Friday, March 22, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Saving the Trees, Embarrassing Myself In Front of the Health Teacher, and Vandalism that Warms My Heart

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


We fought the law and the law... did not win.

A few weeks ago I spotted some guys from the utility company looking at our trees. They come by once a year or so to prune branches away from the power lines, but this time they were putting orange bands around 10 trees in our front and backyard, marking them to be cut down.

Um, no.

These things are enormous, like 40+ feet. Besides the fact that mowing down all the vegetation between our house and the power lines would make our view ugly and decrease our property value, they also wanted to leave the stumps and all the wood for us to take care of.

This seemed excessively aggressive, seeing as the trunks themselves weren't in the electric company's right-of-way, just the branches were.

When we complained and they sent out a guy from the forestry department, I watched Phillip go out to talk to him in the driveway. Eventually, the forestry guy started removing the orange bands from the trees, and Phillip came back in sporting the exact posture of a silverback gorilla who'd just successfully defended his territory.

So the trees are staying.


The health teacher sent an email with a permission slip for a movie the kids are going to watch in class. I was not thrilled about this particular movie and some objectionable stuff in it, and definitely didn't feel good about my 12-year-old watching it.

I signed the permission slip 'no' and then spent a ridiculous amount of time putting together a measured, eloquent email letting the health teacher know why I didn't think this movie was appropriate for 7th graders.

Less than a minute after I hit 'send,' the health teacher emailed me back trying to say as politely as she could, "Um, this is for the high schoolers."

Welcome to this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes! Our family of 8 is committed to bringing you humor, laughs, and relatable stories of our parenting fails, every Friday. #7quicktakes #funny

You guys, I read the email wrong! It was for my 9th grader. I don't even know why I assumed it was for my 7th grader. Upon looking again, the subject line of the email clearly said HIGH SCHOOL HEALTH.

Welcome to this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes! Our family of 8 is committed to bringing you humor, laughs, and relatable stories of our parenting fails, every Friday. #7quicktakes #funny

I was so embarrassed. I will have kids taking health from the high school teacher for the next 16 years, and every time that lady sees an Evans she'll be like "There's the kid with the mom who has no idea what's going on."

Welcome to this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes! Our family of 8 is committed to bringing you humor, laughs, and relatable stories of our parenting fails, every Friday. #7quicktakes #funny

But then I realized stuff like this happens to me all the time and you know what? It's actually just funny.

Welcome to this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes! Our family of 8 is committed to bringing you humor, laughs, and relatable stories of our parenting fails, every Friday. #7quicktakes #funny

The thing that also made me feel a little better is that when I mentioned the movie to my 9th grader she made a face and said, "I saw part of that once and it made me uncomfortable. I don't want to watch that."

So the only thing I had to change on the permission slip was the name of the child. I may have too many kids to tell them apart, but at least I know an inappropriate movie when I see one.


I was in the car with my toddler and preschooler when we saw 6 police cruisers speeding past in the opposite lane with their lights flashing.

Practically dislocating his shoulder, my son pointed and flailed wildly while yelling, "Look mom! Where are they going?"

"To a big emergency, I guess."

He thought about it and said, "Probably a house with 6 robbers in it."

That makes sense.


I took my kids to the play space at the children's room in the library and saw that someone had installed this historical exploration area:

Welcome to this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes! Our family of 8 is committed to bringing you humor, laughs, and relatable stories of our parenting fails, every Friday. #7quicktakes #funny
Gather round, children: this is what we called a rotary phone. You couldn't even play Angry Birds on it.

All I could picture was a toddler version of this video happening over and over and really, I think the librarian just put it there for her own amusement.


Once upon a time, I used to think microfiber was a good idea. We bought a microfiber couch and microfiber dining room chairs, and for a solid two weeks I sang their praises. I would've redone all the surfaces in the house in microfiber if someone would have let me. It was so easy to clean! Everything just wipes right off!

Then reality set in.

Microfiber is easy to clean, but even easier to stain. Literally everything, even water, leaves a gross-looking splotch behind. So unless I clean the dining room chairs after every meal and my living room couch every time someone sits on it, they always look disgusting.

We recovered the chairs with a different fabric, but the couch currently looks like garbage and we're okay with that. We've moved past bargaining and depression into acceptance.

