Friday, August 29, 2014

Moms and Dads Confess: "The Laziest Thing I've Done as a Parent"

The other day, I washed the same load of laundry for the THIRD time because I was just too lazy to take the clothes out of the washer and put them in the dryer. Every time I went to switch loads, I realized they had that “stale clothes musty funk” so I re-washed them, only to forget about them for another day or two. And repeat. And repeat.

And then there was the time I was too lazy to iron my son’s shirt so I just went over his collar a little bit with my hair straightener. What? It sort of worked!

It occurred to me that parenting can sometimes look a little like a bad movie about living in a frat house. From the circles under our eyes, our unkempt appearances, our horribly dirty cars, worn socks strewn around our houses and foul smells emanating from our garbage pails, parents might seem half a step removed from uncivilized in their lowest and laziest moments, at least judging by appearances.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Tires, Idiots, and Bare Butts: The Story of my Life

My car had been feeling a little funky lately. I didn’t know what was wrong with it, but it just didn’t feel quite right and it sounded a little louder than usual. I stopped for gas a couple weeks ago and decided to check my tires. Maybe they’re low, I thought. That could probably cause it to feel weird. I came up with that idea like I’m some sort of mechanic-y type genius!

I pulled up to the thingamajiggy labeled “air” and read the instructions. Insert one dollar in quarters. After digging in my purse, the cup holders of my van, and the floor, I produced 3 quarters, a gum wrapper, a penny that was stuck with a bonding agent more powerful than super glue (probably Diet Coke), and a broken, melted crayon. Bummer. I grabbed a dollar bill and ran into the gas station to ask for change. The not-so-nice woman behind the counter informed me that she couldn’t give me change unless I bought something. Gee thanks, lady.

I left the building and accosted the passengers of the first car I saw. I popped my head in their open window, holding up my dollar bill and asked, “Do you have change for a single? I need quarters so I can fill my tires.” Judging by the petrified looks I received, the passengers interpreted my question to mean, “Can I have some money for drugs so I don’t have to rob the store?” They acquiesced (probably in an effort to make me leave) and tossed some quarters out the window before quickly rolling them up.

I walked over to the air machine and was really proud of myself for remembering how fill my tires. The only reason I’d ever filled my tires before was because I got stuck while driving on the beach in North Carolina. The beach patrol guy laughed at me, let some air out of my tires, and helped me get off the beach. Then I had to figure out how to fill them up again. At that time, I bought one of those tire thingys that has the little ruler that slides out. Too bad my kids used it as some sort of mini sword and broke it at some point. 

I began filling the tires. Apparently my front tires were really, really, embarrassingly low. So I filled 3 of them, but the fourth one wouldn’t hold air. Every time I checked, the pressure went down a little. What the heck? Is there a hole in my tire, I wondered?  I’m embarrassed (but apparently not too embarrassed since I’m telling the world [or the 10 people who read my blog]) to admit that it took me a good 10 minutes to figure out that my quarters had run out and the machine had turned off. When I texted that little tidbit to my friend, he asked, “Um didn’t you hear that the compressor had turned off??” One would think, but alas no, I hadn’t noticed.

Anyway, fast forward a couple weeks. I’m driving to work when I got a sudden sense of dread deep in my gut. You know that feeling? That feeling you get when something bad is going to happen? I broke out in a cold sweat and started breathing weird as the impending sense of doom overtook me. After several miles of feeling that sense of dread, I suddenly couldn’t drive over 20 miles an hour and my steering wheel was turned halfway around in order to go straight. Oh crap, there’s definitely something wrong here. I pulled over, got out and looked at my tires. Flat. Great.

I called AAA and waited for the tow truck they assured me would arrive within the hour. I work in a bad area so I locked my doors and kept an eye out as I waited. A woman, at a house nearby, took her garbage down to the street while watching me the whole time. She came out a second time. Then a third. Finally, this Haitian woman, with her boob hanging out of her dress, walked up to my car and asked me if I was okay. I rolled down my window and told her I had a flat tire and was just waiting for a tow truck. As she walked away, a gust of wind blew up her dress to reveal to the entire neighborhood that she was going commando. I’m still having nightmares about that. There are just some things you can’t unsee.

My friend and principal was on her way to school from a dentist appointment with her son so she came to pick me up and take me to school. But not before seeing my front tires and exclaiming, “Dawn, they’re bald!” My first inclination was to joke that all tires are bald; tires don’t have hair. It’s what I do when I feel stupid. I had no idea there was anything wrong with my tires. 

