Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

I'm back from Monterey. As wonderful as it was to get away from real life for a while, and as awesome as it was to collaborate with some amazingly talented authors, it was really nice to come home. I couldn't even get in my door before my kids flung themselves into my arms. I missed them so much!

Here are a couple pictures from California...

















And here's a pic from Halloween...


It's Phineas, Ferb, Candace & Isabella

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And finally, you're ALL invited to my book launch party this Tuesday, November 2nd. It's at The Comedy Sportz Theater in Chicago from 6:30 - 9:30. And since it's for a book about pregnancy and childbirth, what better way to celebrate than with a baby shower? Bring diapers, formula, new/gently used baby clothing, or other baby items to be entered in a drawing for raffle prizes. All donations will benefit Wings (Women In Need Growing Stronger), a non-profit organization helping women and children who are fleeing domestic violence.

* FREE ADMISSION * RAFFLE PRIZES * REFRESHMENTS * GOODY BAGS FOR EVERYONE FROM SUAVE * SIGNED BOOKS * FUN *

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monterey Pictures - part one

Monterey in pictures...

The seagull that divebombed us during breakfast. Nothing says good morning like bird poop in your coffee.


the view outside my window


Don't let this guy's cuteness fool you. He's loud and has nasty fish breath.


my hotel


a sea star

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Objects in Mirror May Appear Larger Than They Are

Maybe I shouldn't have made fun of the idiots people who couldn't fasten their seatbelts earlier.

Yesterday, before dinner, I decided to shower off my travel germs. I turned on the shower to let it warm up while I walked over to the vanity to grab my toiletries. On the vanity, I noticed a mirror. A super-magnified, lit-up mirror. I took a peek in the mirror and gasped at what I saw. The image in the mirror had pores the size of the Grand Canyon. Clearly, the mirror was broken because I'm certain my pores aren't that big. I sat down and stared at my zillion imperfections. I grabbed my tweezers and went to work on my eyebrows. Oh my gosh, is that a whisker on my chin? What the heck? This is what forty looks like?!

I think they put this mirror in every room, hoping that the guest will take a look, be completely disgusted at what they see, and rush to make an appointment in their spa. In fact, I think a spa menu was sitting right next to the mirror with "facial" at the top of the list.

I was a woman obsessed. Twenty minutes must have passed while I sat there attempting to reconcile the image in the mirror with the image I had in my mind. At some point, I snapped back to reality and remembered I needed to get in the shower or I was going to be late for dinner. I walked back to the bathroom where the tub was just about to overflow. The tub was plugged up and I hadn't even realized it! Oops.

I plunged my hand into the water to open the drain, then, just as quickly, removed the skeletal remains of what was once my hand. The skin had completely melted off. The water was 4000 degrees. I guess the fact that the water was actually boiling and had smoke swirling above the tub, eluded me. Yep, it takes a special kind of stupid to scald yourself while bathing.

Insert the Buckle Here

I'm in California right now because my agent, Janet Grant at Books and Such is hosting a retreat for her authors. It's going to be a great few days of networking with some amazing authors and learning from the informative workshops she's arranged.

My flight to Monterey was scheduled for 8:15 yesterday morning. The night before, the weathermen were predicting storms of apocalyptic proportions. I was so looking forward to this trip. I knew that this trip was going to be really beneficial to my writing career. After spending a week with a stomach virus running rampant through my family, I needed this trip. When the newscasters said that flights out of O'Hare would likely be cancelled, I started shaking and twitching. "You don't understand! I HAVE to go!"

Luck was on my side because mine was one of the last flights out of O'Hare before hundreds were cancelled.

I was thinking about making a new and improved safety demonstration for the airlines because really, the one they use now is pretty archaic. I mean, if you don't know how to fasten a seatbelt, you probably shouldn't be leaving your house. Instead of showing people how to fasten a seatbelt and put on an oxygen mask, I think the video should demonstrate how to get out of your seat without hanging on to the seat in front of you, pulling the occupant of said seat's hair, and annoying the snot out of her. It should also tell passengers how to keep their arms to themselves instead of encroaching upon other people's space. It should probably include a message about how important personal hygiene is during air travel as well.

And then, on my flight from O'Hare to Los Angeles, a lady sat next to me and couldn't, for the life of her, figure out how to fasten her seatbelt. Seriously? But it gets better. The guy sitting next to me on the flight from LAX to Monterey, sat on his seatbelt, then used mine to fasten himself in nice and snug. It took me ten minutes to explain to him what he'd done.

