Friday, June 22, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Confusing Uses of Quotation Marks, Dubious 14th Century Medical Knowledge, and Flowers You've Probably Never Heard Of

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

1


A while ago I convinced Phillip to take singing lessons (odd choice for an engineer, but it's something he's interested in) and his first recital was last weekend.

He sounded nice and I think on the whole, the rest of our family did pretty well, too: only one person misbehaved so badly they lost refreshment privileges and only one peed their pants in the car on the way home.

Not too bad, if you ask me.

2


I bought a violin accessory for my daughter, and this was the packaging on the product when it arrived:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
"You keep using quotation marks. I do not think they mean what you think they mean." -Inigo Montoya

I'm a little confused by the quotes. Are they saying that this a crappy product or is it, like, actually professional and comfortable? I really don't know what I'm spending my money on here.

I have a similar problem at my pediatrician's office, where there's a sign on the garbage can that says PLEASE DISPOSE OF YOUR TRASH HERE  BUT "NO DIAPERS." I don't think it's meant to be sarcastic, but I can't help imagining a guy reading the sign out loud with finger quotes, then finishing up with a conspiratorial wink.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Probably what they were going for when they wrote the sign.

3


Father's Day in our house this year was a pretty low-key affair, partially thanks to Amazon who let me down by not delivering my gift in a timely manner. I ordered some basketball shorts Phillip wanted, and at the time of this writing they're STILL not here (maybe I should say "still" not here?? I don't know, I'm so confused now.)

But at least the kids' gift worked out.

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

We ordered a mega-pack of nice TP and the kids made a tag for it that said: "Thanks for putting up with all our crap." It was shaped like a poop emoji, naturally.

4


One day I was trying to convince my 14-year to go for a run after school, but she kept saying it was too hot outside.

Whipping out my most eye-rolling parental wisdom speech, I told her "Yes, but it's good to sweat out all those toxins and impurities."

Giving me the side-eye, she replied "That sounds like a bunch of Medieval hogwash."

And while I do recognize that it sounds kind of like pseudo-science, I think it's actually true that sweating helps cleanse your body. It's not like I wanted to bleed her with leeches or anything.

5


Probably some of you are raising your eyebrows at the last take and saying "School? What's that? My kids haven't been in school since May." Well, to that I blow a big, fat raspberry in your general direction. We're still in school and no, I don't want to talk about it.

We're almost done, though. In fact, my daughter's class is having a Final Five Countdown and I really love the idea.

On the 5th to last day, they gave high fives out to five people. On the 4th to last, four smiles. On the 3rd to last, three compliments. On the 2nd, play with two new kids. And on the last day, write one happy to note to one person. I hope it's a thank-you note to me for dragging her out of bed every weekday morning for the last nine months.

6


All year, I've wanted to volunteer in my kindergartner's class as the Mystery Reader, but the available time slots were always at the same time as I drove carpool to my son's preschool. But her teacher offered to squeeze me in at a different time this week, so I brought in my favorite picture book, What! Cried Granny.

What are some kids' books you love? You know, the ones you never mind reading when they request them? The ones you possibly like even more than your children do? I might just write a blog post about it if I get a few more good recommendations.

7


Lately I've been keeping lists and making notes for myself on a little memo pad I found in the junk drawer, and although it's been handy my favorite part is randomly coming across pages of preschool art.
It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
A collage of works from my 6-year-old's Botanical Series.

I really liked how familiar floral motifs like tulip and rose were followed by lesser-known specimens like the lollipop flower and of course, the extremely rare 'pokey flower.' I may try to grow those in my garden this year but first I need to look up our gardening hardiness zone to see if it'll work out.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

15 Things I've Learned in 15 Years of Marriage

Today, Phillip and I have been married for 15 years. I know we have a strong and close relationship, but when I'm asked to share The Secret to a Good Marriage, I never know quite what to say. We don't even go on date nights.

I'm still searching for a definitive nugget of wisdom that is definitely The Secret, but maybe it's a lot of little things, so allow me to share 15 things I've learned about marriage in the last 15 years.

1. Be optimistic about your future together. When we first got married I tended to catastrophize. We'd have an argument or go through a stressful season in school or work and I'd think Oh my gosh it's always going to be this way I can't live like this. But now I know that some days, months, or even years can be hard on a marriage, and you need to be confident things can get better and look forward eagerly to the time when they will.

