Wednesday, March 31, 2010

OCD - No, Not THAT Kind

Savannah's been complaining that her knee hurts for some time. Being the awesome, caring mother I am, I told her to suck it up and rub some dirt on it. Honestly, I figured the pain was coming from the fact that she (and all my other kids) are growing so darn fast! But when the pain hadn't subsided after a couple months, I took her to the orthopedic doctor. Yes, I know I waited a long time to take her in, but she only complained about the pain once in a while. She was still able to walk and run and it wasn't affecting her too much, so I really thought it wasn't a big deal and would go away on its own in time.

So, we get to the doctor's office where they took her for an xray right away. When the doctor came in the room, he asked her a bunch of questions. "Does it hurt when you walk? Go up stairs? Bend it like this? Does this hurt? How about this? How about if I take your leg and put it behind your head while balancing a stack of bricks on it? Does it ever give out on you? Does it click? Does it lock?

Savannah told him that it wasn't that bad (more annoying really) and only hurt when she tried to lift her leg too high and sometimes when she walked. He looked puzzled and said, "Huh? I'm kinda surprised because your complaints don't fit what the xray showed." He said her complaints were suggestive of a little tendonitis and she should do some stretches because her left quad was a little tight and that was probably causing the pain. No biggie. Her xray, however, showed that Savannah has Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD, for short. No, not that OCD.) Basically, part of her bone and cartilage is peeling away. Unfortunately it's a pretty big chunk and it's primarily on a weight bearing area. Because the xray, of course, didn't show the cartilage, the doctor ordered an MRI to get a better picture of whether this was an old injury that was healing on its own, or a new injury that needs repair.

We went to the hospital Monday for the MRI. After waiting fifteen hours, she was finally called back. I can't even count how many people we saw wearing masks at the hospital. I'm sure we'll both come down with tuberculosis in a matter of days. Anyway, she was stuck lying there for a half-hour MRI with no cell phone to text her friends! The horror! I was stuck watching CNN the whole time. (I know more about the health care law that I care to.) When she finished, the technician asked, "It was the left leg I was supposed to scan, right?"

"Umm, shouldn't you have asked that, oh say, before the test?!" Given his question, I figured he didn't see anything on the scan so he thought he'd double-check. I was fully expecting the doctor to call and say, "It's nothing." Wrong. It's a sizable piece that's peeling up. There's fluid behind it. If we don't get it fixed, her chances of developing problems and arthritis later in life are greatly increased. Although the doctor is certain her symptoms are just from a little tendonitis and not the Osteochondritis Dissecans. It was just fortuitous that the little pain she was experiencing brought us in for an xray which showed a greater problem that was arising.

So, we go back to the doctor next week to find out the details of the procedure and how long she'll be out of commission. I would've asked the doctor more questions over the phone except I had to go abruptly. As he was explaining the problem with Savannah's knee, I cut him off, "I smell gas! Not that kind of gas (although with three boys, I do smell my fair share of that gas.) There's a gas leak or something. Oh man, it's really strong! Get out of the house everyone! Go in the backyard! Oh my gosh, I think I have a gas leak! Oh, you're still on the phone, aren't you? I'm sorry. I need to go. I'll call back to make an appointment tomorrow."

Before heading outside myself, I looked at my stove to make sure it was off. It was. But the gas smell was dissipating already. Hmmm, I wonder. "Clayton! Did you try to turn on the stove a minute ago? You'd better tell me the truth because I'll find out and hunt you down, boy!" Yep, he did. Whatever possesses that boy to do what he does, prompted him to turn on the stove for no particular reason. Only he didn't light it. He turned the gas on, let it flood the house a bit and then turned it off.

So, anyway, Savannah and I go next week to get details. Savannah's not too upset about the surgery itself, but was in tears because she'll miss softball season. She looks forward to it all year. I feel awful for her, but on the other hand, that's one less kid I have to get to games by myself this spring! But mostly, I really do feel bad she's going to miss out.

I'd love to surprise her with some get well cards. This is where you come in! If you want to send Savannah a get well card, you can mail it to my PO Box:

Savannah Meehan
836 S. Arlington Heights Rd.
#230
Elk Grove Village, IL 60007

I'll save them and give them to her when she has the surgery (probably in a couple weeks).


Oh yeah, it's not too late to enter my contest to win a $200 Visa gift card from BlogHer and Arm & Hammer with Oxi Clean! Go HERE!

*******************************
Edited - I changed the address to 836 SOUTH Arlington Heights Rd. I accidentally had WEST before. I had a "duh" moment. I'm sorry.

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Awesome and My Teachers Were Clueless

I had a discussion with Austin about how his attitude toward school
SUCKSleaves something to be desired. Austin shot back that I'm a procrastinator too. I told him he was grounded until he's 40.

But it got me thinking. Is his laziness hereditary? Did I pass on procrastination genes to him? Nah, I'm sure I wasn't that bad in high school. I mean, I remember my mom complaining daily about "my attitude problem". I know I heard the phrases, "if only you'd apply yourself", and "if only you'd work up to your potential" on an hourly basis. But I couldn't have been that bad in high school.

So, I searched through my box of papers, stories, art projects and such from when I was in school. I expected to find some evidence of my lack of enthusiasm for academia when I got to my high school report cards, but I was fully unprepared to see such negative reports starting in kindergarten! Kindergarten, for crying out loud!




This first one is really faded so I'll translate for you. It says, "Dawn has been having some difficulty in her peer relationships as she tends to want to lead and make all the decisions."

In my defense, it's not my fault everyone else was stupid and wrong. Someone had to lead that group of five-year-olds in the right direction! Sheesh! Clearly she was just jealous of my highly coveted leadership skills.

Now, let's move on to second grade, shall we?



"Dawn needs to cooperate with others without resenting the correction."

I would've had no problems cooperating if they'd just done things my way, which was the right way, of course. It seems obvious to me that everyone else had the problem.

Moving on to third grade.




"Socializing continues to take up too much of Dawn's time which could be put to better use."

Better use is really an objective term, don't you think? My teacher may have thought that memorizing my times tables was a better use of my time. I say, "That's what calculators are for." All that talking and story telling was really just research and practice for this blog.



"Dawn needs to continue to work on improving her work habits. Alot less socializing would give her the time needed to complete her work."

Yeah, yeah, again with the socializing. I'm telling ya, it was research! And my teacher really had no room to talk here since she thought "alot" is a word.

Now, let's see how I did in fourth grade. Surely, there has to be a good report somewhere in here!



"Dawn has made a lot of friends this years and has gained much more self-confidence. She has shown good progress in fourth grade. I have especially enjoyed her very creative stories. She needs to work on the above checked areas next year. Have a fun summer!"

