Friday, September 30, 2016

7 Quick Takes about Becoming a Canadian Celebrity, Forced Thank-You Note Writing, and Sugary Treats from Your Dentist

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?

1


In case you missed it, Unremarkable Files turned two this week. My two-year blogging anniversary snuck up on me, which was fitting because my actual anniversaries with Phillip often take me by surprise, too.

There might have been a few years when we were reminded it was our anniversary by someone wishing us a happy anniversary.

2


As Phillip and I climbed into bed the night before, I mentioned that tomorrow was my blog's second birthday.

"Really?" he asked. "You should make a cake."

"I already did that," I said.

"You did?"

"Last year."

"I don't remember that."

"The kids threw a party. They made and decorated a cake all by themselves. It was super-ugly. I'm surprised we didn't all die of salmonella."

"Oh." There was a long pause from Phillip. "You could make cupcakes, then."

"You really care about this."

"You could do the frosting in your blog's colors and the kids could spell out 'Unremarkable Files' with white chocolate chips. The cupcakes could be chocolate  no wait, that doesn't go with the colors of your blog..."

"I think you just want cake."

Phillip paused. "Well, I always want cake."

So we made cupcakes, as per Phillip's vision.

7 Quick Takes about Becoming a Canadian Celebrity, Forced Thank-You Note Writing, and Sugary Treats from Your Dentist  {posted@ Unremarkable Files}

7 Quick Takes about Becoming a Canadian Celebrity, Forced Thank-You Note Writing, and Sugary Treats from Your Dentist  {posted@ Unremarkable Files}

One problem: I counted beforehand how many cupcakes we were going to need and made exactly that many. And I counted wrong.

As Phillip said, ending up one cupcake short was "perfectly fitting." ( In my defense, there are a holy ton of letters to count in 'Unremarkable Files.')

We made it work.

7 Quick Takes about Becoming a Canadian Celebrity, Forced Thank-You Note Writing, and Sugary Treats from Your Dentist  {posted@ Unremarkable Files}
Much less ugly than last year's cake.

7 Quick Takes about Becoming a Canadian Celebrity, Forced Thank-You Note Writing, and Sugary Treats from Your Dentist  {posted@ Unremarkable Files}
You know that movie Gone in 60 Seconds?  

3


Several weeks ago, a reporter from the Toronto Star emailed me to ask for an interview on a piece about Mormon bloggers.

I was all ready to wow her with my professionalism, and then I ended up missing our scheduled phone interview because I got stuck in traffic driving back from a botanical garden with my kids.

We rescheduled, and I almost missed it again because I was dropping my daughter off at a playdate. I guess that would've given her a more accurate impression of my life and blog than the actual interview, now that I think about it.

The article is called "Mormon Mommies Have the Best Blogs," and I had to laugh when I read the part about my blog income being "a happy side benefit." What she didn't say, bless her heart, is that the "happy side benefit" is, like, a donut every year on my birthday.

She made me sound a lot better at blogging than I actually am.

4


Mormons serve in lots of different roles at church on a rotating basis, and for the last year I've been teaching the 9- and 10-year-olds.

Just recently, I was released from this calling and given a new one. (I like to joke that this happens when we get too good at what we're doing, so God nudges us out of our comfort zone and makes us start all over.) My new responsibility is in the presidency of the Relief Society, which is our church's women's organization.

I'll really miss the kids I taught, so I was thrilled when their new teacher found me on Sunday and handed me a pile of thank-you cards from my old class.

7 Quick Takes about Becoming a Canadian Celebrity, Forced Thank-You Note Writing, and Sugary Treats from Your Dentist  {posted@ Unremarkable Files}

Okay, so the cards came attached to a plate of cookies and I may have also been excited about that.

7 Quick Takes about Becoming a Canadian Celebrity, Forced Thank-You Note Writing, and Sugary Treats from Your Dentist  {posted@ Unremarkable Files}
"Dear Sister Evans: I have to write this." See? The kids LOVED me.

I think the cookies may have been for my entire family, but I wasn't sure so I ate most of them myself just to be on the safe side.

5


It's been a hard week here. Hilarious things have happened as always, but there's also been a lot of sadness.

A teenager from our congregation took his own life, and there really are no words to describe the heavy emotional toll it's taken on the entire church.

