7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 220)

June 7, 2013 | 56 comments

— 1 —

I am going to make every effort to make my post peppy and cheerful to get the weekend off to a good start! Which will be quite a feat since I had a crying breakdown in my bathroom an hour ago.

I’m okay now. It was just one of those afternoons when I had to take a moment to explain to God in no uncertain terms that I can’t — CANNOT — do this anymore, “this” meaning “juggle the demands of an extremely high-needs two-year-old, a sweet but slightly fussy newborn, and four other young children.” I know that it will get better: the baby will start sleeping better soon (notice that I didn’t say I “hope” he’ll be sleeping better soon; this is something that will happen, so say The Sleep Lady and I), and any day now my two-year-old will realize that she actually doesn’t have to react to tragedies like having her shoes put on or being offered food she doesn’t like by doing her 115-decibel scream for 10 minutes at a time. Those will be glorious days indeed. But until then, I will probably have a few more melodramatic self-pity sessions in the bathroom.

— 2 —

Well, here’s something to be cheerful about: BooMama‘s book is finally out! I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet, and it was just the breath of fresh air that I needed. I’ve been enjoying her hilarious and touching stories on her blog for years, and am thrilled that her writing is finally in book form. Also, on a selfish note, I am in love with these gorgeous ceramic measuring spoons that she was kind enough to include with the book:

I’ve actually been measuring ingredients in my recipes instead of eyeballing it just because I want an excuse to use these spoons.

Anyway, congrats to BooMama on a fabulous book, and if you’re looking for a charming and delightful summer read, put this one at the top of your list!

— 3 —

Guess what! I found my life’s calling this week. It has been made clear to me that I was put on this earth to create playlists to go with workout videos.

I had been doing the 30 Day Shredย but got tired of hearing Jillian growl “YOUR NECK IS NOT INVITED TO THIS PARTY!”, so I thought I’d listen to my own music instead. But because I am nerdy and analytical and never miss a chance to break out Excel, I turned it into an hours-long project where I carefully selected a playlist that is perfectly timed with the video. The results? Let me put it this way:

It was as if Jillian Michaels stepped into a time machine, came to June 2013 to listen to my awesome playlist, and then went back in time and created her workout to go with it. It is the very definition of perfection.

Also, having great music to listen to led to a huge improvement in my endurance: I did five whole crunches before collapsing as I screamed “This is absurd!!!!!”, and I even defied the laws of physicsย and did and entire squat (take that, haterz!)

— 4 —

I was going to avoid giving details about my first playlist since it would show you exactly what kind of songs I consider “the very definition of perfection, ” but since this is such an important subject I’ll go ahead and put it out there:

  1. Call Me Maybe / Carly Rae Jepsen (3:13)
  2. Lose Yourself / Eminem (5:22)
  3. Since U Been Gone / Kelly Clarkson (3:09)
  4. 50 Ways to Say Goodbye / Train (4:08)
  5. I Wanna Know You / Hannah Montana and David Archuleta (2:47)
  6. The Fighter / Gym Class Heroes (3:49)
  7. Miracle / Matisyahu (3:07)
  8. Litany / Matt Maher (2:15)

Here’s the whole thing on Grooveshark*ย (hat tip to the G-Unit). And for anyone who assumed that I put the Hannah Montana song on there for the kids, thank you for your misguided charity. Anyway, start it after Jillian is done with her intro, when this title screen comes up, and you’re all set.

Now, if you would like to create your own list for any reason — i.e. if you’re afraid that my list is too perfect, and you fear that the subtle profundities contained in the music of Carly Rae Jepsen might leave you frozen in awe — here are the details: you need to start with a warm-up song that’s about 3:12, end with a cool-down song that’s about 2:10, and have about 22:15 of music in between. Or you could just wait for me to create a bunch more, since this is evidently what I was meant to do with my life.

* I threw together that Grooveshark list quickly and forgot to check whether those were the clean or explicit versions in the cases of songs that had some colorful words — FYI before you blast it with the kids around.

— 5 —

What are some blogs that have good “About Me” pages? (Shameless self promotion welcome if you’re particularly proud of your own.) I have long wanted to fix up the information dump that is my bio page and am looking for inspiration.

— 6 —

Reading what I wrote in #1 reminds me of back when I had four kids under age five, and I was doing all sorts of stuff like working on the book, contributing to other books, and hosting a Kidsave child. Quite a few people told me that they were amazed that I was doing all this, implying that I had some kind of intelligence or life skills that were making this possible. I tried to explain that I was just lucky in my circumstances, but I think that people interpreted that statement to mean that I was also very humble on top of being a supermom.

