7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 224)

July 12, 2013 | 63 comments

— 1 —

Hopefully, when you read this I’ll be down at the Capitol wearing blue for #stand4life…but, due to a combination of car issues and childcare constraints and fatigue, I’ll probably be sitting on the couch and watching the children fight over the television instead. This might work out well, though. If I stay here and offer it all up for the cause, the bill should breeze right on through the Senate.

UPDATE: Looks like I can make it! I’ll be doing live updates on Twitter!

— 2 —

One way we’ve been passing the long summer days is by playing Spot It (by “we” I mean “the kids play and I go hide somewhere in a desperate attempt to get a moment’s peace). I told Joe about all the fun the kids were having with the game, and the following conversation ensued:

Me: What I love about the game is that it’s so simple: Each player gets a card with little symbols on it. Then you turn over another card in the center of the table, and everyone looks to see if any of the symbols on their cards match the symbols on the master card. When you find a match, you yell “Spot it!” and you win that round.

Joe: So it seems like the dominant strategy there is just to yell “Spot it!” immediately as soon as the master card is turned over.

Me: What if you don’t have a matching symbol?

Joe: You just say you must have been mistaken.

Me: Umm…I think the designers assumed that you wouldn’t be playing the game with bad people.

Hopefully none of the kids inherited his lawyer genes, otherwise what was once a fun card game will degenerate into a contest to see who can scream “SPOT IT!” faster and louder than anyone else.

— 3 —

You know the Myers-Briggs personality types? We desperately need to come up with a system for categorizing your sleep personality type. What made me think of that? Glad you asked.

The other day I made the mistake of following the terrible-for-me advice to “sleep when the baby sleeps.” I managed to get the baby to take a nap while our two-year-old was also sleeping, and I thought I’d do the responsible thing and take a nap myself. ALAS, I forgot to factor in the fact that it typically takes me 30 – 45 minutes to fall asleep, even when I’m exhausted. I finally drifted off, and then, of course, eleven seconds after I fell into a deep sleep, the baby started crying. Long story short, that time would have been far better spent writing a blog post or wasting time on Twitter or doing pretty much anything but trying to sleep.

Inspired by this situation, I’ve come up with four dichotomies, a la Myers-Briggs:

Falls asleep easily (E)(T) Has trouble falling asleep
Stays asleep well (S)(W) Tends to wake up throughout the night
Morning person (M)(N) Night person
Doesn’t deal with lack of sleep well (L)(D) Can deal with lack of sleep pretty well

I am a TSND…which means that it’s usually better for me to forget about naps, tough it out until the evening, and just make up for lost sleep the next night. What’s your sleep personality?

— 4 —

Yaya sent the following letter to her entire email contact list earlier this week after I sent out the book:

Dear friend, I just want you and the world to know my daughter-in-law Jennifer, mother of 6 kids under the age of 9 – beautiful children – has written a book and that book is now in the hands of the publisher. It should it the stores on or about January of 2014. Feel free to tell everyone you know and even the ones you don’t know. Writing a book is more involved than a typewriter and paper – it is a family affair. Jen (bless her heart) has been writing this book and having babies for the past 6/7 years.

The reason for this email is to inform all the friends, neighbors, family and keep you updated on the progress of the book. So many have been with us since day 1 now we are at the finish line.

luv ya


You know how I was talking about re-doing my About Me page recently? I think I have a new official bio: “Jen (bless her heart) has been writing this book and having babies for the past 6/7 years.” Yup. That pretty much says it all.

— 5 —

Has anyone ever written a book that’s just about comma use? I moved around a few times during late elementary school and junior high, and the upshot was that I was never formally taught grammar and punctuation — it was taught at one school the year after I left, and taught at the next school the year before I got there. I think I’ve mostly figured it out, except for commas. For example, does the following sentence need a comma at the beginning? If so, why?

The day after we got home, I began to clean the house.

Grammar people, it’s all you.

