7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 147)

October 14, 2011 | 42 comments

— 1 —

I was going to open with a commentary about the weather, complete with Summer vs. Fall analogies that involved prisons and eternal realms. Then I realized that I talk about the weather a lot. In fact, I’ve often thought I could have an entire blog where I do nothing but comment on what it’s like outside. (The fact that I never actually go outside, but am only complaining about what I’m reading on Weather.com’s Austin page, would lend a great ironic twist.) Anyway, so I started wondering what it says about me that this subject is of such fascination to me. I tried to tell myself that there’s just a lot to say since I live in a climate that’s inhospitable to human life, but then it occurred to me: Maybe I’m just really boring.

— 2 —

We have a decision about book writing! Thank you for all your great advice last week. Here’s the plan: I’ll do what I can in my snippets of free time over the next couple of months (which may not be much with the holidays coming up). Then, in the new year, I’ll take a few weeks off from blogging and direct all my energy toward the book. Hopefully I’ll be at a point where I can finish the draft during this time. Either way, after the break I’ll return to blogging as usual.

What I like about this plan is that it gives me a deadline. My agent’s strategy is to wait to have formal talks with publishers until the book is done, so that I have as much time as I need to make the book great. I like that path, but the downside is that I have no deadline, which means that I tend to waste a ton of time with overanalysis and procrastination. If I do most of my writing during a blogging break with a definite, pre-set end time, that’ll give me the “deadline” I’ve been wanting. But before I can start on any of this, there’s something else our family needs to get out of the way…

— 3 —

Would you believe me if I told you that my husband is studying for another major exam? As it turns out, when I was sayingΒ all that stuff like, “WHOO-HOO, WE’RE DONE WITH EXAMS FOREVER!!!”, what I should have said was, “WHOO-HOO, WE’RE DONE WITH EXAMS FOR A VERY SHORT TIME, ENTIRELY UNLIKE FOREVER!!!” This one is some legal board certification something or other. I knew it was coming down the pike and agree that it’s a good use of time. I think that I was just choosing to forget about it as a self-preservation technique to get us through the CPA exam.

I knew I should have just accepted this fate way back when my husband moved into his current office space and told me about a new friend he met. He and the attorney down the hall immediately hit it off (this is the guy I’ve been cooking for), and it turns out that this guy has even more certifications than my husband! He’s a lawyer with an LLM (like a Master’s in law), an MBA, a CPA, a CLU (some sort of life insurance designation), a mortgage broker, a real estate broker, an escrow officer at a fee office he runs, a notary public, is board certified in two (almost three) types of law, and is working towards becoming a certified locksmith.

So when my husband muses at the water cooler, “I’m a lawyer, an MBA, and a CPA…but is that really enough?” he has found the ONE other person on the face of the planet who would answer, “No, it’s really not.”

— 4 —

My husband remarked the other day that I’m like the Bear GryllsΒ of homeschooling. We watch Man vs. Wild with our son sometimes, and, interestingly, that made my husband think, “This is just like Jen!” I puzzled over that for a while. Is it because I almost die every time I undertake this activity? Or it was a reference to my cool nerves under pressure? Perhaps something about biting the heads off of live fishes? (Though, in my defense, that only happened once.) He later explained with great amusement that he perceives my style to be effective, yet somewhat randomly cobbled together. If our homeschooling friends who plan out beautiful, elaborate lesson plans a year in advance are the luxury car campers of the home education world, I’m the survivalist who’s dumped into the situation and manages to make it work by doing things that might be startling to the car camper types.

The funniest part about all this was the contrast of his view of the situation vs. mine. Because I have been approaching this endeavor with much more forethought and preparation than anything else I do in life, I figured that I was more like the Martha Stewart of homeschooling. After all, I think about what I’m going to do the night before, and even write it down! I make photocopies of worksheets, for goodness’ sake — what more could a person possibly do? But he sees my haphazard collection of curricula; notices the fact that I have no idea what the State of Texas says my children should be doing at this age; he hears me mutter as I thumb through the teacher’s manual, “Boring, boring, boring” before I run over to the kitchen cabinet and improvise my own lesson with some Tupperware and measuring cups; and he thinks: Bear Grylls all the way.

— 5 —

I would like to ask all the classy people to skip the following take, and move on to #7.

— 6 —

If I ever mysteriously disappear, you should know why. If this blog ever goes without updates for months, the National Catholic Register editors can’t find me anywhere, people call my husband’s office and they haven’t seen him either, it will be because of the Bad Lip Reading channel on Youtube.


I realize that this is not within everyone’s humor strikezone. My husband and I, however, are falling over in some mix of awe and hysterical laughter at this thing. It brought our entire evening to a standstill when we first discovered it; we couldn’t do anything other than watch these videos and marvel at their genius. After we got over that initial painful HOW DID WE NOT THINK OF THIS FIRST?! moment, we moved on to behold the artistic offerings of the Bad Lip Reading crew. We were crying laughing at the Rick Perry video (which I should note is kind of PG-13, in case any classy people did not follow my directive from take #5). I have had the song from their Ludacris takeoff running through my head for three days. I’m currently trying to decide whether or not to devote 100% of my free time to watching Bad Lip Reading videos, so if I ever disappear, that’s why.