Between all the emotions following Matthew's memorial service on Saturday morning and the fact that I was in charge of pre-cooking the food for a spaghetti dinner for the whole congregation the next day, I may  have started sobbing hysterically over 25 pounds of pasta in my kitchen on Saturday night until Phillip took over.

Like I said, it's been hard.

The dinner went well, and our Relief Society president summed it up later by saying: "There's no better way to end this very difficult weekend than being surrounded by friends and pasta."

If you have an extra moment, please say a prayer for all of us, especially for our friends who are trying to find a new normal after losing their son and brother.

6


I'm always excited for General Conference, which is what we Mormons will be watching this weekend, but particularly so in light of the difficult week it's been. I could sure use an extra dose of Godly perspective.

General Conference happens every six months. It's a four-part broadcast from the prophet, apostles, and other leaders of my church, each speaking on different spiritual topics. Talks are usually between 10-20 minutes long.

You can listen in live (viewing times and ways to watch/listen are here) or after the fact at gc.lds.org while you're washing dishes or commuting to work. You don't have to be Mormon, all are welcome.


7


I received a hand-addressed letter in the mail from my dentist's office, and when I opened it up it was a thank-you note with a $10 gift card to Dunkin' Donuts!

7 Quick Takes about Becoming a Canadian Celebrity, Forced Thank-You Note Writing, and Sugary Treats from Your Dentist  {posted@ Unremarkable Files}

My thoughts were as follows:

  1. What a lovely gesture.
  2. Heck yes, I will refer my friends to you for $10 at Dunkin' Donuts!
  3. Wait, is anything at Dunkin' Donuts even remotely good for your teeth?
Nevertheless, I'll accept the gift in the spirit in which it was intended and keep my mouth shut. It's the right thing to do.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

19 Things All Moms Know

Motherhood is inevitably followed by a lot of other things: messy buns, a purse filled with Cheerio dust, a permanent sleep deficit that will last longer than the national debt for starters.

But it also comes with a very specific set of knowledge.

19 Things All Moms Know -- Motherhood comes with messy buns, a gigantic purse filled with Cheerio dust, and these 19 hilarious truths that literally all moms know.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

If you're a mother, you know...
  1. The location of every restroom in every store you have ever visited.
  2. That pee is sterile.
  3. What pennies being dropped into the upstairs toilet sounds like.
  4. That it's possible to love someone with all your heart and still call them by the wrong name 60% of the time.
  5. Never to make eye contact with a small child while rocking them to sleep. Ever.
  6. That getting ready for a spontaneous afternoon out takes the same amount of time as packing up for a move to France.
  7. Exactly how many minutes are left until naptime.
  8. And bedtime.
  9. That the price of doing jumping jacks is changing into a new pair of underwear.
  10. That the car carts at the grocery store are a hernia just waiting to happen.
  11. Just how disturbing most fairy tales and nursery rhymes actually are.
  12. The whereabouts of at least 8 single socks scattered around the house.
  13. That kids can actually will themselves to throw up if you try to make them eat against their wishes.
  14. What your preschooler's face looks like when she is exactly 5 seconds away from pooping her pants.
  15. How to nap while covering both your face and your groin at the same time.
  16. The names and backstories of way too many animated talking animals.
  17. That child ears are tuned to the frequency of a candy bar being unwrapped.
  18. How to "read" a 14-minute picture book out loud in 4 minutes, 37 seconds.
  19. That the roads in hell will be paved with clear Legos.

While we're on the subject of things all moms know, I probably don't have to tell you that your kids have broken something and/or made a giant mess while you've been reading this. 

Because you already knew that, didn't you?

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Interview with the Creator of Unremarkable Files on Its 2nd Birthday

Can you believe it? My blog is two years old today. This morning it threw a tantrum and then bit me when I tried to help. I love two-year-olds.

In honor of Unremarkable Files turning two, I thought I'd interview myself and hopefully you'll all get to learn something new about your favorite blogger.


Q: What's your favorite joke?

A: Two biscuits are sitting in the oven. One biscuit turns to the other and says, "Is it hot in here, or is it just me?"

The second biscuit looks back at him and yells, "HOLY CRAP, A TALKING BISCUIT!!"


Q: What's the last thing you said out loud?

A: "I think you need a nap."

I may or may not have been talking to my own reflection in the mirror.


Q: Where do you get your ideas for your blog posts?

A: For a humor writer, there's really nothing better than family life. You can't take yourself too seriously when you realize you've been walking around all day with a dump truck sticker on your butt.