So, after a 2 hour wait, the tow truck eventually gets there and takes my car to the shop at Walmart and my friend brought me to school several hours late. Way to start off the year, Dawn! Late already and it’s only the second week.

As soon as I got to my classroom, I called Walmart. “A tow truck is dropping my van off there in a minute. Please change the flat tire. I’ll pick it up after work.”

“We can’t work on your car until you sign our papers.”

“But I’m telling you now, over the phone, please fix the tire.”

“I’m sorry, but we won’t do anything until you come in and sign.”

“GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!”

I borrowed my friend’s car, drove to Walmart and stomped over to the service center.

“My van was just dropped off by a tow truck. I need a new tire.”

The guy behind the counter looked over his shoulder toward the parking lot and asked, “Are you sure it was dropped off?”

“Yes, it’s right there in the parking lot.”

“Is it invisible?”

I blinked at him a couple times. Then put on my most sarcastic font and said, “Yes, yes, it’s an invisible car. I got it the same place Wonder Woman got her jet and Mermaid Man got his boatmobile.”

He looked confused.

“No, it isn’t invisible! It’s right out there in the parking lot.

“Have you been here before?” he asked. I nodded so he went on. “What's your phone number?”

“847- blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah.” [Editorial note: I did not actually say blah blah blah, but I don’t want to put my phone number out here or I’ll have hundreds of hot, young guys booty calling me at all hours. Oh wait a minute, on second thought . . . No, no I can’t have that.]

“Are you sure your number isn’t 407-blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I know my own phone number,” I answered while wondering if this guy was on some sort of “exceptional needs” special work program.

“Okay, so you want us to fix your tire?”

“No, I need a new tire.”

“Are you sure?”

“Ummmm yeah, pretty sure. The tire is shredded. No amount of duct tape is going to fix that baby.”

“What size tire do you need?”

I stared at him blankly. “I don’t know! It’s round!”

He looked up my car and apparently figured it out. Then he asked, “Do you having locking lug nuts?”

“If I knew what a freaking lug nut was, I’d be changing this myself!” I grumbled angrily.

I signed the stupid paper and as I walked away, I texted the entire, true conversation to my friend who just happens to be a cop. He responded with, “I’m afraid you’re going to hit someone. Remember, that’s battery. They’ll fingerprint you and take your picture.”

In the end, I’m happy to report that I did not, in fact, punch anyone in the face. I didn’t get mugged or killed while waiting for the tow truck. I did get new tires. But I still have nightmares about that woman and her bare booty . . .

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Redecorating Made Easy with RoomMates Décor

I recently had the opportunity to try out RoomMates Décor. RoomMates produces peel and stick wall decals for every room in your house. You might remember that I posted here about how my walls are still bare despite the fact that I've lived in this house for 3 years now. I took a look at RoomMates website and became instantly excited about the possibilities! It took me a good week to finally decide on a design because THEY HAVE SO MANY FROM WHICH TO CHOOSE! Oh my gosh, there is something for everyone there! And they partner with Disney, Marvel, Nickelodeon, Warner Bros. and more so chances are your kid's favorite character/movie is available. You can even get personalized, custom decals at RoomMates. Although I know there are plenty of decals my kids would love, I chose one from their home decor category to try out.

I wasn't sure how well these decals would work on my walls because I live in Florida and houses down here tend to have textured walls. I wasn't sure they'd stick to my walls since they're so bumpy. I was a little concerned the decals would peel up since the website states that they work best on smooth surfaces, but I gave it a try anyway.


I opted to apply this quote above the arches between my kitchen and family room. It took me less than 10 minutes to apply these (and that includes the time it took me to move my chair/ladder around since I'm "vertically challenged".) Also, I'm not real good with the planning and measuring and making sure things are precise; I just went with my gut and slapped them up there on the wall so when I stood back, I realized a couple of them needed to be repositioned a bit since they were crooked. That's a really AWESOME feature - these are removable! You can easily peel them off and reapply them wherever you want, making it super quick, easy, and affordable to give your room a whole new look in minutes!



It has been about 2 weeks since I applied the decals and they're still sticking beautifully despite my textured walls. They haven't peeled up at all. So, I officially say they can be successfully applied to rough, textured walls too.


Cool, huh? I love these and can't wait to order some of the dry erase ones for my classroom at school!

Here's a special for my readers! Use code RMLOVIN for 15% off your order! This code expires 9/30/14 so check out the huge selection of decals including Frozen, Star Wars, Cars, Rapunzel, and hundreds of others HERE!

