Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nearly Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where our river flows backwards, it's Sunday Sound Out starring the old woman who lives in a shoe, Dawn Meehan, and with musical guest, Perry Como.

I would love to know where you do your grocery shopping at? I only have 4 kids so its a challange for me everytime I shop. I would love to know where you grocey shop and do you budget etc....???
I do almost all my shopping at Aldi. I'm not very good at clipping coupons and running from store to store to get the best deals. I just don't have the time or patience for that, but Aldi has the overall cheapest prices that I've found. When I started shopping there, my grocery bill was cut in half. Literally. They don't always have the best selection of fresh produce however, so I do tend to fill in the gaps with a few things from Jewel now and then. I used to be very good at sticking to a budget, but I've gotten lax over the years. I'm just getting back to that system now. I don't own a credit card which makes it easier - if I don't have the money, I can't get the item. Period.

Question - What are your thoughts on the Swine Flu vaccine? Had you considered it before it hit? Having lived through it, would you have vaccinated or just suffered through it?
I wasn't planning on getting the kids (or myself) the vaccination, but according to my pediatrician, I no longer have to make that decision since the kids have already gotten the flu. Honestly, it wasn't bad for my kids, but then again, my kids don't have any other health issues, immune problems, or asthma either. I did almost take Lexi to the ER one night because of her high fever and wheezing, but that was about it.

Where's the photo of you and Savannah dressed up? :)
I haven't dressed up in 20-some years. Why dress up when you can just make up your own costume with picnik.com?


But here's my DAUGHTER...

Should I be concerned that Jackson dressed like a girl and Savannah dressed like a dude?




if you haven't already, go take a look at today's online Chicago Tribune and scroll down to the business section. There's a picture of someone who looks alot like you and a young boy who looks alot like Clay sitting on a couch with a laptop...Just wondering if it is you and if there is another article about you in the Trib today?
Yep, that's us, but there's no article about me in the Trib now. They must've just used the photo they took a couple years ago because it fit their story. You know, because I'm so amazingly photogenic. Snort!

I forgot to announce the winner of the Zing Zang Zoom circus tickets giveaway! The random winner is...

Chasity said...
Oh, what a wonderful giveaway! I've never taken my boys to the circus, what a treat for them that would be. Thanks.

Congratulations! Email me at mom2my6pack@aol.com for details on how to get your tickets! And it's not too late for everyone else to get a discount to the upcoming Chicago shows. Just use coupon code MOM at checkout for a 4-pack of tickets for only $44 at Ticketmaster!


Happy Halloween!

First, I want to thank everyone for their kind words of support. Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave an encouraging comment or email. I can't possibly express what it means to me. I appreciate it more than you'll ever know. I am so blessed to have such a huge group of cyber friends. :*)

And thank you for being patient with me this week while I worked out some issues and decisions in my head. I could write a book longer than the Bible filled with stories of hurt and disappointment over the last 18 years. I've chosen not to. I'm not one to wallow in self-pity because no matter how bad things might be, there is ALWAYS someone out there who has it worse. I really am more of a half-full kinda person. Why dwell on the negative? It just tears you apart and makes you feel bad. I always try to look on the positive side and find the humor in the things that would otherwise frustrate us. I'd much rather laugh than cry and I think most people would agree with that.
Thank you for all your letters of concern for my kids and the flu. They're all fine now. I think the meds really did speed up healing for them and none of them had any complications. I could feel your prayers of strength and healing. And I escaped the flu altogether. I was really sick this past spring and I remember joking around that I "probably had swine flu". Looking back now, I think I really did have it then. Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have escaped it this time around with Brooklyn coughing in my face 40,000 times.

Now, onto lighter things...


Brooklyn changed her mind about what she wanted to be a million times. The night before Hallween, I pulled 3 dresses out of the dress-up box and said, "Which one?" She opted for Sleeping Beauty.

Last Halloween, Lexi informed me that she wanted to be Darth Vader this year. I thought for sure she'd change her mind, but nope. So, Darth Vader she was.

Clay picked the Stitch costume that Jackson wore a few years ago. Everyone said it fit his personality. Hmmm...



And here's Jackson (or Jackie, as we're calling him now). I told Jackson it takes a lot of guts to dress up like your sister. How weird is it that he fit in his little sister's mini skirt?
Hope everyone had a nice week and a fun Halloween with the kids!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Duh!

I'm sorry. I'm so out of it this week. I promise I'll be back and functioning next week. I just need a few days to regroup.
Anyway, I realize that I screwed up and only picked one winner for the Safety Tats when I was supposed to pick four. So here are the other three...

Tami said...
I just became a fan of safety tats on facebook!!iluvmyfamilyof5@hotmail.com


Jenny said...
these would be great on a cruise, no? sounds wonderful and I'm sure provides much better peace of mind when you're out and about.


Tmomma said...
what a great idea! i remember you talking about these before and how useful they are.

I'm sorry for my slip-up. Congratulations to all the winners! Please email me at mom2my6pack@aol.com with your addresses. :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Safety Tats Winner

I'm sorry. With everything going on last week, I forgot to post the winner of the Safety Tats on Friday. The random winner is...


Jen said...
I bought Safety Tats to use when we went to Disney last summer. They are great! I love these new halloween ones!! I'd love to win them!! I'm almost out of the ones I bought for Disney so I'm in need of new ones anyway. I use them whenever we go to amusement parks or any crowded places. They are so handy!!

Thanks everyone for leaving your comments! Congratulations to Jen! Email me at mom2my6pack@aol.com with your shipping address.

The Greatest Show on Earth (and warthogs)

The circus is coming to town! The circus is coming! I really am that excited about it. When Austin was a little kid, he was obsessed with animals and elephants in particular. He had a collection of these hard, plastic animals that he played with. Well, come to think of it, he didn't actually play with them so much as he categorized them. Gray ones, white ones, green ones... Or maybe small ones, medium ones, big ones... Or perhaps, animals with 4 legs, with 2 legs, with no legs... He'd categorize and line them up, then he'd change them around and line them up in a different way.

In fact, thinking of those plastic animals reminds of the one year Austin asked for a warthog for Christmas. That's all he wanted, a toy warthog. He wrote to Santa and asked him for just that one thing. I looked high and low for a warthog. This was way back before I owned a computer so I couldn't just browse the net, not that the thought had even occurred to me at the time.

We used to have these neat learning-type toy stores around here that sold the plastic animals and I drove to every one of them in search of a toy warthog. I couldn't find one anywhere.

I asked Austin, "Are you sure you want a warthog? How about some nice Legos? Or some Matchbox cars? Wouldn't you like a set of art supplies? Or a car? Or a house? Or a million dollars? Anything but a warthog???"