Remarkably enough, I guess we still need that archaic safety demonstration. (But we maybe we could add the common courtesy and personal hygiene features to it.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

YOU'RE ALL INVITED!

You're all invited to my book launch party! Click the picture to enlarge it so it's easier to read the details.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The One Thing My Kids Share

I live in a House o' Puke. Tuesday night, Clay started throwing up. He ran a fever all day Wednesday. Thursday evening, Brooklyn started throwing up. A few hours later, Lexi joined her. I was awake all night going back and forth between the two of them. In the wee hours of the morning, my stomach started feeling a little funny. I convinced myself it was only because I was so tired and needed sleep. I talked myself out of throwing up for hours. I tried to trick myself that I wasn't really sick. I prayed my Vomit Prayer. "Oh dear God, please, please, please, please, please, please, please don't let me throw up. Please!!!"

And then I threw in the towel. (Literally, I threw a towel over all the vomit.) Oh yeah, and I start throwing up myself. I texted my friend, Eric at 4:30 in the morning. I've got it now too. :***(

He was at my house by 6:30 with bags of Gatorade, Sprite, chicken broth, Pedialyte pops, soda crackers, oyster crackers, children's Motrin, Advil, anti-diarrhea meds, hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, etc.

I sort of remember letting him in my house and then passing out. Apparently he held my girls' hair while they threw up and cleaned up puke messes and disinfected everything in sight. I awoke at 10:30 when he left for work. Honestly, if it wasn't for him, we'd all be living in my van right now because my house would be full of disgusting uckness. Eric, there are no words to thank you enough for all you did for us. (Oh and just so you know, I love you and all, but there is NO WAY I will ever come clean up after you should you get sick. Just sayin'.)

Not wanting to be left out, Jackson joined Vomitopia this afternoon. I haven't seen Austin or Savannah all week. I think they've been hiding in their rooms, going to and from school via their windows. Smart kids. I leave for California on Tuesday. My parents may or may not come watch my kids for me at this point.

I did fourteen loads of laundry today because I did nothing but cry in misery from my fever and achiness, sleep and um, run to the bathroom the past two days. I've gone over every surface in the house with antibacterial wipes. I've used so many cans of Lysol, everything has a nice, glossy coating now. When I get back, I'll be listing the place for sale. Unless, of course, I get the report that the kids are still sick, in which case, I'm staying in California until spring.

And when I logged on my computer tonight to tell me tale of horrible sickness, I was greeted with a headline that there's a cholera outbreak in Haiti that has left 250 people dead so far.

People often say to me, "How do you do it? You have it so hard."

I don't have it hard. And even when I delude myself into thinking I do, I'm reminded that there's always, always someone out there who has it worse. So, tonight, I'm saying something that you probably never thought you'd hear me say. "Thank God for simple viruses that only last 48 hours."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The One With All the Texts

I ran around with my four youngest kids today. They had the day off school for teacher conferences, but my teens still had to attend. (We do things stupid here in Illinois. The grade schools and high schools are in different districts with different schedules. Yeah, I know - stupid.)

So, I shopped as quickly as I could, then cruised home just in time to make it over to the junior high to meet with Jackson's teachers. Unfortunately, we didn't have the chance to make it to all his classrooms before we had to hightail it to the grade school to meet with Lexi's and Clay's teachers. Jackson was upset because he'd wanted to go to the book fair set up in the library after his conferences. I just didn't have time. I drove home as fast as I could, dropped off Jax, scooped up Lex and Clay, and headed to the grade school.

No sooner had I sat down to talk to Lexi's teacher, then my phone started vibrating. I glanced at my phone and saw it was Jackson calling me. Jackson calls me to say really important stuff like, "Austin's being mean to me", "Can I have some Coke?", "Can I go to Johnny's house?", and "My nose hurts." I ignored the call. He called again. And again. And then he started texting me.

I looked at my phone.

Brooklyn threw up.

Lexi's teacher looked questioningly at me. "Jackson just texted me that Brooklyn threw up," I explained.

"Oh, do you need to leave now?" she asked.

"Hell no! Are you kidding? I've got a kid THROWING UP at home! I'm staying out all night! Did I just say that out loud? What I meant to say was that yeah, I should probably head home as soon as possible."

Jackson continued to text me.

Mom, Brooklyn threw up.

Gee, I can't imagine why. Brooklyn came home from school with a plastic harmonica a couple days ago. She let Clay (who had been up all night throwing up) play with it. Then she took it back and put it in her mouth. I saw the whole thing unfold in slow motion. As she lifted the harmonica to her lips, I ran toward her, shouting, "Noooooooooooo". Too late.

