Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just One More Level!

I don’t generally play video games. It’s not because we don’t own a gaming system. It’s not because I don’t like them. It’s not because my kids play 24 hours a day, not giving me a chance to try it out. It’s because, well um, it’s because I may have a major addiction little, small, almost nonexistent problem with self control when it comes to video games.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Better than a Cheeto with a Mustache or Betty White on a Stick

Yesterday, my family spent a Christmas day that was very different. In this case, different is good. Sure, we were alone and didn’t have any family or friends with which to share the day. We didn’t go to anyone’s house and enjoy a nice meal with them. We didn’t have anyone over to our house to share our blessings with them. But, especially when I look back at last year, I’m so very thankful for our calm, quiet Christmas day.

Last year, we didn’t spend time with family either, but it wasn’t because we were living across the country from them; it was because we weren’t invited. Differences weren’t put aside for the holidays and my kids paid the price. Last year, Austin had been in the hospital for most of December and Jackson was still in the hospital.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm NOT Dreaming of a White Christmas!

Although I’ve been a little lot homesick recently, I’m really not dreaming of a white Christmas. I’ve never been a fan of cold and snow. I think it’s awesome being able to go outside in shorts. I love being able to jump in my car without warming it up for 10 minutes first. I love not having to scrape a foot of snow and ice off my car every time I want to go somewhere. And you can’t beat eating dinner outside on the screened-in porch.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top Ten Worst Gifts

I didn’t get my act together soon enough to come up with a Must Have Christmas Shopping List, but I still may be able to help you with your shopping. I can provide a What To Never Give For Christmas List. There are a couple more days until Christmas and it’s not too late to go back over your purchases and make sure that none of these are under the tree. Here, in no particular order, is my top ten list of the worst presents you can give or get.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Savor the Season

Growing up, my family always wrapped our Christmas presents in a very unique way. We'd spend more time wrapping the gift than we did shopping for it! Every year, my sister and I looked forward to seeing how our presents would be wrapped way before we even thought about what was in the package. I don't know if I can adequately explain how our presents were wrapped, so I'll show you.

I could only find pictures from one Christmas, but we came up with some really awesome creations year after year. Not only did we have fun thinking of ideas and wrapping the gifts, but unwrapping was a enjoyable, leisurely event. We admired each package and appreciated the time and effort that went into every one. Then we'd take turns, going around the room, slowly unwrapping each gift. It was a huge shock when my family would get together with my ex-inlaws because everyone ripped into their gifts at the same time like it was a race to finish. I never even knew who had gotten what from whom. It was a crazy free-for-all.

This is one tradition we're keeping - taking our time unwrapping our presents and appreciating the time and effort that went into each and every present. Read here about another family who has found a way to slow the unwrapping frenzy so they can savor each moment.

And take a minute to share your family's traditions on Subway's Fresh Takes on Family Time site for a chance to win a $50 gift card!

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

There's no Place Like Home for the Holidays

Yesterday, I wrote a post describing my inner turmoil. I admitted to having self-doubts about this move to Florida. Although there are things I like about Florida and good reasons for moving here, there are also things I hate about Florida and reasons why I wonder if I should’ve stayed in Chicagoland. The post was about my self-doubt and homesickness. Period.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

Check out one blended family's obsession with Christmas trees. What started as a way to encompass the traditions of two separate families, turned into a house filled with as many as fourteen trees at once! But the best part of their story is how they get rid of their tree after Christmas. On Subway's Fresh Takes for Family site there's a story about this family along with many other stories and videos of fun, new family traditions. I especially like reading these stories right now because my own family is starting some of our own traditions. In fact, I briefly considered decorating a palm tree instead of an evergreen this year. Hey, when in Florida . . .

What do you guys do Christmas eve? Do you have any unusual traditions? Anything fun you've started doing with your kids. I admit we always do the same ole thing - go to church, leave out cookies and pop for Santa (Santa doesn't like milk in my house), then the kids stay awake forever because they're too excited to sleep and I stay up way too late wrapping presents that should've been wrapped weeks ago. Do you guys do anything fun? I'm in the market for some fun new ideas. And be sure to go over to the Fresh Takes site to share your ideas there! You'll be entered in a drawing for a Subway gift card and could even be chosen to have your story featured on their site!

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Joe's Crab Shack Winner

The winner of the $50 gift card from Joe's Crab Shack (chosen randomly with Random Integer Generator) is . . .


Nikki Alvarez said...
We have ever been but would love to try it out!! I follow you on facebook!!

Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who commented! And stay tuned for some more giveaways later this week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Christmas Letter

Last night, I sat down to write a Christmas letter. I thought, especially since we live so far away from our family and friends now, it would be nice to update them. Did you know that writing a Christmas letter is a lot harder than you might think?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Eat at Joe's

Recently, Joe’s Crab Shack offered me some gift cards to try out their new kids’ menu. Joe’s Live Well entrees offer healthy alternatives to typical restaurant kids’ meals, including grilled shrimp and crab legs with sides like celery sticks, rice, and corn-on-the-cob. Of course, they also have mac-n-cheese and pizza for those of us who have picky eaters (not naming any names, Brooklyn). You can check out their menus HERE. My kids are huge shrimp lovers so they loved their meals. I ordered pastalaya which has approximately a million calories, but it was so good! And it was huge, so I took half of it home and enjoyed it for lunch the next day.

The atmosphere at Joe’s is fun and friendly. It’s definitely a family restaurant. The one we visited, even had a play area outside for the little kids to explore while the rest of us finished our meals. They played bouncy 80s music, and it wasn't uncommon to see the waiters break out their dance moves throughout the evening.

As with any seafood restaurant, it’s on the pricey side so it’s not a place my family would frequent regularly, however it is a fun place at which to celebrate special occasions. Speaking of pricey, Joe’s Crab Shack is going to help out one family with that. I have a $50 gift card to give away to one lucky reader so you can check out their new kids’ menu yourself. And you’ve got to try their steampots! Huge pots packed full of deliciousness including different combinations of crab legs, scallops, mussels, clams, andouille sausage, corn-on-the-cob with your favorite seasonings. Check them out HERE! Yum-o!

Leave me a comment here, including a way to contact you, and I’ll choose a random winner on Monday, December 12. Good luck!

Contest open to U.S residents, age 18 and older.
Duplicate comments will be deleted.
Random winner will be selected on Monday, 12/12/11 and will be notifying shortly thereafter.
Winner will receive one $50 gift card for Joe’s Crab Shack. Find a location HERE.

