7 Quick Takes about tax season chaos, an office makeover, and a litany for overwhelmed parents

April 10, 2015 | 16 comments

— 1 —

Happy Easter!

It is Easter, right? Over here it very much feels like I’m still in the depths of Lent, because it’s tax season and Joe is working about 35 hours per day as a CPA.

My two youngest (3 and 2) seem to have been inspired by the intense energy that comes with this season, and they’ve been bringing their A-game to make sure the chaos level is dialed up to the maximum degree, every single night. They scream, they fight, they scream some more, they take a five minute break to watch Barney (which plays on my television pretty much 24/7 at this point), and then they go back to screaming.


If I survive this tax season, I give full credit to Barney and frozen corn dogs.

— 2 —

Trying to prepare for a live national radio show is not the easiest thing in the world when you’re having these kinds of days. On Wednesday night — the night before my radio show — I felt like I had been thrown into a Felliniesque alternate universe that was filled with only the sounds of whining, crying, and a singing purple dinosaur.

Luckily, the Muse used my misfortune for inspiration, and my producer and I ended up creating a special new prayer based on my experiences these past few weeks: The Litany of the Solo Parent, done in the style of an old-school group litany at church.

If you’ve ever been stuck on solo parenting duty, this one’s for you!


(Here’s the direct link if you can’t see the player.)

— 3 —

Speaking of the radio show, my recent trip to New York was great. I always love walking through the SiriusXM offices. When you see all the different hosts and producers from all their different channels walking through the halls, it feels like you’re at an intergalactic summit from a sci-fi movie.

The timing of my trip couldn’t have been better: with just a 48-hour trip, I got to co-host Lino Rulli’s show, meet Cardinal Dolan and be on his show, and go to a live Matt Maher performance.



I got caught in a snow storm on the way out which turned my ride to the airport into a two-hour voyage, and meant that I didn’t get back home until 3 AM, but it was all worth it.


— 4 —

Lino Rulli‘s best-of podcast from that week is great to listen to: the first half is the live Matt Maher performance I attended, and the second half is me trying (and failing miserably) to teach Lino parenting skills. You can hear it here.


— 5 —

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been able to keep up with the latest from the blog world. I’d love to find some good new reads. Any recommendations for good new blogs to read? (Shameless self promotion welcome.)

— 6 —

After years of having a desk downstairs, I created a home office in the corner of my bedroom — and I hauled all the furniture from Ikea, into the house, and assembled it all myself!


I got a new desk at Ikea instead of using my existing one because all of my old office furniture is extremely heavy. One of my biggest tips for having a large family in a small house (we have eight people in three bedrooms / 1, 900 sq. ft.) is this: get light, movable furniture. You’re going to need to reconfigure your rooms every few months to re-optimize as your family grows and changes, and it makes it so much harder if your furniture is huge and unwieldy.

I use a portable room divider to separate the space so that I’m not staring at stacks of bills when I’m trying to fall asleep — and so that I don’t see my bed and end up taking a nap when I’m supposed to be getting things done. I estimate that I’m 10X more productive now that I have this office setup. I’m so glad I went to all the effort to get it done.

— 7 —

I hope your Easter season is off to a great start!


Kelly Mantoan now hosts the 7 Quick Takes link-up list at her place, so go check out other people’s 7 Quick Takes posts over there!


  1. sarah mac

    Because I’ve seen Matt Maher live before (and love his new album), Cardinal Dolan is AWESOME, and although Lino Rulli is pretty darn cool, snow in April is NOT so cool…
    I will take you up on your offer of shameless blog self-promotion… 😉
    Come check out my blog! http://www.thingsvisibleandinvisible.com
    And yes, I tweet, too… @chemgraphix

    Prayers for fortitude during the remainder of tax season! Pax!!

  2. Elisa | blissfulE

    Love these pictures! You always look terrific, Jen.
    If it makes you feel aaaaany better, we have 7 people in a 900 square foot (84sqm) 3-bedroom house in Australia. That’s why my instagram is @smallhousecatholic 🙂 The big plus is that my husband can walk to work. Your tip of light, movable furniture is a great one! We’ve also recently installed a trampoline in the back garden, which I highly recommend.

    • Katherine

      That is a lot of bodies in one small space! We just had our fourth child in our 3 bedroom house, and every night is musical beds for who sleeps where… I think we will just keep reshuffling nightly until the baby sleeps better/longer stretches.

  3. Anabelle Hazard

    I think there is a support group for CPA widows during tax season. Or there should be like twitter based Edel widowers.

  4. Jenny

    That litany legit had me lol’ing.

    And this is off topic, but that chair! Does it help with keeping your posture solid while you sit for hours on end? Core strengthening? Divulge your secrets!

  5. Anne

    LOL on the litany! Have you seen This is 40 with Paul Rudd? I can’t really recommend it except the parts where his wife catches him on the toilet with his iPad for stretches at a time. He’s playing games, surfing the web….I cackled. What a great shot with you and Cardinal Dolan! The vista behind you!

  6. Ashley

    We are moving once again and light weight furniture is a must! I must watch too many murder mysteries but I think a room dividing curtain would Creep me out!lol My subconscious must think I’m super important as it’s always looking out for assassins.

    I have a small blog: http://www.betweenthelinens.com

  7. Carolyn Astfalk

    You asked for the shameless self-promotion, so here goes: CarolynAstfalk.com/

  8. Brigid

    I just wanted to roll through to say how much I love the white lacquer furniture in your office – I splurged on a few similar pieces when I moved into a studio apartment in January, and honestly, they look so clean and help keep the whole space brighter and lighter and cleaner even though it usually like my closet imploded everywhere. (Shameful, time for a capsule wardrobe or something for me…)

  9. Tacy

    Your “intergalactic summit” comment has me cracking up over here! Sounds like a fun trip!

  10. Lisa Melnick

    I would love to give a shameless plug to my blog. I’ve been so grateful to Catholic mom bloggers recently because I’m living in a not so Catholic area and I miss my peeps … Digital connection is about all I have right now.
    I love your radio show! So fun. And of course I will offer myself for a last minute fill in if your ever desperate … A catholic mom living on a remote island in Alaska where it rains for days on end and their is no way off this island … Riveting !!!


  11. Kim

    Jennifer, I don’t know how you do it! It must be the corn dogs. 🙂 I’m a Catholic convert as well and started blogging at http://www.ourcatholicway.com. It’s geared toward educating family & friends why my husband & I became Catholic. In all of your free time, I’d be honored if you visited! 😉 (I just stepped down from doing Christian radio, so with my spare time, should you need a backup… 😉 Peace to you amidst the chaos! ~ Kim

  12. Heather

    I dig the desk set up! Here’s a link to my (very new) blog. I’m just starting out, but I thought I’d share anyway!

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