Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We had a ton of snow on the ground for Christmas, however, the last couple days, it's been downright tropical outside with temps reaching 50 degrees. This morning when I woke up, I looked out the window and saw green (well brownish-green), but still, there it was - grass! All the snow had disappeared. My friend, Jen's Facebook status said, "I'm believing it's symbolic of melting away 2010 and a positive fresh start to 2011....one can hope!" I like that. All the bad has melted away. There's no use dwelling on all the bad stuff that happened in 2010. It's over and done with. That dirty, sludgy snow isn't going to come back. It's gone.

It's time to clean up the yard and prepare for a fresh, crisp, white layer of snow. You might be surprised at what you find when you clean the clutter out. Cleaning my yard, I found a beach towel, a waterlogged phone book that had been delivered, half a bagel, a shoe, and a buried sled. When I cleaned out the junk and negative thoughts that had been cluttering my head, I found some more reasons to smile.

So, clear out the junk and make room for all the blessings that 2011 will bring. I'm ready!

But what new year would be complete without a list of resolutions? Here are my resolutions from year's past...

My resolutions for 2008

My new and improved resolutions for 2008

My resolutions for 2009

My resolutions for 2010

This is my list for 2011...

1. Start putting Baileys in my coffee for a much smoother morning.

2. Lower my cholesterol level by raising my caffeine level.

3. Buy jeans that are 2 sizes bigger so it just looks like I lost weight.

4. Bring Brooklyn with me wherever I go so people are distracted by her cuteness and they don't notice the bags under my eyes and the gray in my hair.

5. Make a list of all my passwords which should save me approximately 238 hours a year trying to remember them.

6. Drive no more than 50 miles over the speed limit.

7. Hit the snooze button only 15 times each morning.

8. Get a pet monkey.

9. Quit my day job and become a stand-up comic because they have better hours.

10. Come up with the latest money-making fad - TickleMeChiaBeanieSnuggieBandz.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Turtled

I went to grab my purse so I could run to the store. This is what I saw...



This is what my purse is supposed to look like...



Notice anything strange? Yeah. My son, the comedian, thinks it's funny to turn my purse inside out every chance he gets. Fun.

"I turtled it, Mom. We do that to the purses and backpacks of kids in school. Ha!"

Thanks, Austin! Love you!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just Some Stuff

I'm currently number 8 on Babble's favorite blogs. There are just a couple days left to vote. You don't have to sign up for anything. You don't have to enter any information. Just click on "like" HERE.

I did an interview with Empowered Mommies HERE.

And there's an excerpt of my book on Babble HERE.

Finally, Jackson doesn't want me to go into details, but he went back in the hospital as an inpatient yesterday. It's where he needs to be right now, but it's hard. It's hard on him. It's hard on his siblings who are worried about him. And it's hard on me. But I want to thank everyone for their prayers! I know they're working. I feel the peace. I'm afraid I'd be a big blubbering mess if it wasn't for faith. Thank you so much! It means the world to me!

Monday, December 27, 2010

When the Going Gets Tough...

...the Tough Get Cleaning!

Over the past couple years, I've developed an interesting way of dealing with the chaos in my life. I never intentionally started this habit; it just sorta happened. The more out-of-control circumstances get in my life, the more I have this need to clean and organize things in my house. You see, I have this totally insatiable tiny little, almost non-existent need to be in control. And when there are things I can't control, I get a little twitchy. I tried reciting the Serenity Prayer:



"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference."

But after the recitation, I was still all mad-like about the things I couldn't control. I tried changing it up a bit.

"God grant me the courage to change the things I can;
the ultimate power to change the things I supposedly can't;
and well, basically grant me control of everything. Amen."

However, God apparently doesn't work that way.

So, when I can't get control of some major things going on in my life, I go to town cleaning out my linen closet, kitchen cabinets, underwear drawers, the refrigerator, and even (gag) the boys' room. It gives me a sense of peace. I feel like I've accomplished something when I no longer have to shove stuff in the closet, slam the door closed before the stuff falls out, and tape the door shut. When the rest of my life is chaos and mess, at least I can look in my cabinet and know that my Tupperware is conveniently stacked and easy to get to. Seeing the towels neatly folded in my closet give me a sense of calm.

(Speaking of my linen closet. I had an absurd amount of hotel toiletries. I mean, how many tiny bottles of cheap shampoo can one person use? And that's the thing! I never even use them. I take them from my hotel room, stock-pile them at home like some precious collection, and let them just sit there. Why? Why do I do this? It's not like I'm going to pack them for my next trip somewhere. Why would I do that when I know I'm going to get a fresh supply of new miniature bottles? Seriously, this is what took up one whole shelf in my closet...



I tossed an entire garbage bag filled with this stuff. Of course, a few days after I tossed all this stuff, I needed to bring the boys shampoo and soap in the hospital. Stinkin' Murphy's Law! Anyway, back to my story...)

I was thinking about adding "Drink More" to my list of new year's resolutions, but I suppose I should stick with cleaning. Its calming effect is as good as a glass of wine, plus it's free. In fact, last week, I weeded six bags of clothes and other items out of my closet and I donated them to Wings. So my need to create order out of chaos is a win-win all around. I have a clean closet, Wings got some donations for their resale shop, the money those items will earn will help the women and children in Wings' safe house, and mostly, I was able to get a grip on my swirling emotions in a healthy way.

Now I'll end with my new and improved, new and improved Serenity Prayer.

"God, I know you'll always give me the tools I need to handle whatever comes my way. But please put a stop to the chaos in my life before I start alphabetizing my cans of soup. Amen."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Speech Therapy

I got what I wanted for Christmas. I was able to pick up Jackson and bring him home Christmas afternoon. Jackson will be going to the partial hospitalization program on Monday and Austin will probably be graduating from the partial program on Monday. So, it was a good quiet Christmas here at home with my kids. Santa brought us Just Dance 2 for Wii. We had a ton of fun playing this. Actually, let me rephrase that. Savannah had fun kicking our butts. Jax, Lex, and Austin had fun dancing. I had fun listening to the kids tell me it looked like I was having a seizure. I think they were just jealous because I looked like a Rockette, or that chick from Flashdance. After the third song, I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack, so I quit and sat down to have some Christmas cookies and egg nog (the American Heart Association's recommended treatment for heart attack).

I noticed something Christmas day. I mean, it's really been on the edges of my brain for some time, but it completely sunk in yesterday. It has to do with Clay's vocabulary, or more specifically, these three words that seem to permeate his speech on a regular basis. Poop, Fart, and Butt. Every Christmas carol he sings has his new and improved lyrics. "Frosty the poopman had a very farty butt." "He sees you when you're pooping, he knows if you're awake..." Rudolph, the poop-butt reindeer..."

It's not just Christmas songs either. Nope, these three words are an integral part of his daily rhetoric. For example,

"What do you want for lunch, Clay?"

"Spaghetti and poopballs."

Imagine his surprise if I actually served up that delicacy.

"Clay, get in bed and I'll tuck you in."

As he runs off toward his bedroom, blowing raspberries, "I'm fartman!

Hmmm, on second thought, maybe I won't tuck you in.

