Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bark Bark

I have sick kids. I have three sick kids to be exact. I haven't slept for a couple nights. I've been packing like crazy, calling realtors, getting hung up on daily by AllKids (state insurance). Sports season has started which means freezing my butt off at hockey, softball and baseball practices pretty much every night. But you know what? I'M the one comforting my kids when they're sick. I'M the one taking care of their needs. I'M the one providing for them. I'm the one cheering them on and taking pictures at their practices. ME. And I'm so thankful for that! I cannot even imagine choosing to miss out on all this. Or showing up a couple times a year like a distant uncle to just say "hi". I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Two nights ago, as I was working on a blog post, I heard seals barking back in the girls’ bedroom. This was concerning to me because I don’t generally keep seals in the girls’ bedroom, or you know, any room in my house. A couple minutes later, Lexi came shuffling out of her room, and in between her seal-bark coughs, she cried that she couldn’t breathe. I calmly led her into the bathroom, put a pillow on the floor for her to lie on, and turned on the shower as hot as it would go. She lay in the steam while I grabbed her some Motrin, and wondered how I got so calm about these things.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Eating Salad

"Hey Brooklyn, do you want some more sala...what the heck??? What are you putting in your mouth?"

"I'm eating my salad, Mom."

"Where's your fork?"

"It's right here, Mom," Brooklyn answered, pointing to her unused fork sitting next to her plate.

"Ummm, what are you using to eat with," I asked, a little scared to hear her answer.

"I'm using my mermaids!" she happily announced.

"I see," I said, shaking my head. "Makes perfect sense to me."


To read my Babble post on the new Abercrombie push-up bathing suit for little girls, click here!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Going on an Adventure

I love my home that sits in a nice, quiet suburb. And I love being only a few minutes from a major city. In my opinion, it's the best of both worlds! I enjoy going downtown for the museums, the culture, the wonderful restaurants, and the weird sights!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago where it snows over spring break, it's your host, the woman who likes her eggs salmonella-free, Dawn Damalas Meehan! And now, here are the answers to this week's questions.

Have you thought to ask the older kids to get jobs to help support the family? In times past, that's what kids did.
I've already put all six of them to work in a sweat shop.

Please tell me that you put up your smoke dectetor. :) My firewife inside of me is cringing when I think about it.
You have a firewife inside of you? I have a woman who likes to eat cookies inside of me. I wish I could get her out. And of course I put the smoke detector back! That's why I wrote the post reminding everyone to change their batteries.

I wanted to ask you about your children. I have three and one is in a stage where he is so stubborn! Not sure if you have/had one like that? My son is 4 will be 5 in June. He wants everything to go his way and if he doesn't get his way he does nothing. Older brother was not like this. Also if he does not get his own way then he tells me I hate him and don't love him. Sorry this probably is not blog material but I think you are an awesome person and wanted to see if you had gone through anything like this. Thanks for any advice!
If being a mom of six children has taught me one thing, it's that all kids are different! What works for one will not necessarily work for another. Austin was a stubborn child who is much more laid back now. Brooklyn is my stubborn one now. My best advice (which I admit is easy in theory, but much harder to put into practice in real life), is to say what you mean and mean what you say, be consistent, and keep emotion out of it.

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say - When your child is lying on the floor of the toy store, crying for a toy, don't say something like, "If you don't get up, I'm never taking you out in public again!" It will obviously be impossible to stick to that threat. I know; I've tried. Instead, say something like, "I hope, one day, you have a child who acts just like you!"

Be Consistent - If you give in to your child and buy them that toy, then you should expect another all-out tantrum the next time you go to the store and tell them no. All bets are off when it's your sixth child and you no longer care about consistency; you only care about quiet.

Keep Emotion out of It. You're the adult. When your child screams, "I hate you!", or "You hate me!" when you don't give in to their demands, they're trying to get a reaction from you. If you scream back how ungrateful they are and how you don't have money for the toy and how you would never have been that disrespectful to your parents when you were that age, blah, blah, blah, what message are you sending them? If instead, you say calmly, "I'm sorry you feel that way", while removing them (kicking and screaming, if need be) from the store, you're sending the message that their tantrums aren't going to move you to give in. You're the adult and you're in charge. What you say goes and if they don't like it, well, sucks to be you.

Be loving and consistent and they'll get past this stage, I promise. They might always be strong-willed, but as long as they learn how to handle it when they don't get their way, they'll be fine. If not, they'll be that guy who gets mad and staples his boss to the bulletin board by his necktie.

Omg, that was you [who posted the Pokemon auction on eBay]?? I used to hang out on the Ebay discussion boards and I remember that auction being posted and watched. I didn't know what a blog was back then. Once I started reading blogs and found yours I just kept reading because I thought you were funny. I had no idea until just now that you were the Pokemon lady!
Yes!!! When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being known as the Pokemon Lady!

Are all those kids yours?
Yep and I have seven more at home.

Your ex was/is really a piece of work!
He is a piece of work, but he was a decent dad (a lousy husband, but a good dad). I think that makes it so much worse on my kids. He did a 180 degree change when we got divorced.

Question for you Dawn :) If you get paid per impression over at Babble does that me if I read it on one computer, then comment from another computer and then update the comments for yet another one each of those would count as a separate impression?? We have 5 computers here at home, and 4 at my
LOL! I'm not sure, but I think it would count on all five computers.

I'm headed back to Chicago soon with the almost 4 & 6yo kids...any must-sees downtown at the moment?
The Field Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, Buckingham Fountain, Sears Tower, and Millennium Park are staples. I'm pretty sure the first four all offer free days where you can visit for no charge. If you want to visit a bunch of those places, a good way to see the sights is by getting a CityPass.

The winner of the Suave giveaway is -
Blogger Kim said...

I have no idea what my favorite is. It's usually whatever is in the shower that still has enough shampoo in it. Not one of the bottles that have been dumped and refilled with with cold water. Definitely not the bottle that's a combination created by son of all liquid found in the shower, including the dog shampoo.
Life as a single mom is a rat race, so I use whatever I find available at the moment. :)

Congratulations! Email me at with your shipping address.

Thank you to all of you who have placed your ads on my blog! Please check out these great companies advertising on the right side bar of my blog! Thank you!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Court Stinks

I had to go to court yesterday. It was a mess. My ex-husband was trying to get his child support obligation modified (read - instead of getting a job and paying it, he was hoping to have the amount lowered). I already have a court date set up for the end of April to prove he's in contempt of court on multiple issues. A couple days ago, he dropped off papers stating he had a court date for Thursday. Thanks for the notice, buddy. I tried calling my lawyer many times, but he never returned any of my phone calls. So, I went to court.