Recently, one of my children decided to take that acceptance to the next level (and also definitively prove why microfiber is the actual worst) by scratching 'MOM' into the arm of the sofa.

Welcome to this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes! Our family of 8 is committed to bringing you humor, laughs, and relatable stories of our parenting fails, every Friday. #7quicktakes #funny

Maybe it says 'WOW' and I'm looking at it wrong, but I like to think of it as kind of an ode to me from my little vandals.


The kids were invited to a ton of birthday parties this past weekend.

Okay, three. But it felt like a ton.

I've said before that the dollar store is one of my favorite places for kids' birthday presents because you go in there and let your kids just pick a basket of fun stuff to give them, but do you know what the easiest present is?

A ten dollar bill and a candy bar, which is what all our kids' friends received this weekend. Sometimes survival is all about simplicity.


I'm not an artist. See this post if you don't believe me.

I actually thought I disliked art as much as it disliked me, but back in October I was forced to paint a pumpkin at a kids' event and was surprised that (1) it turned out halfway decent and (2) I actually enjoyed myself.

So when my church held a ladies' paint night, I was moderately excited to go. (This had nothing to do with the fact that Phillip was out of town and they had free babysitting.)

We painted along to an instructional YouTube video, and not only did I have fun I was also happy with the way mine turned out! I think I even want to do a paint night with my kids over summer vacation.

Welcome to this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes! Our family of 8 is committed to bringing you humor, laughs, and relatable stories of our parenting fails, every Friday. #7quicktakes #funny
Someone commented on how it looked like the wind was blowing the leaves, which I'm going to say I totally did on purpose from now on.

Don't get the wrong idea. I'm by no means an art maven now.

Case in point: my preschooler is into drawing semi trucks. He draws the wheels and trailer, but he can't figure out how to draw the cab so he asks me to do it.

When he showed his latest drawing to his 7-year-old sister, she gushed, "Wow, it looks like you did the cab all by yourself this time! Good job!"

"No," he said. "Mom did it."

When he skipped away, leaving just me and the 7-year-old, I asked her, "Still impressed?"

She looked at me gravely and whispered, "No, Mom. That was really bad."

Welcome to this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes! Our family of 8 is committed to bringing you humor, laughs, and relatable stories of our parenting fails, every Friday. #7quicktakes #funny
Out of the way! 36-year-old art prodigy coming through!

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Friday, March 15, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Vegan Lies, Playing Rough with Your Kids, and Wearing Blockbuster Slogans on Your Pants Like That Makes Any Sense

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


Welp. I did it. That's me, with a giant freezer bag full of vegan ground beef substitute.

Always funny, always relatable, always seven. Read this week's 7 Quick Takes for a hilarious recap of the week! #7quicktakes #humor

To be clear, we're not vegan. We're not even vegetarian. I literally just finished eating some pepperonis I was supposed to be putting on a pizza.

We do, however, cook mostly meatless meals. I don't have anything against meat, I just leave it out because it means we have to replace meat with more vegetables, which I think we need.

I try not to be too weird about it, but every now and then I'll make something that seems a little... out there. Phillip always knows when I'm trying a new woo-woo heal the world chakra and meditation crystals recipe because he asks, "What are you making?" and I respond, "I don't want to tell you."

Sometimes it turns out really well, like when we tried these black bean and quinoa veggie burgers topped with mango and avocado that are possibly my favorite food of all time.

And sometimes it turns out... to be this vegan meat substitute. The blogger who wrote the recipe swore up and down that it tastes just like the real thing and even her meat-eating friends swear they can't tell the difference.

Well, she needs to find new friends because her current ones are lying liars.


I have many strengths as a mom. I'm the strict mom who gives her kids a high bar to meet. I'm the productive mom who gets stuff done and teaches her kids to work hard. I'm the mom who's always hunting for new books/apps/podcasts/activities to expand the kids' minds. I'm the mom who serves healthy-ish food. I'm the mom who likes to talk to the kids and help with their problems. I'm the mom who reads with everybody, even the middle- and high-schoolers. But I'm not the fun mom.

Recently I heard about a book called The Art of Roughhousing, and you know me with my parenting book addiction.

I picked it up from the library expecting it to be a kids-need-to-spend-time-outside-climbing-trees kind of book, but it's really a step-by-step guide to being silly with your kids which I actually needed to read way more.