I'm sure it's just a phase he's going through. I seem to recall the older kids going through a potty talk phase. Of course, with them, I'm thinking this occurred back when they were actually potty training and not when they were nearly SEVEN years old, but hey, a phase is a phase, right? I wonder if I could take him to speech therapy for this because I'm afraid this is going to be a long-lasting phase. Why, you ask? Because no matter how straight-faced and stern I manage to stay when he spouts his potty talk, there are five other kids who find it hilarious and let him know by laughing their poopy butts off.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just an Update

Jackson was admitted to the hospital a couple nights ago.

You know what sucks about having your child in the hospital for depression? It's not like a regular hospital. I don't get to sit at their bedside the way I would if they were sick, or being treated for some illness, or recovering from surgery. There are very specific visiting hours and they aren't even every day. You have to check in with the desk and leave your purse, cell phone, and all belongings in your car. You have to have a password to see your child. Once you get to your child's unit, you have to be let in a locked door, where you sign in and let the staff inspect anything you've brought for your child. You can't bring them balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, candy, cookies, treats of any kind. You can bring them clothes without drawstrings or other potentially dangerous elements. You can bring them cards without staples or anything that could be fashioned into a tool to harm themselves or others. Jackson will probably be in the hospital for Christmas. His brothers and sisters can only visit him one at a time with me, so they'll each have only about ten minutes with him.

You can only call your child during certain, specific phone hours and you only have ten minutes to talk to them because other patients are waiting to use the phones. When you visit your child, you sit with every other patient and parent in a common room and don't have privacy to really talk to them confidentially about how they're doing, what they're feeling, etc.

Now I know all these measures are in place to keep the patients safe. I understand that. I accept that. That's why the patients are there in the first place - it's a safe environment in which to recover and get help.

But, as a parent, it feels like I'm visiting someone in jail. It sucks to have your child away from home and know that you can only talk to/see them at set, infrequent times. It bites to not be able to even bring your child a little gift or treat to help cheer them up. It's scary and confusing your first time navigating the maze of corridors and all the locked doors to get to your child. It's annoying having to sign in multiple times and be checked out as if you're a criminal, trying to smuggle a file in a cake to your child who is locked up.

And with two children in this environment right now, I spend all my time driving back and forth to the hospital (an hour round-trip) for visits, meetings with case workers, family therapy sessions, dropping off clothes or chapstick or homework or other items my child requests. It especially stinks because every time I go, I have to leave Savannah in charge of taking care of the other ones so I have guilt about that. I try to make it up to her by driving her to the mall and the movies, etc. with her friends at some point most days. I feel like I haven't cooked a decent meal in forever. I usually like to do fun things with my kids during Christmas break. This year, I'm ignoring the younger ones to take care of the ones in the hospital. They're bored and running around like rabid monkeys with way too much energy and no outlet for it right now.

And to top it all off, this is a busy time of year. I've dropped the ball on baking, buying presents, wrapping, sending out cards, getting together with friends, pretty much everything. But none of that seems to even matter to me this year.

The kids' therapists keep asking me, "What are you doing for yourself? How are you holding up? Are you taking care of yourself?" I joke and tell them that I've penciled in my nervous breakdown for the middle of March, but I'm far too busy to worry about myself right now. And to all of you who are going to leave comments, telling me that I need to take time for myself and I need to take care of myself or I won't be good for anyone else, all I have to say is, "You're not a single mother to six kids." I don't get a break every other weekend. I don't have family that comes by once a month to help out. I do not have time. Period.

But I do have the most awesome friends on the planet. I always have a shoulder to cry on. I have an ear willing to listen to me. I have tons of people who invited my family over for Christmas. Thank you to Eric and Gin and Margaret for your thoughtful gestures and your kind, generous spirits this week! I appreciate it more than you can imagine!


So, this week, as you make your last-minute preparations for Christmas; as you stress out over the little details that we tend to give more importance to than they deserve, remember to take a minute to remember why you're celebrating. Give thanks for family that is with you and pray for those members who aren't. Take time to give thanks and to enjoy your family.

I'm sorry I haven't had much funny to write about lately. Don't worry, because I still look at the situation as positive. My kids are getting help. They talked to me and asked for help. We have a good, strong relationship. Things will get better. Things will be okay. And I'll be back to writing about how they did an experiment with a carton of eggs, soap, and chopsticks in the bathtub in no time.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the city that tastes like a peppermint patty, it's your host, the woman who just spent half an hour digging through a bag of garbage, looking for the tooth that Clay lost and Lexi accidentally threw away, Dawn Meehan! (She found it too!)

And now, here are the answers to the world's most pressing questions.

SSO question - Do you get annoyed when your comments include spelling or grammatical errors?
If I catch an error that I'VE made, it makes me nuts! If it's an error that someone else has made, it depends. If they've taken the time to write me a lovely comment, telling me how wonderful I am, I overlook the mistakes. If they're sending me hate mail, however, I circle all the spelling mistakes and grammatical errors in red Sharpie, then post it online so everyone can laugh at them.

This might sound silly but does Brooklynn have make-up on [in the picture with Santa]? SHE IS BEAUTIFUL!!

Thank you and nope, Brooklyn doesn't wear makeup. I think four is a little young to wear makeup. I make the girls wait until they're at least five years old before taking them on their inaugural run to Sephora.

On a side not did you ever consider homeschooling. Back when you had just one or two kids?
I thought about homeschooling as much as I thought about jumping out in front of a car, or pounding a railroad stake through my head.

Wherever did you find that red dress for Brooklyn? She outshines Santa..I would imagine the store ownership thrust fistfuls of dollars at you to hire the kid out for their advertising campaign. No? Well..It could happen!

I found it at Target, of course. And nope, she's not doing any advertising for them. I do think she has a good shot at the part of Veruca Salt if they ever remake Willy Wonka again, however.

SSO Q: How do you keep Christmas under control, do you go through their toys before Christmas to get rid of ones they don't play with before they get new ones? Also, do you try to get every child the same number of presents, or base it off of what they are asking for vs. price of that item?

We do go through things and donate them before Christmas, but honestly, my kids don't have an overabundance of toys. We have a very small house (like 1100 square feet with no basement) and there's just not room for stuff like that. I try to remind the kids what Christmas is all about. We put together shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and watch movies like Veggie Tales, Saint Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving (that's a good one for kids and adults alike!) As far as presents go, I try to spend roughly the same amount on each kid, but that's harder and harder to do as they get older.

You never showed us a picture of Bob [the name I bestowed on my dermoid cyst]!
I know! The cyst was actually in my ovary and not on it. My doctor gave me pictures of the ovary, but you can't see the nasty cyst. I was bummed. She did show me pictures of all the endometriosis she found, however. That explains a lot of symptoms I've been having.

First you had to replace your catalytic converter, then your furnace breaks, then your vacuum, then your kitchen faucet. How do you handle it when everything happens at once like that?
That's nothing. Stuff breaks. It happens. It sucks, but life goes on. And life has a way of putting things in perspective.

For example, Austin has been battling depression since this summer. He started cutting himself as a way to deal with the stresses he was experiencing. He also stopped eating and lost a lot of weight, all while claiming he was fat. To make a long story short and spare you the details, he was hospitalized for a week for self-injury and an eating disorder. He's going on week three of the outpatient program now. I've spent every waking moment, worrying about him, trying to function as normally as I can for the other kids, and waking everyone up early and loading the little kids in my freezing car to drive him back and forth every day, then rushing to get the little ones to school and pick everyone up at the same time in towns that are half an hour away.