I was given gift cards so that I could try out Joe’s Crab Shack myself.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Boob Jobs and Bad Hair Days

I leave my van outside on the driveway every day. It’s not that I don’t have room in the garage, or that the garage is too messy (although that status changes daily) for me to pull in. It’s that I don’t have a remote garage door opener. I bought one from Sears and programmed it, but learned that the sensors are misaligned or something. Look at me being all technical. I really have no freaking clue what’s wrong with it. I don’t even know if it has sensors! I just make stuff up so I seem smart. I suppose admitting that I make stuff up to sound smart isn’t all that smart though. Hmmm.


Monday, December 5, 2011

You Might be a Blogger If . . .

Recently, I wrote a post about things that set moms apart from the rest of the world. The other day, while sitting in the teacher’s lounge, I commented that I wished I had my good camera so I could take a picture of my lunch. The teachers looked at me like I’d been sniffing dry erase markers. It hit me then that bloggers think a little differently than non-bloggers and I came up with a list of things that set bloggers apart from the rest.

Here, in no particular order, is my top ten list of clues that you might just be a blogger.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Orlando, where crazy, mixed-up people order soda instead of pop, it's your host, the woman who is 100% biodegradable, Dawn Damalas Meehan. Tonight, my special guest star is Johnny Depp.

(This isn't really Johnny Depp. I asked Johnny Depp to be on my blog post, but he said no. I wish him well. Although, this isn't Captain Jack Sparrow, it does look like he has a little captain in him. Let's just go with it.)

And now, here are the answers to your questions. Have a question you want answered? Email me at!

Still going to miss Chicago this winter?
I miss the pizza. I do not miss the weather. I'm sitting outside in shorts as I write this. Why on earth would I miss freezing cold and snow when I have this???

I did a cross country move this past summer too, moving from Maryland to Texas (minus kids, just the other half and two cats). I remember you mentioning lauguage issues. Has there been any word that has really stumped you? I still can't get use to them call grocery bags, sacks. Everytime they ask me if I need another sack or do I need them to sack my groceries for me, I swear I must look at them like they have two heads while it takes 5 or more seconds to realize sack = bag.
It annoys me when people say "soda". Soda is the clear, flavorless, carbonated stuff you add to scotch. Coke, Sprite, and Dr. Pepper are all POP! The kids in my classes say "dress out" instead of "change" for gym class. They also call their "backpacks" book bags. Weird.

How/When can we mere rednecks from Mississippi lure you here to speak??? Please message me w/ your marketing/promo you know, I'm one of your most loyal Fan, I said! NOT stalker, I promise!!! :) In all seriousness, please send me your media info. and such....Thanx!
Sorry, I only speak at events where there are stalkers.
Actually, I have some information up on my website, but will adding a new section with press and speaking info. Check back! :)

OMG~ you're blog header was just on ABC's Nightline! Yea you!!!
I never tire of seeing stuff about me on TV, in magazines, or in the newspaper. And it's still the most awesome thing to see my books on the shelves of stores! It helps feed my delusions of grandeur.

Has the X contacted the kids?
Yeah, he calls now and then. The three youngest kids talk to him sometimes. They talk to my friend, Eric, more often.

Have you made friends in the neighborhood? Are people nice? And have the kids made new friends?
The neighbors all think I'm "that weird mom with all the kids who screams at her kids to go to bed every night". There's a nice family across the street from us. The dad edged my lawn when we first moved in and he's fixed the boys' bikes too. The mom drives Jackson to school some days. Their boys are great kids and I'm glad my kids are friends with them.
I've gotten to know some of the teachers at my school. They go out for drinks on Fridays sometimes. This past Friday, I expressed an interest in joining them, but (coincidentally?) they didn't go out that night. Hmmmm . . . I'm sure it had nothing to do with me saying I wanted to take pictures of my food.

So have you met any special guys yet? Are you ready to date?
When and where am I supposed to meet people? Men are not exactly lined up around the corner to meet an old, fat woman who has 6 kids and issues with slow-drivers, and open-mouth chewers, and people who say "soda", and people who are missing multiple teeth, and stupid people . . .

When's your next book coming out?
Was this written by my agent? Ugh, I would love, really love, to write another book. But I hardly have the time and energy to write a blog post these days. I'm planning to write another book this summer while I'm off work, however. In the meantime, you can buy my books (softcover and Kindle) here. They make great Christmas presents too!

Connect with Dawn on Facebook because she's far too lazy to update her blog every day.

Have a great week, everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Dork That is Me

It was recently brought to my attention that I’m a dork. I mean, I knew that I was dorky, but I thought I’d done a good job of hiding it from other people. Apparently not. I may do embarrassing things in public with little regard to the horrified stares of bystanders. I may drive around town with my windows open singing loudly (and badly) for all to hear. I may constantly take pictures of random objects wherever I go. I may strike up conversations with perfect strangers in the check-out line of any given store, much to my kids’ chagrin. And I may not have been in fashion since before I had kids the Reagan administration. But that doesn’t mean I’m a dork, does it? (That was hypothetical. Which means – don’t answer it. Don’t. Just don’t.)


Monday, November 28, 2011

Shopping This Time of Year May Actually be Considered a Sport

I’ve come to the realization that I have a very low tolerance for many things. The sound of a person chewing with his mouth open makes my skin crawl until I want to shove his fork down his throat, then punch him in the face. Sharing the road with slow drivers, tailgaters, people who don’t use their turn signal, and people who are too busy playing with their phones to pay attention to the road makes me insane. In fact, it raises my blood pressure until I fantasize about turning green and all Lou Ferrigno-like, and actually picking up their vehicle and tossing it into a ditch. People who don’t know the difference between lose and loose, your and you’re, or their, there, and they’re make me want to gouge my eyes out. (Yes, I know I probably need therapy.)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thankful for the Little Things

I had planned to pack a picnic and head to the beach on Thanksgiving, but after looking at the weather forcast earlier this week, I changed my mind. They were predicting a 75 degree day for Thanksgiving so I thought it might be a little chilly to go to the beach. Yes, I know, I know. How things have changed that I would consider 75 degrees “a little chilly”. (I actually think that 75 is delightful, but not for swimming in a cold ocean.) So, we had a quick change of plans and went to the beach on Monday, instead. It was 85 and breezy without a cloud in the sky. We packed a picnic and hung out at the ocean all day and it was awesome! I’d woken up, feeling a little sick on Monday and the fresh, salty air helped me breathe a little easier so it was a nice day all around.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Seven-Year-Old Boys Cannot Actually Fly

The other day, while at work, Savannah called me. My last class of the day had just left so I was able to answer my phone.


“Mom, Clayton’s hurt. He’s bleeding all over the place. I mean, he’s really bleeding. He jumped off the bunk beds and smacked into the ceiling fan that was going full-blast. He cut his eyelid. He’s bleeding a lot! We stood him in the bathtub and he’s filling the tub with blood. It won’t stop.”


