Friday, January 12, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Impressing Your Houseguests, Bad Places to Eat Brownies with Ice Cream, and the Living Room Mantel That Proves Less Is More

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

1


My 1-year-old's vocabulary is exploding and he's discovering that he really likes to talk conversationally.

His favorite type of conversation goes something like this:

"Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom?"

"Yes?"

*pointing* "Dat phone."

You know, really important stuff like that.

2


There are two methods kids use to show they're excited to have visitors over. Unfortunately, neither of them is sitting down and having a nice, normal conversation.

Predictably, when we had the missionaries from church over for dinner on Sunday, the first thing the kids wanted to do was show off for them. The length and exact content of the show varies, but generally it involves a lot of bouncing off the walls and couch like pinballs, yelling "Look what I can do!"

Then it's time for Phase 2, which is dragging out their treasures. First, my 3-year-old treated the missionaries to an up-close and personal examination of all his favorite new toys from Christmas (literally, he was practically shoving them in their retinas.) Then my 6-year-old brought down her own collection of precious things from her room, the capstone item being the tooth she lost on Christmas Eve.

The missionaries were very nice about admiring it all, although internally they were probably really hoping nobody else had any other dismembered body parts to pass around the dinner table.

3


Phillip and I went to see the new Star Wars. He'd already taken the kids over Christmas vacation, but he was having a hard time getting over the fact that he had to leave during the most climactic part of the entire 2.5-hour movie to take someone to the bathroom.

We figured seeing it a second time might help him get closure, but just to be safe, we left the kids at home and both of us visited the restroom before it started.

The theater we went to was just built and it was really nice. Before the show you can order food at the counter (not just candy and popcorn, but actual restaurant-type food like burgers, salads, and brownies) and they bring it to your seats when it's ready.

Which sounds like a groovy idea, but in actuality there's not that much light in a movie theater and you can't see. Trying to eat with a fork in the dark is not as good an idea as you might think.

4


Along with his burgeoning language skills (see Take #1,) the toddler has also developed very specific requirements for his food.

For instance, a banana for breakfast sounds like a simple enough request. But you'd be wrong.

First, the banana cannot be placed on his tray. Attempting to use the tray that came with his high chair will infuriate him more than anything else you could possibly do.

Second, it must be cut in half. If you slice the banana, or serve it whole or in any other shape or formation, you will have successfully ruined his life.

Third, and this is important, it needs to be in a bowl. Not a plate, a bowl. Exactly why bananas belong in a bowl is unclear to me, but I'm assuming he must have his reasons.

All I know is, these three points are all complete non-negotiables for him.

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

And when it's something so important, I always deliver.

5


Home decorating isn't a particular skill of mine. Or even an interest, really. I like a clean, picked-up space but beyond that, I'm kind of domestically impaired.

We took down the Christmas decorations on New Year's Day, and it took me until Wednesday to even realize we never put our regular stuff back up on the mantel and it's looked like this for 10 days.

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

I meant to bring it back out when I noticed on Wednesday, but then I forgot again and it's still bare as I write this on Friday morning.

I wonder what people think of it when they come over. The missionaries didn't say anything at Sunday dinner, but that was probably because they were distracted by the bloody baby tooth.

6


A while back we somehow misplaced our two oldest children's social security cards, and getting replacements has been hanging over my head for almost a year now.

I made an effort. Last spring I went to the social security office and after taking a number and waiting for a half hour, was told that birth certificates don't count as identification and I'd need to get signed papers from their pediatrician at their next physicals.

After finally making the appointments, remembering to go to the appointments, and getting the appropriate paperwork compiled, I finally went back to the social security office to try again.

I brought an iPad for my 1- and 3-year-old to play on, thinking the wait couldn't be more than 40 minutes and this would be plenty for them to do. Unfortunately the iPad was dead on arrival, I had no snacks and no toys other than a single matchbox car, and we sat in the waiting room for almost 2 hours.

The kids were champs, though. We practiced hopping on the tiles. We looked out the window. We talked about excavators. We talked about birds. We played with the pennies in my wallet. Good times.

At least this time we actually got the replacement cards.

