Friday, May 18, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Cool Mom Tattoos, When Eating Looks Like Working Out, and an Imaginary Fight about Diapers That Lasted 14 Years

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


At dinner on Mother's Day, we went around the table and each of the kids said one thing they liked about me. (Beforehand I heard Phillip instructing the kids to give "real answers that are nice things, nothing funny.")

The kids' initial answers were that I play with them and I don't fart too much.

After more probing from dad, they agreed that they also appreciate my cooking. Which is nice to hear, because I try to feed them a lot of healthy stuff and make better-for-you versions of processed foods, and I sometimes wonder if it's worth the time and effort.

The 9-year-old piped up, "Yeah! You don't load us up with junk food, candy, and video games!"

"Wait, is that something you like or don't like?" I asked.

He hesitated and after a pause answered truthfully, "Both."


Overall, it was a nice Mother's Day. Phillip made me breakfast in bed (buckwheat crêpes are all he's been talking about since he went on a business trip to France last month) and the kids made me cards.

Then the 6-year-old took it a step further and penned the words "Love Mom" on her ankle. She draws on herself all the time, but this particular instance made me laugh because it reminds of a big, burly biker who gets "MOM" in a heart tattooed on his left bicep.


I have a confession to make: I hate Comic Sans. I don't know if I'm just a typography snob or what, but when someone hands me a document written in Comic Sans, it's all I can do to smile politely and wait until they're out of sight to hurl in a trash can.

As far as I know, I've never talked to my family about my feelings, so you can imagine my shock and delighted surprise when the topic of fonts came up over dinner and BOTH of my older girls went nuts over how much they loathed Comic Sans.

So as far as I can tell, it's genetic.

If you use Comic Sans for everything, I'm sorry. I really am. But mostly for me, because I'm the one who has to look at it.


I don't remember how I got possession of it since I've never belonged to this (or any) gym, but I own a T-shirt from America's Racquet and Fitness Center, which I mostly wear as pajamas.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
I've never been particularly interested in racquets OR fitness.

I wore it to bed one night and was lazing around the house in it the next morning (which is totally okay because I just learned that "athleisure" is a thing now,) when my toddler came up, pointed at me and said "spoon."

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
This guy right here, holding the world's most gigantic spoon in the en garde position.

So just in case you were wondering how raquety-y and fitness-y I am, my 2-year-old looks at a picture of someone who is clearly working out and sees a guy ready to go to town on a giant bowl of Rocky Road instead.


I rarely play pretend with my kids; it's just not my thing. I'm not good at it and I don't particularly enjoy it. But my 4-year-old is going through an obsession with pirates right now, so we played pirates and he had a great time.

It was a pretty busy morning. In the sandbox we sped away from sharks, found a deserted island, and dug up buried treasure. Then we had lunch (complete with clementines so we didn't get scurvy) and went to the pediatrician's for an annual checkup because that's what responsible pirates do.

We also slathered his wrists and legs with coconut oil, because pirate captains get really bad eczema flareups when the seasons change.

My son took the whole thing very seriously and talked in a gravelly pirate voice for hours, not even breaking character when he was asked to say the prayer before lunch. I may not enjoy playing pretend, but I did have to admire his commitment to his art.


Speaking of eczema, my friend Casey just told me about something for super-irritated skin that sounds horrifying but is actually awesome: bleach baths.

Now that you've fainted and regained consciousness, let me say I did not throw my children into 40 gallons of bleach and hand them some bath toys.

I poured two tablespoons into a tub of warm water and let them soak for 10 minutes. It was basically like going to a swimming pool, if the swimming pool was only 5 feet long and allowed naked people.

We've been battling my 4-year-old's scaly, painful eczema for weeks, and I kid you not it looked better after 10 minutes in the bleach bath. It was like magic. It ranked right up there with the trick I learned for getting poop stains out of onesies a few years ago. I can't believe I'm just now learning this stuff with my SIXTH child.