— 7 —

We just got our tickets to the benefit dinner for the John Paul II Life Center, where Fr. Jonathan Morris will be speaking. Fr. Morris has always struck me as a super sharp, insightful guy, so I can’t wait to see him speak. And the John Paul II Life Center is just fantastic. They provide pro-life medical services to pregnant women, including women in crisis pregnancies. If you’re in central Texas, come out and support this great cause!



  1. Kimberly

    I imagine that if I ever do manage to homeschool our girls that I will be a bit ecclectic and not have it all planned out. Don’t get me wrong, I like to plan, but these days I don’t seem to be able to get out of my own way and can’t manage to get my girls out of the house to see friends or family with children their age. Homeschooling terrifies me (maybe because just tonight I admitted to my husband that my follow through on stuff is not great!) but I feel called to do it.

    Glad to hear you will have a deadline for your book. I find deadlines and goals are the thing that motivates me. Best of luck and I look forward to reading it!

  2. Claire

    Ok yeah, that video is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while.

    So… apparently I’m joining the “not classy” camp ;).

  3. Laura O in AK


    I’m all over the place at times with our homsechooling journey, too. Hey, variety and adaptability are wonderful attributes to homeschooling, right?

    My husband’s also studying for another test. Only, his is to become a Certified Safety Specialist (or something along those lines.) Thankfully it’s just the test and no more school afterwards.

  4. Jessica

    How have I not seen Bad Lip Reading? Hilarious, especially the Rick Perry one. “Tuna, eggs, Doritos, cheesecake, tamales. See ya!”

  5. George @ Convert Journal

    I recently discovered the Bad Lip Reading videos too. I especially like the political ones (both parties), but the “improved” words are sometimes a bit unacceptable.

    My entry this week… Father Barron delivers on his Catholicism project. Confusion at the UN on abortion. Hearing for the first time. Why does 1 zipcode in NYC have distinctively lower abortion rates? Msgr. Pope speaks on Satan with uncommon clarity. Big government planning, a case study. A quote of the week from Blessed Pope John Paul II.

  6. Kathleen Basi

    #4 sounds exactly like me! Which is why I *won’t* homeschool. LOL

  7. Smoochagator

    I think I’m missing something because I TOTALLY do not get the Bad Lip Reading video. Is it because I know nothing about Justin Bieber? I hate feeling like I’m missing out on something funny!

    You do talk about weather a lot, but I’m pretty sure it’s not because you’re boring. I only have to refer you to the Truck Nutz post and the banana suit video to prove that I’M RIGHT.

    “…and is working towards becoming a certified locksmith.” I’m just in love with the randomness of that statement. What? Why? Is that just his hobby? Because it seems to have NOTHING to do with everything else he does.

    Good luck on finishing the book, and good luck to your husband on his NEXT big test!

    • Jamie @ A Rough Diamond

      Is that Justin Bieber? LOLOL I don’t get it either! Now I am laughing because I think the fact that I don’t get it is funny!!!

  8. Allie

    Lockpicking always sounded like a fun hobby, until I found out that it’s illegal in so many states…

  9. Marian

    Never found one curriculum that was acceptable “as is”, at least not for more than one of my kids, who had vastly different styles and abilities. Especially stuff for the young kids. You’re right: Often boring! When they’re young, go get those measuring cups and follow the intuition and intelligence God gave you, along with the intrigue of your children! There’s a huge difference between “covering” something in school and actually learning, retaining and growing anything and, at younger ages, there’s no excuse for the former.

    • MamaTod

      Amen, Marian. You’ve nailed it, and I speak from nearly 20 years of home school experience.

      My mother-in-law once compared my “style” of homeschooling/parenting to that of a cottage garden and my sister-in-law’s style to a formal English garden. She was right, and she was also wise enough and loving enough to realize that there is plenty of room in this world for both kind and both are beautiful, just different. So next time you need a comparison, think “cottage garden”, it sounds more lovely than “Bear Grylls”. πŸ™‚

  10. Liesl

    Do people still gather around the water cooler? We don’t have one at my work! πŸ™‚

    I will have to watch that video when I get home… I feel like we have similar senses of humor, so I will probably find it hilarious. If that makes me not classy, I am totally ok with that!

  11. Liesl

    P.S. I love the Nerd picture… I totally thought it was going to be a take about Steve Jobs… but then it was about weather.

  12. Cecilia

    Om my goodness, that video is HYSTERICAL especially since I’m in the Bieber-loving age group. πŸ˜› We use Kolbe Academy when homeschool so they give a course plan that tells us what to do each day. It’s handy somtimes!

  13. Martina

    Great. Now I want bacon!! πŸ™‚

  14. Elizabeth

    That is an exciting goal in #2! Not only do you take a break from blogging, but you might learn more about how to make yourself buckle down. If you figure out how to avoid procrastination, take a break from the book and write a post about it (kidding). I would really love to learn how to do that.