7


I came across this inspirational tile in a wall in a public space recently, and I don't know why but it has really stuck with me.

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


I think I may somehow adapt it to become our family motto. I'm thinking:

Ignore the noise as though you were used to it
And be late to everything as if you liked it.

I think that sums up our family quite nicely. Feel free to print on a mug or something for your next gift-giving occasion. Any other suggestions?

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

We Parents Walk a Fine Line When We Joke About Our Kids

As a parent, I ask myself deep questions daily, like how I can be a better mom and help my kids reach their full potential. I also ask questions like "Why did I come in this room?" and "What is that smell?" Another question I grapple with, both as a parent and as a blogger, is how to talk about my family.

I'm a humor blogger because life with kids is funny, you guys. It just is. That's why we like to swap stories with the other parents at playgroup.

Frantically waving a tiny pair of underwear beneath the hand dryer in a public restroom? Funny.

Being proud of yourself for showing up to the pediatrician's on time, only to realize you're there on the wrong day? Also funny.

A toddler who blithely skips into the room smeared from head to toe in Desitin? After you regain consciousness... well, you have to admit it's at least a little funny.

If you've got little people underfoot spilling juice and asking embarrassing questions very loudly in line at Safeway, trust me: you have plenty of material to build a successful stand-up act and take it on the road.

However, there's a risk to joking about the crazy, messy, loud life that is family life.

One minute you're making wisecracks about the pee on the toilet seat, and before you know it you're bashing the kids who got the pee there in the first place. Maybe some funny people don't even realize they went from laughing about life with kids to complaining about them. It makes me so sad to see parenting blogs calling toddlers  well, a name you can't say on TV  in the name of humor, and I wonder: is that how it happened?

I absolutely think it's possible to poke fun at the chaos without doing it at the expense of my kids, but am I doing as good a job at it as I think?

Is it possible to laugh about our chaotic, messy, noisy lives without giving families a bad name? I certainly hope so.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Once I wrote a tongue-in-cheek post about the things that go out the window when you have a baby: housekeeping, basic hygiene, that kind of thing.

I expected it to make the unwashed masses of new moms laugh until they peed (not a high bar, because unfortunately bladder control is another thing that goes out the window) and then get back to loving their babies.

What I did not expect was a Facebook comment I got: "Thanks, this has just confirmed to me that I never want to have children."

Ouch.

Did I go too far in the name of being funny? Did I cross the line I hoped never to cross?

If you ask me truthfully, I don't think so. That person's comment probably had more to do with them than it did with me or what I wrote.

I don't think I need to include a disclaimer at the beginning of every blog post I write; if you've read this blog for any length of time you know it goes without saying that to me, parenthood is the greatest and most important job there is.

I write funny and sometimes sarcastic posts on the Internet about the craziness that is family life, and not because I don't think parenting is a privilege and a joy.

I write because sometimes that joy is buried under the 10-lb bag of rice my toddler just emptied all over the floor, and for me anyway, what it takes to find it again is a broom and a sense of humor.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Tales from an Overactive Brain at 2 A.M.

Last week, Phillip started yelling in the middle of the night. That's not really normal, so I rolled over and woke him up.

"What was that?" I asked.

"It was a nightmare."

Obviously.

"About what?"

He explained that in his dream, he was on a bus and looked out the window just in time to see a creepy figure running toward him.

"It looked sort of like one of those vampire things in that Will Smith movie," Phillip said.

There was a pause.

"And unfortunately," he continued, "when you woke me up you looked like one of them, so that was pretty scary, too."

With an apology for waking me up in such a disturbing way (and, I'd like to think, for comparing me to a nocturnal vampire mutant,) he rolled over and went to sleep, leaving me to ponder the random things my brain ponders when it gets woken up in the middle of the night.

When your stream-of-consciousness looks like this, no wonder you can't get back to sleep in the middle of the night.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

A transcript of my inner dialogue for the next 45 minutes is as follows:

Okay, that was weird, but it's time to go back to sleep now.

...What was the name of that movie, anyway?

I Am Hero?

Maybe I should Google it. No, blue light is bad for sleep.

What happened in that movie, anyway? I saw it in the theater and literally the only thing I remember was that gas cost like $15 a gallon.

