Friday, May 17, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Super-Authentic Jewelry, Possessing Catlike Reflexes, and Fine Dining on Mother's Day

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

1


You know that scene from I Love Lucy where she’s trying to keep up with the bon bons on the assembly line but it keeps going faster and faster until she panics and randomly starts stuffing chocolates in her mouth, hat, and bra? 

The entire month of May is like that. 

The squares on the calendar are not big enough for all the activities. This past Saturday we collectively had two soccer games, a birthday party, two church activities, two music rehearsals, a shift at work, and a bat mitzvah.

It gets worse when Phillip goes out of town, so the night he was gone for a short work trip I had to get creative. I was helping my 13-year-old practice a duet at the church, but had to skip out for a few minutes to (1) go home and pick up my older daughter and her friend, (2) drive them to play practice, (3) pick up my son at soccer practice, and (4) come back to the church.

It would've worked, too, if I hadn't come home to see the three younger kids in the yard ROLLING AROUND IN POISON IVY. After stripping them down and giving them the fastest head-to-toe scrubdown you've ever seen, everyone was late to practice and my 13-year-old thought she'd have to live the rest of her life at the church after being abandoned by her mother.

So, yeah. May has been like that. See this article if you can relate.

2


My daughter's best friend turned 13 and invited us to her bat mitzvah. Because of our crazy schedule I had to arrive at the service late and slip out early, leaving my daughter to attend the party afterward with her friends, but I loved the portion I did get to attend.

I'm so used to feeling God's presence during my own regular patterns of worship in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but there's also something very magical about witnessing an unfamiliar religious tradition.

Obviously, you don't understand everything that's going on, but you also don't take any of the details for granted. It gives you the chance to experience God from another angle, and come away with an understanding of and reverence for Him that is somehow more 3-dimensional than it was before.

Though I'm sure I stick out like a sore thumb, I love being able to observe other people's religious worship as respectfully as I can.

As a bat mitvah gift for her friend, my daughter picked out these earrings on Etsy:

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily
The writing inside is "chai," the Hebrew word for "life," which I only know how to pronounce from Fiddler on the Roof.

We ordered the earrings almost a month beforehand and when we realized last week they hadn't arrived yet, I contacted the seller.

Turns out we'd neglected to notice that the Etsy store was called "Holy Land Jewelry" and we'd ordered the earrings FROM JERUSALEM.

Luckily, the good old Israel Post got them to the USPS who got them to us with a few days to spare.

3


Even thought she had fun at the party after the bat mitvah, my daughter is an introvert so it really wore her out.

As much as she wanted to go home and/or lock herself in a sensory deprivation tank afterward, we had to go straight from the party to a talent show at our church.

This picture of my daughter about sums up her energy level at that point:

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily
She's somewhere under the grey coat.

Luckily she revived, at least enough to play her violin in the show.

4


At preschool several weeks ago, they did an interview with each of the kids using a fill-in-the-blank "About Me" worksheet. We weren't there that day (no good reason, I just totally spaced on what day of the week it was) so they sent home a blank one in case we wanted it.

I figured we could fill it out and it would make a cute keepsake, kind of a written snapshot of my 5-year-old at this moment in time, and since we had all the time we wanted I'd have him write it out doing just a few lines a day.

The results were hilarious.

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily

I love that he completed the prompt "I always say ________" with the words "random things."

Other favorites include:

  • "I am curious and full of wonder. I like to ask questions. I always wonder what jellybeans are made of" (I had no idea this was the #1 pressing concern in his life!) 
  • "Many people love me. I am loved by Jesus. My mom is always washing the dishes and she always says 'Go to bed.' My dad is always at work every day and he always says 'Time to do scriptures.'
I tried to be offended at the 'always washing dishes' part, but seeing as I had literally just finished washing yet another load of dishes before helping him write this, he has a point.


5


We've survived 15 years and 6 children by stealing smart ideas from other parents whenever we can, and one such idea that I came upon early in our marriage was designating a floor-level cabinet in the kitchen for "kid dishes."

