, then he decided to take care of the hallways and stairs. Then Ike, I shit you not, asked to join in the fun. Ezra finished off in the living room, tsk tsking over every stray Lego and broken crayon bit he came across and carefully picked up. Ike ran around collecting socks and mittens... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2016 at amalah . com
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We took the boys to the National Archives this weekend to see the Declaration of Independence. (The Constitution and Bill of Rights are there too, but for whatever reason Noah decided the Declaration is the most exciting of the three, and thus the main attraction.) Noah and Ezra brought out their Williamsburg hats (paired with Marty McFly and Star Wars outerwear), and also along for the trip were Noah's favorite history book, a Bionicle and of course, miniature American flags for others. (Oh, and a stack of Lego Mixel building instructions that have become incredibly important to Ike for some reason. Hobbes and Mister Doorknob stayed home this time.) We spent more time getting there, waiting in line, and browsing the gift shop than we spent viewing the actual documents. They're a lot more faded than I remembered, and Noah wasn't able to make much out beyond the title and one loop of John Hancock's signature. So he decided to buy a replica and read that instead, using the text from his book to help him decipher the cursive handwriting. His ultimate goal is to memorize the entire thing. I do not see that being all that difficult for him,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2016 at amalah . com
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This will probably be the last thing I'll post here about He Who Should Not Be Tweeting, as I know we're all desperate to change the subject and move on. But since the comment section has been especially passionate this week...I want to at least acknowledge everybody's input and thank you for all the myriad of perspectives you provided. It was uniquely helpful to see such a lively mix of both people who I'm on the same damn depressed page with and from those of you on the other side of the aisle. Thank you for sharing, truly. I did take a bit of offence at the accusations that it was entirely my own "fault" that my children were upset at the results and have a deeply negative view of the president-elect. That obviously I alone shaped and planted that opinion via carelessness or brainwashing. So lemme address that. A quick look at how many websites have featured some kind of "What Do I Tell My Children?" article, or perspectives from teachers with classrooms full of children either terrified for their friends/families (or chanting "Build That Wall" in the lunchroom), pretty quickly shows how difficult it was to shield children... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2016 at amalah . com
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I... I don't know what to say. I'm shocked and disappointed and genuinely fearful in a way I've never been, post-election. My brain did indeed do an excellent job of protecting me from trauma and refused to see this possibility as something that could actually happen. Him? Not Her? Seriously, HIM?? (This was a lot funnier like, five days ago.) This morning I lay in the fetal position in bed, unable to do anything but stare blankly at a spot on the floor as it slowly sunk in that I was indeed awake, that this was real life, with the weight of everything that now hangs in the balance -- health care, the environment, the Supreme Court, reproductive rights, marriage equality, religious freedom, wars and walls and ignorance and sexism and xenophobia and Trump U trials and tax returns and four solid years of "oh Jesus fucking Christ, NOW WHAT?" news coverage -- crushing down on my chest. I listened to my children sobbing over their cereal bowls downstairs and Jason's sad, resigned voice as he tried to reassure them that everything would be okay, words he'd clearly rehearsed but didn't necessarily believe yet. "He's a bad person!" Noah practically... Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2016 at amalah . com
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Ezra would like to share some thoughts on today's election, along with some actual for-real head-banging and hand-wringing over the news that kids aren't allowed to vote. Which I kind of agree would probably have elevated the national conversation during this endless waking nightmare of a campaign season. The kids are all right, even the ones running around in just their underwear. And for the grown-ups in the room, if you haven't already: Muchas gracias. Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2016 at amalah . com
