Monday, November 9, 2015


I have six kids. (What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time.) And although my days are hectic, there’s a never-ending pile of laundry, and I don’t always remember my kids’ names, there are also many benefits to having a large family. I asked my kids (aged 9 – 20) to share the best things about being part of a big family. Here’s what they had to say:


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

21 Signs That Parenting Has Made You Lose Your Damn Mind

My friends and I used to be cool. We used to do fun things. Now, we spend our days wondering what happened to us and how we went from intelligent adults to crazy people who spend their time bribing their kids to go potty, eat something more than ketchup and Goldfish crackers for days on end, and pleading with them to stop taking selfies of their belly buttons on our phones.

Every parent I know would agree that having children has given their lives meaning, a sense of fulfillment, and a kind of joy previously unimagined. We love our children. We love caring for them. We love watching them grow. Yet, at the same time, we realize that parenting has made us crazy.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How About a Small Tiara?

I have an irrational perfectly appropriate fear of the dentist. To that end, I try to avoid the him at all costs. I mean, I don't dislike my dentist as a person. If I saw him at oh say, the grocery store, for example, I wouldn't duck around the aisle and try to dodge him or anything. Then again, he probably doesn't walk around the grocery store with a drill or a 3-foot syringe. But in his office . . . well, I kind of hate him there. I picture Steve Martin dancing around in The Little Shop of Horrors every time I see him.

And just thinking about going to the dentist makes me react like this . . .

Or this . . .


Or even this . . .

But when a filling fell out, I couldn't put it off any longer. Actually, I did put it off for 4 weeks a little while. But when my tooth started hurting, I decided I needed to pay my dentist a little visit. By the time I got to the office, my palms were sweating, I was hyperventilating, and trying to think up plausible reasons why I couldn't keep my appointment today. By the time the dentist called me back, the only excuse I'd come up with was, "I'm sorry, but I can't keep my appointment because see . . . the problem here is that, . . . my little brother, this morning, got his arm caught in the microwave, and uh . . . my grandmother dropped acid and she freaked out, and hijacked a school bus full of . . . penguins, so it's kind of a family crisis . . . so I'll come back later, okay?"

I didn't think it would work. 

Back in the chair, the dentist took some xrays. I don't know why, but I can't handle that stupid little cardboard thing in my mouth. I gag. A lot. The xrays come out blurry. They need to be taken again. I gag again. The process repeats. The dentist throws up his hands and decides that xrays are overrated. He looks in my mouth and tells me I need a crown. After he told me the price of a crown, I suggested a small tiara instead. Apparently that's not an option. Thankfully, a payment plan that alleviates my immediate pain and earns me a crown upon my final payment is an option.

He gives me a shot of novocaine and walks away while I attempt to relax. I think to myself that I should probably find a dentist who will knock me out. Or maybe I should drink heavily before future appointments. Maybe I should just let all my teeth rot out of my head. How bad could it be subsisting on a liquid diet for the rest of my life? I need to lose weight anyway; I think it could work.

My dentist returns and asks me if I'm numb. As usual, I'm not. This concerns me a lot because A. If I'm not numb, I'll feel it when he drills, and B. I'LL FEEL IT WHEN HE DRILLS!

He gives me a second shot and leaves again. When he returns several minutes later, he confidently says, "Your tongue should be pretty numb by now, huh?"

"No, it isn't numb at all!" I counter, worried that he'll start working while I can still feel everything.

"How about your lip. Half of your lips are numb, right?"

"No! My cheek is slightly tingly, but I'm not numb! Do I look numb? I'm not numb! Look! I'm smiling. Does my face look weird? Does it look droopy like I just had a stroke?" I asked, only slightly maniacal. "If I was numb, I'd look weird. I'm not numb!"

He poked around in my mouth a little and seemed surprised that I could still feel everything, so . . . he gave me a third shot of novocaine.

Finally, I get numb and he starts drilling. I try to practice deep, slow breathing. I make a conscious effort to relax my muscles, but it only lasts a few seconds until my shoulders are up by ears, my fingernails are digging into my palms, and my butt cheeks are clenched so tightly that I'm literally raised about 6 inches out of the chair. This went on for a while until my brain told me, "Ummm, there are a few too many things in your mouth here. Something needs to be removed or I'm going to send a signal to your stomach to puke."

I gagged. The dentist and his assistant jumped back immediately. "Are you okay?" he asked, concerned about getting my vomit on his new shoes.

"I'm okay, but my brain has informed me that 2 pairs of hands, a drill, a mirror, a sucky thing, a plastic jack to hold my mouth open, and those tampon-looking cotton things are at least one too many items to be in my mouth at once. I'm sorry, but something has to go."

