Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Signing on Friday!

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


She's resting up and getting ready for Friday.



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

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

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

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10:01 Get Brooklyn chocolate milk.

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

10:03 Get Brooklyn a bagel.

10:04 Clean up spilled chocolate milk.

10:05 Get Brooklyn some peanut butter for her bagel

10:06 Clean up peanut butter.

10:07 Slice up a cucumber for Brooklyn.

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

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

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

Mom!

What?

Mumble mumble blah blah blah

What?

I said mumble mumble blah blah blah

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

I SAID, are you in the shower, Mom?

Grrr!

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

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

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

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

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

5:00 Stop yelling and start making dinner.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Swingsets and Other Methods of Torture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You're Invited!

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







Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

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

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

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

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






my friend, Julie


my friend, Eric


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


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


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

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

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

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Who Needs TV?

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

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



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

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You'll Lose the Baby Weight!

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



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

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I Think I'll Keep Bob

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

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

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

Friday, November 12, 2010

Public Service Announcement about SDKD

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

3. PULL UP AS FAR AS YOU CAN.

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


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

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

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

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

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



still talking...


still talking...


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



5. DON'T GET OUT OF THE CAR!

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

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

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


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



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


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


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

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

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Sound Out

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

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









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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Friday, November 5, 2010

Why I Have a Cell Phone

I love my cell phone. Honestly, I can't even remember a time when I didn't have it. How did we ever manage without cell phones? I mean, I know if I had to go without a phone, I probably wouldn't die, but who wants to take that chance? And I don't have any ordinary phone either. I have an iPhone. I obsessively check my blog, my email, Facebook, Twitter and these days, the latest Amazon rank on my new book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and OTHER LIES about pregnancy and childbirth).

I don't know what would happen if I had to go ten whole minutes without knowing where my book falls in Amazon's sales. What if it hit the number one best seller while I was at the grocery store and I didn't have a smart phone to check it out? I'd be filling my cart with frozen waffles and milk and I wouldn't even know that I had a best seller so I'd totally miss my opportunity to shout to every random stranger I met, "Hey, my book is number one on Amazon right now! Wooo Hooo!" I guess I could do that anyway. I mean, what are the chances they'd pull out their smart phone, look it up and figure out I was lying through my teeth? Not likely.

I also use my phone to entertain myself when I'm sitting in a waiting room and the only magazines around are Field and Stream, and Popular Mechanics. I play Cowabunga or Angry Birds educational games and Scrabble.

But most importantly, my phone lets Brooklyn google really important stuff when I fall asleep while watching Ponyo with her for the forty-eight thousandth time.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Motherhood

You have to watch this video until the very end. I'll know if you don't and I'll hunt you down and show up on your front porch, laptop in hand. I'll shove my foot in your door and I'll sing loudly and off-key until you acquiesce and watch the entire video. Okay, so maybe I won't really come to your house. Unless you live someplace warm... What? It's getting cold in Chicago!

But really, I got this idea from a video I watched at the Books and Such retreat last week. I thought it was SO cool, I had to make my own version.



Thank you to Eric for figuring out how I could do this. You rock!

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