Finally! A teacher with the good sense to enjoy my "very creative stories"! Why'd she have to go and ruin it by checking assumes responsibility, observes school rules, listens attentively, works steadily at a task, and finishes assignments? I know! I bet she didn't want to make the other students jealous with her love of my stupendous creative writing so she had to make up something negative to balance it out. Yeah, that's gotta be it!

Let's see how I did in fifth grade.



"Dawn is working hard this year. Occasionally, she is not prepared for class, and she may snap at her classmates, but we have discussed both of these topics and I am hopeful that these incidents will occur less frequently as time progresses."

Yeah, well, I'll tell you why I snapped at my classmates! Because they were stupid and annoying! It's hard putting up with such idiocy. How can I be expected to learn when the people sitting around me are saying their buttered popcorn scratch 'n' sniff stickers are better than my puppy puffy stickers? How can I concentrate when the girls at my table are flipping their beaded ribbon barrettes around and making irritating noise? How can I even see the board when the boy sitting in front of me is blinding me with his Mork striped suspenders? Yeah, that's what I thought! Case dismissed.



"Congratulations to Dawn and the Damalas family on her selection to continue in the Young Author's Contest. That's great!"

Oh yeah! In your face! I rock! I was selected to go on in a contest I don't even remember. But I'm sure it was the highest honor! In fact, it was such a high honor, my teacher couldn't even bring herself to find anything bad to say about me. My awesome writing prevailed! Finally!



"Dawn, I will always remember your contributions to our reading discussions. You always seemed to have the answer I had in mind! Carry that talent with you into 6th grade and you'll do a great job! Carry a smile too!"

Yes! Two good reports in a row! Finally, a teacher who appreciates my brilliance and understands that geniuses such as I, sometimes need to put the stupid people in their place. What? No, I am not reading between the lines! That's what it says!

After those glowing reports, things must go well for me in sixth grade! Let's see.



"Again, Dawn has produced basically good work this grading period. A greater emphasis on listening attentively to the teacher and organizing time wisely would result in even better grades."

Clearly, she had spoken to my mother before writing that comment. Just never satisfied. Always wanting me to do better. What happened to those glory days of fifth grade? "Basically good work" Humph!



"I can repeat what I've stated before. If Dawn listens carefully and follows directions, she does a good job academically. (She also avoids some of the "0"s she receives when she doesn't!) She has the basic skills and ability to achieve in junior high. It's up to her!"

It was up to me. All up to me. And I remember which path I chose. I decided to stop reading my old report cards at this point because I'm pretty sure it all went downhill from there. And now you know all about me. I'm a bossy, talkative person who likes to lead and make all the decisions. I don't use my time wisely and sometimes I don't complete assignments at all. I can tell a pretty creative story, but in the end, I guess I'm a pain the butt. Thanks to everyone for putting up with me anyway!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the town that's just northwest of Indiana (found that out the hard way this week), it's Sunday Sound Out with your host who can spell onomatopoeia, Dawn Meehan!


I have four children and boy do I sometimes feel that cleaning the house is just not worth it. I don't know, maybe I just don't have a very good routine. It sometimes feel like I have lost all of my organizational skills. Do you have any advice for me. So I can enjoy my children?
Hmmm, I have a pretty good routine. I follow behind my children, picking up their trail of garbage while muttering under my breath and complaining about being their maid. When I've finally had enough of that, I yell at them to clean up their filth or they'll be grounded until they're 30. It seems to work.

Oh, and one question: What's the best book you ever read?( Yeah, it's random but I just want to know)
Honestly, I just can't seem to find the time to read these days, and as sad and pathetic as it is, I don't have a favorite book. But my favorite book from childhood was The Maggie B by Irene Haas. I have no idea why, but I loved that book. Hmmm, I should try to get my hands on a copy.

How is Spring Break eleven days? My poor head just can't add the numbers.
Ok, so it's only 9 days. I told you I don't do math on my blog.

How BIG is that glass of wine???
Well, here's a picture of me standing next to it. What? Of course that's me! Shaddup, it could happen!



SSO, i've missed a bunch since last may. what happened with you and joe, is there a post somewhere i can read about it?
I haven't really written much about it. Joe complained to his lawyer about the couple sentences I did write, so until I talked to my lawyer, I didn't want to say anything else. Thankfully, my lawyer told me as long as I write the truth, there's nothing he can do. I go to court next week at which point a judge will give his recommendation as to what we should do with the house since we can't come to an agreement about it.

Question, though: You never do Sunday Sound Outs anymore! What's up with that?
I may skip it now and then, but for the most part, I post every Sunday. Someone's skimming.

Did you make the artichoke jalapeno dip? I would love the recipe if you don't mind, that would be great.
1. Go to the grocery store
2. Buy the dip
3. Enjoy with soy/flax tortilla chips, or veggie chips, or potato chips, or pretzel chips, or bagel chips, or pita chips.

Dawn, instead of trying to turn off the water, just lift up the flusher handle. My husband taught me that after the toilet overflowed on me once. Now when the water is rising I just lift up the handle and it stops. Hope it works for you.
Duh, I know this! I do! I even made a toilet fixing video! Although the addendum to my toilet fixing video was better.



Was it the delicious jalepeno artichoke dip from Costco?
Nooo, I got it from Jewel, thinking it would taste the same. Not. The stuff from Costco is the best!

Lets talk about Easter- What do you put in your kids baskets if you celebrate? Does the Easter bunny hide the eggs and where at? Do you do hard boiled eggs or plastic to hide?
Well, I don't put anything in their baskets. The Easter Bunny does, of course. He typically puts candy, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and maybe a small toy. I boil 6 dozen eggs for the kids to color. We eat a few, make deviled eggs out of a few, make egg salad from a few, and usually throw out several. I know it's wasteful, but I'd rather toss a couple dozen eggs than listen to the kids fight over who gets to dye how many eggs and blah blah blah. This way, they each get their own dozen to decorate. The Easter Bunny doesn't hide the real eggs though because bleeding dye on the carpet and couches, etc. is not good. Plus, if you don't happen to find that last egg until, oh say, July, it can be kinda stinky. The bunny hides plastic eggs and the kids each find their own color (Austin - blue, Savannah purple, etc). Then, of course, we go to church to celebrate the real reason for Easter.

We visited my grandma on Saturday. They had an Easter egg hunt and a special guest.



She was thoroughly freaked out at first, but then she took a closer look at the Easter Bunny and said, "Mom, that's not really a bunny!"

"Oh yeah? Why do you say that, Brooklyn?"

"Because bunnies aren't that big! And they don't walk; they hop! And I can see his hands. He's wearing gloves! And he looks creepy."

"You gotta point there, Brooklyn."


Yep, I dress my kids in their Easter finest for pictures with the bunny.


My cute nephew, Cameron, trying to pull the tutu off the bunny's neck. I have no idea why the bunny has a tutu around his neck either, Cameron.