But now I have proof that, no, seriously, it was just my circumstances.

Our fourth child, appropriately nicknamed “baby Joy, “ย slept through the night at two weeks, and spent the next year of her life quietly smiling. My third child, who was 18 months old when baby Joy was a newborn, was a pretty laid back toddler by Fulwiler standards. My oldest two were crazy, but had started to get a little more calm once they were preschool ages. Also, I could usually get them all to nap at the same time.

So while I certainly had my hands full, it was a manageable situation. Now that I have a somewhat-high-needs newborn and an E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y high needs toddler, there is no way that I could host a child from a foreign country or take on additional writing assignments; heck, I’m amazed that I’m able to change out of my pajamas in the morning.

It’s a good lesson in not comparing yourself to others: very often when we perceive that other people are succeeding in areas where we’re not, we underestimate how much our different circumstances are a factor.

— 7 —

Please pray like crazy for Dwija, who is pregnant and facing a grave complication. Leave her a comment to let her know that you’re thinking of her, too! I know she’d appreciate it.



  1. Mandi @ Messy Wife, Blessed Life

    I always have trouble with “about me” pages too, and I don’t think mine is very good, but I do like the “infographic” I made for mine (the actual written part is still lacking though). I used easel.ly to do it. Oh, you can check it out here: http://www.messywife.com/p/about.html

    • Melanie B

      Oh I do like your infographic. Very cute!

  2. Carolyn@4life4life

    I was JUST redoing my About Me bio today! I clicked around some of my favorite blogs for inspiration and for some reason, I like Cedars and Tiny Flower’s about me page (http://Cedarsandtinyflowers.blogspot.com/) It’s just simple and sweet.
    I love Camp Patton’s about me page.
    I really enjoy Caffenated Catholic Mama’s bio. “How do I Take My Coffee?” (http://caffeinatedcatholicmama.com/how-do-i-take-my-coffee/)

    I didn’t do mine like those at all. I just gaver the ol’ bullet points. But you seem to like bullet points, too, right? Tossed some photos in there and I’ll be leaving it alone for a while.

    Praying for you, Dwija!

  3. Maia

    Completely concur on “don’t compare”. Along similar lines, Fr. Longnecker’s post this week about how good is not enough, we need to be holy was particularly striking. We (read: me, me…I) can get so caught up in comparing the “stuff” and appearances that I neglect the Source. Good works without God are hollow – and comparison makes me too likely to add this hollowness instead of hallowness.

  4. Nichole

    My about me page is embarrassing and awful, but feel free to reference it to make yourself feel better about yours! I like Dwija’s and Calah’s about me pages.
    The “subtle profundities” of Call Me Maybe- ha ha! ๐Ÿ™‚ I remember the first time I heard that song I felt like my IQ dropped several points, but it totally grew on me and now I sing it with the kids during our impromptu dance parties in the living room.

  5. Jessica

    I really enjoyed that “Don’t Be Good” article too. Hard stuff, but true.

    I have no clue how to do “about me” pages–reminds me of those awful personal essays on college applications. I guess nowadays kids can just write #humblebrag and save everyone the trouble!

    As someone who uses Pandora exclusively because picking what music I want to listen to is just. too. much. I’m in awe of your workout mix making abilities. It’s almost inspiring me to workout myself!

  6. Kathy

    Thanks specially for no.6, i was a little low this morniing for this reason of comparing myself with somebody i know that is succeding in something i really need to get done right, so i appreciate so much that you inspired me to get over this and take back the right road. Comparison get us nowhere! And personal situations are clearly a big FACTOR!.
    About no.3 lucky you! i am still looking for my calling! hehehe, well, i wont ramble on this or i will get low again…

    I follow Dweeja too and we are praying for her and baby.

  7. Rosie

    I try to keep my About Us page updated – I think it’s pretty much us in a nutshell. But I have no idea if it’s any good! I do appreciate a good About page – it lets me know immediately whether I want to follow a blog or not!

    We are praying and praying for Dwija!!!

  8. Joy @ Caspara

    I feel terrible saying this, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has those “I can’t take this any more!” moments. Although, mine have — most recently — had to do with my family of six living for a month in a hotel room. With the stomach flu thrown in to keep things “intresting.”
    But that sort of ended this week because while we are still living out of suitcases, it’s in a place with much more space and… oh the luxury… doors! You’ve had a *really* stressful year. I hope things start to settle a little.
    I like your playlist! Share more! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Music fan

    Just a thought, but have you considered using Spotify instead of Grooveshark? That way the artists actually get something for you playing their tracks and it’s still free (unlike Grooveshark, which is making money off their hard work with ads, and all without artists’ permission!) I know this sounds like no big deal, but a lot of my friends are part-time artists and musicians and it really does makes a difference to them! Especially when I know for a fact that their stuff is on Grooveshark and they never put it there and get absolutely no compensation for it. ๐Ÿ™ Those few cents make a difference when you are funding your own releases. Please don’t support piracy.

