Friday, June 23, 2017

7 Quick Takes about Letting It Go, Signs That Someone You Love Is Building a Time Machine, and How to Part Your Hair in Preparation for World Domination

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

1


What do you do when two of your kids had an argument, and it's basically over, but one of them just won't let it go?

Apparently, requiring that child to sing along to a karaoke video of Frozen's "Let It Go" we found on YouTube must not be the right answer because it didn't work very well.

After a stubborn refusal and a tense standoff, I even volunteered to sing it with the reluctant child, but it ended up being mostly me doing a solo and then the child stomping away.

Phillip pointed out the silver lining, though: "Well, I think they hated that almost more than having to sing it. Nice work!"

I'm no Idina Menzel, but I do what I can.

2


I usually bake bread once a week instead of buying it, but before you get too impressed let me tell you that I forget the salt about 20% of the time.

After telling me how good this week's bread was, my 5-year-old asked about last week's no-salt bread, "Can I call your gross bread 'gross?'"

"Well you can, but it's not really polite," I said. (We have regular conversations about how it's bad manners to broadcast your negative opinions about someone's cooking to the entire dinner table. REGULAR.)

"Okay," she nodded. "I'm just going to call it 'gross' then, because that's what it was."

When honesty comes up against manners with this girl, honesty wins.

3


For Father's Day this year the kids and I cleaned Phillip's car, which was sorely needed.

Phase 1 was clearing out the debris that had accumulated in there over the years (yes, I said years) which included two candy canes, a dreamcatcher, a mega-size canister of zip ties, rolls of wrapping paper, boy scout awards, assorted cords and gadgets we couldn't identify, a bent umbrella, about a million receipts from Home Depot, and a drywall trowel. As we were unloading all of this randomness from the car, my son asked, "Is dad building a time machine?"

And I thought I had a messy car.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
This is a nice dreamcatcher. Too bad Phillip didn't know where it came from or how it got in his car.

We threw out trash, vacuumed carpets, cleaned smoothie spills off the passenger seat (maybe for his birthday we'll get him a smoothie container with a lid,) washed all the windows, and polished the dashboard. By the time we were done, it looked like a new car.

As a reward, Phillip let the kids eat the candy canes they found.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Hopefully these are from the most recent Christmas. If not, I don't want to know.

For Father's Day dinner I was going to make our favorite veggie burger recipe (spare me your vomiting noises, these are amazing) but somehow we'd run out of almost every ingredient. Even the hamburger buns had been ravaged by the kids, which I'm guessing had to do with the fact that no one wanted my salt-less bread.

4


When I say we buy everything on Amazon, I'm serious. I just ordered a bunch of rolls of Scotch tape from Amazon instead of picking them up at Walmart like a normal person.

I heart Amazon. Amazon completes me. I've never had an issue with them, which is amazing for how much I use them. But for the last week, packages have not been arriving at our house.

Earlier this week we ordered some batteries, and the delivery status on our order said "delivered; left in the mailroom." Thinking it meant the mailroom at the post office, I went there and they had no clue what I was talking about. Our package was nowhere.

And then a Nerf gun we ordered never arrived, even though the delivery status said "delivered."

What the heck. Amazon, we love you but are you on drugs??

Luckily, next to the delivery status there was a picture of our delivered packages and I recognized the surroundings. They were in the back corner of the house at a basement-level door we never, ever use. Without that picture, it could've been months before we found those packages.

From now on, I guess we'll have to start checking the ground outside the back door our "mailroom" for packages.

5


Phillip and I were watching TV when he leaned over to me and whispered, "That guy's part is on the wrong side."

"What?"

"His hair. It's parted on the wrong side."

I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, but when I Googled it, it turns out that there sort of is a wrong side.

The "masculine" way to part hair is on the left, so much so that when they want a guy to be super-nerdy in the movies, they give him a right part. Clark Kent? Right part. Superman? Left.

Then I also learned that apparently, I'm a man.