Seriously, I remember nothing about that movie. Not even what the vampires looked like.

Maybe I should Google it.

I Am Legend. That was the name. You can't have me today, early onset dementia.

Remember when Will Smith was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air?

I miss those days.

Iiiiiin West Philadelphia, born and raised! On the playground was where I spent most of my days...

[full disclosure: I actually went through all the lyrics, but that's okay because you're already singing it now and we both know you know every word.]

Why can I remember every word to that song when I haven't heard it in 20 years? Brains are weird.

Will Smith used to do fun stuff like Men in Black.

Hey, I wonder if my kids would like Men in Black.

What was that movie rated, anyway? Every time I try to show the kids a movie I liked when I was young, it turns out to be wildly inappropriate.

Okay, it's really time to get some sleep.

Find a comfortable position, relax.

Let's try counting down from 100 slowly.

100...

99...

98...

97...

Hey, remember that scene in Titanic where everyone knows they're about to die so that mom spends her last minutes tucking in her kids and reading them a bedtime story?

Oh my gosh, why would I think about that right now?!

100...

99...

And the old couple that holds hands and lies down together waiting to drown?

AAAGH, stop!

Seriously, though, what would I do if Phillip died?

I'd have to sell the house. Ugh, moving.

I couldn't take all his stuff with me. That would be sad.

I'd probably want to keep some of his shirts for sentimental reasons. Probably the green one he wears to go running...

Okay, this is not helpful.

Breathe slowly.

Inhale.

Exhale.

I wonder what time it is.

It's kind of light out but I think that's coming from the moon.

I'm not sold on this not-having-a-clock-in-the-bedroom thing. It's annoying. My phone is way over there.

Wow, there are a lot of weird noises in our house at night.

Is that a toilet flushing? Again? We have got to stop letting the kids drink anything after dinner.

Now the baby is stirring.

Okay, he's back asleep.

How do people move their babies in with their siblings? He's the noisiest sleeper ever. He'd wake them up all night.

He's going to be in a Pack n Play in our room forever. I wonder what the weight limit is on those things...


I think it was some time around this point that I began to fall back asleep. I envy people who can just flip a switch and conk out when they're tired. Maybe their brains aren't conspiring against them the way mine likes to.

As it is, I'm going to feel like a zombie tomorrow. Or maybe those things in I Am Legend, which I need to Google first thing in the morning to look for a resemblance, anyway.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

7 Quick Takes about the Great Gingerbread Smash, a Rocky Start, and the Perfect Tool for Applying Hair Gel

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

1


Happy New Year! As is the Evans family tradition, the kids decorated a gingerbread house over the week between Christmas and New Years...

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

...and then on New Year's Day we smashed it into little pieces with a meat tenderizer. (Bet you didn't see that one coming.)

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

The Annual Gingerbread Smash is a very big deal at our house. There are strict rules: each kid takes a turn, youngest to oldest, and each gets ONE swing. No more, no less.

It has a loose "out with the old, in with the new" symbolism. As the kids eat the pieces, we talk about our family goals for the new year.

One of our family resolutions for 2018 was to be nicer to each other, which was ironic because an hour later the kids were outside and my son hit his sister with a sled and gave her a black eye.

He said it was an accident, but eyewitnesses (i.e: his other siblings) said it looked intentional. So it's still unclear what actually happened, other than us setting a record by failing at our family goal in less than 60 minutes this year.

2


Another one of our family resolutions was to get better about holding regular Family Home Evening (FHE.) That's like a Mormon family devotional you do once a week.

Monday evening is the "official" FHE night for Mormons worldwide, but since this year our family has about 300 after-school activities on Monday we've switched to Wednesdays instead.

The problem is, we're so used to thinking FHE=Monday that we haven't been very successful at making it happen every week. So we resolved to be regular about it in 2018!

For our first Family Home Evening of the year, we talked about our family and why families are important, and the kids collaborated to draw a family crest. They sort of ran out of time and just threw down 8 stick figures in the lower lefthand corner because they couldn't think of anything else, but I think it wasn't too shabby.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
The rectangle that says "THE BUK OF" is supposed to be the Book of Mormon, but my 6-year-old ran out of room.


