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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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This post is sponsored by the KODAK Digitizing Box. A few weeks ago, our friends texted in a panic: Did we have a ShopVac? They thought they remembered seeing a ShopVac. Please say you have a ShopVac. We do indeed own a ShopVac, as any parent of any toddler who WILL eventually stop up a drain and flood your house should. Our friends didn't have a toddler, but they did have a leak in their basement. And a whollllllllle lot of water. Despite house + leaks + water being one of his all-time greatest fears, Jason heroically rushed to their house, ShopVac in hand, to help bail out and rescue what they could. He came home and promptly surveyed our basement, which was fine, but the whole experience made him realize we had our storage room arranged 100% upside down. Top shelf items? Old suitcases, a beer homebrew kit, replacement air filters and some plastic bins with contents unknown. (Legos, probably.) On the very bottom, in prime Water Damage Position? Oh, just ALL OUR OLD PHOTOS AND HOME MOVIES. Our wedding album, Noah's baby book, ultrasound print-outs, and envelope after envelope of crappy pre-digital photos from when we dating and... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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Okay, so I know we just did the whole Santa photo post, BUT BUT BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE. There was a professional photographer at the party and I just got these, and I simply must inflict them upon you. 'Tis the law of the mommyblobs, and I do not dare disobey. This is just Santa photo PERFECTION, and it only took us 13 years. And well, a few extra tries this year too. Look at that human! And now look at this human for a mind-blowing compare/contrast. We old, kiddos. I realized this was Ezra and Ike's first and only time they've gotten solo time with Santa. They made the most of it and asked for a lot of pricey electronics and roughly half the stock of books at Barnes & Noble. Ezra recently found a Pokemon card set I'd bought for Ike and accidentally left in the car. This unfortunately shook his already-wobbly belief in Santa and he asked me to tell him the truth. I got about four words into it before he changed his mind and decided he'd rather not know after all. ("This is my surprise sweater." he explained. Okay then! One must always be prepared... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at amalah . com
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I think this is my favorite one yet. The boys still aren't too old for our annual visit to Mall Santa, but when offered a Non-Mall Alternative Santa, you can bet your ass that Jason and I decided we were EXACTLY too old for Mall Santa, and went with a way less-stressful version. Our (amazing and saintly patient) real estate agent threw a holiday party this weekend and invited Mr. Claus and a photographer for the kids. No lines, no shopping madness, just an incredibly patient Santa who probably learned more information about Titanic than he'll ever know what to do with. (The Titanic even came with her own wish list. The Heart of the Ocean diamond and some lifeboats.) The sweaters were Jason's idea this year, and he even braved not one, but two Target Hellscapes in order to procure all three of them. I had to go yesterday to fill a prescription and was like, FUCK THIS SHIT UNTIL 2019 HAVE YOU PEOPLE NOT HEARD OF THE INTERNET GAAAAAHHHHH oh DAMN 10% off Christmas wreaths I am DOWN. Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2018 at amalah . com
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This week, Ike sat down and wrote out his Christmas wish list. AND I COULD READ IT. It wasn't perfect, but it was a far cry from past writing efforts that I couldn't make heads or tails of, and would even stump him when he tried to remember what he meant by words like LOUUOB or WOEABL. (Those were "LOVE" and "WORLD." Of course.) Ike loves loves LOVES his reading program. I'm pretty pleased with it as well, because...look at that! "Dimensions??" Are you kidding me? (He's asking for a Bumblebee, Pokemon cards, a new Lego Dimensions disc because ours got scratched and doesn't work anymore, and Minecraft Story Mode Season 2. Ezra's list asks for a computer, a diary WITH A LOCK, and "12 pairs of pants.") Meanwhile, his school STILL has not completed the assessments or made any changes to his IEP. His general education teacher is doing what she can, but it looks like official supports and services won't happen until next semester. So I'm very glad we're making progress on our own. We went with a newer program called SpellRead, which claims to be able to essentially rewire a dyslexic brain to process language and text... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2018 at amalah . com
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I cut this off the back of my head yesterday. Depression doesn't have a lot of visible symptoms, but that right there is one of mine. Day after day of unwashed, uncombed hair, convinced that no one will notice if I just pull it up and cover my greasy, knotty tracks with a head band and messy bun and the tried-and-true aesthetic of "I AM WEARING WORKOUT CLOTHES SO THEREFORE I MUST HAVE COME FROM THE GYM, CAN YOU NOT FEEL MY BURN?" Between the amount of time I spend piling on the dry shampoo and extra hair spray, getting the shower and actually washing my goddamn hair would probably be a timesaver, but then I'd have to fully confront all my other self-care failures: the weight gain, the muscle loss, the unshaven...everything, my neglected skin and nails. And I'd have to argue with the mean little voice berating me for spending money on nice shampoo. I could shave my legs if I changed out the razor blade, I think, and the voice immediately tells me "you don't even deserve a new razor blade." And so another day, another ponytail. I went to brush my hair yesterday because -- oh... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2018 at amalah . com