Doesn't it look like the bunny is gearing up to take a bite out of Lexi's shoulder? Something about those black eyes just makes him look ferocious.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Why You Shouldn't Eat Spicy Dip and Unclog Toilets

I took the kids to CoCo Key, an indoor water park, yesterday. They were awesome! They were so totally, completely awesome the whole day! Not once did I have to tell them to knock it off on the car ride there. When we got there, they all helped carry the cooler and bags of snacks, towels, and swimsuits. All day long, Austin, Savannah, and Jackson helped watch the little kids. They took them on the lazy river and watched them in the baby area which was so helpful as it's hard to keep my eyes on six kids at once!

I met my friend Julie and her two boys there. I'd love to share pictures with you, but although I remembered my camera, I left my battery plugged into the wall in my kitchen. I hate when I do that! I guess it's not that bad considering I would've shot anyone who tried to take a picture of me in a bathing suit. Especially since I inadvertently packed the wrong swimshorts. I was supposed to pack the pair that fits. Instead, I packed the pair that's so short, my butt hangs out of it. Not a pretty sight. As soon as I realized I'd donned the wrong shorts, I quickly wrapped a towel around my waist and didn't remove it for fear of making people sick. I'm sure vomit in a pool would be pretty gross.

Anyway, we stayed there all day. It wasn't crowded at all (I guess no one around there is on spring break this week) so we had the place to ourselves. After everyone's hands were sufficiently wrinkly, we left and went to Cracker Barrel for dinner where the kids continued to be awesome. There was no name-calling, no nastiness, no attitudes. And then, they were totally awesome the entire way home.

Don't get me wrong, these guys still have their moments, but overall, they have been extra-terrific for the past month or so. Of course, the change in Jackson's medication has been a big part of it. Everyone's being much nicer to Jackson because he's not bugging the snot out of everyone every minute of every day. It's good. :)

But my day couldn't end on such a positive note, or it just wouldn't be right. So, we got home, walked in the door and realized the house smelled like poop.

"Oh, that's right. The toilet's clogged up, Mom."

"When were you planning on telling me this?"

"I just told you!"

"Sigh. When did it get clogged?"

"Yesterday."

"Fabulous. First off, you guys need more fiber in your diets. Secondly, you need to grab the plunger and try to unclog it because if I go in there and see poop floating around in the toilet, I'm liable to throw up and then there will be a poop/vomit mess to clean up."

OK, so Austin grabbed the plunger, unclogged it and all was well. Until I went to use the other bathroom. Guess what! That toilet was clogged too! I passed Fiber One bars out to everyone, then grabbed the plunger and went to work on that toilet. Thinking the plunging had done the trick, I flushed the toilet, but kept my hand on the water turn-off, just in case. The water in the bowl kept rising so I quickly turned it off to prevent the toilet from overflowing. I twisted the knob furiously to the left. Yep, I said "left". I turned and turned and the water kept rising. DUH! Your average kindergartner knows righty-tighty, lefty-losey! Ugh. As fast as I could, I turned the knob to the right, but it was too late. Poo water flooded my bathroom.

How do you even begin to clean something as disgusting as that?! I bent down to start sopping up the foul nastiness and out of nowhere BAM! barf happened. Lovely. In all fairness, I'd probably consumed 4 1/2 pounds of artichoke jalepeño dip at the pool and the whole barfness was bound to happen anyway, but cleaning up poop water was the catalyst.

I think I'll have a port-a-potty delivered to my driveway and the kids can use that while I enjoy a nice, clean, seat-always-down potty seat IN the house. Oh yeah, and I'll never eat artichoke jalepeño dip again.


Oh and check out my review blog HERE for a chance to win a $200 Visa gift card from BlogHer! Do it!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Break

So, it's spring break here. Anyone with kids knows what a double-edged sword that is. On the one hand, you don't need to deal with homework, getting up early, running to after-school activities, and yogurt spilled in backpacks. On the other hand, your kids are home 24/7. With you. All day long. For eleven days. Yeah.

On Saturday, we eased into spring break mode by sleeping half the day, then watching movies and eating garbage the other half. I'm pretty sure it's acceptable to have chili cheese dip and tortilla chips for dinner on spring break. We watched Ponyo for the 58th time, The Princess and the Frog (loved it lots!), Where the Wild Things Are (hated it!), and The Time Traveler's Wife. I really liked that one, but time travel movies always confuse me. I feel like I need to make a diagram so I can follow the messed-up timeline.

Because we had successfully messed up our sleeping schedule, we all overslept and missed church on Sunday. Oops.

Today, the kids played outside most of the day. It's downright tropical here at fifty degrees and we're enjoying every bit of mud from the melting snow sunshine. I love cleaning my floor and the muddy footprints are just precious reminders that I have a houseful of love. And honestly, I didn't even notice the clogged and overflowing toilet. I carefully stepped over the huge pile of papers and toys on the floor as if they weren't even there. The food stains on the couch are hardly even visible in the dark and the extra 500,000 dirty dishes every day is nothing at all. I love that my kids are home all week! Now excuse me while I pour myself a glass of wine and curl up in a fetal position.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where we purposely make our rivers look like green toxic sludge, it's Sunday Sound Out with your host, who is now thirty-ten, Dawn Meehan!

THIS is the decade where you really won't give a toss what every other tosser thinks (no really, even less so than you have done in the past), where your brain works in wonderfully fast-forward ways and comes up solutions that a 20 year old can't even imagine and a 30 year old can't imagine doing and your dreams become more vivid and prophetic.
First off - I have no clue what a tosser is. That must be an Australian thing. And let's hope my dreams aren't becoming prophetic or according to last night's dream, I'm going to visit my friend Kelli in Texas, but for some reason, her husband will have turned into a strange fat guy who sits around drinking beer and they'll suddenly have a dozen dogs instead the cats they actually have and I'll have a brand new baby. Yikes!

Technically, you're about to enter the last year of your 4th decade (if that makes you feel any better!).
0-10 = 1 decade
11-20 = 1 decade
21-30 = 1 decade
then 31-40 is still the same decade.So you see, it's not so bad!
We don't do math on my blog!

Happy Birthday!!!! You're only as young as you feel....wait...do you feel old? Sorry. ;)
:P <-----that's me sticking my tongue out at you, in case you couldn't tell.

Did you get any great artwork from the kids? I'm sure they did something nice because they're a sweet bunch.
Savannah made me this card...


Hilarious! Have you ever thought of a career in stand up? I could actually visualize you up on a stage doing the "club" bit.
Hello? Is this thing on?

Oh, and, *Heh-hem* I noticed that you haven't taken the, "I'm a 30-something year oldstay-at-home mom of 3 girlsand 3 boys. The original BradyBunch (without Alice!)" down yet. Are we denying the truth? XD...
Yes. What's your point?