I got there half an hour early, went into the court room and had a seat. From 10:30 until after 12:00, I sat there, waiting for my turn. My ex wasn't there. When I was one of the last ones left in the room, the judge called me up. I showed her the papers that my ex had given me and she said that I must have just missed him because he checked in earlier and the case was dismissed. I'm not sure why, but I think it was because he couldn't file a request while I already had a court date set up. I'm really not sure about this. All I know is that I wasted four and a half hours going downtown when I could've been having fun with my kids on their spring break. Ticked me off! And I don't know who I'm more mad at - my ex for wasting my time or my lawyer for not returning my calls about this.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Jelly Beans, Mammoths, and Snow, Oh My!

It’s spring break here and as much as I’ve wanted to do fun things with my kids, I just don’t have the money to spend on entertainment. Instead, we’ve gone to the library for movies, we’ve used gift cards to eat out at Sonic, and of course, there have been the family room camp-outs.

But yesterday, we did one of our favorite free things; we took a trip to the Jelly Belly factory in Pleasant Prairie, WI, which is about an hour from Chicago.

The Jelly Belly factory offers a free tour that shows you how Jelly Belly beans, taffy, and other candies are made. Guests ride on little trains around the warehouse while watching interesting videos about the famous beans.

And the best part? Everyone gets a sample bag of Jelly Belly jelly beans and a snazzy little hat to wear while on the tour. (No, there’s no way on earth I’ll share the picture of me in the hat.)


Circle of Moms Contest

There are a couple more days for you to vote for your favorite funny moms on Circle of Moms. I'd love to be number one! (It's my inner Monica that feels the need to win.)
If you have a minute, click here and vote for me, please!
Thank you!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Suave Giveaway!

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, then you know that I love Suave hair care! Suave has recently come out with a new, redesigned professional line of products and I've got some new favorites!

The first one is Suave's Dry Shampoo. Oh yeah! I don't know a single mom who couldn't use this! Be honest, how many times has it happened that you woke up late, or it took longer than expected to get the kids ready, or you just ran out of time to get in the shower? Or maybe you have time for a quickly shower to wash your body, but definitely don't have time to wash and style your hair? It happens to me more often than I'd care to admit. Suave's Dry Shampoo is perfect for this very situation. Just spray a little in your hair and fluff! Voila! You're ready to go and your hair looks (AND SMELLS) awesome! It will totally save your hair on those mornings when your kids don't want those waffles, or those socks, or that shirt and you suddenly find yourself with ten minutes to get ready because everyone took five times as long as usual to eat breakfast and get dressed!

The other new product I especially love is the Leave In conditioner. I have crazy curly frizzy hair unless I spend a million hours straightening it. I use Suave's Sleek Anti-Frizz Cream every single day. And now, I use this leave in conditioner as well. It helps tame my curly hair so it's not so "Diana Ross circa 1968".

Would you like to win an assortment of several new Suave Professionals products? Let me know what your favorite hair care product is and why. Leave me a comment here with your email address and let me know. I'll choose a random winner on Saturday, March 26. Contest open to U.S. residents. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Camping (or Something Like That)

"You know what makes me sad about you and dad being divorced, Mom?"

I braced myself for the answer because there are just so many reason for my kids to be sad, especially since their father quit being a parent and pushed the kids out of his life when we got divorced.

"What's that, sweetie?" I asked.

"I miss camping," was the answer that was echoed by all the siblings. "Would you take us camping sometime, Mom?"

"I love you guys and would do anything I possibly could for you, but camping? Couldn't I do something else for you guys instead? Something like poking myself in the eye with a stick or throwing myself down the stairs?"


Thanks for Giving me Something to Write About?

Because the economy sucks and the housing market sucks and life sucks, I'm not going to be able to sell my house since I owe more than what it will sell for. Not to mention the fact that houses are on the market for a good year or more around here. My options are limited now and it just sucks.

While cleaning out and decluttering, I found a box of Joe's stuff (high school yearbooks, photo albums of his baby pictures, etc.) According to the divorce agreement, everything left here is mine. He took what was his and made no accommodations to retrieve anything else. I considering having a bonfire, and burning him in effigy. I also thought about writing up stories with all the details of his horribleness and listing the items on eBay. In the end, I opted to text him and let him know I had a box of his stuff if he wanted to come pick it up. That was my good deed for the year.

He stopped by on Saturday, handed me some papers because he's apparently taking me to court, trying to get his obligation to pay child support modified instead of being responsible, getting a job and paying more than $0 a month to help support his six children. Then, he took his box of stuff, yelled at me for throwing out one of the kids' broken old toys that he suddenly wanted to give his niece, and left without a word to the kids. He didn't say a single word to any of them. He didn't ask to see any of them. Nothing. Later, he texted me that it just never occurred to him to say hi.

What kind of parent does this?! What kind of parent goes months (years, in some cases) without seeing the kids and then doesn't even bother to say hello? I'm just floored by his selfishness. I can't fathom any parent acting like this. I just can't wrap my brain around such behavior.

Then today, he texts and out of nowhere, asks me if I can drop the kids off to see him later this week. Well, we already have plans then, and honestly, Brooklyn is the only one willing to see him now. Lexi and Brooklyn have been the only ones who don't hate him, but after leaving without a word to Lexi, he just alienated her. The rest of the kids have had enough of his behavior. They see how he's left them. They're not stupid. They're done with him. It's only a matter of time until Brooklyn sees through his bs, as well. There's no more of me making excuses for him and trying to convince the kids that he loves them. I don't talk about what a deadbeat he is, but no longer do I try to cover up what he's doing to them. He's made his choices and has pushed the kids as far away as he can. Only time will tell if they'll ever have any kind of relationship at all.

When I told him that I didn't think we'd be around for me to drop the kids off and that Brooklyn was the only one who would even want to go, he blamed it on me. He said that "my opinions of him made it difficult for him to focus on the kids". Oh sure, because I think he's a deadbeat loser, he can't focus on the kids. The fact that the reason I think he's a deadbeat loser is BECAUSE he abandoned the kids, doesn't matter in his little world. Of course, he's always blamed everything on me. It was my fault he got his third DUI this summer because if I hadn't divorced him, he wouldn't have had to go out drinking. It was my fault he spent thousands of dollars a month at strip clubs because I drove him to do it. It's my fault he lied to me constantly for 20 years.

