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amalah
Washington, DC
Recent Activity
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HI THERE! WHO'S READY TO CRUSH SOME SHIT TODAY? lol jk that mug is full of Theraflu, not coffee. I don't have the flu (we "believe" in the flu shot around here, because it is the flu shot, not Santa Claus), but some absolutely brutal cold -- or some amalgram of multiple colds from Jason's work, the kids' schools, that field trip to the Maryland Germ Factory Science Center I chaperoned last week -- that will not let me live or breathe or go 10 minutes without coughing up a lung. I didn't want to or even intend to chaperone the field trip, because I am really terrible at interacting with other people's children and never know how to handle my pack of charges. ("So you like, go to school? That sucks.") I shoot for being the Cool Chill Mom but instead end up being the Awkward and Ill-Prepared Mom who has terrible Time Management Skills. I forgot to ask about bathroom breaks until we were suddenly in a panicked sprint to find the nearest restroom two floors away; I couldn't find an empty table at lunchtime so we all ended up eating on the floor in a random corner;... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at amalah . com
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Many, many years ago, we went to West Elm for pillow shams and also left with a lamp for our dining room. (A wee Ezra was helpful enough to document the shopping trip at the time.) All lighting was 10% off, and then there was an extra 40% store-wide sale going on, and so we got this $399 chandelier (in discontinued grey), comprised of hundreds of (INDIVIDUALLY! WRAPPED! IN TISSUE PAPER! AND TAPE!) seashell bits and bobs for...definitely less than that. This lamp was the only non-furniture thing in our old house that I insisted on bringing with us when we moved. This lamp was non-negotiable. This lamp was a Hill That I And Any Subsequent Real Estate Deal Would Die On, even against the most strenuous advice of our agent. (The same agent who made alarmingly critical noises about the MAIL SLOT on our front door, and so I rushed out to buy SPECIAL POLISH for the mail slot. AND THEN, when the special mail slot polish failed to deliver the desired pop of curb appeal, I replaced the entire mail slot because YES, THIS NEW MAIL SLOT WILL SURELY SELL THIS HOUSE!!1 !OMG!!1CRYTIME!) (This lamp was very important... Continue reading
Posted Nov 12, 2019 at amalah . com
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(I put this post together on Friday morning and then...just...forgot to hit the publish button? And then I checked my Facebook notifications later that night and was like, damn, nobody had anything nice to say about Ezra's costume? WOW, OKAY THEN. But no, I'm an idiot who has only been at this blogging thing for SIXTEEN HECKING YEARS and still does dumb shit like that. Anyway, enjoy this blast from the past of Late Last Week!) I was right! Ezra was a DJ. (Specifically a DJ character he created in Roblox called "DJ Joey the Redstone Rapper." SURE OKAY I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND ALL OF THOSE WORDS GOOD GOING SON.) He built a strap-on turntable, complete with amps, spinning records and a headphone jack.. It was a HUGE HIT at school. Everyone thought it was amazing. It held up great all day, but unfortunately started shedding parts almost the minute we walked out the door for trick-or-treating, so he missed the group photo. I could only hold these homicidal manics back from the candy for so long, you know. (You can see the last minute repairs going on inside just behind ALL UR NIGHTMARES.) Here's Noah in a more wholesome context... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2019 at amalah . com
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Happy Halloween! Noah's been ready for today for...awhile now. Ah yes, very normal and not at all creepy. His friend is coming over for trick-or-treating and scary-movie watching later, dressed as our dear friend Pennywise. (The cardboard cutout has spent October looking ominously out the front window of Noah's room, much to the dismay of several Postmates and DoorDashers.) Ike's prepared as well. He asked me to Photoshop out the swing and turn the chair into a building. I did neither of those things because I do not know how. I don't (yet) have a photo of Ezra's costume, which he made himself and kept shrouded in secrecy. He asked for an Amazon box, aluminum foil and duct tape at one point. Also hair gel and sunglasses. Oh, and all the straps from our luggage. He's either going as some kind of DJ or plans to ship himself out of the country with a new identity. Stay tuned! I admit I was a little concerned about his homemade costume -- that other kids might not get what he's going for or make fun of him for not having a "real" costume -- and found myself halfway through a sentence trying... Continue reading
Posted Oct 31, 2019 at amalah . com
