Sunday, September 30, 2007

But it Looked Cute on the Hanger

I was speaking with my literary agent to inform her that I'd be flying to New York and would be on live TV. She gave me a couple helpful suggestions regarding my interview. One thing she said was to wear an interesting piece of jewelry.

Hmmm, I thought. Interesting jewelry. I've got a painted macaroni necklace the kids made me. That's pretty interesting.

At this point, I realized that my wardrobe was sadly lacking in the "non" - jeans and t-shirts arena. I figured it was time I did a little clothes shopping. Now, I don't particularly care for clothes shopping. I look forward to shopping for clothing as much as I look forward to my kids coming home from school in the afternoon - it's fun for the first few minutes. I actually enjoy perusing the racks of clothing. I don't mind searching for my size from among the possibilities. Taking the clothes into the dreaded dressing room is the part I could live without.

The store I went to this weekend had this really great feature in the dressing rooms. Perhaps you've witnessed this feature yourself. It's a doorbell. A very. loud. doorbell. You walk into the room and "ding dong" sounds loudly enough for people in the next state to hear. Why is this? Why do they need a doorbell? I've never once, in my entire life, seen a dressing room attendant run to the entrance and say, "Oh hello! I heard the doorbell and thought I'd come welcome you to the dressing rooms!" In fact, come to think of it, I don't believe I've ever seen a dressing room attendant period, let alone one who would run to greet you.

So, after causing permanent damage to my hearing from the doorbell, I took the clothing that I thought looked very nice on the hangers into an open room. I pushed aside the mountain of clothes left behind by a person who apparently thought it was just too much trouble to remove the clothes from the room and hang them on the return rack. I mean, trying on clothing can be exhausting. Clearly the patron before me didn't have the strength to gather up her items and walk the four whole feet out of the room to the return rack. Perfectly understandable. Actually, other people's laziness has come in handy for me at times. Have you ever been in a dressing room and seen a top, left in the room by the previous occupant, and thought, "Wow! I love that shirt! It's my size! I must have it!"?

Anyway, amid the piles of clothing, in front of the wonderful three-paneled mirrors, in the glorious lighting that's always present in dressing rooms, I began the depressing ritual of trying to convince myself that I don't look quite as bad as the mirrors are telling me I look, and the outfit that looked cute on the hanger looks just as cute on me.

Am I the only one who takes back three identical pairs of pants in three different sizes? Seriously, I don't think there's an industry standard for women's pants. I could wear three different sizes in three different brands and I never know which will fit, so I generally bring three pairs in to try on. It's much better than walking in and out of the room looking for a different size and hearing the doorbell again and again.

Of course, I start with the largest size. (It's always a little boost to the ego to bring in a pair that you know is going to be bit big on you.) Try on the largest pair first and then exclaim, loudly enough for everyone else to hear, "Oh these pants are HUGE on me! I need a smaller size." After you've gotten that out of the way, it somehow doesn't seem so bad when you try on something so small that you require medical attention after attempting to button it.

So after pulling on pair after pair of pants and shirt after shirt, turning this way and that, examining myself in the mirror, sucking in my stomach until I felt light-headed, standing on my tip-toes to fool the mirror into thinking I'm taller, and realizing that my gray roots really need to be touched up again, I call it a day. I came home with a few items, which were on sale, by the way. I judge my shopping spree, not by what I bought, but by how much I saved on what I bought. I have a friend, Melissa, who is the Queen of the Bargain. Seriously, she should teach classes. I don't know anyone else who can come home from shopping with 2 pairs of jeans, a sweater, 3 tops, 4 new throw pillows, a necklace and bracelet set, a handbag, and 2 pairs of shoes for $10.99 plus tax.

So, my clothing finds are hanging here from the knob on my dresser. I keep looking at them, disliking them more every time I pass by. I'll probably end up returning all of it and starting over again. Oh well, at least I was able to go by myself this weekend. You thought grocery shopping with the kids was bad. Try tugging on some jeans with one hand while holding onto your toddler, so he can't crawl under the dressing room door, with the other. All the while keeping the door shut with your foot because the lock is broken and the baby keeps trying to open the door from her seat in the stroller. Now that's fun.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mom Always Said, "Don't Play Ball in the House."

My kids don't always have the best ideas. Or sometimes they have good ideas, but the execution of their ideas leaves something to be desired. I made a list of a few examples in an attempt to show my older kids just how their best laid plans, sometimes don't work out so well. Please, feel free to use this as a teaching tool with your own children.

Good idea - making up games to play with younger siblings
Bad idea - taking off every couch cushion and dragging out every blanket in order to play game
Really bad idea - tying blankets to and stacking cushions by the front door, prohibiting anyone from entering your house

Good idea - writing and illustrating a book to read to siblings
Bad idea - soaking pages of book in pickle juice to give it an "aged" look
Really bad idea - putting the pages in the microwave to dry (this is a really, REALLY bad idea)

Good idea - helping mom by sweeping up the dirt mess you made on the kitchen floor
Bad idea - sweeping dirt under the rug while mom is watching
Really bad idea - lying to mom and telling her that you didn't just sweep the dirt under the rug

Good idea - making a little snack for you and your siblings
Bad idea - making homemade caramel without a recipe
Really bad idea - burning brown sugar and butter until the smoke alarms go off and then abandoning mess, leaving it for mom to clean up

Good idea - playing ball
Bad idea - in the house
Really bad idea - using glue to try to fix the vase you broke (ok, so I stole that one from the Brady Bunch)



After I made my bed this morning, my little boy came in my room, jumped on my bed and proceeded to roll himself up in my comforter. Errrr! Clayton! Look what you did to my bed! I just made it! Come out from there now!
A little voice, muffled from the confines of the comforter, said, "But I can't come out. I'm not a butterfly yet." A few seconds later, he emerged from the wrappings of my comforter and "flew" off my bed, wings arms flapping.

I was typing away on my computer this evening when my son walked into my room and said, "Mom, do you have any medicine for overgrown toes?"
I continue typing, not really paying attention. Several seconds pass until what he's asked, finally clicks in my head.
"Overgrown toes???" I look down at his feet. Sure enough, he has an "overgrown" toe, the product of a baseball stuffed into the end of his sock. I burst out laughing.
I love when they do something goofy like that out of nowhere.

Well, I'm off to watch Harry Potter with the kids. 'Night!

Friday, September 28, 2007

When Angry, Count to Four; When Very Angry, Swear.

First of all, before you say anything, I have no idea what is wrong with Blogger. I don't believe I violated any TOS agreement unless calling the folks who did the math problem sad, is considered libelous. :D

Anyway, I don't generally get all preachy here, but today I'd like to talk about forgiving your enemies.

"But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." ~ Matthew 5:39

"An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind." ~ Mohandas Gandhi

"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." ~ Mother Teresa

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." ~ Mohandas Gandhi

Now this does not mean that we should let people beat us up, knock us down and be weak. Absolutely not. Forgiving does not mean you're weak. Quite the contrary, in fact. It means that although our first, gut reaction when we've been wronged, is to lash out and seek vengeance, we should not. We should do good instead. We shouldn't want to keep score. We should love and forgive. It takes a strong person to do that.

Yes, I know that this is not natural at all. And it certainly isn't easy. It's very, very difficult for grown adults to find the grace to forgive those, who in our mind, don't deserve forgiveness. But we as adults, as parents, as role models, have to model this behavior if we want our children to learn it. How many times have you lost your temper and yelled or said something that you probably shouldn't have said around little ears. Even if those little ears didn't hear you say to clean up their room twenty times, you can bet they heard the word that slipped out of your mouth and you can most assuredly bet that they'll pick the absolute most inopportune time to repeat said word. Teacher conferences, the middle of the grocery store, quiet prayer time at church, and when the inlaws are visiting are all ideal places for your child to show off their newly acquired four letter word. I learned this when my little one started walking around saying, "Crap". Ahhh proud moments. Anyway, my point is that little ones learn from example.

Just like you want to set an example of helping people, putting others before yourself, cheerfully (at least sometimes) doing your chores to keep your household running smoothly, and telling the truth, you need to set an example of how to treat others, even those who have wronged you, for your children.

I believe that only God can give us the strength to love as He does. Because of that, we can pray for those who have wronged us instead of plotting our revenge.

Ok, I'm done being all preachy now. :)

"Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much." ~ Oscar Wilde

"When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear." ~ Mark Twain just make sure the kids aren't around first! I love Mark Twain. Now he had a fabulous sense of humor!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A couple notes - thank you to all of you guys who took the time to write out your meatloaf recipes. I guess we can use those when supper swapping, right? :)

Thank you to everyone who writes me comments and sends me emails. I'd sure love to answer all of them, but I was going a little crazy trying to do that along with handling everything else on my plate, so I hope you understand that I just cannot answer every email and fulfill every request.