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So Titanic is totally the new George Washington. View this post on Instagram And we haven’t even BEGUN to discuss whether Jack could’ve fit on that door... A post shared by Amalah (@amalah) on Nov 14, 2018 at 4:39pm PST Noah is next-level obsessed with all things Titanic right now. Movies, books, documentaries, endless recreations in the bathtub, you name it. His twin life goals right now include a ride on Titanic 2 and making enough money to raise the original wreck before the ocean eats it. (How he'll achieve the second goal is a little fuzzy. It's either inventing time travel or "something with computers.") I, too, went through a pretty big Titanic phase around his age, so it's been fun tracking down all the books I read and still remember pretty vividly. One of my favorites was A Night To Remember, and I promised him I'd re-read it after he was done so we could talk about it. (That is a Very Big Deal for a Spectrum kid, as he's aware most conversations about his obsessions are more like endless, one-sided lectures.) He read it, he loved it, he's already watched the movie version four times. And as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2018 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 readers to sign up with this link will get $50 off their first two weeks Blue Apron! My mom tried to teach me how to cook growing up. But for the most part, I was passionately disinterested. It was like I was downright determined to head off into adult life without the ability to scramble an egg or function without a microwave. I loved to help ("help") her bake cookies, of course, because cookies, and cookie dough, plus we stored all the Christmas cookie cutters in this weirdly inaccessible corner cabinet in our kitchen and I was the only one small enough to climb in and find them. I would toss them out and then pretend I was in Narnia for awhile while my mom did all the work. Anything else cooking related, I wanted nothing to do with. It was boring, I'd probably mess it up, why go through all that work when I'd rather just eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Do you know how easy it is to microwave a hot dog? Why can't we just always eat hot dogs? But still, she tried. Family dinner time... Continue reading
Posted Nov 13, 2018 at amalah . com
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Who's done with this week? I am DONE with this week. What I am NOT done with, on the other hand, is the faces my cat makes into the front-facing camera. ME: when I turn on the front-facing camera by accident. ME: opening up Google News and just, like, the headlines alone these days ME: on a late-night Wikiwormhole about serial killers. ME: reading the comments when I know I shouldn't be reading the comments ME: when I feel cute, might delete later tho Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2018 at amalah . com
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Hi hi hi. I'm okay. I know I don't usually go that long without posting but it felt disingenuous to sit here writing about how Ike got an entire container of green Halloween slime stuck in his hair when everything else is going to hell in a reusable grocery bag and WHAT KIND OF WORLD ARE MY SLIME-COATED CHILDREN EVEN GOING TO INHERIT, PEOPLE? GET YOUR BUTTS TO THE POLLS. I voted, Jason voted, everyone we know has voted. Now there is nothing to do but wait and pray and stress-eat another package of Kraft singles. I got the slime out of Ike's hair, incidentally, with blue Dawn dish detergent, after several of the Internet's other suggestions for How To Get Slime Out Of Your Hair did not do the trick. Blue Dawn: The only thing you need to get slime out of hair and lipstick off cats. They should hire me for copywriting. We forgot to take any photos of Halloween, so you're spared that parade of awkwardness. Jason and I skipped dressing up, but Ezra and Ike made their own costumes: Ezra went as "Joey Reddabber," an original comic book character he created, and Ike dressed up as... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at amalah . com
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UPDATE #1: I folded the laundry! All of the laundry! I guess I should've taken a photo to better communicate just how much laundry we were talking about, but it was too embarrassing. Even depressed people are entitled to some small slice of vanity, right? Anyway, it's all put away now, and I even tackled the spring/summer closet changeover to fall/winter. Then I took a nap. UPDATE #2: Speaking of the changing of the seasons, our patio toads have left us to hibernate for winter. I will miss them terribly and hope they'll be back next year. Maybe I'll register them as emotional support toads and let them loose on an airplane! UPDATE #3: Ike's IEP meeting...happened. Given the glacial pace of assessment testing (since the independent assessments we paid for didn't line up 100% with the district's standards, aaaaaaahhhhhhhdjvojfohfvoiwehfgpeh), Ike will be lucky to get formal supports and services in place by...Christmas. Aaaaaaahhhhhhhdjvojfohfvoiwehfgpeh times eleventy. So we are very, very relieved we jumped on the ONE OPEN SPOT his reading program offered us and didn't dick around any longer. He loves going, and while it's not an overnight fix or anything, I can already see some confidence creeping back... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2018 at amalah . com