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily

All the plastic plates, cups, and bowls are located within easy reach of the youngest members of the family, so it's handy for them to get stuff out and handy for them to (theoretically) put it away after being washed.

Of course, when you ask your 3-year-old to unload the dishwasher it means your "kid dishes" cabinet actually ends up looking like this.

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily
Still better than nothing.

What other smart kid tricks do I need to know? I've got over a decade left at this so it's not like I can't still use them.

6


So I dropped my phone in the toilet.

In a miraculous turn of events, the phone appears to be completely fine even though my case isn't waterproof.

I attribute it to the fact that it was only submerged in the water for about 0.3 seconds, because I reflexively plunged my hand into the toilet bowl and snatched it out of there quicker than you'd yank your child from the path of a speeding bus.

Gross? Yes. But it wasn't a conscious decision. It happened so fast I didn't even know I was doing it. And I regret nothing.

7


I almost forgot to tell you about my Mother's Day! It feels like it happened years ago, probably because this time of year the days are so full of things to be late for (see Take #1.)

I started out the morning with a light breakfast in bed provided by Phillip and cards from the kids. Here are pictures of a few of them:

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily
Watercolor and hand lettering from my 15-year-old.

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily
Origami envelope for my 13-year-old's card, who was apparently inspired when last week I showed her some of the folding techniques I used in 1994 to pass notes to my friends in class. We were so rad back then.

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily
Homemade wrapping paper from my 7-year-old's gift.

Notwithstanding cute cards, I have to mention what happened at church.

On Sundays, we have a 1-hour sacrament meeting followed by another hour of Sunday School classes, both for adults and children.

But in honor of Mother's Day, all the women were excused to attend a sit-down brunch in the cultural hall. A few men substituted for me in the nursery so I could attend. There were tables with real tablecloths and at each place there was a form to request an omelette made to order:

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes, the funny Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family. My blog readers say 7 Quick Takes Friday is the highlight of their week! #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #familylife #bigfamily

You know I love church. But being waited on like this (by people who weren't even being paid to wait on me) was above and beyond.

Everyone in our congregation more or less knows each other, so I noticed right away there were two new families visiting with us that particular Sunday. Introducing myself to one of them during brunch, I was really hoping that if they come back next week they're not too disappointed at the lack of free sit-down restaurant afterward. It was kind of a high bar, after all.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Good Reasons Not to Help People, the Shoe Store in Our Home Office, and Why You Shouldn't Let a 3-Year-Old Be Your Hairdresser

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

1


Over the weekend, our town's interfaith council held a "Day of Service." Using recommendations from the Council on Aging, they match up volunteers with elderly people who need help taking care of their yards and we work on them for a few hours.

May is an insane month and I admit I volunteered our family's service very begrudgingly (i.e: lots of hyperbolic exclamations of "We don't have time for this!!") but once we got there I was glad we went. We got a lot done and the elderly woman who owned the house obviously needed the help.

7 Quick Takes is a weekly Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family that will have you laughing all weekend long. Funny observations about life, kids, big families, and 'yeet.' #7quicktakes #7qt #hilarious #funny #unremarkablefiles
Leaves are all bagged up, I'm just begging my children not to break her tree before we leave.

2


Unfortunately, I must have gotten into some poison ivy while we were working in her yard.

When the rash first started cropping up and I put two and two together to realize when I'd been exposed, Phillip shrugged and said, "That's what you get for helping people."

That's why I married him. He encourages me to be my best self.

7 Quick Takes is a weekly Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family that will have you laughing all weekend long. Funny observations about life, kids, big families, and 'yeet.' #7quicktakes #7qt #hilarious #funny #unremarkablefiles
Gross.
Last summer I got a pretty bad poison ivy rash on my leg, and my immune system completely wigged out. I was getting styes under my eyelids, weird little bruises all over my thighs, and my entire body was low-level itchy for a month.

This time it was all less severe because the rash was so much smaller, but still not my favorite thing that happened this week.