Always funny, always relatable, always seven. Read this week's 7 Quick Takes for a hilarious recap of the week! #7quicktakes #humor

Always funny, always relatable, always seven. Read this week's 7 Quick Takes for a hilarious recap of the week! #7quicktakes #humor

Some of the suggestions in the book look like glorified ways of peeing your pants (see the above pictures and if you've birthed children you'll understand) but at the very least, it's making me think about being more playful with my kids.

I still don't have very much stamina (I get burned out after 6-7 minutes of horseplay whereas the kids are just getting started,) but at least it's resulted in a few more intentional moments of play each day.

And when my 7-year-old walked in the door after school to see me repeatedly punching a couch cushion that her laughing brother was holding in front of his body, the look on her face was totally worth it.


I took my 2-year-old to run an errand at the mall when he pointed to the escalator and said he wanted to ride it. Except he called it an "exeglader."

This is possibly my favorite toddler mispronunciation in 14 years of parenting, and if any of the older kids ever corrects him then they're out of my will.

In related little kid misunderstandings, for months we've had a stack of wood outside for a bonfire at some undetermined point in the future, and I just learned that all this time, my 5-year-old thinks we've been saying "bomb fire."

I corrected that one and he was like, "Oh, okay." But now I'm concerned that he wasn't concerned about a "bomb fire" happening in our yard, whatever that is.


Phillip asked me which of the kids would be interested in going to an extreme BMX/skateboarding/scooter competition he heard about from a friend. So I went to their Facebook page to check it out.

I clicked on this video of some guys doing scooter tricks, and as I watched them whip their scooters around I was part impressed and part like, "Oh, yeah? That's basically me every time I have to drag the kids' scooters back into the garage. I'm surprised I haven't broken an ankle yet."

But still. Not only are these guys skilled, they'll also be amazing at putting their kids' crap away in the garage one day.


It's time for my high schooler to register for next year's classes, and since she's been a little bored I suggested she talk with her guidance counselor about more challenging options.

I ended up going to the meeting, too, just out of curiosity, and I'm glad I did. I would've hated to miss the moment at the end when the counselor asked my daughter "Are you an only child?"

When my daughter answered she had 5 younger siblings, the counselor had to pick her face up off the floor and is probably still trying to make sense of it.

(I guess she assumed that since my daughter was really smart, Phillip and I must have a lot of free time to, I don't know, get up early on the weekends and make her do Russian math drills or something.)


I was walking through the teen boys' section at JC Penney and noticed these sweatpants:

Always funny, always relatable, always seven. Read this week's 7 Quick Takes for a hilarious recap of the week! #7quicktakes #humor
Down the leg, it reads: "be kind, please rewind."

"Be kind, please rewind?" None of the people buying these pants are old enough to even know what that means.

It's worse than when my 12-year-old was telling me about a book she read that made several references to The Simpsons. As she was explaining the plot she stopped herself and said, "Wait, this probably won't make sense to you. Do you know who the Simpsons are?"

DO I KNOW WHO THE SIMPSONS ARE. Child, I've known Bart Simpson longer than I've known you.

I'm getting tired of the teeny-boppers appropriating my culture like this. With every year, I grow dangerously closer to sitting on the front porch full-time yelling at kids to get off my lawn.


For many children, a lullaby from mom or dad is a standard part of the bedtime routine. For my 2-year-old, I threaten to sing if he doesn't settle down and it works almost instantly.

I don't know why he hates it so much. I think I'm an average to above-average singer.

However, every once in a blue moon he requests a song, just to keep me on my toes. The other day he asked me to sing to him at naptime, so I ran through his options: "Do you want The Wheels on the Bus? Twinkle, Twinkle? The Ants Go Marching?"


"I... I don't know any songs about zombies, buddy. How about Baa, Baa, Black Sheep?"

"I want you sing 'bout zombies."

Okaaaaay... After a minute, though, I realized I actually do know a song about zombies. So I sang this to my toddler and he was out like a light by the time I finished.

I just hope he doesn't show this blog post to his therapist someday.

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Friday, March 8, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Blizzard Bags, How to Mortify People on Speakerphone, and Ice Cream for Russian History Enthusiasts

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


Our school district is piloting "blizzard bags," which means instead of tacking extra days onto the end of the school year to make up for snow days, the kids just do an extra packet of homework instead.