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The first sign of trouble was that I stopped washing my face. Some days I'd go to bed with my makeup on, and just...smear away the raccoon streaks with my fingers the next morning. I knew this wasn't great self-care, so just I stopped wearing makeup most days. But I still didn't wash my face. Other bad habits crept in after that. The laundry went unfolded. My hair went unwashed. Texts went unanswered. Work deadlines were stretched to the absolute limit, and I started working from bed again. I gained more weight, so I rarely changed out of my pajamas because I couldn't face my actual clothes. I was tired -- so, so unbelievably tired all the time, and I would regularly sleep through most of the afternoon. I told myself it was just fatigue from my antidepressant. That there was nothing wrong with wanting to work while nice and cozy and curled up with the cats. That I'd get to the laundry that afternoon, that night, that weekend. And then one night, it was there again. That flash of inevitability, a hopeless swirly thought of no other way out. So...it's been a rough few weeks. I was fine, and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2018 at amalah . com
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One decade ago, I met a fascinating little human named Ezra. (He was, initially, a little less thrilled to be here.) Of the three of them, Ezra is the one whose personality seeming popped out fully formed from the womb. He's just a taller version of himself now. Not to say he's not always full of surprises. We didn't see the flute coming (loves it, obsessed with it), and last week he came home from school and announced -- after years of rejecting any and all team sports like soccer or basketball -- that he wanted to sign up for our county's cricket league. Cricket? Are you sure? 100%. Cricket. Yep, seems about right, actually. He's a dreamy romantic (currently living through his first predictable heartbreak, alas), a sensitive empath yet wonderfully self-assured and confident, and someone for whom farts and burps are the pinnacle of comedy. He is incredibly kind and quick to compliment others, and insists on holding the door for everybody, because manners. No, he won't take off his glasses, they're important, and he asked that instead of a closet full of Noah's t-shirt hand-me-downs if he could possibly get more button-down shirts. "I like looking fancy,"... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2018 at amalah . com
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That feeling when you've de-fluffed and de-squeaked your favorite toy and haz ragrets. I suppose it's reassuring that the Internet is still the Internet, even after all these years. Dissecting bloggers' finances when they dare put up a donate button or Amazon wishlist or whatever (LOOK AT THAT GRUBBY FREELOADER BUYING STARBUCKS!) is a tale as old as 2003. I get it! I really do. But...it's my kid. My Ike. I owe it to him to do EVERYTHING I can to get him the best help possible, even if that means being the tacky-ass mommyblogger asking people who also care about Ike or enjoy reading about him would like to help him in this very specific way for this very specific purpose. (But it's okay if the answer is no! I won't pack up my blog and go home or anything.) I know I should just be like, whatever, but I found myself arguing with the shower wall this morning: The Vegas anniversary trip had been planned for (and saved for) for almost five full years. (We also tacked it on Jason's business trip to save on airfare and hotel.) We went super-cheap on our beach vacation (hence the whole... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2018 at amalah . com
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So. Moving on! We had Ike officially assessed for dyslexia last week, and lo and behold, he is indeed dyslexic. Classically, wildly so. I'm not at all surprised, but now we're stuck in that annoying treading water period between diagnosis and treatment. We're waiting for a spot to open up at a private reading center, and an IEP meeting with the school is scheduled for later this month. I'm not super optimistic about the services the school can offer, and while I think we've found an amazing program that Ike will respond to really well, it's intensive and face-punchingly expensive. But of course we'll do it, because OUR BABY CAN'T READ GOOD. (Does anyone have any experience with Patreon? What do y'all think of that as opposed to say, a GoFundMe or just a PayPal donate button somewhere? Basically, what's the least tacky way to blog-grift nowadays, is my question?) (I'm taking on more work from several corporate clients already, before anybody tsk-tsk about getting a "real job." I have one! I have several! Also several painful neuroses and deep-seated anxiety issues about money and finances that my therapist says are okay to just acknowledge sometimes!) Anyway, back to the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2018 at amalah . com