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So Jake left us for his new home on Friday, which: SAD, but also I'm still pulling clumps of his fur out of the robot vacuum so it's like he hasn't really left! Good god, did that dog shed. I could knit us three new foster dogs with what I lint-rollered off the couch this morning. This weekend I painted our dining room, after four full years of bitching about it. (Turns out one person's deep and abiding love for "rich deep chocolate browns" is another person's "oh my god why is everything in this house the color of poop?") Okay, it was more like painting one and a half walls vs. a full room, BUT STILL. You know how we do here. YEAR ONE: I don't like that dark brown in the dining room. I am going to complain about it on a near-daily basis. YEAR TWO: I don't know...maybe green would look nice? Grey? Blue? Peach? White? Wallpaper? Metallic stencils? Shiplap? Purple? YEAR THREE: Ugh. We'll have to prime first, so never mind. YEAR FOUR: HAPPY SATURDAY MORNING I JUST SENT OUT SAVE THE DATES FOR FRIENDSGIVING AND I REFUSE TO HAVE ANOTHER FRIENDSGIVING IN A POOP BROWN... Continue reading
Posted Oct 29, 2019 at amalah . com
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VACUUM ROBOT vs. PING PONG ROBOT. THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE. ("Holds over 100 ping-pong balls!" 75+ of which are now somewhere under your couch.) And then mere minutes after being reset and sent along on its merry vacuuming way, the vacuum robot celebrated its victory by dragging and then hurling a kitchen stool down a flight of steps. Because sure, why not. This household clearly needs more weird. Also a ping-pong ball retrieving robot. (Just kidding. That's what human children are for.) Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2019 at amalah . com
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I didn't want to jinx anything, but early last week I got the news that someone submitted an adoption application for Jake. His very first one, 10 full months since he came to live here, and a mind-boggling TWENTY-SEVEN months since he was found as a stray in Georgia. That's a really long wait, and I kept trying to temper my CAPS-LOCK-level excitement with the knowledge that not every application results in an adoption, that this might not be the right home or fit or blah blah blah. And of course, my excitement was already tempered with the knowledge that if Jake gets adopted, that means Jake gets adopted. I drove him 45 minutes in the pouring rain to meet the potential adopter and an adoption coordinator at her home yesterday. The rain stopped the very second I pulled into her driveway and got a glimpse of a huuuuuuge fenced-in backyard, and what looked like a hiking trail running beside it. Oh, damn. Nice. The adopter had to put her (very senior) male pit bull down a few weeks ago, and was hoping to adopt a (senior but not THAT senior) male dog as a companion for her six-year-old female... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2019 at amalah . com
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Not going to lie, one of my primary reasons for having so many children was to have more people to bake (highly amateurish) birthday cakes for. And after many years of fielding many varied requests, all three boys have more or less settled on their birthday cake of choice. Noah always asks for a Victoria sponge sandwich cake. Ike wants the same one-bowl chocolate cake recipe I've been baking him since preschool, which eventually landed on this specific variation with grapeseed oil. (I dump the wet ingredients into a large measuring cup so it's still technically a one-bowl recipe because fuck washing bowls.) Although every year he does change up the shape, frosting and decorating details, just to keep me on my toes. (I swear one of these years he's going to request an three-tiered octagon cake with dark chocolate frosting that is also blue, somehow, and yellow candles that turn into tiny rockets that spell HAPPY BIRTHDAY, IKE! in edible red smoke and also the whole cake doubles as a party pinata full of candy and money.) (And I'll be like, okay, I'll see what I can do, but are you sure I can't interest you in a giant... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2019 at amalah . com
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I was scrolling through the hundreds of thousands of photos I've taken over the years, looking for any that screamed EZRA! in an especially Ezra-y way. I found this video from May 2015. Ezra was six. Noah was nine and Ike was just a couple weeks away from turning four. I'm not sure why I recorded it. It's just the kids running around before dinner one random night. But it reminded me I need to record more videos of them just running around before dinner on more random nights. Ezra is being SO EZRA! Ike is being SO IKE! And even Noah manages to be OMG SO TOTALLY NOAH! in a three-second cameo. Their personalities are all there; the way they interact with each other is all there. Like then, exactly like now, the same as it ever was. Ezra is 11 now. He still checks Ike's hands at the dinner table. He still indulges Noah in whatever Noah feels like doing. He still starts 90% of his sentences with, "You know, Mom..." He still eats cherry tomatoes fresh off the vine. (Now we just grow three times as many for him.) Yesterday I brought home a small wooden lantern... Continue reading