I just had a child diagnosed with ADHD. Do any of your kids take meds? If so, are you comfortable talking about it?
Yes and yes

Hmm a SSO question.....In less than three short years, I'll turn 40. Is it really THAT bad?
Well, let's see here. I've been having hot flashes for a year. Last month I skipped my period, but nature, being cruel and mean, made up for it with a bonus one this month. Yep, forty's fabulous.

Did anyone get you a bottle of wine or some fruity coconut drink?
I got a bottle of wine, a bottle of margaritas, and a bottle of rum (because apparently, I'll need to drink a lot to forget about the fact that I'm forty)

I know this is probably a stupid question to ask with 6 kids- but did you have any problems getting pregnant with any of your children? My husband and I have been trying for 5 years now and it's a daily battle. Thanks.
Actually, it took a little over a year to get pregnant the first time. I had tried Clomid for a couple months to no avail and was starting to get really worried that there was something wrong with me when I got pregnant. I never had any problems conceiving after that. I can't imagine the pain and frustration of going through years of infertility treatments and let-downs.

Ok SSO now that the twins are 1 tomorrow how do I keep them entertained with there 2 year old sister while all my eye's(aka the big kids) are at school?
Well, Brooklyn has watched the movie Ponyo fifteen times this week. I think there are subliminal messages in the thing because I can't figure out for the life of me, why anyone would watch it even twice otherwise. You can try that. Or duct tape.

Oh and does the fighting between the big kids ever end?
Well, when the kids get to about, ugh, hang on a minute. Will you two stop arguing over the remote control?! I'm sorry. As I was saying, by the time your kids get to be ten years old, they, ugh, I'm sorry. Please hang on again. Don't make me come in there! Do not call your brother stupid. And you, don't hit your sister! Ok, where was I? Oh yeah, I remember - does the fighting ever end? Well, in my experience..., That's it! You're both grounded until you're thirty! Go to your rooms and don't touch each other on the way there! To answer your question, no. No, the fighting never ends. Ever.

Hmm, SSO: Don't you feel just a tad guilty for packing up the snow gear? March and April snow are not unheard-of in your neck of the woods!
Well, I started feeling slightly guilty for packing away some snow stuff when the 3 inches of snow came down yesterday, but since it all melted today, I'm sticking with my decision to pack away the snow pants and boots. They were taking up a lot of room in my family room. I have a very small house, remember?

I know each year in Chicago they dye the river green. Have you seen it? What is it like?
It looks like a river. That's green.

I have a daughter w/ ADHD and have been considering the Feingold Program - any suggestions? Did you subscribe and do the full blown program or just avoid anything that wasn't all natural? My daughter is currently taking Focalin (ADHD medication), but was wondering if I should give her the medication while "trying" the Feingold Program - any thoughts? Thanks!
Well, the Feingold program won't hurt anything. It's always good to eliminate some of the artificial garbage that's in our food. I saw an improvement when Jackson was on the Feingold diet. And yes, I subscribed and did the full-blown, very strict diet. A drawback was that it's quite a bit more expensive to buy all natural/organic/whole foods without the added artificial stuff. It's also more time consuming to cook from scratch. And it's hard to stick to 24/7. You can't monitor what your child eats at school for example and even though they know they're not supposed to eat the cupcake with the neon green frosting for their friend's birthday, it's hard to resist. You should talk to your daughter's doctor, but I personally wouldn't discontinue her medication right away when you start the diet.

Am I allowed to like butterscotch even though I'm only 33? How's that for a question? :)
I just spent over an hour trying to find a video clip of Tim Conway starring on Suddenly Susan where he talked about old people liking butterscotch. I couldn't find one. Instead I got sucked in to watching a dozen old Carol Burnett clips. This is why it takes me half a day to write a stupid blog post! So, yes, you're allowed to like butterscotch at the tender age of 33, but it's a requirement when you turn 60.

OH! I forgot to ask, did you nap on this National Napping Day?
I was too busy celebrating Barbie's birthday, National Crabmeat Day and International I Can't Think of Anything to Blog About Day

Where was the weirdest place you've ever napped? Now, that's a question.
Yes, yes that is a question, a very weird question, but a question nonetheless. I don't fall asleep easily. I have trouble getting my brain in sleep mode. More often than not, I lie there awake with my wheels spinning, so I'm not one to nod off in strange places. Brooklyn, on the other hand, can fall asleep anywhere. (And usually with her eyes open!)

Okay I have a question. What kind of cane do you beat them with? And do you get out of your chair to do or just wave your arm around and hope to hit one or many of them?
Are you kidding? Canes are heavy! I don't lift a cane and wave it around! I just point my bony finger menacingly at everyone while I mutter about hooligans and shenanigans and the general disrespect for the elderly.

I have a question, I finally got a copy of your book today and I was wondering if you have a link to the baseball auction? I read the Pokemon card one a long time ago, and I had thought that's what started you blogging. I'd be interested to read the Baseball one.
Here ya go. And yes I did take creative license on this one. Click HERE.

An SSO question. How many siblings do you have? Where do you fall in the birth order?
I have one sister. I'm the oldest least young.

"What trips/vacations do you have planned for the summer?"
I don't have anything planned, but I'd love to take the kids to the ocean. Maybe South Carolina or Georgia. We'll see, I guess. Anyone want to send my family someplace cool so I can blog about it? A tropical Beaches vacation? Mount Rushmore? The Grand Canyon? Pike's Peak? San Diego? Yep, I'm pretty sure we'll be vacationing in lovely downtown Chicago.

Here's an odd ball question. With 3 boys I figure you must be a bit experienced...any advice on socks that don't wear holes in 2 weeks flat? We are constantly throwing away my son's socks, thinking I should by stock in Hanes.
You shouldn't throw them away. Whatever happened to the fine art of darning? Or making sock puppets? Ooooo, hoo hoo, hee hee! That's a good one. I don't even have time to sew Brownie patches on Lexi's vest, let alone darn socks! I suggest duct-taping them like I do Jackson's hockey pants. It's much harder to rip through duct tape.

Here's a question: Is it wrong for you to dress your children in their worst clothes when you visit their grandparents in hopes that they buy some new ones?
Nope. In fact, you shouldn't feed them before going either in hopes of scoring a free dinner.

Which kid was it? [yogurt in backpack]
Oh, I'm sorry. I thought it was a given. It was Jackson.

What time do your kiddos go to bed on school nights? Do you make them stick to the same bedtime on weekends too? How about once school is out?
Since my kids have to share rooms, I try to stagger their bedtimes. The youngest three go to bed at 8:00, Jackson goes to bed at 9:00, and Austin and Savannah usually go to bed about 10:00. I sometimes let them stay up a little later on the weekends, but not much because I don't want them getting too off-schedule. During the summer, I let them stay up late-ish because I'm a night person and I'd rather have everyone sleep in in the morning.