2. Try to see their quirks as endearing instead of annoying. I'm a stressed-out perfectionist who wants everything done and done right 24/7, and instead of getting exasperated Phillip just pulls me to his chest and says "You're my crazy lady" with so much love in his voice we both start laughing. Whereas it used to drive me bonkers when Phillip dropped everything right where he finished using it (I can often look around and work out CSI-style exactly what he was doing that day,) now I can honestly say it makes me smile because it's so Phillip. As time goes on I think we've both toned down our uniquely annoying habits, but we've also accepted each other's quirks and even come to love them.

Everything I know about creating a rock-solid marriage (plus a story about dirty diapers) in 15 points.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

3. Never say "calm down" when they're freaking out. If you ever feel the urge to tell your frustrated/panicked/flustered/upset spouse to "relax," please go stick your head in the dryer and turn it on instead. Alternatively, you can ask "How can I help?" then listen to their answer and do it.

4. Learn about the other's needs for sleep. I can function on very little sleep, and I didn't fully realize until I got married that not everyone could do this  or even wanted to. While I still don't get people who say they "like" to sleep, I make an effort to get us to bed in a timely manner, or at the very least, let Phillip sleep in the next morning.

5. Say thank you and be specific. You really can't thank a person too many times, so do it often and for everything. Not only for extra stuff, but for regular things they do every day. Aim for 5 thank-yous a day, big or small.

6. Build them up in the eyes of your children. When one parent talks up the other to the kids, everybody wins: the kids get a new reason to look up to their parent, they see a model of spouses showing admiration and respect for each other, and not least of all it makes me feel pretty good to hear Phillip telling the kids how lucky they are to have me as a mom.

7. Give them the benefit of the doubt. I tend to stretch myself too thin and give Phillip the short end of the stick, and I'm always astounded when I apologize for a late night or a broken promise to spend time together and Phillip somehow hasn't concluded that I'm a horrible person. He usually says something like, "It's okay. You're just stressed out." I am so lucky to have a husband who always assumes the best of me.

8. Sleep on it. For me, at least, sleep is my reset button. No matter how upset I am, things seem better in the morning.

9. Have a vision for your family. Our shared Mormon faith is pretty family-centered but even so, it's important to regularly talk beyond the day-to-day minutiae of calendaring and logistics to ask what can we do better as a couple/family? What habits do we need to stop or start? Where are we going? (A family motto is a good place to start, even if it didn't really work for us.)

10. Be physically affectionate. Without physical affection, a spouse is just a really congenial roommate. Hug, kiss, and hold hands when you're walking. Do it in front of the kids. They'll get used to it.

11. Pay attention to your sex life. Sex fuels emotionally intimacy and emotional intimacy fuels sex, so if both are in a downward spiral then sex is a relatively straightforward way to get things back on the rails.


Everything I know about creating a rock-solid marriage (plus a story about dirty diapers) in 15 points.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

12. Never badmouth them to others. Publicly criticizing your spouse, both when they're present and especially when they're not, is so destructive. If you need to vent, write it down and throw it away. If you need to talk about the difficult parts of your marriage, do it with your spouse or a marriage counselor.

13. Remember that you are best friends. Phillip and I don't share a lot of common interests, but I think our marriage works because we're on the same team and most of all, we both like each other more than anyone else in the world.

14. Never intentionally hurt each other. We may be insensitive or thoughtless sometimes, but I don't think either of us has ever deliberately said or done something mean to the other. Well, there was one time I told him if he left another dirty diaper sitting open on the dresser I was going to wrap it up and throw it in his work bag. He left a dirty diaper out and I'm sorry, but I'm a woman of my word. Other than that, though, never.

15. Greet each other cheerfully. In my favorite parenting books, I read a lot about 'transition times.' The quality of the parent-child relationship depends a lot on how you say hello and goodbye (that includes waking up and going to sleep.) When I think about how much better it feels when your spouse is excited instead of indifferent to you coming home, or kisses you good-night instead of going to bed without you, I think it applies to marriages, too.

People say marriage is hard work, but I don't think I'd ever describe it that way. I'm not sure if Phillip and I are living The Secret unknowingly, or if maybe I just won the lottery by stumbling into a great marriage with the world's easiest man to get along with. Maybe it's a little bit of both.

Whatever the case, it's been working for us for the past 15 years.