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Turkey for me, Turkey for You

While talking about Thanksgiving traditions a couple weeks ago, I brought up my indecision over what my kids and I were going to do this holiday now that we live across the country from our friends and family. We've decided to go to the beach to celebrate Thanksgiving. I ordered a smoked turkey from the men's group at our church. When I pick it up, I think I'll shred it, mix it with BBQ sauce, and make sandwiches to take to our little picnic. Along with deviled eggs, sweet potato chips, and little pumpkin pie tarts, I think we'll have plenty of Thanksgiving-ish foods to eat while lounging on the beach and soaking up some sunshine.

But what do you do after Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the herald of the official holiday season. Thanksgiving starts off the festivities that will last for more than a month. Do you arm yourself with sales ads, credit cards, and a taser and hit the black Friday sales? Do you put up your Christmas decorations? Do you pull out all the leftovers and make turkey sandwiches, turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pies, turkey soup, turkey sausage, turkey turkey?

We also decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. It's a tradition that I've carried over from my own childhood. I definitely make a bunch of turkey creations with the leftovers. On Subway's Fresh Takes on Family site, there's a great idea/recipe for making pizza with your turkeyday leftovers.
Check it out HERE! I usually make turkey sandwiches with a moist maker, of course.

Now, everyone head over to the
Fresh Takes on Family site and share your after Thanksgiving traditions for a chance to win a $50 gift card and/or have your family's story featured on the site! Go! Now! Or I'll start singing Adam Sandler's song. "Turkey for me, turkey for you. Let's eat turkey in my big brown shoe . . .

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Oh, the Stories I Could Tell

I went to a banquet for Savannah’s swim team last night. I figured I’d only know one person at the event (the mom of one of Savannah’s friends), and I figured that she’d be busy talking to other friends. I assumed I’d be spending the night sitting in the corner, talking to no one, and making up stories about everyone. When I arrived, Savannah took off to sit with all her friends. I sat down at a table by myself and tried to not to look like a loser. Shortly after, a middle-aged man approached my table, indicated a chair, and asked if anyone was sitting there. I enthusiastically flapped my arms in the general direction of the empty chair and said, “No, no, not at all! Please, sit down!” I was pretty sure he’d selected my table, not for my effervescent personality and wonderful company, but its proximity to the buffet line, but I was determined to supply interesting conversation and laughter nonetheless.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Thanksgiving Edamame (and Other Traditions)

This Thanksgiving, I'm not sure what the kids and I are going to do. According to Brooklyn, they talked about Thanksgiving traditions in kindergarten today. Apparently, Brooklyn told her teacher that we eat chicken and edamame for Thanksgiving. Although I cook chicken and occasionally edamame (which is Brooklyn's favorite - weird kid, I know), I'm pretty certain I've never made either for Thanksgiving. Her teacher must think we're nuts.

We're far away from our family and friends, so it's entirely up to us how we spend our day. I suppose I could go the traditional route (minus the relatives) and cook a turkey with all the fixings. We could sit around the table, share the things for which we're thankful, gorge ourselves on the meal over which I slaved all day, then lie around for the rest of the evening. It would seem pretty normal (except for the fact that we'd be alone and it would be warm outside).

Or, since it's just us, we could start a new tradition! We could pack turkey sandwiches and head to the beach for the day. We could order a Thanksgiving pizza and watch movies until our eyes blurred. We could eat Thanksgiving soy beans and play board games for hours. The sky's the limit really.

So, what are some of your Thanksgiving traditions (even if they're non-traditional)? Share them on the new Subway site, Fresh Takes on Family Time, and you could win a $50 gift card! Not only that, but one lucky reader will have their story filmed and shared on the website each month! Right now, there's a great video by Apollo Ohno about his tradition of making and sharing dim sum with his coach and fellow athletes. (I feel this urge to shave that little goatee every time I see him. Is it just me? I may have issues.) Anyway, go watch the video HERE. Then share your traditions for a chance to win!

This website is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Nothing Says "I love you" Like Poop

I love waking up and heading downstairs to start the ole caffeine drip. Actually, scratch that. I don’t love waking up, especially to an alarm clock that’s set way too early. But I do love the walking downstairs part. Actually, no scratch that too. I seem to have aged a lot in the past year or so because now, when I wake up, my feet and ankles are so stiff and sore that walking downstairs is a pain, and I’m pretty sure I look like an arthritic penguin when I do. But I love seeing what my kids have left me once I get down there. On any given day, I’m bound to be surprised and delighted by the little notes my kids leave around the kitchen.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Finally, an Answer to the Age-Old Debate

There’s a certain debate about who has it harder, stay-at-home moms or working moms. “They” say there is no answer to this debate. No one will ever agree on which position is more difficult. This has been going on since caveman days. When a stay-at-home cavemom’s cavehusband came home, she’d complain,”I spent the whole day cleaning, Mister! Do you have any idea how hard it is to sweep the dirt out of this cave when the floor is made of, you know, dirt? And here you come and plop this saber tooth tiger on the floor while you sit down and prop your feet up on a rock because you ‘had a tough day’! You don’t even know what a tough day is, you troglodyte! Do you know hard it is to watch junior and change his loin cloth and keep him in the cave so the pterodactyls don’t carry him off like his brother? And he didn’t eat one bite of the mammoth stew I slaved over! He spit it out and it hit the wall and when I scrubbed it off, the cave drawings came off too and it took me two hours to draw new ones!”


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Stripping

I took the kids trick-or-treating around my neighborhood yesterday. It was the first time since Savannah was a baby that the kids didn't need winter coats. Seriously, the kids carried hand warmers in their coat pockets back home in Chicagoland the last two years.

I've always tried to come up with creative, original costume ideas for my kids. This year, however, I dropped the ball. I just didn't have it in me. Brooklyn wore the Rapunzel dress she got for her birthday. After putting it on, she insisted she needed a frying pan to complete her ensemble (if you've seen the movie Tangled, you know what I'm talking about here).


Friday, October 28, 2011


I’m so fed up with telemarketers. I hate them. Hate. I wish evil things upon them. I know I’m going to get emails from people defending telemarketers, saying, “They’re people too. This is their job.” My response? “I’m people too. And it’s my job to mess with them.”

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Can You Tell me How to Get, How to Get to Poopy Street

And the poopstravaganza continues. Living in Florida, I’m getting used to seeing unusual things while driving around. I saw two armadillos and four chickens on my way to work earlier this week. Whenever I pick up Savannah from swim practice, I see houses that have miscellaneous appliances and broken-down vehicles in their yards. I see food trucks with signs that read “pupusas” on them. I’m sure I’m mispronouncing this, but poo poo sauce does not sound appetizing.

