Friday, February 26, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Horse Pills, How to Answer a "Would You Rather" Question, and Why the 1990s Was Clearly the Superior Decade

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

1


Recently, my church (not my local congregation, but the worldwide organization) did a broadcast for the Primary children ages 3-11 and it was so cute. They'd never done one before and I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

When I first told our three Primary-aged kids we were going to watch it, the youngest two started rolling on the floor moaning "Noooo, we don't waaaaaant tooooooo!" and the third just narrowed her eyes and asked, "How long is it?"

The answers to their concerns were "tough rocks" and "I don't know." But luckily, it was fun (more like Sesame Street without puppets than just adults talking at them like the kids feared) and 45 minutes was the perfect length. 


If you don't have time to watch all of it, I suggest looking at the rock art segment at 28:00. Once the snow melts, we're definitely doing this for a Family Home Evening activity.

2


A few months ago, my rheumatologist put me on a new medicine in an effort to get my discoid lupus under control. They are the most gigantic horse pills I've ever seen.

We gradually phased them in: first I took one a day, then one in the morning and one at night, then two every morning and every night. I didn't realize that wasn't the maximum dosage, though, and when the lesion on my face had improved but hadn't gone away he upped the dose to SIX PILLS A DAY.

"I'm going to write you a 3-month prescription," he told me. "So it's going to be...540 pills."

I'm going to need a bigger medicine cabinet.

3


Today's trick question is brought to you by my 4-year-old:

4yo: Would you rather have zero heads or 100 heads?

Me: Hmm, I don't know. I really wouldn't like not having a head, so I guess 100 heads.

4yo: I would choose one head. [walks away]

4


At the grocery store where my 14-year-old is a cashier, they put bright orange stickers on unbagged items to show that they've been paid for. 

Apparently those stickers are a perfect form factor for doodling The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda.

Welcome, shoppers. This is the way.

I'm going through her lane next time. I want to go home with one of these on my milk.

5


This week I went a little ballistic about chores, namely the kids not doing them. So we dedicated Family Home Evening to talking about it.

We tried to make it fun. First we moved the furniture and had Phillip lie down on the floor in the living room. One at a time, each of the kids tried to pick him up. When they couldn't, we all worked together and (just barely) lifted him off the ground. The point being that we all need to work together or the house is going to turn into a landfill.

Then over ice cream, I brought out a list of things that are driving me crazy around the house (library books everywhere! chores not done! laundry that sits in the dryer creating a traffic jam for 3 days until its owner finally remembers it!) and we came up with some possible solutions to each problem.

To borrow a term from Seinfeld, I think we'll do this once a year and call it "The Airing of the Grievances." 

6


Speaking of TV references my kids are too young to understand, the other day I said to my teenager "How you doin'?" like Joey from Friends


I do this all the time, by the way. I must have said this to her 500 times before, but this time I asked "Do you know what that's from?"

She shook her head.

It's just so weird! Me and literally everyone on the planet over the age of 30 knows where that comes from and she has no clue. Teenagers are like aliens.

On the other hand, we just watched Jurassic Park with the older three kids so at least they know now why Phillip says "Hold on to your butts" whenever we're about to do something. 

We're trying to save the children, one 1990s pop culture reference at a time.

7

Thanks to this brilliant article, we totally changed how we do piano practice for our younger kids. 

We used to require them to practice for a certain number of minutes (during which time they'd whine, complain, and wander away from the piano as much as possible.) 

It's only been a week, but so far I no longer have to nag them to stop getting distracted during practice time and (just between you and me) sometimes they even practice LONGER than the number of minutes we used to require.

Here's our new magical routine, posted by the piano.

This isn't a sponsored post or anything, but if you've got beginning piano students who are having trouble committing the notes to memory, I really like the Note Rush app. I never pay for apps, but I did part with $4.99 for this one because it's so good. Session Town is free, but since it's on a computer screen it has its limitations.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

My Birth Plan Is to Have a Hollywood Labor

As the mother of 6, I know my way around a maternity ward. But can you believe I've never written a formal birth plan?