Oh yeah - I almost forgot! CBS is coming out next week to interview me and they're flying me to New York to be on the morning news! I get to go to New York by myself for a day! Just long enough to get a nice break without missing the little ones too much. I'm so excited! I'll update with details as to what time I'll be on t.v. Eeeeeek! The best part is - I'm going to meet up with two dear friends of mine who live on Long Island and CT and it's a good thing I am. I've never hailed a cab before so I need them to help me out or I fear I'll stand there on the curb looking like a dorky tourist all day and I'll never make it back to the airport!

And finally, because I think there are probably many parents who have a crib included in the recall, I wanted to put a little more information about it on here.....

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Someone Just HAD to do the Math Problem!

I was going to write something tonight, but after staring at a blank screen for like four and a half hours, I decided to go have some chocolate chip cookies instead. Writing/eating cookies - practically the same thing.

To the people who answered the math problem last night - what's wrong with you?! Seriously. That's just wrong. And sad. And I got that problem or formula or eye-bleeding string of numbers and letters, or whatever it was from online. I typed in "math problems" and it popped up.

To the person who asked me for a meatloaf recipe - seriously? You want a meatloaf recipe from me? I'm not Paula Dean. Or Rachel Ray. Or basically anyone who makes meatloaf. I am wondering, however, what on earth mince is. Oh yes, and you'll appreciate this, when saying goodnight to my son this evening, he responded with, "Goodnight ole chap. Pip pip cheerio." Apparently he's British now.

I didn't mean to mislead anyone about the donations to St. Jude's. When I said that even a dollar makes a difference, I didn't realize there was a $10 minimum. I apologize. And I want to thank all the people who donated! You're awesome!

Thanks to all the people who said, "You might want to double check and make sure the hermit crab is actually dead before you bury him." That is, thank you for making me feel guilty that I may have inadvertently suffocated a poor molting hermit crab. Actually, I'm quite certain that he was indeed dead. I think.

Ok, I need to get back to writing my chapter on sick kids. Speaking of, I took my middle daughter to the doctor today because she's been home sick with a fever all week. Why is it, that after six kids, I still don't know when to take my kids to the doctor? I'll bring them in and inevitably they'll get the diagnosis of "Snotty Nose". I'm told, " Take them home, give them juice and they'll be fine in another day. That'll be $20.00." Of course they're fine in another day and I kick myself for not waiting "just one more day". On the other hand, if I wait that "one more day" before bringing them to the doctor, I'll get there and the doctor will look at me and say I'm the most neglectful mom on the planet and how could I have waited so long to bring my child in and their ears are infected and they have strep throat and their tongues are green and spotted, and they have some rash on their hair and their toes are swollen five times their usual size and how could I have not noticed that their skin was an interesting shade of chartreuse. I just can't win. So Lexi got the Snotty Nose diagnosis today.

Now I'm going back to writing. As soon as I put my baby down, that is. It's quite the fun-filled challenge trying to type when you're holding a baby who has just put their foot up your nose. Trust me. Have a good night!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

ONE MILLION!

One million is the number of hits I've had on this blog in just over a month!

One million is the number of diapers I've changed in the past (almost) thirteen years. Ok, so maybe I haven't changed quite a million, but I figure at a conservative 4 diapers a day, and an average of 3 years per child (except for Brooklyn who has only had 1 1/2 years of diaper changes), I've changed over 24,000 diapers. I was going to figure out how much I've spent on diapers, but I decided it would probably be too depressing. And don't bother to write and tell me that I should've used cloth diapers because there was NO WAY I was going there.

One million is the amount of money it cost for Lee Majors bionic arms. (The rest of his body was five million, of course.)

One million is the number of months I've been pregnant or breastfeeding. Again, perhaps I'm exaggerating just a tiny bit. Let's see... I guess it's about 103 months, or roughly 8 1/2 years.

One million is the number of pieces that fall in The Newsboys' song (on the right of this blog.)

One million is the number of times my son has told me that he's bored today.

One million is the number of cribs recalled by Simplicity/Graco. Have you heard about this? If I understand correctly, this is their third recall of cribs! The number of children's products recalled recently is ridiculous. Not only did children die/get seriously injured in these cribs, but the manufacturer apparently took more than two years before recalling the defective beds. If you have one of these cribs, stop using it immediately and please pass this information along to anyone you know who may have one of these cribs. This recall includes models that were manufactured as far back as nearly ten years ago! Anyone could have one of these, could have passed one on to a friend or relative, or could have one packed away.
I don't have this problem as my baby is a spoiled brat who has all of us wrapped around her little finger and she sleeps with me. Shhhh.

One million is the number of calories I've consumed today.

One million is the number of times my daughter has asked me to get her some shampoo today.

One million is the number of times I've told my son to settle down in the last hour.

One million is the answer to this problem D { ( f (x) ) ² } = 2f (x) D { f (x) } = 2f (x) f ' (x). Ok, so I don't really know the answer to this problem. In fact my eyes started to bleed when I looked at it. But I'm pretty sure it could be one million. I hope nobody actually likes math enough to figure this problem out just for fun, (math/fun, now there's an oxymoron!) but I somehow know that I'll get a comment tomorrow with the answer.

One million is the number of tears my son has cried over his "best friend" Bahama, the hermit crab.

The gravestone that my oldest son made for Jackson's crab. He found the wood in the garage and covered it with White Out for that lovely antiquey look.

His little coffin

The baby saw Jackson crying and kept walking over and giving him hugs. Awwwww.
Of course, a little later, she climbed up onto the kitchen table and nearly bit Jackson's hand off trying to get to the Cheerios from him, but hey, you take the good with the bad, right?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It's a Smurf! It's a Blueberry! No, it's Brooklyn!

Today has been, well it's been the kind of day that makes you want to pack a bag and head to the nearest airport. My husband hasn't been doing any side jobs since all this craziness with the auction started about a month ago. Since I've been spending an insane amount of time reading email, fielding job offers and interview requests, and trying to get some real writing done, he's been coming home after his regular job and helping out here at home. It's been awesome! I had no idea things could be this easy with a husband who only works 40 hours a week. (It's all in what you're used to.) Anyway, when I realized how far behind we were slipping with our bills (gotta pay that electric bill or no computer - gasp!), I told him that I'd manage and he really needed to take on some side jobs. So, today he did. I've been seriously spoiled this past month and had nearly forgotten what it was like being on my own all day.

Jackson came home from school, walked to his room, and emerged crying his eyes out.

'Great! What did your brother do this time?' was my first thought. In between sobs, I made out that his hermit crab had died. Ugh. This is my most sensitive kid. He's devastated. What do you do for this? Do hermit crabs fall in the "flushable category"? Should they be buried in the yard with a ceremony? Is it wrong to just toss it into the garbage? This pet didn't play fetch. He didn't know any tricks. He pretty much just hung out in a coconut shell all day, every day. Despite that, Jax is really broken up about it. Right now poor little Bahama, the deceased hermit crab, is sitting in a plastic bag until my son can pull himself together enough to decide what he wants to do.

My little Lex is sick and stayed home from school today.

After breakfast, while sweeping an entire loaf of crumbs off my floor, I saw a lock of hair. Light brown hair. To whose head did this hair belong? I held it up to Lex's head. Nope. I held it up to Clay's head. Maybe. I held it up to Brooklyn's head and as I did, I noticed a small chunk missing from her scalp. Great. The poor kid hardly has any hair to begin with and now she's had her first haircut courtesy of her brother. Thanks Clay.

I was finishing up some email before going to start dinner when I saw the baby walk in my room looking like this...




Nice, huh? She looks like Violet with the chewing gum from Willie Wonka, but instead of turning into a blueberry, she's just drooling out blue goo. Savannah was making gum from a kit my dear, wonderful, sister-in-law and brother-in-law gave her. If I hadn't already, I want to THANK YOU for that GREAT gift idea, Kelly and Ross. Anyway, Savannah had left out a small container of food coloring and needless to say, Brooklyn found it. How fun!
Don't give me that innocent look, Missy! This is Brooklyn after being cleaned up.
Is 6:00 to early to send the kids to bed?
Clay, after spending most of the day just spazzing out, blurted out, in the middle of dinner...
CLAY: I have a friend named Twindy.
ME: Oh really?
CLAY: Uh huh.
ME: Where does Twindy live?
CLAY: She lives far, far away.
ME: I see. How old is Twindy?
CLAY: She's taller than me. She's taller than everyone in our whole family.
ME: Do I know Twindy? Have I ever seen her?
CLAY: Yes, you got gas, remember?
ME: thoroughly confused Huh???
CLAY: You drove me there and got gas for your car and I slept over at her house.
ME: I drove you to Twindy's house so you could sleep over?
CLAY: Yes.
ME: When did you meet her?
CLAY: Five years ago.
ME: Interesting. You do know you're only three years old now, right? So what does Twindy look like?
CLAY: She has purple hair. And she has matching Wiggles jammies.
ME: Purple hair?! Wow! What do you do with Twindy?
CLAY: She likes to play on the beach with dolphins.
ME: Naturally
CLAY: Will you take me to her house again?
ME: Sure! Can I go along too and pretend that I live a normal life while I'm there?
CLAY: laughing hysterically Mom, you're silly!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Questions From you, the Viewer

Here are the answers to life's my blog's most pressing questions -

When will the ABC World News show air?
The producers probably saw the footage shot at my house and decided it was just too bad to show on national t.v. and the tape now sits in the recycling bin.
Actually, I still don't know. I'll post about it on my blog as soon as I find out.