I texted Jackson back.

Great. Well, I can't do anything about it now.

Mom, Brooklyn threw up.

Well, what do I do?

Austin is being a jerk and he's not helping and he punched me.

I'm sorry, but I still can't do anything right now. I'll be home as soon as I can.


I was hurrying from class to class, trying to meet with all the teachers who work with my kids.

Come on! She's throwing up even more!

Well, you can hurry up. Come on!

She's crying and throwing up still. Please hurry.

Come on. Hurry up! Austin is not doing anything.

I'm also going to be late for football. What's taking you so long?

Come on.

Now, keep in mind, all those texts came through within twenty minutes. For twenty minutes I tried to concentrate on what four teachers were saying all while wondering how I could get out of going home for the rest of the night I could be back at the book fair with Jackson, at Clay's and Lex's conferences, driving Jackson to football, and at home, making dinner and comforting Brooklyn who was sick.

Times like these make my stomach tighten in a knot. My stress level rises. I'm reminded that no matter how hard I try, I will never be able to do everything. I'll never be able to juggle everything. I'll never be able to be in all places at once. But since their dad hasn't bothered to spend time with the kids since Christmas eve, it's all up to me. So I juggle. And I try. And I drop the ball regularly. But I get back up and I trust in God to care for us. I may not ever be in control, but He is.

Now if I could just get someone to clean up the barf because Lexi is crying that her tummy hurts now...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Teen Formerly Known as Austin

As I was sitting at my computer, staring at a blank screen, waiting for inspiration, I updated my Facebook status. "I hate when I stare at my computer screen and my fingers don't automatically start typing the brilliance that's in my head."

It's true. I always have awesome stories in my head, but when I go to write them down, the lure of solitaire or mahjong pulls me away. Sometimes I'm too distracted by the to-do list that plays a never-ending, continuous loop in my brain. Oftentimes, I'm too busy doing mom-stuff like reading to the kids, helping with them with their homework, driving them here and there, signing papers, cooking, cleaning, laundry, blah, blah, blah and can't sit down for more than five minutes at a time. But most of the time, I just have a hard time getting started.

So, tonight as I sat staring at my blank screen, Facebook called me to play. After I updated my status, Austin commented on it, "maybe because you have a cookie in your hand :D"

Okay, so yeah, I had a cookie in my hand, but he didn't have to write it on my wall, for goodness sake! I mean, isn't there some kind of etiquette for these things? Everyone was supposed to think I was a tortured artist waiting for inspiration, not that I was too busy stuffing my face with pizzelles to type.

Austin and I continued our conversation on my Facebook wall. I told him, "Be quiet and do your homework, Aj. He said that wasn't his name. He's changed it. It's now La'Taniana'Bo'Vanashrianiqualiquanice. (He should have fun trying to fit that on his driver's license.)

We exchanged barbs online as I sat at my desk writing and he sat a couple feet away on my bed, working on his homework. And you know what? I loved it. He could've worked in his room. He could've hung out in the family room, researching. He chose to hang out with me for a bit. Now I know he's a teen and as such, prefers the company of his friends to dear ole mom, but still there are those times when he'll come by me, plop down, and just chat. Sometimes we don't even talk. We'll just hang out. Other times, he'll make fun of me on Facebook. And it's all good. Keeping those lines of communication open is SO important even as our kids get older. Especially as our kids get older. Keep talking to them. And, maybe even more importantly, listen to them. They might just surprise you with what they have to say. I mean, I had no idea my son, La'Taniana'Bo'Vanashrianiqualiquanice had been working so far ahead in his first year Japanese class that he'd already learned twenty Kanji. Of course, I also didn't know he'd changed his name to La'Taniana'Bo'Vanashrianiqualiquanice. See? Talking to your kids opens whole new worlds of information!

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Take a minute to enter my drawing for a $100 Visa gift card from Kellogg's and BlogHer HERE.


Read about my awesome Pop-Tarts Pumpkin Pie and enter to win a $100 Visa gift card from BlogHer HERE.


And read my latest blog post about teens and money HERE.

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The random winner of the Fleetwood Mac purse from CoverToCoverPurses is...

meeyeehere said...
My first album was Micheal Jackson's thriller on record!!My favorite album of all time??The Beatles greatest hits is my favorite! I would love to have this purse.I LOVE Fleetwood!!!!Thanks for this rare and awesome chance.