Since even the easiest labor includes moments that feel like being disemboweled by a grizzly, I really like the idea of being able to custom design my birth experience. 

So I've put a lot of thought into it, and I've decided that next time I'd like a Hollywood labor. You know, the kind you see depicted in movies and TV. 

Please see the rough draft of my birth plan below; I welcome your feedback!


—    —    —      

LABOR


I want a labor with a clear, unmistakable beginning like the ones on TV. I never see those women pacing the hallways timing contractions or Googling "labor vs. gas" late at night. They just know.

The onset of Hollywood labor is usually your water breaking in a public place (well-timed for comedic value,) and that sounds fantastic. Much better than how it happens in real life, which is waking up in a puddle that's slightly ambiguous and arguing with your partner at 2 AM over whether the sheets smell like amniotic fluid or pee.

Once in labor, I want things to get moving quickly. Pregnant women on TV go right from first contraction to crowning in the backseat of a speeding taxicab, which looks intense but it's probably still better than laboring at 4 cm for twelve hours with nothing to eat but ice chips.

DELIVERY


The pushing phase of labor should consist of precisely one emphatic push. Two would be okay, but that's getting excessive by Hollywood standards. At any rate, if it could feel less neverending than a presidential election cycle, that would be great.

A word about my appearance during delivery. I realize this isn't a beauty pageant, but I'd like to request:
  • Absence of random birth fluids everywhere
  • Light mist of perspiration across my brow instead of sweat plastering hair to my forehead so hard I look like a drowning Chihuahua
  • Gown that stays modestly in place over my knees the entire time, instead of ending up bunched around my shoulders giving an eyeful to every nurse, resident, and janitor who happens to wander into the room
On a purely aesthetic note, I want to have a Hollywood doctor come in to deliver the baby wearing a neat white coat. The ones I get in real life are always suited up with a rain poncho and plexiglass face shield like they've got front-row tickets to a show at Sea World. Which maybe this kind of is.

POST-BIRTH


Preferably, the baby should come out looking just like a Hollywood newborn. S/he should be a healthy pink color and bear a strong resemblance to a cherubic 2-month old. The baby should not look:
  • Purple
  • Wrinkly
  • Bloody
  • Cone headed
  • Puffy-faced
  • Like Gollum covered in Mod Podge
Immediately after my Hollywood birth I'll be swathed in the radiant glow of a Friends character, rather than too exhausted to sit up and looking like I've been run over by a dump truck. 

The delivery should end with the birth of the baby; it definitely should not be followed by afterbirth, stitches, or a uterine "massage" from the most sadistic nurse in the maternity ward that feels like being pounded into schnitzel.

POSTPARTUM


Lastly, I'd like to request to "bounce back" like they do after birth on TV. Ideally, I'd leave the hospital looking like a well-rested fitness influencer on Instagram, rather than waddling out in a maxi pad the size of a twin mattress looking almost as pregnant as when I went in.

        —      

I'm not completely finished editing my birth plan, but I'm pretty sure I'm on the right track. After all, out of all the movie and TV women I've seen have babies, not a single one of them has accidentally defecated on the delivery room table. Here's to Hollywood!

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Friday, February 19, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Hot Dates, Making Calculus a Little More Challenging, and the Grocery Store Bus

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

1


My dad sent me this COVID meme and I couldn't relate more:


'Normal' is just a setting on the washing machine, folks.

2


Phillip and I had a belated Valentine's Day date. We went to Kohl's, dropped off some Amazon returns, looked at a jacket we didn't buy... it was wild.

No really, we did have fun. We also talked over take-out and some interesting flavored sodas we picked up at a specialty grocery store. And I want to tell you about the fanciness level of this specialty grocery store. 

First of all, the only thing it sold was kombucha. We passed at least three coolers full of it scattered throughout the store and had to look really hard to find anything else (not counting the entryway display of bottled organic tangerine juice on a bed of ice and lettuce leaves.) 