When I started parting my hair on the left side years ago, little did I know that I was joining the ranks of Margaret Thatcher and Hillary Clinton in positioning myself to become one of the most powerful women in the world.

Between my right part and the fact that I've already drawn up my presidential platform, success is only a pantsuit away.

6


I still identify as a night owl, but as I get older, the definition of a "late night" changes. Even just a couple of years ago, I could stay up until 2 or 3 with no consequences. Now it's more like 11 or midnight.

Anyway, I stayed up until 3 one night this week. Predictably, I felt like garbage in the morning.

"I'm so stupid! I'm just too old to be doing this anymore!" I wailed to Phillip, who was supposed to feel sorry for me even though he clearly didn't. (Apparently when you have no one to blame but yourself, you're not entitled to the same sympathy or whatever.)

"Well," he said, "Traditionally I think people are supposed to start out young and stupid, and then they gradually become old and wise. Old and stupid is a problem."

I declined his offer to graph it out for me.

I now have an alarm set for 9:30 PM on my phone to remind me to go to bed. It's pretty worthless since turns off if I ignore it for 60 seconds, but luckily Phillip must have felt a little bit sorry for me after all, because he makes sure I go to bed when he does now.

7


Before the older kids finished the school year, I knew I wanted to take the littles on a day trip. I knew they'd all like it, especially my train-obsessed 3-year-old.

We got on the commuter train, rode to a stop just a few towns over, and went to a playground that's about a 10-minute walk from the station. We played and had lunch there before going back home. I was so glad we finally got around to doing it.

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

And the 3-year-old? He actually wasn't going insane with enthusiasm during the train ride like I thought he would be, but I know he really liked it anyway because everything he did for the next 24 hours, he loudly let me know he didn't want to do because he'd rather be on the commuter train.

Also, now he asks me if we're taking a train every time we leave the house. I think I might end up regretting this.

And while it was refreshing to see a positive graffiti message scrawled across the wall of the train station, it would've been nice if they'd spelled it right.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Just say no to female protagonists in literature, kids. 

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Best Marriage Advice

Church was over for the day, and the halls were filled with the usual mass exodus of little boys in clip-on ties and girls running with their tulle underskirts flapping behind them.

Phillip and I picked up our two little girls from their Sunday School classes and carried them to the car. We buckled them into their car seats and turned the key in the ignition  and nothing happened.

That's when I remembered I'd left the lights on.

I felt pretty bad about it, even though in the grand scheme of things (or even in a minor scheme of things) it wasn't a big deal. Mentally kicking myself, I told Phillip it was my fault.

Stepping out of the car and back into the parking lot, he flagged down a man nearby and said, "Hey, do you happen to have jumper cables? We left the lights on and our battery died."

Instead of throwing me under the bus in even the smallest way, Phillip assumed half the responsibility for my mistake without even thinking about it, saying "we left the lights on" instead of "my wife left the lights on."

I doubt he'd even remember that day if I asked him, but that was when it hit me with full force: we are a team.

After 14 years, I feel like I should have a bunch of sage pieces of marriage advice. But I only have one.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

When you're two starry-eyed 20-somethings planning your future together, you really have no idea how much you're going to become a team. Or much you're going to need to be one to make it through whatever lies ahead.

Being a team looks different for every couple, because every couple is its own unique mix of personalities, quirks, habits, needs, and strengths.

For us it means that on road trips, Phillip drives while I'm in charge of keeping the kids alive. Because I fall asleep at the wheel.

And since I'm more okay than he is with disrupted sleep, I get up with babies in the night. But he gets up with the older kids in the morning and gets them off to school while I sleep in.

And when we go on vacation, it's my job to give him a list of everything we need and he somehow gathers it up and makes it all fit in the car.

Today's our 14th anniversary, which means it's been fourteen years of sharing diaper duty and planning birthday parties and disciplining our kids and going to elementary school art shows together. We've supported each other through college, moving, having babies (me,) and a kidney stone (him.) We've tag-teamed bedtimes and school pickups and rides to soccer practice.

