Friday, November 16, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Attributing Intentions to My Car It May Not Actually Have, Face Washes for Desperate Times, and Places Not To Take Your Three-Legged Dog

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


Can I just say that this area of my dashboard really stresses me out?

The crazy weekly recap of our family of 8 that will make you say, "I guess things could be worse." #7qt #7quicktakes #friday #momlife #relatable #funny
The warning lights on my dashboard are SUPER-judgmental.

It's always lit up like a Christmas tree and I'm like, "Look, I know I have no gas and my tires are going flat but you continuing to remind me while I'm running 30 minutes late with a toddler kicking my seat is NOT HELPING THE SITUATION!"

It's worse than when I set my GPS but decide to run an errand first and it keeps saying "recalculating" every 5 seconds in that thinly-veiled "you're an idiot" voice.


We've had a weird stomach thing going around (and around and around) our family for weeks, which means it probably wasn't the best time for my sister-in-law to come stay the weekend with us.

But Megan had already bought plane tickets and was piggybacking this visit on a work conference, so what else could she do?

It looked like Ground Zero for biological warfare when she walked in. At that exact moment, I was trying not to hurl because I was on my hands and knees mopping up after someone else.

But Megan seemed happy to see us and played with all of the kids anyway, even if I did see her occasionally rubbing Purell on her face like moisturizer.


My kids aren't used to having relatives besides grandparents come to stay with us, so my littler ones kept calling my sister-in-law "Grandma."

She's 29, by the way.

After being called 'Grandma' for the fifteenth time, Megan mused out loud, "If I had a baby at 14 or 15 who also had a baby at 14 or 15, I guess it's conceivable..."

Then she laughed. "Horrifying, but conceivable."


Everyone was feeling better on the last day of my sister-in-law's visit, so we went to a place near us that is a cross between the world's most beautiful arboretum and a cemetery. We needed to get out of the house and I figured we wouldn't infect too many people there since most of them were already dead.

It sounds weird to visit a cemetery for fun, but I promise the place was gorgeous and so worth the trip. While we were there, we saw several other people obviously on leisurely strolls with their families so we weren't the only ones.

My kids got a kick out of the pictures on this sign at the entrance:

The crazy weekly recap of our family of 8 that will make you say, "I guess things could be worse." #7qt #7quicktakes #friday #momlife #relatable #funny

All throughout the cemetery, they kept freezing in a running man position and saying, "Oh, no! I'm breaking the rules!"

They also noted you aren't allowed to bring your picnic table, and three-legged dogs on the premises are strictly forbidden.


My 14-year-old bought a bottle of root beer after work and was struggling to open it in the car on the way home.

I was giving her a hard time about it, so she pointed the bottle at me and said, "Here, you open it. If you can't do it then I can make fun of you, and if you can then I get my bottle opened. So it's really a win-win."

For the record, there was something horribly wrong with that bottle and even after we got home and cut the seal with scissors the cap still wouldn't budge. I think she ended up stabbing a hole in it with a screwdriver and pouring it into a glass.


As I was picking up miscellaneous ponytails and action figures in the kitchen one day, I noticed a random chair in the middle of the floor for some reason.

My hands were full, so I flagged down my 4-year-old and asked, "Can you push that chair to the dining room?"

I'd forgotten I was the one who'd dragged it in the kitchen to reach something on a high shelf, but he looked up from playing cars and gently reminded me. What he said was: "But Mom! You have to put away your crap."

Ah, the joys of hearing yourself coming out of a preschooler's mouth. I was, at least, surprised into putting away my crap, so that's something.


Lately one of our kids has been coordinating outfits for all the siblings whenever possible. I love it, and not just because it means we might just be able to get a decent family picture for this year's Christmas card.

It especially warms my heart because it immediately makes me think of something I read in a parenting book called Hold Onto Your Kids. When we feel close to someone, we delight in finding (or making) similarities with that person. It's only when the relationship is rocky that we go out of our way to find (or make) differences between us.

So sure, sometimes my 5-year-old will walk around with toys shoved down her pants just so she doesn't have to share, but on the whole I'm so happy they love each other and get along.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Progression of Your Despair When Your Kids Get Sick

Having 6 kids is the best, but it makes for some pretty epic battles with communicable diseases.

Even if each person recovers quickly, it still takes weeks to run through every member of our 8-person family, adding up to what feels like a very, very long time of cleaning up bodily fluids and fighting the urge to dunk my head into a vat of Clorox.