    Hahaha #3 made me laugh.

    The John Paul II Life Center dinner sounds delightful! I can’t wait to read about it, if you choose to write about it!

  15. Katie @ Wellness Mama

    That video is hilarious! I also feel like I take a survivalist approach to homeschooling, but they are still young and seem to be learning well (despite) me πŸ™‚
    Have a great weekend!

  16. Inspired18

    Lol lol! Except my three month old was nursing and falling asleep…. So, I was snorting and crying holding it in. The bacon bit was where I first started laughing, and I was taken over again with “I’m hungry!!!!” hahahaha sigh. Thanks. :)))

  17. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    You know, I bet you have posted aboutt his already, I’m going to have to dig for it, but how did you make the decision to home school? What does it entail?


    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Actually, I’m not sure if I ever have written about that. Thanks for the post idea. πŸ™‚

  18. Jennifer

    I appreciate your sense of humor enough to know that if I click on that lip reading link I’ll get no housework done today. So. Not. Taking. The. Bait. But oh-so-tempted.

  19. Jennifer

    Is there a way that I can make your “7 Quick Takes” logo link folks to your blog? I want to link the picture like I can link words within a blog post. Is that possible? Or do you have a version of the logo that comes with a link? Like a blog button?

  20. Jamie @ A Rough Diamond

    Ok, I am far from classy (but I am trying!), so I read your #6 and watched the video. But I think I must be missing something. I think it is sort of funny, but in a “I don’t get the joke” kind of way. I mean, singing the word bacon alone is funny, but I must be missing something… please note this is not abnormal for me and it may strike me as funny at an inappropriate moment, such as during the Holy Holy at mass this Sunday. In that case, thanks, Jen. πŸ˜‰

  21. JC

    A friend of ours works for the JPII Life center, so my wife and I got a tour of it a couple of weeks ago. It looks like they’re doing some great things there. Have fun at the benefit dinner!

  22. Mary @ A Simple Twist of Faith

    I envy your sense of calm and confidence in home schooling. Last year I was always a nervous wreck, worrying my child wasn’t keeping up with her peers. This year she is in public school, and doi quite well. I guess I didn’t do such a bad job after all.

  23. Dwija {House Unseen}

    Oh my word, I do believe I will be the very last to link up with you today….lucky number NINETY (oy)!

    And I do so heart the bad lipreading. So, so, SO MUCH love…

  24. Jessica @ Faith Permeating Life

    Love the Bad Lip Reading videos!! Hilarious! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

    Are you familiar with “literal music videos”? They’re kind of a similar idea–the song is redone to actually sing about what’s going in the music video. The “Total Eclipse of the Heart” one had me in tears I was laughing so hard. You can find them on YouTube.

    • Smoochagator

      Oh YES! The Total Eclipse literal video had me in tears, too!

  25. Catherine

    I don’t know anyone who started out homeschooling with elaborate year-long plans (at least not ones they actually follow!). We learn on the job, just like classroom teachers do!

  26. Trisha Niermeyer Potter

    So incredibly exhausted after a long week. I’m going to go home and crawl into bed and offer my fatigue and soreness up for all mothers and caregivers. God bless and good night!

  27. Briana

    I think that about sums up my homeschooling style too. It’s been 7 yrs and eventually they learned to read, add, and a few extras. Go with what works for you. Thanks for the video links. I loved the Rick Perry one. Will definitely look up more.

  28. Stephanie

    The weather! What is it about the weather that makes me want to write and write and write about it, and force myself not to because I think “it’s just the weather.” Especially since 80% of the time it’s just gray and cloudy. And yet, like you, I could. Every day. Write about it. Crazy.

  29. Megan

    Bad Lip Reading…hilarious! Glad I just ignored #5 this week! πŸ™‚

  30. Jamie

    I love the Nerds picture hahaha. I always admire how nice it is outside and then never go out to actually enjoy it. I think I’m boring too. And internet-addicted. Eep.

    The benefit dinner sounds amazing- have a great time!

    For Love of Cupcakes

  31. Missus Wookie

    My nerd looks nothing like that nerd πŸ˜‰ He also seems to always need to be studying for another piece of paper or if not a piece of paper some other subject just because.

  32. Charlene


    I’ve been following your blog for quite awhile, but never commented before. But I laughed so hard when you described how your husband sees your style of homeschooling. I can totally relate to flipping through curriculum saying boring, boring, boring and then going and finding my own thing to do and usually the night before. I wish I could have things planned out further in advance, but it doesn’t seem to be my nature..sigh!

  33. JoAnna

    Cut two legholes in an old laundry basket, attach it to yourself with old suspenders, wear dirty clothes, and go as a basket of dirty laundry.

    Or, fashion a toga out of an old bedsheet, and tape or pin packages of ramen noodles in a “V” shape over the front. Voila, a Ramen Numeral costume. πŸ™‚

    • JoAnna

      sorry, put this comment on the wrong post… oops!

  34. Gail

    Hot Jumping Beans is my kids’ new favorite song. It’s become almost a nightly ritual around here.

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