However, the other day, I saw something even stranger, and I knew immediately, who was responsible for it. As I turned into my subdivision, I beheld this sight . . .


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I Shoulda Been a Doctor

Brooklyn woke up at 10:30 last night, crying that her throat hurt and her eyes burned. The poor baby was running a fever. I gave her some Motrin and a cool washcloth for her eyes. Then, instead of lying down and cuddling with her like I would’ve done in the past, I lay there worrying that I was going to have to miss another day of work. No work = no pay. It also scares me that the administrators will come to their senses and fire me so they can replace me with someone who isn’t a single mom of six kids.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Those of you who have read my blog for any amount of time know that I don’t do math. I never really understood math back when I was in school. Math people say it’s easy, precise; there’s only one correct answer for each problem. It’s neat and ordered. It makes sense. But for non-math people . . . well, it makes our eyes bleed. At my job, I work with 6th, 7th, and 8th graders. Most of my sixth graders need help with math. A LOT of help with math. In a weird way, I actually like working with them on math because I remember what it was like to sit there, completely lost, back when I was in school. And the thing about math, is that one skill builds on another. If you don’t understand chapter 3, you’re not going to be able to do chapter 4, and so on. In that way, once a kid is lost, the work snowballs out of control and they simply can’t catch up.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Another Trip to Old Time Pottery

I don’t know what it is about this store that fascinates me so. The low prices? The eclectic variety of merchandise that makes you wonder if it’s a Frank’s, Walmart, Crate & Barrel, or Michael’s? The great decorating items? Or, more likely, the “made in China” type mistakes on the products. You can see my first installment of Old Time Pottery fails HERE. Go ahead and click the link. It’s worth it. I promise you’ll laugh. Go ahead, I’ll wait.


Monday, October 17, 2011

My Son, Tony Hawk (NOT!)

It had been about three months since I’d taken one of the kids to the emergency room. I knew we were overdue for a visit, but was hoping against hope that no one would get hurt or sick before my new insurance kicked in. We’d been doing pretty well in my quest to avoid doctors at all costs until this weekend when Jackson got in a fight with his bike. And lost.

Jackson was supposed to be at home, cleaning his room and mopping the kitchen floor. Everyone else had completed their weekend chores, but Jackson kept finding distractions to keep him from his work. I dragged him inside and reminded him of his jobs for the twentieth time. I went upstairs to finish putting sheets on my bed when Savannah walked up to tell me, “Jackson fell off his bike and got hurt.”


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dinner Traditions

My parents are coming to visit us next week. This will be their first time seeing our new house here in Florida. I'm looking forward to visiting with them and showing them all our new favorite spots to eat, shop, walk around, hang out, swim, etc. I'm sure the kids are going to want to show them their new schools and where all the ice cream places are. So, this week, I'm in "Keep the Freaking House Clean" mode. I'm also trying to figure out what to make for dinner while they're here.

I figure we'll just order pizza (or what passes for pizza down here) one night while they're here. Growing up, we always had pizza on Sunday nights. That was the one night my mom would let us watch TV at the dinner table (Wonderful World of Disney, of course.) As a kid though, I was always jealous of my friends who went to their grandparents' house for Sunday dinner. It was a traditional, weekly event for many of my friends. My own grandparents lived out-of-state, however. When I grew up and had kids of my own, I thought my own parents might incorporate a weekly, or even monthly, gathering for dinner, but they never did. I hope to host Sunday dinners at my house when my kids are grown and have kids of their own.

But back to my parents' visit. I think we'll cook out and eat our meals on the lanai so my parents can enjoy the gorgeous weather down here before heading back to the cold. That has become a new tradition for my family - eating outside. We do it several times a week. The weather is just too beautiful to stay inside.

What kinds of dinnertime traditions does your family have? Check out this family's cool, fun tradition of
"Theme Dining" for some fun ideas! And while you're there, share your own stories and ideas on the Fresh Takes on Family Time site. Every time you share, you'll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Subway. And, more than that, you could be the next lucky family chosen to have their story filmed and featured on their site! One new family is chosen every month! Check it out here!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Savannah came home from school and said, "Let's play Pterodactyl!"

"Pterodactyl? That's a game? Seriously? How do you play?" I inquired, one eyebrow raised, wondering where she was going to go with this.

"You just take turns going around the circle. Everyone has to say pterodactyl, but you have to keep your lips over your teeth like this," she demonstrated. "If someone squawks instead of saying pterodactyl, the direction reverses. If you laugh, you lose."

Well, that sounded simple enough. How hard could it be to keep a straight face when all you're doing is saying pterodactyl?

It's VERY stinkin' hard!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What a Dirty, Disgusting River. It's Chocolate!

I should be used to getting up early. I mean, I've been doing it for nearly two months now. That's plenty of time to adjust, right? One would think. But still, I'm exhausted to the point of passing out nearly every night. I can't tell you how many times I've awakened on the couch in the middle of the night, still dressed, makeup smeared across my face, hair plastered to my cheek with drool. I know, I know, I'm totally hot. And every morning, I perform my ritual of blindly flailing my arm around in an attempt to either hit the snooze button, knock the clock off the table, or stop time altogether.

Last night, after helping my kids with their homework we ate the dinner I cooked. Then, I told my kids, "I need you guys to clean up the kitchen because I have work to do." I took my laptop and retired to my room where I could work in peace. At some point, before finishing, I passed out asleep without even checking on my kids to make sure they'd done what they were told. Big mistake. Big. Huge.


Monday, October 10, 2011

A Fresh Take on Trick-or-Treating

Over at Subway's Fresh Takes on Family Time site, they've got some great articles with fun fall and Halloween ideas. One that caught my eye was an article named Trunk-or-Treat. It talked about getting your friends together, heading to an empty parking lot, opening your trunks, and letting the kids go from car to car, gathering candy from the tailgates. That idea is okay, but I'd go one step further. That is, I'd go a step further if I was back home in Chicago, surrounded by friends. But since I've recently moved across the country and have no friends, it would be kind of lame for me to try it here.

If I were back in Chicagoland, I'd invite everyone over to my driveway for a potluck. I'd get the fire pit going and roast hotdogs. All my friends and neighbors could enjoy the collection of salads and desserts from everyone. Back in Chicago, since it would undoubtedly be 40 degrees and rainy, we'd bundle up while the kids drank steaming mugs of hot chocolate with marshmallows (you know, in case they hadn't ingested enough sugar from their candy). The adults would drink hot toddys or Irish coffee (because Halloween is traditionally known as a drinking holiday). We'd sit back and complain about the cold while we enjoyed each other's company and breathed in the scent of fall in the air - the leaves, the crackling fire, the brisk breeze, and the mist starting to roll in.

