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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
Tuesday night I came down with what I initially thought was a stomach virus, but has since turned out to be a mild case of food poisoning. And while I'm still not back to 100% (can drink water just fine but can't eat anything without disastrous consequences), once I realized it was NOT something that would ping-pong around the entire household, resulting in a week or more of bodily fluid hell, I was downright relieved. So I ate some bad chicken at a restaurant over the weekend! The kids all ordered pancakes off the brunch menu! Jason got a steak salad! It's just me! Everybody else is gonna be fine! THIS IS THE BEST NEWS EVER! Or more accurately, this is the most Mom I've ever Mommed. I am celebrating my own wretched but non-contagious food poisoning. We have hit Peak Mom and surprise! It's DISGUSTING. Tonight we're supposed to get in the car and drive seven hours to Vermont. I should be better by then, right? Or at least super skinny? Shit. This is probably gonna suck. Continue reading
Posted 7 hours ago at amalah . com
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My husband is awesome. And apparently I am too. I would never in a million years advise or recommend that anyone be as naively stupid as we were when we got married so young, but damn am I ever happy I snagged this guy first. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at amalah . com
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Happy Monday! Today I am best visually represented by this photo: Which is to say fat, cozy and in no mood to extricate myself from this couch groove. Mostly because of this, which Jason made on Friday night. (I helped! I made rice and prepped stuff and also kept his drink glass filled.) Homemade saag paneer and rotis. Enough to feed an army, or at least all of us throughout the entire weekend and again for me, for lunch today. (We made the cheese using this super easy DIY kit, the saag is a bit of a mash-up of these two recipes, and this is the bread.) Saturday morning I went to the YMCA to work out, then promptly came home and shoved another bowl of it in my face. Goals! We also took the kids out for some local exploring. Our poor little downtown continues to steadily recover from the flood, and the boys' favorite vintage toy store has finally reopened. (You might remember the owner as the hero dude from this video.) (The sidewalks aren't as pretty as they used to be, but I'll take this over GIANT GAPING DOOM CHASMS.) The kids were SUPER excited to see... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at amalah . com
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After the insanity of last winter, our next-door neighbor and fellow long-ass driveway-haver had the sense to procure a snow thrower in time for this year. We did not, because we are cheapskates with the memories of goldfish...but then it didn't really snow at ALL so we were happy to have procrastinated on the expense. Then boom! March mini-blizzard, because of course. Jason has back issues, though, so shoveling us out was going to be All Me. So imagine my delight when I looked outside and saw that our neighbor, SUPER STOKED to finally break out that bad boy, had already cleared our driveway for us. (The bottoms of our driveways are shared, but he went above and beyond and came almost all the way up to our garage.) I opened the door to yell our thanks; he just shrugged and waved, then spun around with a gleeful look on his face as he went up the sidewalk to go help another house of people who were miserably dealing with the heavy, slushy, icy snow the old-fashioned way. The suburbs! What a country. I shoveled out the last few remaining feet and it damn near killed me -- every shovelful... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at amalah . com
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This was last Thursday: Outside in t-shirts, flush from playing basketball, waiting for Jason to arrive for back-to-back-to-back parent/teacher conferences. The weather was warm, the sun was shining, the most perfect sibling shot only slightly marred by some aggressively unfortunate pencil placement. This is today: (No, we didn't lose Noah. He's playing outside now too, but just wasn't in a picture-taking mood today or Thursday. My camera roll is chock-full of him posing next to a whole bunch of Very Important Lego builds, though.) We didn't get nearly as much as predicted, at least, and after last year's mega-blizzard this is a fairly tame-ass storm. But it's March. Marrrrrrch. So close and yet so far/cold/damp. Beau is not a fan, as evidenced by the muddy/slushy LET ME BACK IN THE WORLD IS BROKEN OUT HERE footprints all over the door. He later worked up the nerve to frolic outside with the boys and their sleds, then came back in and made a soggy beeline for my pillow. The cats spent part of the morning looking out the window while whimpering in wide-eyed panic but seem to have calmed down since. Definitely ready for spring to get sprung, tho. Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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So there's some stuff I haven't written about, for no real reason other than it's All Very Unpleasant, and I'm Very Tired of All This Unpleasantness, and would really, truly rather tell you guys nothing but funny stories about my kids and post pictures of cats like a proper blogger stereotype. But at this point I'm straight-up omitting a bit of narrative here, so let me get you caught up. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's. Awhile ago, actually. I'd noticed the hand tremors but was quick to write them off as something similar to mine, but they were getting noticiably worse from visit to visit. It's why she didn't come here for Christmas -- the symptoms have progressed to the point that travel is super difficult and (so far) her treatments have led to far more negative side effects than positive results. She's seeing a new specialist next month, so I'm hoping she'll get some better options. It's been a very different experience than my father's many illnesses, which were always punctuated by specific "OH SHIT WHAT NOW" moments of disaster and hospitalization. Every time I'd drop everything and get in the car, there was this dark cloud of... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at amalah . com
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In lieu of typing out one (OF THE MANY!) furious political rants I've been yelling at the walls over the past month week 24-hour news cycle, I'll tell you a more happy story. A blog reader FB messaged me with a note of thanks after seeing my photos from the protest again the Muslim ban. We chatted back and forth for a bit -- like sooooooo many of the readers I've gotten to know over the years, she was funny and friendly, a fellow mom with a creative streak, generous and kind. She was also, you know, a Muslim. And obviously not having the best day. She asked if she could send the boys a little gift from her Etsy shop, and since handmade gifts from readers have always been and always will be my favorite thing in the world (other than say, a bunch of Sephora gift cards in the wake of the Zombie Pinkeye Makeup Drawer-pocalypse), I said yes! Please! Gimme dat swag. She specifically insisted no plug or pimpage was needed, but nahhhhh, sorry Farah. Her shop is LittleMuslimDolls. Naturally Ike immediately turned them into flying superhero ninjas. Ezra simply paired them up as mommies and daddies.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 7, 2017 at amalah . com
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This weekend we started work on Big Serious-Ass Vegetable Garden 2.0... By setting up the world's lamest grow operation ever in the basement. We're planning once again on two jam-packed raised beds and about a half-dozen containers. It's a lot. Please note my use of the word "we," which is a lie. I helped clear out some boxes and assorted junk and Jason did everything else. I went back upstairs, poured a glass of wine and took pictures of my pets. Weekend productivity: NAILED IT. Last year none of our seedlings grew and we ended up buying plants instead. We started them too late, I think, and didn't account for colder temperatures in this basement vs. our old one. So in addition to the starter trays and grow light, a heat mat and digital thermostat have joined the setup. We're going with SLIGHTLY fewer tomato plants this year, but probably still too many. Summertime visitors to Yellow House should once again expect to have large bags of tomatoes hurled politely handed to you, no really, I insist, come on, you're not leaving until you take some, Jason, block the door, they're trying to escape without taking any tomatoes, etc. Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2017 at amalah . com
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Further evidence that Marrch is the worrrrrst*: A friendly reminder that it's time to renew Ceiba's animal license! Right on the one-year anniversary of her wild adventure of wandering two whole lawns over, then getting herself carted to the shelter, where I first paid for the license (and a fine for not having the license in the first place whooooops), and also got the news that oh yeah ur dog is peeing blood now, might wanna get that checked out. At least she lived out her final couple weeks as a fully legal dog, although perhaps under the new administration the citation for being off leash on her record would qualify her for dog criminal deportation. Either way, love my option here for explaining why I'm not paying for this anymore: THAT'S ONE WAY OF PUTTING IT I GUESS. I still vividly remember the panicked, clammy, heartsick feeling I had that entire night, and the CRUSHING GUILT that it was all our fault -- the gate/no collar/no microchip/the letting-the-dog-out-and-just-plain-not-noticing-she-wasn't-let-back-in. My brain kept circling back to the possibility of "that's it, this is it, she's gone and something terrible is going to happen and you'll never know what happened, but ohhhhhh... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at amalah . com