But in the vein of turning my pain into art, here's a little chart I drew up so you, too, can know what to expect when a virus inflicts a week or more of projectile misery upon your house.

Okay, a puking kid isn’t really that funny. But when you’re a tired mom or dad with a vomiting child, a little bit of sick kid humor goes a long way. Here’s a hilarious chart showing the progression of the despair parents feel when the stomach flu hits their family. #sickkid #parentinghumor #stomachfluhumor #funny #momlife

According to a Pinterest course for bloggers I've been taking, people like articles offering free printables or something. So if you want a dowloadable PDF of this helpful chart for future reference, just let me know. 

Of course I won't be able to reply until we're through Day 7. I'll be busy constructing a funeral pyre for soiled underwear.

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Friday, November 9, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Having a Positive Attitude, Jewelry Slogans, and Learning What Pinterest Actually Thinks of Me

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


I wasn't exactly thrilled about Phillip going on back-to-back work trips, but I was determined to have a positive attitude, anyway.

The first day he was gone, my alarm didn't go off to get the first two girls up for school, I woke up 45 minutes later to a kid standing at my bedside clutching his stomach and moaning, and when I jumped in the shower to get ready to drive the girls to school because they already missed the bus, my toddler wandered into the bathroom covered in diarrhea.

But hey, we're being positive, right?

Funny and always guaranteed to make you feel better about your own crazy life, this week's 7 Quick Takes is here! #7qt #7quicktakes #hilarious #lifewithkids #reallife
My life in comic book form.


This week I took one of my kids to get their picture taken at J.C. Penney. I do it every year.

I highly recommend this instead of buying school pictures. I used a coupon and got 7 different poses for $16.92. With 6 kids this averages out to less than $120 per year, and I always have a current picture of each of them on the wall.

And if I'm allowed to brag, I also paid with a gift card I got at a 10% discount which I bought with a credit card that gives me 1.5% cashback, so I'm basically walking out with free pictures.


As we were walking through the mall after pictures, my 12-year-old spotted a big poster at Kay Jewelers with their slogan "Every Kiss Begins with Kay" (don't pretend you didn't just sing it in your head.)

"No it doesn't." She said, "'Every kiss' begins with E."

And that's when I realized I'd given birth to Dwight Schrute.

Funny and always guaranteed to make you feel better about your own crazy life, 7 Quick Takes is here! #7qt #7quicktakes #friday #hilarious #lifewiwthkids #reallife


Phillip got the kids into some YouTuber who calls himself The King of Random. He does, well, random stuff. The episode I watched with them he was using Silly Putty as a mold to make a miniature bust of himself.

You don't get much more random than that.

It's not educational in the strict sense of the word, but I think it does open the kids' minds to exploring the different properties of materials, forming hypotheses, and thinking through the mechanics of how to build things so I suppose it's cool.

Also, my 7-year-old keeps forgetting what the channel is called and keeps asking to see The King of Crazy.

And I'm like, "Sure, I'm about to mop the floor. You want to watch?"


We are supposed to be done with soccer right now. That was the deal when I signed up. That was always the deal. I've been counting down the days to the last soccer game of the season like an uncomfortable behemoth of a pregnant woman counts down to her due date.

However, it's been such a rainy fall that games keep being cancelled and then they schedule a make-up game for a week or two later. Why do they keep scheduling make-up games??? It takes away the entire point of being excited for bad weather that closes all the fields.


I was going to help a friend replace some rotten boards on her deck and asked, "What tools do you need to pull up the boards?"

She told me the necessary tool was called a 'pry bar,' which sounded familiar to me so I figured there might be one in Phillip's workshop. He's a tool hoarder so I shouldn't have been surprised when I went down there that he had not one, not two, but three of them.

I gathered up the pry bars and just as I was about to leave, my 7th grader came home. "What are you doing here?" I asked, surprised since it was only 11 AM.

Apparently she had a half-day from school, and I had no idea. If you want to know what the world's greatest mom looks like, see my bio picture.

All I'm saying is, I felt a little better when we got to my friend's house and she called the dog her son's name while she was yelling at him.


I'm not very knowledgeable about Pinterest, but I was surfing around trying to learn more about how it works.

When I clicked my cursor in the search bar, a list called "ideas for you" popped up underneath with recommended topics it thought I would like. Kind of like Google autofill, but I hadn't typed anything yet.

The very top one was "jokes hilarious stupid."

I'm trying to be offended but that actually sums up this blog and most of my Internet usage pretty well.