But since I'm here in Florida, I guess I'll take my kids around the neighborhood by myself while wearing shorts and sipping a frosty, refreshing pina colada. And I'll enjoy the palm trees and the sunshine and the fact that this year, I won't need to stuff handwarmers in my pockets, or figure out a way to cram winter coats under my kids' costumes.

Check out the
Fresh Takes on Family Time site to add your own story! One lucky family will be chosen every month to have their story filmed and featured on the site! Plus, you'll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Subway! Check it out today!

My blog is a part of an incentivized online influencer network for Fresh Takes on Family Time Powered by Subway.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Suck at my Job

I hate feeling stupid. Hate it. I hate feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing. I like being the person that others come to for advice. I like being the one who knows everything; the one others ask for help. I do not like having to ask anyone else for help. Yeah, yeah, it's good to let others help. It makes them feel good. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I still don't like it. And no, I don't have control issues. I just always need to be right. And in charge.

If someone was to ask me a parenting question on nearly any topic, I’d feel confident that I could give an intelligent and constructive answer. That’s an area of my life where I feel like I have some degree of expertise. I may not be perfect at it, but I know what I’m doing. At school, however? I feel like an idiot. I don’t understand the terms they use here. Everyone tosses them around like they’re common knowledge, yet my head spins because they might as well be speaking a foreign language, as far as I’m concerned.

I don't know all the procedures and protocol for doing things here. What do you do if you have a student who is tardy to your class seventeen times? I assumed the attendance people would catch that I was marking him tardy every day and would do something. I guess not. When I brought it up, I was looked at like I was stupid for letting a student get seventeen tardies without saying anything. Sheesh, now that I think about it, maybe I should continue to let the kids get tardies. I should encourage them to take their time getting to my class because it means less time spent here making me insane. Kidding. Just kidding.

But really, I’m not a teacher. I didn’t go to college to be a teacher. I didn’t go to college at all, in fact. I didn’t student teach. I haven’t been doing this for years. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe I’m qualified for my position, but I lack experience and, unfortunately the only thing that can fix that is time.

I’m pretty sure all the eighth grade math teachers hate me. Yesterday, I alienated the eighth grade history teachers as well when I gave a student a copy of a vocabulary quiz with the answers filled in so he could study the words. In hindsight, that was a stupid move. Duh. I have no idea what I was thinking. Clearly, I wasn’t. I should only have gone over the words and never shown the student the test for him to simply memorize. The history teachers have every right to be upset. I was stupid. I hate being stupid.

When I (half) joke about quitting, some teachers nod their heads and commiserate, saying, “I don’t know how you do it. I couldn’t take working with those kids every period, every day.” But, honestly, it’s not even the kids who make me want to quit. They’re not the problem. They are who they are. They do what they do. I try to keep them on track, help them develop organizational skills, encourage them to be responsible. Sometimes it sinks in; sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes they respond and surprise me; sometimes they don't. It’s more like being a mom to thirty kids than a teacher. I’m fine with that. Yes, it gets discouraging at times. But other times, it’s pretty darn rewarding.

Nope, it’s not the kids. It’s me. I feel like I suck at this job and I don’t enjoy doing things that make me feel all suckish. Sigh.

(Don't worry, it's not all doom and gloom. Come back tomorrow for a fun-filled poop extravaganza courtesy of Clayton. Ugh, he's gonna get us kicked out of our neighborhood.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Comments from the Peanut Gallery

I love getting comments on my blog posts. I get giddy with excitement when someone takes the time to write to me. Of course, I especially like it when someone finds something I've written humorous, useful, or comforting. I love it when someone tells me that they appreciate the levity or the glimpse into my life because it helps them to see their own life in a different, more positive light. But as much as I love all those comments, I think I particularly like these inane comments the best . . .

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If you're going to leave me spam comments, asking me to check out your online pharmacy for discount Viagra, at least have the sense to learn English or hire a translator. Really, is that too much to ask? I unequivocally thanking you so very many.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Big Book of Poop

When you first have a baby, you spend hours gazing into his/her little face, dreaming about the person they will become. Will they have your way with words? Their dad’s height? Their grandma’s musical ability? Their uncle’s artistic talent? Imagine my pride when I got home from work the other day and saw on the kitchen table, a book written by my own son. Clay had not only written, but had also illustrated his very own book. Yes, I thought, my son is following in my footsteps! He’s going to be an author! Sure, he’s only seven years old now, but he’s undoubtedly destined for greatness! And then I actually looked at the book. Yeah. Let’s just say that I hope Clay has a “Plan B” for future employment.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

When Zombies Attack

Austin's English teacher had the kids write letters to their parents, inviting them to the school's open house next week. The students were told to bring the letters home, get them signed by a parent, and return them to school. Austin thought that I'd be the only one reading the letter. He figured the teacher would glance at it to make sure it had been signed, and then he'd get the credit for it. He didn't realize the teacher was going to read the letter before he got to take it home and give it to me. Yeah. This is what he wrote.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Leave the Lipstick at the Door

I read an article on MSNBC today about how a school in England has banned the use of makeup for their 13 – 16 year old students. Not only have they made it against school rules for girls to wear makeup, but they’ve also removed the mirrors in the bathrooms to prevent vanity. Maybe they think that if they remove the mirrors, the girls won’t realize how they look without makeup. According to the article, John McNally, head teacher, says, “The mirror ban is to break a cycle where social groups started to emerge in the bathroom.” Oh my gosh, no, not social groups! At a school?! The horror!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Easy Money

I was sick last week and, as much as I wanted to blog, I just couldn't manage to stay awake long enough to compose a single sentence. Every day, after getting home, helping my kids with their homework, making dinner, and getting my little ones to bed, I lay down, coughed up a lung, and passed out asleep. I really needed the sleep. I needed to take care of myself, but, at the same time, I stressed over the fact that I wasn't writing. No writing = no income. But I'm happy to announce that I've now solved all my money problems! My spam filter catches a couple dozen emails a day. I generally just delete the whole bunch without a second glance, but today, for kicks, I decided to open one and read it. This is what it said.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Orlando, where it's still a thousand degrees in the shade, it's your host, the woman whose son brought a snake in the house to show her, and who lived to tell the tale, Dawn Damalas Meehan!