Second of all, there was a room off to the side called the "fine wine room." I realize some grocery stores do have a separate alcohol section, but the fact that it was more tastefully decorated than the nicest house I've ever been in (there may have been actual framed artwork on the walls) made me laugh.

We just did not belong there at all. We finally found something that wasn't kombucha, paid for it, then hightailed it back to our minivan and tried not to hit all the Lexuses in the parking lot on our way out.

3


My 16-year-old is taking a calculus class through concurrent enrollment at a university. I'm pretty impressed, because there's no way I could pass this class. Especially when her quizzes look like this:


Apparently the question didn't load right and when she refreshed the page it gave her actual numbers instead of an error message, which made the question slightly easier to answer.

4


My latest baking fail was a doomed loaf of banana bread that my kids called "the banana brick." 

Apparently there was a baking soda malfunction (I maintain that the child I was making it with forgot to put any in, but let's not point fingers here) so the loaf ended up about 2 inches tall and the approximate density of a neutron star.

The most surprising thing was that it actually all got eaten. Although much more slowly than a normal loaf of banana bread would ever last in this house.

5


Do you remember SparkNotes, the summarize-a-book cheat site we might have been known to visit when we were writing high school essays? 

Well, now that I'm the one grading my homeschooled high schooler's essays, I'm back again (well-played, karma) and I noticed a new addition: the delightful fun articles on the side. Except they aren't about celebrities and things I don't care about: they're about books! I could probably waste a lot of time here. 

I recommend you start with "11 Quotes That Sum Up the Entire Book," and see where the rabbit hole takes you from there.

6


My teenagers work at two different grocery stores, and lately they've both been scheduled to work 3 PM shifts on five out of the seven days of the week. 

We worked out a system where they'd put on their respective uniforms and pile in the van, and then I'd drive around like a bus dropping off grocery store employees. (They rotated which one arrived early and which one arrived on time each day.)

I feel like I should now add "bus driver" to my already impressive resume.

7


I've taken kids to a total of 4 dentist appointments this week, and I really struggle with making decisions about their dental care. Especially when you go in for a cleaning and they tell you there's a cavity in one of the teeth, even though it isn't bothering the child at all.

I rarely have this problem at the pediatrician's office. In fact, I can count on zero fingers the number of times I've taken a child in for his yearly check-up and found out he had a broken arm.

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Friday, February 12, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Pointless Visits to the Doctor, Strawberry Gardens, and Having Your Own Personal Force Field

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

1


My peanut-allergic 4-year-old had some promising bloodwork done. He's already outgrown allergies to walnuts and pecans, and his older sister outgrew a peanut allergy before him, so I was really hopeful when we went to his allergist for a food challenge this week.

He failed miserably.

We didn't even get around to putting it in his mouth. The first step was putting a dab of peanut butter on his skin, and he got a big old hive just from that so we called it off. Kind of a waste of a 40-minute drive to the office if you ask me.

On the plus side, we picked up the water bottle we'd left in the exam room at our last visit in December, which I was shocked they still even had. I assumed with all the extra COVID precautions they'd immediately removed it from the building after we left and blew it up in a field.

2


Overall, homeschooling the 16-year-old is going well. I've confirmed my suspicions that homeschooling, like every schooling system, has both pros and cons. 

Honestly, I don't think it would work for a majority of my kids in most circumstances. But my 16-year-old has an oddly specific set of needs, and COVID has created a whole series of weird circumstances that made homeschooling the right choice for her at this particular time. 

This is kind of an oversimplification, but here's how it works for us: she does all the hard work, and I get to enjoy French pastries every other Friday. 

As part of her French class, she takes an online lesson from a French chef at Masterclass twice a month and holy cow. Look at this fruit tart:

Prettier than anything I've ever made and I'm 38 years old.