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Monday, November 5, 2018

I Never Thought My Children Getting Older Would Make Me Sad, But It Does

The night before our annual camping trip in August, my husband was working late. The kids had gone to bed and I was all business, getting everything packed and ready to go.

I was piling gear on the bed, racing through a mental checklist of everything we could need for every just-in-case scenario, when I looked over at the wall.

Six bags, one for each child's clothing for the next two days, were neatly lined up beside the dresser.

I'd double-checked each one for the requisite pairs of underwear and moved on, and only now did I notice Dolly (a 3-foot-tall stuffed doll that has been with us for a long time) perched atop my 6-year-old's bag.

My daughter must have decided she didn't want to be without Dolly for two nights and sneaked out of bed to put her with the camping bags when I wasn't looking.

Feeling a stab of nostalgia mixed with pride, I smiled at remembering how when we first got Dolly she was about the same height as my daughter. Now Dolly seemed so small, and my daughter was getting so big.

The smile faded as the next thought followed, like the second shoe I hoped would never drop: And someday she won't want to bring Dolly along at all.

All the littleness is gradually leaving my house, and I'm not ready.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

These days, it's almost physically painful to acknowledge that someday there will be no more dolls going camping with us.

The stick figure drawings I'm currently finding all over the house will disappear.

There won't be any more cute word mispronunciations, and Mother's Day gifts made from handprints will stop coming home from school.

I'm not ready.

When the kids were little, I was so smug. When someone mentioned feeling sad over their kids growing up I thought "Oh, come on. That's what children do: they grow! That should make you happy, not sad."

Easy for me to say, when I still had the privilege of so much time. My kids were all still young and every day stretched on forever, punctuated only by naptime in the afternoon.

I had jumped enthusiastically into the role of mom at age 21 and loved it. I loved it so much I did it 5 more times in the next twelve years.

Yes, there was physical exhaustion, stress, and frustration, but to be honest it paled in comparison to how much I loved the rhythm of everyday life with a gaggle of little kids underfoot.

Some women have an identity crisis after having their first child. Who am I? They wonder after their lives are turned upside-down to cater to a newborn's demands. What is my purpose? And how do I find the joy in this?

The irony is that I never asked myself those darkly existential questions when I first became a mom, but now that my oldest is 14 and my youngest is no longer a baby, I find them keeping me awake at night.

On good days, I try to focus on the positive. Now that the kids are older, we can have actual conversations about current events, politics, and religion. I love watching them pursue their passions and make their own choices. We can even play board games without worrying about someone eating the pieces.

But on the bad days, I wonder if the rest of motherhood is going to be this bittersweet. I look into the future and see the slow and painful end to the best time of my life.

That sweet period of time when all the kids were happily playing under the same roof, instead of running from school to play practice to a part-time job in preparation to leave it, was magical.

Even at the time, I knew it. I took nothing for granted. I don't think I would've done it any differently if I could go back.

But that's just it: I can't go back.

Time marches on, and my tiny people becoming big people means the conclusion to life as I've known it for a decade.

Of course, I'll always be their mother. I know there are great things to come. But right now, I struggle to see how anything could ever replace the magic of a toddler's little hand in mine.

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Friday, November 2, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Cruel Ironies, Precarious Ways to Harvest Your Fruit, and Corny Jokes from a Word Nerd

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


So I came down with a stomach bug over the weekend. I'll spare you the details, but you know how when you throw up you're mentally unable to ever again have the last thing you ate before getting sick?

It was chocolate.

This is probably the worst thing that ever happened to me.


How was trick-or-treating at your house? As we were running around trying to get everyone out the door on Halloween night, my 7-year-old approached me in her black cat costume and said, "I have an idea for my costume."

"What is it?" I asked, struggling to fasten my 2-year-old's costume over the layers he was wearing as he screamed in protest.

"Like, maybe I could have a tutu?"

"Okaaaaay...."I said, racking my brains for the whereabouts of a tutu and simultaneously trying to figure out why a black cat would need one in the first place.

"And I could wear, like, a leotard? And ballet shoes? Basically, I really want to be a ballerina."

When a child tells you this at T minus 5 minutes, you first make this face:

7 Quick Takes about Cruel Ironies, Precarious Ways to Harvest Your Fruit, and Corny Jokes from a Word Nerd  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

And then you do this:

7 Quick Takes about Cruel Ironies, Precarious Ways to Harvest Your Fruit, and Corny Jokes from a Word Nerd  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


Once we got going, though, it was a fun night. The black cat forgot about her costume troubles and had fun.