I write whatever is on my mind, which means that it's getting stuck in a pair of skinny jeans one day and some serious meditations on faith the next.

But mostly it's my 6 kids, ranging in age from 12 years down to 4 months, who provide most of my source material. For more on that, see 29 Lessons from 10 Years of Parenting (disclaimer: a lot of them involve poop.)


Q: What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?

A: Hobo. I was a hobo for a few years, actually.

Maybe it wasn't the most politically correct choice, but all it required was one of my dad's old flannel shirts, a pair of gloves with the fingers cut off, and a handkerchief tied to a stick slung over my shoulder — so as far as my mom was concerned this was probably the best costume ever.

Because now that I'm a mom, literally the only thing I care about on Halloween is how much work the costume requires from me.


Q: What's the best song from the 1990s?

A: Oh, there are too many good ones to pick just one! Actually, scratch that, '90s music was terrible. But since I grew up in the '90s I love it fiercely and will fight you if you say otherwise.

I probably have to go with "Peaches" by the Presidents of the United States of America. It's just so silly and catchy. I also like peaches.


(Watch for my signature dance move at around 1:00. Feel free to use at the clubs.)


Q: Tell us about your first job.

A: I waitressed at an all-American restaurant called Country Kitchen for about 3 weeks before I was fired for basically being an awful waitress.

Then I got a job waiting tables at Pizza Hut and was told by my manager Eric that I was, and I quote, "the best waitress they'd ever had." Which probably means that Pizza Hut had much lower standards, but I like to think I just fit in better there.

Interview with the Creator of Unremarkable Files on Its Birthday -- The answers to your most pressing questions about your favorite blogger on Unremarkable Files' 2nd birthday.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Interview with the Creator of Unremarkable Files on Its Birthday -- The answers to your most pressing questions about your favorite blogger on Unremarkable Files' 2nd birthday.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Just Phillip's sister Kara and I hard at work. No idea why the camera's timestamp says '1989.' I was like 7 then.

I loved Pizza Hut and worked there all through high school and on summers home in college. Phillip was a cook at Pizza Hut, where he worked very hard and never wasted pizza dough trying to impress the waitresses.

Interview with the Creator of Unremarkable Files on Its Birthday -- The answers to your most pressing questions about your favorite blogger on Unremarkable Files' 2nd birthday.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
That says "I [heart] Jenny" and it's neater than his real handwriting, if you can believe it.


Q: What was the last text you sent?

A: "They said give it a few days and if the drains start gurgling again we have a tank problem."

Please attempt to reign in your jealousy over the level of glamour in my life.


Q: Have you ever found the image of a Biblical figure on a piece of toast?

A: No.


Q: Why is your blog called Unremarkable Files?

A: You know how Seinfeld is a show about nothing? I like to think that Unremarkable Files is a blog about nothing. It's an unremarkable collection of things from my everyday life. But the name is also kind of tongue-in-cheek, because while there's nothing special about me, there also kind of is, because everyone's life is interesting and hilarious. #humblebrag

And I'm not saying I spent more time choosing a name for my blog than names for my children, but I probably did.


Q: What's your favorite post so far?

A: I won't clutch my pearls and say "That's like asking me to choose a favorite child!" because that's annoying. But I do have a hard time choosing.

I think If Parenthood Was a Broadway Show and First Pregnancy vs. Sixth Pregnancy are two of the funniest.

The most practical is 30 Slightly Insane Things I Do To Save Money, and the most heartfelt is probably The Unspeakable Loss of Miscarriage.

 And the two most widely-shared are Favorite Responses to Comments on My Family Size and Why I Make My Kids Go To Church.

But honestly, my favorite post is one I write every single Friday called 7 Quick Takes. It's a rundown of the last week in 7 random points, and I laugh just thinking of the ridiculousness in these 7QT posts over the last 2 years.

Like the time Phillip made us all eat liver and my kids thought they were dying (see take #3,) or the time I totally rocked the pee-stain look at a work BBQ at Phillip's boss's house (see take #3,) or the time I saw 1,000 convicts dancing to the Sister Act soundtrack (see take #5.)


Q: What's one of your favorite quotes?

A: "Be a fountain, not a drain." -Rex Hudler


Q: What would you name your autobiography?

A: In Retrospect, I Guess That Could've Been Planned A Little Better


Q: What's it like being a Mormon?