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Friday, June 15, 2018

7 Quick Takes about My Favorite Things, Inappropriate Things You See at JC Penney, and Where All the Missing Socks Really Go

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

1


I'm not the kind of person who's really into "stuff." I don't want very much, making it hard to buy gifts for me. But I acquired two new possessions this week that might be my favorite things ever.

The first is a late Mother's Day gift, because that's just how we roll in our house and can't nobody judge us:

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

My 14-year-old is an artist and made this mug for me, which is my all-time favorite mug and now I make ALL of my single-serve cookies and brownies in it. I just love how simple and sweet it is.

I swear she should open up an Etsy store to sell this stuff.

2


Also, my mat arrived! I mentioned it on the blog a few months ago, and my mom got it for my birthday, but it was on backorder. I had no idea when it would come and kind of forgot about it, but I'm so excited that it came!

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

The day it came, we had not only our 6 kids but also 11 of my teenager's friends over for a party so it couldn't have been more appropriate, timing-wise.

When parents arrived to pick up their kids I'm sure they assumed the mat was referring to all the party guests, but little do they know it's a party around here all the time.

Why, just yesterday there was someone playing butt-naked in the sandbox in the backyard and a party can't get much crazier that that.

3


Speaking of butt-naked (how's that for an intro?) I went to JC Penney this week and happened to catch a glimpse of this pantsless mannequin hiding shadily behind a promotional banner in the boys' section...

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

I don't know if the person in charge of the mannequins just went on break and forgot to come back to this one or what. But I can tell you that I must be super-mature because the longer I looked at it, the funnier it got.

And I know right now some of you are wondering, "Yes, but was it as funny from the back??"

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
When I grew up in the 80's, flashers at least covered up with trenchcoats.

The answer is yes. Yes, it was.

4


I also have a question about this "fashion accessory" hat I saw there. I dig the pattern and the colors, but for the life of me I am so confused by the pom-poms.

Is this a joke? Did someone break in with a glue gun on a dare and this is actually some bizarre form of vandalism? Please help me understand what's going on.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
This mannequin is either totally insane or her 6-year-old made her a hat at camp.

My apologies if you've already bought this hat. I don't mean to insult you, I just don't get fashion. The junior's section is full of mom jeans with belt loops that go up to your sternum and things with gaudy plastic jewels (and now fuzzy pom-poms, I guess) glued haphazardly all over them.

From here, it's just a slippery slope to bric a brac trim making a comeback and quite frankly, I'm not sure the world can survive that a second time.

5


I was carrying my 2-year-old around in the kitchen when suddenly he was seized with love for me and exclaimed "Cah-doh!"

"You want to cuddle?" I asked, giving him a big hug. "Why yes, my sweet little man! Mommy loves you so! Let's cuddle!"

But then he started pushing me away and yelling, "No, cah-doh! CAH-DOH!"

I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, so I kept rubbing his back and asking, "What's the matter? Do you want to go cuddle on the couch? In the rocking chair?" until the light bulb finally went on.

He was asking for an avocado.

Turns out that we didn't even have avocados so both of us were a little grumpy for the next few minutes.

6


My 4-year-old was a little nervous and awfully quiet when he visited the dentist, but he sat in the chair like a pro, wore some sweet leopard print sunglasses, and chose birthday cake-flavored fluoride.

As the dentist started cleaning my son's teeth, he said he was seeing some build-up so I should make sure to help him brush and floss regularly. That's when my son, who had up to this moment been basically mute, proudly announced "I never floss!"

Which wasn't really necessary to say because a few seconds later the dentist pulled out a fingernail he found wedged between my son's teeth.

7


I'm thoroughly terrible at yardwork, mostly because I don't like it at all, but one way I've found to at least sort of keep up with it is to make it a family thing.

The kids set a timer for 30 minutes and we go outside to weed, sweep porches, pick up sticks, or whatever needs to be done. Everybody who works hard gets a popsicle at the end (I can tell you it only takes one time of goofing off and missing out on your popsicle privileges to make a kid into a really hard worker for the rest of the summer.)

This week we were weeding and found a ragged pair of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle socks that had obviously been victims of the elements since last summer. (Lucky me, my kids don't just leave their socks scattered inside the house, they do it all over our property, too!)

Our basket of unmatched socks on top of the washing machine is getting quite full and I've been wondering where they all go, and I guess the answer is "sprinkled among the tulips next to the garage."

At least there was a complete pair out there. Somehow that makes me feel better than just a single one going missing who knows where.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

5 Bathtime Rules for Kids That Were Meant to Be Broken

At our house, we have a lot of rules.