People see my 6 amazing kids and the fact that I hold down a church calling, write a blog, and even shower most days and they ask me, "How do you do it?"

And truthfully, I don't really know. I'm just pretty sure I couldn't if I didn't have such a great teammate.

After 14 years, I feel like I should have a bunch of sage pieces of marriage advice. But I only have one.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I feel like I should have accumulated more wisdom than that by now, like after 14 years I should have cracked the formula for a good marriage and can now pass it on to others like the secret recipe for cheddar bay biscuits at Red Lobster.

But I suppose my best marriage advice is this: remember that you're a team.

Also, carry jumper cables in your trunk. You never know when you're going to need them.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

7 Quick Takes about Being Done Dragging Myself to All the Soccer, Surprises in the Kitchen, and Soap Cakes

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

1


Soccer is over for another season. I know I say this every spring and fall, but I can't believe we made it through.

Not only did my 5-year-old start playing so we now had three sets of practices and games to coordinate, but the older two also needed transportation to away games. I never asked about carpooling because strangely enough, the other parents appeared to enjoy driving to the outermost corners of the earth and back every Saturday. I did not.

This is actual footage of me during the last 2-3 weeks of the season:


But at least the kids got exercise, worked hard at something, were part of a team, and learned perseverance which is why we do this every time.

I also enjoyed hearing my son repeat snippets from his coach's pep talks to the team, which I found highly motivational. On the way home from his last game, he told me "If you play a tough team, you've gotta be tougher. If you play a fast team, you've gotta be faster."

"That's good advice," I said.

Then he thought of something else and added, "If you play a dumb team, you've gotta be dumber."

See? Motivational.

2


Opening the fridge one night, Phillip asked me, "Are you going to yell at the kids about these two unwrapped blocks of cheddar cheese in the fridge?"

I could only blink at him and wonder, Are you new here? 

That's their modus operandi. Punishing them for that would be like punishing them for breathing. At this point, I'm pretty sure opening a second container of something when the first is clearly already open is some kind of immutable instinct from our caveman forefathers.

They can't help it; it's genetics.

3


My 3-year-old is usually pretty shy and reserved around people he doesn't know well, but lately he's experimenting with yelling playfully at them. I think this actually may be a coping mechanism for his nervous energy around unfamiliar faces, but I don't like it.

A few weeks ago my neighbor came over, and he kept headbutting her and calling her "cuckoo."

And then at the grocery store, a nice old lady approached us near the pickles and started telling me how cute my kids were. She reached over to pat my son's downy head and he yelled in her face, "Don't touch me!"

She left pretty soon after that, probably wanting to get out of there before his head started spinning around.

(Note: my e-course on how to raise extremely well-mannered children who in no way embarrass you in public still has a few spaces available!)

4


The baby currently sleeps in a Pack 'n Play in our closet. When he wakes up in the morning he's sometimes happy and sometimes grumpy, so I never know quite what to expect when I open the door. But it isn't a tiny person covered head to toe in fecal material.

Nevertheless, that's what I got on Tuesday morning.

I'm still not sure what happened. His diaper was still on, but I think it leaked out the sides onto his thighs, which he started itching because it felt weird, and once it was all over his fingers things got a little out of hand.

Considering there was poop in his eyebrows, it really didn't take that long to clean up. And it certainly could have been worse.

At least he didn't start grabbing all of the clothes that were within arms' reach (and we have a small closet so they're ALL within arms' reach.) As I write this, I'm getting a sinking feeling that I need to double-check that he didn't do this, actually.

The funny part was, after I'd given him a bath and done a load of laundry, one of my other kids came in and casually leaned against the Pack n' Play while they talked to me. Suddenly they were no longer talking, but running to the bathroom to wash their hands. Turns out I'd missed some poop on the railing.

5


Sometimes you know how you decide you're just going to arrange your spices a little and then suddenly the contents of every cabinet are spilled all over the counters and the floor and you're not even sure how it happened but you're reorganizing the entire kitchen now?

The good news is, my kitchen looks great.