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Three months after his dramatically embarrassing pool party rescue, Ike has officially started swim lessons. His skeptical stubbornness has also hit levels unknown, as he is bound and determined to Be Difficult at every class for no reason other than...oh who the hell knows. It's like his dinnertime shenanigans, just soggier. Now I have witnessed firsthand that this kid can do just fine in the water while supported by one of those backpack floats , and will happily doggy paddle from spot to spot without a wet-hair-care in the world. He'll blow bubbles in the bathtub and float on his back and mimic all the kicking and arm motions of "real swimming." He will do zero of those things at his lessons, at least when specifically asked to. He has a friend from school in the same group who is an enthusiastic participant, and he'll mimic that boy's waiting-on-the-steps kicking/splashing/daredevil stunts on the railings, but as soon as it's his turn with the instructor he goes into full-on NOPE mode. He'll kick, then stop kicking, and once he's reminded to kick, he snaps them rigidly in place and stays stiff as a board while his (suppppppper nice) instructor hauls him... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2016 at amalah . com
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Noah had his annual physical today -- his first time at our new pediatrician's office, oddly enough, as he hasn't had a single sick visit or injury or general health concern since we moved. This makes for a fairly boring check-up, although Noah remained in a low-level state of anxiety because I'd warned him he most likely was going to get a shot. He brought his Marty McFly jackets and his history textbook along to help keep his mind off of it. (Just when I think this kid's love of history can't get any better: He's now borrowing additional books from his teachers [as he's devoured all the main school library's offerings and still can't get enough] and I catch him reading them under his covers at night, or reading charming bedtime stories about the Boston Massacre to his brothers. Okay.) I already wrote a Big Whole Screed about the HPV vaccine at AlphaMom last year, but just to have it on the record here as I am a Wee Bit Het Up About This Topic, and want to make it clear that I followed through on everything in that rant: Yes, Noah got his first Gardasil shot today, and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 3, 2016 at amalah . com
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The great Marty McFly costume, which won for Mom Favorite because I bought actual useful clothing and accessories (ON SALE), combined existing wardrobe elements, and only spent $10 on that plastic-y cardboard Hoverboard . (Which I've been hiding in my closet because it's going to get destroyed in 3...2...1...) Noah loves it too, because with the jacket, vest and watch all being practical and non-costume-y, he gets to be Marty McFly every day. And who wouldn't love that. I'm asking. He met up with a group of friends from school while trick-or-treating and was so, so happy. The Green Ninja Redux: This time I did not even attempt a DIY o' Fail version, especially since now you can actually buy a real Lego Green Ninja costume . But Ezra chose this generic version instead, and added his own Ninjago headband . Other than some stains because he kept trying to wear it while also eating breakfast, he looked really great. I should have insisted on warmer underlayers, though, because he's home sick with a terrible cold today. As is Hobbes, who apparently ate too much Halloween candy last night and now has "the throw-ups." HMMMMMMM. Ike was Legolas , mostly... Continue reading
Posted Nov 1, 2016 at amalah . com
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Part One: In Which I Chaperone a Trip To a Pumpkin Patch For the Hundredth Time And it was predictably ridiculous, as my streak of being the bad weather luck charm remains unbroken to the end. About an hour in, the temperature plunged and the heavens opened, and an entire class of under-dressed kindergartners was soaked and chilled to the bone. I'd at least remembered to bring an umbrella and put a hat and mittens on Ike... ...but failed to notice that he left them behind at school. Also my umbrella was way too small to accommodate my small flock of charges, one of whom was dressed in a t-shirt and hoodie while even kids decked out in heavy parkas were visibly shivering. The trip was (mercifully) cut short, but not before we got pumpkins and some animal encounters in. ("Take my picture next to this sheep that I have no intention of actually standing next to.") (And then it oinked.) Part Two: Meanwhile, Back at G.Wash's Place... It was a day of dueling field trips, and Jason got to take Noah to Mount Vernon, where it did not rain AND they got fancy chartered buses with DVD players AND... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2016 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Anybody remember all this, from the good old days, back before somebody taught Ezra how to put a hand on a popped-out hip, punctuate every sentence with a pointed "OKAY?" and a facial expression dripping with bershon? The little chef costumes had a pretty good run, but alas, he is officially far too gigantic for them now. Ike will wear it from time to time, unless Ezra hides in a fit of possessive pique GOD HE'S ONLY EIGHT SWEET MERCIFUL ADOLESCENCE. He recently got a styling new upgrade, though. (It was very important that I photograph him holding this pear, for some reason. He had a lot feelings about this pear.) Even more exciting was a proper grown-up cookbook, which he decided had to be for him, because Blue Apron must know what a good cook he is. I mean, they sent him an official chef-in-training apron and everything. And their Winter Cookbook, full of many of our favorite recipes and a whole bunch of new ones (including DESSERTS, which YAYYAYYAY). (The mushroom steam buns with purple potato salad are at the top of EVERYBODY's dinner wish list now. And I already have... Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2016 at amalah . com
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In Noah's Social Studies class yesterday, the kids were divided into two teams for a mock debate. Team assignments were random; no one got to choose their side. The two teams? Patriots vs. Loyalists, set to debate the pros and cons of the American Revolution. Guess which team Noah was on. Or more accurately, he was supposed to be on, until he freaked out, melted down, and refused to participate. We got an email from his teacher afterwards explaining what happened, and two sentences in I knew exactly what was coming. WHY OH WHY DID YOU NOT SEE THAT COMING? He couldn't be a Loyalist. Loyalists were the ENEMY. Loyalists were the Bad Guys. Even just pretending to be a Bad Guy makes you a Bad Guy, at least while you're doing the pretending. His teacher called it a temper tantrum, but really, it was probably more along the lines of a panic attack. It's interesting that this happened so close to Halloween, given all those years Noah refused to wear a costume for similar anxiety-tinged reasons: Pretending to be someone or something else means you must not be yourself anymore. Putting on a costume represented a fundamental change in... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2016 at amalah . com
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Noah really wanted a birthday party this year. Jason was happy to oblige and slapped down a deposit on a video game truck rental; meanwhile I balled up into the fetal position every time I thought about it. A party. At our house. With children. Or maybe no children? Or not enough children? Noah happily handed out invitations to his entire class and several friends from last year, I absorbed any and all social anxiety on his behalf and felt an acute ache in my chest with every day that brought another "no, can't make it, sorry!" or complete radio silence. Finally there were some yeses, we sent in reminder cards and got a couple more. The day of the party, we still hadn't heard from well over a dozen parents. ' But at some point, I stopped caring. I woke up feeling good. Relaxed. The house was spotless and we kept everything else as low key as possible. We had enough children and adults coming to definitely qualify as a party, including all the people I know Noah cares the most about. They all arrived with big hugs and smiles and gifts and explored the house in a wild,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2016 at amalah . com
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Okay, so first of all, wait, hold up, everybody shut up for a minute. I am so deeply grateful to everybody who took the time to comment, email, or message me yesterday. It was all a bit overwhelming (although to be fair, right now everything is overwhelming, including getting out of bed and/or composing a meal more complicated than several sticks of string cheese), but it was overwhelming in a good, kind, warm-hug sort of way. I struggle more these days with how honest/confessional I should be online, now that I have at least one foot in a more professional realm, albeit one where everybody still knows my blog name. But I'm glad I just came out and said what's what. Because it fucking sucks and I need a place where I can say that, curse words and all. (IT FUCK FUCKITY FUCKFUCK FUCKER FUCKING FUCKSTICK SUCKS.) But as planned, I got out of bed yesterday, took a shower, combed my hair kind of, powdered my shiny face and even dabbed on some mascara (which I may or may not still be wearing today), and drove myself to my doctor. She listened, nodded, and got to work digging the implant... Continue reading
Posted Oct 20, 2016 at amalah . com