Why does it take a year and a half for your blog to load?
I have no idea! It does the same thing for me. In fact most blogs on blogspot.com take a long time to load for me. My suggestion is to click on my blog then go pick up the cereal on the floor, change the laundry, throw something in the crockpot, refill your coffee cup (adding Bailey's Irish Creme is optional), unload the dishwasher and try to figure out why you're suddenly missing eight spoons. When you return to your desk, it should be fully loaded.

What is wrong with the first people who commented on your post last night?
Nothing at all. As soon as I published my post, I realized I'd messed up and I went back to edit it. The pictures without the captions showed up for them which is why they thought it was a riddle. What does a snake skin, a big orange ball, and a wad of tangled up hair have in common? The answer, of course, is - my kids spent the afternoon with dad! Need I say more?

Do you really teach your kids to read in the bathtub?
Yes, I teach them to read in the bathtub as much as I teach them to run with scissors, put nailpolish on the t.v., and dart across the street without first checking for traffic.

Can you show us a picture of your daughter's impromptu haircut?
I can't right now because she's sleeping. I guess I passed my cold onto her. I had to pick her up early from school today because she had a fever and a croupy cough. The poor school nurse. Every time she calls me, I answer in a less than enthusiastic, "Which kid is it this time?" My middle son just likes to visit the nurse, I think. She now has strict instructions from me as to how to deal with him when he walks into her office. She's to ask him, "Are there any bones protruding from your skin? Are you unconscious? No? Then go back to class. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200." Seriously, she's a very sweet woman and I don't blame my son for wanting to go hang out in her office every now and then.

How can I find out more about your book?
Well, it's going to be written on paper. I'm pretty sure it will have a title. Oh and a cover! It will definitely have a cover. That's about all I know right now, but I've got a little form on the right side of my blog where you can feel free to sign up for information about the book.

You mentioned moms whose husbands work long hours and moms whose husbands are deployed. What about us single moms?
I didn't intentionally omit the single moms. Of course it would be difficult for single moms to find some "me time" every day, or even every month, I imagine. So to every stay-at-home mom, working mom, work-from-home mom, work-from-home dad, stay-at-home dad, working dad, grandparent, godparent, single parent, married parent, living together in some sort of arrangement parent, mom of few kids, mom of many kids, anyone with the letters M, O, and M in their names, and anyone else I might have forgotten about, pat yourselves on the back! You're doing a very important job and you're awesome! Repeat after me, I'm good enough and I'm smart enough and doggone it, people like me.

Will you be doing a book give-away like the one you just did when your book comes out? I'm sure I will! :)

Why do you make your smiley faces with a semi-colon instead of a colon, like this :)? Huh? Smileys? Ohhhh, so that's what those are? I had no idea. I just thought that was a fun way to punctuate a sentence.

P.S. If I was going to make a smiley, I'd use a colon. If I was going to make a winking smiley, I'd use a semi-colon. ;) Got it?

That banana looks familiar. Did you steal it from my car? Ummm yes. Yes, that's what I do in my spare time. I break into other people's vehicles and steal decomposing fruit because I just don't find quite enough of that stuff in my own house.

Now it's time for me to ask a question. A few of you have said that you've given me an award and to visit your blog to get it. That's so very sweet and thoughtful of you! However, I'm really slow here. Explain in simple "a 2 year old could understand" terms as to what I'm supposed to do with it. I'm sorry, but I'm just not familiar with this. Remember I just started this blog a couple months ago. Thank you for your help!

Because September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I want to post he following text taken from an article written by Brian and Stacey Ledwon.

Childhood cancer is not fair. It is not fair to the children that suffer from it each and every day. It is not fair to parents who try to do what is best for their children under extremely difficult circumstances. It is not fair to siblings that have their life suddenly turned upside down. Our family knows firsthand how ugly childhood cancer is, as our 5-year old daughter Lindsey has been battling a rare brain cancer since September 2004. Did you know:

• 12,500 children will be diagnosed with cancer this year

• Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under 15

• 2,300 children will die from cancer this year

• Incidence of cancer among children in the United States is rising about 1 percent each year, however, survivorship is also rising

• 1 in every 330 Americans develop cancer before the age of 20

I have a button on the right side of this blog for St. Jude's Research Hospital. If you are able, please consider making a donation. One dollar makes a difference. Think of how many people have read this blog this past month. There have been nearly a million hits! Imagine a dollar, just ONE dollar per hit. Wow!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Excuse me, But You Seem to Have a Scorpion on Your Head

After church, since it was a beautiful day here, my husband took the kids out for a walk at a nearby state park. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous the past several days. I could take this kind of weather year round. I've come to detest winter more and more every year. I think bundling a bunch of kids in snow pants and boots, searching for missing mittens, trying to convince the older kids that they need more than a sweatshirt when it's 2 degrees outside, has seriously affected my opinion of winter. I joke around that I'm moving someplace warm. Someplace south of IL, but not as far south as Florida or Texas. Let's face it, Florida has bugs the size of Volkswagons and I have a friend in Texas who just told me that she had scorpions (yes, scorpionS, plural!) drop on her head while she was in the bathroom! Scorpions! On her head! While peeing! I don't think I'd ever go to the bathroom again! Needless to say, those two states are definitely out of the running for me.

Anyway, I digress again. So, my husband took the kids out for a walk so I could do a little writing in peace and quiet. I sat down and stared at the blank screen for awhile. Then I played one many games of solitaire. Then I stared at the screen for a few more minutes. After that, I remembered that I HAD to call my sister and thank her for inviting us to her house for dinner yesterday. After the call, I decided I'd spent enough time goofing off and I sat back down to write for real. I typed out four pages sentences. Whew! I made another phone call to catch up with an old friend , um make sure my phone was working properly , I mean, exercise my voice because I've been coughing a lot and I wanted to make sure I wasn't getting too hoarse , ok, so I was stalling.

Somehow, in between changing loads of laundry and eating not one, not two, but THREE donuts, I managed to write four pages. I was just finishing up when the kids all come storming in the house from their walk. My oldest son thrusts this in my face....


It's a snake skin! A SNAKE SKIN! From a real live SNAKE! He put it in my face! I fell off my chair.


Then my daughter showed me the jawbreaker that dear old dad got my son. Yes, I know it looks like a racquetball. My son insisted he could put this whole thing in his mouth at once because (and I quote) "They did it on Ed, Edd and Eddy." Oh, well if a CARTOON character on quite possibly the dumbest cartoon ever made, did it, then by all means, shove that racquetball sized jawbreaker in your mouth. I'll start dialing 9-1-1.


To finish off my evening, my little Princess girl tried taking the tiny braids out of her hair by herself. This one didn't fare so well. I couldn't undo the knot, so she got an impromptu haircut tonight.

Thus ends my weekend of fun.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
P.S. Trish asked me to pick out one more winner for a copy of her book because we were so close to 900 comments. So......(closing my eyes and scrolling away) Brea in Texas, you're the ninth recipient of Trish's book! An email will be sent to you shortly. Congratulations!
And thank you to Trish for answering questions and offering 9 books to my readers! :)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Butt, Butt, Butt, Butt

Because we had over 800 comments on my "You Mean I Only Have to Cook Once a Week?" post, I've selected eight winners. When I first started this Blook Tour, I figured I'd write everyone's name down on a piece of paper and draw the names out of a hat. Well, that was before 800 of you left comments! So instead of writing down 800 names, I used the highly scientific method of scrolling up and down through the comments with my eyes closed. After a few seconds of scrolling, I stopped, opened my eyes, and wrote down the name showing on my screen. I did this eight times which is how I arrived at the winning recipients of Trish's book.

Ok the moment you've all been waiting for :::::::drumroll::::::: Here are the names of the eight winners of the Blook Tour! They will each receive a copy of Trish Berg's The Great American Supper Swap!

In no particular order....
Erin
Megan
Susan
Callie
Ann Marie
Leslie
Alice
Kristen

Separate emails were just sent to your email addresses. Congratulations and good luck on starting your own supper swapping groups! Trish has answered many questions in the comments section of this post. If you have additional questions for Trish, please feel free to visit her at her website and ask away!

Thank you to everyone who participated and left a comment!

I know I didn't update last night, but I have a good excuse reason. I actually went out with a friend. No husbands, no kids, just my oldest friend. Well, she's not really old. She's the same age as I. And I am definitely not old. I've just known her the longest. I remember making her laugh and getting her, and a couple other students who sat near me, in trouble back in high school. Ahhh good times, good times.