The 4-year-old and 10-year-old recycled their respective king and banana Halloween costumes from last year. (The 10-year-old is probably going to wear his banana suit every year until he grows out of it, at which point he'll probably just buy a bigger one.)

The 12-year-old came up with a gypsy costume that I absolutely loved, complete with a glowing crystal ball she fashioned out of a battery-operated tealight and the spherical light fixture above our toilet.

The 14-year-old made a token effort at thinking up a costume and then didn't, so she just posed for pictures with all our other kids in costume saying she was "a genius" and we left it at that.

Also, we saw two trick-or-treating kids dressed like Batman and being driven door-to-door in a golf cart emblazoned with the Batcar symbol.


And then there was the 2-year-old, who was a surgeon. He wore a little pair of scrubs, a surgical cap, and a stethoscope from the dress-up bin, and he called trick-or-treating "going on a surgeon."

The toddler misunderstanding makes this such a cute phrase, but combine it with the adorable fact that his lisp means he pronounces it "thurgeon," and I think you can understand why we'll never correct him and trick-or-treating in our house will be called "going on a thurgeon" for the rest of his life.


Last week, Phillip's work held a gigantic mandatory safety training expo. His company is extremely safety conscious.

I mean, they do have laboratories and chemicals you have to be careful with, but they even have rules like you have to use the handrail when you go down steps.

It's pretty intense.

The day after he told me about the safety training, I was reading my preschooler a picture book about trucks and recognized right away that this scene would cause someone in HR at Phillip's company to have a heart attack:

illustration of a person picking apples from a ladder inside a truck's trailer - 7 Quick Takes about Cruel Ironies, Precarious Ways to Harvest Your Fruit, and Corny Jokes from a Word Nerd  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Not an OSHA-approved method for apple picking.

Actually, the way she's teetering at the top of that thing while it's haphazardly propped up on a moving vehicle is making me a little queasy, now that I think about it.


A few of my daughter's friends were performing in a local community theater production of Shrek: The Musical so we all went to go see it.

I'm not crazy about bathroom humor (which is why I didn't really like the movie) but I think the director cut out some scenes and cleaned it up a little, so I really enjoyed it! It was hilarious and all the characters were fantastic.

Apparently the show made quite an impression on the 4-year-old, too, but not in the way I thought. He had a million questions about the castle guards afterward, who were in about three scenes and had no speaking parts. Kids are funny.


I'm kind of a word nerd. I like movies like Stranger Than Fiction and novels like The Eyre Affair that are all about language, writing, and words. I saw an email from a friend looking for people to proofread the novel she's writing for NaNoWriMo and jumped on it. And this silly one-liner made me laugh all day on Thursday:

Yesterday, I bought the world's worst thesaurus! Not only was it terrible, it was also terrible.

I think I may use this joke as a litmus test to be my friend from now on. If it makes you laugh, too, you're in.

Enjoy your Halloween candy, everyone! I know my banana will.

boy in a banana costume eating a large stash of candy - 7 Quick Takes about Cruel Ironies, Precarious Ways to Harvest Your Fruit, and Corny Jokes from a Word Nerd

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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

9 Jobs Newborn Babies Would Be Excellent At

Some people say newborns are just squishy blobs that don't do much besides eat, sleep, and poop, but I don't know about that.

It seems to me like newborn babies just have a really unique skill set that lends itself perfectly to a lot of careers out there. You just have to find the right ones.

A newborn baby in a diaper sleeping - 9 Jobs Newborn Babies Would Be Excellent At

For example, a newborn baby would make a really great:

Demolitions expert. Ever seen the house of a family with a newborn? It's completely trashed: dishes stacked to the ceiling, laundry everywhere, and a gallon of milk going bad under a stack of mail on what used to be the kitchen table. It's an impressive level of destruction, especially when you consider newborns aren't even mobile.

Runway model. Extended relatives will be sending your little fashion icon one haute couture label after another: Carter's, Gymboree, Baby Gap... You might not leave the house for the months at a time due to how busy you are dressing your baby up in cute outfits and taking pictures.

Celebrity. Speaking of pictures, as a new member of the parent paparazzi you will stalk your newborn and photograph him from every conceivable angle in every conceivable location. Not because he's doing anything interesting, either. Just because you're obsessed with him.

Explosives technician. Two words: diaper blowout. Nobody knows more about detonating volatile substances than a newborn.