Not related to this post, but how are the frogs Clay got for Christmas?
They were tasty. Kidding! Just kidding. They're still alive and kicking. You know, because they're frogs. They kick. And hop. Frogs, kicking. Umm, they're fine. I, however, am tired. Time for bed. Good night, Seattle!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hey Mom! I spilled some yogurt in my backpack.

When? Today? Is there a lot or just a little bit?

I dunno. A couple days ago.

WHAT??? A couple days ago and you're just telling me now? And why do you always wait until bedtime to tell me stuff like this anyway! How much spilled?


I dunno. Not that much. It's not my fault! I didn't know that would happen!

You didn't know what would happen? Did you sit on your backpack? Smack someone upside the head with it? Wrestle with it?

I dunno.

sigh Well that makes perfect sense. Is it on anything? Is it on any books or anything?

No. Well, just my reading text book. And my papers. And my folder. And some other stuff.

You're killing me kid. Just grab some diaper wipes and clean off the books. Throw out any old papers and leave your backpack in the sink. I'll wipe it out when I'm done working.

When I went to wipe out his backpack, this is what I found...



Yep, it's an entire cup of yogurt (minus what stuck to his books and papers). Lovely. This is exactly what I wanted to do at 11:00 at night. Thankfully, it was a good sturdy Lands' End backpack and I was able to rinse it out pretty easily. The book, on the other hand. He probably doesn't really need to read pages 87 - 252, does he? I wonder how much text books are going for these days...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shopping 101

What makes a person stop their grocery cart in the middle of the aisle while they studiously read the label on a package of cocoa puffs as if they actually have a clue what trisodium phosphate is? Now, don't get me wrong. It's notsomuch the stopping the cart that bothers me. I mean, I've accidentally stopped the cart in the middle of the aisle a time or two myself. But here's the difference - I'm not completely oblivious to every other human on the planet! No matter how engrossed I am in comparing prices on mac-n-cheese, or discussing with my kids why it wouldn't be a good idea to drink a bottle of soy sauce while strolling down aisle two, I'm always aware of other people around me. If someone even starts to approach me, I will immediately pull my cart over to the side before the other individual even gets close enough to notice that my cart was blocking her.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand people who block the aisle, completely unaware that anyone else is in the store with them! These have to be the same people who drive under the speed limit and annoy the snot out of you when you're running late and you're stuck behind them. There is no reason, I repeat - NO REASON why anyone should EVER drive 25 mph in a 40 zone. Ever.

This whole "being oblivious to every other human on the planet" thing has really been bothering me so I've come up with a few points to help you if you're one of those oblivious people. If you're in fact a courteous person with manners and the ability to recognize you're not alone on this planet, then I suggest you print these tips out (perhaps on business cards) and keep them handy to pass out to the ignorant fools around you.

1. Do not leave your cart in the middle of the aisle! If you want to stop and look at something, pull your cart over to the side. If you're driving and you want to park, you don't just stop your car in the middle of the street, do you? No, you pull over! The same rules apply when shopping. And when someone says, "Excuse me", this is your cue TO MOVE!

2. Do not stand there in front of the refrigerated section blocking the doors to the cooler. While you're standing there, looking at your grocery list, people like me could be trying to get a package of stinkin' cheddar cheese so they could make some nachos to go with their margarita tonight! When someone says, "excuse me", this is your cue TO MOVE!

3. Pay attention when pushing your cart. Do not crash your cart into the ankles of unsuspecting shoppers. It hurts when carts are smashed into our ankles. We don't like it. One of these days, one of us is going to lose it and throw a can of creamed corn at your head for reducing our ankles to bloody stumps.

4. When looking for a greeting card, be aware of the people around you. I like to get lost reading funny Hallmark cards as much as the next person. But when someone is hovering around, just waiting to grab a card from where you're looking, move over a little! It won't kill you. (But I hear a greeting card strategically whipped at your face, can poke your eye and cause blindness. Just sayin'.)

5. If you get in line, pile all your groceries on the conveyor belt, then realize, Oops, I forgot to get Cheez Whiz, do not hold up the entire line to go back and get it. Pay for your stuff. Then, if it's something really important like chocolate or wine, go get it and get back in line to pay for it. If it's nonessential, go home and send someone else out to get it for you later.

6. Express Lanes have the word "express" in them for a reason. If you have enough groceries to feed the Duggars for a week, you do not belong in the express lane. Move!

7. After unloading your groceries onto the conveyor belt, move up! There is no reason why you should just stand there preventing the next person from unloading their groceries. Put a stinkin' order divider down and move!

I'm sorry, but I had to deal with an ignorant fool several times today and so I'm fed up with stupid people who don't use their brains. I hope this list comes in handy. If even one idiot is reformed, it will be worth it.

Sooo, what drives you crazy at the store?

Monday, March 15, 2010

I'm Rich!!!

I have a love/hate relationship with my email. For some reason, I can never seem to get my box to under 50 or so. I hate that. I try and try, but for every email I read, it seems like two more come in. I love the fan mail, the questions and comments from readers, and the people who write to share their stories with me. I even love getting offers from companies to check out their latest products and services. I love getting offers to take tours and trips, and to try out the cool products that are out there. But I hate all the time it takes to read and respond to email. And I hate all the spam I get on a daily basis. Wait, actually that's not entirely accurate. I did hate it until I got the idea to turn it into blog fodder. For example, here are a couple of the more, um, interesting emails I received today...

Dear Friend,
With due respect to your person and much sincerity of purpose I make this contact with you as I believe that you can be of great assistance to me. My name is Mr Braun Duka from Ouagadougou Republic of BURKINA FASO, West Africa. Presently i work in the Bank as telex manager. I have been searching for your contact since you left our country some years ago .I do not know whether this is your correct email address or not because I only used your name initials to search for your contact in the internet .

OK, so let me get this straight. You're looking for someone who left your country and after searching the Internet for them by using ONLY THEIR INITIALS, you came to the conclusion that this must be the correct email address? Uh huh. I see. Proceed.

In case you are not the person I am supposed to contact , please see this as a confidential message and do not reveal it to another person but if you are not the intended receiver, do let me know whether you can be of assistance regarding my proposal below because it is top secret.

Certainly. What a great idea to send a "top secret" proposal to someone who may possibly be your intended recipient based on an Internet search of THEIR INITIALS! What could go wrong?

I am about to retire from active Bank service to start a new life but I am sceptical to reveal this particular secret to a stranger . You must assure me that everything will be handled confidentially because we are not going to suffer again in life.

I'm a little "sceptical" of your spelling skills. Hmmm, I'm beginning to think this might not be legitimate.

It has been 10 years now that most of the greedy African Politicians used our bank to Launder money overseas through the help of their Political advisers.

What's with the random capitalization?

Most of the funds which they transferred out of the shores of Africa was gold and oil money that was supposed to have been used to develop the continent. Their Political advisers always inflated the amounts before transfer to foreign accounts so I also used the opportunity to divert part of the funds hence I am aware that there is no official trace of how much was transferred as all the accounts used for such transfers were being closed after transfer.