Please note that pie is included on our family crest. I don't even know why, but that makes me feel so proud to be an Evans.

3


So far, 2018 has gotten off to a rough start. There was of course the black eye incident.

Then a severe cold front hit our area and there was a 2-hour cold weather delay for their first day back at school. Too bad the call didn't go out until AFTER my kids had already been waiting at the bus stop for 15 minutes.

Also, apparently on late-start days there is no half-day kindergarten, which I didn't realize so I sent my kindergartner anyway.

With all the extra time we had, I sat down with her to make a little schedule with pictures of everything she needs to do in the mornings to get ready for the bus (I've been meaning to do this since September because our mornings are a mess.) We finished just in time for another robocall from the school to say that tomorrow was going to be a snow day.

I try, I really do.

4


I won't go into detail about the broken picture frames and pee-soaked mattresses and monstrous bathtub splashings of the next few days, because they pale in comparison to this:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
This is a picture of people who have no idea how to remove Vaseline from hair trying to remove Vaseline from hair.

I recently discovered some educational podcasts for kids that I love, and while Phillip was putting the 3-year-old to bed and I was listening to an episode of Bedtime History with the older kids, the 18-month-old was in the bathroom applying half a tub of Vaseline to his hair.

With a toothbrush.

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

I don't know why. There are just no words. I can't imagine who he ever would've seen using Vaseline or  a toothbrush that way.

Anyway, if this ever happens to you, what worked for us is using a comb to scrape out the excess, then putting him in the tub and lathering his hair with cornstarch and shampoo a few times. (Don't rinse between the cornstarch and shampoo!) 

It took about 30 minutes; now there's a ring of Vaseline around the tub and I don't even want to know what our pipes look like. We should probably just move.

5


By now I've painted a pretty grim picture of 2018 so far, but it hasn't all been bad. With the extra time off around the holidays, Phillip made great progress toward finishing the basement.

He's gone way over the promised deadline of having the insulation and subfloor installed by fall, but that's okay because I'd assumed that (like all DIY home improvements) it was going to cost twice as much and take three times longer than we estimated.

So far I'm right on both accounts.

To be fair, I'm doing nothing to help aside from limiting the amount of small people headbutting Phillip in the stomach and sticking Duplos in the Shop-Vac while he works.

He did ask me last weekend if I could come down to the basement to help him "move crap around" like the couch, and I was like Are you kidding?  As a mom, I'm an Olympic level crap-mover. There are entire days when I literally do nothing besides walking around picking things up and putting them away in different locations.

Heck yes, I will help you move crap around.

6


Our New Year's Eve was pretty fun. We didn't stay up until midnight, but we did have my daughter's violin teacher and family friend over for dinner and a music party with her husband and two little boys.

They're a very musical family and I suppose ours is, too, so we all took turns playing our various instruments for each other. The violin teacher's 2-year-old had even learned a few harmonica songs, but he refused to play for us on that particular occasion.

"It's okay," I told her. "He's two. If he actually wanted to do something when you wanted him to do it, that would be extremely weird."

Although if he's anything like our kids, he started screaming his head off in the car on the way home because he 'didn't get to play' for us.

7


My 18-month-old gets really jealous when one of his siblings sits on my lap, so I've been trying to teach him about taking turns by saying, "It's so-and-so's turn right now. In a minute, it will be your turn."

And it works! And by that I mean he sits there wailing "Tuuuuurn!" until his brother gets so sick of it he gets off my lap and leaves.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What If You're Too Busy To Be Spiritual?

Whenever I'm sitting in church and the speaker brings up Mary and Martha, I start to get antsy and look for the nearest exit.

I'd never be one to say I hate any passage of scripture  but if I was, I'd definitely hate the Mary and Martha story.

In Luke 10: 38-42, Mary and Martha host Jesus at their house. While Mary is sitting at his feet listening to Jesus teach, Martha is doing all the food prep and serving by herself.

I can just imagine her getting more and more frustrated until she bursts out, exasperated, "Don't you care that I'm doing all this work alone? Tell Mary to help me!"

And Jesus responds:

"Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Well, then.