So far, I love it.

We had our first snow day this week and now instead of dragging them out of bed when it should be their first day of summer vacation, we don't have to! The kids spent an hour or two doing worksheets, and that's it.

Our normal school schedule goes well into June anyway, so extra days on top of that always make me stabby. JUST GIVE ME MY CHILDREN BACK SO WE CAN MAKE PANCAKES FOR BREAKFAST AND GO TO THE BEACH.


Periodically, my 14-year-old and I do a mother-daughter book club. It's not on any regular schedule, just whenever I can finish a book.

Traditionally we've gone out for donuts to discuss it, but she was in the mood for a McFlurry so we headed to McDonald's. When we got there, we realized the decor was really appropriate for a book club.

What has our big family been up to for the last 7 days? Find out in this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes, the funniest weekly recap you'll see out there. #7quicktakes #funny

What has our big family been up to for the last 7 days? Find out in this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes, the funniest weekly recap you'll see out there. #7quicktakes #funny
Odd choice for a fast food place, but all the pictures on the wall were extreme sports so I guess they were trying to cast a wide net.

Overall, I'd give 4 stars for the book club ambiance. Five if there wasn't a couple making out in the corner by the bathrooms.

Which there was.


One of the most unexpected hardships of parenting (to me, at least) is the fact that whenever I introduce the kids a movie I remember fondly from my childhood, it turns out to be moderately to completely horrifying.

The first time it happened was with Back to the Future, which taught our kids several choice phrases we had no idea could peppered so gratuitously throughout a PG movie.

Then we had the bright idea to show them Home Alone, which had the kids crying and covering their eyes yelling "Why is he hurting them like that?!?" and "Turn it off! I don't want to watch anymore!"

And then there was Ghostbusters, which gave both me and my kids nightmares about Sigourney Weaver for weeks.

I was starting to wonder why I didn't grow up to be a total deviant if this was the stuff I grew up on.

Finally, we watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles this week and I was pleased to find that I totally cv loved it. They loved it. Other than a few cusses from angsty Raphael (which I actually do remember from watching it as a kid,) we thoroughly enjoyed it.


It's always a pretty big ordeal to bring little people to my 12-year-old's orchestra concerts, but Phillip was out of town and the 10- and 14-year-olds were out of the house that night, so I had no choice.

I walked in with the toddler, the preschooler, and the first grader and hoped everything would go okay.

We arrived about 10 minutes early and found seats, so I said to the kids, "Let's put our coats down here and then walk around a little so you don't get b-"

"I'm already bored," interrupted the 7-year-old.

It was then that knew it was going to go really well.


Since Phillip was sad to miss the orchestra concert, I tried to take a video of it for him.

I say 'tried' because the kids who were crawling all over me at the concert didn't really care about what I was trying to do.

As a result, the finished video of the concert included copious amounts of rustling, whispered threats, crunching of Cheerios, and times where the camera was totally obscured by the 7-year-old's boots I kept telling her not to put on the backs of the seats in front of us. Also, it looked like it was filmed by the cameraman who did the war sequences in Saving Private Ryan.

It wasn't exactly the video I planned to take, but at least it gave Phillip a very accurate picture of what it was like to be there.


My first grader was invited to a massive playdate with five other girls. She had so much fun, and as I was listening to them I began thinking, "We should host these kinds of things sometimes. Why aren't we the fun house?"

After the playdate was over, we arrived home just in time to remember why.

The 12-year-old was playing a game on the computer with her friends while talking to them on speakerphone, when one of the other kids stormed into the room yelling, "Why is every toilet in the house clogged?!?"

That evening, I stopped laughing long enough to relate the incident to Phillip, who just replied seriously, "That's a good question. Why are all the toilets in the house clogged?"


My 14-year-old and her friends are at this moment nailing down the details of a Russian history ice cream parlor and sweet shop. All the treats and ice creams in this fictional shop are named after famous figures from Russian history.

She says her favorite ice cream flavor is Bananastasia Romanov, but if this place were a real sweet shop and I visited, the first thing I'd try would definitely be Vladimir Pudding.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

16 Tasks With Which I Could Use the Assistance of Friendly Woodland Creatures

I've been thinking lately about Snow White and how she had those woodland animals to help her clean the dwarves' man cave. How exactly does that work? Specifically, how does one get in on that deal? Because I'm interested.