So now I'm considering my limited options as far as my house is concerned while trying to ignore the insanity that is my ex-husband. And, of course, most importantly, trusting God to get us through this, and showing my kids every day just how much they're loved. Most days, I get up and keep on going, without any problems. I know that even the most stressful, hopeless-seeming situations are only a drop in the bucket. While in their midst, it's easy to get discouraged and give up hope. It's easy to be overcome with fear. But I know, in the end, one day, when the tough times have passed, I'll look back and see that it was just that - a small section of my life that had tough times. Nothing more.

Of course, other days, I want to lie in bed and cry. Thankfully, those days are few and far between!

When I first got a copy of the book, Pearl Girls (it's a great book compiled by Margaret McSweeney, filled with essays by some of the most awesome Christian women writers AND with all proceeds going to charity), I read through the stories. Many of them brought me to tears. I thought, Wow, these women have really been through some trials in their lives! Then I got to my silly essay and I thought, Nothing bad has ever happened to me. I admit I was a little sad that I had nothing profound to write because nothing bad had happened. Now, I'm pleased to know that I'll have a great story of triumph because I am going through some really rough times now. Okay, no I'm not. I'm not pleased at all. I'm kicking my butt because, clearly, I jinxed myself by saying that nothing bad had ever happened to me! What the heck was I thinking?!!! In the future, if I ever get the notion that nothing bad has happened to me, I'm simply going to say, "Praise the Lord! Thank you!" and be done with it!

Monday, March 21, 2011


This officially marks my one thousandth post on Because I Said So! Holy cow, I don't know how I've thought of a thousand things to write!

I love blogging because it's opened this fabulous community to me. So many moms can relate to things I write because I'm an ordinary mom doing ordinary things and I have ordinary kids who act like kids. It's nice to see someone else doing the same things/going through the same things that you are. It's depressing trying to live up to that "Perfect Mom" image. You know the type of mom who showers. Every day! The kind of mom who always has on nice clothing, make-up, and actual hair care products. The kind of mom whose children are clean and dressed to the nines. The sort of mom who has a floor so clean you can eat off it, not the kind of mom who has a floor you can eat off of simply because there are so many crumbs on it. Instead of trying to live up to Perfect Mom, it's much more comforting to know you're not alone in your quest to both love your kids, and to make it through the day without breaking down, curling up into a fetal position and rocking back and forth.

Thank you for being part of my community, for reading all these years, for your kind comments, and for supporting me and my family! You guys rock!

So, for this thousandth post, I think it's fitting to reprint my eBay auction that brought attention to this blog and made me go from about 10 hits a day to 94,000 overnight.

And here's the text of the auction. . .

I'm selling a bunch of Pokemon cards. Why? Because my kids sneaked them into my shopping cart while at the grocery store and I ended up buying them because I didn't notice they were there until we got home. How could I have possibly not noticed they were in my cart, you ask? Let me explain.

You haven’t lived until you’ve gone grocery shopping with six kids in tow. I would rather swim, covered in bait, through the English Channel, be a contestant on Fear Factor when they’re having pig brains for lunch, or do fourth grade math than to take my six kids to the grocery store. Because I absolutely detest grocery shopping, I tend to put it off as long as possible. There comes a time, however, when you’re peering into your fridge and thinking, ‘Hmmm, what can I make with ketchup, Italian dressing, and half an onion,’ that you decide you cannot avoid going to the grocery store any longer. Before beginning this most treacherous mission, I gather all the kids together and give them “The Lecture“.

“The Lecture“ goes like this…
MOM: “We have to go to the grocery store.”
KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“
MOM: “Hey, I don’t want to go either, but it’s either that or we’re eating cream of onion-ketchup soup and drinking Italian dressing for dinner tonight.”
KIDS: “Whine whine whine whine whine.“
MOM: “Now here are the rules: do not ask me for anything, do not poke the packages of meat in the butcher section, do not test the laws of physics and try to take out the bottom can in the pyramid shaped display, do not play baseball with oranges in the produce section, and most importantly, do not try to leave your brother at the store. Again.”

OK, the kids have been briefed. Time to go.

Once at the store, we grab not one, but two shopping carts. I wear the baby in a sling and the two little children sit in the carts while I push one cart and my oldest son pushes the other one. My oldest daughter is not allowed to push a cart. Ever. Why? Because the last time I let her push the cart, she smashed into my ankles so many times, my feet had to be amputated by the end of our shopping trip. This is not a good thing. You try running after a toddler with no feet sometime.

At this point, a woman looks at our two carts and asks me, “Are they all yours?” I answer good naturedly, “Yep!

“Oh my, you have your hands full.”

“Yes, I do, but it‘s fun!” I say smiling. I’ve heard all this before. In fact, I hear it every time I go anywhere with my brood.

We begin in the produce section where all these wonderfully, artistically arranged pyramids of fruit stand. There is something so irresistibly appealing about the apple on the bottom of the pile, that a child cannot help but try to touch it. Much like a bug to a zapper, the child is drawn to this piece of fruit. I turn around to the sounds of apples cascading down the display and onto the floor. Like Indiana Jones, there stands my son holding the all-consuming treasure that he just HAD to get and gazing at me with this dumbfounded look as if to say, “Did you see that??? Wow! I never thought that would happen!”

I give the offending child an exasperated sigh and say, “Didn’t I tell you, before we left, that I didn’t want you taking stuff from the bottom of the pile???”

“No. You said that you didn’t want us to take a can from the bottom of the pile. You didn’t say anything about apples.”

With superhuman effort, I resist the urge to send my child to the moon and instead focus on the positive - my child actually listened to me and remembered what I said!!! I make a mental note to be a little more specific the next time I give the kids The Grocery Store Lecture.

A little old man looks at all of us and says, “Are all of those your kids?”

Thinking about the apple incident, I reply, “Nope. They just started following me. I’ve never seen them before in my life.”

OK, now onto the bakery section where everything smells so good, I’m tempted to fill my cart with cookies and call it a day. Being on a perpetual diet, I try to hurry past the assortment of pies, cakes, breads, and pastries that have my children drooling. At this point the chorus of “Can we gets” begins.

“Can we get donuts?”
“Can we get cupcakes?”
“Can we get muffins?”
“Can we get pie?”