On the plus side, if the kids aren't giving me enough personal space all I have to do is wave my ooze-encrusted wrist in their faces and they disappear for a good 20 minutes.

3


In related "poor me" news, I also fell down half a flight of stairs in my house. I was okay, but it hurt. I was also mad because some idiot (me) tripped me down the stairs.

So I sat down on the step where I landed, trying to decide if I wanted to cry or yell, when my 7-year-old came over. She sat down beside me, put her hand on my back, and said in the most empathetic voice, "Are you okay, Mom? I fall down the stairs sometimes and it really hurts."

Maybe next time one of the kids gets injured, I'll skip the standard "If you'd listened to me you'd be fine now" speech and try to react more like my daughter. Motherhood is humbling like that.

4


Each of my kids needs a pair of sandals for the summer and a new pair of church shoes, which adds up to a collective boatload of footwear.

I vowed not to go to a brick-and-mortar shoe store this time, because every time I do it's never fruitful. I decided to buy everything on Amazon with free returns, and of course half of them are too small or too big, so I'm just piling all the rejects in the corner of our office so I can send them back all at once.

I'm getting closer: I think we have about 75% of the shoes we need. And our office is looking more and more like the back room of a Famous Footwear. At this point, our selection is probably better.

5


For show-and-tell at school, my 7-year-old wanted to bring her new ant farm. Since she couldn't really carry it on the bus without shaking it up, I volunteered to bring it to her classroom at show-and-tell time.

That was before I knew how stressful the trip would be. With every bump and pothole I was like "I AM SO SORRY ARE YOU OKAY??" I have never been such a nervous driver, and yes, that includes bringing newborns home from the hospital.

Anyway, we arrived safely at school and I cannot explain how much I loved watching my daughter stand at the front of the room fielding questions about her ant farm like she was holding a press conference.

Being a stay-at-home mom is hard sometimes: it's overstimulation city and you never get a moment to yourself. But most of the time, I love it and feel so fortunate to be able to do things like take her ant farm to school at 10:30 on a Thursday. This really is the best job in the world.

6


At my son's last pack meeting for cub scouts, the kids made "grass heads." They're homemade Chia pets, basically. What a brilliant idea!

7 Quick Takes is a weekly Friday recap of the Unremarkable Files family that will have you laughing all weekend long. Funny observations about life, kids, big families, and 'yeet.' #7quicktakes #7qt #hilarious #funny #unremarkablefiles
I keep thinking this guy looks like Olaf from Frozen.

The "grass" is actually wheat and it grows super-fast, which means that every couple of days we can  take it outside so my 3-year-old can give it a haircut.

(And by "give it a haircut," I mean "scream face-down on the porch because he isn't yet coordinated enough to independently work the scissors.")

7


My teenagers tell me everyone says "yeet" now.

After a long and somewhat pointless conversation, I've gathered that "yeet" is (1) a verb (2) an exclamation (3) a reminder that I've reached the point in life where the television character I most relate to is Grandpa Simpson:


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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Some Great Ideas for Your Homemade Mother's Day Coupon Book

If there's any Mother's Day gift more classic than the homemade book of coupons, I don't know what it is.

Over the years I've been the grateful recipient of many DIY Mother's Day coupon books from my kids, and as much as I love the sweetness of being gifted "unlimited hugs," I can't help but wish they'd also included coupons like these:

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

I know. The thing is lost. It disappeared. It's not anywhere. Just humor me and use your eyeballs for a minute, keeping in mind that it may be necessary to move things around a little while you look. You can do this.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

Wearing snow boots in summer, shorts in the winter, and Halloween costumes in January are a preschooler's M.O., but sometimes it'd be nice to take you on an outing where 12 strangers don't elbow me in the ribs and chuckle, "Looks like someone dressed himself this morning!"

