Friday, December 25, 2015

7 Quick Takes about Keeping My Wits, Wrapping Our Hearts Out, and Things That Would Give a Cleaning Lady Nightmares

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday!


Merry Christmas! I've spent my entire adult life trying to enjoy this season of celebrating Christ instead of getting overwhelmed by silly things like cards and cookie plates, and I'm beyond excited to say that I've finally done it.

I'm still kind of mystified as to how that happened, but I think the 5 things I did right this year were:

  1. Buying everything online. I only went to ONE brick-and-mortar store this season.
  2. Realizing that sending out Christmas cards and letters takes 5-10 times longer than I think it will, and giving myself enough time.
  3. Having the kids draw names instead of trying to coordinate dozens of sibling-to-sibling gifts. (It helps that the older kids are getting big enough to finish theirs mostly without my help.)
  4. Don't make 5 kinds of cookies in one day. Yes, I've previously done this because I'm a crazy person. When I made cookie plates for the neighbors this year I did one kind of cookies per day for a whole week, packaged them on Saturday, and delivered them on Sunday.
  5. Wrap ahead of time. Again, Phillip and I used to start wrapping everything at 10 PM on Christmas Eve. If that's not asking for a mental breakdown I don't know what is.
The end result of all this planning/doing ahead of time being: I actually enjoyed the holiday season. All of it. Maybe I can even make this a yearly thing.


Gift wrapping is always interesting around here. With five kids, plus both sides of our extended family buying gifts online and shipping them directly to us, that is a significant amount of wrapping.

We tackled these on Sunday night:

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

And these on Wednesday night:

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

To turn them into this:

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

But to be honest, the perfectionist in me got way too much satisfaction from getting all 17 boxes to nest perfectly inside each other after we were finished:

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
All is right with the world.

If you get excited looking at this picture, I highly suggest you also visit these images of things fitting perfectly into other things on BuzzFeed. If you don't, realize that I probably have a mental disorder and just move on to the next take.


Now, I don't want to make anyone jealous, but in addition to celebrating Christmas I spent a wild Saturday night finally cleaning our washing machine.

It irritates me that I have to periodically clean the machine I pay to clean our clothes, but that's another story for another time.

And you guys, it was dirty. I looked up a tutorial on "how to clean your washing machine" because it had been so long I'd forgotten how. The writer of the tutorial was all, "Tee-hee, I can't believe I'm showing pictures of the inside of my dirty washing machine!" which looked perfectly fine to me.

I'm sure she would have been scandalized by ours, which was so stinking filthy putting our clothes inside was probably making them more soiled rather than less.

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

Anyway, I cleaned it and now it's done for another... well, let's not talk about how long it's going to be until next time.


I'm currently nursing the head cold from Hades. On Wednesday morning I lay awake in bed at 3:30 AM wondering if I should do a Google search to see if anyone's sinuses have actually exploded before.

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
I haven't breathed through my nostrils in 3 days. Also we ran out of Kleenex.

Of course since I'm pregnant I can only take Tylenol, which is basically the equivalent of having a fairy blow dandelion fuzz on me in hopes that it'll make me feel better.


My daughter told me that a group of kids at school was talking about how many siblings they had, and they got pretty quiet when she said she had four, plus I was expecting a baby in the spring.

Then she said to me, "Mom? There are a lot of Evanses in the world... and most of them are in our family."


A friend of mine is getting a doula for her birth coming up in January, and I'm really curious about it. 

I mentioned it to Phillip, who asked what in the world a doula does. I thought about how to answer him and said," Basically your job but she knows what she's doing."

He immediately said, "Yes. Let's get one of those." (He may or may not have almost passed out in the delivery room when #2 was being born.)

We'll see. Any doula experiences out there you'd like to share?


I also watched It's A Wonderful Life for the first time. I swore I'd seen it before as a kid, but I must have only seen the happy 10 minutes at the end because I didn't remember any of the hour and a half that came before it — and man, it was depressing! Also not for our kids because they had no clue what was going on the entire time. We kept having to pause the movie to explain.

So... not the most successful Christmas movie we've ever watched together. Our viewing of Elf last weekend went better. What's your favorite Christmas movie?

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Carolyn Astfalk said...

Guess what time I started wrapping presents? 10 p.m. last night! Hope you're feeling better soon. And, oh, our washing machine totally looked like that. It made its dramatic exit about a year ago after flooding our mudroom and has since been replaced by a lovely front loader that seems much cleaner all around.

