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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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This post is sponsored by thredUP. I was folding Ike's laundry recently and came across some clothing that had...seen better days, to put it nicely. Shirts and pants with permanent stains, worn-out seams, holes started to emerge at the knees and elbows. All clothing that had been passed down to him; most of it previously worn by both of his older brothers. Hand-me-downs are a wonderful thing, but we're definitely stretching the limits of them at this point. Ike so rarely gets new clothing that's just for HIM, he gets irrationally excited over new pajamas or a cheap souvenir t-shirt. One morning he came bursting into my room to thank me for the new bag of socks I'd emptied into his drawer. Socks! New ones! Look Ma, no holes! Poor third child. Enter thredUP. I shopped at thredUP a lot back in the day when it was a parent-to-parent kids' clothing swap service. It's since evolved to a really amazing online consignment store, packed with both kids' and women's clothing -- along with a pretty big selection of high-end and designer brands. (Which always makes my clicking finger start to itch.) The kids’ section is GREAT because I can buy... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at amalah . com
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The very first item on Ezra's Christmas list was a "radio." Something that, once upon a time, would've been a pretty straightforward request. Except that I knew he probably didn't have the faintest clue what an actual, traditional "radio" is or does, and even I was like, "do they even...make those...anymore?" After asking him some leading questions, I was able to confirm that yes, the child who still sometimes tries to swipe left at magazines had some pretty unrealistic expectations about what his "radio" would do. He wants to listen to music in his room, but like, whatever music he wants, whenever he wants it. For free. MEANWHILE: Flashbacks to my very first radio/cassette player combo deck, where I would obsessively switch between two or three radio stations, hoping to catch a "good song," while keeping my fingers poised over the record button so I could BLAM, capture it on a sloppy cassette mixtape, also GOD would it kill the DJ to STOP TALKING YOU'RE RUINING MY JAM. (True Story: To this day, whenever I hear the opening bars of George Michael's Never Gonna Dance Again I mentally congratulate Bethany from Bensalem for scoring free concert tickets.) We have several... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at amalah . com
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It's cold and icy and blah out there, but I seem to have mostly recovered from whatever cold/sinus bullshit was going on last week. Or else I've just accepted that not being able to breathe through my nose super-comfortably is the way I live now, and probably will until spring, when the pollen comes along to fully suffocate me from inside my own face. (Yes, I'm going to see an allergist for testing and shots and all that, but clearly I am not ready to let go of my gloomy pessimism and penchant for colorful language about the mucus situation.) There's shockingly little to report from around here, honestly. The kids get up, go to school, and even the level of morning chaos is at an all-time low. Everybody takes care of their own shit, I float around the edges offering reminders about library books and lunch boxes, then tsk tsk after they've barreled out the front door because we still aren't 100% on clearing your own breakfast dishes or throwing away your banana peel. Speaking of bananas, both real and figurative, Ezra had a playdate this weekend at a neighbor's house. I'm sorry to report that his long-time engagement... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at amalah . com
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I came down with a bad cold on New Year's Eve, and ever since have been stuck in a "I'm feeling better/wait no I'm not" loop. Is it the same cold? A new cold? Allergies? Some kind of combination cold/mold sinus monster? I have no idea anymore, but I do know that it's making me look and feel like this: i am comfy but also grumpy leave me alone in couch buttcrack okay? I continue to force myself to rise up from the couch buttcrack occasionally, so as not to undo some of the small mental health best practices and small victories I've achieved over the last couple weeks: I've added at least 30 minutes a day of circuit training-type exercise to my 30 minutes a day of SAD lamp time, and while I know this is not BRAND NEW INFORMATION or anything, and merely proves I have the memory of a goldfish, but: Wow! Getting regular exercise sure does help! Whodathunkit, golly gee, alert the lamestream media, etc. I don't know how many times I've learned this exact lesson, and every time -- EVERY TIME -- I swear up and down that that this time -- THIS TIME --... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2017 at amalah . com
