Friday Happy

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. Read more →


20 to Life

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... Read more →


Pacific Rim & Co.

Ugh. What a downer of a post to keep up all week. Let's get back to what this blog is REALLY about, which is hardcore punk rock. of course. The Reptilian Army from amalah on Vimeo. And here's a random selection of the pure joy that radiates 24/7 out of this ridiculous hammy child. This is his last week of swim camp, and then Noah starts a game design camp and then we're going to the beach. And Jason and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary next week! This summer got an undeniably rockiest of rocky starts, but I think we turned things around pretty well. Read more →


On Hope & Helping

Someone I love very much called me over the weekend. It wasn't the first time they've called, but it was the first time I answered in years, due to their struggles with addiction and mental health issues. You just didn't know which version of this person you'd end up talking to. But they'd tried to call several times after finding out What Happened, and their voicemails and texts seemed to be coming from the good version. The kind and loving version, the version I desperately miss. So I answered. It was the other version. They were very, very drunk and immediately started talking about suicide. About a bottle of pills and balconies and being in possession of a gun. Maybe it was a super misguided attempt to empathize, but it only made me cry and beg them to stop stop stop. No no no. Jason grabbed the phone out of my hand and hung up, alarmed at my hysterics and well-versed in this particular person's abuse and manipulation. "Why did you even answer?" he asked as I sobbed. Because I thought they were better. I thought they deserved to hear from me that I was better. I thought we could... Read more →


The Kids These Days

Noah finally finished It. And as promised, he was allowed to watch the movie version of his choice. He chose the new movie, and we enjoyed some nice ol' fashioned mother-son bonding time over classic horror-movie jump scares and a demonic child-eating clown. He LOVED It. Absolutely loved it. Every creepy, fucked-up second of it. Although it turns out he'd already found almost all of the more intense/murder-y scenes on YouTube without our knowledge, so that's some doubly excellent parenting right there. He's currently grounded from screens and the Internet for the rest of the week and trying to get around it by asking what other scary movies we can watch together instead, because he knows I'm a sucker. Do we go for Poltergeist? Stick with King and The Shining? The first Paranormal? Blair Witch? Exorcist? Gotta get him schooled on the classics of the genre for maximum nightmare fuel. Meanwhile, Ezra is attending a rock camp this week. He's the guitarist for a band called The Reptilian Army. This Friday is their first concert, and they'll be playing a Pennywise song (no idea which one! but he is very excited about it because Noah will think it's cool!) followed... Read more →


Depression Hacks

Leaving your phone charger downstairs is an excellent trick for getting out of bed in the morning. It's amazing how much better you feel after washing your face. Wunderlist is a great to-do list app where you can include "get out of bed" and "wash your face" every day and get a jolt of satisfaction when you cross that shit off. If your shoes are completely decrepit and falling apart because you've worn them almost every day for the past 15 years, you're allowed to buy yourself new shoes. You're even allowed to buy yourself new shoes just because. Remember how your baby would sleep six hours one night, then only 45 minutes the next night even though you did everything exactly the same? Remember the sleep regressions and the teething and slow dawning realization that baby sleep doesn't progress or improve on the most logical or linear path? Yeah. This is like that. And that's okay. Counter the anxiety of house or dinner guests with cleaning the everloving crap out of your house, even if it's just one or two small corners of it. Gaze at all the everloving crap you've managed to throw out with a sense of... Read more →


AND THEN

On top of it all, in the middle of everything else, Ike has dyslexia. I've suspected something was up for awhile now (one of my older brothers has dyslexia and I started spotting some similarities pretty early on). Ike is a smarty-smart-smart-pants and a good little student, but kept falling farther and farther behind in reading and writing. He knows his letters and phonics and all the mechanics and spends hours looking at books and trying to write, but when faced with with any word longer than three or four letters, he's completely lost. He flips letters around and upside down and fills the middle of words with strings of random vowels. His eyesight is fine and he's on grade level (or even a bit above) in math and everything else. He's been in speech therapy for a year now to correct his lisp and articulation problems, but his progress there hasn't resulted any improvement in his writing or spelling. I signed him up for a summer reading program that he LOVES and works SO adorably super hard at, but he's so behind his peers the teacher bumped his online curriculum down to the kindergarten level. And then he told... Read more →


The New Old Normal

This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. The first 50 readers to sign up with Blue Apron with this link will get $50 off their first two weeks! I came home from the hospital late Friday afternoon, just in time to meet the boys at the bus stop. I showered, changed my clothes, and unpacked the plastic hospital bag of pajamas and books and other ward-approved belongings. A few hours later, I made dinner. Chicken and poblano tostadas with roasted zucchini, to be exact. It was the easiest way to feel normal again. I've since learned not to rush back into "normal" too quickly -- the next day I attempted to take all the kids to all the lessons and then run all the errands by myself and nearly broke down in overwhelmed, anxious tears the YMCA parking lot -- but to focus on the little things. Like scrambling eggs, packing up backpacks for camp, folding laundry, making dinner. (Opting for comfort food much? Oh, you know it.) Dinner I can do. Dinner I can handle. Dinner has to happen one way or another, and I feel better and stronger for making an effort to spend 30-40 minutes on it... Read more →


Escape Room

At first glance, the psychiatric ward looked like any other hospital floor, just kind of crappier. The furniture was older and most of it was mismatched. My roommate had a side table with drawers while I only had one of those wheelie tray things they serve your meals on. On the other hand, I had a hospital bed that adjusted automatically with buttons, while hers was so old it adjusted with a weird sort of hand crank. The ward was too nondescript and bland to feel haunted, but ghosts were everywhere. The wall above my bed was covered with bits of Scotch tape and vague, faded squares of whatever had once been displayed there. Photos? Artwork? A manifesto of some kind? Another wall was covered with doodles of interlocking triangles and arrows pointing at the centers. By the sink, the outline of where a towel rack used to be. On the ceiling, the empty track where a privacy curtain once divided the room. The closets had both empty brackets for clothing rods and gouged-out hinges for doors. There wasn't even a toilet paper holder in the bathroom; just a weird metal cubby for the roll to sit in. All the... Read more →


One Month On

We spent the 4th of July in Baltimore, then went up to Hershey, PA for the rest of week. The boys only had two requests for summer vacation: Fireworks and Hersheypark. We were happy to oblige. (And yes, of course Noah brought the Declaration of Independence to its birthday party. And Sonic the Hedgehog, because why not?) (My phone died barely an hour into our day at the park, so this is the only documentation of my physical presence.) It's now been a full month since it happened, the event, the attempt, the night it all nearly stopped but didn't. Sometimes it still feels very near and very close, while other times I look up at the sky and see fireworks, or the world whizzing past on a rollercoaster, and it fades far, far away. To a different time and place I have no interest in ever revisiting. Read more →