And I even discovered some new things, the most interesting one being the 200 grams of meth I thought I found in my husband's cupboard.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Upon closer inspection: not meth.

Yes, Phillip has got his own cupboard in the kitchen for storing all of his weird stuff. He's a really experimental food guy, and he brings home the strangest things from the grocery store. I don't even know what half of it is. Maybe he doesn't, either. A lot of the time the labels aren't even in English.

6


We needed to make a themed dessert for a cub scout event and decided on a cake that looks like a bar of soap. Since I don't have a lot of ideas when it comes to cake decorating (my fanciest idea is using the sprinkles that came with the container of Funfetti frosting) I turned to the Internet for help.

I was extremely disappointed that Googling "soap cake" only gets you results on fancy soap that looks like a cake for wedding favors and stuff.

Aside from being completely unhelpful in our current circumstances, I don't even think fancy cake-shaped soaps are a good idea. Seriously, if you went to a wedding would you rather get soap that looks like cake or cake that looks like soap?

That's what I thought.

7


Every scout was assigned part of the scout law (which is "A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, etc...") and asked to bring a cake symbolizing it.

Our word was 'clean.' Hence the soap cake.

We decided on something really simple and my son did it all by himself:

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

Of course we had to be right next to the life-sizes 3-dimensional eagle representing "trustworthy." It was one of those times you just have to smile and say, "We're here to make you look gooood, that's all. You're welcome."

In case you were wondering, I say that a lot.

(P.S: My cheapskate heart also loved the "thrifty" cake, which looked like a roll of duct tape. Really. A roll of duct tape is practically our family crest.)

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

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Why Parents Need to Have a Zero Tolerance Policy, Too

After dinner one night I was washing dishes. Through the window I could see the little kids playing in the driveway, and my 11-year-old sat on a chair nearby telling me about her day.

"Mom?" she said, "I guess my brothers and sisters are pretty nice."

"They are," I agreed, putting a plate in the dish drainer. "What makes you say that?"

She told me about a classmate who accidentally wrote her birthday on the wrong day on her school assignment calendar, and when her older brother saw it sitting on the table he wrote beside it, "What are you, dumb?" It was still there when she came to school today, and her friend was upset and already plotting her vengeance.

It was hard for my daughter to imagine her siblings doing something like that, and frankly, it was hard for me to imagine, too. Our kids are pretty good friends.

Not to say they always get along perfectly. In fact, two of our six kids currently have their video game privileges suspended for snapping at each other too much lately.

But any fighting between them is usually a one-time reaction to something that just happened. ("You knocked down my tower!" "Stay out of my jewelry box!" "Stop poking me!") It's not part of a pattern of unprovoked mean behavior.

I wasn't sure what to say about my daughter's story, so I just said, "Wow, if one of you guys ever did something like that, you'd be in major trouble."

And I think that might be the key.

If we allow our kids to treat each other in a way that would upset us to find they'd been treating another kid at school, something is wrong.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Just like we sometimes got annoyed with our roommates in college because they made too much noise, used our stuff, created a mess, and invaded our personal space, siblings also get annoyed with each other. And being human, sometimes they lose their temper and react badly.

But how parents handle those reactions matter.

If we allow our kids to talk to each other in a way we wouldn't stand by and listen to them talk to a friend, or treat them in a way that would upset us to find they'd been treating another kid at school, something is wrong.

Every time there's meanness between siblings, we as parents have a choice: we can roll our eyes and accept it as normal behavior, or we can stop both kids and let them know it's not okay.

By tolerating a few rude names or sneaky pushes, we're allowing things to snowball into what we call sibling rivalry. Kids quickly get trapped in a cycle where each of them is constantly seeking revenge (yes, I've heard kids use that word) against the other.

If we allow our kids to treat each other in a way that would upset us to find they'd been treating another kid at school, something is wrong.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

So what do you do if your kids are already trapped in the sibling rivalry cycle, teasing each other until someone cries and telling their friends at school how much they hate each other?