Not wanting to be on the receiving end of the product of my gagging, the dentist removed the little jack and the sucky thing, then continued. Until lightning exploded in my tooth and traveled through my nerves to every corner of my body. I reacted like this . . .

That reaction earned me my fourth shot of novocaine. I'll spare you the agonizing details of the next hour or so. There was a lot of drilling and butt clenching (seriously, Jillian Michaels couldn't conceive of a better butt workout) interspersed with copious amounts of gagging. When the dentist finally stopped drilling, his assistant put dozens of different foul tasting concoctions in my mouth. Why does everything taste like a cross between an ashtray, butt sweat, and raw sewage? How hard could it be to flavor those compounds with peppermint or cinnamon or really anything that's a step above butt sweat? And for those of you wondering (there are always those who wonder) no, I've never tasted butt sweat. I just know it probably tastes like the nasty junk they put on my tooth.

Finally, the most diabolical thing happened. The dental assistant took her ice pick and started shoving a string soaked in gasoline down between my tooth and gum. It was agonizingly painful. I guess I was still supposed to be numb. Enter novocaine shot #5 which adequately numbed me so that she could finish her evil mission of shoving that stupid string down in my gums. 

After biting down on some combination of gum, Play-Doh, and Silly Putty to take an impression of what was left of my tooth, and getting a temporary crown glued on, they let me leave. 2 1/2 hours after they started. 

When I got out to my car, I looked in the mirror to get a glance of my new "tooth." Instead, I discovered that mascara had run down my cheeks while I was crying, all traces of makeup had been drooled off my chin, and I had some sizable chunks of cement stuck to my lips and cheek. Pretty.

And that is why I hate going to the dentist. Time for me to go take 20 more Advil now.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

My Guilty Pleasure on Netflix

Know who loves The Office? This guy! Or gal. Me! I love The Office! In my humble (but always correct) opinion, it is the funniest sitcom to ever grace the airwaves.

Here are just a few reasons why you should binge watch every episode of all 9 seasons on Netflix, and when you finish, repeat at least 5 times. Because who hasn't worked with these guys at one time or another? (Yes, I know they work at a paper company, but I adapted this to where I work - a middle school.)

 When you thought it was Friday, but just found out it's only Thursday.

 When your coworker actually manages to do their job for once.

Every other day when your coworker just takes up space.

What you fantasize about doing to your coworker every time she opens her mouth.

When your students all turn in their homework. On time.

When you remember that Friday is a no-work holiday!

 When your students come in after a lunch of sugar-coated sugar.

While explaining the latest management directive video.

When your students walk in to your class directly after PE and either smell like sweat or Axe (I'm not sure which is worse.)

 When a parent calls for you. "I'm not here! I'm not here!"

When you find out the state says you need to collect even more data.

Please tell me all about how your child is a precious flower who shouldn't have to follow the rules that everyone else adheres to.

When you're watching a district-made video that talks down to you like you're a 4-year-old instead of an educated person entrusted to teaching our nation's youth.

When you run into a student at the store.

When a student finally gets what you've been teaching for the past 3 weeks.

That one teacher who runs all her classes like this.

When you hear your student's excuse for not turning in their homework.

Those Friday afternoons when you're like - Did this week actually just happen?

And those are just a few of the reasons why you need to watch The Office on Netflix. If you do, you'll understand me when I say, "Bears, beats, Battlestar Galactica!"


Sunday, October 4, 2015

My Cooper Tire Ride and Drive Experience

Check it out! I have a personalized video from my time at the Cooper Tire Ride and Drive event this summer! So cool! It's like I'm starring in a commercial! (Yeah, it doesn't take much to impress me!) See it here - Dawn's personalized video!

And here's an even better one featuring all the parenting bloggers who attended! See the blogger video here!

Where in the World is Dawn Meehan?

Because so many people have recently asked . . .

I haven't written about my life in a long time because, well, my life kinda sucks right now. I prefer to stick to humor and no matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to find the humor these days. I feel like Dan Akroyd in Trading Places. Not that a life of luxury and privilege was taken from me, but still, it's tough going from a place of relative comfort to one below the poverty line.


I'm confident things will work out somehow. They always do. But while my kids and I are still facing eviction, it's hard to think of anything to write (anything that people would want to read anyway.)

So yeah, that's why I've been missing in action lately.

I had been working on my Single Moms Survival Guide this summer. In fact, I had about 30,000 words written. Then my agent crushed my soul when she told me she wouldn't be able to sell it. So I stopped. Even though I'd been excited about it while I was writing, I now think it stinks.

