Friday, December 7, 2018

7 Quick Takes about Scented Domestic Failures, Good Questions about Birds, and Why It's Impossible to Raise Happy Children

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


This week, someone gave me a Christmas-scented simmer pot blend (a mixture of good-smelling stuff you put on the stove to make your house smell good,) and it proved to me I may be the least domestic person in all of New England.

I only knew what it was, first of all, because I'd received one a few years ago from somebody more put together than I am, and I had to Google it. At the time, Phillip and I were poking at the bag like monkeys going "What is this? Do you eat it?"

I think that first bag is still sitting in a cupboard somewhere, but I decided this time I'd be a wonderful homemaker and use it. Plus, I needed to cover up the smell of some stinky laundry sitting in front of the washing machine.

I poured in some water and got it going on the stove and things were smelling pretty good, until I took my toddler upstairs for a nap and accidentally fell asleep, burning the simmer pot ingredients to a crisp.

Welcome to the holiday fail edition of 7 Quick Takes! I guarantee this relatable weekly recap will make you feel like you're not the only one who can't get it together. Follow our big family and all the assorted chaos with 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt #friday #thatslife #unremarkablefiles
Just call me Martha Stewart.

When my husband came home from work just a little while later he asked, "What's for dinner? It smells good and bad in here."


For our annual December family service project, we decided to print out a blank calendar and assign each day a different way we can be kind or helpful.

We are definitely failing.

On the first day, we were going to donate canned goods at the door of a Christmas concert, but we forgot to bring them. Luckily, it was at our church and the collection boxes were still there the next day, so we ran home after services to grab some canned beans (the kids chanting "beans, beans, the musical fruit" in the backseat the whole way.)

The second day we tried to make ginger cookies for Phillip to share at work, but the kids used a weird recipe they found online and ended up producing something that looked like poop emojis and tasted like toothpaste. We had to throw it out and try again the next day.

On the third day, we forgot to remind the kids in the morning: our daily goal was to say "thank you" at every opportunity. I reminded them when they came home from school in the afternoon, at which point my 12-year-old put on a ridiculous dur-dur-dur voice and said "THANKS for reminding me!" So there's that.

I should've known this would be even more disastrous than the advent devotional, but at least we're trying, right?


We're having a much better success rate, however, at Secret Sibling. Secret Sibling is the family "gift" exchange we started last year, and I love it so much.

Instead of each of the kids exchanging gifts for Christmas, they draw another sibling's name and sneakily do something nice for that person every day or December. Then on Christmas, they reveal in a clever way who's been making that sibling's bed on the sly and slipping treats in their lunch box.

One of the things I like best about being a mom is seeing the kids interact with each other, so I really love seeing them creep around doing nice things for each other all month.


Last year my 4-year-old went through an intense "why" phase. He asked 'why' about every conceivable thing, and it really wore me out.

I'd forgotten how difficult it really was, until he reminded me. We were driving and I braked for the person ahead of me, so he asked, "Why did you slow down?

"Because the person ahead of me slowed down."


"Because he was turning."


"Because... he wanted to go that way, I guess."


While I was trying to figure out how to answer that, he piped up again with another question: "Mom, why are birds real?"

So I guess we're not totally out of the woods yet.


I was browsing through my Pinterest feed when this article happened to catch my eye.

Welcome to the holiday fail edition of 7 Quick Takes! I guarantee this relatable weekly recap will make you feel like you're not the only one who can't get it together. Follow our big family and all the assorted chaos with 7 Quick Takes Friday! #7quicktakes #7qt #friday #thatslife #unremarkablefiles

Normally I don't worry too much about raising happier kids; I'm hoping that piece will just fall into place if I manage to make them into productive members of society who believe in God and know I love them. 

But for whatever reason, I clicked on the article to learn how I can raise a happier child, which took me to a error message saying "This page does not exist."

So just in case you were worried about being a fantastic fun parent, don't. Knowing that it's impossible takes off a lot of pressure, doesn't it?


For Phillip's birthday in November, I surprised him with tickets to see The Messiah performed at Symphony Hall.

As a bit of background, he's an acoustics engineer for building materials. We can't go to a public space without his eyes wandering upward to check out the ceilings, and he's specifically mentioned several times how he'd like to visit Symphony Hall for the acoustics someday, so I knew he'd love this. For the last month, I've jokingly referred to this trip as a pilgrimage.

The concert did not disappoint. It was beyond amazing. The kind of amazing that makes you forget where you are and what time it is or even that there is such a thing as time. If they'd finished the 2.5-hour concert and then offered to start over and do it again, I would have immediately stopped clapping and sat back down.

The kids next to me, though, didn't look so thrilled. They appeared to be around 7 and 9, and that's a long time to sit and listen. By the end, the girl was melting out of her chair and the boy appeared to be considering chewing off a limb in order to escape.

I dug through my purse hoping I'd have a pad of paper or something they could maybe draw on, but all I could find was Hot Wheels and Cheerios. Neither of which I thought would have entertained them for long.


We rarely have the luxury of lazy weekend mornings anymore, now that the kids are older and involved in a bajillion activities.

But on Saturday morning, my 12-year-old snapped a really sweet photo of me and my 2-year-old when he crawled in to bed to cuddle after waking up. At the time the picture was taken I thought, "Oh, what a beautiful candid shot of the love between a mother and her child."

After a few minutes, though, I realized I'd actually come to treasure it as "a beautiful candid shot of the moment before your toddler throws up all over your comforter." You know what they say about hindsight.

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