  10. Carol@simple_catholic

    I am sorry you are going through a rough patch. Praying for you, especially today, which is the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. May He enclose you in His Heart and give you an abundance of grace!

    I’ve recently revamped the look of my website and re-writing my about page is next on my agenda. If you want an example of what “not” to do, here’s mine: http://www.simplecatholicliving.com/about-simple-catholic-living/about-me ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Joanne

    I think a so-so About Me/About Us page can always be spiced up with some fun/telling pictures. I LOVE the pictures on our about me page because the one pic for each person shows alot about that person and what is important to them and their personality.


  12. christine

    Fortunately, you redeemed your “Call Me Maybe” choice by adding “50 Ways to Say Good-bye”. Train is my favorite band ever. (Have you watched the video to that song? It has the Hof, so you know it’s funny.)
    I know those crying in the bathroom moments myself. sometimes the tears came before I could even make it to the bathroom. Circumstances have so much to do with how well we manage things. Problems come when we don’t realize it, and try to do the same things after the circumstances change. Comparing ourselves to our own selves is just as detrimental as comparing ourselves to others.
    I’ll be looking back to see what good About Me pages people list. Mine needs an overhaul, too.
    Prayers are being said for all mommas who are crying in the bathroom. Dwija in particular.

  13. Laura

    I think “Call Me Maybe” is an excellent way to start off an exercise playlist ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh, and my oldest was like your 2 year old and we finally discovered, at age 5, that artificial colors (can you say Red 40), artificial flavors and things like grapes sent her into these rages. Since her diet was pretty much a steady stream of these things, once we overhauled it, she was a delightful child.

    Prayers for you, your sanity, and for Dwija. And my about me page would put you to sleep.

  14. Jenny

    The Jillian re-mix?

    Life changing. From the bottom of my eardrums, I thank you.

  15. Valerie @ Momma in Progress

    Constructing the About Me page is THE absolute worst part of blogging. I gave up and wrote an About This Blog page instead. Cheating, sort of, and I probably should go back and write a bio, too, but I haven’t come up with one I’m happy with yet. I recall Blogging With Amy (amylynnandrews.com) having some good tips.

  16. Erica Saint

    I love the measuring spoons. I do not have an About Me page, but I love reading them. Hmmm, maybe I should write one. The playlist looks good, and way to go with your squat! They totally get easier. We are praying hard for Dwija.

  17. Michelle @ Endless Strength

    I love your playlist and that’s awesome you were able to time it out that way. you’re way smart.

    Dwija’s situation is breaking my heart. I am praying so hard for her and her family. It just doesn’t ever seem fair that people have to endure suffering like a child in danger or a child dying.

  18. Stephanie

    I wrote a 7 Takes post in the middle of the week and posted it here today. I hope that’s okay.

    Also, your point about varying baby personalities is spot on. In many ways it was harder when I had two – my second baby was constantly sick, and VERY high needs, and my oldest was only eighteen months older than his brother – than it has been to homeschool and have four children under six years old. Temperaments make a huge difference.

  19. Kathleen Basi

    We used that Train song in Jazzercise for quite a while and I liked it. I didn’t know the name of it, though, so you’ve enriched my life today! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. ceciliamaria

    Thanks for the opportunity for shameless self promotion! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have a freaking awesome bio page, if I so say so myself. Which reminds me… I need to update that thing! http://cecilia-maria.com/bio/

  21. Francine

    I love your playlist and that you took the time to time it out correctly. I’m far too lazy… which is why I’ve been avoiding Jillian and her shredding since the baby came.

    Thanks for the About Me reminder… I haven’t looked at mine in a couple months, and it probably needs updating!

  22. Katie @ NFP and Me

    I’ve been doing Jillian’s 30 day shred too (and had to stop to lay down 9 minutes in on the first day)! I’m so glad I’m not the only one annoyed by her snarky comments! The times when she’s like “There is not modified version of this! Just do it!” I will definitely be jamming to you playlist now and keep her muted!