Anyway, as I was saying, one of my best friends on earth, Jen, and I went out to eat last night. We did really well too. We talked at length and didn't mention diapers even once during our conversation. Neither of us felt compelled to cut the other's entree into bite size pieces and we never told one another, "Finish your drink, a napkin is not a toy, or don't chew with your mouth open." We did very well being Jen and Dawn instead of just "Mom" and "Mom". All was wonderful until a little kid came running by our table and Jen nearly reached out to grab him and tell him to settle down until she remembered that he was not her child and she was out for the evening alone.

I thought of getting all philosophical about how we parents sometimes forget the people we were pre-kids and become "So & So's Mom" or "So & So's Dad". I was going to sing the importance of retaining some of you, the person. I was going to warn against becoming only you, the mom. I know the experts say to take a class, take up a hobby, learn a new skill, get out and exercise, make a little time, every day, for you. However, in the real world, I also know it's sometimes impossible. For those with tight finances, it's usually not affordable to just "take a class" or buy supplies for your hobby. For those whose spouse works long hours or is deployed, how are you supposed to find time to go to the gym or even read a book some days? And is it really so horrible to put your life on hold, so to speak, to become so & so's mother? So & so will only be little for a short while. You've got your whole life ahead of you to take up skydiving, poker, knitting, painting, tennis, or whatever it is you want to do. Just a thought.

Ok, back to my story. So I went out to eat with my best friend, Jen and after dinner, I went back to her home to borrow their video camera. So I'm sitting there talking to Jen, her husband, 3 boys, and 1 daughter. I'm not sure who started it, but suddenly the conversation turned to butts. (As you'll recall from a previous post, "butt" is the funniest word in the English language.) However, it's not just funny in English, as I learned from these guys.

"Dad, how do you say "butt" in Polish?
Dad answers, but I've forgotten what the word was. Apparently it was hilarious though as the boys all started parroting "butt" in Polish.

Butt, butt, butt, butt.

Jen looks at me, rolls her eyes and says, "I'm here all day with the kids trying to teach them not to say stuff like that. He comes home and in mere seconds has them being obnoxious in foreign languages."

And we're in Chicago. Chicago has the second highest concentration of Polish people next to Poland. Someone is bound to understand what they're saying in school come Monday. Gee, thanks Dad!


The hole Clay dug into his wall.


The instrument of destruction. Thankfully it was a safety nightlight, or I can only imagine what he would have done with the screwdriver. In fact, I'm actually pretty surprised he didn't try to unscrew the nightlight. Oh and where did he even get the screwdriver? Out of my middle son's tool box in the garage, of course.



Do not adjust your monitors. Yes, she really does have a white beard. Diaper cream - it's not just for butts anymore.


Brooklyn's artwork. Markers have a way of multiplying in my house. For every Sharpie I toss out, two more appear, much like the Hydra fought by Hercules. Thankfully this came right off with a diaper wipe.




And the Piece de resistance, the banana peel found in my car today. The only way I knew it was a banana peel was from the Chiquita sticker. Ok, this trend of finding food is getting embarrassing, quite frankly. I can understand the occasional fruit snack in the couch cushions, cracker under the chair, wrapper behind the dresser, and French fry on the floor of my car, but this is ridiculous. My wonderful husband cleaned out my van today. He filled the tires with air, the tank with gas, and he washed it inside and out. I'd like to say this disgusting banana was all he found, but alas he found enough nasty, moldy fruit to cover Carmen Miranda's head. I think I may have to put locks on the fridge and cabinets.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mmmmm Spam Cordon Bleu


No day would be complete without finding some sort of food item lying around the house. Here we have a waffle triangle on the book shelf. This waffle was from dinner. Last night. I didn't even notice the red bottle until I loaded this picture on my blog. Duh. I went back and grabbed it off the shelf. It was filled with little game pieces. What else would be in a bottle on a bookshelf?


Speaking of books.... I made the mistake of letting Clay play in the bathtub as it drained while I got Brooklyn ready for bed. My husband got home from work right at that moment, walked into the bathroom and discovered an inch of water on the floor. This library book was in the water because, you know, I've taught the kids to read in the bathtub just for fun. It looks like we've bought yet another library book. I'm pretty sure between all our mishaps and overdue fines, we've financed a new wing at our local library.


Yep, the last page is as wet as the first page. I think the mom in this picture is looking at her son and thinking, "Yay, the Benedryl just kicked in! Whew!"

Ok, to all you folks from Minnesota, yes I know that Spam is made in your great state. It's really not something I'd brag about, however. Think about it. And although I'm usually confused and don't know what I'm talking about, I really did mean Spamarama in Austin, TX. Seriously, they have a Spam Ball, Spamalympics, and a Spam cook-off. Some of the winning recipes were Spam Cordon Bleu, the French way to enjoy a potted pork meat-like product, Pirates Deadman Spam, I think the name says it all, and Velvet Hotdog Wedding Cake, can you just envision the folks who would celebrate their wedding with this cake?

Speaking of Minnesota, we took a little trip there in November with some friends a couple years ago. I suggest if you visit Minnesota in November, you be prepared for temperatures of negative 40 degrees or so. We paid a visit to the Mall of America which was really insanely huge! I stopped at a grocery store during the trip to buy some ice cream (because the negative 40 degree temps just weren't quite cold enough). The ice cream cost $2.95. I stood there waiting for the cashier to tell me my total, but he just said, "$2.95." I waited patiently for him to figure out that he hadn't totaled it and added the tax. He waited there not so patiently for me to pay him already! I had no idea there were states out there that don't pay tax on food! Incredible. Of course this is also a state that had a sign in a restaurant stating something along the lines of, "Guns are not permitted in this restaurant. Please leave any guns outside." Too bad because I was looking forward to being held up while eating my soup.

Jackson informed me a couple hours ago that Clay had made a hole in the wall of their bedroom.
A hole? What do you mean - a hole?
Come see!
Sure enough there was a hole in the drywall. It wasn't that large, but it was fairly deep. I suspect he was trying to dig his way out much like Andy in Shawshank Redemption. His mistake was not putting a Farrah Fawcett poster over the hole. Tomorrow he's busted. I can just see him trying to fill the hole with chewed gum or yogurt or something.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I Won't Send you Canned Lunchmeat

First off, I want to let you know that I've signed on with Books & Such Literary Agency and am working toward getting my book published! Yay! I've also added a button on the right side of my blog (right under the BlogHerAds) where you can sign up to get the details on my book. I promise I won't send you any spam (the mail OR the canned lunchmeat). Speaking of Spam, awhile back, my family saw a show featuring a Spam Festival held in Austin, TX. On this show, we saw several people walking around wearing shirts that read KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD. Of course I just had to get one of those shirts for my Austin. While ordering that shirt for him, I saw another one that read MAKE AUSTIN NORMAL! I think I may have to get that one now too! ;)

Anyway, back to what I was saying - No one will sell or give away your address. No one, except me, will use your address for any purpose whatsoever and the only thing I'll use it for is to send you a newsletter four times a year about the status of my book, book signings, contests to win a signed copy of my book, etc. So, if you're interested, please feel free to sign up! :)

My little Brooklyn is sick and crabby tonight and doesn't want me to put her down. I think the stress of the past month and my cold have finally caught up to me also and I feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest, so I'm leaving tonight's post to Trish...

Ok, Ladies. I have to be honest. When Dawn first offered to run my blook tour for TGASS, I was a bit nervous. Because you all love her so much, rightfully so since she IS AWESOME! I felt like the friend of a friend being introduced as the new kid in school. And yes, I felt like the geek. Then, the morning after Dawn posted the blook tour, I checked in and there were NO COMMENTS - ZERO! I was devastated. I called Dawn immediately on the phone and told her I was sorry, I must be a blog killer. Like first degree murder, I would be forever known as the blog killer.

But praise God, you all accepted me – Thank you! I am overwhelmed by your response and interest in supper swapping. And I encourage you to give it a try….

And BIG NEWS - I HAVE DECIDED SINE YOU HAVE SHOWN SUCH AN INTEREST IN SUPPER SWAPPING AND THE GREAT AMERICAN SUPPER SWAP I WILL BE GIVING AWAY 1 FREE BOOK FOR EVERY 100 COMMENTS POSTED BY FRIDAY MIDNIGHT. SO PASS THE WORD TO ALL YOUR GIRLFRIENDS. SO FAR WE ARE UP TO 6 FREE BOOKS AT OVER 600 COMMENTS!

Dawn wanted to post some more advice for you ladies. Here are the steps to get you started. These are from my site.