Meanwhile, Jackson is having issues with depression and acting out by punching me, talking back, breaking things, and putting his fist through the walls. Clay's not dealing all that well either. The kids' therapist says that it's normal and a million articles have been written about boys having a hard time when their dad disappears (and girls having a hard time adjusting when it's the mom who leaves).

Honestly, this past year, I've been so mad at Joe for abandoning the kids. I mean, I'd reached a state of total apathy over the past several years. I felt nothing for him. But after leaving my kids in such a cruel way, I was PISSED. However, I've even come to terms with this now. Joe was in no shape to be a dad this past year. He had to take care of himself and if he'd been in the kids' lives, I'm afraid they'd be even worse off now. He's been calling them for the past few weeks which is good, in a way, but it's made the depression and bad behavior even worse. I may as well just move in to the therapist's office these days.

I haven't spoken to my parents since before Thanksgiving. In a way, it may be a good thing to cut ties there. I mean, when my parents watched my kids while I was in California, my mom constantly made comments like, "Two days, five hours, and twenty-three minutes!" when one of my friends called to see if they could pick up one of my kids for a playdate. When the airline accidentally called my home to tell me my flight had been delayed, my mom answered and begged the woman on the other end to get me on the soonest flight possible because she was stuck there watching my six kids. I'm sure she thought it was cute and funny that she was counting down like that, but what my kids heard was, "I can't stand being here and am counting down the seconds until I can get away from you guys." Because of all the drama, we weren't invited to celebrate Christmas at my sister's with everyone else. I personally don't care that much and am looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas day here at home with my kids. My kids, on the other hand, get to end the year with several other family members showing them how unimportant they are.

This is why a broken vacuum cleaner is nothing. It's small potatoes. The other stuff is important. It's important that I continue to spend as much time as possible with my kids. It's important that I continue to talk to them every day. I thank God for my relationship with my kids! If it wasn't for that, Austin wouldn't have come to me and told me about his problems and trusted me to get him help. God is good. He loves us and can even use the crap that happens for good. I totally believe that, so I keep going. In fact, if you're hurting this holiday season, or if you're having a hard time dealing with circumstances beyond your control, let me direct you to my dear friend, Margaret McSweeney's website. She's the heart behind the book, Pearl Girls and right now, she's featuring inspirational stories from some amazingly talented ladies on her blog HERE. She's also giving away pearls if you leave a comment there. Please check it out. Margaret is such an awesome friend. If you want to see her in action, check out this short interview she did with Rachel Ray HERE. And, and, and, she's giving away an autographed copy of my new book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth) HERE!!!

That's it for this week's edition. Now go out and get those last minute stocking stuffers and don't forget the chocolate coins! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

At Least They're Cute

I had Brooklyn's teacher conference the other day. Her teachers showed me her little report card. Brooklyn had gotten straight X's in every subject. (That's the preschool equivalent of A's.)She rocks in subjects like Counts to Ten, Holds Scissors Correctly, and Gallops. I'm telling you, this girl is going places!

Her teachers continued to tell me that Brooklyn not only knows what she's doing in school, but she's always happy to help the kids sitting at her table.

They ended with, "If we had eighteen Brooklyns in class, we'd be happy."

Oh yeah! I walked out of there beaming because, clearly, it was my stellar parenting that had earned her such a glowing report. I must be the most awesome mom on the planet. How else could you possibly explain my daughter's brilliance? I quickly drove home so I could start filling out college applications for her. However, when I walked in the door, all my dreams were dashed.

"Hey Mom! Will you sign this?" Clay asked, as he handed me a piece of paper.

I looked at the paper and started reading. "...Clayton was standing on the toilet seat goofing off in the bathroom..."

I sighed, shaking my head in defeat. "Thanks for putting me in my place, Clay."

"What, Mom?"

"I said, Clayton Reid Meehan, why on earth were you standing on the toilet seat?! You have GOT to learn to think first and then make a good choice!"


Okay, so maybe my kids aren't quite the brilliant products of my stellar parenting. Still, they're kinda cute...

"Mom, this is NOT the real Santa. He sounds like a Muppet and his beard falls down when he talks."


"But I'll pose and smile nice for a picture with this impostor because you never know, he might have ties to the real deal."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Correction

It was brought to my attention that I pay attention about as well as my children, apparently. I gave you some wrong information about PASS from American Express. The $3.95 monthly fee I talked about, has actually been waived until next October. I misread the information and thought the fee had only been waived until this past October. I apologize.

Also, the monthly fee, which won't even begin until the end of next year, will be taken from the funding source (in my teens' cases, that's my checking account). The fee is not taken off the balance of the card.

Knowing that, my teens and I are definitely keeping/using the PASS cards!

I'm sorry for the misinformation I wrote in my previous blog post.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where every street is an ice rink, it's your host, the woman who is sick and sounds like Roz from Monsters Inc., Dawn Meehan. "I'm watching you, Wazowski, always watching."

Really, I have real questions about laundry. How many loads a day do you do? There are five of us and I have so many piles of laundry its not even funny! Also, what kind of hampers do you use? Do each of the kids have one? Do you have two or three in the hallway? How do you manage it?
I'm a little disturbed that you find the subject of laundry so fascinating, but I'll try to answer your questions. I do about 4 loads a day, every day. I use cracked, broken, falling-apart, plastic laundry baskets, but I refuse to replace them because I know they'll just break again. That's what happens when your kids turn them upside down and climb on them to reach something on top of the refrigerator. Or when they turn them upside down, put one kid (the lion) under the basket while the other kids (people at the zoo) poke the lion through the holes with chopsticks. Or when the kids place a sibling in the basket, dump it over on its side, and roll the sibling around the house until they get dizzy and throw up. Or when they make pretty designs by weaving broken silly bands through all the holes. Or when they jump off the couch, try to clear the basket, but catch the edge of it on their foot, knocking the basket down and landing on top of it. Or when they, sigh, you get the idea. I have two small baskets that sit in the kids' rooms and I have two large baskets that stay in the laundry room. Er, well, they're supposed to stay in the laundry room. Three of the four are generally full. The one in the boys' room is usually empty because they have yet to learn how to use it. I manage it by remembering that the only way out of doing laundry is death and most days I'd prefer to do laundry.

P.S... Will you add me on Facebook again?
Yes, but you have to vote for me
HERE. Or send me chocolate. Or come babysit so I can have one night off.

Did you end up going with the fancy tax credit furnace or just a regular one?
I got the furnace that heats your house, folds your laundry, makes fabulous salads, and drives the kids to hockey practice.

Also, I'm from the South, so I'm not quite sure about furnaces. Is what you call a furnace what we call a heater? A big unit that pumps hot air through the vents? Or are they different?
Uh yeah. It's kinda like how we call carbonated soft drinks "pop" and you call them all "Coke".

Do you save your Facebook posts in a file for future reference at the time you post them?? (Or is there some nifty software you use?)
I am not that computery. I just clicked a little button on Facebook that said "Make your own year in review". It did all the work for me.

The best the moth can do is try to suffocate you with your own pillow. That HARDLY ever happens.Feel better now?
I don't really feel better about your questionable moth theory, but I'm at peace knowing that no creature could survive in this frozen tundra so I'm safe until next summer.