— 6 —

My dad used to live in Abu Dhabi, and he still keeps up with the goings on over there through friends and local news websites. He sent me this article about Ramadan the other day, and I just about passed out thinking about it: the people over there can’t eat OR DRINK from 4:16 AM until 8:44 PM, and the temperatures have been over 120 F (50 C). (My dad used to stay off the roads around the time the fast ended, since people would be driving around in blind panics to get to restaurants.) I need to remember that next time I find giving up sugar in my coffee to be just too much of a challenge for Lent.

— 7 —

Congratulations to Bonnie, who delivered a beautiful 11-pound-7-ounce (!!!) baby boy after a stressful pregnancy yesterday. Indeed, she does deserve a little rum.

Happy weekend, everyone!



  1. Melody

    Hi! #3 – What is your actual Myers-Briggs? I am an INTP and I suspect you are somewhere in the same ballpark…but maybe a J? #5 – If there is only one prepositional phrase at the beginning of the sentence, you do not need a comma; if there are two or more, you do. (I only know this because I used to be an editor and we actually looked up that question at least once! Oh, and I may or may not be a total grammar nerd….)

  2. Jeni

    Why I’m your classic EWNL.

    I love this by the way.

    So looking forward to your #stand4life tweets tomorrow!!!

  3. Rebekka

    Here in Denmark, where we have really long days during the summer, one of my Muslim colleagues gets up at 2 am to eat breakfast, and then doesn’t eat or drink until 10pm.

  4. Karyn

    Jen, I am an E (as long as I read for a while before trying to sleep), S, A (Ideally, up early and up late, with a three hour nap in the afternoon), L
    As for grammar, it’s always been more intuitive for me. The comma looks right and sounds right when I read it aloud. You may want to check out “Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Why Commas Really Do Make a Difference” http://www.amazon.com/Eats-Shoots-Leaves-Commas-Difference/dp/0399244913/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373606683&sr=1-2&keywords=eats+shoots+and+leaves

  5. Beth Anne

    I LOVE the Myers-Briggs sleeping test. I am also a TSND! I totally feel you on grammar usage. I still struggle with a lot of the grammar rules. I feel like I was taught it in school but at the same time I wasn’t. I still get a lot of the their’s and yours mixed up. Somedays I’m shocked it hasn’t scared away blog readers.

    #6-I know that is sooo crazy! I can’t imagine it being that hot and not drinking for over 12 hours…that is true discipline!

  6. Jeni

    Also… an introductory comma? No? I may know if it belongs, but it’s 1:30 in the morning so my limited grammar knowledge is further hindered by my need for sleep (the L in EWNL of course).

  7. Jessica

    The sleep personality is genius, and I think could solve husband-wife sleep compatibility problems, too. I’m an ESND so I take naps with the baby. My husband is the opposite: it takes him FOREVER to fall asleep AND he’s a light sleeper. I annoy him often.

    Grammar question: I can’t explain it but I thought because “I began to clean the house the day after we got home.” doesn’t need a comma, flipping it does. Melody’s explanation is way more professional, though.

  8. Meghan

    Your new bio made me lol so bad. I support the use of that phrase 100%! Just think of all the joy you could bring to people with one simple sentence(:

  9. Kara

    I’m TSND, too. I think my husband is the opposite.

    11lb7oz??? My babies have never even broken 7 lbs! I’m always in awe of big babies. Tho, since I’m finally having a boy this time, I’m hoping he’ll show his sisters how it’s done and at least be a 7 pounder.

    Commas are hard for me too. I’d love to know the answer. I’ve been able to teach myself certain grammatical lessons via the Internet, but commas are never something I can figure out.

  10. Nzie

    Use the comma! 🙂 It’s customary for introductory phrases/clauses, although it can be left out for one or two word phrases. I think the comma reflects both a slight pause in speaking and the shifted order (it’s clearer if you put the phrase modifying the time of the verb after the verb – “I began to clean the house the day after we got home”).

    I’ve heard about Eats, Shoots, & Leaves, and I’m interested, but there are some differences in punctuation conventions between British and American English and some commenters have mentioned it in reviews.

    Best of luck at the state house and stay safe.