I called the Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, The Milwaukee Zoo. I figured if any of them said they had a warthog, I'd take a road trip, pay admission for the day and buy the stinking toy. No one had a warthog. Finally, I found one at the San Diego Zoo. The person on the other end of the phone thought it was the strangest request she'd ever heard. "We don't ship items from our gift stores," she informed me. After I regaled her with my warthog saga, she said she would personally ship it to me. Thanks to her, Austin was one happy kid come Christmas morning when he found a plastic warthog in his stocking.

Wow, did I digress! As I was saying, Austin was obsessed with elephants back in the day. He watched Dumbo so many times, the tape broke. So when the circus came to town, we took him there for his 4th birthday. I can still see the look on his face as he beheld all the wonder and magic of the "greatest show on earth".



We haven't been back since. Guess where we're going for his 15th birthday? That's right! I'm really excited about Ringling Bros. latest show, Zing Zang Zoom because it combines magic with the circus and looks like tons of fun!



And for my readers, I have a coupon code for you! Use the code - MOM to get a 4 pack of tickets (good for Monday-Friday matinee shows) for only $44! This code is also good for $4 off Friday and weekend shows. You can get additional tickets for $11.

Opening night is November 5th at 7:00pm at the AllState Arena in Rosemont


and


November 18th at 7:00pm at The United Center in Chicago

But that's not it! I have a 4 pack of tickets for opening night at The United Center to give away to one lucky family! Leave me a comment and I'll pick a random winner on Friday! Please make sure you're available for the 7:00pm show on November 18th in Chicago before leaving me a comment. And the coupon code is good for everyone interested in shows at either location!

*I was given free tickets to the circus in exchange for my post, but my opinions are entirely my own.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Joe

I don't regret what I wrote yesterday. I got several hundred comments and emails from people thanking me for letting them know they're not alone. I can't count the number of people who have experience with similar situations. In fact, later today, I plan on reading and sharing them because I think they'll inspire other people.

Still, I want to clarify a few things. I had planned on writing more today anyway, but after my mom called to tell me how disappointed my parents are with me for writing that and to let me know it would be my fault if something bad happened to Joe because of it, and after my mother-in-law told Joe to call a lawyer and sue me for slander, I decided to take the time to write right now instead of waiting til tonight when I could get my thoughts straight.

I was not bashing Joe in my post last night. He is not a bad or evil person. He is an alcoholic who has been sober for 17 years. He quit drinking right before we got married and he's stayed clean throughout the years. He takes his sobriety seriously and I'm proud of him for that accomplishment. Especially when you consider his parents and how he was raised by an alcoholic father, it's an amazing accomplishment.

Joe is a good person. He's a very hard worker and always has been. He's put in more than his fair share of hours trying to provide for our family. He's also a great dad. He has no problem taking all 6 kids out for the day and playing with them, reading to them, helping with homework, giving the little ones baths.

But, although he's sober, he has still has alcoholic traits. He lies. He lies about big things, little things, everything. This is the number one thing that has to lead to the destruction of our marriage, in my opinion. You can't trust someone who lies to you repeatedly. The bible says to forgive a person not 7 times, but 70 times 7. He's already reached 490 times. OK, ok, I know that it really means you should forgive repeatedly without a limit. But even though you may forgive someone, how do you ever trust them again? And how can you love someone you can't trust? I haven't figured that one out.

He told a whopper when he was caught doing something about a year ago and blamed it on the kids. At that point, I said I was done and was going to file for divorce. That was right about the time I was given the movie Fireproof to review. Joe watched it with me and something clicked with him. He changed. He seemed genuinely aware of what the years of lying had done and I honestly believed he was changing for the better. He has a library of Christian books about marriage. He read his bible every day and prayed. I really thought this might be it. But he couldn't understand why years of disappointment and hurt didn't instantly melt away with me. He's been trying to be patient with me, but I don't know when or if my feelings toward him will ever change. And then something like this will happen and things are set back again...

Joe does not go out and seek drugs that I know of. He doesn't have a problem like that. It's just that whenever he's prescribed pain killers, he seems to have problems taking them. It happened with his prescribed sleeping pills this past summer and pain killers for his back about 12 years ago which led to major depression.

Now, apparently Joe was just dehydrated because the pain in his throat was keeping him from drinking. When I asked him if he wanted some warm tea yesterday morning, he said, "No thanks, I'm drinking water." I didn't realize he hadn't been drinking enough because honestly, my attention was focused on my kids. After some IV rehydration, he perked up and was back to his normal self. I feared he was suffering from depression (possibly from the pain killers because that was my previous experience with him.) I wanted him to get help. I'm glad it wasn't depression and just dehydration this time. Thankfully the fluids have made a world of difference.

And according to Joe's doctor, he didn't "overdose" on the pain medication. He took too much and it did raise the numbers on his liver function, but not to a dangerous level. So, I apologize for using the wrong word.

I never wrote that post last night to bash Joe or anyone else who deals with addictions or problems like that. It's a sucky situation and I wouldn't wish either side of it on anyone. I just had to write. It's cathartic for me. I feel better when I write about the things that are bothering me and pushing me to my limits. And although I don't regret it, I do apologize for any hurt feelings.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Swine Flu Update

Well, my kids are feeling better today. I think the medicine is really working because they're getting back to themselves faster than Savannah who didn't have any medicine. The problem is that they're tired of being cooped up and sick and it's all rainy here today. Despite the fact that I've been going to the library every day to get them a new supply of movies, Clay and Jackson are out of control, jumping around, fighting and generally bugging everyone else. I'm about at the end of my rope with them.

Meanwhile, I had to call my mom and ask her to take Joe to the ER after I spoke with his doctor. Joe overdosed on the Tylenol with codeine and has been in a drugged sleep ever since his surgery on Friday. I didn't realize he had gone through all 3 bottles of pain killers at first because he waited until I was in the shower, then drove, all hopped up on narcotics, to the drug store to get more. When he got home, he filled the empty bottle with water to cover up the fact that he'd just been drinking the medicine from the bottle like it was water. Like a true recovering alcoholic, he blamed me for the cover-up and said he had to do it so I wouldn't get mad.

So I told his surgeon how much medicine he'd taken, but that he was out of it now, yet still, he was sleeping all day and night and the rare times he awoke, he slurred, cried a little, then went back to sleep. I was worried that he was depressed and might try to commit suicide again and I, quite frankly, am sick and tired of dealing with this kind of thing especially since I have 6 sick kids at home right now.

Anyway, my mom was nice enough to take him to the ER where they rehydrated him (he'd stopped eating and drinking) and tested his liver function. The numbers were elevated so he'll be staying there overnight to be monitored to make sure the number doesn't rise anymore.