Are there requirements for getting your own woodland helpers, like frequently breaking into song or having a waist the size of your neck?

Do you absolutely have to be a princess, or is it kind of like how colleges prefer 4 years of a foreign language in high school but it's not a hard-and-fast rule?

As you can see, I don't have all the details figured out, but I do have this list of tasks with which I'd like the help of woodland creatures, if that's an available option for people with normal-sized eyes and a realistic amount of volume in their hair.

Help with routine cleaning would of course be appreciated, but what I'm really looking for is someone to lend a hand/paw/hoof/wing with the more unpleasant parts of my job.

Ideally, I seek a woodland creature(s) with expertise in the following areas:

• Meal planning, shopping, and cooking. Be advised, when I ask my family what they want to eat, they either ignore me completely or yell out helpful suggestions such as "Food!"

• Putting my children to bed in a loving, patient manner. If you enjoy reading poorly-written books about talking vehicles, answering an infinite number of questions on how the dinosaurs died, and listening to long stories about video games and/or lists of shark facts, this is definitely the job for you.

• Straining human waste out of the bathtub and occasionally fishing cars, Barbies, and stuffed animals out of the toilet. Familiarity with the plunger is a must.

• Playing Candyland.

• School drop-off and pick-up. Must also be interested shuttling kids to 50 after-school activities and be available for the nine-to-midnight shift of grumpily sitting in the car texting a 14-year-old, "I'm tired. Let's go."

• Everything related to the trash can, including rifling around inside for the $140 retainer my middle-schooler thinks is in there but isn't completely sure.

• Homework help with mathematical concepts that haven't even crossed my mind in 27 years.

• Entertaining young children for 30 minutes with tongue depressors and the Chapstick in my purse when there are no toys in the exam room.

• Listening to excessively loud renditions of "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells" on repeat regardless of the season.

• Arguing about whether an 11-degree day is too cold for shorts.

• Restroom-related functions like wiping butts and taking preschoolers to port-a-potties. (A friend of mine reports having had to literally pull poop out of her constipated sons, which I've never had to do but if it became necessary I'd absolutely like a woodland creature to do that.)

• Matching toddler socks and buckling a 15-million point harness multiple times per day.

• Attempting to reason with a small person who thinks a computer is called a "pooter" and cannot pronounce his own first name.

• Sniffing pairs of floor underwear to assess level of cleanliness. Must act like this is totally normal and not a waste of a bachelor's degree.

• Taking off all the kids' snow gear 8 seconds after putting it on so they can go to the bathroom.

• Fielding snack requests that occur within 2 minutes of the end of a meal. Also, snack requests from people who are currently eating a snack.

As I write this I'm getting increasingly excited about the prospect of getting some outside help with the more challenging parts of my job, and now I have to go figure out where to post this ad. (In the woods, I guess? Maybe I should start singing to attract applicants?)

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Monday, March 4, 2019

Illogical Reasons My Toddler Has Cried for Every Letter of the Alphabet

Dear Toddler,

In lieu of the traditional baby book (which, let's face it, is unlikely to materialize at this point) I've decided to put together something a little simpler.

Please enjoy this A-to-Z list of things that infuriated your toddler self so badly it made the Chernobyl disaster look like a picnic. Not a regular picnic, but a Downtown Abbey picnic with a nice table and chairs and real china that the servants laid out ahead of time.

Hopefully someday, at least one of us will look back on this list and laugh.

Love, Mom

A is for Absolutely Crazy. I love you, but you're legitimately insane. Yesterday I gave you the raisins you asked for, so you flung your bowl across the room like a frisbee and refused to eat them. Then when I threw them away, you went ballistic and tried to eat them out of the trash.

B is for Brown Spots and Banana. I may as well serve a platter of steaming radioactive waste for snack if the only other choice is the banana with the bruise on one side. I know that now. B is also for "Broken Food," which means anything I cut in half that you didn't specifically request me to, or maybe you did but then you changed your mind and what is even the point in living anymore?

C is for the Candle I Wouldn't Let You Eat. Finish the perfectly good banana on your plate and then we'll talk.