Unknown said...

I am greatly satisfied with your box tower. My piles were not nearly that neat, but Peter just took them out to the dumpster.

Unknown said...

Your box pile looks like mine! I never had a doula but I did have a midwife who helped me have the best birthing experience ever with girl #4 - my only one all natural. I say go for it! And we LOVE It's a Wonderful Life. We watch it every year along with Elf and the George C. Scott version of Christmas Carol. I've watched all the versions except the Muppets one and ours is definitely the best with the second prize going to the one made in 1938. Don't forget White Christmas and Holiday Inn. I hope you had a wonderful day, Jenny! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Jenny! You make me laugh every time! YES! Do the doula! My sister had a wonderful experience with hers. Then my daughter bonded with one, but she was unavailable, and they sent a student. NOT a good time. So, moral of the story! Unless you get a student, then NO! Hope that helps! haha
"Fairy blow dandelion dust" Bwahahaha, that's EXACTLY the way I feel with Tylenol!!
Merry CHRISTmas, and a Happy YEar!
And oh yeah, I ordered you a new set of sinuses on Amazon. Alas, I don't have Prime, so it'll take a few days. No, no, no need for thanks. All I want for Christmas is for you to have 2 working nostrils!

Unknown said...

The doula is wonderful. I have had 4 home births and four doulas. They are there only for you, no medicine. They are there for you, your comfort, and your birth plan.

Honestly, I would t step into a hospital without one. I went mainstream with my pre atlas with my last one (the reason why I'm not having anymore), and yikes. Those midwives scare me. I was actually considering a doctor but fortunately, had a homebirth. My doula was well prepared and on target. Actually, she was going to have to protect those women from me, cause I was totally through with them.

Unknown said...

I really want to know if there is some amazing trick to get your washing machine clean now like maybe half a tonne of bicarbonate of soda on a spin cycle? That description of a doula really made me laugh! I was aware of doulas a while ago as I did a bit of a hippy dippy ante-natal course and the subject came up. Then someone I know became a doula herself. Also we have this programme over here called "One Born Every Minute" which it is practically compulsory to watch if you are pregnant. It is basically a reality show based in the maternity ward of a hospital. I'd seen a doula on there as well. They are essentially there to scream orders at the midwives ("She doesn't want any more drugs - get her a birth ball to squat over - NOW!!!" and be incredibly bossy on your behalf. Sorry about your sinuses - I was just saying yesterday how unusual it is for noone here to be at least a bit ill at Christmas - I'm putting it down to the unseasonably mild weather we've been having. I hated being full of cough & cold when I was pregnant - I was dead on my feet at the 20 week scan for EJ and I didn't get to enjoy it at all. I LOVE It's a Wonderful Life! Although admittedly I haven't seen it for years. Admittedly about 90 per cent of it is a bit depressing but it has to be to drive home the amazing message about hope and magic and community spirit and the power of human beings to just care for one another and rally around at the end. I'm ashamed to admit I've never seen Elf! :-) Hope you all had a fab Christmas Day. Xx

Jenny Evans said...

Eventually I'm sure our machine will give up too, but it's still going strong for now. I hope you survived Christmas on little sleep! That's been us every year of our adult lives until this year.

Jenny Evans said...

I would LOVE 2 working nostrils for New Year's, if you can get them here before then. On the other hand, poopy diapers don't faze me at all anymore so I guess it's not all bad...

Jenny Evans said...

This was my first time seeing Elf and I had to admit that it had some very cute and funny moments. Getting over a cold when I'm pregnant always takes forever, so this may last a while...

Jenny Evans said...

Thanks for sharing your doula experiences! I'm having the baby in a hospital with a midwife, and the doula idea keeps creeping around at the back of my mind.

Unknown said...

Sorry you're sick. That's no fun. I'm also nursing a head cold, but I'm not growing a human inside of me, so I guess I can stop complaining about being sick. :) My favorite Christmas movie is probably The Nightmare Before Christmas. Or is that a Halloween movie? Who knows!

Jenny Evans said...

I think it's both! That's the best part of it.

Chaun said...

Wait, I'm supposed to wash... my washing machine?

Sweet mercies, the work never ends!

Jenny Evans said...

It's one of the cruelest truths of domesticity, in my opinion.