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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. Here's a little secret about kids "helping" in the kitchen: It's not always all that helpful. At least, not at first. There are a lot of spills. A lot of messes. Ingredients hit the floor. An egg gets pulverized against the rim of a bowl. A simmering pot has been stirred a bit too vigorously and now there's chili all over the wall. It can be maddeningly slow, and frustratingly imperfect. An onion takes 20 minutes to dice. Ten minutes to peel an avocado. Four tries to get the aluminum on the baking sheet without ripping it. They forget to set the timer and wander away from the rice right at the wrong moment. You set them up prepping an ingredient and don't notice until it's too late that they've gone ahead and eaten most of it. There might be some accidents along the way. Someone might forget that a burner is on, or learn the hard way that boiling water splashes outward if you toss potatoes in too quickly. (Just last night someone knocked a chef's knife onto the floor, where it barely missed falling blade down onto my bare foot.) Watch... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at amalah . com
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Last week, Jason and I decided to have an impromptu mid-week date night. This in and of itself was somewhat significant, as I haven't been too keen on things like "leaving the house" and "putting on pants" for the last few months. We went to one of our favorite restaurants (alas, no House of Cards cast and crew this time). I picked a half-order of tortellini to start and the braised short rib as an entree. They were both great. Exceptionally great. I couldn't stop talking about how great it all was. "I am really enjoying this meal," I said at one point, mid-delicious bites. Then I froze. I put my fork down. I looked at Jason and repeated, with a bit of dazed wonder: I am enjoying this meal. *** During my first appointment with the psychiatrist, she asked me what I liked to do for fun. Any hobbies, activities I particularly enjoyed? I stared at her as my mind drew a blank. ...Fun? ...En-joyed? What even were those words? "I liked going to restaurants," I finally came up with. "Eating out, trying new foods. Cooking and baking with my kids, having people over and entertaining." She smiled and... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by LOLA. I recently got a new credit card (the swipe-y strip got damaged and was no longer reliably swiping, and I was sick of being that person at the cash register being all, "no, really, it'll work, just swipe it like 10 more times a little slower no faster okay maybe try harder?") and of course the first order of business was to update all my various online subscription boxes and services so I wouldn't miss a critical shipment of like, razor blades or hot sauce. But seriously, I am genuinely hooked on the subscription box concept and would like even more of my life to arrive neatly packed on my doorstep, on a regular basis that I no longer have to put any thought into. SUBSCRIPTION BOX IDEAS: Sweatpants of the Month Club All the Hair Ties You Lost Last Month Magical Restock Service Your Kid's Teacher Probably Needs More Antibacterial Wipes and Glue Sticks So Let Us Just Mail Her Some Every Four Weeks Yes Your Children Ate All That Cereal Already Club A box containing a curated, monthly collection of Target impulse buys (January's box theme is "Dish Detergent" and contains nail... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2018 at amalah . com
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This week has been a messy bitch of early school closings, delayed school openings, and our first kid semi-down for the count with a cold. I believe making it illness-free until January is a family best, though, so go us! It shall now ping-pong around our household for the next week and a half, with at least two of us getting stuck with a persistent dry cough until April. IT IS OUR WAY. Also our way. Best not to question it. In other photos-in-search-of-a-blog-post news, Jason recently got the chance to take Ezra (and Hobbes, natch) to his very first Ravens game. (I've called dibs on everybody's first Broadway musical; Jason claimed all the sportsball and Monster Truck Jams.) The weather wasn't great but they stuck it out for the full game -- it helped that our team actually won, but really the key to holding Ezra's interest in any live sporting event is to simply keep feeding him. (It also helps to have seats with views of the cheerleaders, apparently.) Thumbs-up and bunny ears to some quality Dadding, right there. Ezra had a blast. Ike felt a little left out -- the tickets were free from a friend who... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2018 at amalah . com