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(WARNING: Mega-political rant with a deep dive into sexual abuse/assault territory.) Back when the #MeToo movement was first getting started, I sheepishly confessed to my therapist that all I could really bring myself to say about it was a Facebook vague-post with just the hashtag and nothing else. She -- correctly -- told me that NO ONE was owed or entitled to my story. No. One. And then, like millions of women, I watched Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's testimony last week. It was brave and powerful and we were not owed it or entitled to it, but I was deeply grateful to her for telling it. And in front of such a...well...less supportive and understanding audience than say, Facebook or my blog comments. And then! I watched the president of the United States of America (after managing to keep his mouth shut for...what? Five whole days?) stand in front of an audience and mock her, repeatedly. (Using the same turn of phrase -- "I don't remember! I don't remember!" -- he used when mocking a disabled reporter so many moons and scandals ago, back before the pivot to presidential that never came.) And I watched the faces behind him erupt... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2018 at amalah . com
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Noah is 13 years old. This is not a drill. Noah, the baby, the turtle, the little sign-language a-BALL!-loving toddler who went to kindergarten with a backpack as big as his entire body, is now a teenager. He asked for a cake and candles, but no singing. He wanted to shop for his presents himself, and no wrapping paper. He played video games most of the day, but also coded a new level in the Sonic the Hedgehog clone he built by himself. He asked for pizza for both lunch and dinner, but agreed to order it off the grown-up menu. He requested a day off from chores and for permission to repeat his favorite annoying Internet meme as many times as he wants. (Usually he's limited to just a few times before I remind him that it's gotten annoying in the very best way I know how to communicate that point to him, which is to start belting out the chorus of Let It Go. He slaps his hands over his ears and shouts "OKAY OKAY I GET IT I'LL STOP.") He may be 13 years old, but he's still as Just Noah as ever. Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2018 at amalah . com
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If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States. I no longer recognize that version of myself. The version from the hospital, from the bathroom floor, and from long before the bathroom floor. The version who was sloooooowly being crushed under the weight of her anxiety, the one who walked around with a pained, twisted smile pretending to enjoy a conversation or activity but who was more than likely too preoccupied with arguing with some corner of her brain hissing thoughts like run, panic, window, glass, goodbye. The version who wanted to stay home, to stay in bed. For whom Jason would cautiously lock up all the Tylenol and Advil before leaving her alone. That particular safeguard started happening just over a year ago; we didn't get there overnight. The descent is slow and sneaky. I blamed my work stress, household stress, the election, that fucking garbage-haired racist buffoon, my period. There was always something I could point at and blame for why I was feeling so unsettled and unbearably anxious. (The depression, on the other... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2018 at amalah . com
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So this happened! I wore my finest (and only) actual wedding dress and a bridal tank top, which is a thing that exists! Look at Jason aiming for silly but still landing on just plain handsome. He's so annoying like that. (Visible bra strap earns you +1,000,000 bonus Vegas points.) (While cracking up during the wedding ceremony earns you +1,000,000 marriage points.) We did it! And then promptly left the fancy vow renewal certificate in our Lyft. (Our driver found it and brought it back. Thank goodness, otherwise our 20-year marriage might have been INVALID or something.) Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2018 at amalah . com
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...and we're gonna get re-married. Jason and I are headed to Las Vegas this weekend for our long-planned vow renewal celebration. And yes, that's my original wedding dress in all it's poofy, polyester glory. It's coming with us, somehow, along with the rainbow Vans. (And no, the dress doesn't really still fit. I was 20 years old and lived on saltines I stole while waitressing! I shall be wearing it as a skirt and pairing it with a suitably tacky t-shirt for the occasion. Jason also has some hilarity planned for his outfit.) Anyway, we're excited! Vegas! Elvis! Ball gowns and Hawaiian shirts! It's all very us, to say the least. Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2018 at amalah . com
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Are you sick to death of other people's awkward back-to-school photos cluttering up all your feeds? WELL TOO BAD. HERE ARE MORE. AS REQUIRED BY BLOG LAW. I'm sorry. I don't make the rules. Seventh grade, still defiantly wearing a Minecraft shirt in the face of Fortnite, which he refuses to play on principle. (I don't know what that principle is exactly, he's just very adamant about not playing Fortnite. Up yours, peer pressure!) And fourth and second grade, respectively. We never have our act together enough to make cute little signs or anything, but I did manage to find some Post-Its to write their teachers' names and bus numbers on since they were both suddenly nervous about getting lost in the school they've been attending for years now. (To be fair, it's massive. I'm pretty sure you could fit my entire high school in the cafeteria.) (My high school didn't even have a cafeteria. Or fact-based science curriculum!) I did have my act together enough to make him eggs, however. He was very happy with them. He also came home SUPER EXCITED because the cafeteria now has a SALAD BAR. (A salad bar! My school definitely didn't have that.... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2018 at amalah . com