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

If I had a time machine, I would give Young Me a heads-up about how unfazed I'd be one day at the sight of a used, unflushed toilet.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

Mommy is squishy because you leave too many leftovers on your plate for her to clean up, please stop telling the neighbors we're having a baby.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

No meowing, climbing on the furniture, crawling around the floor, lifting up your shirt, headbutting our guests, licking yourself, or jumping off the coffee table. We want these people to like us.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

The people around you already know, they're just being polite. As for the people who don't know, don't spoil it for them.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

This house is not a restaurant, and I'm not soliciting your feedback on the menu. And yes, exaggerated dry heaves at the dinner table count as feedback.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

Please give me the gift of not having to search for a public restroom 5 minutes into our first errand of the day.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

My least favorite time to answer questions about what I'm doing is before sunrise, while I'm still in bed.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

It'd be such a thrill to do a load of laundry that didn't involve detangling what appears to be a bunch of miniature superhero costumes.

I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor

Someday when I'm old and gray, I can't wait to watch all the videos I have of you standing there motionless while I urge you to do whatever you were doing just a second ago. So many memories.

If you're in charge of helping a small child put together a homemade coupon book for Mother's Day this year, don't forget to include these! (I was going to include a coupon good for a solo trip to the bathroom, but let's not get crazy here. Some things are just too unrealistic.)
I’m dying laughing at this funny coupon book for moms! If my kids gave me any of these hilarious coupons for my birthday or Mother’s Day, I would definitely use them. #real #momlife #funny #parentinghumor


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Monday, May 6, 2019

3 Things I Hate Doing With My Kids (and 3 Things I Like)

Full disclosure: I think I'm a pretty good mom. But the longer I've been at this parenting gig and seen different moms in action, the more I realize how different we are.

We all do it so differently, and I've known plenty of women who are very good moms but trying to parent the way they do would drive me insane.

So in the spirit of celebrating our strengths and accepting our weaknesses, and maybe making everyone feel a little less guilty for hating certain kid activities, here are my mom confessions about things I really can't stand doing with my kids.

I Hate Playing Pretend With My Kids


I have yet to meet a 35-year-old woman who loves playing Barbies, so I hope none of you waste any of your time feeling bad about this. No adult likes playing pretend. That's what siblings, neighbor children, and imaginary friends are for.

A few times a year I make a genuine effort to get down on the floor with one of my kids and play pretend, and after 45 second two things are obvious: (1) neither of us is having much fun, and (2) my kid is a tyrannical despot.

I'm not allowed to do anything more or less than what I'm specifically instructed, and if I make a suggestion ("How about the monster goes over here?") it's promptly shut down with an exasperated sigh and an explanation of how I'm doing it wrong. I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT "IT" IS.

I Like Playing Board Games With My Kids


Board games, on the other hand, allow us to play with structure so I'm not just sitting around taking orders and wondering if my watch is broken.

Of course there are a few I won't allow in my house (I'm looking at you, Monopoly and Candy Land) but I'll be glad to play most any other board game, card game, or puzzle my kids want to do. We have fun, and the kids learn about critical thinking and strategy, taking turns, and good sportsmanship.

If this sounds like your thing, I suggest you take a look at this list of best board games for big families. I promise all of them are better than moving around plastic ponies and making them talk.

I Hate Baking With My Kids


From what I can gather from the covers of parenting magazines, "baking together" is the gold standard of parenting. I try making cookies as a parent-child bonding activity every now and then, and only when I'm covered in flour trying to yell over three people who are yelling about who gets to lick the spoon do I remember: I've never once enjoyed baking with my kids.

I'm not a helicopter parent, but baking together turns me into a military-grade assault chopper. Kids use salt instead of sugar. They sneeze in the batter. They demand "I DO IT!!!" and then dump half the measuring cup on the counter and the other half on the floor. And then there's the fighting: who gets to stand on the chair, who gets to stand on what part of the chair, whose turn it is to pour the ingredients...

I've recently realized I actually don't mind baking with only one child at a time — not that it matters. In our household of 8, it's more likely for me to be a first-round NFL draft pick than it is to find myself baking with just one "helper."

I Like Reading With My Kids


I will happily read books all day with my children. We're regulars at the library, where we're known as that family who consistently has 142 items checked out at a time. I've been asked more than a few times by the librarians if I homeschool my kids because we check out so many books.

