7 Quick Takes about our anniversary, Halloween, and posts you should be thankful I never wrote

October 4, 2013 | 53 comments

— 1 —

Today is our 10th anniversary! We have exciting plans: I forgot to start the crock pot recipe, so we’ll be dining on chicken nuggets and canned green beans. The Screaming Child Quartet will begin their performance around 7:00, after which we’ll take in a live gladiatorial match as the girls try to decide whether the weekend movie will be My Little Pony or Strawberry Shortcake. The evening’s entertainment will conclude with a demonstration from a young performance artist who is able to poop in the bath within five minutes of getting in, every time.

What can I say? Our lives are glamorous.

— 2 —

We really don’t have any plans other than that. We’re not exchanging gifts either. We’re in such a survival season that we consider the fact that we’re both standing after another week to be gift enough. I will say, though, that things are slowly but surely getting better. I see a faint light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just a delirium-induced hallucination.

I realized this week that the different phases of parenthood tend to fall into one of these four categories in terms of difficulty level:


For most of the time from 2009 to 2012, I was in the green box. I worked hard, but I also had regular time to relax and mentally declutter.

When my sixth pregnancy went downhillΒ at the beginning of this year, I was in the orange box, which was frustrating since I felt powerless to fight the ever-worsening chaos.

Then I was in the red box for most of this summer: every day I was working myself ragged from the moment I opened my eyes in the morning until the moment I collapsed into bed at night, and it still wasn’t enough to keep our house from falling apart at the seams.

Now I’m in the yellow box: I work myself ragged from the moment I open my eyes in the morning until the moment I collapse into bed at night…but it does keep things running smoothly!

My goal is to get to the green box.

— 3 —

I spent the day with Grace last Saturday, a subject that contains enough awesomeness to warrant its own post. But there is one thing I took away from it that’s short enough to share here: the reminder that you never know who might see the interior of your car.


A thunderstorm broke out shortly before we arrived at the hotel, and Grace’s extremely kind and generous husband, Simon, offered to park the car for me so that the kids and I didn’t have to walk in the rain. I immediately accepted the offer, but as we neared the hotel, I took stock of my vehicle:

Because we originally planned to make use of the nice pool, I’d piled swim gear and towels for all the kids into the passenger seat and floor. Since we also knew it might rain, my four girls insisted on bringing approximately five thousand items of rain gear, including rain jackets, rain boots, matching umbrellas, and I think I heard something about rain mittens. During the long drive the kids managed to tear through enough snacks and juice boxes to feed an army of sumo wrestlers, and I let them throw it all on the floor since I’d forgotten to bring trash bags and I didn’t want to be distracted while I was driving — this is all on top of the usual piles of extra diapers and papers and mismatched shoes.

I imagined Simon getting in the car, pausing to behold this rolling trash pit, and realizing that he was not entirely surprised that the woman Grace met on the internet turned out to be a hoarder.

— 4 —

So evidently there’s this great “buzzy bee” device that relieves the pain of getting a shot. Glad I found out about that after I have given myself approximately 1, 100 shots in the stomach. But it might be useful the next time the kids need to get shots, or, according to the Amazon customer images, in case I want to get a full-arm tattoo.

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 11.26.54 PM

Has anyone used this? Does it actually work?

— 5 —

I keep seeing all these amazing, creepy Halloween house decorations on Pinterest. Like this one, for example:


See, there is no way I could do that. Each time I drove up to my house and saw it covered in six-foot arachnids, it would take me a couple of seconds to register them as fake. In the meantime, there would be a 2, 000-millisecond period where I experienced the visceral terror of thinking that our infestation issues had finally gotten seriously out of control.

— 6 —

Today I was cleaning out my Evernote file of blog post ideas, and I deleted a bunch of potential topics. To give you an idea of the type of thing I spare you from, here’s a post sketch that I dashed out after I read One Thousand Gifts:

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 10.37.01 PM

— 7 —

In case I don’t have a chance to wax philosophical about our 10th anniversaryΒ due to all our exciting plans, here are a couple from the archives:


Me and Joe in October 2003. We had no idea what we were in for.