That's it in a nutshell. Prayers for Joe would be good because I ran out of sympathy for him after he yelled at me for being so mean to him. Yeah, stocking up on yogurt, ice cream, popsicles, and pudding is mean. Sitting at the hospital for 6 hours while he was in surgery is mean. Offering to make him soup and tea every day is mean. Trying to get him out of the house so he doesn't get sick is mean. Staying up all night with the kids so he could sleep is mean. Making sure someone could take him to the hospital so he could get help is mean.

I don't know how to close comments on a post so I'm just going to ignore them because I know I'll get negative feedback for writing this. I'll have people who say I'm stupid for staying with him for so long. I'll have people say I'm a horrible wife and shouldn't be talking bad about him. But unless you've lived with a person who struggles with addictions, you don't know what it's like. Unless you've lived with a person who lies to you constantly, you don't know what it's like. And I'm just exhausted.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Swine Flu

Friday night Savannah told me she didn't feel great and was going to bed. It was before 10:00 on a Friday! That never happens. When she woke up on Saturday, she had a high fever. She spent most of the weekend sleeping and taking medicine for her aches, sore throat and cough. Yesterday Brooklyn developed a fever. Yesterday afternoon I got a call from the school nurse saying I needed to pick up Lexi because she was running a high fever. I thought Clay was getting it last night, but he escaped.

I almost took Lex to the ER last night because she had a fever over 104 and was so croupy and wheezy, I was concerned. When she threw up her medicine and her eyes started rolling back in her head as she complained of dizziness, I kinda freaked out a bit. I got dressed and prepared to take her to the hospital, but was finally able to bring down her fever and get her breathing under control with the vaporizer.

Brooklyn hasn't stopped crying since she woke up this morning. The poor kid keeps whining that her eyes hurt. :( I was going to take the girls to the doctor this afternoon, but before I could leave, I got another call from the school nurse. "Come pick up Jackson. He has a fever of 103." When I got to the school to pick him up, the nurse said, "Oh, by the way, Clay failed his hearing test twice. You need to get these papers signed by a doctor." Oh joy.

I dropped Jax off at home and ran the girls to the doctor. The doctor swabbed them and lo and behold, they have swine flu. The best part is that the doctor guaranteed that I would get it. Yay! I called Joe on the way home and told him to go to his parents' house for a week or more so he doesn't get the flu on top of recovering from surgery. It's not like he was any help anyway since he'd downed 3 bottles of Tylenol with codeine and had spent the last 3 days completely drugged out of his mind.

So she prescribed Tamiflu for Brooklyn and Relenza for Lexi and Jackson. It was too late for Savannah to get any medicine because she was too many days into the flu. So I went on a 3 hour expedition in search of this medicine for the kids. I went to Walgreens and they didn't have anything there. I drove to Osco and no dice. I asked the pharmacist if he knew of any other pharmacies that might have it in stock and he said, "You'll just have to make some phone calls." Gee thanks, buddy.

I drove home to check on the kids, made a phone call to Target who told me they had the meds and drove over there. I guess I wasn't specific enough on the phone and although they had the Tamiflu for adults, they didn't have the suspension for Brooklyn. So I was able to get one pack of Relenza there. The pharmacist there was awesome, however because she must've called 5 different pharmacies for me. She found a second pack of Relenza at another Target and she found a pharmacy a few towns over that said they'd compound the medicine for Brooklyn. I drove over there and was told they didn't take insurance and it would cost $200. Ugh. What was I supposed to do? I couldn't go home with medicine for everyone but Brooklyn and look into her sick eyes and not feel horrible and guilty. So I gave the go-ahead for them to mix it up and was told they could only make 3 doses tonight and I'd have to come back tomorrow for the other 7 doses. "We'll call you in a couple hours when it's ready, Mrs. Meehan."

So I drove a couple towns over to the other Target and picked up the second pack of Relenza. While I was there, I got a call that Brooklyn's medicine was ready and I needed to pick it up NOW because the pharmacy was closing. Ugh, I quickly drove back to that pharmacy and picked up the 3 doses for Brooklyn (which only cost about $80), ran through McDonald's for the kids and sped home.

I threw the food on the table as the phone rang. It was the conference call I was supposed to have joined 10 minutes earlier. Ugh. I left my sick kids again and disappeared into my room to take the call. When I re-emerged from my room and hung up the phone, Clay told me he didn't feel well. He's running a fever now too. Austin is the only kid left standing.

I feel like a horrible mom, but that feeling is slowly being replaced with a headache and sore throat...

Disney Live Winner!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:14
Timestamp: 2009-10-20 05:15:52 UTC

amyvillarreal said...
Wow! Sounds like so much fun for a 4 and 2 year old!!

Congratulations! Email me at mom2my6pack@aol.com to get your tickets. :)

And everyone else can still get a deal on tickets by using these discounts -

* Save $5 on performances for Sat., Oct. 24 at 2 pm or 5 pm and Sat., Oct. 25 at 11 am or 2 pm. (Excludes Front Row and VIP seats) Just enter code MOM on the MC Promotion line at http://www.ticketmaster.com/.

* Or save with Opening night tickets which are only $15.00. (No discount code needed for this. Savings will automatically appear.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Be Safe This Halloween!


It's almost Halloween. That means it's time to pull out the orange plastic pumpkins. Time to come up with costumes for the kiddos. And here in Chicagoland, that means finding a costume that's big enough to fit over a winter coat and gloves. It's time to stock up on Halloween candy. Wait, actually, it's not quite time to buy candy. You don't buy candy until the 30th or 31th or it will vanish and will materialize on your hips way before Halloween. You also need to make sure you have a supply of SafetyTats on hand.

If you don't know what Safety Tats are, you should! They're skin-safe temporary tattoos that are applied to your child's arm. You personalize them with your cell phone number and if your little ones are ever separated from you, you're just a phone call away. What peace of mind!

I use these on my little kids whenever we're out in crowded places. I had them on the youngest 3 kids the entire time we were in St. Louis a couple weeks ago - the arch, the museums, the zoo.

Imagine a night where your children roam in the dark, knock on strangers’ doors, and wear clothes that disguise their identity, among dozens of other children. And suddenly, you’ve misplaced them because all of the children look the same. Sound like a nightmare? No, in fact, it’s just Halloween. This likely scenario is rarely considered because parents are too busy feeding their child a healthy dinner and filling up candy bowls. With kids in costume, it is all too common to lose a child. But finally, parents have their own Halloween treat—temporary safety tattoos for their children that offer special Halloween-themed designs. Place your Halloween SafetyTat Child ID Tattoo order by October 22nd to receive them before Halloween. After the 22nd, you have until October 27th to order your tattoos with EXPRESS Mail shipping to safely arrive in time. Happy Haunting!