A: Being a Mormon makes me happy. It tells me how I can be closer to Jesus Christ. Sometimes it involves work and sacrifice. Being Mormon empowers me as a woman, wife, and mother. Almost all the positive things my family has managed to do and be, I credit to our Mormon faith.

It encourages me to think deeply about life and to honestly examine myself often. Every Mormon congregation in every place I've lived has been a tight-knit community of really nice people.

If you want to know more about what a Mormon is, I wrote about it here and here, or you can click the "I Believe" button on my sidebar to go to mormon.org.


Q: Do your real-life friends know you're a totally famous blogger?

A: Not really. I think most of them are aware I have a blog, but don't know I'm so obsessed with it that I bake it cakes and interview myself on its birthday.


Q: What's the messiest room in your house right now?

A: Yes. The answer is just yes.


Now that you're finished reading my interview, you should go make yourself a cake in a mug. It only takes 5 minutes and after all, it is somebody's birthday today.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

7 Quick Takes about Mystery Admirers, Education about the Criminal Justice System, and Office Supplies Rated NC-17

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday, where I give you (in no particular order) a rundown of the last 7 days. How was your week?

1


I went shopping for a new soccer ball for my daughter. (Full disclosure: by "went shopping" I mean I typed in 'Amazon.com' in my PJs while eating peanut butter with a spoon.)

I realize there are some products where different sizes or colors have slightly different prices, but this seemed a little excessive.

7 Quick Takes about Mystery Admirers, Education about the Criminal Justice System, and Office Supplies Rated NC-17  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

This is helpful for people who are looking for either a $9 soccer ball or an $80 one, but they can't decide which. Don't worry, Wilson's got your back.

2


Two messages popped up in my email inbox that had me a little confused.

In the 'From' field, there was just a random string of numbers at att.com. One said simply "Date night?" and the other said "What do you want for a treat?"

I was getting intrigued at who my secret admirer could be (or, more likely, what kind of weird phishing scam someone was running) until Phillip called later that day and asked if I got his texts.

Apparently his phone emailed me instead of texting me. Oh, and the treat was chocolate chip cookies in a mug with vanilla ice cream. I think it's important that you know that.

3


Historically I haven't been a big believer in going on individual date nights with the kids. We work together and see each other all afternoon and spend quite a bit of time together at home, but for some reason I felt like I needed to start taking each of the kids out recently.

It was the 4-year-old's turn so we went to the grocery store to pick out whatever she wanted from the bulk candy bin, then drove to the park.

She got to decide what we did on the playground, in what order, and where and when we ate the candies. It was the best day ever for her (I know because she was singing at the top of her lungs out the open window in the car) and it only cost me $1.49.

7 Quick Takes about Mystery Admirers, Education about the Criminal Justice System, and Office Supplies Rated NC-17  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Listening to a preschooler rendition of "There's a cat licking your birthday cake," the most annoying song on YouTube.

While we were at the park I started chatting with some guy, and when I mentioned having 6 kids he literally leaned back like I'd hit him and quickly exclaimed something in Turkish to himself. (I didn't ask if it was a curse or a blessing.)

By the way, I love how he introduced himself: "This is my daughter Gamze and this is my daughter Arwa; we are Turkish." I wish I had so much pride in my identity!

4


We're waging a constant war against nature at our house, and we're largely losing. There are moles burrowing in the yard, squirrels getting in the house, and woodpeckers destroying the trim. I'm not even going to talk about the weeds. If all the species got together I'm sure they could easily force us out and win complete control of the house in less than a day.

Phillip even took a shot at a woodpecker who started pecking at the trim over our garage door with his BB gun. We've become those people.

But it gets better.

He propped up the BB gun on the porch next to the front door and forgot to tell me it was there, so it looked super-welcoming when everyone came over later and dropped their kids off for the co-op preschool I'm running. But hey, it's cool. Some people put a chalk-painted rocking chair or something on their porch, and some people use firearms.

(Actually, we were really embarrassed about this because Phillip is always telling the kids to treat BB guns like real guns. By not, you know, leaving them unattended on the porch like a freaking Pinterest decoration.)

5


My 3rd grader's teacher sends out periodic email updates on what they're doing in class, and I was thrilled to read the part that said "This week we explore the question 'Why are courts an important part of our government?'"

I thought Alright, now we're getting into some real, actual meaty learning! No more of this kindergarten "getting a visit from Mr. M the puppet to tell you all about what 'M' says."

The email continued: "We'll be reading The Trial of Cardigan Jones, a story about a moose wrongly accused of stealing a pie."