Ummm, huh?

I acted as the Bank Officer to most of the politicians and when I discovered that they were using me to succeed in their greedy act, I also cleaned some of their banking records from the Bank files and no one cared to ask me because the money was too much for them to control.

Still a little confused here.

They laundered over $5b(five billion) united states Dollars during the process .

Again with the random capitalization?

As I am sending this message to you, I was able to divert One Hundred Million Dollars ($150m)

I have the math skills of a fourth grader and know that doesn't make sense.

to an escrow account belonging to no one in the bank. The bank is anxious now to know who is the beneficiary to the funds because they have made a lot of profits with the funds.

It is Eight years now

Wait a minute. It was ten years a couple paragraphs ago. Let's split the difference and call it nine years, ok?

and most of the politicians are no longer using our bank to transfer funds overseas. The ($150m) Million Dollars has been lying waste but I don't want to retire from the bank without transferring the funds to a foreign account to enable me share the proceeds with the receiver. The money will be shared 60% for me and 40% for you .

Well, that makes perfect sense. When I retire, I intend to transfer my funds to Africa and split them with a randomly selected stranger via the Internet. And what's with the 60/40 split? Tell you what - you give me 70% of your imaginary funds and it's a deal!

There is no one coming to ask you about the funds because I secured everything.I only want you to assist me by providing a bank account where the funds can be transferred. You are not to face any difficulties or legal implications as I am going to handle the transfer personally. If you are capable of receiving the funds, do let me know immediately to enable me give you a detailed information on what to do.

Oh, how nice that you're handling everything for me.

For me, I have not stolen the money from anyone because the other people that took the whole money did not face any problems.

Umm, ???

This is my chance also to grab my own but you must keep the details of the funds secret to avoid leakages as no one in the bank knows about the funds.

No one knows about the funds? But a minute ago, you said that the bank was anxious to know who the beneficiary was. I'm confused.

Please supply me the following:
Your current contact address and Telephone Numbers..
I shall intimate you on what to do when I get your confirmation and acceptance. If you are capable of being my trusted associate, do declare your consent to me.
Waiting for your urgent response.

Yours Faithfully,
Mr Braun Duka

Of course, I notified him immediately and gave him all my information. Any day now, I'll be the recipient of $60,000,000. Woo Hoo! I guess I'll be able to take my kids somewhere on spring break after all.

I also got an email from yet another banker in West Africa offering me 40% of the late Michael Colon's 5,500,000. Wow!

Then, as if those two weren't enough, I got notification that I'd won the Australian lottery! Maybe turning forty won't be so bad after all! I mean, I'm going to be a multi-millionaire so I can afford Botox and hair dye, and I can get face lifts until my ears touch!



THE AUSTRALIAN LOTTERY
BOARD
Head Office
6123 Coll Street Road, Queensland Ax34587, Australia.
Dear : Lucky Winner
THE NATIONAL LOTTERY P-BALL WINNING NOTIFICATION

The Australian Lottery Power ball wishes to congratulate you on your success as one of our Ten ( 10 ) Star Australian Lottery Prize Winner in this Years 2010 Lottery that was conducted over the internet with our automated e-mail selecting machine.

An automated email selecting machine! I think that's what Braun Duka used!

You have been declared a Lucky Winner of £500,000.00 (Five Hundred Thousand Pound Sterling) your Serial Number: 7775-325

COOL! Oh, wait a minute. I thought Australians used dollars, not pounds. Hmmm, I wonder how much Vegemite you could buy with 500,000 pounds. I wonder how much you'd have to eat to gain 500,000 pounds.

How to claim your Winning Prize:
Contact the Financial Claims Manager Fr. Beckett Jamie, for verification and payment via his E-mail Address:


The Financial Claims Manager is also a Father? Interesting.

beckettjamie@gmail.com / Phone Number:
+447035954752 with the under listed information as soon as possible.

Interesting. I wonder why I would have to call the code for The United Kingdom to claim my Australian lottery winnings. Even stranger is the fact that I remember that 44 is the code for the UK from like 20 years ago when I had to make a call to the UK for work. Hmmm, I can remember THAT, but I can't remember to take my car in for an oil change.

PERSONAL DATA:
Full Name:
Address:
State:
City:
Zip Code:
Country:
Age:
Sex:
Occupation:
Mobile Phone Number:
Home Phone Number:
Fax Number (If Any):
Batch Number: 7056490900/188
Winning Number: 4750-617-25
Reference Number: GB8701/LPRC
Our Ref : ILP/HW 2314/08

Missbenedit Johnson
Director of Promotions.
Copyright © 2010 AUSTRALIAN LOTTERY POWER BALL

Oh well, if this Australian lottery email seems a little fishy, it's ok because I also won the Canadian lottery today! I wonder what amazing emails and huge wads of cash I'll get tomorrow!

The Birthday "Fun" Continues

The kids and I went over to my parents' house yesterday for a little birthday gathering. Note the deocrations...



Then my good, sweet daughter, Lexi, told Papa to change the number to 29 because I always say I'm only 29.



Then my bad children changed the number to 2940.


Then my totally evil children changed it yet again.


Oh, but it gets better. For my birthday, I opened a gift bag containing the following items...


You know, because OLD people sometimes have trouble seeing.


And OLD people have to take many pills for all their ailments.


A shower cap so I can get my hair done once a week and let it go for days.


You know, for all my aches and pains.


Because sometimes, you're just irregular.


Yeah, I know I have a million few fillings and a crown or two, but really???


And, of course, everyone knows that OLD people love their butterscotch.

Of course there was no card with this particular gift. No one would admit to giving me this. They were probably just afraid I'd beat them with my cane.

*****I didn't come up with a Sunday Sound Out this week because there were just a couple questions. Isn't there anything you want to know? Doesn't anyone have any burning questions just begging to be answered? Hello? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?*****

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Forty is the New Thirty (and other nonsense)

It was my birthday today. I turned forty. I don't know what it is about that number that makes it seem so evil. I suppose it's the fact that you've turned some imaginary corner, reached the top of the hill, and are now on a fast track, do-not-pass-go, path to death's door. But, on the bright side, being OLD has its advantages. I mean, think of all the incredible wisdom I've acquired over the years. In fact, as a birthday present to you, my faithful readers, I'll share some of my hard-earned wisdom! No need to thank me. It's what I do.

THE TOP TEN THINGS I'VE LEARNED ABOUT TURNING FORTY

10. People will tell you that 40 is the new 30. You know who says this? Old people forty-year-olds who want to make themselves feel better about being old forty. But no matter what cute catchphrases you use, you're still old forty.