And just for my readers, you can receive 10% off your order when you use coupon code M2M6P09 between now and October 31! Not only that, but leave me a comment here for a chance to win one of four 15-packs of Safety Tats! Want more chances to win? Become a fan of Safety Tats on Facebook HERE for another entry into the drawing! I'll choose 4 random winners on Friday. Good luck!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the city that serves its hotdogs on a poppy seed buns with mustard, celery salt, dill pickle spears, hot peppers, tomatoes, chopped onions and neon green relish, it's Sunday Sound Out starring the woman who finished the Crop Walk a whole minute and 23 seconds before an 80-year-old man, it's Dawn Meehan.

Lexi looks really beautiful in cheerleading uniform!! How's she doing? Any vid of her doing the stunts?!
I'm too busy cringing and hiding my eyes when Lexi stunts.

SSO question: I gotta know... did you plant any of that change [Coinstar video]?
Yep, pretty much all of the change was planted. It was a re-enactment of some of the places I've found change.

And what would a car seat be without at least 1 fry and some smashed up gold fish?
Ahhh that would be a car seat in my sister's car.

Just curious...do your kids clammer for brand name clothes?
Nope, they really don't. Austin shuns name-brands. Savannah and Lexi would probably like some, but never ask or whine for them. My kids are learning the value of a dollar. The younger ones aren't into clothes at all.

My goodness woman! Have you not yet learned? ALWAYS send the teenage boy out with the father. ALWAYS.And, if you can swing it, send the teenage girls out with him too.
I couldn't pay Savannah enough to go shopping with her dad. Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure you couldn't pay Joe enough to go clothes shopping with anyone.

But it's fun to keep the little kids for yourself. Because they think going to the second hand store to find new clothes is AWESOME because it has a little pink door. =D
My little kids just went shopping in my attic for hand-me-downs and they were thrilled with our finds! :)

Does Austin wear socks now?
Yes, very specific ones.

When I read your posts, I realize just how uptight I am. [marker on Clay and Brooklyn at the store]
I'm sure I was a bit more uptight when I just had a couple kids. I think time and more kids have made me much more laid-back. I'm pretty good at asking myself if something is going to matter in 5 years before reacting. "Is it going to matter in 5 years that my kids had marker on their hands and face while we shopped?" The answer is usually no. So why freak out over it?

SSO question! :-D We'll be visiting St. Louis next weekend and will only be able to go to one thing (thanks to time and money constraints).. having been to both the City Museum and the Magic House- which one would you recommend we definitely see? We have a 10 year old, a 3 year old and an 8 month old (he's pretty much just along for the ride, but he likes looking around at stuff :-) ) I'd appreciate your opinion SO much!
Both places were very cool! I think your 10-year-old would probably prefer The City Museum and your 3-year-old would prefer The Magic House. Check out the exhibits at both places and see which things you think would be good for your particular children's interests.
The City Museum
The Magic House

Good story, Bob! But did I miss something? Why is an adult getting his tonsils out? I thought they hardly did that anymore.
I don't know about that. I have a lot of friends who have had tonsils removed as adults. In Joe's case, it's because he has sleep apnea and snores like a chainsaw. I had my tonsils removed when I was 20. I suffered from tonsillitis and strep throat monthly for years and years and years, but they didn't take them out much back then. Finally, as an adult, they took them out and I've had only a handful of sore throats in the past 20 years. Austin, Jackson and Clayton have all had their tonsils taken out because of sleep apnea and/or recurrent ear infections. Savannah, Brooklyn and Lexi are the only ones who have tonsils left in this family. (Although Lexi's had 3 sets of tubes for her ears.)

Joe's doing well. His throat isn't hurting much according to him, but it's dry because he's been breathing through his mouth since his nose is still so swollen and stuffy. He sounds like Darth Vader now.

I want to thank everybody who donated to the Church World Service Crop Walk! The 10k walk was today. After 2 weeks of record breaking cold weather and rain, we had a nice, warm, sunshiny, 50-degree day for our walk. Thanks be to God! I didn't quite finish the 10k. I walked for an hour and a half and, considering how out-of-shape I am, I was pretty proud of myself for accomplishing that much. I even beat this little ole 80-year-man who was walking. Yeah, I only beat him by like a minute and a half, but so what! I beat him! In your face, old man! (Yes, yes, I am pathetic.) Thanks to your help, I raised $435 that will help to feed people near and far.

Want a million dollar house? Here's your chance! Wings (Women In Need Growing Stronger) is raffling off a custom-built house worth 1.3 million dollars! There are over 100 other prizes too including cars, a Harley Davidson motorcycle, jewelry and dream vacations! You can buy your raffle tickets HERE. And when you buy a ticket, you're not only entered in the drawing, but you're helping WINGS. WINGS helps homeless and abused women and children by providing safe shelter and services that meet their needs for housing, planning, education, guidance and support.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Can I Talk to Bob?

Clay, Brooklyn and I took Joe to the hospital at 12:00 today. Joe was prepped for surgery while the kids and I sat in the waiting room. They took him into surgery at about 1:45. Around 3:00, the doctor came out and said the surgery went well. The tonsils came out with no problems. His nose, on the other hand... Apparently Joe's had his nose broken a time or two in the past (Not even a little surprising. He was smacked in the face with an oar which is why he has 2 fake teeth in front. I mean, where do you think Clay gets all his bright ideas from?) Anyway, the doctor said his septum was "challenging" and was more messed up than he'd originally thought.

We waited until Joe was out of recovery and in a room, (He's staying in ICU overnight) at which point we said goodnight and left. We'd been there for 6 hours and were tired and hungry and I had to get home to the oldest kids (I'd made arrangements for the middle kids to go with friends after school.) But let me tell ya, Brooklyn and Clayton were AWESOME the entire day! I am SO proud of them! Of course, I'd packed a lunch, some snacks, coloring books and crayons, toys and their VTech computers to keep them busy, but seriously, they got along so well and were absolutely great! I wouldn't have even blamed them for having a major meltdown after being cooped up in a waiting room for 6 hours, but they were fabulous! OK, how many people just double-checked the URL to make sure you were at the right blog? What, Clay didn't jump off any tables and break any bones??? Brooklyn didn't throw any 40 minute-long screaming fits???

The phone rang a little while ago and Austin answered it.

"Hello?"

"Hi! Can I talk to Bob?"

"I think you have the wrong number," Austin informed the strange man on the other end.

"Can I talk to your mother?" the caller asked.

Austin handed the phone to me with a whispered, "I don't know who it is."

"Hello?" I said into the receiver.

"Hi," said the voice. The voice that belonged to Joe. You know, Austin's father! Apparently, when your nose is stuffed with cotton, "Mom" sounds like "Bob". LOL!


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

The winner of the Flip video camera is...