I've sat with my Bible open on my lap, seething as I read these verses, feeling more indignation than Martha herself probably did.

Because actually, I am Martha.

I spend all day, every day picking up and putting away a million things, shuttling kids to doctor's appointments, signing school forms, making meals, doing laundry, washing dishes, reminding kids to do homework and take showers...

To be told that all this work doesn't matter, that I just shouldn't worry about it, is a slap in the face. Not 'needful?' How about I stop buying diapers and we'll just see how needful it is?


The reason I got so mad at the Mary and Martha story was because it made me feel discouraged, depressed, and basically hopeless.

An incredible amount of administrative work goes into running a family, and no matter how much I want to be Mary, the fact is I still have to be a whole lot of Martha if we're all going to have clothes to wear and food to eat.

But after some thought and soul-searching, I've discovered something about the Mary and Martha story that changes everything.

It starts with looking at what Jesus actually said to Martha. Other than pointing out that Martha was "careful and troubled about many things" (i.e: conscientious and a tad stressed-out,) he didn't really say much about her or what she was doing at all.

He mostly talked about Mary. What, exactly, was Mary doing that was so great Jesus called it "the better part?"

I always hated the story of Mary and Martha. Until I learned this important thing about it.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I assume that ordinarily, Mary was not a deadbeat. I don't think Jesus would've condoned a life of lounging in a bubble bath with cucumber slices on your eyes while someone else bakes the bread and scrubs the floors. Mary was probably right in there with Martha 99% of the time.

But on this day, Mary recognized that if there was ever a good time to drop her ordinary chores for something more important, this was it.

Think about it: they had the Son of God sitting in their house teaching them about the things of eternity, and Martha (bless her heart) was preoccupied with the table linens!

Of course it's easy to criticize Martha for having her priorities all wrong, but how many times have I done the same sort of thing?

I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes when my family gathers for nightly scriptures and prayer, I'll miss some or all of it because I'm busy finishing up cleaning the kitchen.

In reality, the dishes can wait  not forever, but for a little while  while an important spiritual moment is going on. In ten minutes I can get back to them, but reading and praying with my family in that moment needs to take precedence.

The story of Mary and Martha, thank goodness, isn't an indictment against anyone who's ever mopped a floor or organized a closet or made a weekly meal plan.

It's a lesson in priorities. If we do the work inherent in life while reserving top priority for Jesus, even a hard-working Martha like me can start to become a little more like Mary.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

7 Quick Takes about Miniature Bond Villains, the Appropriate Lighting for Cookie-Eating, and Alternative Pizza Toppings that Are Just Wrong

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

1


So this is one of the funniest sights you can walk into a room and see.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
His head barely clears the back of the chair.

The 1-year-old recently found out he enjoys working at the computer, even when it's not turned on, so he crawls up there a lot and does his thing when he's got some free time. 

He looks like a movie villian who has just finished inputting the launch codes into the computer, and any second now he's going to swivel around and say something sinister.

We're still working on two-word sentences, though, so it might be a while.

2


After visiting no less than four orthodontists for consultations, I think we finally found one we like.

She seems thorough and competent, takes her time and explains everything to us, and her organizational system for toys in the waiting room seems to match my general philosophy at home:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Put a label that says "things" on that box and you're good to go!

I think I'm going to like this one.


3


For my annual Christmas cookie plates to the neighbors, I decided to try a new recipe. And this is why I hate trying new recipes to give to people:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Pecan pie cookies that are not even remotely cute like the picture on the recipe.

My son told me that "they look like volcanoes barfing." I won't repeat what he said it looked like they were barfing up.

But after I cut off the worst-looking parts and made them part of the overall cookie plate, I don't think it was so bad.

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

In any case, I taste tested each kind and they were delicious. So worst case scenario, you just eat them in the dark. I'll be sure to make a note of that on the tag for next year.

4


How was Christmas Day in your house? Ours started off a little rough.

We woke up to a broken thermostat and the house was 65 degrees. We found three presents buried in the snow next to our mailbox we thought we'd lost. My son got a cool battery-operated car that he immediately drove into a bowl of cereal on the coffee table and spilled all over the living room rug.

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

But in spite of all that, it was a really nice day.