  11. Nzie

    Back again because I found a page on a site that may be useful. I don’t know if it was that you moved around or not, because I don’t think I was taught grammar particularly well in grade school (and mostly learned a lot through taking Latin). But I would have told my English students to put that comma in – except that they were all Russian, and in Russian you put commas between every single clause, so I was usually taking commas out of their writing. 🙂



  12. Nicky Rothmann

    Love love LOVE Yaya!

  13. Lizzie

    Oh my goodness, I love Yaya’s email so much! What an amazing mother in law you have.
    God bless you

  14. Ann-Marie

    I am a TWNL. Nothing drives me as crazy as when my husband gets in bed, and while leaning back to his pillow falls asleep. This is after I have been vainly trying to fall asleep for 45 minutes. Argh! And yes, I agree with the just roughing it out until the evening. I think I will turn off the early alarm for tomorrow.

  15. Juliana

    TWNL here; I’m pretty much a hot mess when it comes to sleep.

  16. LPatter

    ESNL – love it!

    My combo means its way too tempting to stay up too late thinking its nbd because I’ll go right to sleep and I can sleep “whenever I want” except for that I have 2 young kids thing and I am a terrible person when I dont get aenough sleep. The N means my husband who is a very balanced midday person is yelling a sleepy “Lauuuuuuuur?” from the bed when I start reading blogs at 11:57 pm and stay up wayyyy later than I should!

    🙂 Happy Friday!

  17. Britt

    TWML. It’s really weird. You’d think the first two would inform the third, but nooo…after about 2 minutes of grogginess, I am UP, and then later in the day get progressively cranky. My poor potential future husband.

  18. suzanne

    For the grammar-an introductory clause of four words or less can have a comma or not as you like. Five or more words needs a comma.

  19. Amelia

    I’m EWML. My husband is a WSND…so yeah..we’re pretty much opposites.

  20. Kris

    TWML over here. And thankful that my nursing baby, waking up in the night toddler stage is behind me. All my people are great sleepers and only my youngest still makes the very occasional foray into our bedroom in the middle of the night. Now, if I could just figure out how to keep my husband from snoring (aka breathing!) in the night, we’d be all good.

  21. Seth

    The sentence needs a comma because the first part, “The day after we got home” is a subordinate/dependent clause. It’s waiting to be fulfilled with more meaning. It can’t stand alone unless it was simply an answer to someone’s question about when something happened. The second part of the example sentence, “I began to clean the house” is the independent clause that is capable of standing on its own as a complete sentence.

    When I read Jen’s blog, I began to laugh hysterically. <—-another fine example!

  22. Wanda

    Jen, I received a FB message from Abby Johnson who is the PP worker turned pro life. You may be familiar with her endless work for the unborn. She has received information that the pro- abort people have been instructed to do anything to create chaos at the Capitol today and the goal should be to get arrested. Such a sickening thought! They are asking people not to bring their children .

    I will be glad when this vote is over! My daughter at the Capitol has been so stressed. The Govenor has worked to keep them physically safe.

    Stay safe and pray for life!

  23. Rita @ Open Window

    I love the sleep personality test! I am an ESND and I can’t nap either. It throws me off completely. An 11 pound, 7 ounce baby? Really? WOW!

  24. Megan

    Hahaha, #4…
    Can we come up with a category for “doesn’t do lack of sleep, early mornings OR late nights?” Or does that just fall into the hibernation category?

    Go Texas!

  25. Barbara

    I don’t know what I am because my children have forced me to be different than my body would prefer. I do know I stink at the lack of sleep game and my children have also decided summer is the PERFECT time to come sleep in our bed. Under me. And the covers. I need a nap.

  26. Marcy K.

    Your sleep deprivation reminds me of a Mythbusters I finally got to watch recently. They did a “Crabtastic” special, where they did myths associated with the show “Deadliest Catch”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5cz1hnMpdE or probably Netflix. One myth was whether it was better to go 30 hours straight with no sleep or take a 20 minute catnap every 20 minutes during the 30 hours. They had to dodge flying crabpots, find course headings, size crabs among other tests. Not nearly as dangerous as trying to go down stairs with an annoyed toddler, changing diapers on a baby that doesn’t want it, or dodge little toys on the floor. The catnaps won handily.