This past week kicked my butt. I was so tired every night, I just didn't have it in me to blog. Not to mention the fact that there's not much to blog about when the only thing you do is go to work, then come home, clean up, and go to bed. Although I suppose I could've blogged about the morning I dumped a whole cup of coffee in my shoe. I didn't really care about the squishiness of my shoe, but I really, really wanted that cup of coffee. I was ashamedly tempted to slurp it out of my clog. Instead, I just slipped my foot in there and hoped I'd get a little caffeine through osmosis.

Anyway, here are the answers to this week's questions.

Dawn, Do you realize that counting up A’s, B’s, C’s etc. is a “mathy” thing? So, you do do “math!” You added the positive and subtracted the negative.
Ugh, don't remind me. I've done more math in the last month than I ever did in my entire school career! The students in my class need help with math way more than any other subject. And my eyes still bleed every time I see a new type of problem.

So Dawn, After a day helping kids with homework, what does that job feel like at home? Have you learned any tricks to get the job done there too? Keep up the good work!
Oh my gosh, it's a piece of cake! I have a whole new perspective on helping my kids with their homework. Even if they struggle with something, they're still eager to try. Too many of my students don't try and don't seem to care at all which is frustrating.

That is so LoL funny!!!! Did you laugh when you read it? [Clay's note about pooping] I can’t wait to show my kids this post- I know my 8 yr old son will especially find this hilarious!!!
I laugh at most everything Clayton says and does. That kid cracks me up regularly. It's hard being strict with him when half the time, I'm trying to choke back a laugh.

I call it “doing research” when I creep on facebook pages!! :-)
Research... that's good. My kids know that I regularly creep on, er, um, research their pages. The deal is that they have to friend me if they want to have an account. Besides, creeping on my kids pages is a good way to keep up with the latest slang and teen stuff.

Ahahaha! You still take your kids shopping? Do they still try to sneak Pokemon cards into the cart?

I try to avoid it at all costs, but yeah, they're often with me. Sometimes they try to sneak chocolate or cookies into my cart, but really, why on earth would I remove those items?

So this is what I havein store?! My 4 year old told me that if I ever have a vampire up my butt (?!?!), I need to go poop him out.
Oh yes, that's classic advice, to be sure. I told Clay what your four-year-old said, expecting him to laugh, but instead, he looked thoughtful and after a beat, said, "I would just reach in and grab the vampire out. Then I'd let him bite me so I could be a poop vampire." Yeah. This is what I live with.

Just one question, if Austin and Savannah have to take the bus at the ungodly hour of 6:15 — how early do you all guys have to get up, even if you skip showering, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, coffee…?
I'm not sure what time Savannah gets up, but she generally wakes Austin up 5 minutes before they leave for the bus. I set my alarm for 6:00, but generally play Snoozopoly until 6:30 at which point I wake up the little kids and make some coffee. I bring my cup of wake-up juice in the shower with me because I'm an amazing multi-tasker like that. I always shave my legs because I have an unnatural obsession with it. Oh, except for the other day when I only shaved one leg because apparently I can't be trusted with such complex tasks so early in the morning. Then, after we're dressed and fed, we all hit the road around 7:30. I drop off my littles and head on in to work.

Do you know that in some pictures Savannah is such a look-alike to the crown princess of Sweden? (completely not-interesting comment, I know…)
Oh yes, they're the spitting image of each other.

Victoria, princess of Sweden with a crown on her head. (Image: AFP)

Savannah, ordinary girl in Orlando with a monkey on her head.

So have you gotten used to Savannah driving yet?
Does it count if I still put my foot through the floor and clutch the dashboard? If not, then yes, yes, I'm used to her driving.

Did you buy the [BFF] bracelets? and will Austin wear it?
Sure, he wears it right next to his "I love my mom" bracelet. All the kids at school are jealous of that one.

I can’t believe how much you and Savannah look alike in that picture. So cute!
So technically, this means I look like a princess too! ;)

The Best Way to Camp

Over the years, my family has done a lot of camping. We used to load up our camper and join our best friends for a weekend of roughing it several times each summer. I loved time spent with family and friends. There's something to be said for unplugging and just hanging out without any work, school, sports, activities, or deadlines getting in the way. However, as much as I loved the uninterrupted time with my family, I really hated the "roughing it" part. Who wants to sleep out in the wilderness with no air conditioning? Who wants to get mosquito bites on top of mosquito bites? Who wants to cook like a pioneer? Crazy people, that's who!

So, my family now does this kind of camping. I still get to relax in the air conditioning, microwave a snack, and watch TV, while my kids get to sleep in a tent. It's all good.

On the new Subway site, Fresh Takes on Family Time, there's a good article on the benefits of camping in your backyard. Check it out! And while you're there, click the "tell your story" tab on top to submit your own story of fresh takes on family time! You'll be entered to win a $50 gift card from Subway, PLUS, every month, one family will have their story made into a video which will be featured on the site! Fun!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Subway Fresh Takes

Now that I'm working full-time, dinnertime with my kids, which has always been important to me, has become even more so. So, when Subway asked me if I'd be interested in partnering with them to talk about their new website featuring fresh takes on family traditions centering around the dinner table, I was really excited! Dinner is a time I look forward to every day. It's not because I love cooking (believe me!), but because I love hanging out with my kids and hearing all about their days. Especially now that I'm working and am no longer home to greet my kids when they get off the bus, I love sitting down to a meal where we can all relax, talk about our days, and inevitably be umm, entertained by Clay's songs about poop. (What can I say? He's a seven-year-old boy.)

Anyway, Subway's new Fresh Takes on Family Time site is full of cute stories, videos, tips, and ideas for enjoying that precious time with your own family. Subway even encourages you to share your own stories with other families who might benefit from your ideas. In fact, here's
a cute idea for saying goodbye to summer. From what I understand, summer is over. I wouldn't know it, living in Orlando where every day is still in the 90s. But from what I hear, some parts of the country have already fired up their furnaces and bid a fond farewell to the lazy days of summer. Go check out the site, look around and let me know what you think. In the coming months, there will be more seasonal videos and stories to make sure you never run out of fun ideas for spending time with your family. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Separated by a Common Language

I love learning about other cultures. I’m so fortunate to have readers from all over the world and they’ve generously shared post cards, letters, pictures, souvenirs, and other great items and information about their homelands over the years. I think it’s so cool how people in other areas of the world have such different traditions, clothing, housing, ideas, food, etc.. When I was at Target the other day, I took many pictures of some interesting English foods. I think it’s especially strange how a country that speaks the same language, can have such differences. For example, apparently “pudding” does not mean the same thing in the U.K. as it does in the U.S.

Campbell's Winner!