Congratulations! Email me at mom2my6pack@aol.com with your shipping information within 48 hours.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Girl Who Came to Dinner

Lexi asked me if her friend, Brooke, could stay for dinner tonight. Ordinarily, my response is, "Sure! The more, the merrier." However, Brooke had never eaten over here before. She only has one brother who is twenty years old. I glanced at Clay who was supposed to be setting the table. He had a stack of plates on his head and he was purposely walking into the wall.

"Are you sure you want to have Brooke stay? Maybe she should leave now while she's still sane."

"What, Mom?"

"I said, maybe she should leave now before it rains."

Brooke ended up staying, but I don't think she was prepared for the insanity chaos lively dinner conversation that goes on in this house.

After taking a bite of his pizza, Clay jumped down from the table, ran to the garbage can, spit his mouthful of pizza in the trash and exclaimed, "This tastes like a raccoon!" I don't know where Clay's been eating lately, but I'm pretty sure raccoon's never been on the menu at my house.

This made Lexi's friend crack up. Because my kids had a captive audience (Really, we tied her up so she wouldn't run away, screaming.), they took this opportunity to act like barbarians show off um, entertain her.

Lexi's friend, Brooke, was talking, telling us how she scraped her arm. She'd been hiding behind a tree, waiting to jump out and scare Lex and Clay. When she jumped from behind the tree, she scratched her arm on the trunk. Brooke continued, "My mom says that's karma."

Clay asked, "What's karma?"

Brooke started to explain. "Karma is when you do good things and good things happen to you. And when you do something bad, bad things happen to you."

Austin knew what she was talking about, but feigned ignorance just to be a pain tease her. "What? You get caramel if you do something good?" he asked.

"Not caramel," Brooke corrected him, "karma!"

"Ohhhh," Austin said as if he understood her now. "Caramel. So, if I do something good, will you give me caramel?"

"No!" Brooke squealed.

Clay piped up. "What's caramel?"

"Have you ever had a Twix bar? It's what's inside. Caramel," she explained.

"I'm going to do something good so I can get some caramel!" Clay said excitedly.

I sat there, shaking my head at my sons who were purposely teasing Lexi's poor friend. "I'll tell you what karma is, boys. It's when you tease a little girl and you don't get to watch TV for a week."

"Ohhhh, that kind of karma!" they said, finally enlightened.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn was taking us on a trip to the zoo with assorted animal impressions. "Baaa baaaa."


I noticed that something was written on the inside of Savannah's wrist. It looked like a tattoo. "What's on your wrist?" I asked.

"It says love". Savannah held up her arm for me to see.

"Interesting. So, who do you love?" I asked.

"No one!" Savannah insisted.

"What? You don't even love me?" I inquired, all sad-like.

Lexi jumped up and said, "I love you, Mom! I love you more than hot chocolate!" (Everyone knows that's the highest honor, of course.)

Clay started singing. "Sail, sail, sail three ships, gently on the sea!"

Brooklyn interrupted. "We learned a song at school! There are witches in the air...

"...the Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria..."

"...on Halloween night..."

Lexi joined in the sing-along. "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now I need..."

"...count them, one, two, three."

"...Boo!"

Brooke looked from person to person and declared, "Your family disturbs me."

I don't think she'll be coming back for a while.

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Don't forget to enter to win four tickets to Legoland Discovery Center Chicago HERE!

And for a chance to win $100 gift card from BlogHer, enter HERE!

Friday, October 15, 2010

First it's Balloons, Next Thing You Know They're Knocking Off a Liquor Store

I wrote this post for Chicago Moms Blog originally. It's a rerun, but it's been a really busy week and I'm so tired. I tried writing a blog post, but when I reread it, it didn't make any sense. It's not a good idea to blog when you're half-asleep. So here's a rerun, but unless you read Chicago Moms Blog, it'll probably be new to you.


I took two of my boys shopping yesterday. I'm pretty sure taking your sons shopping is considered torture by The Geneva Convention and Amnesty International. Anyway, I went to their store of choice, Sports Authority, because one can never have too many basketballs, hockey sticks, or baseball gloves. After spending a small fortune on the equipment that will one day land them a huge scholarship (hey, it's my fantasy!), I dragged them to a party store to get some decorations and tableware for their sisters' upcoming birthday parties.

As we walked in the party store, I noticed they were having a remodeling sale. Of course, I pushed my cart up and down every single aisle. I mean, things were on SALE after all! All the while my boys trudged behind me, complaining that they were bored. Looking at the glazed looks on my boys’ faces, I tore myself away from the shelves of items on clearance.