There are rules about chores and food and screen time. I'd consider myself a strict-ish parent, and I'm sure my kids would agree. But there is one area where our family seems to break almost all the rules, and that is bathtime.

From daily baths to tub toys, I've got news for you: you don't have to do any of it.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

You see, I think many of the "rules" of bathtime make absolutely no sense, and never have. And therefore we disregard just about all of them.

Rule #1: Bathe Your Kids Every Day


Setting aside the fact that if we gave daily baths to all 6 of our kids we'd have a water bill that rivals  the national debt and single-handedly be responsible for killing the whales, I just don't see the point. Little kids are spot-cleaned as necessary all day long, meaning that unless they're smelly or covered in actual dirt I won't bother filling up the bathtub.

That means until puberty at least, baths in our house work out to once or twice a week (more frequently in the summer when kids are outside getting truly filthy.) Maybe it's my aversion to cleaning schedules in general, but I don't believe in The Daily Bath just because.

Rule #2: Calming Baths as Part of the Bedtime Routine


For my kids, bathtime = playtime. There's nothing even remotely calming about any activity they perform in the tub. I've seen three stooges who are more chill than my three youngest in the bath, who egg each other on until the whole thing resembles either a demonic possession or a stampede at Wal-Mart on Black Friday.

Many times I've wondered as I sat in the bathroom supervising my kids' bath, completely drenched and cowering behind a towel, how in the world anyone has the mental fortitude to add the shenanigans of bathtime to the already long and exhausting process that is getting kids to bed. I certainly don't.

Rule #3: Fun Tub Toys for Everyone!


Um, no. We used to have bath toys and a special bag suction cupped to the wall of the shower to theoretically let them drip-dry. In actuality, it was a glorified mesh mold factory that made me gag so hard I think I saw my own intestines once.

I'm one of the least germophobic people I know, but the thought of those grody toys climbing aboard the Toddler Hands Express and embarking on a non-stop trip to Mouthville was more than I could handle. I threw everything out and now their baths toys are limited to: bubble bath, colored bath drops, and whatever kitchen utensils I can put in the dishwasher afterward.

Rule #4: Baths are for Bathtubs


I know some parents are super-eager to get their kid in the real tub as soon as they can sit up but I ask you: WHY.

I never enjoyed kneeling on the tile floor and to be honest, it always felt like a gigantic waste of water to fill a tub for someone barely bigger than a hubbard squash. I figure if I wash my produce in the sink, I might as well put my babies and toddlers in there until they're no longer vegetable-sized.

Rule #5: Invest in Special Kid Everything


There are specialty baby washcloths, hooded towels, baby body wash, no-tears shampoo, kid bath visors, and foam faucet covers shaped like humpback whales. To which I say, huh?

I admit we once had some of those things from my first baby shower, back when we actually thought you needed half of Babies 'R Us to raise an infant, and sure, we use up the travel-sized bottle of Johnson's that comes home in the maternity ward swag bag. But for the most part we just use products from our shower and bathroom cupboards, and the kids seem to be surviving.

If you love giving your kids nightly baths or if you're a traveling rubber ducky salesman, that's totally fine! Your house, your rules. But for those of you who secretly hate these bathtime rules but follow them anyway because you think you're supposed to, I'm giving you permission right now to stop. You'll be in good company.