Thank you to everyone who commented on the Campbell's V8 VFusion giveaway! The randomly chosen winner is -

MAW said...
I want to try this bread, but budget is tight, so I haven't been able to justify the extra expense. Would be awesome to win it though!

Congratulations! Email me at with your shipping details so we can get your lunch kit sent out to you right away!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Few Moments Earlier

I limped down the hallway toward my classroom, my arms laden with bags, the keys around my neck jangling and reverberating off the walls with every painful step. I opened the door to my room, dropped my bags on the floor, and collapsed into the chair behind my desk.

A few moments earlier, I pulled into the parking and quickly realized it was full. I drove past my regular spot and kept driving and driving until I found a free space. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have thought twice about the walk from the farthest reaches of the parking lot to the front door. But today? Well, I looked at the clock in my car and sighed. I was so late which explained the full parking lot. And the full parking lot? Well, that was going to make me even later. I grimaced as I hopped down from my van and pain shot through my foot and up my leg.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sometimes You Need a Little Flip

I’m generally a “glass is half-full” kind of person. I see the bright side of any situation without too much effort; it comes naturally. I like other ”glass is half-full” kind of people. I tend to gravitate toward them because, well, who doesn’t like hanging around upbeat, positive people? Then there are those “glass is half-empty” folks. People who focus on the negative bum me out. I avoid them if possible. And finally, there are those people whose attitude is more like, The glass is half-empty. No, actually, it’s more like 2/3 empty. I don’t think you could call it half-empty. That’s not right. It’s more than half empty. And this glass is dirty. There are water marks all over it. A glass like this should really be washed by hand. And, come to think of it, this glass is outdated. It doesn’t really go with my plates. Great, now I have to find new glasses that go with my plates. Or I need to find new plates. And you know how long that will take me! It took me over an year to find these glasses! Fabulous! Now my day is ruined! RUINED, I tell ya! Not that I know of anyone personally who fits this description, ahem.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Check Yes or No

I thought about writing a post commemorating 9/11, but it just made me sad, and I don’t do sad. And really, every venue has thoroughly covered the topic this weekend, so I didn’t think anyone needed to read one more from me. So, instead, I’m writing about communicating with your kids. I’ve written about the importance of communicating with your kids many times over the years. It’s important to make the time to talk with your kids, starting when they’re babies. Talk to them, listen to them, and keep those lines open, ensuring them that they can come to you with any problem, at any time.

Earlier this week, I wrote about how my teenage son and I kept in touch via texting HERE. Today, my seven-year-old son, Clay, found a creative way to get my attention so he could ask me a question; a question of the utmost importance. It was so important, in fact, that he simply couldn’t go to sleep until I’d answered him.


Quaker Chewy Winner!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search! I can't wait to find out who the winner is!

But the random winner of the giveaway is - Sasha! Congratulations! Contact me at with your shipping details so we can get your prize sent to you right away.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Campbell's Lunch Kit Giveaway!

I've done several giveaways for Campbell's over the years because I love their products. Here are some more cool offerings from Campbell's!

V8 VFusion is my family's absolute favorite juice! There's nothing artificial in V8 VFusion. It's made from fruit and vegetables, but tastes just like delicious fruit juice. It's a great way ensure your kids get enough fruit and vegetables every day. Now, there's a new VFusion flavor, Concord Grape Raspberry, and it comes in 8 oz. slim cans, perfect for your child's lunchbox.

And I love the new Pepperidge Farm Goldfish bread! It's too cute! Your kids will flip when they open their lunch bag and see their favorite sandwich made on adorable, goldfish shaped bread! It comes in 100% whole wheat, honey whole wheat, and white bread for the lunch that smiles back. :)

I have a great back-to-school lunch kit for one lucky reader. The kit includes:

* A six-pack of V8 V-Fusion Concord Grape Raspberry 8 ounce cans
* A green lunch tote
* Reusable Velcro bags, the perfect item for keeping sandwiches and snacks fresh
* Branded cards for moms to include notes for their children to read at lunch
* Branded grocery list notepads so moms can remember to pick up Concord Grape Raspberry slim cans on their next trip to the supermarket
* $25 Wal-Mart gift card
* A coupon for one free V8 V-Fusion, V8 V-Fusion Light or V8 V-Fusion + Tea beverage (46 ounce or 8 ounce 6 pack)
* A pack of NEW Goldfish sandwich bread from Pepperidge Farm, the perfect item to turn a boring sandwich into an exciting lunch item

To enter for a chance to win this fabulous lunch kit, leave me a comment here (include contact information). For another chance to win, tweet about this contest, linking here, then come back and leave me another comment, linking to your tweet. For yet another chance to win, share a link to this contest on your Facebook wall, then come back here and leave me another comment, linking to your Facebook post. Contest open to U.S. residents. I'll choose a random winner on Wednesday, September 14. Good luck!

I received a lunch kit from Campbell's to sample the new products before writing about them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just Ten More Minutes

I hit the snooze button four times this morning. Do you know what that means?! Let me put it this way – the first few days of school, I sprang out of bed when my alarm went off at 6:00, excited to go to school and make a difference in the lives of young, impressionable tweens and teens. By the end of the first week, I began to hit the snooze button. Just once, mind you. I wasn’t trying to escape the responsibility of work; just prolong the getting-out-of-bed part for a couple minutes. At the start of the second week, I was up to two hits of the snooze button. Who could blame me? I mean, it was still dark outside, for crying out loud! What kind of crazy people are up and about at that hour? Vampires racing home to their coffins, that’s who. Normal people are still in bed. But by the end of the second week, I was up to three hits of the ole snooze button. Still, I told myself it was no big deal. I wasn’t addicted to the snooze button or anything. I could stop at any time if I wanted to.


Monday, September 5, 2011

This is How Monkeys Text

The kids and I watched the movie Rio a couple nights ago. At one point in the movie, a monkey received a text from another monkey. It read Ooo ooo aah aah :(|) For some reason, this struck me as hilarious. (What can I say, I don’t get out much. My kids have warped my mind. I was tired.) I, being the completely mature, responsible adult that I am, immediately texted Austin Ooo ooo aah aah :(|)

On the couch next to me, Austin heard his phone buzz, looked at it, then turned to me. “Really Mom? Really?” was his not-so-amused response. Seeing his deadpan face made me laugh even more. I nearly fell off the couch laughing like some sort of maniac. (Yes, I’m aware that normal parents don’t snort and pee their pants after sending a monkey text to their kid. I’m just special that way.)-

Continue Reading Here!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Austin and Lexi get migraines. Austin doesn’t get them often, thankfully, but unfortunately, Lexi does. Today, she woke up with a headache. She walked into my room and collapsed on my floor in tears. I know if I catch it and give her medicine when the pain first starts, she can usually fall asleep for a couple hours and awake pain-free. If, however, we don’t catch it immediately . . . well, that generally involves vomiting and pain that lasts all day.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Quaker Chewy Superstar Search!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search. The entry period is over, but now comes the fun part- the voting! Your votes will let one lucky kid's dreams of becoming a superstar come true!