Now, stop by Lisa's blog because she's giving away a Tassimo T20 Brewbot by Bosch along with a copy of my book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and other lies about pregnancy and childbirth). What better way to spend a freezing cold day then curled up with a fabulous book and a cuppa hot chocolate? (Note how I said my book was fabulous? I can do that cuz it's my book and all.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

PASS by American Express

Austin and Savannah have been using their PASS cards (not a credit or debit card, but a prepaid, reloadable card geared to teenagers from American Express) for a few months. Now that they've really had a chance to try them out, I asked them what they liked/disliked about them. Between me and my teens, we came up with this list of pros -

1. They could easily go online and track their spending. The parent could also go online and check up on their teen's spending as well.
2. It was more convenient than carrying a bunch of cash when they went to shop/hang out at the mall.
3. It was convenient for me to give them their allowance by simply clicking a couple buttons to add funds to their accounts since I almost never have cash on me.
4. PASS comes with the same safety features as American Express. If the card is lost or stolen, you don't have to worry about it, unlike cash.

But we also came up with this list of cons -

1. My daughter said that she didn't like having to sign for purchases.
2. Although it was convenient at the mall or the movies, the kids couldn't use PASS to pay for many of the things they spend money on like tickets to the high school football games, or for a snack in the lunchline at school.
3. There's a $3.95 monthly fee for the PASS card. That might not seem like a lot, but to a teen who is getting maybe $10-$25 a month, that's quite a bit of their allowance gone just to be able to use the card.
4. Although it's super-convenient to load money on the card, it does take a few days for the money to actually show up in their accounts.

All in all, we liked the PASS cards, but because of the monthly fee, probably won't continue to use them. Using these cards did open up the lines of communication between me and my teens and we had some good discussions about money.

To read my articles about teens and finances, click any of these links.

THE MONEY TALK

CASH, CHECK, OR CHARGE?

BUT I NEEEED IT!

KEEPING TRACK

IF ONLY I'D KNOWN

CHRISTMAS SPENDING

SAVER OR SPENDER?

Thank you to American Express for empowering me to try out PASS with my teens.

*****************************************
CORRECTION!

It was brought to my attention that I pay attention about as well as my children, apparently. I gave you some wrong information about PASS from American Express. The $3.95 monthly fee I talked about, has actually been waived until next October. I misread the information and thought the fee had only been waived until this past October. I apologize.

Also, the monthly fee, which won't even begin until the end of next year, will be taken from the funding source (in my teens' cases, that's my checking account). The fee is not taken off the balance of the card.

Knowing that, my teens and I are definitely keeping/using the PASS cards!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Year in Review

Here's the year in review via my Facebook status updates...
~ OK, I know I've had some wine, but why is there an ad for chicken nuggets in Spanish scrolling across my computer?
~ 50 inch spider crawling on ceiling. Tried to smoosh it. I missed. He's out for revenge. He's gonna chew my face off in my sleep, I just know it!
~ I hear Clay & Brooklyn in the kitchen doing an experiment with cups, water, poker chips, yogurt, and ice. I'm avoiding them. Yes, I know I'll need gasoline and a match to clean up the mess, but for now - ignorance is bliss.
~ I think I just fell asleep in the middle of a sentence. Should I be concerned?
~ Play-Doh is of the devil, I tell ya! The DEVIL!
~ Deep breaths, deep breaths, deep breaths. It's only powdered sugar. And water balloons. And soap. And soaking wet towels. And melting strawberry, umm, goo. It could be worse; there could be a shaved cat involved.
~ 12 kids, a makeshift slip-n-slide with a tarp and a hose. Oh yeah, this'll end well.
~ Thinking that birthday cake and Mai Tais might not be the best diet. Oh who am I kidding? It's an awesome diet!
~ You know you can't have cookies for breakfast. Oh what the heck. I'm tired. Want some ice cream to go with them, kids?
~ What do you wanna be when you grow up, Brooklyn? A mom! Or a mermaid. It's good she's got a back-up plan.
~ Don't worry. That noise you hear is just Brooklyn. Her head is exploding because I didn't get her a Baby Bottle Pop at the store.
~ For sale: one slightly used four-year-old. She comes with her own tiara. Tantrums included for free.
~ There's a moth the size of a BAT in my room! I sprayed it with perfume. It's drunk and angry now. I can't sleep or it'll eat my face off.
~ It's all fun and games until someone's hit with a seventy mph jellyfish.
~ What kind of sick, twisted people get up this early?
~ You know the sound a 2-liter bottle of pop makes as it's shaken, opened, and dripping from the ceiling? I do.
~ I walked outside and stepped on something cold and wet and squishy. Now I have to cut my foot off.
~ Why is Brooklyn's shoe filled with chewed gum? Why do I even ask these things? Nevermind.
~ I may have to make a chocolate run. I mean, go out to the store for chocolate. Not have the runs because of chocolate. That would be gross. Not that it would stop me from eating chocolate or anything. Okay, I'll stop talking now.
~ At football game. I'm positive they make up the rules as they go along.
~ I thought I had x-ray vision. Nope, my kid is just running around naked again.
~ Clay took a bite of dinner and said, "This tastes like a raccoon." Not sure where he's been eating, but I'm pretty certain raccoon's never been on my menu.
~ Austin put a shrimp in his glass of sparkling cider and said, "Look! Shrimp cocktail!"

Don't Be Jealous!

How much email do you get every day, Dawn?

I get more emails than I have time to read, so I delete the silly stuff in order to make time to read the important ones like this.


Hello How are you today, I hope all is well with you .I am sorry to worry you with my proposal for a relationship with you, but I know that you will grant my request in good faith and understanding, My name is aja I just went through your profile and i have no options than letting you know that i am interested in having a relationship with you, I will also like to Know you the more, you can send an email to my email address (ajajohn5@ymail.com) this is it (ajajohn5@ymail.com) so that I can send you more details about my self including my picture. I believe we can move from here. But bear in mind that love has no colors barrier, no educational back ground barrier, no socio-economic barrier, religious, language, nationality or distance barrier, the only important thing there is love. I am waiting for your mail to my email address above. Yours sincerely. Aja,


Woo Hoo! I think I've found my next husband!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Yule-tide Carols Being Sung by a Choir

I went to Clayton's Christmas concert at school last night. I remember going to Austin and Savannah's first Christmas concerts. I recall dressing Savannah in a fancy red holiday dress and spending a ton of time playing with her hair, styling it into an updo that would have made any bride jealous. I decked Austin out in dress pants with a collared shirt under a Bill Cosbyesque Christmas sweater, his hair parted neatly and smoothed down. I made sure to arrive at the school a good 45 minutes early to get close seats and set up the video camera. I knelt in the aisle so I could get an unobstructed view and tears sprang to my eyes as my children opened their mouths and began to sing. Could there be anything more adorable than this? I thought.

Fast forward through 24 holiday concerts.

"Clayton! Stop running around and put your shoes on! C'mon, we have to leave or we're gonna be late! Oh crap, that's right, you're supposed to wear red or green. Jackson, look in his closet and see if there's anything holidayish. I don't know where the hairbrush is. Who moved it? Ugh, just put a hat on. You're fine! Let's go!"