Being the stay-at-home parent, I'm naturally the one who changes more of the diapers and therefore opens more diaper packages. And when I do, I open them neatly along the perforated line on the side. The times when Phillip opens a new pack, it looks like he does it blindfolded with a weed whacker.

I know I've said something about it before, but decided about 5 years ago that if he was so insistent on opening them his way, I needed to just let it go and enjoy our marriage for what it was.

But recently I said off-handedly when he mutilated yet another pack, "You know, when you tear along the perforations, the diapers stay inside the bag better and they're easier to take out."

He just gave me a blank stare and said "Perforations?"

We've been opening packages of diapers for 14 years straight and Phillip insists I've never said anything about it until this very moment. This is exactly the reason I'm crazy.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

It's Almost Magical When You Think About It

I love hearing the stories of people who converted to Mormonism later in life.

Maybe it's because I'm a convert myself, but I think it's fascinating how no two people have the same story of where they were before. Some were active in another religion, some were seeking a spiritual home in a lot of different places, and others were completely uninterested in anything with the word "church" in it.

Some were introduced to Mormonism by a friend, or answered the door when two missionaries knocked on it, or had a spiritual awakening when they found a Book of Mormon in a trash can (okay, I don't know anybody who that happened to but I'll bet it's happened to someone.)

No two stories are alike, but they all involve one thing: change.

What I love about the gospel is that it makes change possible, even in the least likely circumstances.

I just finished reading Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon, a chapter that compares the House of Israel to an olive tree and the Lord to the master of the vineyard.

The master decides to take some of the main olive tree's branches and graft them all over the vineyard (i.e: scatter the tribes of Israel.) He also grafts wild branches into the original tree (i.e: adopt Gentiles.)

After a while he takes a servant around to see how the grafted branches are doing. They come to a tree in a far-flung corner that's doing great and the servant can't believe it. He asks the master why he even planted there in the first place because "it was the poorest spot in all the land of thy vineyard."

I like to picture the master kind of rolling his eyes as he points over to the left and answers, "Look hither, behold I have planted another branch of the tree also; and thou knowest that this spot of ground was poorer than the first. But, behold the tree." (Jacob 5: 21, 23; emphasis mine.) Which is, of course, bursting with fruit.

Sociology tells us that a whole lot in life is determined by the ground in which we're planted. We live out patterns experienced in childhood, which is why abused kids often grow up to be abusers and kids of alcoholic parents often struggle with substance abuse. We rarely leave the socioeconomic status we're born into. Mental illness, physical disease, and even character traits are products of both genetics and environment.

Statistically speaking, the ground where we're planted is important, but I'm not convinced it matters all that much to God.

In fact, sometimes He purposely takes an olive branch to the most barren, rocky, unfriendly place in the whole vineyard just to prove that when He's the gardener, miracles can happen.

Thank God for the miracle that change is possible, even in the most unlikely of circumstances.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

The Bible is full of unlikely events: younger brothers supplant older brothers for the birthright (Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau.) Joseph is sold into slavery in Egypt but somehow becomes one of the most powerful men in Egypt. Virgins and post-menopausal women have babies and people rise from the dead. That stuff just doesn't happen.

As a more contemporary example, I've seen firsthand the transformative power of the gospel. It can take someone who's been broken by life and give them hope. It can take someone who's been hardened by life and make them kind.

I'm continually amazed at how we all walk into church with different strengths and weaknesses, yet the same gospel somehow works like sandpaper on our souls, smoothing out the rough edges that on no two people are in the exact same places. How can something humble the rich and, at the very same time, lift up the poor?

When I joined the church at age 18, changes to my life followed. I cleaned up my language and the way I dressed and the music I listened to. My priorities shifted. Some of the changes I made in my life felt major, but at the same time I felt like I was closer than ever to the person I'd always been on the inside.

I can hardly explain what I mean by that, so maybe it's just easier to say that the gospel is like magic.