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It's currently 11 degrees outside (-1 with windchill), but apparently that's downright balmy compared to what a lot of ya'll are currently dealing with, as we're at least not digging ourselves out from piles of snow and/or frozen iguanas. We're mostly just piling on the layers*, gathering around the fireplace, and basking in the warming glow of some good ol' fashioned Fire and Fury, along allllll the schadenfreude-y popcorn our doomed planet currently has to offer. Here we are preparing to make the one block trek up to the bus stop. We made it as far as our driveway before I was like, fuck this bullshit, get in the car, we're driving. Sorry again, planet. *This includes a heavy layer of warm-body-seeking cats and dogs** at all times. **This weather justifies the purchase of some absolutely ridiculous pet sweaters Y/N? Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2018 at amalah . com
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I was really, really hoping my first post of 2018 would be non-Sad-Ghost depression related, but seeing how we're three days in and I shall be leaving the house for the very first time today since New Year's Eve* simply to get my meds adjusted, I guess I should just break the seal already. *The highlight of the evening was me bailing on a party several hours early because I forgot how to human. You know that feeling when you're trying to make small talk with a stranger and suddenly can't remember what kind of facial expression is appropriate for the words coming out of their mouth? So you focus too much on what your face is doing and completely miss that they've asked you a question until they're just staring at you in confusion while you smile at them all psycho-Joker-style? Or when the whole room is laughing about something and you're consumed with panic because what if you try to laugh and start crying instead? No? Just me? Okay. **But a Lyft arrived like one minute after my brain officially NOPED out and they didn't charge surge pricing! I came home and watched cooking shows all night instead... Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2018 at amalah . com
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Merry Day-After Christmas! Please enjoy this random assortment of child-like, hammy joy. (We take our PJ game very seriously around here, if you couldn't tell.) Our dining room is now Lego assembly central, while Ezra put his MasterChef Junior Breakfast Cooking Set to good use this morning and made French toast with a side of burning the house down, as he decided to get started without 1) waiting for me to wake up or 2) actually reading the enclosed recipe card. Be safe out there, kids. Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2017 at amalah . com
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We decided to keep things simple this year, so instead of visiting a tree farm, we picked one up pre-cut from the nearest lot. And for the first year ever, all three kids were actually genuinely helpful. The tree got evenly and uniformly decorated (as opposed to 17 ornaments stacked up on a single bottom branch) and -- perhaps even more monumentally, they didn't break a single ornament. The tree looked perfect. A few days later, however, the cats were like, HOLD OUR BEER. (BB-8 NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!) Thankfully, the majority of our ornaments are the of the cheap shatter-proof or kids arts-and-crafts varieties, but we still managed to lose a good number of the delicate, sentimental kind. (Trying not to look at the shards of the very last 70s vintage glass ball from my childhood Christmas tree in that last photo.) Jason and I propped the tree back up, frantically redecorated and scrubbed the crime scene of mass-needle-carnage evidence before the kids got home from school. Of course, it took Ike all of 30 seconds to notice that several of "his" ornaments were either missing or on different branches and we eventually had to come clean and admit that yeah, we're... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2017 at amalah . com
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A look back through the years: * 2005 * 2006 * 2007 * 2008 * 2009 * 2010 * 2011 * 2012 * 2013 * 2014 * 2015 * 2016 * And the tradition continues, because why not just keep it going 'til college at this point? I believe this is our best one yet, by far. In conclusion... ...and many happy LOLs and much hamming to you and yours. Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2017 at amalah . com