D is for Demanding a Diaper to Poop In. A few days post-potty training, you decided being a big boy was stupid and it was way more fun in the olden days when you could defecate anytime and anywhere. Several days of tense negotiations followed.

E is for Every Puzzle Piece Not Fitting Perfectly With Every Other Piece in Any Random Orientation You Choose. Clearly, we have some learning to do about what exactly is a puzzle.

F is for the Fire Truck I Regrettably Pointed Out in the Car. I will never again say "Look! A fire truck!" unless I'm fully prepared to listen to you shrieking that you missed it for the next 20 miles while desperately scanning the road for either another fire truck or a billboard advertising affordably-priced exorcisms.

G is for Gravity. You are almost as good at building ridiculously precarious block towers as you are at hurling them across the room like a sociopath when they fall down.

Hug is for the Hug I Gave Your Dad. With the speed of a chaperone in a Jane Austen novel, you dove in and quickly made it clear that there would be no shenanigans going on here, not while you were in charge. Which is ironic, considering that's how you got here in the first place.

I is for I Went to the Bathroom. Or anywhere you weren't invited.

J is for me asking you to stop Jumping on My Pancreas. Just because a person does a few crunches on the floor doesn't mean they're your own personal bouncy castle, you know.

K is for Karma. I'm sorry I laughed when you gave the door a roundhouse kick in a fit of fury and it swung back and knocked you over on your rear end. In my defense, it was kind of hilarious.

L is for Looking at the Picture You Were Coloring. I get that some artists are really sensitive about showing their work to anyone before it's completed; I also get that you are obviously one of them.

M is for the Magic Wand I Wouldn't Let You Keep Hitting Me With when I was unloading the dryer. You cried way harder than seemed necessary when I took it away, seeing as I'm the one with the star-shaped welts on my buttcheek.

N is for Naptime. Tantrums at the beginning of naptime. At the end of naptime. At the mere mention of naptime or the existence of naps in general.

O is for Other Laws of Physics. I've rarely seen you so mad as when you're trying to stick two of your trains together but the magnets keep repelling each other. (Until I offer to help. Then you're madder.)

P is for Pants, which you react to as if they're lined with fire ants.

Q is for the Quarter I took out of your mouth. The brown banana would be a better choice for an afternoon snack than this nickel-plated Norovirus buffet you found in the mall parking lot, but I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree.

R is for this Random Piece of Plastic. You're utterly hysterical right now, and it's either because I took it away or because Viking warriors just razed your entire village to the ground. Hard to say which.

S is for Shadow. It silently follows you around no matter what you do, and you know what? That actually is a little creepy. I'm with you on this one.

T is for the Toilet Bowl Brush I have to pry out of your chubby hands every time I leave the bathroom door unlocked. WHY IS THIS YOUR FAVORITE TOY??

U is for preventing you from Unwrapping Every Single Tampon in the box. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to want anything as badly as you wanted to waste $6.99 worth of Tampax for no good reason.

V is for the time I tried to sneak Vegetables into your macaroni and cheese. I crossed a line by not respecting your reverse-Atkins diet, and I'm sorry.

W is for getting the Wrong-Colored Cup. How do you decide which colors you love and hate each day? Maybe it's random. Maybe you're consulting secret astrological charts tucked under your crib mattress. All I know is, every time I open the cupboard I feel like I'm playing a toddler version of Russian roulette.

X is for your X-istential Crisis over a bowl of yogurt this morning. I still have no idea what was going on.

Y is for Yelling when I caught you digging in the garbage can. Again, is it just me who's having a hard time seeing what can possibly be so disgusting about a brown spot on a banana if you're literally upset that I won't let you eat compost?

Z is for Zero Mini Muffins left. There was denial. There was anger. There was bargaining and depression. Then anger again. And finally acceptance. Which was followed by more anger. Basically, you were just really mad that someone (you) had eaten the last muffin. I guess life is hard when you're two.

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Friday, March 1, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Phillip's Superhuman Immune System, Impressing the Pediatrician, and Unusual Places to Find the Likeness of Charles Darwin

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


You know how the 2-year-old started throwing up at the end of our little mini-vacation last week? We'd hoped it was just a fluke, but in reality the party was just getting started.

On Friday night, FIVE other family members started throwing up at the same time. It was, I think, a preview of the Apocalypse.