It changes us but transforms us into a truer version of ourselves than we ever were before. It's the same for everyone but somehow tempers each of us just a little in the way we need, even though no one's needs are the same! It assures us that even if we're planted in the very worst soil in all the vineyard, that doesn't preclude some very amazing growth.

Which is good because I still have a lot of growing to do. I keep opening up my scriptures and getting on my knees in prayer asking for help with old habits and character flaws that at times seem too deeply ingrained to change.

Honestly, if it weren't for the powerful nature of the gospel I'd be tempted to throw my hands in the air and say "I give up, it's too hard."

And it would be, if it weren't for God's lengthy track record of unlikely successes and beating the odds through His amazing love.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Showing Off at the Dermatologist, Uses for 24 Fluid Ounces of Maple Syrup, and Being Insensitive to Airline Tragedies

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


As a couponer, I try not to do this too much because it's annoying, but check out my haul from CVS!

They had a random clearance on diapers and combined with some store coupons I happened to have, I got all this for $16. (Please note that the middle one is a super-sized 50-pack. Just saying.)

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
We are looking at potentially 6 months of defecation here.

As I took my forklift load of diapers to the car, a lady leaving at the same time as me scoffed and asked in a sort of nasty voice, "Why would you buy so many diapers at CVS?"

I considered telling her "I have octuplets at home" or maybe "I'm a hoarder," but in reality I can't not gush about saving money so I told her about the awesome diaper clearance and got in my car.

And then I watched her from the window as she hesitated on the sidewalk, turned around, and WENT BACK INSIDE. Presumably to get some for herself.

Looks like she decided I'm not such an idiot, after all.


Recently I realized that the 'return' key on the computer keyboard is short for "carriage return" and hearkens back to the days of typewriters, when you had to pull the lever at the end of every line.

I felt kind of like my kids when they ask why we say "hang up" the phone and someone has to explain to them, "Wellllllll, it's a reference to something mankind used to do long, long ago..."


There are four blemishes on my face by my jaw that I'd just been thinking of as bonus acne for 35-year-olds, but one morning I realized they've been there for a long time. Like, a really long time. Probably a year.

So I did what any reasonable person would do (which is freak out and assume I'm dying of skin cancer, FYI) and made an appointment with a dermatologist.

Good news, the dermatologist didn't think they were cancerous or harmful in any way. She also did an all-over skin check to look for any other anomalies and found a mole on the sole of my foot.

In an embarrassing turn of events for all, she'd already called in her assistant to take pictures before we realized the suspicious-looking mole was actually a piece of crap stuck to my foot from walking around my dirty house.

Womp, womp.


My least favorite morning this week was the one where I woke up to a 30-pound person covered in maple syrup scaling the side of my bed saying "hug-a-Mommy."

It was Sunday morning, and the older kids let Phillip and I sleep in while they made everyone pancakes. Then they left the table and the toddler used the syrup a weapon of mass destruction.

First, he dumped out the entire bottle and smeared it all over the table and himself. Then he tracked it all over the house with his feet. He visited every room on the first floor, sat on both couches, and finally did a snow angel on the living room rug before coming in to our room to cuddle.

We had to scrub and mop everything. And any little drop we missed inevitably got tracked through the house by one of the kids and we had to start all over. I thought we were going to have to throw out the dining room table; it was slightly sticky for 4 or 5 days before we finally scrubbed it enough times you couldn't tell Syrupgate had happened here.

Now the kids are forbidden to have pancakes until they're 40, and I'm considering buying a gun safe on Amazon in which to store our maple syrup.


Speaking of Amazon, my 14-year-old always complains about the sunlight even when wearing sunglasses, so I decided to look for some extra-dark ones.

I like shopping online, not just because it's convenient and I don't have to wear real pants, but because the customer reviews are always so helpful. For example, there was this one:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

This guy was gracious enough to include a photo of himself, so if you're curious whether he really is that attractive you can take a look at the original review.