I read lots of picture books to the little kids, and when they're old enough to read by themselves we pick a book or a series to read out loud to each other. Several times a year, my teenager and I will read the same book separately and then go out for milkshakes to talk about it. We're a reading family.

Looking at this picture I realize we should try to be more of a "picking up after ourselves" family.

(A handy trick I used when my kids were younger: if you get roped into a game of pretend, direct the dolls/toys/stuffed animals toward reading picture books to each other. Then you're still technically playing "pretend," but in a much less painful way.)

I Hate Doing Crafts With My Kids


I have a deal going with my parents: they can only buy my kid "make your own _______" kits if they will make them with the kids themselves the next time they come to visit. Where do I even begin explaining why I hate crafts?

First of all, the minimalist in me has a hard time with creating crap just for the sake of creating crap. Where do you put the toilet paper roll butterfly after you've made it? How long do you have to keep it? And why??

Also, I'm a raging perfectionist, and making a tube sock into an octopus WITH TWO EYES THAT ARE CLEARLY CROOKED is physically painful to me. Not to mention it's a waste of a tube sock. But kids don't care. They don't, and I do, which is why I can't handle crafts.

I Like Taking Walks With My Kids


Going outside and taking a walk with my kids is one of my favorite things to do. We've got no real agenda so we can stop to look at bugs and storm drains. They ask great questions like "why are clouds different shapes?" (The answer, spoiler alert, is that I don't know.) The older kids like to talk to me while we're walking, or they run ahead with each other.

My favorite walks are easy hikes out in the woods. Living in New England, there's conservation land everywhere so it's easy to do.

Even easier now that the youngest is old enough to walk by himself instead of ride in the baby backpack.

Our kids complained about hiking when we first moved here, but it's become part of what we do and the fresh air is good for us. Not to mention that I love taking pictures of the kids and nothing is better for that than natural light.

Some of you reading this article are probably thinking "I hate/love all those things, too!" while others are disagreeing with every single thing I've said, and that's kind of the point.

The great thing is that it's possible to be a good mom with or without the mini-muffins and paper bag puppets... thank goodness.

Every mom has a list in her head of kids’ activities that drive her absolutely insane. Yes, even good moms. Maybe you hate baking with your kids because it’s so messy or reading annoying picture books even if everyone else loves them. That’s perfectly normal! If you thought you were the only mom who didn’t enjoy every single second of parenting, you need to read this. #parenting #goodmom #confessions
Every mom has a list in her head of kids’ activities that drive her absolutely insane. Yes, even good moms. Maybe you hate baking with your kids because it’s so messy or reading annoying picture books even if everyone else loves them. That’s perfectly normal! If you thought you were the only mom who didn’t enjoy every single second of parenting, you need to read this. #parenting #goodmom #confessions
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Friday, May 3, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Realistic Organization Systems, the Secret to Raising Kids Who Love Music, and Infinity in Picture Book Form

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

1


You know those moments when you realize you're turning into everybody's mother? Here's an actual excerpt from a conversation I had with a friend this week:

Me: So then they played that song  oh, what was it called? The one by that band that was popular in the 90s?

Friend: [blank stare]

Me: They were kind of punky?

Friend: Pearl Jam?

Me: No, they were a little more edgy.

Friend: Limp Bizkit?

Me: No, not quite that edgy... ummmm, they sang that other song that went [singing] "if you don't rate, just overcompensate, at least you know you can always go on Ricki Lake?"

Friend: [blank stare]

Me: Oh! It was Pretty Fly for a White Guy!

Friend: That was the song they played?

Me: Well, no. That's what I was just singing. It was that same band, though. Do you remember who sang that?

Friend: No.

Me: Huh. Well, anyway...

(FYI, the band was Offspring, which turned out to be one of those things you forget all about until possessed with an urgent need to know after going to bed for the night and have to get up and Google at midnight.)

2


I didn't pay much attention when my 1st grader told me she "needed to get organized," but she wasn't kidding.

She took matters into her own hands, bringing down a plastic chest of drawers and labeling them all with Magic Marker.