We started out by reading about the first Christmas in Luke 2 (and the kids were really good considering they'd already been corralled in an upstairs bedroom for 20 minutes while Phillip fixed the thermostat.)

We opened presents with snow falling down in big, fat flakes. After we finished, the kids went outside to sled in the 6" of fresh snow in the yard.

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

We Skyped with their grandparents and that evening we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas while eating frozen stir-fry for dinner because we didn't put the fancy ham in the oven early enough.

And I actually couldn't have asked for a more perfect Christmas day.

5


One nice thing about having lots of kids is that you don't really need to buy anything for the younger ones: you've already got it.

This Christmas, we bought no new presents for the 1-year-old and only one for the 3-year-old. We had plenty of toys in the attic they'd never seen before and they loved unwrapping and playing with them.

I wrote last week about how our toddler somehow got attached to one specific stuffed animal, which makes me scream inside because I dread the day when we lose it or it gets thrown up on and is in the washing machine when we need it. Well, it was a Christmas miracle, but we successfully got him to accept a stuffed fox from Santa.

Its name is "Fock," which is apparently toddler-speak for "Fox." Maybe we should have given it a name that doesn't sound like something that would get a kid sent to the principal's office, but we didn't think of that and it is what it is.

We're just happy we can stop hyperventilating about the possibility of losing Tiger and the 1-year-old being so distraught he never sleeps again.

6


You know what's a really awful time to lose a tooth? Christmas Eve.

My 6-year-old was so excited when her baby tooth fell out and my very first thought was, "Great, I can't even remember to be the Tooth Fairy on a regular night. I give us a 0% chance of remembering to sneak money under her pillow after we're done wrapping all 24,572 presents."

I was totally right, and we didn't remember.

In the morning we tried to explain thow Santa needed help from both the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy to get everything ready in time, but my daughter being the no-nonsense kind of girl who would never believe in such a silly thing as the Tooth Fairy to begin with, just rolled her eyes and asked if she could get it out of my wallet.

True story.

7


For Christmas my kids got this little singing Leap Frog oven set, which is pretty cute but I have some serious questions.

One song is about bread, and how if there's not enough you should "put an egg on it! (yeah, yeah) put an egg on it! (yeah, yeah!) If you like eggs and bread, put an egg on it!"

That's cool, lots of people like eggs and toast.

Then I heard it singing the same song but with pizza. PIZZA. Who puts eggs on their pizza? I thought it was odd but figured there's probably some weirdo out there who tops his pizza with hard boiled eggs (the CEO of Leap Frog, maybe) and who am I to judge?

But I can only suspend disbelief for so long. The last song is about cupcakes.

I'm not kidding, it distinctly sings "Put an egg on it! If you like eggs and cupcakes, put an egg on it!" What is this thing teaching my kids?? Eggs on cupcakes? That's the most disturbing thing I've ever heard! What does that even mean?


At first I thought we'd received a model that was defective or maybe possessed, but several of the Amazon reviewers were just as confused as I was and I even found this video of a British oven spouting the same nonsense to unsuspecting children in the UK. What is going on??

Also, now when my kids play restaurant I'm being served pizza with a fried egg on top. Excuse me while I throw up.

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

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017 in 12 Photos

Something I like to do every December is review our year and see what we've accomplished in the last 12 months.

Well, I basically have to do that because I can't even remember last week so our Christmas cards for our friends and family would be pretty boring if I didn't. Good thing for this blog; it saves the day again.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

So let's take a look at what the Evans family has been up to this year... this should be interesting.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

In January, I opened a bank account for my baby (okay, she was 12 but still.) I got a sinus infection and finally convinced Phillip to get rid of his college textbooks, except for the one that holds down the lid of the humidifier. I staged a gigantic photo shoot fail involving my baby and a CVS clearance Santa hat, and also tried to burn the house down making applesauce.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Besides making these helpful Valentines for pregnant women, I was busy in February decluttering the house in one manic episode. I learned how to use the snowblower, got really paranoid when I started to suspect my phone was legit spying on me, and cried when the baby scratched my cornea. Fun times.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