Posted Oct 15, 2019 at amalah . com
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So we've been going to the Maryland Renaissance Festival a lot lately. I guess our multiple season passes to multiple musical theater seasons weren't dorky enough, and the bins (ALSO MULTIPLE) of costumes (EVEN MORE MULTIPLE) required didn't compete with the space currently occupied by all of Jason's ping pong accessories or the industrial-grade meat slicer that he bought because he made bacon one time. There is apparently a not-very-large leap between attending a Renaissance Festival for the first time and thinking I do not get this, I do not get any of this at all and becoming a person who is like, SUPER INTO IT, maybe a little TOO INTO IT. And that leap appears to be somewhere around the purchase of 1) your second beer and 2) a flower crown. After that, you might as well go all in. (I keep getting a ton of hair compliments on IG/FB and I keep yelling that no, I do not deserve those compliments as the "hair" is a ridiculous clip-in extension that I got on Amazon for $9.99. My hair stops around my shoulders; everything past that is a lie.) (The clip-in color does admittedly match my actual hair color... Continue reading
Posted Oct 9, 2019 at amalah . com
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So I still haven't really figured out how to keep this blog from becoming little more than a repository for Shit I Already Done Posted On Facebook & Instagram, but a certain recent development feels like it merits a mention: Every time I think this house can't get any zooier we go and add yet another damn mammal. This one is Ike's fault, because how could we possible argue with this face and logic? Dammit, he got us. I sent the video to Jake's rescue and within an hour or two they sent me this photo: Dem paws tho A couple months ago, his owner brought him to an animal hospital in Baltimore and asked them to euthanize him. He wasn't sick, or old, or a behavior problem -- she just didn't want him anymore and felt that putting him down would be the best way to be "done" with him. The vet refused. So she left without him. He'd been living there ever since. The hospital staff all loved him, but unfortunately the clock was ticking down on their ability to keep him much longer. They were desperately trying to find him a rescue before turning him over to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 3, 2019 at amalah . com
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Noah Laughing from amalah on Vimeo. The sweet little baby who once laughed maniacally at a baby doll falling to its doom is now 14 years old. Here's his Official Birthday Portrait: Adorable!!!!! His penchant for horror movie villains aside, I couldn't be prouder of this smart, kind, gentle-hearted kid. Who loves animals and art and coming home to see freshly-baked cookies in the cookie jar. (We're both obsessed with the Reddit Murder Cookies, which are, in fact, totally killer and I've baked at least a batch a week since discovering them.) He's as tall as I am but still could use a hug after a long day and who doesn't yet completely find us to be the absolute worst. In fact, he seems to actually like us an awful lot, except when we're making him practice his saxophone. He's auditioning for Honors, Gifted & Talented AND All-State bands this year. He's not happy about it, but understands that -- sighhhh -- such is the burden of musical talent. He'd rather spend hours drafting his own ship design blueprints and building 3D versions on his computer (and then purposely sinking them, because TITANIC but also physics and reverse engineering). He's... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2019 at amalah . com
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Right. So I came here, blamed my lack of posting on my keyboard, bragged about my fabulously stable mental health and newly-restored ability to type commas...and then promptly peaced out for the rest of the week. Sorry. I accidentally watched that Back-to-School Essentials PSA video and had to go back to bed and cry for two days straight. (If you don't know what I'm talking about and are tempted to click that link...go ahead! Ruin your damn day! What do I care! Just wash all your eye makeup off first, find a nice safe corner to curl up in, and grab a pillow to muffle your sobs. Also try not to watch it while your children are literally walking out the front door to their bus stop like I did.) ANYWAY. Hair flip, check mah nails, change the goddamn subject. Today Ike starts an after-school drama program, the result of YEARS of me hinting/suggesting/pleading with him to put all of that copious ham and cheese where it belongs: THE STAGE!! (In tonight's performance, the role of Yorick's Skull will be performed by a fistful of bubbles.) The show is Elf Jr. (the Musical). And Ike is ready to play an... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2019 at amalah . com