I thoroughly enjoyed that the top two drawers were labeled "Random."

Laughing out loud at this week's 7 Quick Takes, full of parenting fails, funny toddler stories, and hilarious truths about mom life. #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #funny
Drawers are respectively: random, random, necklaces, bracelets, and Shopkins figures.

Everyone's got a junk drawer. Even when you're 7 years old.

3


Our kids are learning piano from Phillip so they've never had a real recital, but a piano teacher friend of ours invited us to participate in hers.

The kids did a nice job on their first recital, and I was equally impressed when they did well as when they messed up and kept going.

The 2- and 5-year-olds, who haven't started piano yet, just listened so I asked what they thought on the way home.

When I asked the 5-year-old if he liked the recital he just shrugged noncommittally, but the 2-year-old exclaimed, "I  liked the recital!"

"Oh, yeah? What was your favorite part?" I asked.

Immediately he answered, "The cake."

Of course it was the refreshments afterward. What else would it be? How silly of me.


4


My 7-year-old got an ant farm for Christmas but we never filled it up because I was worried the ants would freeze in the mail (yet another reason why moms can't sleep; we can worry about anything.)

Now that it's warmer, though, we ordered the ants!

Unfortunately they came earlier than we expected, and by the time I got to them the kids had already gone to bed and the ants had already sat in a pile of unopened mail for at least a day.

They were still alive, but I was worried (again with the worry) about them starving to death because who knows how long it had been since they were last fed.

My plan was to wake my daughter early and put the poor things in the ant farm before school, using sand from the sandbox, but when I woke up the next morning it was pouring rain. Of course.

I was this close to making a 7 A.M. trip to the hardware store to buy a bag of play sand when I decided to try the wet sand, since the instructions said the sand needed to be damp, anyway.

It worked well enough, and now the kids are just as entranced by the ant farm as I remember being by mine when I was a kid.

Laughing out loud at this week's 7 Quick Takes, full of parenting fails, funny toddler stories, and hilarious truths about mom life. #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #funny
If the ants survive this week without getting knocked over or shaken, I will be seriously impressed.


5


At pack meeting for cub scouts this week, one of the boys kept burping on purpose and making fart noises.

Ordinarily, this would be my kid. But my 10-year-old was being uncharacteristically well-behaved that day.

It wasn't until the boy leaned over and started making strange noises to my son that I heard him whisper back, "Don't try to out-weird me. It won't work."

That's the boy I know and love.

6


My preschooler checked out the most awful book from the library.

It's Thomas the Train, which first of all I don't even like because they have a million words per page and my boys don't even understand what's going on because of all the British English.

Laughing out loud at this week's 7 Quick Takes, full of parenting fails, funny toddler stories, and hilarious truths about mom life. #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #funny
My kids have no idea what this even means.

But this is no ordinary Thomas the Train. This is one of those 2-in-1 books with a story on each side. The story ends on the middle page, at which point you turn it upside-down and go to the opposite cover of the book to start reading the second story.

It's pretty much the meanest thing anyone could do.

Just imagine finishing a very long and boring story and saying "the end," only to have your 2-year-old look at you like you're an idiot, say "not the end," and flip the page. So you turn the book upside-down, read it and say "the end," and your 2-year-old says "not the end" and turns the page again.


YOU NEVER REACH THE END OF THE BOOK THIS COULD LITERALLY GO ON FOREVER SOMEONE PLEASE SEND HELP.

7


Speaking of library books, my little boys are quite fond of this book of vehicles.

The other day I they were "reading" it to each other (i.e: pointing to the pictures and repeating the words they remember me saying) and when they got to this picture, called it a "fire cheese truck."

Laughing out loud at this week's 7 Quick Takes, full of parenting fails, funny toddler stories, and hilarious truths about mom life. #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #funny
The chief is the guy in charge of handing out mozzarella sticks in an emergency.

In other funny toddler/preschooler misunderstandings, last night's dinner was "basagna" (pronounced: buh-ZAH-nyah) and we also learned a lot of facts about Paris, France at preschool so now my 5-year-old wants to go on vacation to see the "Rifle Tower."