I did, however pick up the fiction piece I'd started some time ago. Somehow I'm finding it very easy to escape reality in the pages of my make-believe world. I think I'll participate in NaNoWriMo and finish it up. Even if my agent isn't interested in it, I will self-publish because unlike most of the stuff I write these days, it doesn't suck. In fact, I think it's good (and I only think 10% of what I write is good so that's saying a lot!) I think I finally figured out what I was doing wrong. You're supposed to write drunk and edit sober, not the other way around.  ;)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

If Full House Were On Air Today

My family hasn’t had cable TV in years. It was just not something I was willing or able to pay for, especially when we’re rarely even around to watch it. And honestly, I’d rather stab myself in the eye than to watch reality TV. I have enough reality in my own life; I don’t need to watch anyone else’s drama.

I know I sound old, but I don’t understand the kind of stuff that’s on TV these days. Back in the good ole days, there were shows that were family-friendly and taught a lesson. Like The Brady Bunch, Growing Pains, Little House on the Prairie, The Wonder Years, and Full House to name a few.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dessert Hack: Piña Colada "Cake" Pops

Confession: I really love cake pops. I mean, what’s not to love, right? They’re bite sized, chocolate-covered pieces of cake! Delicious.

Although I love eating cake pops, I have to admit, I’m less fond of making them, mainly because they’re time-consuming, and it’s difficult to make them look pretty and smooth. Mine, more often than not, end up looking like Pinterest fails! So I thought: how can I make cake pops in less time, with less work? (I’m an expert at thinking of ways to get out of work!)

I decided to swap out cake for rice cereal treats! And these Piña Colada Pops eliminate the need for perfectly smooth chocolate, since the goal is to make them look like coconuts. So easy your kids can do it … so easy I can do it!

These tropical, summery treats are perfect for picnics, BBQs, birthday parties, and just because. Here’s how to make them:


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

My Kids Are Just . . Sigh . . . My Kids

Jackson and Lexi are visiting family and friends back home this week. They saved enough money to pay for airfare (and I got an amazing deal on it too!) so I took them to the airport this morning. Unfortunately they wouldn't allow me to accompany them to the gate this year because the cut-off age is 15 and Jackson is almost 17. I said goodbye at security and stuck around to make sure they found the gate. We'd gone over how to find the gate, and how to make their connection in Charlotte, and I was confident that the kids would be fine. Still, I was a little sad not being able to stay with them until they boarded. Instead, I texted them until they got on the plane.

Yep. Those are my kids. Good luck to all my family and friends in Chicago who are taking them in.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Calling all Dragon Trainers!

We're Netflix addicts in my house, and now that it's summer vacation, I may possibly be guilty of letting my kids sit around and watch Netflix for HOURS some days. It's summer. It happens. (Here in Florida, it's too hot to play outside during the day unless we're at the pool, and it rains every afternoon.)

Recently my kids found Dreamworks Dragons: Race to the Edge on Netflix. They just can't get enough of Hiccup and Toothless. When Netflix sent us a package of Dragon goodies, my 11-year-old was crazy-excited, hoping it was the "Dragon Eye" in the box. (In the series, the "Dragon Eye" is powered by a dragon's fiery breath and it shows a map.) Alas, it was not the "Dragon Eye." It was a package of dragon themed goodies!

(If you have little dragon trainers in your home, you can give them a dragon-themed snacks of "dragon scales" Doritos, and "dragon claws" Bugles. Cute!)

My favorite item in this box of goodies was the sidewalk chalk because my kids voluntarily turned off the TV and ran outside to draw their own dragons and maps on the cement, and they played make-believe dragon trainer games all afternoon! Well, they played until the rain came, anyway.

Check out this new series on Netflix with your little dragon trainers!

Why I Support My Kids' Questionable Decisions

“Aren’t you supposed to be at school?” I asked my 20-year-old son who attends Le Cordon Bleu.

He looked up from his video game and responded, “Uhhh, no. I don’t have school.”

I didn’t question it. In between class sessions, he usually has a couple days off.

A few days later, I got home from work and found my son and his girlfriend hanging out at my house. “Why aren’t you at school?” I asked, puzzled.

His girlfriend gave him a look and said, “You haven’t told your mom?”


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

You Have the Power to Change the Person Looking Back at You

I don't like myself. I look in the mirror and tell myself, "You're not a nice person." And when you don't like what you see reflected back at you, it can perpetuate the behavior that you don't like. It's quite the self-defeating cycle. 