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Whenever my blog posting frequency starts to dip, I notice a slight uptick in semi-concerned texts and emails. AMY R U OKAY R U OKAY AMY? Perfectly understandable, given the wild brain ride I've dragged everyone along on over the past...year? Two years? (I dunno, check the archives and see if you can pinpoint the exact second this blog became less "ha ha ha, let's all laugh at an exaggerated yet breezy re-telling of some dumb thing I did" and more "wow I am truly a dumb scrap of worthless jittery garbage but like...ha a aaa? ha HaAAAa? is ThIs How u d0 teh HumoR?") But I am okay! Very, very more than okay! The best I've felt in a very long time! My keyboard, on the other hand... Truly the REAL dumb scrap of worthless key-shedding garbage. The comma key fell off about...two months ago, and I kept stubbornly attaching it over and over again, only to have it pop loose again a few sentences later. So then I'd re-attach it again, but HARDER. (And since I route my text messages through Google Hangouts, this meant SEVERAL of those "hey just checking in hope all is well" texts got... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2019 at amalah . com
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Noah saw It Chapter Two on Sunday with his dad and his best friend.* I chickened out and stayed home to surf Netflix in search of Other Soothing Shows with People Being Nice to Each Other Over Low-Stakes Things. (Now that Netflix has chosen to torture me on a deeply personal level by limiting my GBBO habit to one measly new episode a WEEK, like WHAT IS THIS, the dark ages? 2007?) Anyway, they had a blast. Much junk food and jump scares were enjoyed by all. Noah's review is that it's very good, pretty true to the book, kinda long but that's fine because he WAITED a long time for it, and not as scary as the first one. He really, really likes Bill Hader now, so I've spent the week compiling a best of Stefon playlist to watch with him this weekend. (No, I will def not let him watch Barry but you def should, I command it.) Here's something I was not expecting: Parenting a teenager is actually a lot of fun. And to think I was so scared of them, especially the ones in packs. But instead, it's awesome. You get to finally like a lot... Continue reading
Posted Sep 13, 2019 at amalah . com
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Ages and ages ago, Ezra was formally diagnosed with ADD. His teachers all reported a lot of trouble with his attention and focus at school, and after a lot of back and forth and assessments and whatnot, we decided to go ahead and give medication a try. (Noah has severe ADHD so it wasn't our first medication rodeo.) Sure enough, after a month or so, the teacher reports and assessment forms all indicated marked and noticeable improvement. It worked! And then I found a couple pills in his pants pockets. And then I found the rest in the bottom of his laundry hamper. He'd never figured out how to swallow them, didn't want to admit that he couldn't swallow them, and thus, never took a single dose. We dropped the entire topic after that. I never told his teacher anything changed, and she never brought up any attention-related concerns again. In the years since, though, hoooooooooooo-boy. The placebo effect has NOT carried over at all. Every teacher and coach and camp counselor has the same report: Ezra is very smart and talented but struggles to pay attention. Ezra requires constant reminders to stay focused on what he's doing. We saw... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2019 at amalah . com
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I currently have about a half-dozen questions of the Baby Sleep, How To Fix It, Oh God I'm So Tired variety in the Advice Smackdown queue.* And yet there is nobody around to tell me how I'm supposed to sleep with this bloody thing still moving around my house. They've more or less tired of the Jump Scare Game (though I've yet to let my guard down any time I open a door or turn a corner, which is a LOT of work in this ridiculously door- and twisty-corner-laden house), but I'm forbidden from getting rid of the clown until after Halloween, because they apparently have Plans. (Plans to get us dis-invited from every nice family neighborhood get-together, I'm assuming.) I finally shoved it (sorry, capital "It," can't disrespect a proper noun) out in our garage, facing a shelf in a well-lit area so my brain clearly registers it as a large piece of harmless cardboard vs. the hulking shape of death propped ominously in a far dark corner. (Which: Tried that. I died. The End.) Also, the door blocks it more or less entirely on your way out. Unfortunately, I didn't think about the other angle until I pulled... Continue reading