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(Photo unrelated to post topic, for reasons that shall become clear. But look! Floors are done and lazy-cat-approved!) It's an...interesting time to be the mother of a 12-year-old boy. Puberty has hit our household like a ton of bricks launched from a Death Star. Stuff is changing. Girls are suddenly a thing. And we're having a lot of frank and honest conversations about hormones, boundaries, consent, and social cues. Also, butts. Meanwhile, every time I read the news I can't help but think that, hey, some of these grown-ass men clearly missed out of some of this SUPER BASIC INFORMATION back when they were 12 years old, because JESUS CHRIST. We might not know entirely what we're doing as we navigate this brave new phase in parenting, I can at least pledge this to my son's peers and fellow grown-ass women of the future: We're trying. We're really, really trying. So presented without further context (because none is needed, I think you get the gist, safe to say that if this list is intended to be useful for you, YOU GET IT, YOU KNOW, YOU FEEL ME DAWGS), here are my Current Top Best Book Recommendations: American Medical Association Boy's... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's been five months and change since we adopted Poppy. And still the most frequently asked questions we get are: Q. What is she? A. A mix of Staffordshire Terrier and Labrador Retriever, we believe. She was brought to a shelter not long after she was born, along with her mom and litter mates. They were all classified simply as Pit Bulls. So we assume her mom was more of a classic-looking Pit Bull, since a lot of shelters/rescues will try to avoid the stigma (and a nearby county's complete ban on the breed) and call pittie mixes literally anything else if they can. Her dad was probably a Lab or maybe Pointer or some other hodge podge, given the shape of her snout. I keep meaning to order a doggy DNA test for her. Q. How is she with the kids? A. Terribly vicious. An absolute nightmare. The things this animal will do for belly rubs will shake you to your very core. (lolololol She's the gentlest sweetest thing and loves being around children, both ours and other people's. She's doing much better about jumping up since graduating from obedience school and will now greet you politely, although the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 15, 2017 at amalah . com
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We have (some) floors! (Wow. Photos of...a floor. A new high point for this blog.) They are very pretty and shiny, though. They shall surely be covered in muddy paw prints and stepped-on crayon nubs in no time, but for now I am very much enjoying this fleeting moment of sparkling newness. The banging overhead is at a fever pitch today, as the rooms directly above my office are getting installed. Then it's the stairs and thresholds tomorrow, and then we can officially move everything back and get our Christmas trees and lament our lack of area rugs. Also, the new floors are really revving up my already-existing desire to paint over all the beige walls, which, knowing me and my inability to choose paint colors, means you can expect those photos sometime around 2027. Last night was Ezra's first violin recital at school, which featured 94 third graders plucking at strings to produce something that seemed somewhat reminiscent of music, but only if you squinted really hard. Also a lot of kids swinging their violins around like swords. Not Ezra though, he took it all VERY seriously and spent the pre-recital lineup/setup time quietly practicing, and then bowed with... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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It's happening! Operation Let's Wreck Some Yellow House Shit Up is finally happening! I'd like to give a big shout-out to that moment when you move your couch for the first time in like, two years and are confronted with all your failings as an adult human being. Dismantling and moving our bed yielded a similar lint/cat toy/string-cheese-wrapper bounty, but also $20! We're rich! And also kind of vile. Let's run for Senator. Anyway, it's very bangy and screechy here today and the smoke alarms keep going off, much to Poppy's dismay. We are living in the basement for the rest of the week with a lot of furniture and closet contents. I was planning to go work from a Starbucks or something but forgot to retrieve any pants from upstairs (specifically, they are all piled up in the tub in the master bathroom) before the work crew arrived. So I suppose I am trapped down here for today until they leave. But hey! No pants! Not a bad deal. Continue reading
Posted Dec 12, 2017 at amalah . com