Leanne said...
We just collected money from around the house and came up with $198 in change. We donated the first $100 to Unicef and the rest to our Girl Scout troop - they are raising funds for a local animal shelter.Great idea... we are passing your video around so others will hopefully pick up on the idea and donate, especially with the hard times and holidays coming around.Thank You for your Awesomeness!!Leanne

Congratulations!!! Email me with your shipping address and I'll send the camera out right away.

Disney Live Rockin' Road Show


Disney's coming back to Chicagoland, but this time it isn't on Ice. It's The Disney Live Rockin' Road Show and it'll be at the Rosemont Theater October 23-25!

And I've got 2 great ways to save!

* Save $5 on performances for Sat., Oct. 24 at 2 pm or 5 pm and Sat., Oct. 25 at 11 am or 2 pm. (Excludes Front Row and VIP seats) Just enter code MOM on the MC Promotion line at http://www.ticketmaster.com/.

* Or save with Opening night tickets which are only $15.00. (No discount code needed for this. Savings will automatically appear.)

This show is geared toward the little ones who will have fun clapping, singing, dancing and bouncing along with Tigger. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy are joined by Cinderella, Woody and Buzz Lightyear in this fun-filled show.

I have a 4 pack of tickets to give away to one lucky winner. The tickets are for opening night, October 23 at 6:30. Just leave me a comment here and I'll choose a random winner on Monday, the 19th. Please make sure you can attend the event on Friday, October 23 in Chicagoland before leaving me a comment.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No More Snore!

Joe is having surgery tomorrow. He has snored his head off every night since I've known him. After years of nagging (hey, one gets crabby when one is awakened by snoring every single night!), he finally had a sleep study done. He was told he had sleep apnea and was given this CPAP to use. It's a mask that he wore over his face and it continually blew oxygen to help keep his airway open. Or, let me rephrase that. It was a mask that he was supposed to wear. He, however, tried it twice and decided he didn't want to use it.

Fast forward through several more years of his snoring and several more nights of interrupted sleep for both of us. Now, he's finally getting his tonsils taken out and his badly deviated septum fixed.

The kids said, "Hey Dad, you get to eat ice cream every day," to which Austin replied, "And that's different than now because...?" It's true. Joe eats half a gallon of ice cream every two days. And, of course, he never gains any weight. I hate him. I mean, lucky him!

So, say a prayer that everything goes well with his surgery tomorrow and that I don't lose my mind trying to occupy Clay and Brooklyn at the hospital for several hours. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Firemen and Facial Hair

I picked Clay up from school today and as he climbed into my van, he said excitedly, "Mom, firemen were at school today! REAL firemen!" (as opposed to, you know, the fake firemen)

"Oh yeah? Did they teach about staying safe and what to do if there's a fire?"

"Yep!" he replied beaming. "And....." he paused dramatically, "I got something too! You have to wait until we get home to see."

We got home and he pulled out a little fire safety coloring book. He didn't want to put it down during lunch and when we went to the grocery store this afternoon, he asked me if he could take it along.

"Sure whatever," I told him. Hey, it was better than what Brooklyn wanted to bring - a purse filled with Barbies, a blanket, some play medical instruments, her sister's pack of gum ("just so I can look at it"), a necklace, a couple puzzle pieces, 3 markers, a pair of shoes, and her toothbrush (oral hygiene is important, you know!)

So we're shopping and I'm walking along talking to myself, "Hmmm, I think we're low on flour. I'd better pick up a bag. Do we need any crackers? Where's the kind of yogurt you guys like? I know we don't need any cereal. How much chocolate can I sneak into the cart without these guys noticing?" I stopped in the middle of my ramblings when I saw Clay.



"Clayton! You have marker on your face! You must've been rubbing the marker by your mouth! It looks like you have a mustache!" I giggled a little.

He perked up. "Really?" he asked. "Can I see?"

I took a picture with my camera phone and showed it to him.

He looked contemplative for a minute, then grabbed the marker to fill it in a bit more.



"Really Clayton? Really???" sigh "Oh child," I muttered, shaking my head.

At some point during the trip, Clay shared and let Brooklyn color in his book for awhile. That was sweet of him, no? This is how she looked on the way home...



Yep. I couldn't be prouder.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Have Nothing to Wear

I spent a good part of the past 2 weeks going through the kids' clothes. You know, I took their shorts and tank tops out of their drawers ensuring we'll have a few freak 80 degree days next week. I took the sundresses out of Lexi's closet because I was getting really tired of asking her, Umm Lex, you sure you want to wear that today? It's 40 degrees outside."

I asked Austin to try on his clothes and make piles of what fit and what didn't. When I entered his room, I was engulfed by an enormous pile of smelly, wrinkly clothes. Seriously, his clothes covered every inch of his floor. I opened his closet door and saw this...


Yeah, a shirt, and his graduation robe. So, his choice was - wear shorts and the same 3 mangy t-shirts all winter long, wear his graduation robe to school, or (gulp) go shopping with me. Needless to say, he chose to wear shorts all winter long.

After folding the clothes he'd outgrown and packing them away for Jackson, I dragged his butt out to Old Navy despite his protests.

"How about this, Austin?" I asked, holding up a button down shirt with a collar.

He made a face like I had just suggested he wear a pink tutu to school, and backed away from me, shaking his head.

"What's wrong with it?" I demanded. "It doesn't have any holes? It isn't completely threadbare? It has (gasp) buttons?"

"I like t-shirts," he said simply, defending his accoutrement of choice.

OK, what do I care if my son wants to look like a hobo. It makes no difference to me. I moved over to a display of t-shirts and held up one for Austin's approval.

"Ummm no!" he said in no uncertain terms.

"For real? It's a t-shirt. It's a plain ole t-shirt. What's wrong with this?"

"It has stripes."

"and...?" I prompted.

"I don't like stripes. It has to be plain."

"Well, of course it does. What was I thinking?" I muttered to myself as I reached for a plain red shirt.

"Not red," instructed Austin before I could even hold it up.

"Tell you what. I'm going to look over in the women's section. You pick out at least 5 shirts before you come find me."

I walked by the display of freakish mannequins and looked at some cute, colorful sweaters. They're cute, but I could never wear something that hot. I passed the sweaters and browsed through some Ts. I held one up to me, but noticed it had long sleeves. Ugh, I'd never buy a shirt with long sleeves. I looked at another table loaded with colorful shirts. I started to look for my size when I realized they had a regular t-shirt neck instead of a lower v-neck and I knew I'd be clawing at my throat within seconds of putting this shirt on because it would rub against my neck and make me insane.