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Happy New Year! I personally couldn't be happier to drop-kick 2016 like an underinflated football, although I can't quite shake my suspicion that 2016 was just an elaborate viral marketing campaign for all the shit that's about to go down THIS YEAR. Look, I uncovered the subliminal messaging in AMC's Walking Dead ads: WATCH WHAT HAPPENS! LIVE! Or dead. Who even can say anymore. If there was one super genuinely good thing from last year (besides my children and marriage and home and the fact that I have some pets that DIDN'T die blah blah blah), it was that I watched a lot of television. Here's one of those end-of-year round-up style posts that most people publish in December but I'm a rebel. Also because this idea just occurred to me this morning. Reason I'm Secretly So Cool With Jason Hanging Out With His Friends Because I Get To Stay Home and Watch This Over and Over: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Reasons Neither of Us Are Allowed to Make Plans On Sunday Nights: Westworld, Game of Thrones Newest Cosplay Obsession: Westworld Most Novelty T-Shirt Tie-ins Purchased: Stranger Things Shows I Am Over: The Walking Dead, See Above, NEGAN, South Park Show With... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2017 at amalah . com
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Happy New Year! I personally couldn't be happier to drop-kick 2016 like an underinflated football, although I can't quite shake my suspicion that 2016 was just an elaborate viral marketing campaign for all the shit that's about to go down THIS YEAR. Look, I uncovered the subliminal messaging in AMC's Walking Dead ads: WATCH WHAT HAPPENS! LIVE! Or dead. Who even can say anymore. If there was one super genuinely good thing from last year (besides my children and marriage and home and the fact that I have some pets that DIDN'T die blah blah blah), it was that I watched a lot of television. Here's one of those end-of-year round-up style posts that most people publish in December but I'm a rebel. Also because this idea just occurred to me this morning. Reason I'm Secretly So Cool With Jason Hanging Out With His Friends Because I Get To Stay Home and Watch This Over and Over: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Reasons Neither of Us Are Allowed to Make Plans On Sunday Nights: Westworld, Game of Thrones Newest Cosplay Obsession: Westworld Most Novelty T-Shirt Tie-ins Purchased: Stranger Things Shows I Am Over: The Walking Dead, See Above, NEGAN, South Park Show With... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2017 at amalah . com
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We're home, at last and finally, after a longer-than-intended pit stop in PA trying to replaced a blown tire on the minivan. No, not THAT tire. That tire was successfully installed and is working just fine. Another tire. There was an incident in Valley Forge involving my in-laws and a wrong turn and conflicting GPS directions and a curb collision while we were still in NYC. So while at least this incident did not involve any more Foyer Tires, the hassle and unexpected expense of it all means 2016 -- along with everything else that was good and pure -- has gone and destroyed the whimsy and weirdness of #TIREWATCH, because neither of us want to hear another word about tires again. 2016, man. Please wrap this shit up already. Our house no longer looks like this, but the aftermath of all of this, plus somehow three times as many Amazon boxes piled up in hallways and corners. And now suitcases and even more gifts from grandparents and friends. Noah came home from school last Friday, sat me down and demanded to know the truth about Santa. Jason and I agreed that we'd continue to play along this year, as... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2016 at amalah . com
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Hi! Hi hi hi. I am writing this, live and in-person from New York City, but on my phone because I cannot get the hotel's WiFi to work. So I shall be brief because this feels like I'm typing a really really long text message and the only times I write really really long text messages is because I'm either super mad at someone ("here is everything I would say to you on the phone but won't because I don't call people on the phone!! thus I shall attempt to resolve our conflict in the least productive way!!")...or if I've been ignoring their text message for a long time and have to explain my bullshit reasons for doing that. So since I'm not mad at anyone, let me state that my bullshit reasons for ignoring my blog are 1) yesterday was my birthday, 2) Jason surprised me with a little just-us getaway to NYC, and 3) I'm 39 now, Jesus. I feel like that will be an excuse for a lot of things, going forward. The weather here has been gorgeous so we've mostly just done a lot of aimless walking, shopping and drifting from wine bar to wine bar.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2016 at amalah . com
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Ha ha, look at me. I'm funny. WHAT THE WHAT THE FRESHEST OF HELLS NO NOT AGAIN JASON PLZ I AM BEGGING YOU OMG WHAT Touché, you ridiculous bastard. (FML! Hope everybody enjoys their holidays this weekend! I am frantically emailing teachers [so many teachers, holy shit] last-minute gift cards while pretending that was my plan all along and not because I forgot and then I have to go buy food for Christmas dinner and take Beau to the groomers and the kids to see Rogue One [MOST IMPORTANT] and yes, replace a tire on the minivan because there's a slow leak and I am a grown-up who is in charge of my car, my destiny and also my motherfucking foyer.) Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2016 at amalah . com