Have a great weekend!



  1. sayin' i love you

    Congratulations on your anniversary Jen!! You must have had so much fun with Grace πŸ™‚

  2. Carolyn @ 4Life4Life

    What liquor store gives out COUPONS?! That’s all I want to know.
    And congratulations on your anniversary!

  3. Nichole

    I can empathize with you about the state of your car! We have been packing up to move (tomorrow- yikes, why am I browsing the internet now??) and the living room is full of boxes and toys and everything else imaginable. We got some Mormon visitors today and I was surprised how easily I convinced them to leave, until I realized they probably saw the state my house and mostly unclothed children and ran off immediately to call CPS.

    And happy anniversary!

  4. Kristin

    Finally joined in on the fun – thanks for hosting Jen! And Happy Anniversary!

  5. Jessica Snell

    Oh, the green box! How I want to live there! I love this chart – you know that instant sense of recognition you get when you see something you’re familiar with explained in a way you’ve never seen it explained before – and then you suddenly understand it better? That’s this chart you’ve made. Love it!

    (and happy anniversary!)

  6. Meghan

    Giant spiders on houses should be banned! There was a house in Vermont that used them as year-round decorations. I’m pretty sure I always did lots of swerving on the road as I drove by, noticed GIANT spiders out of the corner of my eye, panicked a little, and then realized it was going to be okay as long as I didn’t hit a car or a tree.

  7. Gillian

    Wow, that matrix is spot on! I think I go through all 4 once a week…

  8. Smoochagator

    Okay, first you met Calah and I was very jealous. Then you meet Grace and now I am very VERY jealous. I MUST get to Austin. And St. Louis. And Ave Maria. *mental notes to bucket list*

  9. Eva

    You remembered your anniversary- surely that’s a win in itself? We had our 10 th in January and it was somewhere around 10am when my mother rang me to congratulate us when I remembered the date…

  10. Kathryn

    The buzzy bee WORKS! We used it on Luke for his pre-op labs for brain surgery earlier this summer. Not a single tear. I need to get that thing ordered on Amazon! And, happy anniversary. Glad to hear you’re inching toward the green box. Hang in there, momma.

  11. Jenny

    Thanks so much for another great 7QT’s. Happy Anniversary! I think pride is what makes me forget to turn on the crock pot. I’m feeling all domestically organized by pre-planning a meal and actually timing it to be ready before everyone is crying they are hungry…and then I realize a)I forgot to turn it on and b)I just wasted a crock pot full of food.

  12. Elizabethe

    Just like last year my husband and I both forgot our anniversary. We’re at number 8.

    Your interior designs spambot commenter up there is unintentionally hysterical.

  13. Jules @ Flow Chart to Surrender

    Happy Anniversary!

    The photo of spiders was enough to creep me out this morning. I can’t imagine it in real life. Maybe you could get huge scorpions though!

  14. Lindsay

    Happy 10th Anniversary!!!!
    We just “celebrated” our ninth on October 2. We gave eachother a high five in the kitchen that morning. That evening we celebrated our middle sons fifth birthday at an indoor playground with 11 kids aged 6 and under. That place is reminiscent of Lord of the Flies. Then while sliding down a large slide with our one and a half year old on his lap, my husband accidentally slid over the wrist of my friends son which broke his wrist. Needless to say, it was a horrible evening. Our friends have been nothing short of wonderful. My husband bought $70 worth of Pokeman cards for the little boy. We certainly won’t forget our ninth. One last thing, we ate chicken nuggets too!

  15. Allison@benotafraid

    Happy anniversary!!

    ….and man, I wish I had heard of that busy bee thing during my past few years of shot-dom!