"I'm sorry, boys," I said as I set my mind to the task at hand. Decorations for the girls' parties. That's it. Let's go!

My six-year-old, Clay, saw some baskets of balloons you could buy deflated or have the store fill with helium for you.

"Can I have a balloon, Mom? Pleeeeease?"

"No, we're on a mission to get the decorations for the girls' birthday parties. We have no money for other things."

I finished my shopping, checked out, and went to three more stores. The last stop was at a shoe store so I could get Jackson his millionth pair of shoes for the year. (I don't know anyone as hard on shoes as that kid.) As I stood in line paying for the shoes, I realized that Clay was holding something in his hand.

"What do you have?"

Jackson pried Clay's fingers open and pulled out a balloon. The balloon I told him he couldn't get at the party store. A balloon he (gasp) STOLE! Oh great, my son's a thief. What to do? We were tired from running around all day. We were thirsty. We were finally done with our errands. I wanted to go home. The sensible part of me said It's JUST a balloon, for crying out loud. Tell him to never do it again and go home!

But the "Must Teach Kids Right From Wrong At All Costs" mom in me said You can't let this go. Yeah, it's just a balloon this time, but what's next? Where does it end? First it's a balloon, next it's a flat screen TV, then a Maserati. Next thing you know, he's knocking off a liquor store.

So, I drove back to the party store, made Clay return the balloon and tell the cashier that he'd stolen it and was very sorry. The cashier said something along the lines of, "That's great that you came back and told the truth! It's ok!" I wanted to slap her. It's not ok! Why couldn't she have given him a lecture on the evils of stealing and threaten to call the police and have him locked up? You know, to scare the snot out of him to make him remember the lesson.

Oh well, all's well that ends well. I just hope I never have to bake a cake with a file in it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, the city that smells lemony-fresh, it's your host, the woman who has her own wing at the local emergency room, Dawn Meehan

Ok, so I know it's not technically Sunday, but it was a holiday weekend so I'm excused. Hey, it's my blog so I make the rules. Besides, when I ordinarily would've been writing my blog post last night, I was in the ER with my son. Jackson had a couple friends sleep over last night. Or, that was the plan anyway. Since Chicago is having this crazy tropical heatwave and the kids didn't have school today, I let the boys stay up and play outside in the backyard last night. At about 10:00 when I was going to call the kids to come in and get ready for bed, Jackson came running inside, crying, and leaving a trail of blood on the floors I'd just washed. Don't worry, I only cried about my floors for a minute before trying to ascertain where the blood was originating from. Although I've shed a few more tears today because of all the leaves the kids have dragged inside. Really, is it necessary to go in and out twelve-hundred times a day? Grrr. Sorry, I digress.

So, I saw that Jackson's nose was gushing blood. I had him lean over the sink so the blood wouldn't go down his throat and make him puke. I can handle blood, but puke...notsomuch. Then he made some snotting sound and managed to kinda blow blood all over the sink, wall, and pretty much the entire bathroom. Pretty! I have a rust-colored faux finish now.

"What did you do?" I asked, although I was pretty sure he'd done some stupid thing that only a boy would think of doing.

Turns out I was right. He stomped on a corner of his skateboard while leaning over it. It flipped up and smacked him in the face.

I looked at his nose which was puffing up like a balloon. It was slightly crooked and he complained that he couldn't breathe out of the right side.

I'm not one to freak out over blood. Still, I thought there was a good chance his nose was broken and I wasn't sure what they did for a broken nose. I thought maybe they'd have to put a little nose cast on his schnoz. Or they might need to realign it or something. I was kinda hoping they would have to take a pair of pliers and yank it back into position just so that maybe he'd learn a lesson. Oh who am I kidding? He still wouldn't think twice about trying to jump the skateboard over a garbage can, or ride it down the side of a ladder, or ride it while being pulled behind a friend on a bike until achieving maximum velocity and jumping a 12 foot ramp. This is what boys do. So, I took him to the hospital to get it checked out.

After a quick reunion with hospital personnel we hadn't seen in a whole month, we were led back to our room. The xray confirmed that he had indeed fractured his nasal bone. I guess they don't really do anything for a broken nose until the swelling has gone down, however. I need to follow up with the ENT in a week who will then determine if his nose is healing fine or if it needs to be manipulated back into place. In the meantime, no football. Oh darn!