We got to the school and told Clay to run to his classroom while we got seats. Of course, by the time we got to the lunchroom, nearly every chair was taken. We were in the back, behind a thousand parents and could hardly see the stage. But considering this was Clay's concert and Clay was likely to be goofing off and hitting the kids next to him, I figured that was a good thing.

"I know we can't see anything from here, guys, but on the bright side, we're closer to the exit if we have to make a hasty getaway because Clay has pushed a poor kid off the stage."

I glanced around at the other parents with their full arsenal of video equipment. They looked like they were getting ready to tape a breaking story for the local news. Seriously, one guy had a camera the size of a microwave oven on a tripod with a boom mic. I kid you not. I wasn't sure whether to laugh at him or feel guilty that I'd hastily thrown a camera in my purse even though I knew I wouldn't be able to get close enough to get any pictures of my son.

During the concert, I caught quick glimpses of Clay when the planets aligned and the parents in front of me all moved their heads just so at the same time. I was also able to pick out "the shouter". You know what I'm talking about? There's always that one kid at the concert who's just a little too enthusiastic about the songs. You can clearly hear their voice ringing out over all the others as they shout, "SANTA CLAUS IS COMING TO TOWN!" This year it was a little girl in a red dress. At one point, she started jogging in place and hopping up and down while shouting singing. I leaned over to my friend and whispered, "There's a future aerobics instructor."

I was also able to find the nose picker, the I-don't-want-to-be-here pouter, the contender for America's Funniest Home Videos, and the I-have-to-go-now pee pee dancer.

This was the only best picture I got of Clay. I know, I know. Hanging my head in shame.


I probably shouldn't admit this. I'm sure I'm violating the Mom Code, but...well, is it wrong that I'm counting down? Only 12 more gradeschool concerts to sit through!

*************************************
P.S. If you have time, take a minute and go on over to Babble to vote for my blog. It just takes a second to click "like". You don't have to sign up for anything. (I have a Monica-like need to make it to the top 10.) Thank you! BABBLE.COM

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The One with all the Butts

So, I broke down and got a new furnace yesterday. The guy who installed it is a family friend who works for a heating and cooling company. He and his wife are good people so I know he gave me the best deal he could. And I'd rather give him the money than some big company.

He was in the middle of removing my old furnace when Clay piped up and said very loudly (Clay only has one volume so of course, it was loud), "I hope I don't see his buttcrack! When we picked Brooklyn up from preschool today, there was a guy working on the wall and he was lying on the floor and we could totally see his buttcrack! It was hairy too! It was DIS-GUST-ING!"

Clay was right. If the guy at the preschool had had his pants down any farther, they would've been OFF. It wasn't pretty. I'm sure there are a couple dozen preschoolers scarred for life now.

My eyes quickly darted over to my friend to see if he'd heard. The sight of him chuckling to himself assured me he'd heard every word. Much to my relief, however, his shirt was neatly tucked in, not so much as an inch of crack showing.

His buddy, who showed up to help him a few minutes later, on the other hand, had not learned the importance of the shirt-tucking technique. I really think the buttcrack issue should be covered in any heating and cooling school. And any plumbing school. And electrician school. And auto mechanics school. Really, any member of the blue collar community should learn how to tuck their shirts in, pull their pants up, or at least work those glutes and wax those butt cheeks so we don't mind seeing their butts hang out so much. What? I'm single! I can look at butts. Not that I did or anything. But I could. You know, if the opportunity arose. Just sayin'. Not that I really even care about butts. I'll take a nice, strong, muscley pair of arms over a butt any day. I mean, I guess a guy should have a butt in addition to the arms otherwise, he'd just look weird. And his pants probably wouldn't fit right if he had no butt. I have no idea why I'm talking about butts. I'm blaming it on the 15 years of diaper changing. Okay, moving along...

Hmmm, you'd think I'd have a point here, wouldn't you? It's late and I just spent the last ten minutes talking about butts. Oh yeah! My point is just that it's really nice to have heat again. It's been in the low 20s here in Chicago. It even snowed yesterday. Isn't it funny how you never even notice things like heat until they're gone? Then you learn to fully appreciate them. (Although I'm still ready to move someplace that doesn't require a working furnace.)

Now, I have to get some sleep so I don't sound like an idiot (or more of an idiot) while I'm speaking at the luncheon for Wings tomorrow. It's not too late to go! You local folks can join me for lunch tomorrow (Friday). It'll be fun. I promise not to talk about butts. I can't promise that my date, Brooklyn won't talk about butts though.

Here's a link with details about the luncheon and trunk show. Check it out. And you can buy gently used, fashionable, chic baby clothes and gear while you're there. If you have no need for baby items anymore, you can bring your gently used or new baby items to benefit Wings. It's for a great cause! Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

It's the Little Things

I never finished blogging about this, but this summer, all six kids and I took part in a service project for 77 Kids by American Eagle. I wrote about how we served lunch to the families staying at a local Ronald McDonald House HERE. But I never wrote about the second part of our mission.

77Kids also gave each blogger $77 dollars in singles to use in whatever pay-it-forward way we wanted. This was right around the time that my kids went on a mission trip with my church, so I gave the money to the youth leader and told her to use it however she saw fit to help with the kids' mission work.

On the way home from the mission trip to MI, the junior high kids stopped in a town and handed out these dollars to the folks they saw on the street. Attached to each dollar was a note. On one side of the note were ideas of things you could do with the dollar - things like buy a stranger a cup of coffee, pay someone's toll, etc. On the other side, were ideas you could do for free - things like open the door for someone, shovel a neighbor's sidewalk, etc.

The idea was not only to pass these dollars on to people to show them that someone cares, but to encourage them to continue the chain of kindness by paying it forward.
(I love that 77Kids chose a project like this for their advertising!)


This was the best part of the mission trip for a lot of the kids, including my Jackson. They loved handing out these dollars! Not only did they hand them out, but they took a minute to talk with the people they gave them to. They explained what the dollars were for. Just think. What if every one of these people, in turn, did something nice for one other person? And what if every one of those people turned around and did something nice for yet another person? How cool would that be?!


It doesn't take much to be a blessing in another person's life - a smile, a moment to talk, a mere dollar, a simple act of kindness. You never know how far that little act will travel. :)


















I'm Frozen and I Don't Know What to Do

Does anyone have a crystal ball I can borrow? I really need one right now. You see, my furnace went out this morning. It was 30 degrees here today. Brrrr! So I had my friend come look at it tonight. The circuit board is bad. It'll cost about $500 to replace it. My furnace is 16 years old. These usually last about 17-18 years. I can replace the circuit board and cross my fingers that I'll get another season or two out of it. Although, my friend mentioned that the parts that generally need to be replaced at some point are all still original parts, so there's a decent chance that even if it lasts another couple years, these parts will nickle and dime me.

Or -

I could get a new furnace. And the good news is that there's a tax credit of about $1000 if I get this more efficient furnace. And my gas bill will probably drop a bit too. Although, it'll kinda suck to tell the kids, "Merry Christmas! Here's your new furnace! Enjoy!"

Then again, if I spend the money on a new furnace and I end up moving this spring/summer, I'll feel like I just wasted that money.

But if I don't get a new one now and it goes out in a couple months, I'll have wasted $500 on the circuit board and I'll be outta luck on the tax credit.

I HATE decisions like this! Because no matter what you decide, you'll always second guess yourself and wonder if you made the right choice. And there's no winning. If I replace it, I'm certain it would have lasted at least another five years with no problems. If I don't replace it, it'll die for good January 1st.