I moved on to another rack when it hit me. I'm worse than Austin is! This was yet another way in which we were alike. I remembered back to when he was a preschooler and he'd scream for hours that his socks felt weird. I looked down at my sockless feet and tried to remember if I even owned a pair of socks. Do I apologize to Austin and tell him that I understand his pickiness? Nah, no sense in letting him know that I'm weird too.

After he picked out his shirts, I grabbed like 5000 pairs of some jeans for him to try on. I'll give a head's up to any moms out there who have sons who are just growing out of kid sizes and into men's sizes. Measure them before you leave for the store so you can avoid the whole - try this 30/30. No? Hmm, how about 32/30? 30/32? 34/32? Still doesn't fit? Ummm, let's see, 32/34? 33/30? 33/32? 33/34? Are we getting close?

And yes, I actually do know how men's sizing works. But I was working with a teenage boy who came out of the dressing room and gave helpful feedback like, "I dunno. I think they fit. Umm, I didn't check the length. Oh, I was supposed to fasten them when I tried them on?"

In the end, I managed to buy a couple pairs of jeans and a handful of shirts for him. He really didn't even complain too much. It was probably the best shopping trip I've ever had with him.

Now to get winter coats for Austin and Savannah who seem to have grown freakishly long arms since last winter...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Coinstar

I was given $90 in change and a Flip video camera so I could make a video of how easy it is to use Coinstar. The kids and I talked about donating the $90 to Unicef (which you can do through the Coinstar Center), but in the end, we opted to donate it to the Church World Service Crop Walk that I'm participating in this weekend.

When you use Coinstar, you can either -

A. get cash back for your coins. Coinstar charges a fee of 8.9 cents for every dollar counted. Yes, the bank will do it for free, but sometimes it's hard to get to a bank while they're open and Coinstar is convenient.

B. cash in for FREE when you choose a gift certificate from a participating vendor.

C. donate it to your favorite charity. Coinstar works with several non-profit organizations including the US Fund for Unicef.

When we went to cash in at our local grocery store, I spilled the cup of change right as we were walking through the door. Probably $20 in change went rolling over the floor. And there we were (me, Savannah, and Brooklyn) trying to pick it up as people attempted to get by and walk through the door. A couple nice people, Felisa and Kevin, stopped to help us out. Only a dork like me could've managed this. Right in the doorway! Ugh.

Anyway, we headed to the Coinstar Center and started to cash in. Because we didn't want to pay the coin counting fee and the charity we wanted to donate to wasn't an option, we cashed in and got a JCPenney gift certificate. With 6 kids to clothe, I can always use that! Then I came home and took value of the gift certificate and donated it to Crop Walk. Does that make sense? I suppose it would've been simpler to just pay the $8.00 or so fee to count the almost $90 in change, but I wanted Crop Walk to get every penny.

According to Coinstar, the average US household has about $90 of change in it. So, here's our video with 10 tips on where to find hidden change in your house. Feel free to add your own ideas in the comments! Search your houses for change, turn it in and use it to buy Halloween costumes for the kids, candy for trick-or-treaters, Halloween party supplies, or donate it to Unicef or another charity of your choice. If you run out and do this, leave me a comment with how much change you were able to dig up. I'm really curious to know how much is lurking in the average home.

Oh and I didn't end up using the Flip camera at all. In fact, I'll give it away to a random winner on Friday. Good luck!


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the city that gets snow in October, after having only 2 days of summer and a terribly cold spring and a horrific winter (not that I'm bitter or anything), it's Sunday Sound Out starring the woman who just spent 4 hours dragging winter clothes down from the attic, Dawn Meehan.

First, the 3 winners of the Vapur water bottles are...

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
95
402
151


Caroline from Memphis said...
These look awesome! I would use this in my child's back pack. (of course if I win, I'd have to buy a couple more--but that's ok) Our local schools have "closed" the water fountains due to the swine flu, so the kids have to take water bottles to school daily. These look really neat!
October 6, 2009 8:26 AM

Michelle said...
WOW, looks great! I have 5 kids and we are always on the go and go through a lot of bottled water. I'd love to give this a try instead.
October 8, 2009 8:11 PM
402

Jen said...
These are perfect! I have to keep myself hydrated all the time, and so these bottles would definitely save us time and money. I can take it with me wherever I go and fill up when needed which would be often. Wonderful!! :D GO VAPUR!
October 6, 2009 10:04 AM

I actually have a question. I noticed you have a facebook badge on your blog, and that you haven't kept the identities of your children private (on my blog I use nicknames instead of their real names, but my facebook page uses their real names). Have you had any kind of negative feedback by using their real names? Not from critics, but in the form of strangers approaching your children and calling them by name?
All I can say is good luck to any strangers who come across my kids! Actually, I think it's important to talk to your kids (whether you have a blog or not) about strangers and being safe both online and in the real world. Your kids should know that if a stranger comes up to them, even if they know your child's name and/or other information about them, they're still a stranger and your child shouldn't interact with them.

Is he [Austin] in the right classes yet? I am wondering if he is bored?
Yep, Austin's in the correct classes now. I don't think he's bored; quite the contrary, in fact. I think he's being challenged for the first time and since it isn't coming automatically and easily, he's just throwing in the towel and saying it's stupid and he's not going to do his work. I have these nightmares that he's going to be on the 5 year plan for high school.

I don't know if you have it there or not, but here in Texas we have a website that we can go to that tells us EXACTLY how our kids are doing. It shows grades for all papers thay have turned in, and if they are missing any papers from the teachers...i find i have trouble keeping up with my three kids so i can't imagine keeping up with six. I hope you have this there and it helps you out.
We do have a website where I can find out his current grade in any given class, however, it doesn't show specifics as to what grades he's gotten on what assignments, what assignments are due and when, what assignments are missing, etc.

Does Austin mind you posting his grades online? I know I wouldn't let my mom do that.
Austin doesn't seem to care much about his grades at all, or they wouldn't be so low to begin with. And I always let my older kids read my drafts and give their ok before I post them. I would never post anything that they didn't want me to.

Just to let you know, we have those [sign] all over around here. It means it is an entrance and you shouldn't exit from it. Therefore, you must be in the parking lot already. Does that make sense?
Some people just have to take the funny out of everything. ;)

Clay has so much energy have you ever thought of enrolling him in gymnastics?
No, I hadn't thought about it, but that's not a bad idea. Or maybe I can just take all the furniture out of his room and put in one of those moon bounce things instead.

Is the girl who said "He's weird" in the vid Lexi? She doesn't look like Lexi
She's my "other 8 year old", a.k.a. Lexi's best friend.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thank you so much to Sandy M., Pam A., my mom & dad, Virginia R., Robin K., LuAnn C., and Nancy A. for your generous donations to Church World Service's Crop Walk. It's not too late for you to donate to the cause. I walk next Sunday, the 18th. Just click HERE.

