Friday, July 26, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Not Being Kidnapped (Not That You Were Worried,) Packing Light, and Trying to Survive the Thankless Threes

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


Well, you all failed. I completely skipped a 7 Quick Takes post last Friday and not one of you reached out to see if I'd been kidnapped.

I am so disappointed right now.

Luckily for us both, I was not kidnapped. I was actually having such a great time on vacation I completely forgot it was even Friday. I haven't missed a 7 Quick Takes in almost 5 years, so that's saying something.

It was a doozy of a trip, involving a family reunion, 2 states, 6 different hotels/motels/Airbnbs, beaches, mountains, and sightseeing in the city.

Stay tuned for boring vacation photos a trip recap next week!


Our family always packs light when we go on vacation. I can't remember the last time any of us brought a full-sized suitcase anywhere.

This trip involved driving all over the Pacific Northwest for two weeks, necessitating everything from shorts and swimsuits to sweatshirts and rain gear: we packed it all into one roller carry-on bag for each person and I was pretty proud of that.

It did mean, however, that we had to do laundry on vacation several times.

On the last day, we repacked the bags so two of them were full of dirty clothes, and I asked my 13-year-old to put a note on top so I'd know they needed to be washed when we opened them up at home.

Pull up a seat and laugh (or cry) about the ridiculous truths of mom life in this week's edition of 7 Quick Takes, the weekly recap of the Unremarkable Files family of 8. #7quicktakes #7qt #bigfamily #funny #unremarkablefiles

I appreciated the stink lines, which were helpful context clues.


Okay, I will share one story from vacation. One night the kids and I were parked in front of this really run-down Days Inn (thankfully we were only staying one night,) waiting for Phillip to get our room keys.

There was a problem with our reservation and the clerk's English wasn't that great, so it took forever to get it sorted out. While we were sitting there, a lady pulled up in her car, stormed in and had some words with the clerk, came out to smoke a cigarette on the sidewalk, and then went back inside.

As I was looking at her car, which had a big smash on the front windshield and nothing but a sheet of plastic in the back window, a picture of the $10 bill in my wallet popped into my head and I had the thought, "I should put that under her windshield wiper."

Now, that is NOT a normal thought for me. In fact, I've written an entire blog post about how strongly I feel about not giving money to strangers.

But one thing I have learned as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that if a thought pops into my head to do something good, I should just do it. Worst-case scenario, I do a nice thing for no reason. But sometimes it's actually a thought that God pushed into my head.

As I was fishing my wallet out of my purse Phillip came back to the car and I told him "Just so you know, I feel like I should leave some money on that car."

"What? Why?" he asked incredulously.

"I don't know, I was just looking at the car and watching the lady go in..." I realized I was starting to sound ridiculous.

"Oh," Phillip said. "I know who you're talking about. She came in really mad because the dryer was broken and ate her money."

So I figured out where that thought most likely came from, and quickly made a one-time exception to my no-giving-money-to-strangers policy.

Also, we did not attempt to do any of our laundry at that motel.


Even though we had a really good time on our trip, spending virtually 24 hours a day together for two weeks causes a marked increase in pointless bickering.

At one point, I had to try hard not to laugh as I overheard my older daughter intervening in an argument between her siblings: "On a scale of 1 to 10, how much does this fight matter? 'One' being 'not at all' and 'ten' being 'still not at all.'"

I'm totally stealing that line.


Our family took two separate flights home. The reason involves rental cars and airline points, but long story short: we had to decide which kids would go with which parent on the way home.

Ultimately we decided I would take the middle four kids on the direct flight home, and Phillip would take the youngest and oldest on the red eye with a 5-hour layover.

Our reasoning was that since the 3- and 5-year-olds each had big car seats to carry and might even need to be carried through the airport themselves (depending on their mood,) we should split them up. And since the 3-year-old will go to sleep in Phillip's arms but not in mine, we thought it just might work.

And it did!

Our flight was super-uneventful, and their layover in L.A. was long enough for the three of them to leave the airport and go to the beach.

While the three of them were sitting on a pier watching the sun set over the ocean, the 3-year-old looked around and asked, "Where are all of our friends?"

"What friends?" Phillip asked. "Your friends from nursery at church?"


"Do you mean your cousins that we just saw at the family reunion?" the 15-year-old asked.


Finally it hit them: he was asking where his other siblings were.


I feel like I should have this figured out by now, but I still struggle with managing the children's level of involvement in managing the household.

I don't want them sitting on the couch complaining they can't hear the TV over the noise of me vacuuming under their feet, but sometimes it seems like enlisting their help doesn't exactly reduce my workload, either.

When I was rage cleaning the other day, I assigned one kid to clean out the fridge, one to clean up the dining room, and one particularly dirty child to clean themselves (i.e: take a shower.)

Within 20 minutes, the showering child tracked water all over the house looking for a towel, the kid cleaning the dining room knocked over an ant farm and spilled sand everywhere, and the kid cleaning the fridge broke the shelf that holds our gallon jugs of milk.

By the time I'd finished mopping up the water, sweeping up the sand, and ordering a $60 replacement shelf from Electrolux, I really wasn't sure recruiting the kids to help had been a real timesaver.

Anyone else struggle with this??


Whoever coined the phrase "the terrible twos" was obviously a parent whose oldest child hadn't yet turned 3.

I've always loved two. Two-year-olds have tantrums, of course, but not much of an attitude. Plus, they're adorable and easily distracted.

My youngest is now three. When I tried to put him in bed after sitting with him for 10 minutes in the rocking chair, he protested, "That was just a little cuddle."

"It was a long cuddle," I said.

"No, that was a little cuddle!"

"But it's late and I have to go to sleep now," I told him.

When he was two, his response to that would've been tears or clinging to me, either of which would have been endearing.

But he's three, not two, so he snapped "Fine! You're stupid!" and yanked his blanket over his head.


Click to Share:
Unremarkable Files


happyme said...

I love the one to ten line. I need to use it too. And two versus three year olds? Hands down three is worse but also adorable. They have the same attitude but now they have words. And your child missing his friends- that is the sweetest.

Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

Hey, FYI - your link from 7QT didn't work. I just clicked home to get to the post.

I can't wait to hear about your vacation stories! Way to go for listening to that urging to give her the money. Whenever I have that strong sense that I should do something and do it - (even when I don't know the results) - there is a great sense of peace.

Natasha said...

Regarding the house cleaning during the holidays thing.....I’ve just stipulated that they take it in turns to empty the dishwasher to help me out and enable the “higher level” cleaning to get done without me having to have done EVERYTHING. It’s certainly a sweetener....and the additional things I ask them to do, like find my phone or set the table, tend to get done without complaint. Today one of the teenagers entertained 4 younger girls when I asked, and my temperamental 6 year old voluntarily cleared our guests’ plates and put them in the dishwasher. Making them feel like they are getting off lightly leads to them being more generous with their time and hearts it seems - for this week at least!

Jenny in WV said...

Every Thursday I'm all "Tomorrow is &-Quick Takes Day!" I was disappointed to not see one from you, because I love reading your blog.
I'm also slightly disappointed when I don't see new "Pretend World Tour Vacation" post on Saturdays.

Hope your vacation was wonderful!

Jenny Evans said...

Jenny: Glad someone noticed! Our girls have been at church camp this week so no world travel post tomorrow, but there will be one next Saturday and the Saturday after that!

Jenny Evans said...

FYI, a few days after I wrote this post, my son was cooking dinner and dropped a 32-oz container of yogurt. It exploded on contact with the floor and frankly, I've never seen anything like it.