You’d think they’d catch on by this point, but no, they’re just getting started.

In the bakery, they’re giving away free samples of coffee cake and of course, my kids all take one. The toddler decides he doesn’t like it and proceeds to spit it out in my hand. (That’s what moms do. We put our hands in front of our children’s mouths so they can spit stuff into them. We’d rather carry around a handful of chewed up coffee cake, than to have the child spit it out onto the floor. I’m not sure why this is, but ask any mom and she’ll tell you the same.) Of course, there’s no garbage can around, so I continue shopping one-handed while searching for someplace to dispose of the regurgitated mess in my hand.

In the meat department, a mother with one small baby asks me, “Wow! Are all six yours?”
I answer her, “Yes, but I’m thinking of selling a couple of them.”

(Still searching for a garbage can at this point.)

Ok, after the meat department, my kids’ attention spans are spent. They’re done shopping at this point, but we aren’t even halfway through the store. This is about the time they like to start having shopping cart races. And who may I thank for teaching them this fun pastime? My seventh “child”, also known as my husband. While I’m picking out loaves of bread, the kids are running down the aisle behind the carts in an effort to get us kicked out of the store. I put to stop to that just as my son is about to crash head on into a giant cardboard cut-out of a Keebler elf stacked with packages of cookies.

Ah! Yes! I find a small trash can by the coffee machine in the cereal aisle and finally dump out the squishy contents of my hand. After standing in the cereal aisle for an hour and a half while the kids perused the various cereals, comparing the marshmallow and cheap, plastic toy content of each box, I broke down and let them each pick out a box. At any given time, we have twenty open boxes of cereal in my house.

As this is going on, my toddler is playing Houdini and maneuvering his little body out of the seat belt in an attempt to stand up in the cart. I’m amazed the kid made it to his second birthday without suffering a brain damaging head injury. In between trying to flip himself out of the cart, he sucks on the metal bars of the shopping cart. Mmmm, can you say “influenza”?

The shopping trip continues much like this. I break up fights between the kids now and then and stoop down to pick up items that the toddler has flung out of the cart. I desperately try to get everything on my list without adding too many other goodies to the carts.

Somehow I manage to complete my shopping in under four hours and head for the check-outs where my kids start in on a chorus of, “Can we have candy?” What evil minded person decided it would be a good idea to put a display of candy in the check-out lanes, right at a child’s eye level? Obviously someone who has never been shopping with children.

As I unload the carts, I notice many extra items that my kids have sneaked in the carts unbeknownst to me. I remove a box of Twinkies, a package of cupcakes, a bag of candy, and a can of cat food (we don’t even have a cat!). I somehow missed the box of Pokemon cards however and ended up purchasing them unbeknownst to me. As I pay for my purchases, the clerk looks at me, indicates my kids, and asks, “Are they all yours?”

Frustrated, exhausted from my trip, sick to my stomach from writing out a check for $289.53, dreading unloading all the groceries and putting them away and tired of hearing that question, I look at the clerk and answer her in my most sarcastic voice, “No. They’re not mine. I just go around the neighborhood gathering up kids to take to the grocery store because it’s so much more fun that way.”

So, up for auction is an opened (they ripped open the box on the way home from the store) package of Pokemon cards. There are 44 cards total. They're in perfect condition, as I took them away from the kiddos as soon as we got home from the store. Many of them say "Energy". I tried carrying them around with me, but they didn't work. I definitely didn't have any more energy than usual. One of them is shiny. There are a few creature-like things on many of them. One is called Pupitar. Hee hee hee Pupitar! (Oh no! My kids' sense of humor is rubbing off on me!) Anyway, I don't think there's anything special about any of these cards, but I'm very much not an authority on Pokemon cards. I just know that I'm not letting my kids keep these as a reward for their sneakiness.

Shipping is FREE on this item. Insurance is optional, but once I drop the package at the post office, it is no longer my responsibility. For example, if my son decides to pour a bottle of glue into the envelope, or my daughter spills a glass of juice on the package, that’s my responsibility and I will fully refund your money. If, however, I take the envelope to the post office and a disgruntled mail carrier sets fire to it, a pack of wild dogs rip into it, or a mail sorting machine shreds it, it’s out of my hands, so you may want to add insurance. I will leave feedback for you as soon as I’ve received your payment. I will be happy to combine shipping on multiple items won within three days. This comes from a smoke-free, pet-free, child-filled home. Please ask me any questions before placing your bid. Happy bidding! :)

I'm 104?

My kids convinced me to step on the Wii Fit balance board today. Okay, I thought. This will be fun! I’ll play Wii with the kids for awhile before I start packing again. Anything to put off doing work, right?

So I stepped in front of the TV and looked for my Mii (the little avatar that looks like you). My kids made my Mii for me about a year ago and I couldn’t remember what it looked it.

I found what I thought was my Mii.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, home of the largest taco, it's your host, the woman who got a whole case of coconut M&Ms in the mail (thank you, Natalie!!!), Dawn Damalas Meehan! And now here are the answers to this week's questions!

You have all 6 kids in the photo! So how are the boys doing? Both are out of the hospital and home now?
Yeah, they're out of the hospital and overall, doing much, much better. Still, there are times when they (and Lexi) struggle with depression.

Ok - I will say something stupid now cos I am a mom too! Do you know your eldest kids are now BIGGER than you???
Uh yeah. Austin and Savannah passed me in height a long time ago. It's a good thing though; they can reach things off the high shelves for me.

Oh, it makes me kind of sad to hear that you'll be doing most of your blogging over there. Can't you do both, since this one is more personal and the other is more public?
Here's my nice answer - I am blogging in both places. Both blogs are public.
Here's my authentic answer - Are you for real?!!!

Yes we will go over to Babble to read your awesome writings because obviously it is too hard for you to copy-paste your writings in both places.
Sigh. That's not how it works. My posts on as are Babble's posts. I can't copy them here. I link to them here to make it easier for you to just click and continue reading, instead of having to go over there and search for my blog (although Babble's a great site and if you have time, you should look around some!)

How does it work? Do you just get paid to blog or do you get paid by how many people comment, etc? Want to help you any way I can so if you need me signing in over there I'll do it pretty much daily...
I get paid by impressions. For every thousand people who read my post there (by going to and finding it, or by clicking the links I provide here), I get paid. I don't get paid for comments (although all bloggers love them!), and it doesn't count if you click on my blog multiple times a day to try to boost numbers.