  23. Barb

    Oh my gosh. I just LOVE reading your posts. No seriously, they’re real and they are great. 10 years ago I was in your shoes. A preemie newborn, a WILD two year old, a very sweet and quiet four year old, a sick, always in ER or Dr. office six year old who had one wish and one wish only, that being to die young either by a freak accident or an asthma attack. ( he’s still living btw, a miracle I attribute to my constant short prayers of “don’t let this kid die Lord, please?”) an eight year old and eleven year old. Oldest were girls, helpful, helpful, helpful girls. And if I could just say one thing, it would be that while I’m so proud of my big kids, I do miss those wild days. I know I have selective memory, but when I watch old videos of those sweet, darling babes, I do miss it. I do. My littles are big now. Oldest is 21 and the preemie turned 10 this week. You can do it! Ten years from now, you’ll be wondering how you managed and you’ll be happy you did it. Trust me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Susan

    YES!! Praying like crazy for Dwija!! I listen to my I-pod when I “have” to do a JM video. Totally helps my anger issues with her. Thanks for the tip on BooMama – she’s a gem!

  25. Patty

    If you want to mix up your workout, I highly recommend Ellen Barrett. She has three free videos on youtube right now (here’s one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9L-JjeIOJ8).
    I own most of her workouts on DVD too. I like her because she has fun, simple choreography that is challenging. She basically tricks you into working out hard.:) I would describe her style as a fusion of standing pilates/aerobics/simplified ballet.

  26. Sarah Joseph

    I can’t wait to read BooMama’s book either! And I just said a prayer for your sleeping! I also posted about how I’m about to go out of my mind with exhaustion. Maybe the babies are in a naughty naughty alliance with each other, using secret baby signals to communicate their desire to prevent their mamas from sleeping.

  27. Kelly

    I’m right there with you on the two year old and newborn stuff. Why does she have to have a tantrum every time I am trying to feed and get the baby to sleep? This morning it was because I took the box of bandaids away from her.

  28. LuAnne

    Okay, now I’ve checked out my “about” page, and decided that it’s not all that impressive. Clearly I needed to read your post today!

    So thanks!

  29. Rebecca

    I LOVE your taste in music! Thanks for sharing your playlist! I second the comment about checking out “Call Your Girlfriend”; I think Lennon and Maisy’s version is the best, but that might be because they’re just so cute.

  30. Charlotte (Matilda)

    Can I ask seriously what the heck is up with child #5? This one is kicking my butt too! EXTREMELY high needs is an understatement! UGH!

  31. Elizabeth @ Coppertop Kitchen

    Oh my goodness, your playlist cracks me up. I just finished 6-week 6-pack (still wondering where my 6-pack is, incidentally), and I’m starting 30 Day Shred next week. While I do enjoy the intermittent motivational things Jillian says, I could probably do without some of her fiercer growls. (My favorite from my current workout is: “I know you feel like you’re going to die right now. That is fear leaving the body.” What?)


  32. Cate

    I applaud your awesome playlist! I never cardio sans “Lose Yourself.” Also, I never run without Florence + The Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over,” and I find that Texas heat exhaustion isn’t really complete without Maroon 5’s “Harder to Breathe.” ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Hoping you get some meaningful rest soon. Hang in there!

  33. Beth

    Hi Jen,
    I don’t know you very well and I hate computers and never go to blogs (what’s a Grooveshark? What’s Excel?–actually I do know what Excel is; I was a temp once). But I also just delivered my sixth baby (5/29) and for some reason it’s really important to me to believe I can look like a human again, so I’m watching your Shred with interest. (Aside: How did you decide when you were ready to start such a tough workout postpartum?) I’m afraid I didn’t recognize any of the names of the songs on your playlist, but how do you feel about classic Motown? I’d love to see a playlist like that . . . God bless! Beth

  34. Jennifer Fitz

    Weirdly, I’m pretty happy with my About Me page. It needs a tiny update, but others than that, I’m good with it. I went for what I think is a balance between bullet-points and talking alot. And I think it tells people the things they usually want to ask. I dunno. Look and see what you think.

    (And praying – thank you so much for linking that!)

  35. Mary @ St Henry II

    I’m rather fond of my own bio page… but I’m a little biased. ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Catholic Kara

    I love those spoons! All of my measuring spoons got lost when we moved. So random.

  37. Jessica @ housewifespice

    I covet your measuring spoons and I might start doing a Shred just to try out your soundtrack.

  38. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    I love those measuring spoons, and am so impressed with your motivation to get fit! I still can’t seem to get my rear off the couch other than chasing the rugrats…

  39. Smoochagator

    I am personally VURRY VURRY proud of my new about me page. I just rewrote it a few weeks ago and it rocks my very own socks off.