Someone was bent over the toilet every 15 minutes, and at least twice I saw someone making a mad dash for a second bathroom because the closest one was already occupied by someone who was actively vomiting inside.

It hit some harder than others, but I got it the worst. It was positively the sickest I've ever been.

For 31 hours, I only left the bed to throw up (and most of the time, I just used a bowl and then lay there moaning until someone took it away.) Almost a full 24 hours went by before I could even keep down water. It was so violent, my stomach muscles hurt for two days afterward.

Phillip maintained a calm appearance the whole time he was taking care of me, but afterward he confided that he was a little worried and may or may not have Googled "how long does it take to die of the flu?"


Curiously, even though he was the one cleaning up after everyone else all weekend and the 2-year-old personally threw up on him twice, Phillip never got sick.

I think he's a cyborg.

Since I'm the one home full-time, I generally do most of the cleaning, but I discovered that Phillip can disinfect a house like no one's business when he's the last man standing and you put the fear of the stomach flu in him.

The bathrooms were cleaner than I've ever seen them, sparkling like they were in an Ikea showroom. Even my mom (who was visiting and unfortunately came down with the stomach bug, too) commented on it.


The worst of the illness seemed to pass in about 24 hours, but most of us still felt really worn out and exhausted for a couple more days. I still do, actually.

And maybe I'm just noticing it more because I'm tired and cranky, but people have been unusually chatty lately.

I can hardly run an errand without someone behind me in line commenting on my purchase, or the lady parking next to me in the lot commenting on my car, or assorted people I don't know at the transfer station making chit-chat while I drop off the recycling.

Ironically, I usually like making small talk with random strangers, but right now I'm too grumpy and would prefer to be left alone.

My only exception is for the cashier I met at the grocery store, who kept saying every little thing that popped into her mind and is kind of my favorite person now. After a few minutes of stream-of-consciousness style rambling while ringing up my groceries, she said "My eyelashes are sticking together... it feels weird but also kind of cool."

At the very least, she made me smile.


On Monday there was a wind advisory all day. It was poor timing because I'd been screening this YA novel for my daughter about this family hunkered down in an end-of-the-world situation, trying to survive natural disasters and the collapse of society.

The people in the book were huddled inside trying not to freeze to death while they ran out of food and water; outside in the real world 50 MPH winds were whistling through the yard and every now and then there would be a loud thunk as a big branch landed on our roof or hit the side of the house.

It was sort of surreal.

Then we lost electricity and I kept having to remind myself that we probably weren't going to be so desperate we'd be trying to eat our own shoe leather by the end of this thing, and the lights would be back on by bedtime.

They were.


My pediatrician has a long list of questions about health that she always asks the kids when we come in for check-ups: Are you wearing your seat belt in the car? Getting enough sleep at night? Pooping every day?

When she asked my 5-year-old if he ate a variety of foods including fruits and vegetables, he made me look really good by exclaiming "We had broccoli for lunch!"

That is, until the 2-year-old ruined it by yelling, "And donuts!"

(The donuts were how I got them to eat the broccoli, FYI.)


My 5-year-old was asking why we eat, so I was explaining how food is fuel for our bodies, kind of like how gas gives energy to a car. "When we eat food," I said, "it helps us grow."

"Yeah," he nodded sagely. "Because first you're a baby and then you're a preschooler and then a schooler and then you go to college and then you're a mom or dad and then you die."

Which just about sums it up, I think.


Because I need one last take and also because I have no photos to share (blame Take #1 for both of those,) here's a picture of a Charles Darwin fridge magnet/finger puppet I saw at the mall last week:

Stocking stuffer alert! Educational and fun!

To those of you who had no idea such a product existed, you're welcome.

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Friday, February 22, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Buying Food for Burglars, Unconventional Furniture Placements, and Causing a Scene on Vacation Despite Our Best Intentions

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


I hope you all had a nice Presidents' Day! 

Here are two commemorative drawings of Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, courtesy of my 1st grader:

Laugh until you cry at the chaos and antics of our family of 8, every week on 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt
Happy Presidents' Day!

She said she copied them from example pictures in class, but I'm unclear on whether the example pictures were equally hilarious-looking.

You have to be delicate when asking those kinds of questions about subjects like young child art. You never want to assume the goofiness is intentional.