Of course, he's wearing the dark sunglasses in the picture so it's pretty hard to tell.


While I was gone doing jury duty on Wednesday, Phillip stayed home and took the 9-year-old to an eye appointment. When I got home, the 4-year-old couldn't stop talking about a book he saw in the waiting room.

It was a book about shipwrecks, complete with pictures of "really dirty ships with holes in them" (his words) at the bottom of the ocean.

"Cool!" I said.

"And there was a guy swimming around and lookin' at them!"

"Wow!" I exclaimed.

"And there was even a AIRPLANE that sanked and it was cracked in half!"

"Woah! That's awesome!" I gushed.

"No," he said, turning suddenly serious. "That's really bad."

I guess, having watched all 6 seasons of Lost, I should have known that.


Our trash can really needed to be taken outside and hosed down, but it was a job so revolting I put it on the list of allowance chores and crossed my fingers, hoping one of the kids was broke enough to want to do it so I wouldn't have to.

My oldest daughter took the bait, occasionally pausing to come in and tell me how gross it was.

Thinking back to my days working at Pizza Hut in high school, I shrugged and said, "That's basically what work is: doing disgusting things and getting paid for it."

"I'll be a stay-at-home mom, then."

Oh, sweet, naive child. Being a stay-at-home mom is doing disgusting things and not getting paid for it.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Not to Brag or Anything, But I'm Kind of a Civic Hero

I've been called for jury duty twice in my life.

The first time, I'd just barely come home from my freshman year of college. I remember opening my mail in the guest bedroom at my dad's house, examining the jury summons and thinking, "Being an adult is the worst, waaaaahhhh!"

The case ended up settling out of court. Or something. I don't remember any particulars except for the fact that I didn't have to go.

I'd forgotten all about it, until 2 months ago when I received an official-looking postcard with lots of highlighting and ALL CAPS WRITING informing me that I was the lucky winner... of the opportunity to serve as a juror and advance the cause of justice!

For the next few months I kept hoping I wouldn't have to go, but the day arrived and no such luck. Phillip rearranged his schedule to stay home with the kids and I pulled up to the courthouse at 8 AM, which is probably the earliest I've ever been anywhere with real pants on.

The courthouse was a majestic piece of Roman architecture lined with columns. A flight of stone steps led up to a grand entrance with a paper sign that said "not an entrance."

(I've been in a few other courthouses and incidentally, they never let people use the fancy entrance. They're the legal equivalent of the shell-shaped hand soaps in your nana's bathroom.)

It took a while to get through security (via the shady side door off the alley around the corner, of course) and find out where I was supposed to go, mostly because there were about 100 years' worth of paper signs taped to the walls and it took a while to find the ones relevant to me.

Handing over my juror survey at the check-in area, a uniformed officer reminded me that I left something out.

Of course I had. I'd intentionally left the "current or most recent employment" field blank, because surely they wouldn't want to know that I last worked as a telemarketer in Utah 15 years ago. But yes, actually, they did. The U.S. government is weird.

Now that they had my impressive employment history, they assigned me to be Juror 28 and directed me to a yellow-painted room full of 21 other people and wooden armchairs stolen from a dentist's waiting room in 1974.

I pulled up to the courthouse at 8 AM, which is probably the earliest I've ever been anywhere with real pants on.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

After sitting for about an hour, we watched a juror orientation video during which I really had to pee. It started by outlining the history of criminal justice, and I think I lost consciousness somewhere between the Magna Carta and the difference between criminal and civil suits.

The video ended with testimonials from people who all agreed over an inspirational trumpet swell that serving as a juror was amazing and they would definitely do it again. (They didn't say whether the $2,000 fine for failing to appear was a factor.)

After another hour of waiting, a super-nice court officer told us not to feel bad if we ended up being disqualified as a juror and then a not-as-nice officer directed us to a courtroom.