  27. Deanna

    The problem with comma usage is that the rules change unlike other grammar rules which seem to not change! I say no comma and I was an English teacher.

  28. Marcie

    Re: the punctuation issue-I have the same problem! I recently purchased the Jensen series (Jensen’s Grammar, Jensen’s Format Writing, etc.) for my rising high school homeschoolers and discovered that Jensen’s Punctuation is all about comma usage. I may have to order a copy for myself!

  29. Kathlen

    #3: I am either a TSND or an ESND, depending on whether we’re talking about daytime or nighttime. I fall asleep easily at night, but I simply cannot nap, unless I’m deathly ill. I just never fall asleep unless it’s bedtime (or unless I’m in a moving vehicle, in which case I’m out like a light).

    #5: No, because you never start a sentence with a comma? 😉

    Obviously I know what you were asking, and I think that’s one of the more ambiguous situations. I am quite fond of commas, though, and use them more than many other people (as long as they’re not incorrect!), so I would definitely use one in that sentence.

  30. allysha

    I second Eats, Shoots & Leaves. It’s hilarious.

  31. Heather

    The first book that came to mind was, ‘Eats, Shoots, and Leaves,’ as mentioned above. I also remember reading one called ‘Commas are our Friends,’ in junior high. It looks like you can find used copies places. Congratulations on the book!

  32. mary

    I don’t commas either (or any grammar for that matter)! I almost didn’t start a blog because of it. I, apparently, was busy taking ‘Advance Science Fiction’ in high school, rather than your basic English class that teaches one how to write! SCORE!!!

  33. Teresa Carstens

    We also play Spot It but in our version it’s whoever grabs the card first. After a glass or two of wine this ends up being a great game to play when you have friends over for dinner.

  34. Julie

    We have spot it. We call out the matching item ie spider web, snowman, etc.

  35. Kelly

    TWML which I feel is worthless when it comes to sleep. can’t stay asleep, can’t fall asleep, can’t deal with lack of sleep well…..

  36. el-e-e

    Love your new sleep types – I’m an EWML. And congrats again about the book!

  37. Amy

    I totally agree about the naps. I too am a TSND, which is why I almost never take naps. I can’t settle down enough when I try to take a nap. I keep thinking of all the other things I could be doing while my children are sleeping.

    I cannot wait until your book comes out!! January??? I know what my book club is reading in January.

  38. Kris, in New England

    TSML here; my husband would be an ESMD which can be – annoying. I’m just a delicate flower where he is a mighty oak. To the comma question have you ever seen this gem:

    Let’s eat grandpa.
    Let’s eat, grandpa.

    The importance of the comma – revealed. 🙂

  39. Emily B

    I”m and ESML that predictably doesn’t deal well with being woken during the night….particularly if I am woken during those first 4 hours of sleep.

    Gotta love YaYa

  40. Catherine

    I’m a TWML–used to be able to deal with lack of sleep a lot better but get worse with every year. I’m so glad you’re able to be at the Capitol today, and congratulations on your book!!!!

  41. Barbara C.

    #3 is the most awesome thing I have ever seen in my life. I am definitely TWL, but I’m more in-between M & N, veering more towards M. Waking up before 7:30 am is obscene; 8:30 is much more reasonable. Going to bed after midnight is obscene; 11:00 is much more reasonable.

    I recommend the book Eats, Shoots, and Leaves for grammar.

  42. Jessica

    Every time I read your blog I wish we lived closer and could be friends in real life!! I feel like my head is going to fall off from simultaneously laughing and nodding along in commiseration. Loved #4 and #5! Jen (bless her)… hilarious! My husband loves to ruin fun innocent children by teaching them annoying games like the Shadow game and how to cheat at tic tac toe.

    Oh and I’m TSMD all the way!

  43. Gina

    Bless you for standing for life!

    I love your new MB sleep system! I’m a TSNL!

  44. micaela @ California to Korea

    I’m an ESND! That’s dunny and clever of you to come up with that system.