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The rr key on my keyboarrd is sticking. Not every time, so I keep forgetting about it, and then rrealize a second too late that I've just sent an email or article or blog post into the worrld with a bunch of r-rrelated typos. It's great. Rreally grreat. Luckily this dump doesn't really care for stuff like "editorial standards" or "prroofreading" or "grammarr that doesn't fold and collapse in on itself under the weight of the seventh line of a single run-on sentence" or "CAPS LOCK IS LAZY AND SHOUTY," so I should be okay. rr. r. rrrrrrrrrrrr. (STOP IT, ASSHOLE KEY. ARRRRRGH.) Anyway. How's everybody's week? Mine is boring, although I'm trying to pretend it's not March because March is a very bad, not rreally grreat month for me, historically speaking, what with it being long and cold and grey and oh right, the month where everybody and everything I love dies. Not to be dramatic, but well, March can suck it. Rey was making some vomit/heaving noises this morning and I was like, DON'T YOU EVEN START WITH THAT I CANNOT. (It was a hairrball.) Last night we trried to make falafel pita sandwiches and something went very,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2017 at amalah . com
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Ezra decided he needed a haircut. So Ezra decided to find some scissors. And did...this. The childhood self-haircut rite of passage. He even went over it with the thinning shears. So the front was at least easily correctable with a short enough cut, but he also decided to take care of some random bedhead/cowlick things he had going on elsewhere. He cut them straight off at the root. We didn't know about that part until the barber finished up and noticed that...oh. Your kid has a couple bald spots now, sorry. But wait. Some of that hair looks kind of...blond? And that face looks suspiciously up to no good? What. Great. So Ike also decided to cut off a random patch of his hair, right off the top of his head, where it is currently sticking straight up and out, Little Rascals style. I thought maybe this was a sign that Ike finally wanted a shorter haircut, but nope. Nope nope nope. He just did it because Ezra did it. I coaxed him into the barber's chair for a very tiny trim that didn't really help camouflage the hacked-off portion at all, but at least his bangs are more or... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2017 at amalah . com
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Happy Friday! Not much to report from here, as usual. Really only here to phone something in real quick so I can go play outside in this perfectly normal 70-degree February weather. Hopefully the sun doesn't explode while I'm out there. One semi-related follow-up to Wednesday's post, where the reality of "Noah's going to middle school" hit many of us like a sack full of existential bricks, the school yearbook staff requested baby photos of all the fifth graders. And like many modern parents with way, way too many millions of digital photos scattered across old laptops, flash drives and cloud storage, I went and swiped some random pics off the Internet. Specifically, this post, which is really dumb so don't go read it, instead, look at these photos and try not to wither into old-age dust. The squirrel cheeks, OMG. I can still remember the EXACT sound of the cooing noise he was making at this moment. 100% without a doubt contemplating the possibilities of time travel. (ALL TOGETHER NOW) ...we'll bleed and fight for you, we'll make it right for you. If we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world... Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2017 at amalah . com
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We had an IEP meeting this morning, a pretty big one. It was the first of TWO meetings planned for the transition to middle school (heyyyy there, fellow olds!) and this was also a "re-evaluation" year, which involves a metric shitton of testing and assessments to determine exactly how Noah's disabilities are impacting him at school. Of course, in my paranoid, neurotic brain, you can go ahead and replace "how" with "if," and then spend a few sleepless nights practicing the imaginary arguments you're going to have when the IEP team decides your child no longer qualifies for any services or accommodations, bye bye, have fun in middle school, watch out for the grizzly bears, good luck to ya. (That did not happen, by the way.) We knew going in that Noah did very well on all of the individual tests and assessments. His grades this year have been outstanding, and barring that one unfortunate debating debacle early in the year, behavior reports describe him as focused, hard-working and an all-around delightful, well-behaved kid. In some schools, yes, those positives can be spun into a "it's time to reduce services/increase mainstreaming/drop to a 504 plan" kind of discussion. Our school,... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2017 at amalah . com