  16. Kris

    We just had our 19th. We couldn’t muster the energy to celebrate either – 19 is a boring number! We have something big planned for next year, which also made this year that much more boring. But I sure am glad to have spent the last 19 years married to this guy!!

  17. TheresaEH

    Happy Anniversary eh!!!!!! and many more to come. I would so luv to be with you and Grace and buy the first round of drinks.
    BTW married 28 years and an empty nester.

  18. Lynne

    See, now here’s an objective viewpoint on aging that I wish someone would give to me. In your 2003 picture you look like a mere child! A baby bride! Now, though you have aged, you have a look of maturity. You have gone from the bud to the bloom. I’m not just saying that, either. You have aged well. Probably something to do with all the wine.

    I still want the post about the 1000 things. Because now I must know what Earl Camp sausage is and where to get it.

    Love the matrix! I generally feel I’m in yellow, though in reality I’m probably in green. It’s like the day you were at the spa….

    A blessed anniversary to you.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      That was short for “Earl Campbell” sausage. You need to find some and try it. It’s sooooooo good.


  19. Cristina @ Filling my Prayer Closet

    Happy Anniversary! Love the matrix. I think that is going to be helpful to get back to now and again as a self check. So I’ve printed and have it up at my desk! I’m going to self-check and see if I am actually going to make it in any given week. I’ve definitely lived in all the boxes though. If I had to make a VERY educated guess, I live in the red, yellow and orange boxes, but long for the green. That grass is definitely greener! Enjoy your fun filled evening celebration (and the poop)

  20. Stephanie

    the buzzy bee…oh the buzzy bee. I believe every hospital ER, some clinics have one of these (or they should!). It just vibrates on the kids arm and acts as a distraction for getting blood drawn, or I guess a tattoo. I think for small kids it works pretty good, but when they get older they don’t get distracted by it as much.

  21. Kit

    Congrats on your anniversary! We had a newish baby during our 10th anniversary last year (baby #4– we’re not Catholic, so to us this seems like a huge number of children, ha ha). We were unable to celebrate in a big way, or hardly any way, because of the finances and energy a new baby takes. It took me a good while to get over the idea that “10” is just a number and we could have a good anniversary celebration on a different anniversary instead of feeling like a failure because the magic number 10 was boring. I guess that’s my OCD side coming out. I like even numbers πŸ™‚

  22. Kathleen Basi

    On #5–that is EXACTLY what I thought when I saw that picture! LOL

  23. Kathleen Basi

    Oh yes–happy anniversary! Your version of your anniversary is just a little too hilariously real. πŸ™‚

  24. Kathy@9peas

    The spiders, liquor store coupons, code orange chart – I can’t stand it, and really did need a good laugh this morning since I’m running on empty right now – code orange here this week!
    Thanks for a great Quick Takes!

  25. kelly

    happy anniversary!

  26. Jen

    Happy Anniversary!

    And I love your 1000 gifts post. Made me smile πŸ™‚

  27. Considerer

    Happy anniversary. Hope you get out of the red box soon.

  28. Laura

    Happy anniversary!! And thank heaven for liquor store gift certificates πŸ™‚

  29. Carolyn @ 4Life4Life

    I just took a min and read your 5year anniversary reflection. What a beautiful testimony you both give! I had to share it on the GASP wretched Facebook. These are the things people need to read.

  30. Beth (A Mom's Life)

    Wish I had known about that buzzy bee thing. We are getting our flu shots after school and the kids don’t know it yet. Thankfully there’s a TCBY right next door!

  31. Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

    My first time joining in with the “7 Quick Takes Friday”!

    This was a lot of fun!

    God bless!

    Julie @ Connecticut Catholic Corner

  32. Michelle

    Happy Anniversary!
    The joys of parenthood!