I mean, the resulting fruit tart was delicious. but check out the presentation! My 6-year-old took one look at it and squealed with delight, "It looks like a strawberry garden!"

3


This week was a big week for our family because, in the words of my 12-year-old, "Dad was yeeted out of the bishopric."

For those of you who aren't familiar with the way Latter-day Saints talk, "bishopric" means the head of the congregation, sort of like a pastor and a few co-pastors. For those of you who aren't familiar with the way teenagers talk, "yeet" means "to forcefully throw something out."

Don't worry, it wasn't a horrible skeleton in Phillip's closet that caused him to get fired. In our church, it's just a normal cycle that happens every few years. All the roles in our congregations are filled by volunteers on a rotating basis, even the administrative and pastoral ones. 

As with any calling, Phillip learned a lot in the bishopric, but neither of us are sad that his plate has a little less on it now. 

4


On the other hand, I'm still as active as ever in Young Women's, where I help lead the youth organization for the teenage girls. (For a look at some of the other jobs/not jobs I've done at church, see this post.)

You know how I'm always trying to multitask, and this week my church job gave me the perfect opportunity. 

I needed to drop off some materials for an upcoming youth activity at several different houses, and I could've been upset when a snowstorm derailed my plans. But instead, I seized the opportunity to teach my teenager winter driving.

So she drove me around in a snowstorm to make all the deliveries, which was mostly nice with only a little bit of terrified internal screaming.

5


For the kids' Valentines Day parties at school, the teacher isn't allowed to give out food but she did say they could bring in a special treat for themselves. 

I planned to sneak these heart-shaped snack cakes into their lunch boxes, but then the school ended up switching to a virtual learning day because of the weather so I handed them out at home.


We don't have a lot of processed or pre-packaged food, so I assumed this was really going to be a special treat for the kids. I wasn't anticipating my 9-year-old unwrapping hers and saying, "This smells like Benadryl."

6


Epic family Nerf gun battles used to be a regular thing in our house. But eventually I got tired of finding the darts everywhere, the kids argued too much over who got which gun, and the novelty wore off so we put them up in the attic.

That was about six months ago and we decided to bring them back out this week. It was like Christmas morning with guerilla warfare.

One more thing: it's an unspoken agreement in our house that Phillip and the kids can play all they want, but I don't ever join and the cardinal rule of Nerf gun warfare is that no one ever, ever shoots Mom.

As a result, I feel like a superhero because while they're sneaking around like ninjas and rolling behind couches to avoid being shot, I can freely walk around the house and the sea of bullets simply parts as I go past. I don't have to be scared of snipers, the snipers are scared of me

I tell you, it's a real power trip.

7

I was searching through our photo library, looking at old family pictures, when the 9-year-old asked what I was doing.

"I'm looking for pictures of messes you guys have made."

She looked at me like I was an idiot and said, "Why don't you just walk around the house and take some?"

So even the children themselves know that they're pigs. Interesting.

I was looking for photos of household disasters because I was writing a blog post on the subject and I wanted to include some of my kids' more  ahem  memorable ones. I just regret not snapping a photo of the time I tore apart one of the bedrooms looking for the source of a smell and discovered a stash of soiled Pullups in the closet stuffed behind some shelving.

On second thought, I don't regret not having a picture of that. That was disgusting.

When you get a moment, head over and read the finished product: "A Gallery Exhibition of Artwork by My Children." And leave a comment about the biggest mess your kids ever made!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

A Gallery Exhibition of Artwork by My Children

Welcome to FOUND ART! 

Found Art is a virtual exhibition highlighting work from six accomplished artists, ages 2 through 14, who I happen to have birthed and raised. 

The pieces in this collection employ a variety of materials and styles, but they are all what French-American sculptor and painter Marcel Duchamp called "found art." 

Found art challenges assumptions of what constitutes fine art, and the six artists featured in this exhibition love to do nothing more than challenge. 

As the head curator of this collection, I sincerely hope you enjoy viewing their work.
 