Posted Sep 6, 2019 at amalah . com
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(Do not ask, as no explanation shall be given.) It's the first day of school. If you're counting along at home, this means: 1) They're 8th, 5th and 3rd graders now. 2) It's the first day of Noah's last year of middle school. 3) It's the first day of Ezra's last year of elementary school. 4) It's the first day of Ike's last year of attending the same school as at least one of his older brothers. Next year we'll be spread across the elementary, middle and high schools, and our morning routine will turn into a never-ending hellmouth-y marathon of competing alarms, departure times, and somehow -- I am sure of it -- even more cereal. 5) WE'RE ALL VERY OLD AT THIS POINT. Once AGAIN, Noah is ~not pictured~ as I mercifully freed him from the first-day photo ritual. Just picture the little tiny turtle baby you so fondly remember, only as tall as I am and with much larger feet. Also some facial hair, WHAT IN THE WHAT. ("It's not like this is something to celebrate!" he fumed. "Summer is over and school is here to ruin everything AS PER THE USUAL." Then he slipped his headphones... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2019 at amalah . com
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This is our last week of summer vacation, and I am sick with a head cold that I suspect I caught at the Renaissance Festival this past weekend. (Though given the lengths some people go for 100% time-period accuracy I should be grateful that it's just a cold and not the plague or smallpox.) (This is also accurate. He has a new costume for next weekend that's some sort of muscle-bound executioner. He's looking forward to sentencing people to death for littering and/or cutting in the privy line.) (Ezra also has a wonderful new costume that didn't arrive in time for opening weekend so he had to go with Alexander Hamilton and was NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT. And although he received multiple compliments on his "fine nobleman's jacket," he told anyone who would listen about the Great Costume Injustice. "I wanted to be a scribe but Dad didn't order my costume in time and so they made me wear this instead." [NOBODY MADE HIM WEAR ANYTHING!!] He was later distracted by Many Foods On Sticks and then a side quest for find the Perfect Author's Satchel. Which: ??? I dunno but it cost me $28.) (Yeah. I know. Those weren't... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2019 at amalah . com
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This post is sponsored by thredUP. photobombin ur sponsorships again yay You might think that, with three boy babies, the hand-me-down game would be pretty straightforward. And for awhile, it was! I shuffled onesies and footie jammies from child to child, removing anything too worn out, replacing the modest wardrobe gaps only as needed. As they grew, the hand-me-down bins got a little bigger and keeping them organized got a little more challenging (still never found that missing bin of size 3T shorts, btw!!), but overall, our annual back-to-school closet lift-and-shift system worked. And then the babies grew into people. People with opinions. Noah and Ike prefer to live in the standard-issue boy-uniform of Under Armour shorts, Old Navy jeans, and a variety of graphic tees. (Though by the time Noah's clothes shuffle on down the chain, Ike's been ending up with fewer and fewer wearable options.) They're doubly easy because they both like anything that's blue or orange. Any old video-game character will do. They each pick out one pair of (blue) sneakers and wear them until they fall apart, and will happily walk out the door in clothing that's visibly ripped or stained or inside-out if I'm not... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2019 at amalah . com
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We're currently getting the back deck and wood trim painted, which is one of those homeowneryship things that costs like, ALL of your money and leaves you with...well, everything pretty much looking exactly the same as before. (They're also power washing the siding, which has grown slightly greenish since we moved in, so we at least get to Make Yellow House Yellow AgainTM.) It's a very unsexy unfun home improvement, and it's taking forever because every day it starts raining right after the crew shows up. (That has got to be one of the All Time Top 10 Most Exciting Paragraphs I have ever written in the history of this blog, no? Perhaps later I shall set up a live video feed of the freshly painted window trim so we can all watch it dry together.) This morning they asked me to remove all the window screens, which I did, while the cats looked on in escapist glee. I of course managed to injure my fingers not once, but twice in the process, and drop one screen down the side of the house. ("HEADS UP!" I yelled to absolutely no one below, for no discernible reason.) Then I grumbled and... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2019 at amalah . com