I'm crabby and irritable. I snap at the people I love. I wake up with a headache and I cry myself to sleep. I feel an enormous weight on my shoulders. Constantly. I worry about money. Or lack thereof. I wonder if anyone will take us in when we're evicted. Or will some miracle happen enabling me to save my home from foreclosure? I worry that I won't be able to feed my kids. I feel seething anger toward my ex who doesn't live up to his responsibilities. I fear living like this for the rest of my life. I agonize over decisions that will affect me and my kids forever. I let these fears rule my life. I let them dictate my behavior. And I hate it.

When you look in the mirror and don't like the person looking back, it can hurl you into a deep depression. Unless you look in that mirror and realize that you have the power to change the person looking back at you.

I had to go to the store today. I absolutely detest going to this particular store that rhymes with Halmart. I push my cart around, loudly sighing and rolling my eyes every time I encounter another patron blocking the aisle or walking slowly in front of me. I grunt and snort and make other passive aggressive noises, getting more and more angry with every person I encounter. By the time I reach the check-out, which is always 419 people deep, I'm texting my friends, Stand by with bail money. I'm at that store that rhymes with Halmart, and I'm about to go postal.

Today, however, I made it a point to smile at everyone. I grinned at every single person I encountered. Ordinarily I would've muttered under my breath a sarcastic, "Could you take up any more room?" to the woman blocking the entire aisle and completely clueless to my presence as I tried to push my cart past her. Today, I smiled and said, "Excuse me." 

Instead of contrition and an apology, however, she had the unmitigated gall to look at ME like I was annoying HER. Normally, I would have made a barely audible, snotty comment, calling her clueless and annoying, implying that she should live in a zoo, or something along those lines. Don't get me wrong; I'm not proud of that. I'm admitting that I've become a mean, impatient, short-tempered person with no tolerance for others. But today, I merely pushed my cart along, ignoring her surliness, a smile plastered to my face.

I left the store and pushed my cart along the walkway, stuck behind an elderly woman who was propelling her cart exceedingly slowly as she struggled to maneuver it along the path in front of the store. I didn't get frustrated, as I followed along toward the crosswalk that leads into the parking lot.

I loaded my groceries into my car, proud of myself for not losing my cool the entire trip. Then I stopped. I was congratulating myself on not being a total jerk. What was wrong with me? That behavior is not worthy of congratulations; that behavior is just how humans are supposed to act! I returned my cart to the corral and looked around the parking lot, searching for the older woman. I found her a couple rows over in a handicapped spot, and I headed that way.

As I approached her, I had second thoughts. "What am I doing? I'm such a dork!" I told myself as I walked up to her, then continued walking, lest she (or anyone else) think I was weird for stopping to help her. Angry once again with myself for the way I was acting, I screeched to a stop, pivoted on my heel and turned right back around. Great, I thought as I paced back and forth in front of this woman, she probably thinks I'm casing her, weighing my chances of stealing her purse and getting away with it. She's going to take out her cane and beat me with it, no doubt, because I'm being so weird and creepy.

"Hi. I'll take your cart for you," I offered.

She looked at me and smiled, joking, "Can I get my groceries out of it first?"

I laughed and said, "I don't know. I forgot to buy ice cream and that looks pretty good," eyeing her bags of food. Oh yeah, good move, Dawn. Imply you're going to steal a senior citizen's ice cream. That's great! I berated myself with sarcasm while looking to see if she was picking up her cane to clock me.

I helped her put her bags in her trunk while making small talk about the weather. Although it was super hot and humid, she asserted that she was happy for the heat because her laundry was hanging on the clothes line at home. We chatted about laundry and HOAs and her husband for a few minutes. Then I told her to have a great afternoon as I took her cart and walked across the parking lot to the cart-return. I smiled the whole way. Not because I was forcing the smile on my face. Not because I was proud of myself for doing what everyone should do every day just because it's right. I smiled because I felt good. For the first time in a long time, I just felt good.

It doesn't matter what you're going through because guess what - everyone else is going through stuff too. Wallowing in self pity and taking out your frustration on others doesn't fix anything. It doesn't help the situation; it just makes you feel worse. Getting outside yourself and your issues and putting others before you makes you feel good. It lets you forget about the garbage in your life and enables you to focus on someone else, so not only are you helping another person, but you are making yourself feel better in the process. Win-win!

It seems brainless, right? Why wouldn't we do this every minute of every day? Why indeed. We let ourselves get so wrapped up in our own little lives and our own little problems that we have blinders on to the rest of the world. We need to remind ourselves every single day to take those blinders off, look in the mirror and act in a manner we want reflected back at us.

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