Political dictator. These tyrants rule with a tiny iron fist to get whatever they want, whenever they want it, and if that means you lose basic rights like hot meals and showers? Then so be it. Talk about absolute power.

Contortionist. Ever look up from changing a diaper and realize your baby's heels are quite literally touching her forehead? There are flexible people, then there are circus performers, and then there are newborns.


Eating contest entrant. Cluster feeding makes you want to scream, but try to think of it as a training opportunity for your newborn. He can make a lot of money touring the competitive eating circuit and winning contests for that.

Quality control specialist. I have never in my life met anyone as picky as a newborn. It's always too hot, too cold, too loud, too quiet, too still, or too bouncy. If there's even the slightest thing wrong, trust me, a newborn will let you know.

High school dance chaperone. If you need to keep couples from getting too close or sneaking off to be alone, a newborn is definitely the right person for the job. As any new parent will tell you, babies are naturals at shutting down romantic moments practically before they even get started.

You see? All sorts of careers are perfectly suited to newborns and their innate skills. If you're a new or expecting parent, keep this list handy. After all, it's never too early for your baby to seek gainful employment and start saving for college.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Online Banking as an Ecstatic Experience, Surprise House Paintings, and Wearing a Banana Costume to the Zoo

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


So I happened to see this ad in the paper, and I'm obviously using the wrong bank because these people are having a way better time checking their balance than I typically do.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
The pinnacle of human experience and  overdraft protection!

I realize the advertisers probably didn't hand two models a Motorola and say "Pretend like you're banking."

They most likely grabbed a stock photo of "happy people on a smartphone" and used that, but I still just can't look at this ad without laughing. The first pump is too much for me.


On Monday I wrote a parody piece called "6 Fall Knits that Look Great with Your Kid's Snot on the Shoulder" and as sometimes happens in writer land, hit 'publish' and watched it not do very well.

Maybe people thought it was a real style guide and skimmed right on past.

In writing that parody article, though, I had to look at a few actual style guides from fancy places like Harper's Bazaar, where I realized that "style guide" is actually code for "ugly clothes that are ridiculously expensive."

It's basically a line-up trying to convince you it would be totally okay to buy an $350 pair of Aztec-patterned leggings.

It is not, FYI.


It's time to re-paint the exterior of our house, so we've been gathering quotes from different house painting companies for the last few weeks.

Then we got an email from one of them saying our paint job was scheduled for Monday, which was a total surprise to us seeing as we hadn't contracted with them or signed any agreement with them.

We called the company to gently remind them that "um, we didn't actually hire you yet," but for future reference, if this happens again and we just don't say anything, we get a free house painting, right?

I mean, if someone just shows up uninvited and paints your house as a surprise...

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

I was almost sad making the call telling them not to come, because I think it would be fun not to know what color house you'd come home to at the end of the day. But maybe that's just me.


My 10-year-old showed me this book he got from Grandma:

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

"The biggest, fastest, grossest, tiniest, slowest, and smelliest creatures on the planet," I read out loud, handing it back to him. "About half of those live here."

Phillip also pointed out that putting the author's names just below the "slowest and smelliest" bit didn't exactly put them in the most flattering light, and though I hadn't noticed it before, I had to agree.


Since Grandma is here for a visit, I made the executive decision to take the kids out of school and go to the zoo for the day. Being kind of a cold and cloudy weekday, we basically had the place to ourselves.

I realize this probably means I'm getting old and boring, but I really liked the informational plaques because they were more readable and interesting than the ones you usually see at zoos.

At the rhino enclosure, I read that a group of rhinos is called a "crash" just in time to see not one, but two of my children almost toppling headfirst over a railing out of the corner of my eye (not into the enclosure, just into a ditch with some bushes on the other side.)

From this point forward, I will definitely be referring to my kids as a crash of Evanses.


The zoo currently has a promotion where kids wearing a Halloween costume get in free, so of course we dressed them up to save a million dollars.

As soon as we got in, the kids started complaining loudly, "Can I take my costume off?!"

"Shhh!" I hissed, "Wait until we're out of sight of the ticket lady!"

Because, apparently, I was worried that she was so personally invested in the promotion that if she saw the kids remove their costumes she'd immediately jump the turnstile and taser them.

Thank goodness we avoided that by getting a few hundred feet between us first.


One of the kids, however, didn't want to to take off his his costume. He wore it the entire time, which was especially comical in front of the monkey cages.

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

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