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Me: Okay Ike, it's time to write your Christmas list for Santa. Ike: Yay! How do you spell Dinosaur Flitcher? Me: ...huh? Ike: Dinosaur. Flitcher. That's what I want the most. Me: Dinosaur...Flitcher? Ike: No, not Flitcher. Flitcher. Me: Could you maybe describe it and does it have anything to do with Star Trek. Ike: It flitches between dinosaurs that are alive and then are dead. Me: You mean switches? A Dinosaur Switcher? Ike: Yes. How do I spell that. Me: Like...is it a flip book? A game or something? Ike: Mom. It's a Power Rangers toy. It's made of dinosaurs and flitches around so the dinosaurs can be alive and then be dead when you kill them. Me: WELL THAT SOUNDS APPROPRIATE Me Again: hands Ike phone with "power rangers dinosaur" search loaded on Amazon because not 100% sure this is even a thing that exists Ike: starting to doubt who, exactly, he is writing this list for, the magic all-knowing present man or his incompetent mother Ike: My friend has one. It's awesome and shaped like a rectangle. Me: Very helpful details. But is it available for Amazon Prime. Ike: points to listing That's it! The Dinosaur Flitcher!... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2016 at amalah . com
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On Friday, the fifth graders at Noah's school presented a living "wax museum," where everybody dressed up as a historical figure and gave a brief biography report on their life when "activated" by a visitor. For long-time readers and Noah-understanders, let me preface that this assignment involved all of the following: 1) Wearing a costume 2) That included a hat 3) Actually pretending to actually be another person 4) Who could not be George Washington (because he already did a biography report on him last year and needed to branch out) 5) Reading/reciting lines in front of strangers 6) While in a large, loud, echo-y cafeteria while well over a hundred students were also doing the same thing for a huge crowd of family and friends. OBVIOUSLY, Noah went with Alexander Hamilton. (Two kids over in his row was a King George III whom he gamely and playfully referred to as "Mine Sworn Enemy" and challenged to a duel.) He tried very hard to memorize his speech but ultimately his nerves got the better of him so he was allowed to read it. He was also offered his noise-cancelling earmuffs but opted not to compromise the integrity of his costume.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2016 at amalah . com
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Why yes, that is Ezra using Owen the Penis Puppet like a guitar to play along to "Congratulations" from the Hamilton Mixtape while Ike thrashes around with a ukulele butchering the lyrics to "Iron Man" by Black Sabbath so honestly not much else to see here other than a typical Wednesday night for the Storch family, really. Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2016 at amalah . com
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Ezra brought home a puppet he made in art yesterday. The kids created their own "Wild Thing" and then put on a class puppet show about the book. Ezra was pretty into the project. He told me his puppet's name is Owen. ... ....... ........... I don't think I'm going to ask any more questions about Owen. Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2016 at amalah . com
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Not much to report on these days, as you probably surmised from the fact I recently wrote an entire post about a ladder in a box in our foyer. Which yes, is still there. Although this was also happening there this morning. Night after night I resist the overwhelming urge to pose The Damn Elf in compromising, dirty ways and then my kids are like, Hobbes is going to ride Jingle all day and I wonder how in the world I ended up being the only adolescent boy in the household. (FOR NOW. I SHALL ONE DAY TEACH THEM MY WAYS.) Noah has been invited to audition for our county's Gifted & Talented band, which was like whoa, what? Jason and I went full proud crazy stage parents for about 15 minutes but then Noah gave us a firm, "NOPE, not interested." We're obviously not going to push him (especially since he remained unmoved by several bribes involving trips to various important historical landmarks), but it's a touch frustrating. His natural musical talents are streets ahead of his INTEREST in his musical talents, and he definitely takes it all a bit for granted that it all comes so easy for... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2016 at amalah . com
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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 Dec 9, 2016 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 Dec 8, 2016 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 Dec 6, 2016 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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