    On the high-needs child thing: both of my babies have been complete and total angels – like for serious, super laid back, happy, entertain themselves, only cry when they’re REALLY wet or tired or hungry, rarely get sick, et cetera. So I am often lulled into this false sense of security, like “OMG, having kids is easy, I want like forty of them.” And then I remind myself that it is unlikely that ALL of my kiddos will be so easy to please. I also have to remind myself that no, nothing I have done produced such excellent dispositions. It is pure genetic luck combined with the grace of God. So when I get cocky about “ZOMG, having kids is easy, why do people complain???” I immediately remind myself WHOA NELLY DON’T EVEN GO THERE.

  40. Dwija {House Unseen}

    Jillian should TOTALLY pay you for this. Because who can put up with her and her most. annoying. voice. EVER? Who? No hearing person, that’s who! But look- problem solved! She owes you 23% of her empire. At least.

  41. Mamabearjd

    My third was crazy temperamental for two years ages 2-4. It was hard on all of us. One day I started asking for help from his guardian angel. I prayed that I could understand him better. It did help, as did time. Now he is so sweet that he cries at church when he sees sweet babies. There’s hope.

  42. Emily B

    SHAMELESS Self Promotion here we go!
    Although it is not completely self promotion because my blog is really written by other women, anonymous contributors, sharing their stories about living, and sometimes struggling with living, the Catholic faith.

    My ulterior motive is to get you to check out the website and possibly share it with your readers.

    Also, praying for you. I once tearfully resigned as mother. Felt guilty about it for many years and recently asked my now 18 year old son about it. He has no recollection at all. Thank you Lord! PHEW!

  43. Becky

    I have to say: sometimes crying really helps. It is a gift. Appreciate it, don’t scorn it, don’t try to suppress it. Going into the bathroom to cry is not necessarily suppressing it. Some gifts are more appropriate in private, like other things we do in the bathroom.

  44. Kerri

    I don’t know that my “About Me” page is all that creative, but I like it. It’s pretty simple, but says what it needs to. I called it “Who Am I?” and it’s linked up at the top of my blog.

  45. Abby

    I’ve been reading (and loving) your blog for a while and I’m finally “making my presence known”! ๐Ÿ™‚ I just have to say that the fact that you’re even finding time to blog with a newborn in the house, let alone five other children, is amazing. You must be doing something right!

  46. Beth

    I’m a 30-Day Shred vet of sorts — I haven’t done it in months, but I made it all the way to Level 3, like, two pregnancies ago! — and I too found the need to put Jillian on mute (got tired of the kids asking me to clarify: “Did she just say ‘a$$’?”). Instead I used my workout time to catch up on podcasts like “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” and once in a while an audio book. (I don’t recommend Tina Fey’s “Bossypants” — I was laughing too hard to focus on exercise.) I used earbuds because not all content was kid-friendly. Just an idea if you need a break from your playlist!

    Really love your blog, and have been keeping you in my prayers. Keep up the great writing!

  47. Jeni Wilmot

    I completely 100% loved you BEFORE you shared this playlist but now I’m just in total awe of your amazingness.

    Seriously I’ve been doing the Shred on mute.

    Thank you.

    Thank you.

    Thank you.

    Please make more. I’m so excited to try this during nap time today. Yey!

  48. Lone Star

    You can get out of your pajamas before 5 p.m.? Even before noon? You’re my hero! I couldn’t do that with ONE baby!

    And the crying spells – sometimes a woman just needs a good cry, and sometimes for NO apparent reason. I try not to have my good cries when my husband is around because he wants to know what’s wrong? what can he do? and he cannot deal with the answer being “Nothing” to both of those questions.

  49. Bethany

    I enjoy your quick takes every Friday! Just this week, though, I had an opportunity to think about you and feel like I had unwillingly joined your elite club of women that are stalked by scorpions. I also live near Austin, TX. The other night, while kneeling by my daughter’s bed in the dark, I began to experience burning in my ankle. After trying to ignore it for a moment, I made a run toward the kitchen while madly ripping off my pants as the pain spread up my leg. My husband found a 2″ long scorpion in my pants while I screamed in the other room! Thankfully, I discovered the burning lasts only a few hours and I’m not allergic… Hope the fact that I lived through that gives you a glimmer of hope. ๐Ÿ™‚

  50. Margaret in MN

    Didn’t expect that f-bomb in the middle of Eminem’s song but yeah, I probably should have. (The 10-year-old on the couch didn’t even look up from her book so it’s all good. Well, it’s not ALL good but I’ve got some time, anyway, before that word’s on her radar.)

    Still. I love the idea of a Shred playlist and am infinitely grateful you took the time to make one–INFINITELY, Jen, which tells you just how much that Jillian techno-pop annoys me.

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