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! :)