Do you know where you'll be living? Are you planning a nearby moove, or is this a long-haul cross-country marathon?
I don't know yet. First things first. I'm cleaning out my house and having some realtors give me a market analysis. If I sell the house, we'll be moving out of the area. It's much too expensive around here. Even little one bedroom apartments cost almost as much as my mortgage payment and I don't know how I'd fit 7 of us into a one bedroom apartment. I need to find a place that has good schools, better weather, is not too far to come back here and visit, and has much cheaper housing.
I was really upset about moving. I mean, I'm personally okay with it because it's just a house. You should never get so attached to material things. God is all I need and He goes with me wherever I go. Still, I worry about my kids. I hate to uproot them and take them away from their friends and everything familiar, especially at this point in their lives when other things suck for them.

I don't want to sound callous, but have you thought about going back to work, at least part-time? Since Brooklyn's in school at least part of the day, I thought maybe you could find something to help you out. Maybe a bakery needs a good cake designer! Or Starbucks could be hiring to make fancy drinks. That would at least bring in a little extra income.
It's not callous. I think of it every day. Brooklyn goes to school 2 hours a day, 3 days a week which is hardly enough time to get a job. I could put her in the low-income daycare and find a job that would bring in about as much as I make writing. The only advantage would be better insurance for me and my kids. The disadvantages would be giving up writing because I don't think I can work full-time, take care of a house and six kids by myself and write. And, of course, leaving my kids (especially the boys who are still quite depressed) alone.
I make enough money writing to squeak by as long as I get regular child support. However, I'm not getting regular child support. Yeah, I'm taking Joe to court. Yeah, he'll probably be put in jail. Big deal. It still doesn't get us child support. So, bottom line is that I have to cut my expenses while working to increase my income because it's all up to me.
Don't think, because I don't write every detail of what all I'm working on, it means I'm doing nothing and waiting for an opportunity to fall in my lap.

Dawn, I am praying for you and your family. I wish I could do something to help out. Do you have any manuscripts that you could publish on Kindle? There are no guarantees, but it would be worth a shot, don't you think? Do you read J.A. Konrath's blog? Anyway, I sure wish I had a way to help. I will be in prayer that God will intervene for you.
Funny you should mention Joe Konrath. I went to high school with him, and was just talking to a mutual friend about his passion for self-publishing on Kindle. I think I need to take him out to lunch and pick his brain.

Did the bathroom project stall out? is it done yet? Photos?
All done! Here's the BEFORE picture. . .

Here's the AFTER picture. . .

I've written some articles for Circle of Moms and you can read them HERE. Also, I've been nominated as one of the funniest moms by Circle of Moms. You can vote for me once a day until the 23rd. Top 25 Funny Moms Thank you!

And the winner of my Sonic giveaway is. . .
Val said...

My kids love to ride bikes to the park. I LOVE me some Sonic!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Why my Smoke Detector is in my Backyard

I haven't been sleeping all that well lately. Stress does that to a person. But last night, I awoke at 4:00 (a whopping hour after I went to bed) to a high pitched chirp. A minute later, I heard it again. And again. I finally managed to wake up enough to figure out it was the smoke alarm. I was so tired, however, I decided the house could burn down around me for all I cared; I wasn't going to pull myself from bed.

Packing it In

Right now, it looks like we’ll be moving soon. I say “right now” because in the next couple months I could be paid a bazillion dollars to write a sitcom, I could win the lottery, I could meet a single, rich man who wants half a dozen kids, or my ex-husband could decide to get a job and pay all the back child support he owes me. Oh, I crack myself up!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Moving On

Now and then Joe texts me. I generally don't respond because I don't care to talk to him, his texts don't usually require an answer, and more often than not, they don't make sense. Believe me, it's easier to just ignore them.

Last week he texted me, telling me that he had a job and would be starting Monday. I didn't respond because what was I supposed to say? Congratulations? I'm so proud of you? Yay? He's had a job all along quite frankly, but he's gotten paid in cash under the table/free room and board/whatever and not passed along a penny of child support from that job, so why should this one be different? Would this be an actual job with W2s and everything? A job where the state could take out child support once again? Honestly, I doubted he even had a job anyway, so I just ignored the text.

Today, I went to pick up some medication for Austin. It wasn't covered by AllKids. It cost $271. I couldn't get it. For the past couple days, Savannah's been complaining of pain and popping sounds in the knee she had surgery on last May. Her orthopedic doctor doesn't accept AllKids. I haven't been able to make an appointment with him. So I broke down and texted Joe to ask him if this was a real job and if he was carrying insurance on the kids again. Apparently "the job fell through". Shocking.

I wrote out a check to pay my taxes today. It was an obscenely high amount. I mean, make you sick to your stomach high amount. On the bright side, I was prepared for this. Taxes hadn't been taken out of any of my income last year and I knew I'd be owing a lot. Thankfully, I had the exact amount I owe set aside for this purpose. That's the good news.

The bad news is that it leaves me with maybe three months' worth of money for living expenses. (And that is thanks to the enormous generosity of you guys!) I've been struggling with so many decisions regarding the future for me and my kids. Today I had to make the tough choice to put my house up for sale. But I can't count on my ex-husband for anything and based on my little income, we can't stay here. It sucks. I hate having to uproot my kids like this especially when they're still having issues with depression.

Taking a deep breath, dealing with the punches as they come, enjoying the little moments, doing what has to be done, and as always, trusting God to carry us through.

*****Please check out my new blog on for some laughs! Click HERE!

Rockstar Multi-tasking

I dropped off Brooklyn to her preschool class about five minutes late today. Brooklyn walked in and loudly announced to her teachers, her classmates, the custodian, and pretty much everyone within a five mile radius, “I’m late today because my mom was on the phone and going to the bathroom.” Ugh, you’d think Art Linkletter had appeared with a microphone as she walked into her classroom.


Be sure to visit Stephanie's blog for a chance to win a copy of my latest book, You'll Lose the Baby Weight (and Other Lies About Pregnancy and Childbirth). Click HERE. And check back every day this month because she's giving away a book a day with a grand prize of all 31+ books at the end of the month!

Sonic Giveaway!

For years and years, Sonic commercials played on tv even though there wasn't a single Sonic Drive-In anywhere near Chicago. The commercials taunted me and I became obsessed with wanting to try out their drinks and ice cream creations. Finally, Sonic came to Chicagoland and I was able to learn what all the hype was about. Now I'm addicted to their strawberry limeade, tator tots, and coconut cream pie shakes. Yum!