Being both lazy and completely Type A, there was an interesting internal battle going on in my mind. Part of me was totally hoping to be elected jury foreman on a lengthy double homicide trial of national importance; the rest of me was planning my escape by telling the judge I was prejudiced against all groups of people including anyone who drives a PT Cruiser, reads primarily e-books, buys organic produce, or subscribes to Vogue.

After taking an oath, we were given an overview of the case (car hits car, someone sues) and asked questions to find whether we had any biases that would prevent us from making an impartial decision. I decided to keep my opinions on timeshare owners and Costco members to myself.

It wasn't until we'd answered the questions and they started to fill up the chairs with jurors that I realized: they were going in numerical order and I was Juror 28.

Oh, happy day! A robed gospel choir burst into song and clapped me back to the juror room after all the chairs were filled. I wasn't being impaneled after all, which I guess wouldn't have been so terrible but the word sounds like a hybrid of 'imprisoned' and 'disemboweled.'

We waited for another hour in the juror room just in case we were needed for another case, but they asked for a bench trial instead, and we were free to go.

The nice court officer stood in the doorway and thanked me for my service on my way out, even though my service mostly consisted of playing on my phone for 4 hours and paying $6 in parking.

I wouldn't exactly say it was "one of the most empowering, fascinating, and rewarding experiences of my life" as promised by the weirdo in the orientation video, but at least I was home in time for lunch.

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Monday, May 7, 2018

Things I Don't Want to Hear, See, or Smell on Mother's Day This Year

Motherhood means indescribable love.

It means transcendent joy.

And it means complete and utter sensory overload.

When you're a mom, every morning is like being dumped out of bed into the middle of the running of the bulls in Spain, except there's a lot more crying and you're supposed to make pancakes at the same time.

Motherhood can be described in two words: sensory overload.   {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Do you know what the touched-out, overwhelmed masses of mamas want for Mother's Day?

We don't want to hear anything. We don't want to hear crying. Or FAKE crying. No long, rambling tattles about something a sibling did 4 and a half years ago. We don't want to hear the word "snack." We don't want to hear the sound of a gallon of milk exploding on contact with the floor, a bin of Legos being dumped out after we just cleaned house, or anything crashing or breaking in the next room.

We don't want to smell anything. We don't want to smell poop, sweaty feet, poop, stinky burps in our faces, poop, or things burning. Or poop. No thank you to the rancid sports equipment and cleats so pungent they could take down a full-grown bull moose. We don't want to smell lunch boxes on Monday morning with Friday's leftovers still inside. Forgive us, but we don't like smelling the breath of someone who swore they brushed their teeth but obviously hasn't touched a tube of toothpaste since April.

We don't want to touch anything.  We don't want to handle soiled clothing or carry it around in our purses like some kind of demented currency. We don't want to feel smashed raisins from the kitchen floor sticking to our feet. We don't need to find out with our thighs that the toilet seat is wet, and then step in a puddle of maple syrup a few minutes later. Basically, we don't want to feel anything sticky or wet that isn't supposed to be, including ourselves. Especially ourselves.

We don't want to see anything. We don't want to see the sock factory explosion formerly known as our house. There are socks on the stairs. Socks in the bathroom. Tiny socks in the toybox and on top of the piano and inside the potted plant. We just can't take the sight of any more socks. We don't want to see our decorative throw pillows on the floor, every outdoor toy we own scattered on the lawn like sprinkles on a cake, or Nerf gun darts in every conceivable crevice of our property. And please shield our eyes from the crumb buffet on the floor of the minivan.

We don't want to taste anything. We are tired of tasting leftover chicken nuggets and chubby fingers of questionable cleanliness that were shoved in our mouths. We don't want eat taste soggy Goldfish crackers just because our toddlers offered them to us and said "So dee-wicious," and yet we do. (Why must they be so cute?)

The point is that motherhood wears out our senses and then it wears them out again. Flowers or breakfast in bed are nice gestures, but what we really want for Mother's Day is 90 minutes in a sensory deprivation tank.