Sooo, what I need to know is this. Exactly how long will my current furnace last if I only replace the circuit board? Someone look into their crystal ball and tell me, please. That will make my decision so much easier. Oh, and while you're looking, let me know if we're going to move next year. Oh yeah, and if you could give me the winning lottery numbers, that would also be helpful. Oh and one last thing, could you also tell me if my children will ever learn to keep food out of the family room and hang up their stinkin' coats or should I just give up now? Thank you.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Signing on Friday!

Everyone in Chicagoland, please join me this Friday, from 11:00 - 2:00 at the Makray Memorial Golf Club in Barrington! The luncheon will benefit Wings! You can register for the event HERE! I'll be signing books and I'll have my most adorable little Brooklyn with me too.


She's resting up and getting ready for Friday.



Check out my video about a very cool craft project using the new Canon Pixma MG6120 printer at Momversation.com. And you can read about it HERE.

And join in the conversation about teens and finances over HERE.

Finally, don't forget to check out my latest article at Don't Fret the Sweat HERE!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, home of the Whales, it's your host, Dawn Meehan (she smells like vanilla).

How many of the kids have broken bones?
Hmmm, let's see. I believe there have been six broken bones, four times needing stitches, ten surgeries, and more colds, flus, stomach viruses, sprains, cuts, black eyes, bloody lips, and abrasions than I can count. And last year, there were...

How can you fold laundry with six kids?
I used to fold the laundry and set it neatly on my bed in stacks for the kids to put away, but after sixteen years of finding clean, unworn, still-folded clothes thrown back in the hampers, I gave up. Now I just take the clean laundry out of the dryer and throw it right back into the washer.

How do you manage taking care of six kids every day?
Probably the best way to explain this is by sharing my schedule with you.

7:30 The alarm on my phone goes off. I hit it a few times until it shuts up.

7:40 The stinkin' alarm goes off again. I bury my phone under my pillow to silence it.

8:30 The kids come in my room to see if I'm dead. Upon hearing my less-than-pleasant growls, they ask (from a safe distance, of course) if I'm going to drive them to school.

8:40 I drag my butt out of bed and step on the cereal that's covering the kitchen floor, half-notice the milk that's dripping off the counter, and look at the clock. No time to make coffee. I eat a spoonful of grounds.

8:50 Go on a search for Clay's shoes. Every. Single. Day.

9:00 Find one shoe in the closet and the other one on the garage roof.

9:05 Curse the idiots in the Kiss 'N Drive lane.

10:00 Back home. Sit down to ingest mucho mas caffeine.

10:01 Get Brooklyn chocolate milk.

10:02 Play a couple hundred rounds of Princess Matching Game.

10:03 Get Brooklyn a bagel.

10:04 Clean up spilled chocolate milk.

10:05 Get Brooklyn some peanut butter for her bagel

10:06 Clean up peanut butter.

10:07 Slice up a cucumber for Brooklyn.

10:07 Sit back down and watch SpongeBob with Brooklyn. Brooklyn tells me I'm like Squidward in the morning. Go back for more coffee.

12:00 Get up to shower. On the way to bathroom, notice Brooklyn's full cup of milk, peanut butter bagel and cucumbers still sitting, untouched, on the table.

12:00 (and two seconds) Have the following conversation.

Mom!

What?

Mumble mumble blah blah blah

What?

I said mumble mumble blah blah blah

WHAT? I can't hear you! I'm in the shower!

I SAID, are you in the shower, Mom?

Grrr!

12:55 Wonder where the last three hours went. Say, "Oh crap! It's time for school! I never got you lunch! Are you hungry? Here, have a Snickers bar and grab your backpack!"

1:10 Sit down to write an article, but get distracted by the 999 emails in my box. Okay fine! I might, possibly, perhaps, maybe play 5000 games a game or two of solitaire. Occasionally. Sometimes. A little bit.

3:00 Wonder how the heck time keeps accelerating as I rush out the door to pick up Brooklyn five minutes late.

3:30 Curse my fellow man and wonder how these people ever managed to obtain driver's licenses as I pick up the other kids.

3:31 Start yelling about the fact that the kids have completely destroyed the house in less than a minute's time.

5:00 Stop yelling and start making dinner.

8:00 Start yelling for the kids to stop jumping on the couches and put their freaking pajamas on. Begin a calming bedtime routine.

10:00 Threaten to make the kids sleep outside. Tuck the kids in for the fourteenth time.

11:00 Yell at the teens to stop texting and go to sleep or I'll run over their phones with my car.

11:30 Go through as much email as I can until my eyes bleed, then write some articles and come up with terribly clever, witty, brilliant things to say on my blog. You're welcome.

2:00 Remember that my sheets are still in the washing machine. Plop them in the dryer and sit back down to play just one more game of solitaire...

3:00 Make my bed and curse myself for staying up too late again.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Swingsets and Other Methods of Torture

I spent yesterday evening in the ER. I mean, it had been about a month since my last visit. Clearly, I was due. We walked in and the triage nurse looked at Jackson in the wheel chair and asked him, "So, what happened?"

He explained. "Well, I was climbing up on the swing set and I grabbed the rope that's hanging from our tree and I jumped off so I could swing from the rope, but my foot got caught in another rope that's attached to the climbing wall and when I jumped off my leg was tangled up and I fell.

The nurse looked at me, eyebrows raised. I kinda shrugged. "At least he didn't try to skateboard off the top this time." Another nurse standing nearby, stopped what he was doing and looked up, an expression of half-shock, half-awe on his face. The medical professional in him was thinking how dangerous such an endeavour would be. But the guy in him was thinking, Oh yeah, wicked cool!

We were led to a room where a nurse comes up and says, "Hey, weren't you guys in that room over there just last month?"

"Uh yeah," I said, feeling somehow guilty. I was wondering if this would be the time that DCFS came to take him away. "So, uh, shouldn't you notify DCFS about this? I mean, maybe they should take him away from me. You know, to make sure he doesn't break any more bones on my watch." At the nurse's blank stare, I quickly amended, "Kidding! Just kidding. I don't want him taken away. I mean, one day I'll probably be able to say that I'm the proud parent of a guy who stars on the show Jackass. And really, what more could a parent want.

So, the nurse assessed him, starting with his head and neck. When she felt the back of his neck, he said, "Ouch." Everyone went into freak-out mode at that point. They grabbed a collar for him, gently rolled him onto a board and ordered xrays of his neck and spine.

I objected at first. "Really, it's only his knee that hurts. He didn't hurt his neck."

They insisted that he could have a life-threatening spinal injury and after scaring Jackson with the details of what it would be like to live as a paraplegic, they whisked him off for xrays.

A bit later, the doctor came in and asked, "Hey, weren't you guys here just a couple weeks ago?"

"Uh yeah, in fact, I just paid the bill for his broken nose. Think I'll ever get the half of the bill his dad owes?" Everyone in the room fell to the floor, laughing over my totally hysterical joke.

After taking a look at the xrays, they determined that Jackson's neck was fine (surprise) and his knee was only sprained and bruised. They wrapped his knee and put him on crutches for the week. The doctor took two and a half hours explaining how to use crutches. Jackson piped up and informed him, "I already know how to use crutches. I was on crutches about two years ago when I got stitches on the bottom of my foot.