9. People will tell you, "Welcome to the club!" For the past couple years, I've heard people welcome my friends into this exclusive "club". I wondered what all the hype was about. How did one go about attaining membership in this elite club? Was it just a matter of age? When one turns 40, are they automatically admitted? Do they have to pay dues? Are there meetings?

Well, now that I'm a card-carrying member of "the club", I'm privy to the secrets of the mysterious club. Here it is - THERE IS NO CLUB! There's no club, there are no meetings, and there are no secret handshakes. "Welcome to the club" is something people who are already forty and beyond say to poor, unsuspecting souls who are just turning forty. What it means is this: Ha ha! Now I'm not the only one who is old. You're getting old too and misery loves company! In your face! Ha ha!

8. You get depressed when you can remember back to when your parents turned forty and how old you thought they were back then.

7. You remember how old you thought you were when you turned thirty and you laugh at your naïve self.

6. Miss Clairol has a hard time keeping up with your ever-increasing production of gray hair.

5. Your kids stare at you in wonder when you regal them with tales of your youth, mainly because they're amazed you didn't have computers in school, you only knew one person who actually owned a mobile phone and it was as big as a shoe box, you didn't have a microwave oven until you were in fifth grade, your iPod was called a Walkman, there were like three video games and they all looked the same - two little squares that hit a third little square back and forth, and Facebook didn't exist. To add insult to injury, they then ask you questions like, "Did they have cars back when you were born?" and "Were dinosaurs still alive?"

4. When you get out of bed, your hands are numb and your knees creak. Honest to God, they make actual, real, creaking noises! That can't be good.

3. You find yourself telling the kids to "turn down that music!"

2. It's socially unacceptable for someone your age to hop from tile square to tile square while in a crowded mall while shouting, "Outta my way! I can't step on a crack or I'll fall in hot lava!"

1. You're suddenly moved into the "near death" demographic on Facebook and all the fun advertisements you used to enjoy will be replaced with AARP, denture cream, hearing aid, and incontinence ads.



On the bright side, however (there's always a bright side, right?), the following are positive things about turning forty.

1. It could be worse. Your child could be turning forty.

2. It could be worse. You could be turning fifty.

3. It could be worse. You could be dead.

Yeah, that's all I got. Ask me again in another ten years when I can look back and laugh at what a fool I was to make a big deal out of turning forty.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Don't Fret the Age Sweat

I'm writing articles for the website, DontFretTheSweat.com this year. The site is up and running now! Check it out! Some other fabulous writers, doctors, experts, and I have partnered with the makers of Degree, Suave, and Dove deodorants to provide helpful articles geared toward parents of tweens. We'll cover all those topics that make you sweat. Get it? Sweat - deodorant. Sweat - tween moments that make us freak out. We'll talk about topics like helping your tweens build self-confidence, handling peer pressure, helping them to do well in school, handling cliques, and expressing individuality to name a few. Check it out, click on "meet the experts", and leave me a comment there so I won't be the only dork with no comments on my article.

This is the last post of my young, vibrant days. In 5 minutes, I'll enter a new decade. And the thing about turning 40 is that you're only 10 short years away from turning 50! Heck, I remember when my MOM turned 40! I remember thinking she was so OLD! I think I need a glass of wine...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where we celebrate Casimir Pulaski Day, but no one knows why, it's your host, Dawn Meehan who is STILL in her thirtys, thankyouverymuch! Tonight, musical guest Jimmy Eat World and answers to your questions. So, without further ado...

So, you mean you might have to move out of the house? But where will you go with six kids???
Yep. I guess the court will decide. I have no idea where we'll go, but my vote is for Aruba!

How is your son with ADHD doing? I also have a 6 year old with high end adhd and we just figured out my 3rd grade daughter also has adhd. Do you ever feel any of your other children also may have it?
That would be Jackson. He's had a really rough time of it lately. With everything going on, he's been acting out horribly. I mean, to the point that he's dented his walls, knocked a hole through his door, and broken many possessions. The medication he'd been taking would wear off after school and he was experiencing an awful rebound effect most evenings. I was absolutely at my wit's end with him. Then I was finally able to get him in to the psychiatrist. She switched his meds to Vyvanse and he's been a dream ever since. He doesn't get all "zombie-like" during the day and the meds last until bedtime. Other than the time Joe told him he wouldn't go to Jackson's book meet and Jackson melted down as soon as he got home from school, his behavior has been awesome. Austin and Lexi have some attention problems, but aren't currently taking medication. And Clay, well, Clay has the attention span of a jelly bean.

Just curious, how did you handle baby spitup? I'm assuming you had to deal with that a lot with six kids!
Baby spit-up is nothing. It doesn't smell like vomit. In fact, the doctor thought Savannah had pyloric stenosis for a while because she projectile vomited after every feeding when she was a baby. I'm not sure at what magical age everything changes and baby spit-up becomes intolerable vomit, however.

I have to know though - is that really a baby tooth necklace? And if yes, are those your babies' teeth and your necklace?
You're new around here, aren't you?

Okay...9 weeks pregnant with my fifth, and I have NO CLUE how to tell my family. My husband and I are so excited, but we aren't sure our families will be as thrilled. In fact, I am beginning to think that telling one's parents about a fourth, fifth, or sixth baby must be really similar to what it is like for a knocked up teenager to tell her parents that bad news. I know that you are the right person to answer this question!!! How did you tell your family that you were pregnant the last few times, and how did you react to negative comments, if any? I am thinking about texting the news, but I decided to ask you first. Holding my breath for next Sunday's Sound Out!!!!
First off, don't hold your breath. That can't be good for the baby. And I totally understand your pain. I think after breaking the news that I was pregnant with my sixth baby, my parents gave me a shower gift of condoms, vasectomy pamphlets, and a subscription to cable tv. The thing to keep in mind when strangers (and even family) say things like, "Holy crap!" or "Was it planned?" or "Don't you know what causes that?" is that they are ignorant fools don't usually mean to be rude; it's just that they can't imagine having so many kids themselves, so they can't fathom why anyone else would either. Then again, we don't go around saying, "You only have one kid? Holy crap! Why? Don't you know how to have more?" Hmmmm, yep, I guess there's really no excuse for the rudeness. But, as I was saying - I really don't think most people mean to be rude. And the most important thing is that you and your husband are happy. It doesn't really matter what others may think.

I honestly can't remember how I broke the news to my parents with any of my pregnancies. Must have been real memorable. I think a good way to break the news would be to start with something more dramatic, that way your announcement won't seem like such a big deal. Something like, "Did you hear the Duggars are expecting their 20th child? Kinda makes 5 kids look like a cake walk, huh?" Or maybe, "I just went to the doctor and I have a condition. I need several tests and I'll need to be seen regularly for the next several months." After your parents freak out that you have some terrible life-threatening disease, tell them that you're just pregnant. They'll be so relieved you aren't sick or dying that they'll be thrilled with your pregnancy.