After that, we promise to come back to the sticky kisses and is-it-chocolate-or-is-it-poop predicaments that no doubt await us  and we will love (almost) every minute of it. We swear.

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Friday, May 4, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Snide Remarks, Jobs I Would Like to Have in My Old Age, and Blurring the Line Between a Nap and a Coma

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


Hear ye, hear ye! I finally finished the monstrous bottle of pepper I've been teasing Phillip about buying since 2015 when I asked him to pick up pepper on his way home from work.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Honestly, it's kind of weird to have it gone. Throughout the last 3 years we've had babies, birthdays, job changes... but the one constant through it all has been this ridiculously enormous bottle of pepper in our pantry.

And what if I decide to open a restaurant now? I'll be hopelessly short on pepper.

That's it. I'm buying another one. (Seriously, I am. Pepper lasts forever.)


Phillip and I took our 12-year-old out for dinner, just the three of us, for a special treat. It was a really nice Chinese place with very pretty food.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Apologies for the poor composition of this picture and the crumpled napkin in the foreground. I'm better at eating food than photographing it.

The fortunes in our cookies at the end of the meal were kind of weird, though. The 12-year-old's was relatively normal, but mine was more like advice than a fortune.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Easier said than done: I'm basically married to a snide remark. Phillip seems to enjoy giving me a hard time about everything. 

And Phillip's fortune was oddly specific:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Allllrighty then.

I once got a ticket for parking on the wrong side of the street, which I didn't even know was illegal, and I definitely did not feel the faintest hint of civic pride so I guess that shows my true colors.


I've been suspecting it for a while now, but I read the book and it's official: I am a free-range parenting convert.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Free-range parenting is about not letting the fear of unlikely events keep us from allowing our kids to be kids and do things they are capable of doing.

After reading the book, I'm brainstorming ways my kids can use their bikes and their own two legs to get around more, especially this summer.

Also, there's a pizza place within walking distance of here and I'm really excited to send them out to bring home dinner on a semi-regular basis now.


The last time I logged into Amazon, I saw the "Echo for kids" advertised on the front page.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

So... I'm intrigued. How is a kids' Echo different from a regular one?

My guess is that (1) it's more durable in case it's dropped and (2) only tells toilet jokes and plays Parry Gripp songs from YouTube. But I could be wrong.


Speaking of Parry Gripp, he's sort of my hero. I can't help but idolize him and his goofy techno dance mixes about hamsters.

You'd think he'd be some punky little YouTuber barely old enough to drive, but actually, he looks like a totally normal middle-aged guy you'd see mowing his lawn on your culdesac.

I only wish I could be a grown adult making a living out of songs like "It's Raining Tacos" (which is excellent, by the way.) #lifegoals


Question of the Day: is it bad to use children for cheap labor if they're enjoying it?

I taught co-op preschool at my house this week, and after asking them to clean up the toys they'd been playing with (never mind that said toys had been lying everywhere on the floor before they showed up,) I asked if they wanted to move the sand toys into the sandbox which has been on my to-do list forever but I never seem to get around to it.

Phillip says I'm evil but I think I'm a genius. But I suppose there are evil geniuses out there, which actually doesn't help my argument at all.

(And if any of the parents in our co-op is reading this, we totally did educational stuff, too.)


And lastly, this scene is brought to you by afternoon church:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Looks like as good a place as any to take a nap.

I mostly love having church at 1 PM because it means I'm less rushed and crazy once we get there, but it does mean that by the time the toddler goes to nursery afterward, he's skipped his nap and is pretty tired.

This week he wasn't just tired, he laid down on the floor and slept like a log for two hours in the middle of a room full of a dozen other loud toddlers. Typical youngest child.

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Friday, April 27, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Prose for Moms, Honest Dishwashers, and How the Kids Today Commune with Nature

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


Even though we've never grown anything successfully, we decided to try tomatoes this year. We started them indoors and they're in a pot in a sunny corner of our bedroom.