"Oh yeah," I said, "I'd forgotten about that one!"

The doctor, who had no sense of humor, was annoying, and said "okay" at least thirty-eight times during the evening, continued to explain the finer points of safe crutch usage.


An hour into his lecture, I stopped him and asked, "Um, instead of telling him how to walk up the stairs, could you tell him that crutches shouldn't be used as a weapon on his siblings? Oh and maybe also mention that it would probably be a bad idea to pole vault with them? Thanks!"

Sooo, any bets on what his next injury will be? Because you know there will be a next time. There's always a next time. And it generally involves a stupid plan gone awry.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You're Invited!

I know this invitation is small, but you can click on it to enlarge it. If you're in Chicagoland, come attend this book signing/event to benefit Wings! Mark your calendars for 11:00 on Friday, December 3rd and join us! Can't wait to see you there! :)







Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the city that smells like cornbread stuffing, it's your host, the woman who only has one ovary, Dawn Meehan

How did Bob take the eviction? Are you feeling okay?
Before my surgery, my doctor asked me if I'd like to see pictures of Bob. I told her an emphatic YES! Can't wait for my appointment next week. I feel fine, but I'm still sore. Walking and getting up in my van still hurts. Wearing jeans hurts a ton (but gives me an excuse to wear jammie pants to Thanksgiving dinner). My abdomen is all sorts of funky colors too.

I hope you are feeling better and didn't do the yucky thing that shall remain nameless.
I didn't! I didn't get sick at all! It didn't take me a million hours to wake up either! Before surgery, I told my anesthesiologist that I'd dedicate my next book to him if he kept me from throwing up. I don't think he believed me. I put a sea sickness patch on the night before and took a couple pills to lessen stomach acids before surgery. The nurse anesthetist, who was super-nice, gave me a shot to relax me before surgery because I was totally insane a little freaked out, and she told me she'd load me up with anti-nausea drugs before I woke up. Plus, I refused pain meds stronger than Motrin because narcotics make me sick too. It worked! It was the best surgery ever!

So how was making that video? Did you enjoy it? How many of your kids were clapping/heckling you?
It was fun! I had a great time! I didn't bring my kids. In fact, none of my family showed up, but my best friends Julie and Eric each drove over two hours to attend! A lot of great people came out for the event! Thank you!!! If you want to see the video from the event, you can see it HERE.






my friend, Julie


my friend, Eric


Suave generously provided great swag bags of haircare products for attendees!


There were raffle prizes generously provided by Suave, Johnson's Baby, and Sonic!


Last night I was abducted by ninja aliens, tied down and forced to watch a Cake War kinda show on TV and the bakery charged $3,000.00 for a sushi boat cake and can I just say...That cake had NUTHIN' on yours!
First off, ninja aliens??? Really? Ninja aliens made you watch a cake show? Interesting. The last time I was abducted by ninja aliens, I was forced to watch football.
And $3,000?!!! Wow, I'm clearly in the wrong line of work.

Once again, you have made me giggle. My kids attend a Christian school, and pick-up and drop-off tests my Christianity every time. Seriously. Love One Another never gets taken to the limits more than at these moments.
During one of my bible studies, I remember walking into class late and proclaiming, "What Would Jesus Do?! Well, let me tell ya, Jesus never had to deal with traffic and idiot drivers!"

Ok, Dawn. Next mission - the pick up demonstration! It's just as bad. This must start INSIDE the school with our crazy kids who can't figure out how to get from class to front door in under 20 minutes. ugh.
Oh heck no! I won't go within a mile of the Kiss 'N Drive at pick up time! No way, no how, Mister! I would absolutely go postal if I had to do that. It's bad. Idiot parents pull into the staff lot and then tear out of there despite the fact that kids walk across that lot every day. It will take a child getting hit before anything changes.

Now, I'm off to fold laundry, pay a couple bills, make out my grocery list for Thanksgiving, and eat a handful of Tums. (The heartburn was totally worth the chocolate, btw.)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Who Needs TV?

So many people I know are addicted to TV. They can't miss an episode of their favorite shows. If they're going to be out when a show airs, they tape, Tivo, or DVR it so they don't have to (gasp!) miss a single moment. Now, I'm not saying I'm better than those who are addicted to TV. I mean, I admitted that I'm addicted to my iPhone earlier. I love being able to keep up with everyone that way. But TV? Well, watching TV is never on my to-do list. I have so many better, more entertaining things to watch. I have six kids! And when I'm old and gray (okay, grayER), I want to look back and remember the awesome, fun moments hanging out with my kids, not who won on Dancing with the Stars. I want to remember playing games with them, talking to them, watching their impromptu magic shows, and "eating" plastic food in their pretend restaurants.

I mean, who needs TV when you have entertainment like this? Here's a video with Clay proving he could get along as an amputee and Brooklyn talking about a new Chicago football team. (Excuse the mess and the pile of boxes for Operation Christmas Child. I haven't been up to cleaning this week.)



So, turn off the TV this weekend and hang out with your kids. Or click the link above for Operation Christmas Child and pack shoe boxes with your child to help others less fortunate. It's a fun thing to do together and a great lesson for all of us to remember!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You'll Lose the Baby Weight!

Here, at long last, is the video from my book launch party at The Comedy Sportz Theater in Chicago on November 2nd.



You can order my book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and OTHER LIES about pregnancy and childbirth) HERE!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Think I'll Keep Bob

I don't really have questions for a Sunday Sound Out tonight and I'm going to bed early because I have to leave at 5:45 to get to the hospital for my surgery in the morning. I'm NOT looking forward to it. I mean, I don't care so much about pain, but I hate, hate, HATE the feeling of being put out with anesthesia. That horrible buzzing in your ears followed by blackness is awful! And I especially hate waking up and puking for the next several hours. I spoke to the anesthesiologist and told him I didn't want any pain relief stronger than Advil because narcotics also make me dizzy and nauseous. He prescribed a sea sickness patch for me to put on tonight. He also said they'd try to avoid certain gasses and they'd give me anti-nausea drugs. Still, he admited that some people just get sick no matter what they do to try to avoid it. And certain procedures are notorious for causing vomiting; procedures such as laparoscopic abdominal surgery. Lucky me.

And really, I hate going in for surgery on something that's not even bothering me! I have no pain from this dermoid cyst. None. In fact, the only reason I even know it's there is because they just happened to find it during the CT I had with my diverticulitis flare-up. I think I should just keep it. I'll name it and it can live on my ovary forever. And since it's a nasty cyst with hair and teeth, it's fitting it should have a name. I think Bob will be its name. And it can be like Voldemort in the first Harry Potter, living on Professor Quirrell. Yes, that's my new plan. I'll just tell my doctor that I've changed my mind tomorrow. I'm sure she'll understand, especially since she didn't go for my first plan wherein I begged her to take out both ovaries, my uterus, my gallbladder, and my appendix (for good measure - you know, just in case), and then do some big-time lyposuction and a tummy tuck.

Anyway, prayers would be appreciated. Prayers, not only for me and the people caring for me, but for my kids and the hope that they don't burn down the house while I'm recovering this week. Thank you!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Public Service Announcement about SDKD

Maybe it's a lack of morning coffee. Perhaps it's a lack of training. Or maybe people are just STUPID too oblivious to every other person on the planet. In any case, it's high time for a public service announcement about the Kiss 'N Drive.