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Date Night Before and After Kids

Some people love to be all gloom and doom when you say you're pregnant. "Everything's going to change after you have kids," they warn, "especially your marriage."

Okay, but I'm here to tell you that it absolutely doesn't. You can still do all the things together that you used to love before having kids... sort of.

There are lots of differences between life with kids vs without. This mom does a funny look at how your marriage changes. Date night means something completely different when you have kids than when you don’t! #funny #parentinghumor #momlife #marriage

For example:

If your ideal pre-kid date was going to the orchestra...


Post-kid you is going to love your new date night: sitting in a sweaty auditorium listening to the elementary school choir sing a medley from Moana.

If your ideal pre-kid date was a day at the museum...


Post-kid you will enjoy walking around your house appreciating the contemporary art drawn all over your furniture and walls.

If your ideal pre-kid date was eating at a fondue-themed restaurant and bringing home dessert...


Post-kid you will enjoy eating at an animatronic puppet-themed restaurant and bringing home rotavirus from the ball pit!



If your ideal pre-kid date was browsing a bookstore...


Post-kid you will like tearing the house apart and searching under all the seats in your van for the missing library copy of Fancy Nancy

If your ideal pre-kid date was training for a 5k together...


Post-kid you is going to love tag-teaming it through the marathon that is putting the kids to bed every night!

If your ideal pre-kid date was walking through a botanical garden...


Post-kid you will have fun going on a romantic stroll through the dandelions that were previously your front lawn.

If your ideal pre-kid date was going on a scenic drive and stargazing...


Post-kid you will like driving around on the hunt for a gas station and then staring off into space for what feels like forever as you stand beside the toilet waiting for your preschooler to go.

If your ideal pre-kid date was going to the ballet...


Post-kid you will enjoy watching your kindergartner flossing to literally any music that happens to come on.

If your ideal pre-kid date was a night at the drive-in movies...


Post-kid you is going to love afternoon trips through the drive-thru at McDonald's!

If your ideal pre-kid date was going to an escape room...


Post-kid you will get a kick out of attempting to escape from your sleeping baby's room without waking him.

If your ideal pre-kid date was browsing an antiques store...


Post-kid you will like rooting through your closet for something in your wardrobe that says "I'm still young and hip and with it..." and finding nothing.

If your ideal pre-kid date was staying up late talking about your hopes and dreams for the future...


Post-kid you will still do the exact same thing, except now your hopes and dreams come downstairs and wake you up in the middle of the night to tell you that their elbow hurts.

--------------------------------

I guess like most things, your relationship with your spouse does change a little after kids. Spending time together at an enjoyable activity (known to couples without children as "everyday life") might become a little more difficult.

But no matter what your favorite kind of date night, it's good to know you can still go on enjoying something similar after kids.

Or at least something similar-ish.
There are lots of differences between life with kids vs without. This mom does a funny look at how your marriage changes. Date night means something completely different when you have kids than when you don’t! #funny #parentinghumor #momlife #marriage

There are lots of differences between life with kids vs without. This mom does a funny look at how your marriage changes. Date night means something completely different when you have kids than when you don’t! #funny #parentinghumor #momlife #marriage
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Friday, April 26, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Tactful Ways to Badmouth Dinner, Dressing to Impress, and the Long-Awaited Reappearance of "Summer Legs"

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

1


How was everyone's Easter? After a fantastic church service, some friends invited us over to our house for Easter dinner. I made empty tomb rolls like I have for the last few years, but this time something went horribly wrong.

First of all, they didn't rise. I didn't have time to start over so I put them in the oven anyway, hoping they would rise a little with the heat.

Not only did that not happen, they also split apart while baking and the marshmallows inside didn't melt all the way so half-congealed marshmallow glop was oozing out the sides. No pictures because I was too devastated.

So like any rational person, I hid in the bedroom and said Easter was cancelled. But Phillip artistically piled the least ugly ones in a bowl, said they still tasted fine, and made a yummy salad to go with them (which I purposely didn't touch because apparently I'm cursed.)