Founded in 1946, Church World Service is a cooperative ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations, providing sustainable self-help and development, disaster relief, and refugee assistance in some 80 countries.
Within the United States, Church World Service assists communities in responding to local hunger and disasters, resettles refugees, promotes fair national and international policies, provides educational resources, and offers opportunities to join a people-to-people network of local and global caring through participation in CROP Hunger Walks, the Tools & Blankets Program, and the CWS Kits Program.
For more information please visit the Church World Service website.
... let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. - I John 3:18

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sign of the Times


OK, so what you're saying is I should enter, um, not enter, uhh, wait what?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm walking in my church's Crop Walk later this month. I have a banner at the top right side of my blog that will take you to my Church World Service Crop Walk page if you'd like to donate to the cause. And thank you to Pam A., Sandy M, my mom & dad, and Robin K. for your generous donations!!! :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This Stands for Monkey Talk

When you're bored, there's nothing more fun than taking the belt off your robe and playing "monkey" while trying to land in the ER again.

Note how Jackson just keeps playing his game, completely unfazed by Clay.

When that gets old, make a swing out of it.

When you get bored playing monkey and swing, just pull your pajama bottoms up over your shoulders and you have a brand new game.

I swear, I have no idea where he comes up with this stuff.


video

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

F is For Phenomenal

My kids are all so different. I always use the example of how they learned how to ride a bike to illustrate how different they are. Austin tried to ride a 2-wheeler and fell down. He tried a second time and fell. He threw the bike down and said, "This is stupid!" then stomped off and refused to touch the bike for the rest of the summer. The next year, when Savannah learned to ride a 2-wheeler, she got on, fell off, got on again and fell off again, and got on, and fell off, and got on, and fell off, and well, you get the idea. She was one giant walking scab by the time she learned how to ride, but she learned how to ride, gosh darn it! Finally, spurred on by his little sister, Austin picked up his bike and learned to ride himself.

Of course, when Jackson came along, he insisted we take the training wheels off when he was 3. He hopped on and took off down the street, never so much as wobbling across the sidewalk. Lexi learned how to ride by trying and falling a few times. She was cautious, but stuck with it and learned.

Clay, at the age of 3, asked us to take the training wheels off. We told him we didn't think he was old enough, so he took it upon himself to climb up on the workbench, find the right size wrench, and he took the training wheels off himself. Then he went for a ride around the neighborhood, never falling at all. I suspect Brooklyn will just demand everyone push her around in the stroller and won't bother to learn how to ride at all.

Anyway, everything has always come easily to Austin. He's never had to try or work very hard. When faced with a challenge, instead of working hard and figuring it out, he gives up. Things don't come so easily to Savannah, but she's determined and works hard and ends up doing really well.

Progress reports for Austin and Savannah were mailed out this week. I looked at Savannah's report. She's getting all As and 1 B+. Yay! You go girl! Great job, Savannah! I looked at Austin's report. He's getting 2 Fs.

"Austin, tell me this F stands for fantastic," I asked, hoping against hope for a positive explanation.

"OK, it stands for Fantastic," he lied to appease me.

"First-rate? Fabulous?" I tried.

Blank stare from Austin

"Fine? Fair?" I spit out, grasping at thin air.

"Mom," Austin said, his voice laced with concern at my maniacal babbling.

"Phenomenal?" Tell me it stands for phenomenal!" I demanded of him.

"Ummm, phenomenal starts with a P," Austin said, looking at me like I should be the one getting the failing grade.

"Yeah, you know how to spell phenomenal, but you're failing 2 classes, Mister! Why, why, why are you getting TWO F's?" I demanded.

Austin shrugged his shoulders.

"You don't know? You seriously don't know why you're failing two classes? Are you doing your homework?" I asked.

"No," he admitted. He continued, "Homework is stupid and boring."

I stood there with my mouth hanging open for a full minute. "Excuse me," I said, then marched over to the phone where I punched in the numbers I knew by heart.

"Hello? Yeah, I'm just calling to say I'm sorry. What for? Well, let's just say your curse has come to pass, Mom and I have indeed given birth to a child WHO IS JUST LIKE I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL."

I'm not sure, but I believe I heard laughter as I hung up the phone.

(If I had a dime for every time I heard the phrases, "If only you would work up to your potential", "If only you would apply yourself", and "You have an attitude problem!", I would be a millionaire today.)

"Well, Austin, I'm not going to punish you. In fact, I'm going to help you out. I'll take away TV and video games so you have more time to study since you don't seem to have enough right now. Isn't that nice of me?"

Needless to say, Austin didn't appreciate my help.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Since I'm not having a heart attack, I have no excuse to get out of walking in my church's Crop Walk this month. (OK, I actually want to walk.) Anyway, I have a button at the top right side of my blog if anyone would like to donate to the cause. Just click the button and it'll take you to my page. Thank you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vapur Bottles


I was approached by the makers of these Vapur bottles a few weeks ago. I was intrigued by them (the bottles, not the makers), so I agreed to give one a try (again, the bottle, not the makers). My kids and I like to drink water on the go, but I hate to spend money on bottled water, not to mention the whole "trashing the earth" factor of bottled water, so we have an eclectic mix of water bottles and sippy cups that take up like 158 cubic yards in my kitchen. Do any of you have a cabinet overflowing with bottles? You know you do if you've ever had to open the cabinet, throw the bottle in, and quickly slam the door shut before everything comes tumbling out.


These Vapur bottles are lightweight and flexible. The bottle stands upright when it's full and collapses flat and can even be rolled up, when it's empty so it takes up very little space. It comes with a carabiner ring so you can clip it to backpacks, lunch bags, purses, whatever. The Vapur bottle also has a spot to personalize it with your name (not that it'll stop your kids from swiping your bottle... ahem, JACKSON!) Actually, I can't complain that Jax took my bottle because he brought it with him to St. Louis last weekend and saved the day with it. When we were walking around the zoo, Brooklyn started whining that she was thirsty. Instead of having to spend like $5 on bottled water or pop, Jackson pulled the bottle out of his pocket and ran to the drinking fountain. Voila! We were all spared from Brooklyn's whining and didn't have to take out a loan to buy everyone drinks (because parents of more than one know that you can't just get one kid a drink, oh no.)


Bottles cost $8.95 for one or $29.95 for a family four-pack. And since you can keep refilling this with tap water, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than buying bottled water every week.

These bottles are durable, dishwasher safe, freezable, BPA-free (BPA is a toxic chemical found in many plastic containers that can leach into the container and be ingested by humans), come in bright blue, green, or pink colors, and hold 16 ounces of fluid!