SDKD (Stupid Drivers of the Kiss 'n Drive) is no laughing matter. It could affect anyone. It doesn't discriminate between race, gender, or religious affiliation. If you, or someone you love, is affected by SDKD, please pay attention.


Now, the Kiss 'n Drive is not a difficult concept. You pull up, drop your kid(s) off, and drive away. Simple really. But for some reason, it completely baffles seemingly normal, intelligent, grown adults. Why is this? Well, let's take a look at where it goes wrong.


1. LINE UP IN FRONT OF SCHOOL, MAKING USE OF EVERY SPACE.

See how all the cars are lined up in front of the school? What's that? Yes, I know it's a medieval castle. Just pretend. See how the yellow car is pulled up to the very front of the school? Yes, I know it's still a castle. Work with me here! Concentrate on the line of cars! See them? Good! This is the proper way to line up.


Pull all the way up to the car in front of you. Don't leave gaping holes. Make use of all space. This lets other cars pull in behind you.

2. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE FIRST IN LINE TO LET YOUR KIDS OUT.

Every car in line should stop, let their children out wherever they are in line and then drive on. If you are not first in line, and thus closest to the door, you STILL NEED TO LET YOUR KIDS OUT. Yes, I know that might mean that they'll need to walk an extra twenty steps. Guess what? Who cares?! Your kids can walk a freaking twenty steps! It won't kill them! They could use the exercise! YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE FIRST IN LINE TO LET YOUR KIDS OUT!


Let's suppose Elmo doesn't let his kids out of his dump truck, but the cars behind him do let their kids out. When the yellow and blue cars move on, Elmo will pull up to the first position and stop to let Elmo Jr. out. Meanwhile, the cars behind him will be stuck there, waiting for Elmo to get his act together even though they already dropped their kids off like good little Matchbox car drivers.

Now let's see another mistake parents make...

3. PULL UP AS FAR AS YOU CAN.

Look at Mater. What's wrong with this picture? Besides the fact that the school is a castle! Yes, that's right, Mater didn't pull up to the front of the line. He just stopped right there for some reason. You know what happens when Mater does this?


A huge pile-up of cars behind him. Do you really want to be responsible for Thomas cracking his face on the bumper of a yellow car? I think not.

Here's another problem that affects some (and by "some", I mean a stinkin' LOT) of people.

4. DON'T DAWDLE IN LINE. SAY GOODBYE AND MOVE ON!

See this mother and son? Yes, I'm aware they're sitting on top of the car. The doors don't open. Once again, work with me, people! I don't exactly have Steven Spielberg's movie budget here. In this picture, the mom says goodbye and junior heads off to a fun-filled day of learning. Ta-da!

Let's see what happens when a parent doesn't say a brief goodbye...



still talking...


still talking...


Meanwhile, this is how the drivers behind them are feeling...



5. DON'T GET OUT OF THE CAR!

If you have the burning need to get out of your car to stretch your legs, talk to other parents, help your child open the door, or have a Chinese fire drill, you need to use the parking lot (that's the place where you can PARK.)

6. YOU DO NOT NEED TO WATCH YOUR KIDS DISAPPEAR INTO THE BUILDING BEFORE DRIVING AWAY.

Once your children are out of your car and walking into the building under the supervision of the teachers, you don't need to watch them until they're inside, coat hung up, and seated at their desk. I promise you, ninjas won't attack your child on the way inside.


(Just pretend they're ninjas and not a knight, a Lego guy & a pilot. I make no promises about knights, Lego guys and pilots since, as everyone knows, they're inherently evil.)



And I'm almost 99% positive that a dinosaur won't eat your child as they take those ten steps into the school.


Finally, if you can't follow these six simple rules, your child needs to RIDE THE BUS!


If you, or someone you love, is affected bySDKD (Stupid Drivers of the Kiss 'n Drive), please pass this important public service announcement on to them.

Clock photo was taken from Robbert van der Steeg's Flickr stream.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where we're celebrating National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day (Hey, I don't make this stuff up and if it entails eating chocolate, I don't question it either.), it's your host, the woman who just her won her 4829th game of solitaire. Hmmm, I probably shouldn't brag about that.

My baby turned sixteen yesterday. SIXTEEN! I have no idea how this happened. I swear I was pregnant with him just yesterday. Austin is taking Japanese in school this year and he is so into it that he's worked ahead of the class to the point that he's skipping ahead an entire year of Japanese next semester. So, for his birthday, I made him a sushi cake. I was thrilled with how the sushi turned out, but disappointed that I didn't have enough time to make a good "plate" out of cake to set the sushi on. And I had really wanted to write happy birthday in Japanese on the cake, but just ran out of time to look it up and practice. Anyway, here's the cake...









Jackson and Lexi had their last football game on Saturday. Jackson's team made it to the playoffs and ended up in the championship game. It was the best game of the entire season! Holy cow, what a nail-biter! In the last minute of the game, Jackson's team made a touchdown, bringing the score to 13-12. In less than a minute of play, however, the opposing team was able to get the ball all the way down the field and was SO close to scoring. On the last play, Jackson grabbed the quarterback and slowed him down enough that another teammate was able to get in his face and force him to throw the ball to the ground. It was awesome! You know, if you like football. Which I don't. But still, when it's a championship game and it's that close and your kid is out there, making plays... well, don't tell anyone, but it's pretty cool.



And now, here are answers to this week's questions...

Wow what a fantastic idea to make your book signing a baby shower theme and help the community.You are awesome.
It was
Margaret McSweeney's idea. She's awesome and does a lot for Wings. When she came up with the baby shower idea, I jumped on it because it's a perfect fit for my book and it'll benefit both me and Wings and you just can't beat a win/win situation!

Dying to hear how the book release party went! If I wasn't 8 hours away I would have so been there!
The party was fun! I think everyone there had a good time. We did shoot some video from the night and I'm working on putting it together now. I'll put it on my blog for everyone to see as soon as I can! And don't worry if you missed the event at Comedy Sportz last week. I'm having another event at the Makray Club in Barrington, IL. This will also benefit Wings. Mark your calendars for lunch on Friday, December 3. Invitation will follow!

So, where IS your book on the Amazon rankings right now?
Well, that's something that's ever-changing. But you can order a copy for yourself and all your friends and help me get it to number one. ;)
You can order from Amazon
HERE, or you can go to my books page and order from your choice of booksellers HERE.

I love Monterey. Did you get to eat at Bubba Gumps?
I had the fruit of the sea. You know, 'cause you can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There's shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That's about it.

What did you oldest two kids do for halloween? Somehow I don't think they missed out on their fair share of candy.
Savannah went to Six Flags with her friends and Austin went to a party with his friends. They both dressed up. Neither is sharing candy with me. Even though it's National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day today. Pssht!

Glad your family is healthy once again. Did the older two ever get it?

Yep! All seven of us got it. Austin was the last to fall while I was in California. A couple days ago, I got an email from the school district, warning us that a horrible gastroentestinal virus was sweeping through Chicagoland. Umm, thanks?



Have a wonderful week! And don't forget to change the clocks back. And change the batteries in your smoke detectors. And change your Facebook profile picture to the cover of my book to be entered in a drawing for a signed copy of it.

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