In March and April, SONIC Wacky Packs will feature one of five SONIC Pro Outdoor Toys designed to keep kids active. The five toys include:
- SONIC Pro(tm) Glider
- SONIC Pro(tm) Kick
- SONIC Pro(tm) Football
- SONIC Pro(tm) Flyer
- SONIC Pro(tm) Hydrator.

Leave me a comment here and let me know how you keep your family active and I'll choose a random winner from the comments on Friday, March 18. Be sure to include your email address/way to contact you. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I’m a single mom of six children which means the only time I get to leave the house is when I’m watching one of the kids’ hockey, baseball, softball, or football games. Or when I’m running them to the store at 9:00 at night to get posterboard for a project they’ve had three weeks to complete and is due in the morning. Or when I’m going to the grocery store because we’re out of food despite the fact that I went shopping two days ago. (For some reason, my kids like to eat. Every day.) Or when I’m taking one of them to the ER because he thinks he’s Tony Hawk every time he gets on his skateboard. (He’s not.) Or when I’m picking them up from school. Or when I’m driving them to the mall or the movies or a friend’s house. Or when I’m simply hiding out in my van on the driveway, scarfing down chocolate so I don’t have to share it with them.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Growing Old Gracefully

It was my birthday last Thursday. Do you remember telling people, “I’m eight and THREE QUARTERS,” lest they think you were only eight and a half, or worse yet, only eight? I don’t do that anymore. I’m much more secure than I was as a child. I have no problem telling people my real age without any embellishments. I have no reason to lie or pretend I’m a different age than I really am.

So, last week, I turned thirty-eleven.

Continue reading here.

I'm super, super thankful for the opportunity to blog at This is an answer to prayer and will give us some much-needed income. I really hope you'll all follow me over there!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

From Chicago, where our rivers are green, people dress like leprechauns, and beer is the official sustenance, it's your host, the woman who just turned thirty-eleven, Dawn Meehan!

I don't really have any questions to answer this week. You guys have learned everything about me and no longer have anything to ask, I guess. :) So, instead, I'll tell you about my weekend.

On Friday, I realized that I'd lived in Chicagoland my entire life, but I'd never been to the St. Patrick's Day parade or the dyeing of the river, so I decided that the kids and I should take a field trip in the morning.

My alarm went off at 7:00. I looked at it, thought to myself, I don't really need to see the river dyed greened. I mean, it's pretty greenish year round, then I went back to sleep because I'm just that awesome and responsible. Half an hour later, Jackson woke me up and the lure of getting some cool pictures made me drag my butt out of bed.

We hopped on the L and began our trek downtown. I asked Clay if he thought we'd see any leprechauns. He looked at me deadpan, slowly blinked once, then responded as if explaining to a small, dim-witted child, "We might see some people dressed up like leprechauns, but we won't see any actual leprechauns because they're not real, Mom." I have got to remember to think twice before speaking to my kids. This is the reason kids think they know everything. This is the reason kids think adults are stupid. It's because we stay stupid things!

We got off the train and walked toward the river, following the sea of green shirts, green tights, green hats, green hair, green socks, green ties, green pants, and most importantly, green beer. We did meet a leprechaun (or a guy dressed up like a leprechaun). He didn't have a pot of gold, but he did have a glass of something gold, and judging by his staggering gait, it wasn't his first.

We made it to the water and fought our way through the crowd to see the boats speeding around the river, a beautiful, bright green in their wake.

Pretty cool, huh?

This is the point where the kids decided that although the green river looked awesome for the first five minutes we were there, it was too cold to hang around and admire it any longer.

We started walking back to the L when we spotted someone's toupee on the ground. Granted, it was really windy on Saturday, but how do you not notice your hair flying off?

We passed a cab with five air fresheners hanging from the rear view mirror. I was really thankful we were walking and didn't need a cab. (Don't mind me, Mr. Cab Driver. I'm just taking a picture of your collection of pine freshener freshness.)

We made our way back through the crowd of people who were well into celebration mode despite the fact it was 11:00 a.m., and we hopped on a train headed toward home. Two seconds into our return trip, the kids commented, "It smells like pee on here!" Yep, the kids not only got to see the river dyed green, but they also learned that St. Patrick's Day is a drinking holiday.

I'll be doing most of my blogging over at now, but don't worry, I'll post here and link to it every time I update over there. You can check out my blog on Babble here! I'm so excited to be blogging over there. If you aren't familiar with Babble, check it out; it's a great, informative, entertaining website! And Lisa Belkin who writes the Motherlode blog for the New York Times was instrumental in getting me hooked up with the folks at Babble, so my heartfelt thanks go to her! Right now, Lisa is laid up with not one, but TWO badly broken ankles. I know! Can you imagine not being able to even hobble around on crutches? I don't know what I'd do if that happened to me! So, head on over to Motherlode and offer her up some well-wishes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

My New Job!

I am sooooo excited to announce that I have officially joined the team of awesome bloggers over at! I'm really honored to have been offered a job blogging there and I hope you'll all head over and read what I (and a few other talented bloggers) have written. Here's my first post. Please go leave me a comment so I'm not all sad and lonely there.

I’m so thrilled to be blogging over here at Babble, but I feel a little like the new kid in school among all these esteemed bloggers. So, at the risk of sounding like a lame Facebook meme, let me stand up in front of the class and tell you a bit about myself.

1. My name is Dawn. People call me Dawn. Or Mom. But that’s mostly just my kids. Or Shawna. That’s a Ferris Bueller line. I quote random movies regularly just to see who’s on the same page with me. Hmmm, I wonder if Charlie Sheen was winning back when he was in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Click here to continue reading

Score Another One for Brooklyn

"Can I have some ice cream, Mom?"

"No, Brooklyn. Eat your dinner if you want dessert."

"But I'm not hungryyyyy!" she whined as if I was force feeding her liver and onions instead of asking her to eat the quarter of a hamburger I'd given her.
"If you're not hungry enough to eat dinner, then you're not hungry enough for ice cream," I said, full of brilliant mom wisdom.

"Fine!" Brooklyn huffed, crossing her arms over her chest to make sure I knew exactly what she thought of my tyrannical dinnertime rules.

A few minutes later, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, Brooklyn showed me her empty plate. "Now can I have ice cream?" she asked.