Guess what he did when he first woke up this morning. He jumped on his skateboard until I yelled at him to knock it off. Then he started playing football with his buddy until I yelled at him to knock it off. Then he rigged some Tarzan-rope-vine-thingy in the tree and jumped off the swingset and caught this rope in midair until I yelled at him to knock it off. Sensing a theme here?

Okay, moving right along to viewer mail. Here are the answers to this week's questions.

speaking of "rodents of unusual size", did you ever catch that mouse you heard scurrying around the house?
No, but I haven't heard anything since, thank God! I'm scared of what will happen when the weather turns cold again. I was thinking about getting a cat, but then I recalled all those Tom and Jerry cartoons and decided that probably wasn't the best course of action.

But out of curiosity, what is a blog of ink? LOL
It's like a blob of ink, but it's written by a blogger at 3:00 in the morning.

The fear of vomiting is called Emetophobia and there is an International Society of Emetophobia.
I don't have a fear of vomiting. I have a hatred of vomiting. Or seeing it. Or hearing it. Or smelling it. Or thinking about it. In fact, if I type one more word about it, I'll probably throw up.

Tell us Dawn, how does one get marker off the TV?
You use a whole buttload of wipes. (Hmmm, spellcheck doesn't like the word "buttload".)


This worked on the screen, thankfully. But I still have a lovely reminder of Brooklyn's artistic talents on the frame...


You've gotta check out my new purse! I found this site, Cover to Cover Purses, after googling something like unique purses. I fell in love with her very cute, totally unique purses. I especially loved this one made from a vintage, special edition record album put out by Mr. Boston. It features big band music and a cover blanketed with cocktails! Cocktails! All over it! I know! It's such a throwback from days gone by. I think of those awesome black and white movies where the men wore suits and the ladies, cocktail dresses with pearls. And they smoked their cigarettes in holders while sipping cocktails poured from crystal decanters that sat on a cart in the room.

I knew, from the pictures on her site, that I'd love the way the purse looked, but I was really impressed with how sturdy it is! I mean, I don't think it'll ever be my all-purpose, schlep everything around town, everyday purse, but I know it'll hold up and last a long time when I use it. It's made WELL! (Just don't leave it in the car on a hot day! It is a vinyl record after all!)








Dolores from Cover to Cover Purses not only makes awesome purses from records, but she makes them from classic books as well! How cool is that? This is the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for woman in your life! I cannot tell you how many comments and compliments I've gotten on this purse in the past week! I love it! In fact, I love it so much, I approached Dolores from Cover to Cover Purses and told her I have a blog and would love to do a giveaway of one of her purses if she was willing. I'm pretty sure she thought I was a kook at first, but then I sent her a couple links to my blog and she happily agreed. Sooo, I have a cool Fleetwood Mac purse to give away to one lucky random reader! Leave me a comment here and tell me what your favorite album is. Or tell me what your very first album was. (Mine was Michael Jackson's Thriller. Or maybe it was the soundtrack from Grease. Hmmm, I'm not sure. It was one of those.) Or tell me what your favorite classic novel is.


I'll choose a random winner from all the eligible entries on Friday, Oct. 15. Contest open to US residents age 18 and older. Good luck!




I was not paid or given free merchandise for this review. I just really love these purses!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Why is my Face SMOKING?

I love the sun. I spend many, many, many hours in the sun every summer. I never wear sunscreen. I know, I know! You don't have to yell at me. I know. I slather my kids with sunscreen and reapply and try my hardest to make sure they don't get burnt. But me? Well, yeah, um, :::hanging my head in shame:::

So, now that I'm thirty-ten and I know that death is just around the corner, I've been thinking about all the damage I've done to my skin from my years of unprotected sunbathing. So, I made an appointment with a dermatologist so I could be humiliated checked out head-to-toe to make sure I wasn't covered in skin cancer.

My appointment was at 1:45 on Monday. I dropped Brooklyn off at school and cruised over to the doctor's office. I checked in and filled out the required 482 forms.

"I need to make a copy of your insurance card and I need you to fill out these 4000 forms. Front AND back."

I took the clipboard and sat down to begin my novel. "Hmmm, my insurance information? How am I supposed to write down my insurance information when you have my card?" I asked the receptionist. "And better yet, WHY am I supposed to write down my insurance information when you have a copy of it right there? Is it really necessary to have it recorded on every single sheet of paper?"

She mumbled a sympathetic, "I know", but she was really thinking, I don't make the rules, lady. Just fill out the stupid forms so I can go to lunch. I know that's what she was thinking because I'd probably be thinking the same thing if I was in her place.