This is serious stuff, you guys. Serious stuff.

6


I was also buying some packing tape. Online, of course. (I've almost reached my goal of never having to leave the house again.)

I wanted to get refills for the dispenser we already have, but I couldn't tell if the one I was looking at would fit. There were a few pictures and then a video; I thought the video might show me, so I clicked 'play' and got this:

7 Quick Takes about Mystery Admirers, Education about the Criminal Justice System, and Office Supplies Rated NC-17  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


Obviously this packing tape video was lewd, lascivious, and completely inappropriate for anyone under 18. I ended up not watching the video, but I did order the tape so it could be pretty interesting when the package arrives and I open it up to see what's really in there.

7


Finally, being a mom is weird.

7 Quick Takes about Mystery Admirers, Education about the Criminal Justice System, and Office Supplies Rated NC-17  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Because you find plastic pickles and a dime in your laundry.

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Being (or Not Being) Comforted By God When Everything Is Terrible

By most people's standards, I haven't had a very hard life. I'd probably agree with them. But even so, I've been in the middle of some situations where I had no peace of mind and definitely needed some comfort.

Two years ago, I sat at the little round table in my super deluxe postpartum recovery suite (kidding about the super deluxe part) feeling particularly hopeless. My body was recovering from an emergency C-section, and my baby was in an isolette in the NICU 40 minutes away.

We knew it was only a question of when  not if  he could come out. We knew that eventually he'd be fine. I'd be fine. But for now, I was a wreck. The 20 miles between us might as well have been a few continents and an ocean, because I was in no condition to go anywhere.

I remember leaning my elbows on the table and praying for some comfort. And feeling... nothing.

At the time I was so frustrated. I've always believed that God wants to comfort us in our times of greatest need. All throughout the scriptures and in the lives of people I know (who definitely aren't liars!) I've seen it happen.

So why wasn't it happening to me?

Being (or Not Being) Comforted By God When Everything is Terrible -- I remember leaning my elbows on the table and praying for some comfort. And feeling... nothing. What was going on?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


That experience was years ago, but I found myself lying awake thinking about it the other night. If God loves us, why was His comfort so elusive to me?

I thought about every example I could think of in the scriptures when someone has been comforted by God, and pretty soon I got to thinking about Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and suffering for all our sins. That was the worst one. Literally no one can even understand what agony that was.

As the Savior prayed, Luke says that "an angel [came] from heaven, strengthening him."

I was pondering on this when a very strong thought occurred to me: Look up what Jesus said right before that.

I got out of bed, pulled up the scriptures on lds.org, and read. Before the angel appeared, Jesus asked "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me, nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:43.)

Being willing to give up control  or at least, the illusion that we're in control  is an absolute prerequisite for the Lord to do pretty much anything with us. Including, I think, comforting us.

Now, I will never experience what Jesus experienced in the garden. But I'm sure there will be many scenarios in my life that I'm sure are driving me beyond my limits.

At those times, it helps to remember that God is standing at the door, ready and waiting to carry us through the hardest trials of our lives. We just need to let Him in.

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Monday, September 19, 2016

I Believe in Cookies in a Mug, I Do Not Believe in Cleaning Schedules

Everybody has an unwritten code by which they live their life, a set of principles (big ones and small ones) that shape who they are and what they do.

Here's mine.

I Believe in Cookies in a Mug, I Do Not Believe in Cleaning Schedules -- Sometimes significant and sometimes not, everybody has a set of guiding principles for their life. So what if mine includes cookies in a mug?   {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I believe in...


...the public library. The librarians at the circulation desk all know my name (except for one guy, and I can tell he's embarrassed because he sees me so often he should.) My kids are huge readers, and we easily have 75 items checked out right now. We use inter-library loan with reckless abandon. How could I not love a place where you can borrow almost any book or movie in existence for free?

...God. I'm a Mormon, which is shorthand for a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I've written about some of the things we believe here and here, but what it all boils down to for me is that I believe God is my father and He's still talking to us. I believe Jesus is my savior and wants me to follow Him. And if there's one thing I know for sure, it's that I'm happiest when I'm trying to live a Christ-centered life.

...hand-me-downs. My younger kids don't even know that clothes come from a store. After one kid wears it, up to the attic it goes to wait until it fits the next one. I love thrift stores and garage sales and friends who are getting rid of their kids' outgrown clothes. I hate spending money on new clothes. Or on anything, really.