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Work really took over my attention this week...(along with three camp-less boy children running around the house during their last gasp of summer vacation and all I can say is Bionicles. Bionicles everywhere. Places where no Bionicle should be, like in the dishwasher, my bed, the goddamn toilet.)...so I'm going to cheat today and re-post something from social media that most of you have already seen. But what better way to spend your Friday than watching it again and again and again, because honestly it gets funnier and funnier and funnier each time? Jason installed a new motion-activated security camera by our garage, and about 10 minutes after I tasked Noah with taking the recycling out to the curb, he sent me the following bit of footage. A post shared by Amalah (@amalah) on Aug 28, 2018 at 1:31pm PDT Classic Noah. Downright ICONIC Noah. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2018 at amalah . com
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We're back from a lovely week away at the beach, where perfect days were sandwiched between hellish sleepness nights because the residents of the apartment above us apparently liked to run laps in combat boots while rearranging all the furniture between 3 and 5 a.m. We did not particularly love our rental this year, because 1) SEE ABOVE, and 2) We discovered during dinner one night that it was possible to very easily and accidentally trip the lock on the sliding door leading out to the second-story, screened-in deck from the inside, thus locking your damn ass outside. We were all completely stuck for about 20 minutes until we managed to get the attention of some people coming down a nearby flight stairs (who, thankfully, were NOT the nocturnal Sumo wrestlers from directly upstairs) who came inside our unit and rescued us. Meanwhile, we'd left the stove on and all the smoke alarms started going off, and I don't think I need to even TELL YOU who specifically and "accidentally" tripped the inside lock, right? Mmm-hmmm. Baby Ike is back on his bullshit. Also, 3) This was on the coffee table and haunted my every waking moment, because WTeverlovingF. But,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2018 at amalah . com
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Quick question. No, wait. Two questions. 1) WHYYYYYY DID I BUY THEM THIS 2) How long before the batteries die a malicious early death and I can claim that oh, sorry, those are SPECIAL batteries that we don't have and need to be special-ordered and delivered via yak from Malaysia, meanwhile, why don't you leave Simon with me and also, bring me a hammer. For reasons. Unrelated. Other than the beep-borping-insanity brought on by that damn thing, I'm doing pretty well. I still hit the occasional rough patch where either the depression or anxiety spike, but since I finally have the ability to know what life feels like WITHOUT those dueling bastards, I can actually stop and recognize that okay, time for some self-care or mindfulness or deep breathing or sunshine or whatever the fuck. It's been a really, really long time since I could even tell the difference. The kids are doing really well too -- they're all such funny, matter-of-fact sorts who are just like, okay, Mom was sick but now she's getting better. She takes medicine and goes to a lot of doctor's appointments to stay better and out of the hospital. Yay Mom! I'm hoping that... Continue reading
Posted Aug 14, 2018 at amalah . com
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We're coming up on another anniversary -- our three-year anniversary with Yellow House and our new little neighborhood. I'd say it's still going well. I love the 1) curious attempt at an apostrophe between their names, 2) the abandoned attempt to spell "friends" before opting for the much simpler "BFF" and 3) the fact that Ike went back later and wrote the names of several other neighborhood friends because he didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. This has been Friday Happy, something I just now made up as an excuse to end the week with something that made me smile real big. Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2018 at amalah . com
Jason uses Google Photos (while I'm more of a "I have seven different cloud accounts for photo backup but forget about all of them until the exact second I drop my phone/spill wine on the laptop" kinda gal) and it occasionally makes little collages for him automatically, clearly using some kind of terrifying facial recognition/tracking technology that it's best to not think too hard about. It made this one of us recently, which could be accurately categorized as "Selfies Taken In Bars" or "Photos In Which Jason Looks Infuriating Handsome & Charming While Amy...Is Also...There." Us from amalah on Vimeo. Very apt for today, our 20th (T-W-E-NNNNNN-T-I-E-T-H) wedding anniversary. The anniversary of the day I somehow convinced this man to marry and run away with 20-year-old me. Well before my jawline started melting into my neck. And if that weren't crazy enough, I've also somehow convinced this man to marry me AGAIN, next month. We'll be renewing our vows in the style we always dreamed our first dirt-poor, underage wedding could have been. Which is obviously: Vegas. And Elvis. I can't wait. It's been a really tough year, there's no denying that. Definitely the kind of year that puts the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2018 at amalah . com
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