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Monday, June 11, 2018

Toddler Reviews of a New Restaurant That Caters Exactly to Them

This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

The Picky Toddler
1,624 reviews - 4 star average
$$

This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Love love love this place.
Delicious cuisine like your mom makes, but with a twist: everything caters to the 12-36 months crowd. Nice ambiance, especially the acoustics (screeching and silverware banging really resonates.) I come here to carbo-load before a long night of waking my mom up every 45 minutes. Highly recommend it.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
My favorite place for snacks!
If you haven't tried toddler dining then you must go to The Picky Toddler! They serve ketchup on everything, let you color on the tables, and every menu item is called a "snack." I never eat meals but if you serve the exact same food and call it a snack I'll devour it. Their lunch snack menu is fabulous, by the way.
Most Authentic Toddler Food in the Area
I came here for a MOPS playgroup and will definitely be back on my own! Well, my mom has to drive, obviously. Our server was phenomenal: he blew on my food when I complained it was too hot even though we both knew it wasn't, and he also peeled my chicken nuggets for me when I laid on the floor and screamed about it. You can send anything back to the kitchen at any time and for any reason, even if you've already eaten half of it. This place is amazing.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Way too spicy for me
I couldn't even eat the scrambled eggs due to a flake of pepper in it. I had the applesauce and that was also very spicy. The dry Cheerios were okay. But unless you like really spicy food, I'd skip The Picky Toddler.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
RE: Way too spicy for me
At The Picky Toddler we strive to provide the blandest possible eating experience for our customers. We are deeply sorry to hear about your experience.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
butter heaven
let me say that the butter was to die for!! literally... the best butter I've ever eaten... at home i have to wait until my mom is in the bathroom so i can crawl up on the counter and take bites out of the stick - but at this place u can just order straight butter off the menu!! if u also love butter - then u will LOVE this place!!!!!!!!!!
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Didn't Meet My Expectations
I really wanted to give this restaurant more stars but was not happy with the wait for my food. Instead of appearing instantly the second I requested it, I actually had to follow the waitstaff into the kitchen and cling wailing to their pant legs as they made it for me! It was good once it arrived, but by then I was no longer interested in eating and had to pitch another fit so we could go outside and blow bubbles.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Exceptional Place
This was my first foray into toddler dining, and I was not disappointed. The plain toast was so good I ate it in under an hour(!), and our server courteously waited to bring the check until I finished mushing up my leftovers into my drink and rubbing it in my hair. Even the undersides of the tables are padded so you can crawl around on the floor without hitting your head and getting a boo-boo. They thought of everything!
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Don't go here!
My nana took me here for my birthday and it was a disaster. First, there was no place at the door to strip off all my clothes and run around butt-naked. Second, auto-flush toilets in the restrooms? Please. Those things are the devil. Third, the restaurant windows tasted disgusting. The kicker was when I found a tiny piece of onion in my food! Needless to say I sent it back and ordered a banana, which arrived with not one, not two, but THREE strings on it! Bad food, bad atmosphere, bad service - stay away!
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Fun and Tasty Neighborhood Restaurant
Very surprised to see a 1-star review for this restaurant. We went here for lunch on a Wednesday, just after Sesame Street and before naptime. When we walked in, the Daddy Finger Song was playing on the loudspeaker. Once we were seated we ordered a round of granola bars for appetizers and then I had the apple sampler: they bring you a bunch of apples and you  take one bite out of all of them. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and are already planning our next trip here.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Yum, yum!
Ordered delivery because there's no food in the house and mom just had my brother so she's been wearing the same pants for 5 days. Also, she couldn't find the car keys because I put them in the freezer. Food was delivered with complimentary fruit snacks.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Better Than Mickey D's... And That's Saying Something
I was a little skeptical about The Picky Toddler based on some of the poor reviews and the fact that I'm technically a big girl now. But I'm so glad I tried it anyway. Delicious food, I didn't think this place could top McDonald's on my restaurant top ten but it did!
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Meh.
Unimpressed. The food was the same old boring children's menu fare: hot dogs, grilled cheese, chicken tenders. And all the TVs were turned to Calliou, ugh!
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
RE: Meh.
Are you even a toddler? This site has gotten so bad about screening for fake reviews. Can somebody remove this comment? It was obviously left by an 8- or 9-year-old troll.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Overall, I'd Give It an A
Ambiance - appreciated the "no shirt, no shoes, no problem" policy, A+
Food - soup was a little wet, but other than that, A
Drinks - very easy to dump out on the floor, A+
Service - waitress cut sandwiches into rectangles instead of triangles, C-
Parking - someone keyed my Cozy Coupe in the parking lot and management offered a 20% off coupon for my next visit, B
Overall Grade: A. Will definitely go back.
This is what eating out would be like if they all catered to toddlers.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Go for the Yogurt!
Some of the negative reviews on here almost made us go elsewhere. But we were looking for a new kid-friendly establishment after I accidentally flooded the restrooms at Chick Fil-A, so we decided to eat here. I ordered the yogurt and it was easily the best I've ever had. The silky texture and the smooth consistency as it squelched through my hands was the Nirvana of sensory experiences. Trust me, you haven't played with yogurt until you've gone to The Picky Toddler.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Creative Ways to Make Ghosts, Speaking in Fourth Person, and Living in the Coolest Orphanage on the Block

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

1


This 7 Quick Takes is brought to you by my 4- and 6-year-old, who collaborated to create this portrait of me:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?   {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
The wispy purple hair makes me look about 40 years older than I actually am, but other than that it's pretty accurate.