    Yaya is hilarious. And accurate!


  45. Joni

    You don’t need a comma in that sentence.

  46. TheReluctantWidow

    I am an EWNL. I fall asleep easily but wake up most nights by 2am even if I go to sleep at 12:30am. My mind tends to get active then and it takes me a while to shut it down. Then at 4-ish (at least 2 nights per week) I have a visitor to my room who says they had a bad dream and can they sleep with me. They then proceed to wake up at 6:30am and ask to use my iPad. I grumpily agree because I am NOT a morning person. Then I have a parade of three other children that come in to a) complain that they were supposed to go first on the iPad, or b) the person on the iPad has had too much time. I get grumpier and grumpier until I finally get out of bed at 7:30am having given up the idea of any more sleep. Afternoon power naps have become my friend.

  47. ~ Nona

    “I began to clean the house the day after we got home” is easier to read than “The day after we got home, I began to clean the house” — with or without a comma.

    In other words, I’d transpose the words. The sentence is “clunky” otherwise — and neither the addition (nor omission) of a comma eliminates the “clunkiness” IMHO.

  48. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    I’m an ESML: My body clearly loves its sleep and doesn’t deal well when it is lacking…like it is right now…as I lie awake with a 2yo that thinks it is, “time to go downstairs and eat waffles!”

    And, I’m going to dork out on you right now: if you don’t get a response for your comma question, let me know. I am a former hs English teacher, so I am all about grammar and punctuation. I can school you real good-like. I have tons of handouts and files I can send too!

  49. Michelle

    I have a graphic tee-shirt you’d appreciate that juxtaposes the following two phrases: Let’s Eat Kids! and Let’s Eat, Kids! Punchline: Punctuation Saves Lives.

    • elizabethe

      Thank you for this. It may help me.

      I have an entire shelf of grammar books (and I’ve read them!) and simply cannot absorb the rules in anyway because it just becomes lists and lists of meaningless nonsense.

  50. Kerri

    I think I’d also be a TSND. My husband,who is probably a ESML, agrees.

  51. Beth

    Jen, DID BONNIE’S PREGNANCY REALLY ONLY LAST ONE DAY!? Only picking on you because of the comma question. The way the sentence is written, it sounds like her traumatic pregnancy was yesterday…instead of delivering a healthy baby yesterday.

    I also stink at grammar but I think your sample sentence is better with one. How’s that for non-commital?

  52. elizabethe

    If you really want to screw up your understanding of commas, read a lot of 17th and 18th century writing. They wrote very looooooong sentences with lots and lots of commas sometimes, it seems, inserted for no reason.

    I have no idea how to use commas. I usually write several pages and then remove two out of every three randomly and that seems to be mostly accurate.

  53. elizabethe

    I am an ESNL — and the main factor in that is the N-M continuum. I hate hate hate hate hate waking up and I have about two hours of mental fog every morning where I just basically throw food at and then ignore the children and stare off into space/browse the internet.

    I hate that I have to get up in the morning. My husband stays up late working sometimes and I resent him so much that he can just lay there sleeping while I have to get up with the kids. I would GLADLY stay up until 1 in the morning working or doing any number of unpleasant things if I got to sleep in and wake up naturally and be alone for the first hour of the morning.

  54. Jen E @ mommablogsalot

    I’m a TWND aka exhausted for half of my life but somehow surviving anyway lol

  55. Ronna

    So, what tips would you have for an ESNL?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      I’m thinking that one of my posts next week might be about that. Stay tuned. 🙂

  56. Jean

    Eats shoots and leaves is wonderful and so funny. You’d love it Jen.

  57. Amy B

    Just had to take a moment to say that the Sleep Personality sorter is BRILLIANT. I wish there was a personality sorter for everything. Because I am obsessed with sorting and labelling. The Myers-Briggs is my love language.

    By the way, I am an ESMD – but I am a borderline M/N. I hate waking up to an alarm, but once I am up, I am good to go pretty quickly. And I like staying up late, but then once I am in bed I am like “why didn’t I do this sooner??? I love bed!”

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