Monday, August 18, 2014

“I Am Good Enough”: The Lesson I’m Struggling to Teach Myself (and My Kids)

I looked at myself in the mirror. I turned a bit to the side, sucked in my stomach, put my hand on my hip, raised my head a little, and studied the image peering back at me. Then I let out my breath, dropped my arms, and burst into tears. The voice that resides in my head sneered at me. “You are a fat, ugly, stupid loser. That is why no one will ever want you.” The voice is not nice. In fact, she can be downright callous and mean. I don’t like her. I try to ignore her heartless words, remembering that her cruelty stems from her insecurity. Still, more often than not they find their mark, making me doubt everything I believe about myself.

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

6 Ways my "Bad Parenting" is Good for my Kids

I remember walking to school with my sister every day when we were in elementary school. If it was hot out, we wore shorts. If it was raining, we walked with umbrellas. If it was winter, we trudged through the snow wearing boots and snow pants. We walked more than a mile a day, unsupervised, in all weather, five times a week. And guess what? No one thought twice about it. EVERYONE walked!

CONTINUE READING HERE!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sometimes What's Waiting on the Other Side of the Rainbow Isn't a Pot of Gold, but Just a Big, Smelly Dump

That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. This too shall pass. God doesn't give us more than we can handle. The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face another day. Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, then it's not the end. Focus on the good. When it rains, look for rainbows. When it's dark, look for stars. Be thankful for your struggle because without it, you wouldn't have stumbled across your strength. Storms don't last forever. 

People like to quote inspiring sayings when you're down. They mean well. They want to make you feel better and you have to be thankful for the sentiment behind their prose. But sometimes, when you feel like your life has become one giant avalanche of crap, you don't want to hear, "This too shall pass." Because sometimes it passes only to be replaced by something else that sucks. Sometimes it's year after year of one crappy thing after another with no end in site. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to look at the bright side and give thanks for all the good things, the bad things just overshadow everything. And hearing that it builds character or that there's a plan and good things will come from all the misery, just makes you want to hit someone. Even if it's true, when you're in the thick of the obstacles and pitfalls that are slamming you, you don't need pithy sayings. Despite the fact that doses of rotten luck are a regular part of life that affect everyone, sometimes you just want to scream to the heavens, "Why? Why me? Why again? WHY???" 

And to those who like to quote that God doesn't give you more than you can handle. Guess what! Sometimes you do get more than you can handle. Who ever came up with the idea that He doesn't let you have more than you can handle? I think sometimes you get such an amazingly overwhelming amount of misfortune thrown your way that they only way you can handle it is by admitting that it's more than you can deal with, and relying on Him to take the burden from you. 

And sometimes you just need a friend to commiserate and simply agree, "Oh man, that really sucks!" They don't need to fix the situation. They don't need to give you a pep talk. They just need to say, "I understand." Because sometimes life just really sucks. Sometimes you get bombarded with more than you can take. Sometimes the timing really stinks when your income has dropped, you have to come up with $605 for one kid to get her wisdom teeth taken out, you need to get another kid a pair of glasses, you have one day left to find a car for your kid going to college, you have to gather more paperwork together for another kid's financial aid, you have to make an appointment to get a tooth filled before it falls out, but you can't afford it, and a thousand other things on your to-do list that you can't get to, and then your car breaks down. Sometimes that last straw just pushes you over the edge. And even though you know that no one is immune to rotten luck, sometimes it feels like the world is out to get you, to punish you for reasons you can't fathom.


Sometimes what's waiting on the other side of the rainbow isn't a pot of gold, but just a big, smelly dump and there's no way to sugarcoat that with motivational sayings. Sometimes you simply need to say, "I've had enough. I can't do it anymore."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gillette's New Subscription Service - One Less Thing for your College Student to Worry About

First off, let me preface this by saying that I do love my college-aged son. I think he has a lot of great qualities. He's creative and artistic, he's sensitive, and he can be very dedicated and persistent when the task at hand is something about which he's passionate. However, he's also, ummm, how to put this nicely . . . well, he can be irresponsible, lazy, aloof, and did I mention irresponsible? I keep telling myself that he's a boy and boys sometimes take a while to mature. (Thinking of a few grown men I know, I believe some of them never quite get there!) Eventually he'll learn to pay his bills on time, and pick his laundry up off the floor and wash it before he's down to a single clean sock, a bathing suit, and a pair of jeans that are 2 sizes too small, yet remain in his closet for some reason. At some point, it'll sink in that work comes before play, right? Right?