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A continuation. 1,498) IKE'S FRONT TOOTH I AM NOT EVEN JOKING. Ike came home from school soooooo excited (and sooooooooo adorably gap-toothed) yesterday, because his top front tooth fell out on the bus. He'd been waiting to lose that tooth for what felt like ages. "I look like a REAL first-grader now!" he announced proudly. And then he accidentally dropped the tooth on the kitchen floor. And then Poppy ate it. What. The. Fuck. Dog. One gulp, and it was gone, like so many dropped Cheerios before it. Ike burst into tears. "BAD DOG, Poppy!" he wailed, as we all rushed to console him. "We'll write the Tooth Fairy a letter!" Ezra proposed, ever the problem solver. "I lost a tooth in the OCEAN once." Noah reminded him. "And the Tooth Fairy still came! I got like $20!" (Thankfully this infamous conversation did not repeat itself.) Indeed, the Tooth Fairy was quite sympathetic to Ike's letter and explanation of "MY DOG ATE MY TOOTH" and left him five whole dollars. He rubbed Poppy's belly this morning before school and told her he forgave her and was sorry for calling her bad (since you can literally see her spirit collapse and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by RetailMeNot. So this is happening. Starting next week, the carpet is getting ripped up and hardwoods are going down, and all our furniture is going...I don't even know where yet. Crammed into the garage and a hallway. Maybe the bathtubs. We'll be living in the basement with a lot of boxes and some very confused dogs. While it will be SO NICE to have the project done in time for the holidays, it's...um, not exactly convenient timing in the meantime. There will be no Christmas tree until the floors are done, and our holiday shopping budget is wafer thin. The kids aren't really asking for much, thank goodness, and as long as I agreed that the Charlie Brown Christmas tree and a few other decorations could come out of storage, they seem satisfied. (I set up a holiday-themed reading nook in place of the real tree, which has gone over really well. Ike has of course been wearing Christmas jammies since June.) (Stockings for Hobbes the Tiger and Tahu the Bioncle, naturally.) (Oh yay this guy again. I can't wait to forget to move him and bolt awake every night at 2 a.m., cursing the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2017 at amalah . com
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Thank you so much to everybody who commented/emailed/messaged/otherwise-reached-out after Friday's post. Y'all are still way too nice to me, especialy after way (way, WAY) too many years of oversharing and general idioting out here. Two things I've learned since then: 1) Ativan is like an almost-instant, big ol' OFF switch for my anxiety. Glorious. 2) Switching the anxiety off, however, basically cedes full control to the depression, which is unfortunately much worse than I realized. Turns out anxiety, while brain- and breath-rattlingly awful, has been the main thing powering the hamster wheel lately. Once it's gone, the relief of "I'm not going to have a panic attack!" is quickly replaced with "I'm going to melt into my bed like a pile of greyish-blah goo and just stare at the ceiling while my yoga pants slowly fuse to my skin!" Not so glorious. So looks like I have a bit more work to do in the medication/brain chemistry department. And I will do that work, and all the work, and am very very grateful and hashtag-blessed for all the support I have from family, friends, Internetters, and of course, the therapeutic assist from this pack of floofballs: Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2017 at amalah . com
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Every day this week I've opened up a New Post and stared at its usually inviting blankness. Type something, it says to me. Be funny! Make jokes! Get on with your weird run-on-sentences-all-in-caps-lock self! Hell, even boring is probably fine, just TYPE. SOMETHING. I still don't have any of that, Internet. I do have a confession, though. I'm not doing so great. I mean, I AM doing great in all the ways that matter -- healthy, thriving kids, excellent job(s) with the perfect work-at-home setup, a pile of happy-making pets, hot husband who spoils me rotten, etc. All of which add up to me berating the hell out of myself for still, regardless, in spite of it all, not doing so great. It's no secret that I've struggled with anxiety (that ebbs and flows in terms of its severity and sources) and depression on and off for a lot of my life, and over the past year I've struggled more and more to get it back under control. The past couple months have been about as bad as it gets, no matter what I've tried. I got a SAD lamp. I got a bike and a personal trainer. I take... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2017 at amalah . com