As we pulled up at our friends' house, the 7-year-old (who has been working with us on the concept of politeness because she tends to let every thought fly out of her mouth without thinking) looked at the bowl of rolls and told me, "I was going to say you made terrible rolls but then I was like, 'Wait, why would I say that?' So I'm not going to say that."

I told her thanks, because that really could've hurt my feelings.

2


I was at the computer the other day when I saw my 2-year-old out of the corner of my eye. I looked over to see he was holding up his shirt and scribbling on his belly with a pink pen.

I knew it was a dumb inquiry the second I said it, but I asked, "Why are you drawing on yourself?"

With a question mark in his voice, he answered, "To be pretty?"

Then he continued coloring on himself.

If I've learned anything by now, it's that the single most pointless question in parenting is why.

3


Finally, we had a good experience showing a movie from our childhoods to the kids.

Usually they contain so much swearing we want to disappear, or there are other inappropriate scenes that went over our heads as little kids (that are hopefully also going over theirs,) but this weekend we saw Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and it was exactly like I remembered it.

Of course, I never dissected the science of the movie but my 14-year-old was like, "WAAAAIT a minute. If they shrink by compressing all the atoms' empty space, they would be tiny but still weigh the same. They probably couldn't even walk. And they would definitely be so dense they would have sunk in that puddle and drowned."

Sometimes, you just want to enjoy your popcorn and it's kind of a drag having kids who are way smarter than you are.

4


I made my kids get all dressed up for their yearly pictures (we go to J.C. Penney as a cheap alternative to overpriced school portrait packages,) and since we were already in the mall, we went to do some summer clothes shopping afterward.

Let me tell you, if you ever want to get some Kardashian-level attention everywhere you go, then I highly recommend bringing along a toddler in a 3-piece suit and bowtie.

Every woman in a 100-foot radius came over to gush about how cute he was, and every man who passed smiled and said something like, "Looking good, Buddy!"

Of course I can't blame them because he is the actual cutest.

5


I don't know what's wrong with me, but I keep forgetting my 13-year-old's orthodontist appointments. They're on the calendar and everything, I just get busy with something else because we schedule them right after school and that is crazy o'clock in our house.

I've missed at least 50% of her appointments so far, and every time the receptionist calls a half-hour later to reschedule but they can't fit us in for another two weeks.

So between my daughter forgetting to wear her rubber bands and me forgetting to bring her to appointments, she's going to be wearing braces for the next 10-15 years.

6


Lately, I've been obsessed with smoothies.

Some of my kids are on the small side so I started making smoothies after meals to get more calories into them. Then I figured it probably wouldn't hurt me, either, since my doctor tells me every time I see her that I'm too underweight.

So I make smoothies every day now. (And apparently they're working, because yesterday as I was helping my older son with his piano practice, my 5-year-old came up, patted my belly, and announced to me that we're having a new baby.)

My child who needed extra calories the most wasn't the smoothies it at first, so to encourage him we started playing rock, paper, scissors to decide who takes a sip, and whoever finishes their whole smoothie first wins.

He loves playing this, although Phillip pointed out I should choose my words carefully when telling others about "the drinking game I taught my preschooler."

7


Warm weather is here! For real! I can tell because all of the younger kids have what I call "summer legs."

From the waist down, they're covered in scrapes, scratches, and skinned knees from running around outside in shorts, riding bikes, and climbing trees. I love it.

The other day my 7- and 5-year-olds were playing on the playset and decided to grab some scrap wood to create their own homemade bench swing.

Who's laughing? 7 Quick Takes is a funny weekly recap of the Unremarkable Files family. If you like to read about funny baking fails, hilarious things kids say, and other notes from the chaos in a family of 8, you're in the right place. #7quicktakes #7qt #funny #unremarakblefiles
Awwww.

Is this precarious? A little. I wouldn't be surprised if the wood slips off or they fall and each of them adds another scrape or bruise to their legs, but isn't that what summer is all about?

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