1. START WITH WHO YOU KNOW – Ask a neighbor, a girlfriend, or a co-worker to
give it a try.
2. HAVE COMMON GROUND – Either live nearby, attend church together, or work at
the same company so delivery can be easily coordinated at that common location daily or
weekly.
3. PLAN 3 MONTHS OUT - Choose and plan your meals for at least three months at a
time, and write or print them on a meal calendar so each family knows what is being delivered
for dinner each night.
4. START WITH FAMILY FAVORITES - Choose recipes to start with that are your
family favorites. New recipes should be tried out on your individual family before they are
introduced into the co-op.
5. AVOID PAN-DEMONIUM - Use 9x9 or 9x13 glass Pyrex pans with snap on blue lids,
semi-disposable Zip-Loc containers, and Whale of a Pal Tubs for soups and stews. Rotate them
through the group (See the Pan Formula in my Great American Supper Swap book)
6. HONESTY TASTES BETTER - When you establish your meal calendars, be honest
and up front about food likes, dislikes, and allergies to avoid problems down the road.
7. BUDGET MEALS - Buy ingredients in bulk for your meals when items are on sale. Try
to budget recipes so you don't make two expensive ones back to back. (i.e. pot roast is more
expensive than pizza burgers)
8. ADAPT DELIVERY TIMES - Delivery times can vary depending on what works for
each family. If you deliver at dinnertime, have the meal cooked and ready to eat. If you deliver in the morning, have your meal prepared but not cooked with baking instruction included.
9. BE FLEXIBLE - Be flexible with one another when life throws you a curve ball, like a
sick child, a broken down car, or unexpected circumstance. Have a meal back up plan for those
nights agreed upon at the outset, like switching days or having pizza delivered if you are in a
pinch.
10. RELAX AND ENJOY THE RIDE - Relax and enjoy the ride. Don’t expect your supper
swapping group to remain stagnant or to last forever; some families may swap longer than
others. If a mom leaves, let them do so guilt free. We typically ask for one month’s notice so we
can adapt our meal calendars.

You can get more information and recipes on Trish's website.

Trish has answered many other questions in the comments section of my Monday post "You Mean I Only Have to Cook Once a Week?" To recap - Trish will be giving away 1 free book for every 100 comments left on that thread. We're up to 6 free books right now. It's not too late to get in on the contest - just leave a comment on the Supper Swapping post with your name and email address and we'll enter you in the drawing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bill Cosby Would Feed his Child THIS Breakfast

So ABC was over this morning from about 7:30 until 12:30. They took a break for lunch and came back to film a little more from 4:00 to 5:00. The camera crew told me to make sure and write something good about them tonight, so I have to say thank you to Bob and Rene. You guys were great! And I hardly noticed your huge cameras, microphones and equipment following me around all day. ;) I am a little disappointed they didn't leave their really cool lights though. They set up these giant lights around my house so it didn't look like I live in a cave. These things were neat! (Did I really just write the word "neat"?) They didn't look like floodlights. They made my house look like I had a skylight in each room. Very bright and sunny!

Let's see, my kids spilled hermit crab food, Cheerios, water, and some more Cheerios all before 10:00. I think the camera crew pretty much just filmed me vacuuming all day. Then, stellar parent that I am, I fed Clayton chocolate pudding for breakfast. You know, because he had a tonsillectomy. He has to eat soft food. Pudding is soft. Of course, it never occurred to me that I could've made him scrambled eggs. Or pancakes. I could have given him applesauce or cheese. Something with some modicum of nutritive value. But noooo, I gave him chocolate pudding. In front of the cameras. The cameras videotaping my every move for America to see. I didn't even use Bill Cosby-like reasoning either. "Pudding has milk. Milk is good. Pudding for breakfast!" Nope, that thought didn't even cross my mind. :::shaking my head at myself:::

The woman who interviewed me, Barbara Pinto, was super nice. She even sat on the floor and played "animals" with Clay. She was very friendly and easy to talk to. She asked me wonderful questions. I answered her like a dork. Seriously. I really did. I'm not sure why. I'm really not nervous in front of cameras. It didn't freak me out that they were at my house filming, yet somehow my brain stopped functioning properly and I stuttered and repeated myself and sounded all around stupid. As Murphy's Law would have it, I thought of brilliant things to say. After she left. I kept thinking of clever retorts, and meaningful dialog. After she left. I felt like begging her to come back so I could have a "do-over"! Oh well. It probably wasn't as bad as I think it was and hopefully some genius at ABC will edit out all my stupidness and make me look articulate on t.v.

Oh yeah, and not to leave out the producer, Andy, he was great too. In fact he got to play babysitter to Brooklyn while the camera crew got a few more shots of Barbara and me. Brooklyn wasn't even crying when we got done and Brooklyn cries for everyone!

I don't know when this is going to air, but I will certainly let you guys know as soon as I find out! Even if I end up looking like a dork, it was still a really fun experience and I'm thankful for the opportunity to look like a dork on national television.

Something I didn't say (because, of course, I thought of it after they left) is that I believe so many moms can relate to me because I'm just an ordinary person. I'm an ordinary mom doing ordinary things and I have ordinary kids who act like kids, not like little robot adults. It's nice to see someone else doing the same things/going through the same things that you are. It's depressing trying to live up to that "Perfect Mom" image. You know the type of mom who showers. Every day! The kind of mom who always has on nice clothing, make-up, and actual hair care products. The kind of mom whose children are clean and dressed to the nines. The sort of mom who has a floor so clean you can eat off it, not the kind of mom who has a floor you can eat off of simply because there are so many crumbs on it. You know, the kind of mom who doesn't feed their kid chocolate pudding for breakfast on national t.v. Instead of trying to live up to Perfect Mom, it's much more comforting to know you're not alone in your quest to both love your kids, and to make it through the day without breaking down, curling up into a fetal position and rocking back and forth.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Diapers Only Hold so Much Before They.....

Hey there! I knew you guys would like the supper swapping idea! I hope those of you who give it a try are successful and gain a little extra time and a little less stress at the dinner table. I know Trish has answered a lot of your questions in the comments. Just scroll through them quickly until you see the really loooooong comments. Those are from Trish. I'll try and reprint them in a post later this week so they're more easily accessible. Remember the contest will run until midnight on Friday and if you leave a comment on yesterday's You Mean I Only Have to Cook One Night? post, I'll enter your name in a drawing for one of Trish's books, The Great American Supper Swap.

A camera crew from ABC is coming over tomorrow to film and interview me for World News with Charles Gibson. Tonight I really should be cleaning. Or thinking of clever things to say to the reporter. Or perhaps getting some sleep. Or losing 50 pounds. Or begging my children to behave tomorrow morning. Instead I'll be cleaning out my washing machine. I know, you're thinking 'what a strange thing to do when she's going to be on national t.v.' Cleaning out my washing machine wasn't my first choice of activities, however I inadvertently washed a diaper. I'm not talking about the cloth kind either. I'm talking about a disposable, super-mega absorbent, nighttime, pull-up kind of diaper. SpongeBob couldn't hold as much liquid as this thing did. Then, much like all good things, it had to end. It exploded. In my washer. It left behind a trail of sticky gel-like material and fluffy diaper particles all over every article of clothing in the machine. Despite the fact that I'll run the washing machine fifty times, I'll be finding this gel stuck to surfaces in my house for months to come.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

I Only Have to Cook Once a Week?!

OK, I'm taking a break from posting tonight. I was going to write, but my baby girl has been screaming her head for three hours straight and it's taken me that long to type out these two sentences because she's on my lap squirming and screaming. Instead I'm going to host a book tour, or is it called a blog tour? Hmmm, how about a blook tour? I'm hosting a blook tour because I already have this typed up and ready to go. I'm hosting a blook tour for a very sweet and funny girl, Trish Berg who has written a book on supper swapping, which, I think, is a really cool idea. The tour will run from the time I post it Sunday, the 16th until Friday, the 21st at midnight Eastern time.

Trish started emailing me during my Ebay auction. She thought I might be a bit overwhelmed (can't imagine what gave her that idea), so she jumped right in and offered up her wise advise and prayers. I can't thank her enough for helping me to navigate the waters. The reason Trish was so very knowledgeable and helpful to me is that she is a published author and national speaker who is working on another book due out in January 2008. She knows what she's talking about.

I'm hosting this tour for Trish, not only because she's an amazing person with a really kind, good heart, but because her book is awesome! I really didn't know what "supper swapping" was until I read her book, but what a terrific idea it is! I can't wait to get a group of friends together and give it a try. Hey, anything to shave off a few minutes in the kitchen and save a few dollars is worth a try if you ask me! Trish shares her expertise on supper swapping or co-op cooking, as it is also known, and includes examples from her own supper swapping experiences. She includes helpful hints to get you started, fellowship ideas, and (my favorite part) some of her tried and true recipes.

And (here's the really cool part!) anyone who leaves a comment on this posting will be entered into a drawing for a FREE copy of Trish's book The Great American Supper Swap! Trish will be giving away, not one, but TWO free books this week to the readers of my blog who leave a comment on this posting during the tour which will run from Sunday night, September 16 when I post it until Friday night, September 21 at midnight Eastern time. Also, feel free to write to Trish with any questions you might have about supper swapping. Here's a little interview with Trish...

The Great American Supper Swap
Solving the Busy Woman’s Family Dinnertime Dilemma
By Trish Berg


Many moms struggle with their endless to-do list, and dinner is just one more thing that usually doesn’t get done. Author and speaker Trish Berg has a great way to solve your dinnertime dilemma and shares all her secrets in her new book, The Great American Supper Swap.