They presented this drawing to me so earnestly I almost hurt myself trying not to laugh. I'm not sure what's better: my serial killer smile, my unevenly dilated pupils, or my mile-high forehead.

When my kids draw something that's my favorite (which this clearly is) I save it and mark their name and age in the corner, but when I went to save this one I wrote BOTH of their ages down wrong on the first try so maybe I actually am as crazy as this lady looks.

2


The middle school play was this past weekend and we needed to send in treats for intermission refreshments.

Last year I outdid myself by buying packages of Oreos at the grocery store on the way to the performance and re-wrapping them in Saran wrap in the parking lot. This year, the director mentioned that "specialty treats" sell better, and the idea popped into my head that since the play was about ghosts we could make little ghost cookies.

The only problem was that we didn't have a ghost cookie cutter. It's not exactly the right season to find them at the store. I texted the craftiest person I know to see if she had one; she didn't. What to do?

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

After some serious Winnie the Pooh-style thinking, I found some leftover wire fencing in the basement, bent it into the shape of a ghost (which my 14-year-old drew,) and MADE a cookie cutter.

They actually worked and we only burned half of the cookies, so I'm going to be riding this high for a while.

3


My 10-year-old is in the cub scout pack sponsored by our church, and this week they had their Blue and Gold banquet. (I think it's technically supposed to be in February, but usually how things work in our church is if you speak up and complain about something then you get asked to plan it next time, so that's all I have to say about that.)

Every cub scout was supposed to bring a cake representing an assigned part of the Scout Law, and his was "kind." After some preliminary Googling we settled on a heart-shaped cake. My son had some serious vision about how it should be decorated, and it looked amazing after he'd frosted it and topped it with whipped cream and strawberries.

Then the whipped cream started to melt.

We put it in the fridge to stop the hemorrhaging, but it kept melting until most of it slid clean off the cake and all that was left was a puddle of whipped cream on the plate. We were able to wipe it up and make it look presentable for the banquet, but it truly was only a shadow of what it had been before.

At least it still tasted good.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?   {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
If you look closely, you can still see the residue of the whipped cream around the strawberries.

Also, at the banquet a little girl ran up to me, handed me a wadded-up tissue, and asked, "Can you take this?" I apparently look so much like a mom that I'm now sending off signals to other people's children that my purse is a receptacle for their trash.

I mean, I totally did put her tissue in there until I could throw it away later. But still.

4


I'm not sure how it started, but my middle-schoolers made up a new point of view called 4th person. It's a little hard to understand but highly entertaining to listen to once you get it.

Basically, if I wanted to speak in 4th person then I'm identifying as you. And therefore, I identify you as 'me.' So instead of "You can't possibly know how I feel," in the 4th person you'd say "I can't possibly know how you feel."

Once you've wrapped your brain around that, plural pronouns become singular ('we' turns into 'he,' she,' or 'it') and vice versa. So if someone is annoying you and your group of friends and you find that highly annoying, using 4th person you could comment that "We are bothering her and you don't like it at all."

Fourth person probably wouldn't fly in a creative writing class, but it's an interesting storytelling mechanism nonetheless.

5


There's a children's farm about a half-hour from us that everyone raves about, but it costs a million dollars to get in so we've never been. But we found out about a field trip there at a discounted price through a local moms' group so we finally went this week!

Everyone was right, it was awesome. Here the kids are, petting the world's cutest sheep:

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

Seriously, LOOK AT THIS SHEEP'S FACE. It's like a little anime creature.
It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?   {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

My kindergartner skipped school so she could come, too, but I didn't remember to call the school and tell them she would be absent until we already arrived at the farm. So my message on the attendance line had sheep bleating in the background, which was not suspicious at all.

6


This week was also the elementary school art show, and though I of course enjoyed the fine art created by my own children, I was transfixed by these beautiful lilies made by another class of kids.

I have no idea how they did it, but I would buy these for my living room wall. (Owen and Tate, if you're reading this, text me and we'll talk.)

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

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

I've been to many a school art show in the last decade, but I can honestly say this is the first time I was compelled to take pictures of a complete stranger's kid's artwork.

7


A while ago I mentioned to a friend of ours who happens to be a builder/contractor (and also sold us our house) that we had this strange dip in our yard, and he showed up with a mini-excavator to dig it up and figure out what was causing the problem.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?   {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
That's my finger in the upper corner. Because it's not like I blog and take pictures for a living or anything.