  33. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    I LOVE that matrix – spot on! I feel the same way about creepy Halloween decorations and the inside of my car. Glad you and Grace had fun despite the rain, and happy anniversary! I hope the bath pooper holds off tonight as the perfect anniversary gift. πŸ™‚

    PS – I personally quite enjoy your list on the post that never was. I’d just add a sea salt & caramel chocolates to round out the list.

  34. Bernadette

    So even though I read your blog often I just had to comment today because…
    a. I also have an October anniversary…
    b. I’m not the only one that has a tub pooper!!!
    c. I love when bloggers meet up in real life…it helps me remember we don’t live in the matrix…
    d. The bee thing for tattoos? ‘Scuse my language, but doesn’t that make your tattoo a little less bad@$$?
    e. I really hope you combine your “pirate” and “gospel reggae” ideas for one glorious blogpost…

    Happy anniversary and thanks for being the one mom-blog that makes my husband LOL!

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      I laughed out loud at your d. Yeah. That’s true, huh?

      And e is sheer blogging genius. Why didn’t I think of that?

  35. bobbi @ revolution of love

    Happy anniversary! If you substitute ponies and shortcakes for Thomas the Train and Star Wars and “the tub” for “his underwear” we had your same celebrations last night! πŸ˜‰

  36. Annery

    Totally relate to the craziness meter and laughed out loud over the spiders on the house. I would also have that brief freak out every time I pulled up – my 8 y/o left a spider on the floor by my chair and it freaked me out two days in a row before I finally moved it!

  37. Melody

    Congratulations! Marriage is awesome. Most of our anniversaries have looked the same as yours… snug in the midst of the cozy, crazy family we’ve grown. Having said that… I’m now 17 years in and I wouldn’t argue if hubby wanted to amp it up just a bit. πŸ™‚

  38. Heidi

    Happy Anniversary! I hope ours is that way someday, too…it’s sounds so simple and family oriented. πŸ™‚

  39. Julie

    Happy anniversary! Enjoy the entertainment and the fine cuisine!

  40. KelleyAnnie @ Over the Threshold

    Thanks for sharing about the buzzy bee shot thing. I’m a nurse in a pediatric office and I will definitely be asking if anyone knows about this when I’m back to work next week. If we had a couple of them in the office it might be helpful.

  41. Nicole

    That colored box, that’s something. I’m in the orange, possibly moving into the yellow, hallelujah.

    Happy anniversary! It’s our tenth too. Kids tucked away, a bottle of red, and a movie. Pretty much perfect.

  42. Gina

    I’m a bit late, but happy anniversary!

  43. Michaela

    My dental office uses a device similar to the buzzy bee only it looks like dental equipment. I get the concept of how it’s supposed to work, and maybe it lessens the pain to a degree, but I still felt it at the dentist. not my favorite thing. The calming or secure feeling mental effect it could have for kids getting shots though could be fabulous and totally worth it!

  44. Seth

    a. Clean house
    b. Happy children
    c. Sanity

    Pick Two.

  45. Heather@MamaKnows

    Happy anniversary, Jen! 10 years – that’s beautiful. I hope you guys can get some time alone, even if it’s just Date Night At Home after the kiddos are asleep, sometime soon.
    The picture of the spiders on the house..I mean, who has the…whatever it takes for that kind of determination?! Plus, it’s so gross!!
    I love #7. Great pic!:)

  46. Teresa

    The buzzy bee rocks! My daughter has loads of medical issues so gets blood draws every 4-7 days. The bee is our lifesaver. There is one in the lab and Clare (who is 8 and has Williams syndrome) knows to ask for it every time. Clare has tried numbing cream and numbing spray but nothing works as good as the bee.

  47. Gina

    This is what comes of reading your blog last thing at night: I dreamed that I was at your house and offered free babysitting.

    (I actually WOULD do that in real life, if only Texas weren’t so far from Virginia!!)

  48. Vicki

    Happiest anniversary to you and Joe.

  49. Josee Turner

    God Bless you!

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