Thanks for being here, today, Trish.


Thanks for having me.

I wanted to begin by asking you what IS supper swapping?


Supper swapping is really a simple solution to that ever present “What’s for dinner,” question that hits most moms at 4:30 every afternoon.

Its moms helping moms by sharing the cooking responsibility for their families by cooking in bulk then swapping meals during the workweek.

And how did you become a supper swap mom?


First of all, I’m a wife and mother of 4 kids all under 12, and so life at our house is pretty chaotic most days. I’m just like all the moms out there struggling with my daily to-do list, and dinner was just one more thing stressing me out.

So, four years ago when one of my girlfriends asked if I wanted to try swapping suppers with her and two other gals to simplify dinner, I gave it a try. I had no idea how much supper swapping would bless my life, or that God would lead me to write this book and help other families as well.

That sounds great. But how exactly does supper swapping work?


One great thing about supper swapping is that it can be adapted to meet the needs of the families in the group. No two supper swapping groups have to look alike.

Basically, women join with 1-4 other women to form a supper swapping group. Each mom chooses one weekday to do the cooking for everyone in the group. The rest of the week, dinner is delivered to their door, hot fresh, and ready to enjoy with their family.

You only have to cook ONE night a week and the other nights, you essentially get free meals catered to your door? Wow! With so many other dinner options out there, why do you think supper swapping is becoming a hot trend?

Basically because moms need help. Today families run at a fast pace unheard of 30 years ago. Usually, dinner is a fast food, on the go grab bag, or relegated to pizza, take out or frozen quick fix meals. These meals are unhealthy and expensive.

Studies have shown that women today still do most of the cooking. Just looking at the workweek, that’s 5 dinners a week, 260 dinners a year. Whew! No wonder we’re all tired of cooking and settling for grilled cheese, pizza or take out.

Supper swapping cuts a moms cooking by up to 80% since she only cooks one day a week.

For about 1-2 hours of meal preparation and 15-30 minutes or less of meal delivery one day a week, you get a week’s worth of hot, fresh, homemade dinners.

Eating dinner together as a family has got to be a better way than going through drive-thrus for fast food on the run. Speaking for myself, I know I could probably make an entire Happy Meal out of the food on the floor of my van.


Eating dinner together as a family opens communication, helps children to eat healthier, feel more connected to their parents, feel loved and cherished. These benefits have a lifelong impact on our children.

According to research from Columbia University, children who eat dinner with their family on a regular basis are 60% less likely to smoke cigarettes, 50% less likely to use drugs, and 66% less likely to drink alcohol.

If a mom wants to start supper swapping, where can she get more information?

There is a ton of how to information, delicious recipes, encouragement and support in my book The Great American Supper Swap, available at bookstores and online at amazon.com and christinabooks.com, or contact me via my website for a signed copy.


What do you hope families gain from supper swapping?


Supper swapping can save families $4000 a year or more, reduces a moms cooking by 80%, adds deeper faith and friendships, and helps families eat healthier food.

BUT MOST OF ALL – I want families to gather back around their dinner table each and every day. That is my passion. A return to the family meal.

Though I’m an avid supper swap mom, each family must find what works for them and re-claim their family dinner however they can. Supper swapping is just one simple tool to help moms make that happen.

But if you’re stuck in a rut singing the dinnertime blues, ask a couple girlfriends to give supper swapping a try.
When it comes to dinner - DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T GIVE IN. JUST GET SWAPPING!

The family meal has a lifelong impact on our kids!
For more information on The Great American Supper Swap or Trish Berg, go to http://www.trishberg.com/.

Remember, when you leave a comment, be sure to include your name and email address so we can notify the winners!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Someone Owes me a Whole Lotta Backpay!

First off - thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people who wrote and said, "What does LDS mean???" I don't feel quite so stupid now. It stands for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, otherwise known as Mormons. Mormons are typically known for having large families which is why people were asking me if I was LDS. See - you come to my blog, you learn something everyday. Now when you're out with adults and the topic turns to religion, you can say, "Boy, those LDS folks sure have a lot of kids," and you'll sound all smart-like. ;) If the topic turns to politics, you're on your own.


Someone recently emailed me an article about stay-at-home-moms. The article stated that if stay-at-home-moms were paid for all that they do, their yearly salaries would amount to $131,471. Wow! Could you imagine bringing in a six figure income for changing diapers? Not that I don’t love being paid in dirty laundry, messy bathrooms, dandelion bouquets, and sloppy kisses, but seriously - six figures!

I believe the writer of that article estimated a stay-at-home-mom’s salary based on the idea that she was caring for one child. I have six children - well, seven if you count my husband. I think that would bump my salary up a bit. Besides being the cook, chauffeur, day care teacher, maid, nurse, general maintenance worker, tutor, shopper, boo-boo kisser, errand runner, project manager, accountant, bug squisher, and laundry doer (I have no idea what you call someone who does laundry. Other than MOM, that is), I am a Sunday school teacher and a brownie leader. That’s got to worth a little bonus, I imagine.

I think we should be getting tips on a daily basis as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked the kids up from school, only to have my children thrust their backpacks at me whining, “This is too heavy. Will you carry it?“

“Well, my darling child, that would make me a bellhop and I believe the going rate is $2 a bag.”

“Oh you want me to make you a snack? No problem. I’ll play waitress. You can just tip me 20% of your bill.”

And this is no ordinary 9 to 5 job. We’re on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We get no sick time, vacation time, or personal days.

My husband doesn’t understand this. Now I’m not saying the grass is any greener where he stands. He works a lot of hours only to come home and hear me complain that he’s never home. When he’s here I complain that we don’t have enough money to pay our bills. The poor guy’s stuck between a rock and well, me. But the thing he doesn’t fully understand is that although he works a ton, he gets a paycheck at the end of the week. He gets an evaluation every year where he’s patted on the back for a job well done. He gets kudos on his handiwork on a regular basis. It’s nice to get positive feedback for the hours you put into your work.

I have yet to hear my children say, “You’re doing an awesome job, Mom! Keep up the good work!” or, “Wow Mom! This laundry smells so clean!” or, “If you keep this up, you’ll be getting a raise!” And the phrase, " Amazing! I’ve never seen the toilet sparkle so!” surprisingly enough, has never been uttered in my house. Although I know I’m doing an important job, it’s nice to be told so once every ten years or so. From now on, when I’m feeling useless, I’m going to remember that I’m really earning a six figure salary, but opting to take payment in kisses.

I don’t think moms who work outside the house have it any better either. They have to go put in their 40 hours a week and then come home and do all the “mom jobs” too. So, to ALL the underappreciated, overworked moms out there - “You’re doing an awesome job! Keep up the good work and if you’re lucky, some day you may just get a promotion to the position of Grandmother!”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Oops - I have to add an addendum here. The Teletubby pictures were courtesy of my husband and my husband alone. My boys did not, I repeat did NOT turn themselves into Teletubbies. I was misinformed last night when I wrote that post. My husband doing that makes much more sense to me. I couldn't imagine my boys doing something like that. I could see them putting their faces on Star Wars characters and then drawing a background of lightsabers and decapitated heads covered in blood perhaps, but definitely not Teletubbies. Just had to clear that up.

Friday, September 14, 2007

What Were we Talking About?

I went to a drama meeting tonight. I'd been looking forward to this meeting for the last month for several reasons. First, it was a meeting for adults. Just adults. No kids. That meant I'd be getting out of the house by myself for a couple hours. Secondly, they were serving Sangria at this meeting. Also, it was just for adults and no children. Oh and did I mention this meeting was only for adults? Of course, I'd look forward to a root canal if it meant I could lie down and didn't have to listen to any kids fighting or asking me for anything for an hour.

Now I really enjoy these drama meetings because there are such fun people involved in the group. I spend most of the evening laughing and laughing and trying not to wet my pants and laughing. This evening, as happens at most of our meetings, the conversation steered toward other topics. Politics, specifically. This is the part of the evening where my eyes glaze over, not because I'm bored with the talk, but because I can't add anything meaningful to the discussion. I admit I've never been terribly interested in current events, but I used to have a clue what was going on in the world around me.

I'm not sure when and how it happened, but somewhere along the line, I became stupid. Yes, yes I know, I'm not really stupid, but when you're in a room full of people who can easily converse on any given topic and you can only chime in if the discussion turns to diaper changing, the best way to scrub pudding off the ceiling, or the latest Backyardigans adventure, you start to feel a little less than intelligent.

I sat there catching bits and pieces of the conversation....taxes......budget.....governor......nine months. My ears perked up! Nine months? I know something about that! Oh wait. They're not talking about pregnancy. They're still on budgets.....administration.....funding. Nope, not a single word about math homework, laundry, or petrified food found in strange areas of the house.