In your case, you could get the kids matching basketball jerseys and when they question it, just tell them that you're starting a basketball team. Unless you don't think your parents would get the connection that there are 5 players on the bball court. Maybe find a photo frame with 5 openings and fill 4 of the holes with pictures of your kids and either leave the 5th opening empty or put an ultrasound picture in it or just write "baby" there.

Oh and CONGRATULATIONS! :)

Please welcome our musical guests!


Until next week!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thank you!

Hey there! Thank you for all your uplifting comments and prayers! As always, you guys are the best! I really do have the most awesome readers on the planet! :D

I didn't mean to sound like a big downer last night. Things are actually pretty good around here. I'm just having a hard time taking care of stuff and working/writing. It's difficult, but not impossible by any means. I'm thankful that I have writing as a source of income even if it means staying up until 3:00 to get any writing done.

I'm not big on chore charts. I've tried them a few times in the past and it just seemed like more of a job for me to make out the charts and check them, than it was worth. As long as I remember to ask the kids to help instead of just expecting them to know what I want, everything gets done without too much complaining. The kids don't complain much either. ;) Actually, after dinner, I was sitting at the table working on my taxes when I noticed Clay picking up the family room. He was straightening the backpacks and picking up pillows. He put DVDs on the shelf and put toys away in his room. He picked up stray pieces of garbage and threw them away. He did this all by himself! He did this without me asking! After falling off my chair in utter disbelief, I offered to buy him a car gave him the biggest hug and kiss. And he wasn't even feeling well this evening! The poor guy stayed home from school with a sore throat and a fever.

I love the idea of freezing meals though. Duh, why didn't I think of that? I've been telling friends that I'm sick of throwing out food and I need to learn to change my cooking habits. Joe used to eat so much and used to eat leftovers and I don't have that anymore. The kids and I aren't too fond of leftovers, so after dinner, I put whatever food is left in the fridge where it sits for a week and then I throw it out. It's our tradition. From now on, I'll freeze the leftovers immediately and pull them back out in a month and tell the kids, "Huh? Nooo, these aren't leftovers. No, I um, I just made this. Tonight. Just now. Oh, I um, already washed the pots and pans. Just sit down and eat!"

Anyway, I actually have a strange peace about everything. I don't know how to explain it. I just believe that everything will work out in the end. Things may not work out how I envision them, but still, they'll work out. We're hoping to stay in our house, but may end up having to move. I hope that doesn't happen, but if it does, it'll be fine. Something will open up and we'll have a place to live. I have no idea where, but I just believe that something will work out for us. Joe will come around or he won't. I have no control over that. All I'm going to do is make sure my kids know that they are loved unconditionally by me and by God. God is holding us in His palm and He loves us. He'll take care of us and all we have to do is trust and believe in Him.

I was talking to my friends Sue and Dawn the other day. Dawn's husband died very suddenly and unexpectedly leaving her a single mother to five children. Sue's husband has been out of work for a year now. Both friends and I commented that we don't know how people with no faith get by in tough situations like these. How do they hold onto hope? How do they feel joy despite the hardships? How do they feel a sense of calm; a sense of peace; a sense that everything will work out and God will provide even if they can't see the light at the end of the tunnel? I have no idea. I totally believe it's God (with the help of prayer) that has placed this sense of peace in my heart. It's by the grace of God that I go on every day with a smile on my face (well, most of the time anyway), and try to enjoy the day and the gifts and blessings that I have. It's all good. :)

Oh and I don't plan on leaving the blog. Just wanted you guys to know what was going on so you're not surprised if I skip a day or two here and there. You can't get rid of me that easily!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed. That's it in a nutshell. I'm overwhelmed. On the one hand, there's a peace about the house and the kids and I are getting along really well. That is very nice! Everyone's pitching in and we're working together. Well, for the most part. There are those times when I get back from dropping Jackson at a friend's house, stopping at the grocery store for milk, taking Savannah to the church for confirmation, and I walk in the door and see all the dinner dishes where I left them on the table. (It's a bad idea to assume the kids will see the mess and think - Hmmm, Mom's busy running all over the place. Let's clean up the kitchen before she gets back!) It never generally doesn't happen that way. However, if I say, "Austin, take out the garbage, Lexi load the dishwasher, and Clayton sweep the floor, the tasks get done with no problem. Or with minimal problems. Like, he'll take the garbage out, but fail to put a new bag in the garbage can. Or the floor will be swept, but all the dirt and debris will be left in a pile in the middle of the floor. Maybe a tutorial is in order... :)

Because, up until a couple years ago, Joe worked like 80 hours a week, I'm used to doing everything myself and I'm used to going with little help. However, juggling work in addition to taking care of everything, including six kids, by myself is a challenge. Joe is having a difficult time dealing with the divorce (duh, who doesn't, right?) and has chosen to stay away from the kids. Unfortunately, he hasn't spent time with them since Christmas eve, other than when he runs into three of them at school (he sometimes works at their school). He hasn't called them and in fact, has changed his phone number so the kids and I can't call him either. I think my biggest challenge right now is trying to convince the kids that their dad really does love them, but is having a hard time showing it. The more time that passes, the more difficult it is for them to believe it. It breaks my heart when my kids come home from school crying because "Dad won't come to my book meet at the library again."

I've had some writing deadlines recently and have been focusing a lot of time and energy on that. I have a little break right now, so I need to go back to focusing on the kids. I've slacked off terribly in reading to them. And when I do read, I forget to record it in their journals. I've been staying up until 2:00 or 3:00 to get everything done and I'm a useless zombie come morning. So, if things slow down around here a bit, it's just because I can't juggle it all and I'd rather drop the "blog" ball than the "kids" ball.

And if any of you who are divorced or separated, or who have military husbands who are deployed for months at a time, or who have spouses who do a lot of traveling have any wonderful tips for me, I'll take them!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I Dress Myself!

I used to really wonder about the parents when I saw kids out in public dressed in Halloween costumes, or pajamas, or just combinations of colors that could make your eyes bleed.

And then I had kids

Here is Brooklyn modeling the latest in grocery shopping couture.



Our model is wearing a Bears jersey, topped with a lovely hot pink coat with attached blue mittens. The flirty tutu makes this ensemble sing! And the whole outfit is topped off with a pair of kicky boots in an irresistible hot pink. This outfit is great for going to the park, the grocery store, or playdates at McDonald's playland.


And here is Brooklyn modeling her Sunday best.



Nothing says, "I'm ready for Sunday school like a Snow White costume! Our model is also wearing adorable socks with pink and red hearts all over them. (It was almost as if she knew our bible verse of the day was going to be "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God.") This whole ensemble was topped off with a pink fire helmet which was 'accidentally" left in the car when we arrived at church.

The reason why kids dress like this? Because they can.
The reason parents don't make them change? Because it's not worth fighting over. Pick and choose your battles, my friends. Pick and choose.

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