Wall Motif #1 

Wax crayon on drywall

Free-flowing circular lines evoke a feeling of urgency in this monochromatic work. The shades of green represent the regenerative power of art, while the concentric circles hint at the artist's relentless drive to create wherever and whenever the muse strikes.


Upon the Minivan Floor: A Meditation 

Mixed media

Half archaeological dig, half treatise on the chaos of domestic life, Meditation features a long line of child-centric debris that eventually disappears from view into the No Man's Land that is the minivan's third row of seats. Note the artist's deliberate use of multiples  jackets, water bottles, baby dolls  to highlight the excesses of modern childhood.


Across a Driveway 

Plastic on asphalt

The glee evoked by the vibrant reds and cool blues of the ride-on toys in this colorful panorama is offset by the unnatural stillness of the scene. A dramatic shadow hovers over half of the abandoned toys, symbolizing the yin and yang of existence and calling into question exactly who is going to drag them all back into the garage. 


Digital Art 2.0

Graphite on computer monitor

People have been creating computer generated art for decades, but what if you just drew directly on the monitor instead? This piece is a conversation about reimagining digital art as we know it  and as suggested by the visual imbalance of negative space in the top left corner, the dialogue remains unfinished.


Sunday Morning Breakfast 

2% milk on wood veneer table, upholstery, and hardwood

The artist has obviously served himself breakfast without assistance, as indicated by the Rorschach-like patterns created by the blobs of pasteurized milk dripping from the table and chair in the foreground. Thoughtful and enigmatic, this psychological work reminds viewers with children why they should never, ever sit down without looking first.


Discarded Clothing 

Poly-cotton blend, faux leather on floor

Liminal space represents an area of physical or metaphorical transition from one place to another. With iconic efficiency, the artist recreates the essence of liminal space by leaving 100% of her dirty clothing on the floor in a way that almost resembles a living body. One practically expects it to get up and walk to the dirty hamper of its own accord, but it never does.


Afternoon Snack 

Stick of butter in wax paper

It remains somewhat ambiguous whether the artist has (1) inexplicably started buttering toast from the middle of the stick, or (2) simply grabbed it with both hands and started devouring it like a salted ear of corn on the cob. Either way, undertones of anarchy are woven into this gritty visual narrative that breaks down some of our most basic social norms.


Home From School 

Backpacks, shoes, and coats in mudroom

This vignette of after-school pandemonium shows bookbags and outerwear flung haphazardly throughout the communal space nearest to the door. Upon closer examination, we can discern that each object was dropped precisely where the artist removed it from his/her person; absolutely no attempt was made to put anything away in its designated place.


A Kitchen Helper

Unbleached all-purpose flour on everything

With humor and whimsy, this piece analyzes the true cost of baking with children. Its composition leads the viewer's gaze from the broad flour strokes on the counter to the abstract splatter on the trash can, then down to the spectral handprints which suggest that our artist is at this very moment running through the house covered in flour.


The Changing of the Roll  

Charmin with repurposed toilet paper roll holder

Part of a recurring installation in our bathroom, this work pushes the boundaries between innovative genius and lazy slob. What really qualifies as changing the toilet paper, anyway? The nonsensical scene is reminiscent of surrealism, a 20th century artistic movement featuring the irrational juxtaposition of images such as this stupid toilet paper shelf we seem to have now.


A Bookshelf 

Bound paper (hardback and paperback)

In this bird's eye depiction of toddler life, the focal point is the empty second shelf that has been unburdened of all its books. After removing each volume at eye level and thrusting it aggressively to the floor, the artist has arranged it in the format of a seemingly random collage. 


Reflections 

Broken glass on tile

Reflections is an allegorical piece that discusses the existence of transcendental beauty in a broken world. Using reflected light and fragmented lines as a commentary on love and loss, this evocative work is the reason I still wear shoes whenever I walk around in this room.