I believe you can sit down and talk about what you've been seeing. Explain that effective as of right now, this family has a new zero tolerance policy. Every time, for every act of meanness, there will be consequences. Then follow through.

Easier said than done, I know. Being consistent is the hardest thing there is when you're an exhausted parent. But I promise it will be worth it.

Some other tips to escape from the cycle of sibling rivalry:

  • Give them opportunities to have fun together, like going to a movie or out for ice cream
  • Create goals to work toward together, like cumulatively earning points toward a reward
  • Consider "punishing" them for being mean by requiring them to think of and do something nice for their sibling
  • Catch them being nice to each other and praise them, especially in front of others
  • When you must discipline, say something like "you're such a nice person, please try to be kind to your brother" instead of "you're always so mean to him!"
Do siblings always have to agree, get along, and want to spend time together? Of course not.

But even when they're sick to death of each other and need time apart, expect civility. We should never demand that kids treat their own family with less respect than everyone else around them.

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Monday, June 12, 2017

5 Father's Day Crafts He'll Want To Throw Away Immediately!

Why is it so hard to find good Father's Day crafts? All I want is for my little ones to be semi-involved in giving a gift to their dad, without presenting him with a necktie made out of craft foam or an ugly keychain weighing 5 pounds that he'll never use.

According to the Internet, those are my only options.

I guess I don't know all the answers. But I do know that if I'm ever looking for ideas for Father's Day crafts that will be sure to make Dad say "thanks, I love it!" on the outside and "how long til I can throw this away?" on the inside, I'll definitely suggest that the kids make him one of these.

If you're searching for ideas for Father's Day crafts that will go straight in the trash, look no further.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

1. Anything with glitter.


Glitter is the gift that keeps on giving. Dad (along with everyone else in the house) will be finding it stuck to his feet for weeks, if not months. Even if it's a really cute picture he'd actually like to keep, festooning it with glitter is dooming it to a very short life and an expedited ticket to the trash can. If tiny pieces of devil-confetti fall off every time he touches it, dad isn't keeping it.

2. Anything made out of recycled materials.


I blame the schools. My kids would've never thought of making art out of our trash if their teacher hadn't suggested it to them. But here we are, and now dad is the hapless recipient of an egg-carton caterpillar that says "Happy Father's Day!" on it. I don't get it. Is it useful? Is it particularly cute? The answer to these two questions when it comes to recycled material crafts is usually 'no.' A good rule of thumb is: if it once was used to hold toilet paper, he probably doesn't want it for Father's Day (even if you decorate it.)

3. Anything 3-dimensional.


Dad wants to save a lot of your art, he just doesn't want to rent a storage pod in order to do it. If things aren't flat, or at least foldable, they'll probably end up you-know-where. When your kid presents dad with a paper mache "#1 DAD" trophy the size of the Stanley cup, let's both hope she's not old enough to know that by "taking this to work tomorrow" he means "hiding in the garbage at the earliest opportunity." He'll probably take a picture first and save it, though  because pictures are flat.

4. Anything heavy and ceramic.


While I understand that for the first 2-3 years of a child's life they're unable to produce much else, but there's a downside to those handprint kits you see in Michael's that look like such a cute idea at the time. Namely, they are heavy, breakable, and don't really serve a function. There are only so many handprints Dad can display or even save. Statistically speaking, most giant clay impressions of kids' hands end up in the trash. Sorry.

5. Anything involving fart jokes.


I wish I didn't have to say this, but please don't. Yes, I appreciate the irony that "Happy Father's Day" sounds a little bit like "Happy Farter's Day," but Dads are so much more than farts. Honestly, even a hand-painted porcelain doorstop in the shape of your kids' head would be a better gift than a T-shirt that says "World's Best Farter." Even if you're 7-year-old thinks it's hilarious, don't let him do it.

Finding Father's Day crafts that won't go right in the trash is harder than it sounds like it should be, but we've always found success with a good old handmade card from the kids and something edible we know he likes.