I finished the manuscript of information, returned the clipboard and sat back down to wait. And wait. And wait. I kept looking at the time, knowing I needed to leave by 2:45 to get Brooklyn. I really thought that allowing an hour for a skin check was enough time. Apparently not. Finally, at 2:30, I was called back into a room. I told the nurse that unless the doctor was ready to come in that second, that I couldn't wait around because I needed to get my daughter. She insisted the doctor would be with me in about 10 minutes. I told her that wasn't good enough and I'd have to reschedule. The nurse was very apologetic, so I spared her my wrath.

I walked to the front desk, informed the receptionist I'd have to reschedule and told her my 'missed appointment' bill would be in the mail. She looked at me and said, "Oh, we won't charge you for missing your appointment."

I laughed and said, "Oh, you misunderstand. I'M charging YOU for missing the appointment. Then, in a Seinfeld moment, said, "See, you know how to make an appointment, but you don't know how to keep an appointment. And really, the keeping of the appointment is the most important part of the appointment." She was less than amused.

So, I returned to the doctor today and only had to wait about a half an hour this time before the doctor walked in. She looked like a life-sized Barbie doll - super-tall, totally thin, swan-like neck, blond hair, perfect skin. I instantly hated her. Did I say that out loud? I meant, I instantly thought that she contained more plastic than Barbie. Oops, I did it again. What I really meant to say was that I instantly thought she was pretty and had been blessed by good genes and the ability to say "no" to cookies.

She did the all-over body check. That was fun. You know, if you like strangers scrutinizing every last inch of your less-than-perfect body. She found a couple of questionable spots and said she'd like to remove them for biopsy. Ok, no big deal. It didn't really surprise me or freak me out. The nurse gave me a couple shots to numb the areas, then the doctor came in with a knife and removed both spots in like 2 seconds. I was ready to hop up and get dressed when the doctor put something on my cheek where she'd just removed the questionable spot.

"Just a minute. I just want to smooth out the edges to make sure you won't have any scarring." I tried to see what she was doing, but couldn't make my old person eyes focus at such close range. And then I smelled burning flesh. I gently inquired as to what was going on. "What the crap are you doing and why I do I smell like I'm on fire?!!!" Apparently, this doctor likes to play with lasers.

I haven't been brave enough to remove the bandaid on my cheek for fear that it's covering a ginormous burned-out crater that will never heal. In all future pictures of me, I'll be leaning my cheek on my left hand and people will think it's just my casual pose, but in reality, I'll be hiding my huge facial deformity.

In the end, the moral of this story is - don't purposely go to the doctor unless you're dying or you may end up with a hole in your cheek.

And, in other news...

Could you use help in deciphering your teen's text lingo? Maybe you want to read some tips on how to talk to your teens about mobile meanness? Or do you want to hear other parents' takes on how they set limits for their teen's mobile phone usage? Well, look no further. You can find all of that at LG's Text Ed program HERE.

I have another chance to win a $100 Visa gift card from Kellogg's and BlogHer this week HERE.

And finally, you can read my latest post about teaching teens the difference between wants and needs HERE.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fine Art (or something like that)

I love children's artwork! I really, really LOVE it! You wouldn't believe the boxes of drawings I've saved over the years. If you're new to this blog, you'll have to check out THIS POST and THIS POST. Really, to fully appreciate kids' art, you need to read these. I'll wait... (whistling.....) Done? See? I knew you wouldn't be disappointed!

Let me get you up-to-date on Brooklyn's artwork these days. This is a huge birthday cake with candles on top. There are hearts because Brooklyn's a girl and girls draw hearts. It's a rule. "I love you, Mom" was written by her sister, Lexi. Brooklyn added her own message at the bottom. And everyone knows that "PCPb" means, "I love you, Mama! Thank you for braiding my hair today!" It does! The artist told me herself!

This one is a drawing of me. I'm wearing a crown. You know, because all girls are princesses.


Here's Brooklyn painting entitled "Shapes". I know, I know what you're thinking! She's lightyears ahead of her time!
I've tried and tried to teach the kids that the ONLY medium they're allowed to use at home is paper. I've tried. But sometimes I find art on other surfaces...









Yep, I think it's pretty safe to say that was Brooklyn's masterpiece. What gave it away, you ask? She signed her name right below it! Yeah.


Now, let's take a look at some of Clay's drawings. This is a pig. With fangs. And scars on his face. And a hat. And crazy hair that explodes when he takes his hat off. Don't believe me? Ask Clay.

Here we have a lovely ocean scene. A girl is surfing. Below the surface of the waves, exists an assortment of aquatic wildlife. And, of course, a couple divers being eaten by sharks.