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A couple weeks ago, Jason ordered a life-size Pennywise cutout to prank Noah with. It's HORRIBLE. Truly the devil's own work in laser-cut novelty cardboard. I mean, look at this shit: First Jason hid it in Noah's room -- and then hid himself around the hallway corner, phone in hand and set to record. Noah's initial reaction was actually unimpressive. A quick GAH!! and a door slam, and then a wise-and-exasperated DA-A-AAAD. The next morning the stupid thing was positioned directly outside MY bedroom door, and the kids were treated to a much more hilarious OH SWEET JESUS CHRIST reaction from me. It now lurks around every corner and doorway. Ezra and Ike claim to hate it, yet are thoroughly delighted with the ongoing game of "startle the grown-ups out of their wits" by moving it around the house. Walking in from the garage? Doing laundry? Stepping out of the bathroom? THAT'S NICEEEEEEE. (I admit that I regularly put it right in the garage entryway to scare Jason because I am a petty child. He always blames Noah, and thus restarts the Great Jumpscare War all over again. It's the cirrrrrrcle of Storch.) One time I caught Noah in the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 13, 2019 at amalah . com
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Our marriage is now officially old enough to buy its own beer. Which was not something either of us could do (...legally, anyway) back when we started dating. Or something half of us (me) could do when we got married. (I miss that dress. And those shoes! The Dharma haircut not so much.) 21 years, several crappy apartments, even more crappy jobs, a couple massive political/religious 180s, seven moves, seven pets, nine tattoos, one beard, a few pounds and three kids later, he's still my favorite person on earth, and I'd marry him again tomorrow if I could. But since we already did that last year, we're going to do this instead. You can take your relationship (way, WAY) out of the 90s, but I guess you can't take the 90s out of the 40-something Gen Xers who are like, SO PUMPED FOR IT. Happy anniversary, J. Thank you for this wonderful life I get to live with you. Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2019 at amalah . com
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Jason's been away all week for work, which means...well, not a whole lot except that I get to temporarily feel super superior at both ping pong and Mario Kart. (My kids are not that great at ping pong or Mario Kart.) I also didn't have anyone to watch the Democratic debate with last night, and thus no one to stop me from buying a BOOT EDGE EDGE t-shirt. I did stop myself from buying an Elizabeth Warren t-shirt because I realized it's probably tacky to wear a t-shirt that says the exact same thing as your forearm tattoo, and this is a fashion rule I just made up. Dress yourselves accordingly. (I'm still considering a tote bag tho.) Anyway, every time Jason travels I have this compulsion to send him photos of the kids eating any meals I make. Like as evidence that I am capable of providing our offspring with basic sustenance in his absence, even though I do 99% of the weeknight cooking anyway. But here! Behold the well-balanced meal I have prepared! Tomorrow will probably be frozen waffles and chocolate milk for dinner but not tonight! Tonight we feast across allllll the food groups! These particular photos... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2019 at amalah . com
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1. First, they will attempt to convince you to also join an amateur ping pong league, as their team needs three more people. 2. You will tell them NO. Never in a million years will you join an amateur ping pong league, because you are terrible at ping pong and even more terrible at losing. 3. They will text all your friends to see if THEY want to join an amateur ping pong league. 4. Your friends all respond with their personal favorite variation of a WAIT WHAT? gif and then politely change the subject. 5. The league will manage to sign up three other teamless/friendless losers and complete the team. 6. They will volunteer to be team captain because "nobody else wanted to." 7. They will be lying. And also a little giddy. 8. It's actually kind of cute! 9. A very specific, very fancy ping pong paddle will arrive in an Amazon box. You will laugh at the fancy box and ask them if they actually plan to carry the paddle around in the fancy box. They will say no. 10. They will be lying. A specialty paddle care and cleaning kit will show up along the way... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2019 at amalah . com
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