Go to the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search page here to check it out! Besides voting for your favorite performance, you can play Quaker Chewy Superstar Riff Master. It's like Tap Tap Revenge. My kids laughed at me while I tried to play. Let's just say, I am not a Riff Master.

You can also send customized ecards from Nick Jonas and watch a video about his rise to fame. And, another cool thing that makes this contest a win/win all around is that Little Kids Rock (a non-profit organization that brings music education to disadvantaged public schools nationwide) is the official non-profit partner of the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search.

Want to win an iPod Nano and some Quaker Chewy yumminess? Vote for your favorite video, then leave me a comment here and tell me who you voted for and you'll be entered into a drawing for an iPod Nano and an assortment of Quaker Chewy products. I'll choose a random winner on September 9th when the voting ends. Contest open to residents of the U.S. Good luck to my readers and to the contestants of the Quaker Chewy Superstar Search!

And don't forget to check out the page and watch these great videos from amazing kids and vote for your favorite! Voting began August 29th and ends September 9th. Have fun!

Quaker has empowered me to write about this promotion.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's For Dinner

Last week, I came home from school most days and wanted to pass out. It took everything I had to stay awake long enough to help my kids with their homework and brush my teeth. (I don’t recommend falling asleep with a toothbrush in your mouth.) I hadn’t planned out dinner and most nights didn’t have the time or energy to cook. I was naive. I was clueless. I was unprepared. I stopped at Chick-fil-A a lot.

Actually, I only stopped at Chick-fil-A once. The other nights, we had Taco Bell, and pizza. Some of you may ask what the big deal is. I mean, it was my first week at work after staying home for seventeen years. It’s understandable that I might have relied on fast food that first week, right? But the thing is, that kind of stuff is not in my budget. It was obvious I needed to change things, so, I came up with a plan.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Will the Real Dawn Meehan Please Stand Up?

Okay, so apparently there’s a contestant on the new season of Survivor. Her name is Dawn Meehan. My name is Dawn Meehan. She’s forty-one years old. I’m forty-one years old. She has six kids. I have six kids. Apparently she’s all fit and ready to compete on Survivor. I like rum. Okay, well I may not be exactly fit, but I compete in my own version of Survivor every day. And I win!


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Orlando, where it's not Chicago, it's your host, the woman who (barely) survived her first week of school, Dawn Damalas Meehan!

Tonight's introduction was written by Austin who still misses home more than the rest of us put together. And now here are the answers to this week's questions.

wow [your teens have to catch the bus at] 6:15? when do they have to wake up or go to sleep?
Austin stays up late talking to his girlfriend. He wakes up 10 minutes before the bus comes, brushes his teeth, and runs out the door. Savannah goes to bed at a decent hour and gets up to primp before catching the bus. That's the difference between boys and girls.

6:15 AM? That is too early! What time is their school day over?
It's WAY too early! They get out around 2:00 every day, but Wednesday when they get out at 1:00ish.

Are you working at your kids' school?

What exactly are you doing at the school?
Beats me. I'm just trying to survive.

Really, what are you doing?
I'm working with the lowest performing kids; the ones who need some extra homework help and support. I help them to get organized, teach them how to form good habits, encourage them, and help them with their work where needed which means I have to have knowledge in each subject. Every day, I ask the kids, "Don't you need help with spelling? Grammar? Any punctuation questions? No? Nothing? Just math? Sigh."
Right now, I have kids in 6 periods a day. My smallest class is two kids and my largest is eight. Things will change after the first few weeks, however, and I'm likely to get more kids in my classes.

How do you like your job so far?
I like it, but it's exhausting. I'm not just tired because I'm working out of the house after being a SAHM for 17 years either. No, it's a different kind of exhaustion. I feel simply drained, mentally and physically. It's not like a regular office job where you can check your email, make a quick phone call, take a break, or go to the bathroom whenever you want to. People who work in education are "on" all day long. There's no downtime. You are always on and smiling and working and going... I'm not sure what I'll do if I ever have to go to the bathroom in the afternoon when I have four classes back-to-back.

Just wondering, do you have an education degree??
No. This is why I took that para pro exam a few months ago. I needed to prove that I know all this stuff so I could apply for the position. (BTW, I got the highest score possible on the test. Do you hear the crowd cheering for me?) It's a non-instructional position so I didn't need an education degree.

You really need to get to bed earlier. Let the housework slide so you can sleep.
Oh, I have no problem letting the housework slide, believe me! But I still can't go to bed early because I have to fit my writing jobs in somewhere. It's not optional. I love writing and I absolutely need the income it brings in order to stay afloat. Sooo, sleep will just have to wait for when I'm dead.

How are your kids adjusting to school?
They're adjusting, some better than others. The three youngest like their school and their teachers. Jackson and Savannah seem to be fitting in, making friends, and having fun. Austin, well, Austin is kind of shy. He doesn't make friends easily just because he keeps to himself, not because he's awkward or dorky or anything. He'll find his place to fit in eventually.

I still feel unsure of myself and probably will for a while. But on Friday, a student shared with me, a song she'd written herself. That was cool - that she trusted me enough to open up like that. I guess this new job might be okay. If I can get past the exhaustion. And the algebra. Oy.

Lands' End Backpacks

I always feel like it's an act of cruelty when I send my kids to school that first day, weighed down with all their school supplies. Over the years, I've bought many cheap backpacks at the store and I was always afraid they wouldn't be able to handle the weight of those supplies the first day. They generally did hold up that first day, but they rarely had the strength and durability to last throughout the year.

Not only are they super-durable, but they're classic. A couple years ago, I bought Clay a Cars backpack. Not only was it falling apart this year, but Clay had outgrown the Cars theme. Lands' End backpacks (along with their clothes) are timeless.

I've since given up buying those backpacks at my local store. It's not worth the money I save on the initial purchase when I have to replace them every year (or in some cases, less than a year)! These days, I stick with Lands' End backpacks. These things are well-made. They can take the daily abuse of hauling text books to and from school, and being flung to the floor every day after school.

Lands' End offers backpacks in dozens of sizes, styles, and colors to fit your needs. Many styles come with matching lunch bags as well! And, as with all Lands' End products, the backpacks come with Lands' End Guaranteed. Period. promise. Right now, you can get free shipping on your order of $50 or more. Just use promo code FREESHIP and pin 4229.

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