And if kids decorate plain paper and use it to wrap the gift? That's technically a Father's Day craft, but it's designed to be thrown away so no one will even feel bad about it. Think about it.

If you're searching for ideas for Father's Day crafts that will go straight in the trash, look no further.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Phillip walking two kids and wearing a toddler around on vacation last summer. He deserves better than a pencil holder made out of popsicle sticks. 

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Friday, June 9, 2017

7 Quick Takes about Ticket Collectors, Green Eggs and Ham, and Something Going On at the Grocery Store

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

1


We don't always go to story time at the library, but this week we went and met my friend Melanie there.

I will tell you that the theme of the week was trains. I won't tell you that we arrived so late we missed all the stories and only got there in time to do the craft.

Which is one of the reasons we don't always go to story time at the library.

I thought my son was really into trains (so I'm still a little irritated about missing practically the whole thing) but he had nothing on this kid who took it upon himself to make a billion "train tickets" and walk around the library handing them out to everyone, old and young, whether they wanted one or not.

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

When Melanie and I left an hour or so later, that same boy jumped out of nowhere like a ninja and demanded our tickets. We fished them out of our purses (good thing moms never throw anything away) and surrendered them.

Then I think he might have been a little confused about how tickets work, because what he did next was follow us out of the library giving us more handfuls of his handmade tickets.

I'm still carrying them around in my purse, partly because I haven't had time to clean out my bag but mostly because that kid seemed pretty intense and I'm worried he might not let us back in without them.

2


You know what's fun? Playing charades with a 3-year-old.

We haven't played charades in forever but decided to try it out when we had no other ideas for Family Home Evening (like a Mormon family devotional on Monday nights.)

On the 3-year-old's turn he would erratically hop/gallop/crawl around, not acknowledging any of our guesses until we said his turn was over, at which point he would claim to be a random animal that he hadn't been imitating in any way, shape, or form.

When his sister got up and stood still for a second trying to decide which animal she wanted to be, he started randomly yelling, "Cow! Frog! Kangaroo!"

In other words, he totally gets charades now.

3


On the heels of his last business trip and the ensuing jet lag, Phillip had an all-day conference call that really wore him out. This is because it went from 2:30 AM to 10:30 AM.

Some of you may be thinking, "So what? My husband works shifts in the middle of the night all the time."

Well, your husbands are probably nurses or police officers where that actually makes sense. Mine is an acoustics engineer for ceiling tiles.

Apparently it was an international conference call, so only those lucky employees at company headquarters in France got to do it during normal business hours when they were, you know, awake.

4


The bad thing about having lots of kids is that when something gets ruined, it's much harder to figure out who did it. I mean, I can usually rule out one or two kids. But that still leaves 4 of them, meaning I've only got a 25% chance of punishing the right person.

So whichever one of you kids smeared a substance which may or may not have been poop (the sniff test was inconclusive) all over the cover page of Green Eggs and Ham, you got away with it this time. I hope you're happy.

Seriously, we need to invest in some security cameras around here. And also a new copy of Green Eggs and Ham.

5


The cashiers at my grocery store are being suspiciously nice to me.

Last week, the bagging lady at the checkout beside us saw the kids playing with the balls at the register, and instead of yelling at them to cut it out (which I was just about to do,) she bought three of them with her own money and gave one to each kid.

(So far they've broken a speaker and a candlestick by playing with the balls in the house, but I still count it as a good deed because how could she have known?)

This week, my cashier complimented me on my makeup but also told me that I really don't need it because I usually come in without it and I look great.

So I don't really have a conclusion here. Something's going on, I'm just not sure what. Some new customer loyalty pilot program?


6


I have to admit that I don't really get Twitter. I'm on it, but I still don't really get it.

However, I did make the Babble #FunnyParents list with a tweet about my baby, so that's something.

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

If you haven't seen it, go read the rest of the list: they're hilarious.

7


We're in the home stretch of the school year, otherwise known to parents as "End-of-Year Concerts for EVERYTHING" week.