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In exactly one month from today, I will be turning 40 years old. I suppose I should Feel Something About That, but...not really? I'm more stunned by the realization that I'm only 10 years away from being 50 years old, at which point I can FINALLY fulfill my life-long dream of living full-time as Molly Shannon's SNL character. Better get working on those high kicks! (Although I have no intention of shying away from my age, I do admit I am intrigued by a fellow-39-going-on-40 friend's plan to say he's "39 Part II" and then "39 Part III," then end the trilogy by turning 42, at which point he can literally be the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything. That's a solid plan and I applaud it.) I really enjoyed my 30s though, and all the growing/evolving as a person mixed with a solid appreciation for no longer giving a fuck. I'm hoping that trend continues and I can put off being too Set In My Ways for awhile longer. (Unless, of course, My Ways involve lots of insane hats, occasional day drinking. fighting the patriarchy from a tricked-out motorized scooter, and always tipping the waitstaff well.) THAT SAID,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2017 at amalah . com
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9 a.m.: I wonder how long I can stay in bed and pretend this isn't happening. 9:15: GET UP GET UP GET UP 10:00: Time To Fuss Over Flower Arrangements! 10:30: It's probably too early to put out chips and stuff, right? 10:35: (Realizes Jason bought Cheetos) 10:40 - noon: (Stress-eats Cheetos) 12:01 p.m.: Rearrange All The Flower Arrangements! 12:30: Ike has announced his intention to take a rolling Friendsgiving attendance/headcount on Post-It Notes. It's good to have a purpose. 1:00: OMG no one is coming 1:45: OMG everyone is coming 1:47: Ike has re-made the Friendsgiving banner. 2:00 - who even can remember: HI HI HI HI HI HI I LIKE EVERYBODY HERE SO MUCH 2:05: Where is my wine glass? 2:30: Oh, there it is. 2:35: We aren't going to have enough food. 3:00: Holy shit there is so much food. 3:02: WTF lost my wine glass again. 3:15: One turkey down, two more to go. 3:45: I should not have filled up on Cheetos. 4:00: Ike has redecorated the bar area. 4:15: Guess I'll just get a new wine glass? Is that allowed? 4:16: Oh right. This is my house. 4:30: Deep-fried turkey is the best turkey,... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2017 at amalah . com
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Me, all year: Oh yeah. we host a big Friendsgiving thing the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It's really fun. You should come next time! Me, the week of Friendsgiving: GAH GAH GAAAAAAH WHY DO WE DO THIS GAH GAH AHHAGS GAHAHAGA JPFNZCMZXC,M.CZXLDFJD We're up to three turkeys this year. One roasted, one deep-fried and now, one smoked. Jason is making the stuffing, I'm doing boozy cranberry sauce and gougeres. Ezra is handling the sweet potatoes and the other two are whining about all the Doritos and Capri Suns that I've told them they aren't allowed to have yet. I need to figure out the logistics of two pies and a cheesecake sitting in our freezer and of course, clean all the things and declutter all the surfaces. Last week my therapist (BOOM) (THAT HAPPENED) asked me if there was anything in particular stressing me out about the party and I said, "the stupid fucking bookcase in the living room." So, back up. We impulse-bought an Ikea bookcase instead of a proper TV stand/entertainment unit right after we moved in and almost immediately regretted it. It was too big and didn't really go with anything else in the room. But we never... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2017 at amalah . com
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Hello! It's been a bit. I have been quite the diligent little worker bee this past week, as one of my part-time freelancing clients suddenly morphed into a full-time 40+ hours stress monster. On the one hand, it always feels good to be extra productive (and hey, I'm paid hourly so MAKE IT RAIN OVERTIME), but on the other hand, weeks like that always serve as a reminder that I am so wired for freelancing and much prefer jumping from project to project throughout the day. (I didn't have any time to write about poop or in-laws all week! ) Otherwise my brain goes numb and I sort of slither off my chair from the mental exhaustion of Actual Grown-up Human Work at the end of the day. I am such a baby. They should probably not be feeding me so much coffee. Anyway, things are much calmer this week, except that we're hosting Friendsgiving this weekend and my anxiety is up to ELEVENSIES because either no one will come and it will be a disaster, or everyone will come and it will be a disaster. There is no in-between, obviously, also we didn't get the hardwood floor project started... Continue reading