"Did you really eat your hamburger?" I inquired, a little doubtful. I mean there had been three whole bites on her plate and I was having a hard time believing she'd eaten that much.

"Yes!" She insisted she'd eaten her dinner so I went ahead and scooped out a little ice cream for her.

Fast forward seven hours. I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth, wash my face and get ready for bed. Then I spotted it. . .
"Why is there a hamburger in the bathroom? Brooklyn!" I shook my head. She's an evil genius, I tell ya! She managed to find a way to eat ice cream for dinner! Do you have any idea how many years I've been trying to do that?! Score another one for Brooklyn.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If You're Hungry, Eat Your House

Clay cracks me up. Even when he's being mischievous, that kid makes me snort with laughter. I can't count how many times I've forced a stern look on my face when inside I want to high-five him for making me laugh.

Here's an art project Clay brought home from school the other day. They were learning about Abraham Lincoln for President's Day, so they made a log cabin out of pretzel rods. They were supposed to glue the penny to the window so it looked like Abe was looking out.

Except Clay glued the penny so it looks like the Lincoln Memorial is stuffed inside the log cabin.

"Hey Clay, what happened to your log cabin? It looks like it has suffered some significant termite damage."


"It looks like someone has chewed through some of the logs in the cabin," I explained.

"Oh yeah, um, well, I was hungry."

"You know, we do have non-gluey pretzels here at home, hon."

"I didn't eat too much glue, Mom. See, I just ate the top part off the paper."

"Oh, well in that case. . ." I shook my head. "Remind me to pack you a snack for school tomorrow before you eat your crayons or something."

Then, Clay brought this gem home yesterday.

I looked at it and laughed. "The green dinosaur is eating the other guy's tail and he's looking back like, "DUDE! What are you doing?!"

Clay giggled and started singing, "It's raining BLOOD, hallelujah! It's raining BLOOD, hallelujah!"
Yep, he's perfectly well-adjusted.

But this morning, he presented me with this one when I first woke up.

Don't you adore those "I love you, Mom" drawings? For those of you who have young kids, appreciate those now because, I'm telling you, teens don't generally give you cute drawings that proclaim their undying love. Nope, teens tell you they love you when they want something - money, the car keys, a ride to the mall. . .

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Do you have an Etsy store? Are you a stay at home mom trying to make a little money with your own business? Do you want to get the word out about your business, but don't have a fortune to spend on advertising?

If so, consider advertising on my blog. Email me at for information on my site rankings, traffic details, and pricing.

All the cool kids are doing it. Okay, maybe not all of them. Yet.

Share Your Breakfast

I attended a blogger event at Kellogg's last October. While I was there, I learned about the history of Kellogg's and their products. I was also able to ask questions about their products, what they're doing to go green, ways they're improving existing products, and how they're adding new, healthier options. (If you want to see pictures from the event, you can check out my Flickr stream here.)

I'm personally a big fan of cereal. I don't do mornings and cereal is something my kids can all fix for themselves. Plus, I know they're getting a lot more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than they would if they didn't have a bowl of cereal in the morning. My kids like stuff like Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks, but they also love Smart Start, Fiber Plus, and Low Fat Granola, as well as many Kashi cereals. I mix it up and give them some healthier cereals along with some fun ones. Moderation is key with us.

While I was at this cereal summit, Kellogg's asked us bloggers for some ideas of how to give back. They wanted to know what we thought people might respond to. We gave our input and the result is Kellogg's Share Your Breakfast program.

One in four kids live in homes where food isn’t always available. Although a full tummy can help kids get the most out of their school day, children living in food-insecure homes don’t always have access to breakfast. Even worse, communities across the country are increasingly forced to consider cutting state-funded school breakfast programs due to budget pressures.

Kellogg's is asking you to Share Your Breakfast between now and July 31, 2011 to help Kellogg’s and Action for Healthy Kids, a nonprofit organization that focuses on childhood obesity and undernourishment, share one million breakfasts with kids who need them most. And the best part – sharing your breakfast is as easy as taking a picture or sending a text.

Simply take a photo of your breakfast and share it at or text your photo with the word “Share” to 21534. Each time you share a photo or description of your breakfast, Kellogg’s will donate the monetary equivalent of school breakfasts to Action for Healthy Kids.

This is something that's quick and easy to do. Snap a picture with your phone and text it. You can do that every morning, and you'll be helping to feed kids across the country!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday Sound Out

I couldn't think of a good "From Chicago" line tonight, so I asked Austin and Savannah what I should write. This is what they came up with. . .

1. From Chicago, Chi town!
2. From Chicago, let's go fly a kite!
3. From Chicago, home of the wiener, I mean the macaroni, you know that thing outside Wrigley Field!
4. From Chicago, the town that's almost 99% lint-free!
5. From Chicago, the town that's rarely sticky!
6. From Chicago, Chicago!
7. From Chicago, where it's always cold. Except in the summer. Then it's hot. And the spring and fall are just right. Most of the time. I guess it isn't always cold after all.

Yeah, so anyway, from Chicago, it's your host, the woman who should know better than to ask her teens for help, Dawn Damalas Meehan! And now, here are the answers to your questions this week. Feel free to ask me your question at

You didn't answer my question about how many people visit your blog a day! I knew 2 or 3 silly woman!!!
I dunno. I think my average is somewhere around 6000 a day, but I have more than that who read my blog from an rss feed daily as well.

Have you ever got hate mail that was so lame/pathetic you found it funny?
Yup. In fact, these days, I find most hate mail amusing.

Holy Mackarel! Way to induce self-esteem at a young age! Can you imagine how that teacher would be crucified these days? [When I was Seven]
Yeah, that's probably true. Ridiculous, but true. Children are not so fragile that their precious self-esteem is going to be crushed beyond repair unless they're constantly coddled and made to feel like they're number one all the time. I mean, my attitude is far from Amy Chua's here, but still, I think a lot of parents go to extremes in making sure that nothing hurts their beloved children. Guess what; they're going to get hurt. And it's okay! Then you help them to deal with the hurt in healthy ways, learn from their experiences, and move on. I mean, look at me! I turned out perfectly normal even if I don't have pink eyes and long blond hair!

Remember those purple Xerox copies??? I don't even remember what that machine was called, but I remember that it SMELLED! And the kids would all smell the paper when we got fresh copies. Or maybe that was just the kids in my class. Copies were the gateway drug...
Oh yeah! The dittos! Who could forget that purple ink, the smell of pure alcohol, and the cold, damp feeling of the paper when it first came out of the machine?! Nothing like a classroom full of kids getting high off their dittos.