Now don't get me wrong. I know I could take the time to read the paper, watch the news, and study up on current events and politics. I choose not to. I know I'd be prepared to talk about television if I spent time watching the latest reality t.v. show, but let's face it, I get enough reality right here at home. So I sit there and pretend to be just absorbing everything they say with a thoughtful look on my face. Oh well. I guess no one can be totally involved in every conversation, right? We all have different areas of expertise and just because we can't converse on any subject under the sun, doesn't make us stupid. Although.... speaking of stupid... I've had many, many people ask me if I'm LDS. I had no idea why so many people were asking me if I was learning disabled. Apparently LDS does not stand for learning disabled. Who knew? And no, I'm not Mormon. I'm a United Methodist who took a while to figure out the whole birth control thing. :D And I'm glad I did take a while!

Oh yes, no chance to get out of the house by oneself would be complete without an explanation of what they found upon returning home.


Yes, those are my two oldest sons dressed like Teletubbies. Why? I haven't the slightest clue. My husband let them cut apart a couple pictures from a photo album. Pictures that I painstakingly put into this album! Cut apart. The thing that ticks me off is that I have a 200 gallon bucket of photos sitting here in my room. I keep thinking 'some day I'll get them into albums', but someday never comes. The pictures they cut apart, were actually in an album! One of the only albums I've put together. Now I have two glaringly empty spaces. :::sigh::: Anyway, they glued these photos onto some pictures of Teletubby costumes they found in a Halloween catalog. I think I'll start calling them Laa-Laa and Po.

Stacey from All Moments Remembered just emailed me these cool scrap book pages she put together using pictures from my blog. I will never, ever, ever have the time to scrapbook. Really, remember the 200 gallon bucket of pictures? Not only do I have a pile of paper-backed photos that are undoubtedly a fire hazard, but I haven't written a thing in most of my kids' baby books. It's so sad. My first son has a baby book where every "first" is recorded. My oldest daughter has many entries in her book. My third child has two sentences written in his. On and on it goes. My sixth baby doesn't even have a book. So sad.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Social Skills of a Chimpanzee

Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. Clay's surgery went very well yesterday. The surgeon came out and told me, "He really needed this surgery. His adenoids and tonsils were just enormous." I'm looking forward to having a child who doesn't stop breathing in his sleep and who doesn't choke on his food. She removed the old set of ear tubes that had fallen out and were sitting in his ear canal. The one tube was surrounded by inflamed tissue, so she cleaned that out and put a patch over the little hole in his ear drum.

He's such a trooper. He ate two cups of Jello and drank some water at the hospital and took his pain meds without a fight so they actually let us go home yesterday evening. The nurse asked Clay, "Are you ready to leave?" He shook his head 'no'. "Don't you want to go home?" Again, he nodded his head from side to side.

Can you blame the kid? Here he was getting to watch t.v. IN BED! People brought him Jello, popsicles, soup, pop, juice, and water that he got to eat IN BED! It was quiet there. He had mom to himself and no siblings were bugging him. No kidding he didn't want to leave. I, on the other hand, did want to leave because I'm now sick and running a fever. I just pray I don't give it to Clay. That's just what he needs on top of recovering from surgery.

He's been pretty much laying around all day today which is good. Well, except for a brief moment this morning when he hopped into the kitchen. I told him, "No hopping Sweetie. You need to lie down and rest, " to which he asked, "Can I walk on my toes then?"

He's doing much better than I did when I had my tonsils removed at 19 years old. I whined to my Mom, at the time, that this was the worst pain EVER. Two days later, I got a kidney stone which promptly changed my mind. Throat pain? What throat pain?

There was nothing funny to write about in the hospital. Although this was the 8th surgery between my kids, it doesn't get easier. It's still nerve-wracking. But having this surgery in a big children's hospital, I saw so many really sick children. I thank God that mine are really healthy.
I've never seen my Spaz so calm as he's been the past couple days. This is the softest blanket on the planet! Seriously. It's a gift from Clay's Godmother, Denise on Long Island. Thank you, DeeDee! He's been carrying this monkey blanket around with him all day.

But since I told you I'd post a story, here's something I wrote a few days ago....


I recently read an article which stated that toddlers are smarter than chimpanzees. The article went on to cite studies that claim the social learning skills of a two year old child are superior to those of an ape. The person who conducted these studies has obviously never met my children.

Let’s talk a little about these five social skills that a toddler could be expected to demonstrate.

1. Saying “Please” and “Thank you” - Your toddler should always remember the magic words - please and thank you. My children are actually pretty good with their Ps and Qs. “Please, please, please can I have a piece of candy?” “Pleeeeease can I just have one more glass of water, goodnight kiss, or story?” “Thank you for letting me bring twenty-two worms in the house.” And finally, “Thank you for letting me wear my Batman mask to the grocery store.”
Yes, they’ve covered the ground on please and thank you.

2. Introductions - When introduced to an adult, your toddler should be able to say, “Nice to meet you.” My toddler hasn’t quite gotten to that point yet. I usually hear something more like “Hello. You look like Santa Claus”, or “Hello. Why is there hair coming out of your nose?”, or my personal favorite, “Hi. Are you going to have a baby soon?” Yep, that’s social finesse at its finest. Shaking hands during introductions or greetings is another opportunity to teach toddlers good manners. Greeters stand at the door as we walk into church, waiting to shake our hands. My toddler usually looks at his feet and tries to hide behind me. Sometimes he’ll be in an outgoing mood and perfectly willing to shake the other adult’s hand, but having seen him lick his palm, wipe at his nose and cough into his hand on the way into the building, I quickly usher him along before he can pass the grossness on to some unsuspecting person.
I think that covers introductions for toddlers.

3. Sharing - It’s important to teach your toddler to share. My children do an exceptional job when it comes to sharing. They are happy to share blame. To the question, “Who broke the picture frame?” all six will reply, “They did it!“ while simultaneously pointing to the sibling on their left. They’re also wonderful at sharing germs, bacteria and viruses. If one gets sick, they make sure they share until all six of them get sick.
More generous, giving children, you’ll never meet.

4. Table Manners - Right from the start, you must show your toddler how to behave at the dinner table. I never have to worry about my children’s table manners in public. Honestly. We simply never go out to eat. At home, well, let’s just say that not a meal goes by where we aren’t graced by some charming bodily function followed by hilarious laughter. Generally, enough food to feed a small village winds up on the floor and the phrase, “This is yucky” is uttered at least twice a week.
Perhaps they could use a little work in this department.

5. Saying you’re sorry - Teaching your toddler to own up to their mistakes and offer an apology when they’ve wronged someone is essential.
“I’m sorry I put my sister in the clothes dryer, I’m sorry I squished Play Doh in the couch cushions, and I’m sorry for using your expensive lipstick to color on the wall,” are all good examples of this lesson.
Yep, I’ve heard them all.

The researchers of this study go on to state that children could understand nonverbal communication, understand the intentions of others, and imitate other’s solutions to problems better than chimpanzees and orangutans. I’m inclined to agree with them.

1. …could understand nonverbal communication - They understand what that look means. You know, the‘Wait Until we get Home Mister’ look that we give our children when they’re misbehaving.

2. …could understand the intentions of others - They understand perfectly what their older brother’s intentions are. “Mom, I messed up Austin’s room and now he’s going to kill me!”

3. …could imitate other’s solutions to problem solving - “Well, he hit me first, so I hit him back.”

Actually I think it’s a toss up on who has better social skills, a chimpanzee or a two year old. But I’m pretty sure a chimp has never flushed a Barbie doll down the toilet, painted a television with chocolate pudding, or given their little sister a haircut with a pair of kitchen shears. Of course, I don’t know too many adults who walk around doing those things either, so I guess eventually, they can be taught the finer art of social graces and in the meantime, they sure provide us with plenty of fun.
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Oh yes, many of you commented that my kids sure like yogurt as a medium in their, um "artwork". I'd never really noticed that before, but you're right! And you know what? I cannot stand yogurt. You couldn't pay me to eat that nasty stuff!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A Bunch of Random Stuff

First off, I want to thank Alicia at Raina's Designs for this totally cute dress that she made for my baby. These pictures don't do it justice! It's gorgeous! There's so much detail from the lace to the little flowers. This woman can sew and with an actual sewing machine too, not my "sewing" method of hot glue and duct tape. I would've taken a picture with my baby wearing it, but she has a cold and was crabby and not very compliant today (besides I wouldn't want her to get snot on it.)



I want to also thank Kim at Lillian Grace Boutique for making Lexi this adorable tutu and this T-shirt that says, "Move over Cinderella!" She wants to sleep in it every night! Talk about "fit for a princess". I'm not sure what she's doing in the picture. Posing? Shooting laser beams from her fingers? Doing a cute little wave?
And I want to thank Lindsay at My Family Meal Planner for sending me her family meal planner. This is a great cookbook with super easy recipes for busy folks. The really cool part of this cookbook is that she's got four meals planned every week and she includes a magnetic pad of paper with a grocery list for each week printed on each sheet. You can tear off a sheet, hand it to your husband, send him to the store, and as long as he sticks to the list, you'll have the ingredients for four nights of meals. Last night we had taco soup and it was simple to make and yummy to eat. Everyone liked it. Well, except Brooklyn who had fish.....