I ended up going to the middle school band and choir concert alone because my husband needed to take other kids to church activities, but luckily he was still available by text so I could keep him filled in on everything as it was happening:

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

As you can see, he missed one heck of a concert.


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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

All The Summer Camps My Kids Will Be Attending

Yesterday a glossy catalog arrived in my mailbox, full of choices for summer camp. (Okay, it actually came a month ago but this is the first chance I've had to look at the mail.)

There's basketball camp, ballet camp, and Harry Potter camp. There's cooking camp and anime camp and zombie apocalypse camp and learn-how-to-camp camp.

So. Many. Camps.

And I'm glad the options are there for parents who need it, but sorry, my kids' schedule is already jam-packed.

Forget fancy summer camps: I'm sending my kids to weeding camp. In my backyard.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Here's a list of the camps my kids are going to be attending this summer, whether we like it or not:

Get Your Own Breakfast Camp


The mom who got up and made you some healthy oatmeal or scrambled eggs every morning during the school year is officially off-duty. Please see the boxed cereal in the cupboard and you know where the toaster is. You can also help yourself to the bowl of fruit on the counter. (Just kidding, that was a joke. We both know you won't do that.)

Weed Pulling Camp


Oh my goodness, the spring rain made our yard go crazy with weeds. Don't even start me on the walkways and the flowerbeds around the house. As luck would have it though, I have three extra kids (with a total of 6 hands) available for 7 extra hours a day to help me pull them all out. What perfect timing.

Get High on S'mores and Act Like a Maniac Camp


In the morning, I'm going to regret letting the kids stay up until 10 P.M. running wild with burning sticks and sneaking squares of Hershey's chocolate behind my back while we roast marshmallows around the campfire. But you bet your sticky little fingers (and face and clothes) that we're going to do it, anyway.

Bickering Immersion Camp


My kids get along well, but you're going to fight with anyone who's in the same room as you every waking hour for three months. A lot. There will be lots of eye-rolling and whining and crying. And that's just from me, pleading for it to stop.

Wearing Pajamas All Day Camp


One of the best things about summer, in my opinion, is that actual clothing is optional. My kids spend half of the summer wearing either PJs or a swimsuit. There are some days when they don't even put on regular clothes.

Put Your Dirty Dishes IN the Dishwasher Camp


During the school year my kids have three meals and two snacks a day; during the summer the kitchen turns into a 24-hour Chuck-a-Rama. If I don't know where the kids are, I can find them by following the trail of discarded plates and bowls littered all over the house. There are also 347 cups in the sink, each of them used for a single sip of water.

No, You May Not Play the iPad Camp


Summer is a magical three months when you can fill your days riding bikes, catching fireflies, and all that other 1970s fun you hear so much about. It is not, dear children, simply an opportunity to spend more quality time with Minecraft.

Stay Outside Because I Just Cleaned Camp


Our house is livable during the school year but a full-on disaster area during summer vacation. The kids help clean up plenty, but in all honesty it's just easier to kick them outside with a bottle of sunscreen and some popsicles once in a while so I can enjoy the floor not being sticky for 5 minutes.

Give Mom a Migraine Camp


If I didn't hear it myself, I would never believe the ear-splitting noises my kids are capable of producing all day long. It hums in my ears and it echoes in my brain. You know in war movies where there's an explosion near the main character and everything goes silent except for a dull ringing? Those scenes bring tears of longing to my eyes.

Mosquito Smorgasbord Camp


A few weeks in to summer, my kids are so covered in bug bites they look like they have a rare skin disease. Even if we remember to spray them down before they go play outside, there are always one or two mosquitoes that sneak in the house and attack them in their sleep.

Shut the Door Camp


Unfortunately, the kids don't care about keeping the bugs out or keeping the air conditioning in. That means while they're running in and out the door whooping like a pack of insane hyenas, I'm following them around barking "Close the door!" for a good chunk of my daylight hours.

So even though taekwondo camp and left-handed calligraphy camp sound like tons of fun, we're going to have to pass. As you can see, we're already booked solid for the summer.

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