So far, it's going well: the plants are sprouting, and my toddler is delighted we've been leaving out a huge container of dirt for him to play with for some reason.

This weekend he made a huge mess flinging wet dirt all around the bedroom with a curtain rod. As Phillip pulled out the Shop-Vac and started to clean up, I was reprimanding the toddler by telling him, "There's dirt in your hair, there's dirt everywhere!"

Phillip says I've been doing this mom thing for too long, since I inadvertently talk like Dr. Seuss now.


It was recently brought to my attention that the 'd' in the 'dry' cycle on the dishwasher has worn off and now it just says "cry."

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
My dishwasher totally gets me.

Is it weird that I feel totally validated by my dishwasher now? I knew washing dishes for our full house day in and day out was a legitimate reason to start sobbing.

Speaking of which, I should check my washing machine for a 'cry' cycle, too. There's definitely one on there. Laundry for 8 people is even worse than dishes.


One thing about youngest kids in a big family is that they copy their siblings' every move, so they seem older than they are. They learn a lot by just watching, meaning that my toddler isn't even 2 yet and appears to be potty training himself.

I didn't think much of it when he went to the bathroom, took off his pants and diaper, and sat on his brother's training potty because he does that sometimes (again with the copying.) But then he actually went, emptied the potty into the toilet, and flushed it

I've heard about these unicorn children who teach themselves how to use the potty, but I didn't think they existed until now.

Since the age-accelerated things he learns are usually more on the order of figuring out how to crawl out of his crib or how to escape from a 5-point harness (yes, he has already done both,) this is a nice change.


When we came home from running errands, I unbuckled the 1-year-old's car seat in the garage but he refused to get out. In the time it took me to walk around to his side of the car to get him, he grabbed the keys, shut all the doors, and locked himself inside.

Like I said, he's a smart kid but unfortunately he's chosen to use his powers for evil.

Luckily, someone had left a rear window open a crack and I was able to coax him back there and convince him to hand the keys to me through the sliver of space.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Perfectly sized for avoiding a very expensive visit from the locksmith.


Finally, we've had a few warm and sunny days that have almost convinced me spring might come this year, after all.

I went out to rake yard debris from the winter storms while the kids were playing outside, and I can't describe how good it felt to be outside on this gorgeous day after the Neverending Winter. At one point I paused to just close my eyes, feel the sun on my face, breathe in the fresh air, and listen to the birds singing in the trees. It was magical.

Then I looked down to see the 6-year-old, who was also enjoying the beautiful day. By hiding under my coat so she could see my phone.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Away, foul sunlight and birdsong!

Don't worry, she was probably watching a nature video on YouTube.


My kindergartner has this three-foot fall stuffed doll named Dolly. Dolly has been up in the attic with our out-of-use toys for a while, but my daughter wanted to get her down this week. She was so excited to see and play with her old friend again.

Then she noticed Dolly needed some repair work done. The seam between her legs was split and stuffing was spilling out. You can imagine how hilarious a 6-year-old thought it was that her doll was, um... eliminating stuffing.

And I added an item to my to-do list that I never thought I would: sew together a doll's buttcrack. Motherhood, you are so weird.


I don't know why I've been thinking about this lately, but a few months back I remember seeing a story about some YouTuber kidnapping a baby at the request of the dad to teach his wife a lesson about how easily something could happen if she wasn't watching all the time.

And you know what? I'm tired of the fearmongering about stranger abduction, as if we should seriously be worried someone will steal our kids if we close our eyes to sneeze. Yet we do things like drive them around in cars and let them go swimming and sledding all the time, which is statistically way more dangerous!

I've never thought of myself as a "free-range parent," more like someone whose parenting decisions are based on realistic risk and my child's own capabilities versus paranoia over the worst-case scenario. But I guess that's kind of what "free-range" means, so maybe I am.

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