.....plastic fish
Gotta get those Omega-3s

Yes, that's my almost 40 year old child. Don't want to let the kids have all the fun now, do we? Between you and me - I don't think he was using it as a Pogo stick. I think he was fantasizing about using machinery i.e. a jackhammer.
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Oh yes - thank you to Sandy, a nice woman from my church who has been telling me that "I started reading your blog back before you became 'famous'." She sent me this email...
Dawn,
Just for your information. I found a city named Bob in Louisiana. So even though it would sound out of place in your list of names, it would continue your theme.
Sandy
I stand corrected. I guess you can have an Austin, Savannah, Jackson, Lexington, and Bob. LOL!
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Here is a link to my most recent interview in The Daily Herald.
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Again, I want to thank everyone who's taken the time to leave me a comment or email me. You don't know how much I appreciate it. I do read all of them. Seriously. I only answer a very few because I just don't have the time. I wish I could write you all a personal thank you, but until I figure out a way to add another ten hours to my day, I just can't.
Thank you so very much!
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My little boy is having his adenoids and tonsils removed and possibly a second set of tubes put in his ears tomorrow. I won't be around to update tomorrow night because I'll be staying with him in the hospital. But since you guys are so awesome, I'll take a notebook and some pens and write a funny story while I'm there so check back in Thursday night. ;)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Don't Put Chocolate Milk in Your Pants

DAWN'S TOP TEN TWENTY LIST OF WORDS I NEVER DREAMED WOULD ESCAPE MY LIPS
until I had children.


1. Don’t put chocolate milk in your pants.

2. Why did you flush Legos down the toilet?

3. Take the hotdog out of your nose.

4. Where is your sister’s hair and why are you holding scissors?

5. How do you get butter out of carpeting?

6. No Sweetie, even if you wear your Superman pajamas, you can’t fly.

7. Is that maple syrup in your hair?

8. You can’t go to the store in just your underwear and rain boots!

9. No, fish don’t take baths. Why do you ask?

10. Why is the dog covered in yogurt?

11. Where did the duck come from?

12. Why did you put your brother in the refrigerator?

13. Put that squirrel down!

14. Why are the pickles pink?

15. Is that the clothes line tied to the roof of the garage?

16. No, the dog doesn’t want to wear a cowboy hat.

17. No skating in yogurt across the kitchen floor!

18. You fastened your belt around the ceiling fan why?

19. It's a fossilized hotdog!

20. Because I said so!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Rose by Any Other Name

Several people have written me to comment on my kids' names. Yes, they're all named after cities. Yes, Clayton is actually a city even though it doesn't sound like one. The thing about Clay is that we were running out of good city names by the time we got to him and we had a hard time deciding on a name. We didn't have a name picked out until the day after he was born despite plenty of "helpful" suggestions from family and friends. Let's see if I can recall some of their wonderful name ideas. There was

Schenectady
Tallahassee
Paul & Minnie (St. Paul and Minneapolis) if I had boy/girl twins
Albuquerque
Tuscaloosa
Chattanooga
Punxsutawney
and of course, Rancho Cucamonga

As awesome as all these suggestions were, I figured I'd probably mess my child up enough on my own without giving him a name he'd never be able to spell. Can you imagine the therapy bill for a kid named Punxsutawney?

By the time I was in labor, I'd narrowed down my choices to Dallas, Houston, Branson, and Clayton. (Yes, I used a copy of Rand McNally to get ideas.) My husband and I couldn't decide so we let our other kids pick the baby's name from those four choices. Austin and Savannah both voted for Clayton. Jackson, on the other hand, opted to call him Slicker. In fact, he called him Slicker for about a year at which point Clayton became known as "Baby Day-on" which is how Lexi pronounced Clayton at the time. It could have been worse. Jackson wanted to call him Nemo at first.

My point is - you pour over baby name books for nine months agonizing over the all important question - what will I name my baby so no one will give him a goofy nickname? It seems that for every choice you can think of, there is an unappealing nickname just waiting to attach itself to your baby. (Not to mention trying to find a name that doesn't remind you of someone you hated in highschool.)

You can insist and demand that your little Joseph never be called anything but Joseph, but by the time he's in kindergarten, he'll be known as Joe or Joey to someone. And if that doesn't happen, he'll acquire a nickname like Skipper, Spaz, Rhino, or some other equally ridiculous moniker that will stick with him for life. It just happens. You might as well accept that.

And really, I'm not sure why I bothered to give my kids names at all. I can never remember them. I spit and sputter, going through a list of disjointed syllables. "AusSavaJacksClaytonReid get over here right now!" It's very hard to sound authoritative when you can't remember your child's name. For some reason, the kids just don't take you seriously when you say, "JacksSav, er ClayLex, grrr whatever your name is! You know who you are!"

My dad used to call my poor sister "Corky". Corky was the dog. We thought he was crazy. Now I know the truth. We made him crazy.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Quirks are Normal, Right?

A fellow half-Greek girl who hails from Chicago, Cheryl at
http://praterposte.blogspot.com/2007/09/dang-im-it.html tagged me to answer this lame, er, umm, meaningful question.

List six quirks about yourself.

Come to think of it, that's really not a question at all. It's a statement. It's rather a demand, I should say. Maybe the fact that I'm so obsessed with the fact that this is not really a question should be my first quirk.

Actually, can I just list my six kids and be done with it?

1. I hate (yes, I know it's a strong word, but seriously, I hate) the sound of styrofoam. Packing peanuts give me the chills. I cannot open boxes that contain fragile items nestled in styrofoam to prevent breakage. I break out in a cold sweat. On Christmas, when everyone is unwrapping gifts and pulling styrofoam packing out of boxes, I sit there with my fingers in my ears singing, "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA" at the top of my lungs to drown out the hideous sound. I'd rather hear nails on a blackboard than hear the grating sound of styrofoam. Or balloons. The sound of squeaking balloons is worse than styrofoam. :::shiver::: What? I once knew a guy who was afraid of cotton balls. Seriously. Cotton balls! My quirk isn't that quirky.

2. I can't stand to go to bed with mail in my inbox. Well, before this auction anyway. I've since joined a 12 step program to help me deal with it because I haven't had an empty mailbox in over 2 weeks. In my pre-Ebay-auction days however, I would insist on reading every piece of mail before turning in for the night. If I started to log off and I heard the telltale click of incoming mail, I'd seriously log back on to read it. I know, it's a sickness. On the other hand, getting snail mail is the highlight of my day. Much like the dogs on my street, I wait at the window, expectant look on my face, and rush out to grab the mail as soon as my mail carrier walks on to the next house (don't want to look too desperate, you know). Even though I only gets bills, credit card applications, and assorted junk, it's somehow the highlight of my day.

3. I never wear shoes. Well, I wear them to stores and to church and such because of the "No shirt, no shoes, no service" signs, but I never ever wear them at home, outside, or at friends' houses. In fact, when the newspaper people came out to my house to interview me, I wasn't wearing shoes. I especially dislike uncomfortable heels. I wore Converse hightops for my wedding. Barefoot and pregnant - yep, that's me. Except that I'm not pregnant now. Really.

I have no idea what I was thinking. Probably the same thing my kids think when they wear underwear on their heads, or the same T-shirt for a month straight, or a Cinderella dress to the doctor's office. And yes, believe it or not, that dress was quite stylish back in the early 90s.

4. I cannot clean up vomit. I literally, physically cannot do it. I've tried. I pulled into the parking lot of my friend's office where I was meeting her for lunch when my son, then 1 1/2 years old, started throwing up in my car. I was 20 months pregnant with my 4th baby at the time. I got out of the car, waddled around to the side and, standing about 5 feet away from the car and looking the other way, carefully reached into the car in the general vicinity of my son and waved a diaper wipe around hoping that somehow I'd magically be able to clean him up this way. It didn't work. So I took a deep breath and held it. Determined to clean up my sick son, I turned to face him, and promptly threw up myself. This was followed by more attempts to clean him and more retching of my own. The parking lot was covered in a technicolor mess.
My friend came out of the building and was greeted by this sight. "Oh for crying out loud. What are you doing? Move out of the way," she said to me as she proceeded to pull my son from his car seat, strip him down, and clean both him and my car.
Can you imagine such a thing? She got the Most Awesome Friend Ever award from me that day. I still can't fathom how anyone can clean up a mess like that. Especially when it isn't even your child. I really am blessed to have the greatest friends on earth.
I won't even get into the horrible mess my sister cleaned up 12 years ago...

Hmmm, I can't think of anything else. I'm pretty sure I only have 4 "quirky" things about me. Yes, only 4. If I could come up with 6, that would make me very strange indeed. And I'm not. Strange, that is. I'm perfectly normal. With only 4, perfectly normal quirks. Really.

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