...Your post started me thinking though, what kinds of foods do you make for dinner? With 6 mouths to feed there's got to be things that each kid refuses to eat. Is there anything that everyone likes?
I've given up cooking. I just hook up an IV and feed them intravenously now. Seriously, all the kids are good eaters. Well, everyone, but Brooklyn, that is. They all eat pretty much whatever I make. Brooklyn eats, ketchup, chocolate milk, peanut butter, carrots, mac&cheese, and candy.

wow, by the other comments, this one will seem so off topic... but is the car in your picture a right hand drive?
I have no idea. If I don't have a picture of my own that I can use, and/or I'm too lazy to go take a picture, I use creative commons to find images for my blog.

A month or so ago, you were worried that you had no income and you didn't know how you were going to make it and now you're writing funny blog posts like nothing's wrong. What gives?
Didn't you hear? Everything is magically better now. <---That was sarcasm. I'm explaining because I'm not sure you'd grasp that otherwise.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about my circumstances. Not a day goes by that I don't feel sick to my stomach when I think about it. Not a day goes by that I don't hyperventilate a little and think, What am I going to do? Really, what on earth am I going to do? This is very real and very scary!

However, not a day goes by that I don't put on a happy face for my kids. Not a day goes by that I don't try to maintain a semblance of normality around here. Not a day goes by that I don't work my butt off toward my goals of being self-sufficient. It's been almost two months since my ex lost his job. I have no reason to believe he'll ever get another one since he makes cash under the table doing side jobs. He can take care of himself and not have to pay a penny of child support that way.

Yeah, my circumstances are still downright scary. But what am I going to do? Cry all day? Scare my kids? Give up? Or go on believing things will turn out okay, work to ensure that they do, to the best of my ability, and continue to see the good, the fun and the humor in every day? Yeah, I'll choose the latter every single time. So sorry to disappoint you, but I'm going to continue writing funny blog posts because laughter is the best medicine!

Have a great week, everyone! And remember, Tuesday is Pączki Day! Don't miss out on this most delicious of all holidays!

Campbell's Winner

The winner of the Campbell's Soup AdDress Your Heart apron, fleece, and heart healthy goodies is. . .

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Celestial said...

This is awesome, as many followers as you have, what a way to spread the word :)

Congratulations! Email me with your shipping details and I'll make sure this is mailed out right away. :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I Stopped Short

I was driving to the store today when the light suddenly turned yellow. Now, ordinarily, I take that as a sign to punch it carefully proceed through the intersection. This time, however, I opted to stop. I have no idea what possessed me to do so, but I slammed on the brakes as my arm involuntarily shot out to prevent my passenger from flying out the windshield. The only problem is that there was no passenger. And even if there had been a passenger, my arm doesn't even stretch far enough across my van to touch the passenger seat, let alone span the width of it. Oh yeah, and then there's the fact that I'm reasonably sure my outstretched arm wouldn't, in fact, protect my passenger from being ejected from the vehicle. I could be wrong, but I don't think there have been any cases where a mother's arm saved a passenger when a seat beat and airbag couldn't.

I can just see the whole scene going down at the hospital. "How's my passenger, Doctor?"

"Well, Mrs. Meehan, you prevented your passenger from flying through the window with your arm spasm which is good. But you karate chopped their head off which is really, umm, not good."

Why do I do this wild arm-flinging, and more importantly, is there any way to stop it? I mentioned this on Facebook today and had many people comment how they do this out of a habit that started back in the days when there were no car seats, or even seat belts. I can understand that. I remember, as a kid, just lying around in the back of our neon orange Pinto station wagon. I can see where the MomArm Seat Beat was necessary. In fact, I distinctly remember when gates were first installed at toll booths. My dad was scared the arm was going to come down and crush the car before he had the chance to drive through the toll, so he whipped the coins at the basket and gunned it like he'd just heard, "Gentlemen, start your engines." My sister and I were flung to the back of the car where we were plastered against the rear door, looking much like the bugs on the windshield. But my kids have always been in car seats, so what's my excuse?

On Facebook, it was 99% moms who admitted doing this. I don't know if it's because I only have a couple male friends on Facebook, or if guys simply don't do this. Maybe men think it's the passenger's job to hold on. Or perhaps, they just can't concentrate on both driving and saving their passenger from going airborne. Maybe moms just have more practice honing their puma-like reflexes by wrestling diapers on toddlers, catching cups of milk in midair as they're knocked off the table, and maneuvering over Legos and Barbie shoes like a cadet hopping through tires in an obstacle course.

I guess I'll have to resign myself to karate chopping anyone in the passenger seat whenever I have to stop quickly. It's just one of those mom things, like licking your finger to wipe dirt off your kid's face, or holding out your hand for your child to spit their gum into it.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Dinner tonight was pretty much like every night at my house. In other words, it's a three-ring circus. I try to avoid having people over for dinner as much as possible because of the indigestion factor.

"Hey guys, turn off the TV and come eat!"

"Hey! Mom said to turn off the TV," Lexi whined which could only mean one thing - Jackson hit her/made a face at her/bugged her in any one of a thousand ways.

"Shut up!"

"You shut up! Mom said!" Then to me, "Mom, Jackson won't turn off the TV!"

"Shut up, Lexi! You're such a tattletale."

"Someone pour the milk and sit down," I instructed, ignoring the fighting.

"Ew! Why is the rice brown?"

"It isn't rice; it's risotto, duh!"

"Shut up!"

"You shut up!"

"You shut up!"

"Do I have to eat?"

"No, you don't have to eat; you can go to bed instead," I offered.

"Can I just have a peanut butter sandwich?"

"Mom made dinner. It's chicken. Just eat it!"

"Shut up!"

"You shut up!"

I lost it and exploded, "Ohmygosh, I am so sick of hearing that word come out of your mouths. Knock it off!"

Austin piped up with his standard smart-butted-ness, "Um, it's more than one word, Mom."

I stared at him for a second.

Don't you hate it when the kids catch you saying something stupid? Something you know is stupid the second it comes out of your mouth? Something like, Close your mouth and brush your teeth. Or, Be quiet and answer me! Or, What on earth are you doing? as I'm looking directly at what they're doing.

There was only one response that was appropriate in this situation.

"Shut up, Austin!"

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