...online shopping. Does anybody even go to actual stores anymore? With the exception of the grocery store and CVS, I hardly ever do. It takes forever, requires a big chunk of uninterrupted time I don't have, and then they don't even have what I need in stock, anyway. If it tells you anything, I'm on a first-name basis with the UPS guy and can tell you all about his wife and kids. Let's just say we see each other a lot.

...chores. My kids work harder than any other kids I know. They know how to clean bathrooms and cook meals and change diapers. They help clean the kitchen after dinner and do their own laundry and pull weeds in the spring and summer. Most of it, they don't get paid for. I want them to know there isn't a magical clean-up fairy that will pick up after them, and that in a family we all pitch in to do our part. I think the world needs people who aren't afraid of hard work.

..cookies in a mug. I learned about mug desserts a few years ago and it changed my life. It takes 5 minutes to make a single-serve dessert, and leaves no trace behind except for a mug my children assume was used for some disgusting herbal concoction that old people like me and their dad would drink. My favorite is snicker doodles, but brownies, cake, and chocolate chip cookies all have their own special place in my heart.

...family. A plaque in our entryway reads "Families are Forever." In my religion, there's a literal ceremony that ties families together (spouses and children) for eternity, and that really changes your perspective on things. Occasionally I'll see a feel-good story in the news about a couple who's been together for 50 years and my first thought is "That's sweet" followed by "That's all?" Despite our lack of a family motto, I think our family has a pretty strong identity and each of our kids know they belong to a team.

I Believe in Cookies in a Mug, I Do Not Believe in Cleaning Schedules -- Sometimes significant and sometimes not, everybody has a set of guiding principles for their life. So what if mine includes cookies in a mug?   {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


I do not believe in...


...mixing the wet and dry ingredients separately. I've covered this before, but honestly, who has the emotional strength to wash even more dishes than you have to? Basically, I'm famous for turning every recipe into a dump cake and it works for me.

...cleaning schedules. I sometimes think I could be that person who is so organized that she actually mops the floor every Tuesday and washes the windows every Thursday. And then I remember that right now there are globs of oatmeal on the dining room floor and my kids' bathroom smells like a subway station, and what's the point, anyway? Know thyself, is what I say.

...nesting. Whenever I clean something and I happen to be in the third trimester of pregnancy, someone inevitably says I'm "nesting" and it makes me want to snap them in the head with my belly band. Nesting is what rabbits do when they pull out their fur to make a soft bed for their babies. I'm just cleaning out my nasty fridge because it's nasty.

...folding kitchen towels. In what is surely the biggest waste of time ever, I used to fold my kitchen washcloths and towels. Now I just transfer the whole rumpled heap directly from the dryer to the drawer, and to be honest, it ends up looking about the same after a day or two. I blame the children.

...teenage rebellion. I admit I don't technically have a teenager yet. I have a 12-year-old, so feel free to laugh if I end up eating my words later. But I don't think "hating your parents" is a necessary teenage rite of passage. Being occasionally annoyed/embarrassed/exasperated by us? Yes, by all means. But I just can't envision 16-year-old Agnes in 1800 screaming at her mother "I hate you and I am never ever going to milk that cow!" And if it wasn't normal 200 years ago maybe it's just not normal at all.

...paper cupcake liners. I can't stand buying something whose sole purpose is getting thrown away. I used to just grease the muffin tin directly without using anything; for Christmas last year I received a set of {affiliate link} reusable silicone cupcake liners and they are the best. Now I don't have to waste anything, not even space since I can use exactly the number I need (recipes that only make 23 muffins, I'm looking at you!)


Sometimes significant and sometimes not, those are a few of my guiding principles. What would yours be? What do you believe (and not believe) in?

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Friday, September 16, 2016

7 Quick Takes about the Buzzing in My Ears, a Reader's Utopia, and Getting Sassy with the Tooth Fairy

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?

1


Took my kids to an indoor playplace. You know the kind. Sort of like McDonald's play areas except bigger and with slightly less chance of finding chewed-up chicken nuggets in the ball pit.

I usually don't mind taking my kids here (it's not like I have to get in the ball pit, after all) but this time there were a few flies buzzing around and sitting there for 90 minutes with them landing all over me was like the extra tenth circle in some special extended edition of Dante's Inferno. I was almost happy when we had to leave due to a pants-wetting incident.

