Friday, November 13, 2020

7 Quick Takes about Adventures in Driver's Ed, Alternate Vacation Plans, and the Upside of Tossing Your Cookies While Running

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


My 16-year-old recently got her permit, and it turns out that teaching a kid how to drive is a lot like teaching them how to tie their shoes: when it comes time to explain how you do it, you realize you actually can't.

So that's been humbling.

I've found that people are way nicer to you on the road if you have this magnet on your car.

It hit me as I was getting in the car to take her out driving the other day that Phillip and I just finished 12 years of teaching people to ride bikes, and now we're starting 12 years of teaching people to drive cars. 

Twelve more buttcheek-clenching years of this, folks. I can't wait.


My 4-year-old was playing in the yard as the 16-year-old and I got in the car for a driving lesson.

"Where are you going?" he asked.

"I'm teaching your sister how to drive."

"Oh," he nodded. "So she's going to be our new mom?"

First, I love that he assumed I was training my replacement. 

Second of all, it's so funny that in his mind, the sole purpose of driving and motherhood can only be one thing: shuttling your kids around all over town. Which is actually sort of true, now that I think about it.


Phillip turned 40 this week! His birthday was not at all like we thought it would be (originally we'd planned to go on a big trip to celebrate and that didn't happen,) but it was a really nice day, just the same. 

Instead of presents, we all decided to make him a list of 40 things: the 16-year-old wrote 40 dad jokes, the 14-year-old made a list of 40 things he taught her, the 12-year-old found 40 creative acronyms for DAD, the 9-year-old listed 40 memories of him, and the 6- and 4-year-olds worked together to make him a book of 40 pictures with captions. 

I planned to find my 40 favorite pictures of him with the kids but I couldn't narrow it down to 40 so I just made a slideshow and then wrote down 40 things he's built, made, fixed, or replaced around the house that I'm grateful for.

Then we made him this chocolate orange cake from scratch, and the pictures don't really do it justice:

Sorry about the bad lighting and junk in the background (and foreground.) Apparently I don't do my best work with 7 people yelling at me from the dining room "Come ONNNNN! We want to eat caaaaaake, stop taking piiiiiiictures!"


So we didn't end up taking our grand birthday trip, but Phillip has been working overtime and really needed a break. 

In the days and weeks leading up to his birthday, he kept sighing "I need a vacation," so we took an impromptu 24-hour getaway to a cute little coastal town.

We don't have any family around to stay with the kids, but we do have a lot of kids and this is one instance where many hands make light work

I break down everything that needs to be done, and the older kids all sign up for shifts watching the little boys, cooking meals, and whatever else. No one gets overwhelmed because they share all the responsibilities, and they also get permission to watch movies and bake cookies so they think it's a great deal.

In an ideal world Phillip and I would've gotten to decompress for a bit longer, but it was 70 degrees and we were at the ocean so I really can't complain.

And I loved this shot of a bird taking flight from the water that I happened to get at just the right moment:


Remember how Phillip kept saying he needed a vacation? Well, we looked it up when we got home and then it all made sense, because he only took one vacation day from work all this year.

In January we'd made big plans for his days off, all of which fell apart in the face of COVID, so we didn't end up using any of them (except for one, when we went camping in August.) 

We lose them unless we use them by December 31st, so now he's taking off the whole week of Thanksgiving and two weeks at Christmastime.

I'd better have a finished basement by the end of 2020.


My 16-year-old is working hard at cross-country. At the beginning of her first year, she was kind of slow but she earned the "Most Improved" award by the end of the season. This year, she's worked her way up to fourth (or fifth, depending on the day) on the team. 

I love watching her run, but because of COVID restrictions spectators are only allowed at home meets. So at away meets, I text her to get the scoop. 

I guess she has good and bad days as a runner, but she's always brutally honest.

Of course, not throwing up on the course is always preferable, but it does mean that you've pushed your body to beyond its absolute limit and kept going so she still gets my admiration. 

According to my daughter, it also made for a locker room speech from the coach that was as funny as it was inspirational: "You guys were really gutsy out there today!" were his congratulations. "Some of you... even literally."


I was recently introduced to Line Riders on YouTube by my 12-year-old. It's the best! If you have kids and you want them to learn to love classical music, show them these.

They weren't specifically designed for little kids, but they're a fun visual way to learn about music and musical notation. After watching several times, I can even see a preschooler having a "favorite" classical song. 

Currently, my 4-year-old is spellbound by this little stick figure sledding along to Beethoven's 5th Symphony:

Have a great weekend, you guys!

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AnneMarie said...

I hope the driving lessons go well! It sounds like the mixed blessing-the stress of teaching a teen to drive, but knowing that when they DO drive perhaps you'll get a break from being the chauffer :P

Also, that youtube music link looks awesome-I'm going to have to check those out. I know very little about musical notation (and music in general) so I'm sure it'd be a great way to learn right alongside my kids.

jen said...

I love how your kiddos worked together to keep the house running so that you and Phillip could take 24 hours away. That is some serious #winning at mothering!

Kassie said...

Your wisdom in parenting are motivational. I have six kids and my oldest is almost 14, so I may or may not copy your ideas (I love the idea of them being responsible for their driver's permit/ed paperwork).

This post also made me think, "In about two years, could I leave my kids at home and be confident in their being responsible?" I am not sure. Right now, being "in charge" leads to commanding voices and lack of patience which, let's be honest, probably comes from my example. But it gives me something to think about and changes to make. We have two years, we've got this. Serious Mom-goals right there.