Additionally, the environmental benefit of using the Vapur is huge. Reusable bottles help reduce the estimated 60 million disposable water bottles that end up in landfills every day in America alone, according to the Container Recycling Institute. The Vapur is also manufactured in the U.S. and ships flat, resulting in a carbon footprint that is significantly less than other plastic bottles.

Finally, as a member of 1% For the Planet, the company is donating a portion of all sales to water related environmental causes. 1% For the Planet is an alliance of businesses that donate at least 1% of their annual revenues to environmental organizations worldwide.

These bottles just make sense. Use them and you'll save money on bottled water and you'll help save the earth too. Plus, as my son and his friends say, "These bottles are cool!" So, there you have it.

Now I've got 3 Vapur bottles for 3 random winners! Leave me a comment with how you'd use these bottles or what feature you like most about them and I'll choose the random winners on Friday. Good luck!


I did receive one free Vapur bottle to test out before writing my review, but was not paid for this post.

***** Edited to answer some of your questions *****

I admit we've only had this bottle for about 2 weeks, so I can't honestly say that it lasts forever. I don't know. It might, it might not. The way I look at it, even if it only lasts 6 months before needing to be replaced, I'll still be saving a ton of money on bottled water.

Also, several of you have asked how easy it is to clean. It's top rack dishwasher safe. So far, I haven't had any problems cleaning it. Of course, we just put water in it so it's not especially dirty or anything, but it's been coming out clean with no problems.

To the person who mentioned using these in airports, what a fantastic idea! I didn't even think of that! You can take the rolled up bottle with you through airport security and fill it with water on the other side, saving yourself a $5 bottle of water!

And finally, you can buy them HERE.

Change Your Batteries!

Here's your reminder to change your smoke alarm batteries, from firefighter Dayna and her fire safety dog, Sparkles!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the city that will not be hosting the 2016 Olympics, it's Sunday Sound Out starring the woman who forgot to play tooth fairy for the 4th time, Dawn Meehan.

First, may I say OUCH? I mean, really broke the knee? I'm so sorry. I suffer from the same amount of grace that you do.
Nooo, I didn't really break it. (I tend to exaggerate a tiny, wee bit.) I landed on it really hard over 2 weeks ago and although the bruising's gone now, it's still swollen. And heaven forbid I bump it because the pain that causes still brings tears to my eyes.

Your life must have really changed, and I wonder, how do you manage to handle that?
Sure, it's changed. Everything changes. You can't stop it. But, the important parts of my life have stayed the same so we've all been able to roll with the changes and adjust.

Do you have a facebook fan page? I saw your personal one but was looking for a fan one
Nope, mainly because I'm too lazy to figure out how to make one I can't figure out how to make one.

How many hotel rooms do you get when you travel with the whole family?
Usually we just all pile in the camper, but the occasional times we stay in an actual hotel, we generally get 2 adjoining rooms.

Beautiful pictures... I especially love the way your camera takes pictures of the future....
Hee hee. That was Savannah's camera with the 1/1/2217 date. We look pretty darn good for being over 200 years old, huh?

they say it [the Arch] sways in the wind....did you feel any movement?
Only when my kids ran, as a group, from one side to the other, in an attempt to knock the Arch down. Just kidding. No swaying. Then again, it was a beautiful, sunshiny, non-windy day.

You jinxed your sister, Dawn. But I'm sure she appreciated it. Is it a boy or a girl? Details! I need details! And Congratz on being an aunt again =)
Yep, I think she was pretty happy to cut those last 2 weeks off her pregnancy. She had a little boy, Cameron, who is cute and tiny at only #6, 13.

So did Brooklyn get her flip flop back at all?
Yup. The older kids were able to grab it for her. Of course, the next day, Austin took it and hid it in the hotel room causing 7 of us to spend 20 minutes looking for it...

SOS: I spy a tattoo on your right ankle! What is it?
It's a fish. It seemed like a good idea when I was 18 and knew everything. And no there's no significance to it. It doesn't even look like a Jesus fish.

My all time favorite thing to do in St. Louis though - Wear my Cubs gear!!! Go Cubbies!
Wooo Hooo! I'll absolutely have to wear my Cubs jersey the next time I'm in St. Louis. Those Cardinals fans are just jealous of the awesomeness that is the Cubs! ;)

I laughed when you mentioned the Museum of Westward Expansion (the museum under the Arch). Did you guys notice anything weird about any of the exhibits? For example, the full-size replica of a stagecoach next to a floor-to-ceiling photo of the first moon landing? Or the taxidermied (is that even a word?) beaver, in a dam, in front of a picture of the Atomic Bomb?

I missed that. But I did like this sign...

in front of this guy...

for some reason, that just struck me as funny.

Last picture... [Austin with plate ears and straw wrapper mustache] He is totally Master Shifu isn't he?! My son and the girls I watch do that EVERYTIME they have stringcheese, apparently it's hilarious :)
ROFL! Yep, he's Master Shifu! I almost wrote that, but thought no one would get it. Good job!

We LOVE the City Museum. Our last visit was before we had kids, and we had a blast climbing through (um, getting stuck in) all the tunnels. Did they still have the GIANT UNDERPANTS? If you got a pic of those, you've got to post it, they're a sight to behold.
I didn't notice any giant underpants there. Well, except for mine, that is.

Wow, you could write travel brochures!!! Great job reporting on our fair city's attractions.
Why thank you. Hear that, Convention and Visitor's Center for Hawaii? :D

I love the pictures. I had to laugh at the group shot of the kids in the land of Curious George. It looks like Austin is hanging on to Curious George, and the Man with the Big Yellow Hat is goosing Savannah. You have a lovely family.

LOL! I thought the same thing when I saw this picture! The man with the yellow hat is pinching Savannah's butt and Austin's giving George bunny ears.

SSO question - so Dr. Pepper/Diet Dr. Pepper isn't available in Chicago?
It's available in stores, but most restaurants don't carry Dr. Pepper and I don't know of any that carry Diet. Dr. Pepper except Arby's.

I wish we did family game night. We did at one point, but now our schedules have caught up to us..am I the first commentor?
Ummm, yes, yes you are and everyone knows that the first commenter has to buy all the other readers a brownie. Thank you! Really, I have a hankerin for chocolate. Someone send me a brownie, will ya?

Do you have any recommendations for other moms who might like to review products to make some extra money? .......what can other mother's do that may want to make some extra money from home while not taking time away from their children?
Well, my mom emailed me THIS LINK about 2 1/2 years ago. It has several work-at-home job ideas. (After reading this email, I decided to start my blog.) Anyway, I'm not sure how to go about reviewing products as I haven't reached out to any companies, asking to review their products. Companies have found me and I have no idea how I wound up on their radars. But I hope that link gives you some ideas. :)

Thanks to everyone who chimed in about game-night. I got a lot of great new ideas for games to play thanks to your comments and suggestions!

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