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I felt it the minute I woke up on Monday morning. Or more specifically, I didn't feel it. I didn't feel anything. Probably not a big surprise or shocker here, but I've been struggling with my anxiety levels for awhile now. I have retyped that sentence at least 17 times, because "struggling" doesn't seem to go far enough, but alternatives like "suffering" or "practically debilitated by" seem too drama queenish. But...it's been bad, guys. On Monday, though. A switch got flipped. I woke up late vs. waking up before dawn, and instead of feeling wracked with anxiety over the day's mundane to-do list and Trump-related existential terror, I felt...nothing. Just the abyss of a depressive spiral. Not to get too gross-out personal (LOL AT THE SHIT IN THE ARCHIVES), but I first blamed my anxiety on hormones, and my super-irregular menstrual cycles. So I decided to try a birth control implant in my arm that my (NOW FORMER) doctor swore up and down had zero mood-related side effects and would eventually stop my periods altogether, like WOOT. I didn't need the birth control aspect (SNIP SNIP) but figured no bleeding or PMS sounded pretty great, let's give it a try!... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2016 at amalah . com
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Ezra (and Bluen and Bube and Jimmy and Hobbes) had all their birthday dreams come true this weekend. Including this!! This is our friend's horse Ace. She's been offering to take the boys riding awhile now, and Ezra decided that sounded like a perfect birthday activity. To be honest, I was somewhat expecting Ezra to change his mind once he was there, live and in person with a Real Horse. And I think he was a little nervous, but not enough to hop right on and give it a try. He cut his first ride fairly short, but then after watching his brothers he decided he wanted to go again. After all, it WAS his birthday. He was much more confident the second time around. I haven't ridden a horse in FOREVER, so I broke myself in on the laziest, fattest horse in the barn. "Leisurely pace" doesn't even begin to describe it, but it was nice to realize I remember how horses work, more or less. Also, I didn't fall off and die. So, success! Noah went next. He rode therapy horses a couple times in preschool so he obviously loved this, almost as much as exploring the barn... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2016 at amalah . com
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And now it's this one's turn to go ahead and be all huge, all of a sudden. Tomorrow is Ezra's eighth birthday. He has requested Angry Birds Legos, horseback riding and a cheesecake. It is also Bluen's birthday. She asked for a new party dress, in purple this time. It is also Bube's birthday. He wants Wonder Woman, so they can get married. Would you believe it? It's also Jimmy the Baby Bat's birthday. He wants a girl bat named Lily. Not to marry, though. They are still just babies. And of course, we can't forget about Hobbes' birthday. He wants a wooden Thomas the Tank Engine set. (Hobbes is about to hit the motherload, by the way, in the form of ALL OUR OLD THOMAS TRAINS. I thought I'd given them away, but found them in an unlabeled box last week. [I went looking once I realized there was no way I could justify spending this much money on a gift for a stuffed tiger I won from a claw machine.] We somehow managed to move the entire collection from one house to the next and not realize it. So...a return to the Isle of Sodor, anyone?) I think... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2016 at amalah . com
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On Monday night I hit my head on a wall, split my forehead open, bled profusely all over myself, and got a concussion. REALLY GOOD WEEK OVER HERE. We were hanging out at our friends' awesome new house, a house I've been to before but have yet to fully grasp the twisty, multi-level floorplan -- I keep mistaking closets and the laundry room for the bathroom, and don't even get me started on the light switch situation, there are so many switches what do they all doooo. Half the time I just give up and pee in the dark. Which is probably what I should have done on Monday, because our friends are ASSHOLES. This is Suzy. They like to hide her around the house for maximum jump scare/creep out effect, and they get me EVERY SINGLE TIME. BAM, turn a corner and she's there, lurking in the shadows. You sit down to pee and BAM. Creeping on ya in the shower. Once again, she was hiding out in the bathroom, and once again, I was so preoccupied with finding the proper light switch that I didn't realize she was literally six inches away from my face and suddenly HERRRRREEEE'S... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2016 at amalah . com
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