For an hour after we got home I was feeling phantom fly legs on me and swatting at myself like a crazy person.

2


I've never really been a craft person, and neither have my older kids. They sometimes receive a fun "Make Your Own XYZ!" kit from Michael's for their birthday and it goes straight to the Craft Graveyard, which is a shelf in our dining room where those kinds of kits go to die. No one will ever use them.

I know this, yet for some reason we have an entire cabinet stocked with pipe cleaners and glitter glue and stuff, just in case.

But something weird happened: my 4-year-old IS a crafter. I've never done a single craft with her and she's always making random things. I love the self-guided projects that come right out of her 4-year-old mind.

I still need to ask about her latest creation, which I noticed drying on the counter:

7 Quick Takes about the Buzzing in My Ears, a Reader's Utopia, and Getting Sassy with the Tooth Fairy  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Googly eyes glued to a cut-up Dixie cup shot glass. Your guess is as good as mine.

3


There's this bush in our front yard we've been watching out of the corners of our eyes for a few years, just waiting and wondering if we should pronounce it dead.

7 Quick Takes about the Buzzing in My Ears, a Reader's Utopia, and Getting Sassy with the Tooth Fairy  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
We are the Addams family (snap, snap.)

Originally it was in the flowerbed next to our house, where it served as a land bridge for the ants to damage our wood siding and trim. When a storm came along and halfway uprooted the bush, we took that as a sign to remove it.

We thought we'd try relocating it to a sunny spot near the driveway, where it's been floundering for the last few years producing a few straggly blossoms and leaves at odd times after the growing season is over.

This year nothing at all grew, so I think it's time to call it. Time of death: 2:51 PM. Rest in peace, bush. I'll add you to the long list of plants I've murdered while trying to keep them alive.

4


I'm also afraid that this week marks the beginning of the end, as far as nursing goes. I have always loved to breastfeed my babies, reasons #1 and #2 being that it's easier and cheaper than formula, but also because it has emotional attachments for me.

I've always loved laying the baby next to me and snuggling during those middle-of-the-night feeds. I like the physical closeness and seeing them looking up at me and then letting go to smile.

For the last 4 months I've been exclusively nursing my baby, but we've been watching his weight drop from the 65th percentile, to the 40th, to the 8th. We've started him on rice cereal and supplementing with a few ounces of formula or expressed milk every day (I've been saving up, knowing that this day was going to come sooner or later.)

I've done both breast and bottle over the last 12 years, and I can definitively say that babies thrive either way, but it's always a little sad for me when I have to give up nursing before I'm ready. I'm not giving it up completely just yet, but it seems like introducing the bottle is always the kiss of death. Our babies say, "Oh, this is fantastically easy! I would MUCH rather eat this way from now on!" and that's that.

5


At school, my daughter had an assignment to design a utopian society and then answer a bunch of questions about it: what it's like, how it's governed, what types of jobs people have, and so on.

The person in charge of my daughter's utopian society is called the High Librarian and s/he is assisted by the Council of Lower Librarians, and that's about all you need to know about what's important to her.

6


Any suggestions for pulling out a really stubborn loose tooth? For months, my daughter's tooth has been able to turn almost a complete 360 degrees, and yet it's firmly attached at the same time.

At this point the adult tooth isn't even pushing it out anymore, it's just given up and grown in crooked next to the baby tooth (don't even talk to me about how expensive that's going to be to fix.)

Tying it to a doorknob and slamming it isn't an option, either. My daughter and I would both faint if we tried that. And maybe if we just talked about it.

7


My son lost a tooth at school, and the nurse gave him this little plastic treasure chest to put it in and take it home. Unfortunately it came open and the tooth fell out who knows where, so I told him to just leave a note for the Tooth Fairy and she'd understand.

He looked at me weird, probably because he already knows that truth about the Tooth Fairy. Even the 4-year-old, who hasn't even lost any teeth yet, announces about three times a day that "the Tooth Fairy is just mom and dad!" but I still make them act like it's real.

If I'm going to go to all the trouble to make sure I have cash on hand, actually remember to go in their room after lights out, and sneak in there like a Ninja trying to avoid stepping on Legos or waking up any of the kids, then they're darn well going to go along with it and act like they're having the most magical childhood of all the childhoods!

Oh, and here's his note, which made me laugh.

7 Quick Takes about the Buzzing in My Ears, a Reader's Utopia, and Getting Sassy with the Tooth Fairy  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

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