I know he'll learn this stuff and he'll grow to be a mature, responsible member of society. (If not, I'll work out an apology to his future wife for my egregious parenting failure.) And I know he's not the only boy going to college and causing his parents a little worry. It's hard to let go and let them learn these lessons on their own. I think as parents we naturally want to help them out however we can. We make sure they have everything they need as they head off to school. But as the econo-box of Ramen runs out, will they eat? When they run out of shampoo, will they buy more or just go with the dreadlock look? How about razor blades? Will they keep shaving with the same, dull blade they left home with, or will they return to you for Christmas vacation looking like one of the Duck Dynasty guys?

Well, Gillette has made that one task much easier. Gillette now offers a blade refill subscription service! It's a practical, hassle-free option that delivers Gillette’s blades directly to your door (or your son's dorm.) And, Gillette’s best blades are more affordable than you might think—only about $1 a week. How cool is that? Now, if everything our sons use offered a subscription service it would be amazing. Or if we parents could send Howlers (those talking messages from Harry Potter) to remind our kids to take care of themselves, that would be even better! Alas, we're left to let our sons out into the world on their own, hoping they remember the lessons we've taught them, giving them the freedom to make mistakes, and trusting they'll be okay. Still, for a $1 a week, we can assure they have one less thing to worry about! And The Gillette Fusion ProGlide with FlexBall Technology is the first razor of its kind, with a new handle that adjusts and pivots to respond to the contours of a man’s face for fewer missed hairs. If your son uses the ProGlide already, those same blades fit the new ProGlide FlexBall which is pretty cool! How often does it work that way, right? Never. Usually when a product is updated and improved, it renders all components of the product useless, forcing you to buy new ones.

Do you have any other tips to make life a little easier for your college student? Share them here!

Compensation was provided by Gillette via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Gillette or MomTrends. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Our Children Are Capable of Changing the World — If We Let Them

Over the years, my kids have asked, on hot summer days, if they could have a lemonade stand. I acquiesced, less than enthusiastically because I know that “lemonade stand” is actually code for making a sticky mess in the kitchen, taking odds and ends from the garage in order to construct a lemonade stand, drinking all of their inventory, then (assuming they actually sell a cup or two) taking the dollar or so that they’ve earned and spending it on candy at the corner gas station — all while leaving everything a giant mess at home. Of course, not all kids run a lemonade stand quite like that. Meet Vivienne, an 8-year-old who sells lemonade to raise money for charity:

CONTINUE READING HERE!

image: courtesy flickr

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Case for Letting Your Kids Fail

You can bet that behind each successful individual is another person who believed in them, cheered them on, and helped them dry their tears when they failed. As parents, we have that opportunity to bolster confidence and assuage fears for our own children each day. We get to teach our kids that failures are a part of life, and that we don’t have to let them be “bad things.” Failures can be wonderful tools that enable us to grow and motivate us to succeed.
Here’s how to help your kids cope with failure:

11 Ways Having a Teen Is Surprisingly Awesome

Last week I wrote the following line on Facebook: You might be the parent of a teen if …
As you can imagine, I got many hilarious responses! Of course, any parent of a teen (especially a boy) knows their room can sometimes smell like the large mammal exhibit at Brookfield Zoo, or can contain enough dirty dishes to host a formal dinner party for 20. Any parent of a teen (especially a girl) knows there is sometimes enough drama and eye rolling to fill an entire season ofKeeping up with the Kardashians.
But there are good things about having teens too. Yes, there really are! And here are just a few …

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Katherine Heigl Says She’s Not Difficult — but That’s Not the Problem

So Katherine Heigl is in the news again. This time she was flat-out asked if she thinks she and her mom/manager are difficult to work with. To which Heigl answered, “I certainly don’t see myself as being difficult. I would never intend to be difficult. I don’t think my mother sees herself as being difficult. I think it’s important to everybody to conduct themselves professionally and respectfully and kindly, so if I’ve ever disappointed somebody, it was never intentional.”

CONTINUE READING HERE!

And THIS is Why the Folks at the ER Know us by Name

As you may know, Jackson and his buddy have been making videos this summer. Last night he showed me this one. It's so nice to know that he's spending his time wisely this summer. It's great seeing how he has matured and how he is becoming a level-headed, responsible, young man. I love how he thinks first instead of just jumping in. It's wonderful how he can differentiate between smart ideas and dumba$$, stupid, asinine ones! See for yourselves what a grown-up, smart, young man I have here . . .



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