Empty Cream Cheese Wrapper 

Tin foil in refrigerator

With photographic realism, this piece captures the rage-inducing moment yet another empty container is discovered in the refrigerator. It's simultaneously infuriating and perplexing: why would the artist bother walking across the kitchen to return the foil to the refrigerator instead of throwing it away? WHY?

—   —   —   

For more information on the exhibition, its curator, or its contributing artists, please visit www.UnremarkableFiles.com or follow Unremarkable Files on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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Friday, February 5, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Treatments for Pandemic Fatigue, Encouraging Notes from My Children, and What to Say When You Can't Remember the Word "Migration"

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

1


Life must be confusing when you're little. The other day I asked the 4- and 6-year-olds what they wanted for lunch who of course said different things.

"Hmm... I'm not making two things so let's get a third opinion," I said. "We'll ask your sister which one she wants and make whatever has the most votes."

I was halfway finished making lunch when the 4-year-old, who'd been quietly mulling over the situation, asked "What's an opinion?"

2


My 14-year-old was lying on the couch with a cushion on top of her, so I sat on it. I kind of like having kids big and sturdy enough that I can do that without worrying I'll crush them.

I expected her to groan, but she just said (in a muffled voice from somewhere beneath the cushion) "This is nice. It's kind of like a weighted blanket... that is expressly trying to kill you."

I guess I must've been getting heavy, after all.

3


I'm really into classic movies (1940s and 1950s) right now. We just finished His Girl Friday and Singin' in the Rain is sitting on the counter waiting for me.


I think I'm experiencing pandemic fatigue, and this is my version of Hallmark movies. With an old movie, I know what I'm getting into. I know it's going to be heartwarming. I know it's going to have clever dialogue. I know it's going to make me laugh and have a happy ending.

So what should I watch next? Suggestions, anyone?

4


Does your school district still do traditional snow days? Ours does, which I'm really glad for. Virtual school days are so boring for my kids. They already don't get to see their friends or do their normal activities... at least let them play in the snow and be excited about something.

However, I'd be a better mom if I didn't gear up for snow days like some people get ready for their Superbowl parties. I often feel like I should plan Something Super Fun And Amazing, which never looks as good in real life as it does in my head. 

This time, I made some cockamamie scheme that involved precisely timing the packing of the car and getting everyone in snow gear, dropping the 14-year-old off at work, and picking up the 16-year-old's friend on the way to the sledding hill. It required a Herculean level of coordination and I handled it by becoming a stressed-out yelling mess, as evidenced by this note my 9-year-old left me:

I think she meant it to be encouraging, not condescending.

At any rate, we got to the sledding hill and once we were there, everyone ended up having fun. Even me. 

That's the 4-year-old on the blue sled. He was a total beast out there.

5


We were in the yard when some geese flew overhead, honking and heading south for the winter. My 6-year-old looked up and yelled, "Hey, hawks! What're ya doing, hibernating?"

So close and yet... not correct at all, not even a little bit. 

6


Remember how my 9th grader randomly got signed up for Beginning Guitar as a school elective ? 

She wasn't happy about it at first, but by the time Beginning Guitar started this week, she'd decided it would be fun and was ready to give it a try.

Because of the snow day, she wasn't able to pick up her guitar which made for a boring first few days of class. She just sat there on her computer and listened to the teacher explain how to play the chords. 

I suggested that the class should be renamed Beginning Air Guitar.

Now that my daughter's got her guitar, she's enjoying it and I have to say, so am I. As someone who encourages her kids to play sports she doesn't mind watching and instruments she doesn't mind listening to, I can whole-heartedly endorse Beginning Guitar.

7


One last thing before I go: I stumbled upon this YouTube video called "If Regular People Had Hype Videos" and it inspired me. Give it a watch, then go out and be awesome today.


Make it epic.

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Friday, January 29, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Storage Options for Bakery Goods, Babies in Movies, and the Discovery of the Century

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

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and buy something, the cost stays the same to you but I receive a small commission for referring you.  