A few of our kids went out to watch him work, then they went back inside and a few other kids came out, and then the neighbor kids wandered over to see what was up... it looked like we were running an orphanage.

That's the fun part about having a big family. Not even your friends know how many kids you have, they just know there's a lot, so you can mess with them like that.

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Friday, June 1, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Eight-Layer Cakes, Budding Gardeners Who Also Do Photography, and Why My Kids Will Probably Never Know What a Hexagon Is

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

1


For my birthday (which was technically last Tuesday but we celebrated this weekend), Phillip got me a new keyboard for my computer. It's a special ergonomic low-resistance one, meaning the keys push down easily.

Now, if you're a normal person you're probably confused. Who has ever complained that their keys were just SO HARD to press? Well, if you type a lot, it actually does make things go faster and cuts down on repetitive stress injuries like tendonitis.

But not nerd-itis. That's forever.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Phillip was right when he presented this to me by saying, "This will probably change your life."

Phillip also made me a beautiful cake with about a bizillion layers of deliciousness. I think next time I'd like to try it with mint ice cream.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Clearly, I'm very serious about dessert appreciation.

If only there were a diagram to show you how wonderful it tasted.

2


My daughter also presented me with a birthday card that said "thank you for being patient with us."

Which was very sweet, but honestly doesn't sound like me at all. I get stressed-out to the point of yelling virtually every day. So I asked her, "Do you really think I'm a patient mom?"

"Well..." she said, and then she explained that if you take my patience as compared to other moms as a ratio to the number of kids I have as compared to the number of kids other people have, then yeah, I'm pretty patient.

It's all relative, I guess.

3


At Zumba the other day my friend next to me stopped, pointed in my direction, and asked "What is that? Is that chewed-up gum?" What I did next proved that motherhood changes you in profound ways.

My first reaction was to look down at my clothes and examine them for smashed gum.

My second reaction was to spot the offending ABC gum on the floor and before anyone could step on it, immediately pick it up with my bare hands and throw it away. Even though I had no idea whose mouth it had been in or how it got there.

What's that saying, "you can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy?" Motherhood is like that, but with tolerance for things other people would find disgusting.

4


Spring weather was slow to come but it's here now, so I put up some hanging baskets of flowers and the 4-year-old helped me plant some colorful blooms in the planter outside the garage.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
This is not a sponsored post for Miracle-Gro, although it kind of looks like it here.

We were only able to plant a few before some church ladies came over for a meeting so I told him we'd get to the rest of them later. He was really eager to do it, but one thing after another kept coming up and by the time I went to put the 2-year-old down for a nap, he'd had enough and just decided to do it himself.

I was pretty surprised when I came out to see the planter full of flowers, and he was very proud of his handiwork. I took his picture next to the planter, and then he said he wanted to take my picture next to the hanging basket.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Flowers not pictured. (They're just to the right of my head.)

At least he tried.

5


While my son was watching Ice Age: The Meltdown, I was looking at the back of the DVD case at the voice actors' names.

I saw that John Leguizamo was listed and his name sounded familiar but I couldn't place him, so I Googled it. But my phone wasn't getting reception and kept giving me an error message instead, which was just as well since it wasn't that pressing of a question.

I'd forgotten all about it until 10:30 that night, when my phone woke me up by dinging loudly and announcing that "one search result was ready for 'John Leguizamo.'"

What's that other saying, the one about curiosity killing the sleep-deprived mom?

6


On Wednesday there was a scheduled power outage while they worked on the electrical lines. Ordinarily this would have been an excuse to leave the house, but 5 preschoolers were coming over for our co-op pre-K that day so no such luck.

Luckily it was a sunny day and they actually played outside most of the time, so it was fine. We reviewed colors, shapes, and counting by making this shape pizza:

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

It wasn't until we were all sitting around the table making our pizza that I realized I'd cut out big yellow octagons but wrote 'hexagons' on their worksheets. I thought briefly about fixing the worksheets and reprinting them, but then I realized: It's May, screw it.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Submitted as an attachment with my application for "Educator of the Year."

7


To be honest, at this point in the school year I'm less interested in making shape pizzas with construction paper and paper plates and more interested in doing this:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Cute shot of my two boys who may or may not be peeing in the water.

Our first beach day of the season was this week, and the water was cold but I am so ready. Have you been to the beach yet?

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