Posted Nov 14, 2017 at amalah . com
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This week is garbage. Everything is garbage. Somebody, anybody, please step away from you Halloween candy wrapper nest and clean up all this garbage! Speaking of Halloween, though: Ike is like, okay that's done, let's break out the Christmas jammies, spike up our hairz and DANCE. This has been your complimentary Tuesday dose of Not Garbage. If anyone needs me, I'll be in the tub. I DIDN'T ACTUALLY MEAN THAT, YOU TWO. LEAVE ME ALONE. Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2017 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. So we've been Blue Apron members for...wow, three full years now, officially. Every Monday, two boxes show up on our doorstep. (We find that two boxes of the 2-person plan feeds our 5-person family perfectly, often with leftovers. Blue Apron also has a 4-person family plan but we found the portions a touch smaller and the meals more kid-friendly than our kids really need. YMMV.) We unload the ingredients, pull out the recipe cards, map out when we'll make what, and bam. Our dinner menu planning and shopping is done for the week, in less than 10 minutes. We have tried other meal delivery services in that time, but have always returned to Blue Apron time and time again. Some are just too expensive and/or the prices advertised don't include the shipping costs (tricksy hobbits). Others consistently sent us rotten ingredients and reaching customer service was a labyrinth of response-less frustration. (BA lets me report missing or damaged ingredients directly from their app, and I always hear back with an account credit within a day. Their customer service is fabulous.) Another one promised super fast, zero-prep meals but relied heavily on processed foods... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2017 at amalah . com
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When we last checked in on Ezra's beloved Hobbes, he was not doing so great. SHOCKINGLY, his condition has not improved over time. He is worn and threadbare, his body covered in holes and his painted eyeballs faded into plain white plastic cataracts. Considering he's like, a 25-cent toy from a Dave & Buster's claw machine that Ezra takes everywhere, it's probably a miracle he's held on for this long. But still, I asked if anyone knew where I could procure a replacement Hobbes-like tiger. Well look what just showed up, right in time to go trick-or-treating tonight with Calvinz and his red wagon: Everybody say hi to Hobbes II! Thank you so so SO MUCH to reader Michelle for kindly and generously donating her time and mad sewing skills to make this adorable Hobbes for Ezra. (WHO IS SO THRILLED TWO HOBBES THAT'S TWICE AS MANY HOBBES GUYS!) He carefully packed him in his backpack last night for today's school parade, then snuck back downstairs to retrieve him because "Hobbes I is having trouble sleeping without his buddy." (Also last night: "Hobbes I is staying home tomorrow because he says he's too old for parades.") (Also this morning: I... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2017 at amalah . com
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Miss Poppy started obedience/doggy manners training a couple weeks ago, and already she's well on her way to being the valedictorian of Dog School, and only SORT OF because there's only one other dog in the class. Honestly, Beau probably needs training more, but it was part of our adoption agreement with Poppy's rescue because she was still a puppy. (We had to pay an additional $50 deposit that we get back once she's completed a properly certified/acceptable training program.) She's a good girl but a big strong girl who already has 20 pounds on Ike and can knock him flat with an overly-excited greeting. Beau gets a free pass on those same not-great behaviors because he's so small. He pulls on the leash during walks but like, nice try, pipsqueak, behold my SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH. Poppy sees a squirrel and I'm like, PLEASE CHILD I HAVE A WEAK ELBOW NOOOOOOO. Likewise, Beau jumps up on people and it's like, "Awwww, look at the little Ewok Toto standing up on his hind legs and bouncing around like a coked-up kangaroo! That's so adorable!" Poppy does the same thing and I end up looking like this: None of it's aggressive, of course.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 25, 2017 at amalah . com