And talk about Rodents of Unusual Size! Here we have a giant mouse being shot at. Unfortunately the guys in the back don't have such great aim. Yeah, Clay's perfectly well adjusted. Really. It's a boy thing. Girls have to draw hearts and rainbows and boys have to draw stuff getting blown up. It's the rule. I don't make this stuff up.
>

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, home to rodents of unusual size, it's Sunday Sound Out with your host, the woman who invented chocolate, Dawn Meehan! (I didn't really invent it, but I do like to eat it. Just seeing who's paying attention.) And now, without further ado, here are the answers to this week's burning questions from you, the viewers.

so i've been wondering about this for awhile. lexi's in, what, 3rd grade? 4th? what does she cheer for? and since when do elementary schools have homecoming? i'm really confused by all of this. but perhaps we just do things differently here and i'm missing out.
Lexi's in 4th grade. She cheers for Jackson's football team. The homecoming I was talking about a couple weeks ago wasn't for the elementary school. It was for the football league. Each town celebrates homecoming one weekend during the fall football season. This past weekend was the high school's homecoming though.



Just out of curiosity, DO you know how many people read your blog on average, do you get web stats (or just those silly, um informative what-was-typed-to-get-you-here stuff)?
Yep, I know.

umm George Forman is a boxer [not a football player] :) I learned that from infomercials.
Really? Out of all those football definitions, this was the only one that seemed odd to you? Really? That's like when my kids say, "How can SpongeBob be at a beach when he lives underwater?" Hello? He's a sponge who walks, talks, wears square pants, and cooks crabby patties at a restaurant! All that makes sense to you, but you can't understand how he could rip his pants at the beach???"

You know, you really would enjoy it [football] more if you understood what was going on
Nope. I'd really enjoy it more if it were baseball.

Okay, I know this has nothing to do with your beautiful post...BUT. I just watched your Stay At Home Moms Are Never Home video and did you know you sound almost exactly like Kirstie Alley?
No, I don't. I hate my voice. I cringe when I hear it. But I don't think I ever shared this video.




I remember your horror of barf and the act of barfing but it's better for your body if you go ahead with the salad and fork tongs instead of the Split the Tauntaun and Shove Luke Inside Method. (testing Dawn's movie knowledge)
Snort. Everyone knows it's from Star Wars although, I'll admit, I wasn't sure which episode it was from. When I googled it, I found this...
http://starwarsblog.starwars.com/index.php/2009/10/23/tauntaun-grooms-cake/
You know, because nothing says "I love you" like spilled entrails.

You'll be fine. Throwing up is nothing compared to a long recovery time.
Maybe for weirdos who don't mind throwing up, it is.

Yep, totally HATE throwing up. My SIL had surgery recently and they were able to add something to her i.v. during the surgery. It helped a little. She was terribly nauseous, so I asked the nurse for some more help (because, I am ALSO a joiner) they gave her another shot and that helped, big time. Unless, you're afraid of needles like me (BLECH!) well, then, maybe I can convince my husband that I, you know, NEED to fly out to Chicago for six weeks ;)
Are you kidding? I couldn't care less about needles! I had to give myself two shots a day in the tummy throughout my pregnancy. No big deal. But I think you should totally convince Garth (not his real name) to let you come to Chicago, Liz! Can't wait to see you next week! :)

You're going to think I'm crazy but I consulted an anesthesiologist before one of my surgeries. I said the same thing. I don't want to throw up. He told me it was a mind set. If you feel yourself becoming sick don't panic. Try to calm yourself. Take deep breaths. Think happy thoughts. Dawn! It worked! It worked so well that it's my mantra. I say it all the time!Deep breaths. Happy thoughts. STOP! I can hear you laughing!
Oh no, that wasn't laughter you heard. It was the sound of my eyes rolling. "A mind set"! I HATE throwing up, so believe me when I say, I do anything and everything I possibly can to avoid it. Deep breaths, pretending I'm at the beach, calming thoughts. But when your body decides to throw its digestive system in reverse, there's not much you can do about it.

That said, if you do general and they make a big incision..you will have an "apron" of skin that never pops back...You will get this gelatinous pooch that never goes away.
And this is different from the way my tummy looks now? When I say I have a 6-pack, I'm referring to my children (and maybe sometimes beer); not my abs.

Do you really have a tattoo? If so...where and what of?
It's a big blob of ink which is why you should never get a tattoo anywhere on your tummy area if you're planning on getting pregnant.

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