The quickest way to clean the downstairs is to take everything upstairs.

Nina will decide that two hours before an open house for forty people is the perfect time to make pancakes.

Every light in our house has to be on ALL THE TIME or the terrorists win.

When Matt sees a little boy sitting out in the cold rain trying to sell lemonade on a Saturday morning, he will pay $5 for a cup.

The only difference between muffins and cupcakes is icing.

The dining room ceiling will start leaking 30 minutes before I leave on a two-week business trip.

The 7-year-old who is too cool to say hi to you before services on Sunday morning will still appear at your side for a hug before she goes home.

No good can come from looking at your face in a 5x magnifying mirror.

White people really like to quote Martin Luther King, Jr.

Miles can find the cream cheese icing I have hidden behind vegetables in the refrigerator but is unable to see the huge white bag of trash in the middle of the kitchen that he’s supposed to take outside.

It is possible to shop for six hours and find no clothes you wish to buy.

Some of the most insecure kids I know are in their 40s.

Foods I would never even consider eating become completely reasonable options the moment I walk into an airport.

Always count the cards in your hand after Nina deals.

Just because there’s a box of food in our pantry doesn’t mean there’s food in the box.

It is worth every moment of making Miles’s three-layer-from-scratch-including-homemade-icing-with-a-doubled-recipe birthday cake when you see the look on his face after it’s done.

Editing is more fun with a purple glitter pen.

I can write half of a magazine article during class changes at Back to School Night.

If you interrupt me or if your responses indicate you only paid attention to half of what I said, you are training me not to talk to you.

Sometimes “Can I review the article before you publish it?” really means “Can I rewrite it and make it worse?”

Miles will still run the A/C unit in his room when it’s 67 degrees in our house.

There is no such thing as “Let’s just jump on the phone for five minutes.”

When someone warns me that I’ll be working with a “really strong woman” on something I always think two things: a) oh, so they’re going to be like a fairly strong guy and b) don’t worry about it.

Experiences are rarely as bad or as good as you think they’ll be.

Back to school shopping for a girl involves four stores, two other girls to help with clothing choices, and texting with three additional girls to coordinate first-day-of-school outfits. Back to school shopping for a boy involves a one-hour Sunday afternoon trip to Kohls after which he forgets about his purchases and leaves them in the car until Wednesday.

People believe what they want to be true.

Sometimes I’d just rather be hungry than cook.

Nina thinks I’m a lot more fun to hang out with when she’s grounded.

If I wait to feel like running, I will never run.

The title and warranty deed to my house, which I bought in 2009, will not be in my “very important papers” file, my 2009 file, my 2010 file, or my “house” file. It will be in a box from 2012 with wedding programs and a Skittles wrapper.

When I’m doing a workshop at a conference, the steps will lock themselves out of the hotel room, and then they will call me on the way to the convention center to fix it two minutes before the workshop, and then Nina will get lost, and then she will turn up at the booth of our friends asking for help because she can’t find anyone including her brother, and then they will help her find my workshop room, and then she will walk into the workshop while I’m talking, and then she and Matt will play Connect Four on his phone until the session is over and we can deposit her back at the hotel with Nyquil and goldfish crackers.

If there’s a vacation, someone will get sick.

Librarians don’t laugh when you joke about your late fees.

No matter how bad your grades are, you’ll pass eighth grade at Carl Sandburg Middle School and be celebrated at a “graduation.”

This process will take three hours.

When a teenager in your house says, “Do you want to watch TV with me?” you say, “Yes I do.”

If your license expires during the middle of the week you want to rent a car, Alamo will not let you rent a car.

A guy named Steve who runs a private car rental business will consider it.

No one at Walmart blinks an eye when your purchase is 1400 plastic Easter eggs, a six-pack of men’s underwear, and beet seeds.

The same child who complains about coming home at 10 on Saturday night will yawn throughout Sunday morning.

There is no such thing as a normal week. There is only this week.