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We celebrated the beautiful weather (and everyone's so-so recovery from the cold that wouldn't die from last week) by getting outside and tackling some yardwork. Lots of leaves and twigs and small branches to collect. Our trees like to shed many different things all year round. My contribution: ...aaaaand my children's: We paid them a dollar. Got what we paid for, I guess. Today is a professional day at school so everyone is home for the fourth straight day. We're running out of entertainment options, although my "Anybody Who Whines About Being Bored Gets Assigned Housework"rule is working out splendidly. The house has never been cleaner! (This broom and dustpan combo set is the perfect size for your littlest servants, incidentally.) Ezra eventually caught on, and decided to get ready for our next family protest instead. Can't argue with that last one. Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2017 at amalah . com
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On Valentine's Day proper, I took some cold medicine, a nice long nap, and declared myself miraculously healed...just in time for us to stick with our original grand romantic plan of seeing a drag show with a big group of friends. (Today, to all those friends, I am so, so sorry if I touched you or breathed on you. I tried not to, for the most part. But turns out I vastly overestimated my recovery and have been paying for that night ever since, because this cold is horrrrrrible and my entire body hurts from all the coughing and sneezing. Noah is better but now Ezra is home sick, Ike is sniffling, and Jason is away in California until tomorrow but also complaining about a cough.) (Sorry to California, too, then.) But anyway, back when I momentarily thought the worst was behind me, we saw some drag queens. The show was called "Love Can Be a Drag," do you get it do you get it I got it okay good. Jason took over a dozen pictures of me and I hated every single one and couldn't understand why I looked so pale and puffy and haggard in them, which should... Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Man, last week was One Of Those Weeks. Jason's work kept him late almost every night, or had him commuting to D.C., while the boys all started different after-school enrichment programs on different nights of the week (naturally!). They'd come home extra crunched for time and INSANELY hungry, having missed their usual after-school snack break. They needed dinner STAT and waiting for Dad to get home wasn't an option. It was One Of Those Weeks where we just had to sacrifice our family dinner ritual. It happens. Kids got an easy, early dinner from the freezer or pasta shelf. All as healthy and homemade-ish as I could manage (I do a lot of big-batch cooking on weekends for nights like that), but certainly nothing too challenging or exciting. Jason and I, on the other hand, didn't have to sacrifice much at all: Every night was Date Night, thanks to Blue Apron. Usually when we have One Of Those Weeks, we end up ordering a lot of takeout or delivery, which is 1) expensive, and 2) too easy to blow through 2,500 calories in one sitting because oh look a two-for-one deal on large... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2017 at amalah . com
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Happy Valentine's Day! It's going GREAT. Noah came down with a pretty bad cold on Sunday, I got it yesterday. Last night was Jason's customary home-cooked, multiple-course Valentine's-dinner-that's-not-on-Valentine's-day-SO-THERE-OR-SOMETHING extravaganza. I coughed and sniffled my way through it, then gave us both a miserable nights' sleep (cough cough hack wheeze cold hot cold hot couch) and an equally hellacious morning because neither of us could bear to face the day on like 40 minutes of sleep. (On the other hand, there were homemade pork belly buns. Jason went to Momofuku without me recently and took a pretty impressive stab at recreating them for me, AS HE SHOULD. Then there was creme brulee, my favorite dessert in the world, which I did not photograph because I was too busy eating it. There are two more in the fridge which will make a nice balanced lunch and afternoon snack.) I'm doing some work and drinking some tea laced with Zicam and then joining poor Noah in a much-needed nap. He's feeling better than yesterday but still not super great, and I realized he's missing his very last elementary school Valentine's Day party ever. And I was so prepared!! At least I flaked on... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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Wellllllll, look who got her shit together this year. Just look at this shit, and how together it all is. I completely forgot about the boys' school Valentine's Day parties last year (and every other year, to be honest), which resulted in 2) a mad last-minute rush to a ransacked Target and the purchase of the world's most objectively ugly/lame Valentines, 2) an $800 car repair and 3) three kids up way past their bedtimes filling them out while I stressed out over spelling errors because we literally did not have an extra card to spare and ugggghhhhh they were super-glossy cards that you couldn't use a pencil on whyyyyyyyyyyy....I vowed to be more on top of things this year. I added these three Valentines sets to my Amazon cart on February 15th, 2016 and clicked "Save For Later." Then I created a reminder in Google Calendar for January 31st, 2017 that said MOVE VALENTINES TO CART AND BUY NOW WITH ONE-CLICK HURRY DO IT DON'T BE DUMB. (Please note that my day-to-day life and organization levels still operate at the normal level of "complete and utter clusterfuck.") But hey. Valentines are done. With a whole day to spare! I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2017 at amalah . com
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CREEPER CAT, PART ONE It's okay, Cat. Just over here eating dinner. Can you stop staring at the back of my head like that, Cat? D'awwwwwww nevermind I like your toes Cat. CREEPER CAT, PART TWO It's okay, Cat. Just in here taking a bath. Okay that's definitely enough please go away Cat. UNIMPRESSED CAT, PART FOUR MILLION AND THREE It must be exhausting to be so loved, ugh. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT MY CHILDREN'S ONGOING VERBAL ABUSE OF ALEXA, PART WHO KNOWS CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL AND HERE TO KILL US ALL, PART HELPLESS SOBBING Us on Tuesday night: "This is so romantic and I love it out here this is the best purchase ever and we should totally come out here every night from now on blah blah blah" vs. Us on Thursday night: "OH MY GOD IT'S COLD WHY AM I SO COLD OH GOD WE TURNED THE HEAT OFF AND KICKED OFF ALL THE BLANKETS AND NOW IT IS 5 A.M. AND I AM A HUDDLED SHIVERING BALL OF FREEZING NO DON'T PUT YOUR FEET ON ME DON'T PUT YOUR FEET ON ME GO TURN ON THE HEAT AND PUT ON SOME SOCKS AND OH... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at amalah . com
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We're coming up on the year anniversary of The Worst Week Ever, when we lost both Ceiba and Max in hideous, rapid-fire succession. So it's been interesting that over the past couple weeks I've fielded an unusually high number of emails with questions about the new pets. Specifically, how/when/why-type questions about our decision(s) to adopt them, from readers who are either dealing with a recent loss (or double whammy like ours, I'm so sorry Jen, 21017 can suck it), or are considering adopting themselves and want some honest real-talk about the process. And while answering these emails, I've probably written like, enough words to fill four blog posts about it. So...let's re-purpose some shit! FAPQ #1: How did you know you were ready to adopt a new dog? I dunno. I kind of didn't? The boys brought up the possibility of a new dog almost immediately after we broke the news about Ceiba's cancer to them. Jason was like, "That's a good idea." I was like, "Slow your damn rolls, you monsters, she's not even dead yet." And then I spent the next few days mourning deeply for that dog, the one that wasn't even dead yet. The appointment to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2017 at amalah . com
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I recently realized that the Alexa app on my phone logs each and every command/question/request the boys make of Ezra's beloved Amazon Tap. I scrolled through about a month's worth and it was...illuminating. And so today I present a long, winding look at exactly how the young minds of today are interacting with and pushing the limits of Voice Service Technology. alexa play the angry birds soundtrack When's my birthday? When is my birthday? When is October the fifteenth? How much longer until Christmas? alexa play the angry birds soundtrack Say it What time will be after four oh five? What time will be after four oh six? How do you make the color purple? How to you make the color orange? What happens if you combine the color red with yellow? What do the colors red and yellow make? Come on alexa play the angry birds soundtrack What how do you make the color white? What what? What is a cowboy? What is a cowgirl? What is a cowgirl? I said cowgirl not cowboy How long of a fall would it be if he fell down from a cliff? What do you hear? Can you drink anything? What happens... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's Friday! Therefore, time for what doesn't happen quite enough to constitute a "tradition" but happens just enough to maybe be a "thing," here are some photos I took this week that didn't quite find their way into their own post. Did you know they made a Broadway musical about the Titantic? Like a TAKES ITSELF SUPER SERIOUSLY LES MIZ-STYLE OPERATIC SPECTACLE MULTIPLE TONY AWARD WINNING musical? That opened the same year as Titanic: The Movie came out has absolutely nothing to do with Titanic: The Movie? Much like David S. Pumpkins, it's its ownnnn thang. I somehow had no idea, and probably would have accused you of lying presenting alternative facts, but now I can confirm it does exist, as I have seen Titanic: The Musical with my own eyes. (Not on Broadway, obviously. But in Northern Virginia, OBVIOUSLY.) (I do not think I was supposed to take this picture. Do not tell anyone, especially the Internet.) My review: The staging was impressively 100% amazing, especially since the original Broadway production was NOT designed for this small, theater-in-the-round 360° setup. The cast was uniformly excellent, as was the orchestra, which somehow managed to cram onto a tiny gangplank near... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by The Bouqs Company. I waited a long time to take the Christmas decorations down. The house looked so bright and cozy with them around, and they made me happy. I mean: Eventually, the number of pine needles all over the floor became less bright/cozy/happy-making and I finally dragged up the boxes and put everything away. Luckily, I had the perfect replacements already sitting on my doorstep. VALENTINE’S DAY HERE I COME. (Seasonal Affective Disorder say whaaaat? It's totally spring up in this place!) Bouqs.com is officially my go-to site for ordering fresh flowers now -- for myself or friends and family, since the flowers 1) aren't cut until you order them, so they last an impressively long time, 2) are absolutely bonkers gorgeous, duh, 3) are grown at sustainable, eco-friendly farms because I really do love this crazy planet of ours, and 4) giving/getting flowers that were grown on an ACTUAL VOLCANO is just kinda badass. (Third-party certified by both The Rainforest Alliance and my cat.) (Just making sure I trimmed the stems properly, of course.) Yep. Those'll do. (I kept the BB-8 ornament out. BB-8 just feels like a year-round decoration.) BAM (Officially sense... Continue reading
Posted Feb 2, 2017 at amalah . com
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Ezra lost a tooth over the weekend, obviously an exciting moment for him...but now that all three of them are in their peak tooth-losing years, it's become less of milestone for us and more of a endless mouth-based cash-sucking scam. (I swear there was one week last month where Noah lost a molar at the dinner table almost every night. Which 1) wow, there's nothing quite like the sight of children passing around a bloody tooth stump to really help the appetite, and 2) HOW R U EVEN CHEWING, BRO.) Long story short, Jason and I both completely forgot about the lost tooth and whiffed on the tooth fairy duties. I remembered approximately 0.32224 seconds after waking up and jumped out of bed, hoping to catch him sleeping in, but alas, they were already downstairs and poor Ezra was super, mega disappointed. I went down and blathered some lame excuse about how he probably just lost the tooth too late to get added to her list for that night, blah blah she'll surely come tonight. As soon as I walked out of the kitchen I heard Noah drop the truth bomb: NOAH: You know the tooth fairy isn't real, Ezra.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2017 at amalah . com
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I was getting coffee yesterday morning with Lydia when Jason texted. There's a protest at the White House at 1 p.m. I want to go. Noah does too. "Welp. I better get home." I told her. "This is what life is like now, I guess." I got home, changed my shirt, refastened an assortment of buttons and a safety pin to my coat, and put on my ridiculous pink hat. The boys and Jason all changed into Hamilton-themed shirts, while Noah carefully packed up the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights. He also chose a hat. The protest quickly moved from a rally at the White House into a march past Trump's hotel and to the Capitol building (something the Women's March ended up being simply too massive to attempt), so we joined in. For something that was somewhat hastily planned and Jason only spotted somewhat randomly on Facebook, the turnout was insane. The line of marchers -- once a again a wildly diverse, universally peaceful crowd -- went on and on as far as I could see in both directions. Ike took it all in with a bit of baffled wonder, while Ezra understood that we were marching against... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2017 at amalah . com
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