We replaced the printer that had been driving us crazy and asked you guys to vote on how we should dispose of  it. We were thrilled when you chose the sledgehammer and even made a video of the execution. It was seriously therapeutic. My son competed in the Pinewood Derby, an event which is apparently very hard to explain to kids who haven't seen one before. We also had a late season snowstorm that caused a dire emergency when the power went out with a cake in the oven.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

One of my favorite things we got to do in April was visit a mosque for an open house; we even got to witness one of their daily prayers and it was pretty awesome. The weather turned nice and I had my annual freakout over how the house exterior and our lawn have gone to pot. (Don't worry, I'm over it.) My daughter folded 1,000 origami cranes for a charity organization, and I had fun writing about why moms can never finish a book and making a flow chart for toddlers called "Should I Eat This?"

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

In May I discovered I'd been driving around with a parking pass from 2015 prominently displayed on the windshield, once again proving I don't have things together in the slightest. I potty trained the preschooler and witnessed the miracle that is a child healing themselves on the way to see the pediatrician. The highlight of my month and possibly the entire year was receiving this Bona spray mop for my birthday.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

In June we flew to visit my parents in Minnesota. We went mini golfing and to Ikea, but mostly we had a great time swimming in the lake and going to the waterpark for 2 weeks. Basically, my kids are amphibious now. The 5-hour delay at the airport on the way back wasn't quite as fun, but we made it home eventually. I penned my thoughts on siblings getting along and we figured out that the baby was allergic to mosquito bites, of all things. Phillip and I celebrated our 14th anniversary and I wrote about the thing he does that makes it so easy to be married to him.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

In July we had our piano tuned and found out it's actually 111 years old! We also started our educational summer vacation, where we learn about the cultures of different countries around the world every week of summer break from school. We don't want the kids' brains to completely atrophy, after all.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

In August I took the little kids out for ice cream while Phillip to the big kids to Six Flags in the pouring rain. I thought it was a good trade-off, because the ice cream was indoors. We insulated the attic and I'm still swooning over the coat rack we installed for all our kid-sized snowpants and coat hand-me-downs-in-waiting. We followed that up with a disastrous camping trip and this time, I'm not even exaggerating.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

September is the blog's 3rd birthday and when the kids say they want to bake a cake, you bake a cake. We harvested the world's lamest crop of potatoes, my 11-year-old lost a tooth and I freaked out because I thought it was an adult tooth, and I dug through the trash to find something one of my kids accidentally threw out. (We later found it in an entirely different location, so I'm deducting pain and suffering from her allowance indefinitely.) It was also fun to relive 1998 when I discovered Nintento Classic consoles at our public library.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

My son was a banana for Halloween, and my advice to you if you're feeling depressed is to order a banana costume on Amazon and have someone wear it around the house. There's no other way $12.99 can cheer you up so fast. In October I found an inchworm in my hair, finally bought some pants that fit me, and the 1-year-old learned he can reach anything if he carries the bathroom stool around the house. I lived phone-less for a week and discovered that Target is really weird. On the blog, I published some musings on my unbreakable bad habit and you guys loved this video chock-full of sarcastic answers for the next person who asks "Why do you have so many kids?"

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

When you're afraid of heights, our living room isn't an ideal place for your 9-year-old to break a hole in the ceiling with a bouncy ball. We learned that this November, and least we know now for next time. I made a triple chocolate layer cake from scratch for Phillip's birthday, and it was confirmed to me once again that I hate fancy baking. Phillip took the kids to a hotel overnight and I had almost 24 hours to do whatever I wanted and only share my food with me, myself, and I.

One crazy year in review that makes you say, "I guess my year hasn't been so bad, after all."  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I may not be even remotely competent at using festive holiday Jello molds, but this December I've really seen how lucky and blessed we are. My 1-year-old is healthy after sitting in the E.R. all afternoon with a nebulizer on his face, and the kids drew names for their Secret Sibling and it's been sweet to see them sneakily doing nice things all month for the person they drew. Also, I think I win the prize for funniest place someone has ever counted our 6 kids and asked, "Are they all yours?"


And that's practically a wrap on 2017. (If you want to boost your stalker status, you can also read our photo updates from 2016 and 2015!)

Happy New Year!

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