I went to the grocery store and as I got my 5-year-old out of the car, he asked me earnestly, "Are we buying food for burglars?"

At the time I just told him matter-of-factly that no, we were not. It didn't even occur to me that it was a weird question until later on, which proves that motherhood indeed changes you.

I also told my 2-year-old the other day to "get that lettuce our from under your feet" and didn't think anything of it until my mother started laughing, so the transition is pretty much complete.


My mom is here visiting and having a great time with the kids. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but since our basement ping pong table has gone the way of every single ping pong table in history and become a completely unusable dumping ground for our stuff, they brought the ping pong paddles and balls upstairs and started playing on the dining room table.

Unconventional? Yes.

Regulation size? Not likely.

But I think it's brilliant because now the table is always clean.

If you, too, struggle with a table perpetually covered in crumbs, spilled milk, and dishes no one in the house admits to having used, I suggest encouraging your kids to use the table as a sport court and then they will actually clean it up.

 I've tried everything else, people. This is what works.


This week we had to move everything out of the kitchen and dining room in preparation to refinish the floors in there, and our house is a complete disaster right now.

Our living room currently contains an entire kitchen and dining room's worth of stuff, including an oven and a set of 8 dining chairs. There isn't much room to move around, but plenty of seating.

As we moved the refrigerator next to the computer desk, I had an epiphany: I'll never have to get up from blogging again! Everything I need to stay alive is now within arm's reach! Why didn't I think of this before?? And is there any way we can keep that arrangement once we move all the furniture back?


After moving out all the furniture, we went on a mini-vacation since the floor refinishing process takes several days.

I could tell it was going to go well when the same kid had to do an emergency change of pants and underwear twice at the same IHOP 30 minutes into our trip.

We made it to the hotel okay, minus a few pairs of pants, but we were quite a spectacle there. A group of nine people in two adjoining rooms is a spectacle all on its own, but on the second day one child decided to kick it up a notch and throw up all over the bed (and Phillip.)

We were scrambling to get everything and everyone cleaned up because we had non-refundable 5:00 tickets to go see an ice castle. Even worse, it was right before the hotel cleaning staff was supposed to go home for the day, so four employees were literally waiting for us in the hallway as we were doing our Home Alone rushing-out-the-door routine, probably thinking about how the last thing they wanted to do at the end of a long shift was clean up someone else's kid's smelly vomit.

You'd better believe they got a big tip.


When we weren't causing a scene, we took a winter hike through a sculpture garden, saw an ice castle, went sledding (little kids) and snowshoeing (older kids,) and visited a science museum.

We saw many interesting sculptures at the sculpture garden, including this one where nobody could agree on what the subjects were: anteaters? bears? armadillos?

Laugh until you cry at the chaos and antics of our family of 8, every week on 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt
The placard with the name of this sculpture was no help, either. It said the name of the piece was "Animals."

Some of us were less-than-impressed with the ice castle, especially Phillip who got thrown up on a second time in the gift shop, but I thought it was awesome. I really loved it.

Laugh until you cry at the chaos and antics of our family of 8, every week on 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt

Laugh until you cry at the chaos and antics of our family of 8, every week on 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt
The view looking up, a.k.a the reason we had to sign a waiver before going in.

I had to pull my 5-year-old off the ice slide, he was having so much fun. And honestly, I was having so much fun watching him I was in no hurry to go.

We also stopped in at the mall to kill some time and have lunch. My mom and I took the oldest pants shopping, the little kids played at the playplace, and Phillip gave the middle two kids my phone and some photo challenges.

He thought it would keep them busy for a while when he told them to find "clothes with puppies," but when they came back almost immediately he knew he was in trouble.

Laugh until you cry at the chaos and antics of our family of 8, every week on 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt

I thought his last photo challenge, to "find mom," was genius because he was ready to go but had no idea which store we were at, and this way he didn't even have to come find me himself.

Laugh until you cry at the chaos and antics of our family of 8, every week on 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt
They found me in J.C. Penney.


The last observation I want to share is that when you're sitting at IHOP filling out the MadLib on the placemat as you wait for your breakfast, if you ask your 7-year-old for the name of "a place," the answer is 95% likely to be "the toilet shop."

Laugh until you cry at the chaos and antics of our family of 8, every week on 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt

Just so you know.

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