1


The kids have rotating cleaning chores after dinner every night, and one night the 16-year-old was sweeping the dining room when she called "Daaaad... I think there's something you should see in here."

When he came in to check it out, this is what she was pointing at.

Something tells me the kids who've done this chore for the last week haven't been very thorough.

If you aren't sure what you're looking at, it's about 10 buttered English muffins hidden by a child who didn't want to eat them. And we know exactly who, because our 6-year-old hates eating. 

I was actually surprised by how readily he's been accepting English muffins for breakfast lately. Now I know why.

Have you ever tried to discipline a kid for something hilarious? It's not easy. Phillip was trying so hard to stay serious while asking the 6-year-old, "Do you know why it's not a good idea to stuff English muffins between the bookshelf and the cabinet?" 

It's just one of those moments in parenting where if you break character and look at the situation from the outside, you simply cannot get the words out with a straight face. All you can think is Am I really saying this out loud?

2


My pet peeve (and it isn't really a pet peeve, because I actually love pointing it out to anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby) is Hollywood's unrealistic depictions of labor and childbirth.

Typically, the mom-to-be is completely fine one moment and then doubles over in the most excruciating pain of her life the next. If her water breaks, it's one discrete event instead of a continuous peeing of the pants until the baby is born  and speaking of the baby, it always arrives having somehow aged two months already.

But according to this video, there's actually a reason for that. Well, at least there's a reason for older babies playing newborns. There's no excuse for the other stuff.


3


My kids are doing some standardized testing for school, but they're doing it remotely. The principal sent out an email explaining how it's going to go down and where the kids should log in to take the test. If a student doesn't need the entire time allotted for the test, the email said, don't worry because their teachers have independent work they can do until the testing period is over.

I was reading the email out loud to my 12-year-old son and paused there to explain "So if you finish early, you can"

"Pretend you didn't?"

So I told him:


4


I've been tired lately. Phillip thinks it's the new medicine my rheumatologist prescribed for my lupus, but I'm not sure. It might just be that I'm closing up on 40.

That's the tricky thing about getting older. The side effects of being alive after a certain point pretty well mirror the side effects on the back of most medication bottles.

But yes, tell me more about how my stiff joints and poor memory are my medication's fault.

5


My 4-year-old requested oatmeal for breakfast,
and when I brought it to him at the table, he let out an exaggerated sigh and groaned, "FINALLY."

To be fair, I was doing several things at once and it did take longer than normal for me to get his oatmeal ready, but it that wasn't exactly polite so I told him, "I think what you meant to say is 'thank you.' That's what you meant to say, right?"

He thought for a moment and answered, "I meant to say both."

6


My kids usually sled in our slightly hilly yard, but when it snowed this week I decided to take them to a disused ski hill recommended to me by a friend. It was the biggest hill my younger kids had ever been on and it blew their little minds.

We brought the new sleds we got for Christmas, including two in the classic wooden style. One is a long toboggan (with the front that curls up and over) and the other is the kind on runners, like Rosebud in Citizen Kane.

As we unloaded the car, we were the talk of the sledding hill. People were literally elbowing each other and talking about us in low voices as we went by, and it was kind of weird when the topic wasn't how many children there were trailing behind me for once.

7


Brace yourselves for some exciting news. I saved this one for last so you can go check it out directly from reading this post.

We've tried every non-slip and non-skid furniture product on the market to keep them from sliding across the floor when our kids barrel into them with wild abandon, but they may as well be on casters. Nothing works.

I even asked for advice on the blog's Facebook page, and short of bolting the furniture to the floor or selling the kids on Etsy, I came up with nothing.

BUT WE FOUND SOMETHING THAT WORKS. It's amazing. I knew it within the first few days, but I wanted to wait a full month before saying anything to see if it lasted. 

Dycem non-slip material comes in a roll, which Phillip cut into squares, wrapped around the legs, and attached with a staplegun. Our couches haven't moved a millimeter since, even though our kids are as bonkers as ever.


You're welcome for changing your life.

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